Journey of the Bride
Beauty For Ashes Part III - George H. Warnock
CHAPTER 6 - A BRIDE FOR THE LAST ADAM
The apostle Paul makes it clear that in the admonition he is giving concerning the home, and the marriage relationship, he is doing so by way of presenting a picture of the Last Adam, and the Bride of the Last Adam.
"This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the Church" (Eph. 5:32).
But he does not stop there. He does not say, "What I have said about the man and the woman in the home is now outdated; Rather he adds,
"Nevertheless, let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband" (Eph. 5:33).
He is not saying then that the order of Genesis is no longer applicable, because he recognizes that elements of the original creation are still there in this present life, in this time of transition. We have not yet come into the full expression of the New Creation concerning which it is said that men will "neither marry" nor will women "be given in marriage." This pertains to the new age, and to the day of resurrection... and to those who partake of it. (See Matt. 22:30.)
Right now it is a time of transition, as God brings us out of the old and into the new. Changes are taking place. Some very wonderful changes are taking place. But as long as there is the male and female relationship in the earth there will continue to be marriages, and homes, and children... and the exercise of certain responsibilities of one to another, as God ordained it in the beginning, and as Paul set it forth in his letter to the Ephesians.
Some are quick to quote Galatians 3:28, "There is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." But please note that it was the same apostle who wrote Galatians that wrote Ephesians; and that when he wrote to the Ephesians he was writing to a people who were "IN CHRIST" (Eph. 1:1). And it was to them that he said, "The husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the Church" (Eph. 5:23). There is no discrepancy in what Paul said to the Galatians, and what he said to the Ephesians. We are "in Christ" now... but there continues to be a man-and-woman relationship; for we are in a state of transition from the old realm of Adam, to the new realm of the Last Adam; and it is a relationship of a much higher order. Notice that Paul said, "the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man... neither is the man without the woman, neither the woman without the man, IN THE LORD" (1 Cor. 11:8, 11). This relationship continues even for men and women in this age who are IN CHRIST; but it is a more highly elevated relationship, because their spirits are made alive in Christ. There is an equality here, as far as fellowship and communion with the Lord is concerned; but when woman seeks equality with the man in matters of headship and rulership she is forsaking the means of grace that God gave her, not enhancing it. Peter encourages "subjection to your own husbands" (and notice he said this in the context of a woman who had an unbelieving husband)... for in her role of quiet subjection she may win her husband (and of course we are not suggesting that in "sinning" she may win him, but that in walking in meekness and humility she may win him). The husbands likewise, because they are in Christ, have a much higher responsibility, and are admonished to give "honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life." But notice what follows: "That your prayers be not hindered." (See 1 Pet. 3:1-7.) I wonder how many prayers go unanswered because of a spirit of rebellion in the wife, or in the husband?
The apostles were not male chauvinists. They were giving good counsel by the Spirit to men and women who were in Christ... counsel which, if heeded, would put our many counselors in the Church and in the world out of a job. In Christ our privileges and responsibilities are of a much higher order than they were in the beginning of the human race. And I think the reason Christian women feel they are in bondage is very often because the man has fallen so far short of his responsibility:
"Husbands, love your wives, EVEN AS CHRIST ALSO LOVED THE CHURCH, AND GAVE HIMSELF FOR IT" (Eph. 5:25).
"In Christ" there is a new kind of relationship between the man and the woman. The woman learns subjection, and in so doing partakes of a greater measure of grace, and of meekness, and of quietness. The man must come to a quality of love that Christ exemplified: "Even as Christ loved the Church..." "In Christ"... there is "neither bond nor free... neither male nor female." Does the apostle then exhort the slaves to run away and exert their new-found freedom in rebellion? No! Rather it is this way: in the Lord you are FREE, so you are to serve your master as a free man, and no longer as a slave: "Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of heart, as unto Christ" (Eph. 6:5). Now because he is "in Christ" he has a new relationship with his master, even as he remains a slave. Now his real master is not that inconsiderate, cruel lord he had known in the past. He the master may not have changed, but he the servant HAS. His real master is now the Lord Jesus; because now he the slave is a free man in Christ. He must be more diligent than ever before, because now he serves the Lord Christ. He can now suffer the shame and the ignominy of an iron-handed master because his true Master and Lord suffered equal shame and ignominy, and because he is now in Christ, he is to follow in his Masterís steps. In so doing he will partake of His nature, and His character, and as a bondslave he will qualify to be an heir of the Kingdom over which Christ has been exalted with a "Name that is above every name." And as he follows his Lord and hears His Word he discovers that his Lord has been exalted to the highest throne of the universe by reason of the fact that he descended to take the lowest place in the earth, even as a bondslave, the One who became "obedient unto death, even the death of the cross".
"Run away, Onesimus... you are a free man in Christ!" Was this Paulís admonition to Onesimus. Ah, No! Quite to the contrary. And this is what Paulís letter to Philemon was all about. "Your slave has harmed you, Philemon. He owes you a debt for having robbed you, and fled to Rome. But donít forget, Philemon, you owe me a great debt also. You really owe me your very self, for it was I that brought to you the message of liberation. For you too were once a slave, and Christ has set you free. Now you, once a freeman, are under bonds to Christ. Now that you are in Christ you must act like Christ. You must receive Onesimus back in total forgiveness, even as Christ has received you. Now he is no longer just a slave... now he is your brother and mine."
How elevated does one become in his relationship with God and with His people, as he comes into Christ! Paul never instigated a freedom movement in the Church to liberate the slaves. This is not the Churchís responsibility. Our responsibility is to so minister the Truth that men and women are brought into Christ, where they are FREE. Vengeance belongeth unto the Lord... He will deal with oppressive governments, and oppressive rulers in the Church and in the world... in His own way, in His own time. He knows how to deal with the Pharaohs, and the Nebuchadnezzars, and the Herods, and the Caesars. Our responsibility is to so preach Christ that men and women are brought into Christ, where there is total freedom.
What a high and lofty order has God brought about in the Church, as He brings a people into Christ, and even now enables them to walk before Him in New Creation life. When men and women seek to change that order, it is not liberation they find but bondage of a far greater sort than they knew before. Homes are broken up, and men and women have gone their own way under the guise of "liberation," but it is bondage of a far greater degree. Children are scattered far and wide, and are placed in institutions of welfare, and become a burden to society. Broken homes produce more and more devastated wives and devastated husbands and devastated kids; and it all springs from a spirit of rebellion to Godís order. Consequently neither the society nor the Church has been able to cope with all the problems that are being created.
True, many of these come into the Church, and why not? God intended that the Church should bring healing to the broken-hearted. But it seems to me that the Church is bulging its seams with broken homes, devastated homes, devastated men, devastated women without healing the breach. If we leave the faucet running, and hire more and more counselors to mop up the floor, what is really happening? We have got to shut the faucet off first... and then seek God for the healing, which He longs to bring. Like our mental institutions, and our penal institutions, so the Church is involved with massive building programs to take care of multitudes of people that are spiritually and morally sick... and these massive buildings are being filled with people, and congregations are growing and growing, but where is the healing? Have you ever noticed this? That as the Church grows and expands in wealth and in buildings and in numbers, so does the divorce rate? And in all of this expansion, what is really happening? The divorce rate soars, in the Church as well as out of it, and nothing is done to turn off the faucets.
There is only one real solution, but there is no likelihood that the Church will admit to her condition, and go Godís way. God looks down from high Heaven and pinpoints the problem:
"Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art WRETCHED, and MISERABLE, and POOR, and BLIND, and NAKED: I counsel thee to buy of me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see" (Rev. 3:17, 18).
Will we listen? I predict that the Church will prefer to enlarge their counseling services in the Church rather than to take Godís counsel. What then? His judgments fall from Heaven, and great and awesome will be the desolations of that hour:
"There is a voice of the howling of the shepherds; for their glory is spoiled: a voice of the roaring of the young lions; for the pride of Jordan is spoiled" (Zech. 11:3).
"And the songs of the temple shall be howlings in that day, saith the Lord GOD" (Amos 8:3).
"They have healed also the hurt of the daughter of My people slightly, saying, Peace, Peace: when there is no peace" (Jer. 6:14).
Jesus said that because iniquity would abound the love of many would wax cold. I believe this is our real problem. We have become so intricately entwined with the ways of the world that the broken home is taken as a matter of course, rather than a cause for alarm. The rebellion in the world has swept through the Church... and homes are being devastated. Please understand that we are in no way judging the many innocent victims that are involved; for there are many who have been caught in this web of devastation, and there is nothing they can do about it. If this is your situation be assured that nothing that has happened can hinder you from becoming a vessel unto honor and glory, if you are truly committed to go Godís way, regardless of the suffering that may be involved.
Now the Enemy knows that if he can break up the Christian home he has conquered the Church; for the Church is but a congregation of many homes. The tragedy is that Godís people do not recognize this... and by and large the Church continues to boast of strength and power and enlargement, completely ignoring the fact that the foundations of the Christian home are breaking down on every hand. God wants to heal this situation and He would show us the cause of our problems, for it is nothing less than this: Man with all of his human engineering has crowded Christ completely out of His Temple, and the Glory of God which He intended to be our defence and our protection is no longer there. The canopy of His glory is our only defence in the time of storm. (See Isa. 4:6.) Only as Godís people humble themselves and accept His "counsel" to buy of Him the true riches, and the eyesalve that He provides, are we going to see the healing that He wants to bring.
Beauty For Ashes
Now the background of the Bride of Christ is one of devastation and ashes. This Holy Bride, this "chaste virgin," in her natural state is totally corrupt, and God must recreate her anew from the ashes of her depravity. She is anything but chaste, anything but clean, anything but holy. Nevertheless she has been apprehended by the Holy Spirit to become the pure, chaste virgin Bride of Christ. Let us see Godís estimate of this one whom He has chosen to be His very own...
"And as for thy nativity, in the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to supple thee; thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all. None eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee: but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the loathing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born. And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live. I have caused thee to multiply as the bud of the field, and thou hast increased and waxen great, and thou art come to excellent ornaments: thy breasts are fashioned, and thine hair is grown, whereas thou wast naked and bare. Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread My skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea, I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord GOD, and thou becamest Mine. Then washed I thee with water; yea, I throughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil. I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgersí skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk. I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck. And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thine head" (Ezek. 16:4-12).
What a picture of the grace of God! What love and mercy has come from the Father upon the fallen sons of Adam that we should become the holy and faultless Bride of Christ... pure, unmerited favor. It is all of that. But the grace of God goes far, far beyond that blessed state of forgiveness, wherein God looks down upon His people as though they had never sinned. This would make us to be like Adam was before he fell... innocent, but not "justified." For in justification God sees us so totally clothed upon with the righteousness of God, that we are righteous and holy with His very own righteousness. Forgiveness deals with the past... and wipes it out. But in "justification" all the righteousness of God is placed upon us, so that we are made to be "the righteousness of God in Christ."
Now the saints at Corinth were the ones to whom Paul said, "I have espoused you to one Husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." And what was their "nativity"? Paul sets forth the horrible list of their sins... not to condemn them, but to show them the marvels of Godís grace. He mentions everything... "fornicators, idolaters, adulterers, effeminate, homosexuals, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, extortioners..." And then he adds, "And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God" (1 Cor. 6:9-11).
In their own eyes, and in the eyes of those who knew them, they were the ex-sinner, the ex-thief, the ex-robber, the ex-drunkard, the ex-homosexual... But not so in the sight of God. For the cleansing of the blood of Christ is so efficacious that sins once forgiven and washed away can no longer stain the heart, the mind, the character, the conscience of that one who has been plucked as a brand from the burning, and recreated into the image of God. They become in Godís estimation, "a chaste virgin to Christ"... as chaste and pure as Eve was when she was taken from the side of Adam, and brought to him again, and joined to him in one body. Now when God wanted a holy and undefiled Bride He did not look over the ranks of angels and archangels, among those who had never sinned. He wanted someone much better than these, someone more worthy of Him. And where did He look? He looked into the earth, and He found the apple of His eye, and He spoke life into her, as she lay there wallowing in her own blood:
"And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, LIVE; yea, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, LIVE."
But He said so much more than that, and He did so much more than that. He gave her new life, and that is wonderful. But He desired her for His own Bride. His plan was to make her exceedingly beautiful. There is much more to the preparation of the Bride than having new life. Godís tender care over her must continue until she is fully matured, and adorned, and beautified with His own presence and glory. Her "hair is grown"... for her hair is her glory, and speaks of the covering of her Master. She is washed, with "the washing of water by the Word." Her garments are of broidered work and "fine linen"... for "the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints." She is covered with silk, and decked with ornaments: "bracelets" on her hands, that she might serve her Master in truth and sincerity; a "chain on her neck"... lest she become stiff-necked and rebellious; a precious "jewel" on her forehead, that she might partake of the mind of Christ; "earrings" on her ears, that she might clearly hear the voice of her Beloved; decked with "gold and silver" for the glory that she displays is not to be her own carnal self, but the ornaments of a "meek and quiet spirit"... the gold of His own nature, and the silver of His redemption in her life. She partakes of "flour, and honey, and oil"... the ingredients of the bread of God, mingled with the holy oil of His anointing, that she might become "one bread, one loaf" to a hungry world about her. In Godís words she becomes "exceeding beautiful" and "prospered into a Kingdom"... a Kingdom of truth and of righteousness.
O how shall we ever glorify Him enough for His marvelous grace and mercy? How can we ever do it with our mortal tongues? We try, and this is good, but never shall we truly glorify the Lord for His wonderful work of redemption until we are given over completely to Him, and we become aware with every breath that we breathe, "I am not my own... I am bought with a price."
And when we come to this we suddenly realize: I am not my own that I could owe Him anything. I am His very own possession... and all that I have... all that I am .. it is not mine, it is HIS!
These whom He has chosen to be His spotless Bride are a people washed so clean, sanctified so wholly, perfected so perfectly with the perfections of Christ, that God looks down and says, "You are My virgin Bride." And angels and archangels whom God would not choose for so high a calling, surround the throne of God, as they cry one to another:
"Let us be glad and rejoice,
And give honor to Him:
For the marriage of the Lamb is come,
And His wife hath made herself ready"
Never a murmur from anyone: "I remember your past...I know what you once were... how could God Almighty have chosen you to be His holy Bride?" We are told that angels "desire to look into" the mysteries of our redemption, and I do not know how much they understand about it. But in that day they must see and understand, at least in part, the wonder-working power of the cleansing of the blood of Jesus, in the lives of fallen humanity. No one in heaven is able to utter one word of protest. I do not think there would be any need for the archangels to make this challenge:
"Now therefore if anyone present can give any lawful reason why this Man should not take this Woman to be His lawful wedded wife, let him speak now or forever hold his peace..."
But even if they did, no one could utter a word of protest. No angel could come forth and say, "You must know, O Lord, what this one did... You must know this one was a liar, a pervert, a murderer, a criminal of the basest sort. How can we rejoice and be glad because of Your Bride? You are worthy, but how can we rejoice in Your Bride?"
Quite to the contrary, all Heaven rejoices with the Lamb for the Bride He has found is the one He created for Himself out from the ashes of depraved humanity. No unclean spirit can arise and accuse as they were wont to do. For this one is clean and holy, and there is no place for the Accuser to find fault.
How wonderful when we all get to Heaven, and are joined in this glorious union with our Beloved! Is this what you are thinking?
"And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness [or Ďthe righteous deedsí] of the saints" (Rev. 19:8).
Her wedding garments are her "righteous deeds"... the garments she walks in before men, and not only those hidden garments of righteousness that she receives in justification. Like the high priest of the Tabernacle, she wears "garments for glory and for beauty" as she ministers truth and righteousness in the earth.
Why do we have the feeling that nothing totally clean and pure can walk in this defiled earth? Did Jesus not do it? And did He not die that "As He is" so might we be in this evil world? And if we consider that dying by cancer, or by tuberculosis, or by heart disease... if we consider these to be the instruments of our perfection, are we not giving more glory and honor to the diseases of Adamís sin and curse than we are to the precious blood of our Lord Jesus Christ? Is it indeed true that the sin and death of Adam, as it pursues us and overtakes us, is to do for us what the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus cannot do?
Must God rapture us as soon as we come close to perfection, because a perfect and holy man must not walk on this defiled planet? Some teach that is why God took Enoch. He finally came to perfection, and God had to take him. Bless your hearts, Enoch walked with God in the earth for 300 years before He saw fit to take him; for while Enoch was yet in the earth he had this witness that he "pleased God." And God took him according to His good pleasure when the time had come... and Enoch heard and knew what God was going to do, and found FAITH to be translated! (See Heb. 11:5.)
It did, indeed, seem strange that the Lord Jesus, the New Adam, should have lived in this old world a mere 33 years-- barely a minute in the time-frame of human existence. But we think this way because of our misunderstanding of Godís plan and purpose. For in that short life-span of 33 years our Lord Jesus had accomplished EVERYTHING HE NEEDED TO ACCOMPLISH to bring forth a new race of beings in the earth, a new Adamic order after His own kind. He finished the work the Father had given Him to do in the earth, and then returned to the Father to begin... and to complete... a greater ministration in the heavens. For it is there, from the throne, that He sends forth His Word and His Spirit to create a new race of people in the earth--a people who would become His own kind in the earth.
HE DOES NOT COME BACK TO EARTH TO DO THAT; HE WENT AWAY TO DO THAT.
His work of redeeming, and cleansing and purging the old Adam from his sin was accomplished at the Cross. And now from Heaven He ministers THE WORD concerning this great accomplishment in the earth, by THE SPIRIT whom He has placed in our hearts. Godís purpose was not to wipe out the old creation, but to bring forth a new one out of the old. Not, however, by renovating and making the old one over, but by crucifying and slaying it at the Cross, that out from the ashes of Calvary a New Man might be born. The foundation for our redemption was laid in the earth, and that work was "finished." But the super-structure of the New Creation arises in the earth because of the ministration of the High Priest on the throne of glory, who ministers from the "heavenly sanctuary." He spoke many wonderful things "on earth." But now He speaks "from Heaven." His Word is just as effectual now, as it was then. His Word is just as pure, just as creative now, as it was then. For His Spirit is the Truth; and the anointing that He has given to men is the Truth.
But the Bride has fallen, as surely as Eve was "beguiled" from the "simplicity" of the truth she had received. We must continue to emphasize the "simplicity" or the "singleness" of our devotion to Christ. The deception that came upon Eve is very strong in the Church today.
She saw something that was...Good for food...
Pleasant to the eyes...
Desirable to make...
This was her deception; in simply not abiding in her role as one subject to Adam, and together with him in subjection to the God who had created them.
There is a lot of writing these days about deception; and generally it relates to this false doctrine, or that other one. And do not misunderstand me... God wants our doctrines to be true, and to be healthy. But the deception that Eve fell into is not mentioned in most of these writings; and in fact there is much deception to be seen in this quest for an understanding of good and false doctrine, under the guise of standing for the truth. John tells us that the antidote to seduction is to abide in the anointing, because the "anointing... is truth" (1 Jn. 2:26, 27). I fear a lot of this feasting upon knowledge, which men are digging out of books, is in reality the eating of "the tree of knowledge of good and evil." Now God wants us to "discern both good and evil," but we only do this as we grow into Christ, and come to maturity, as we eat of "the tree of life." Eating of the tree of knowledge will not deliver us from the evil, but eating of the tree of LIFE will: as we walk in the light, as He is in the light... as we love Him who is Truth... as we walk in the Anointing, which is Truth. Then the Word becomes alive, and a light unto our pathway. Eating of the other tree can only make oneís heart haughty, and the mind heady.
The fall of the Bride can always be attributed to pride, and to a false confidence in her position. "But thou didst trust in thine own beauty" (Ezek. 16:15). The redemption of the Bride must always be attributed to the sovereign workings of God, and to His own desire for a Bride that will be His counterpart in the earth, one radiating His likeness and glory in the earth.
The history of Israel as a nation, and the history of the Church, tell the same story: a story of backsliding and of new beginnings. We may wonder why there could not have been a continual progressive walk of Godís people throughout her long history. But each generation is responsible to hear and to hearken to the voice of God for themselves. They cannot inherit the Kingdom of God from their fathers... And yet, there is a deposit from one generation to another, and somewhere in succeeding generations that deposit of truth will begin to germinate, and sprout, and bring forth the fruit that God is after.
"For He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which He commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: that the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children: that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep His commandments" (Ps. 78:5-7).
With our distorted vision we are inclined to see it this way:First that which is good, and then the evil. First the beauty, and then the chaos.But with renewed vision and hope we see it in a far different light:
First the brightness of Day, and then the Darkness. First the real thing, and then the shadow. First an innocent man, then rebellion.We see the evil and the chaos, and out of it God brings forth order, and beauty.
We see the darkness first, and then God speaks and there is Light.
We see the shadow first, and then the substance.
We see Adam first, and then the Last Adam.
We see an Old Covenant first, and then the New.
We could go on and on in this. For if we could but see with eyes focused on Christ and His Glory, and His Purposes, and not crossed by our carnal nature... we would know and understand THAT THE HOUR OF HUMAN FAILURE, DEVASTATING THOUGH IT MAY BE TO PREVIOUS WORKINGS OF GOD, IS NEVERTHELESS THE SEED PLOT IN WHICH GOD WILL PLANT THE SEEDS OF NEW CREATION LIFE, FOR A NEW WORKING OF GOD, A NEW EXPRESSION OF HIS GLORY, A NEW UNVEILING OF THE UNSEEN TREASURES THAT ARE STILL HIDDEN AWAY IN HIS HEART AND PREPARED FOR THEM THAT LOVE HIM AND WAIT FOR HIM.
In saying this, we are in no way minimizing the drastic effects of human failure, or inferring that their failure was in reality a good thing. We are merely giving honor and glory to Him who in spite of all the failures of the human family, and all the devices of Satan to defeat Godís purposes... God has reserved in His heart a mighty working of His wisdom and power that will be revealed in its time to bring to nought all the devices of the evil one who seeks to dethrone God and to devastate the glory and the beauty of His handiwork.
It is a perverted wisdom that would say, "It is good that God made evil men... or evil spirits... for see how wonderfully God brings forth His glory out of it all." God still finds fault with them and will judge them. These are areas we do not understand, as mere mortals. Godís answer is simply:
"Nay, but O man, who art thou that repliest against God?...Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honor, and another unto dishonour? What if God, willing to shew His wrath, and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction?" (Rom. 9:20-22).
Let us be assured of this: IF EVER YOU OR I SHOULD QUESTION GODíS RIGHTEOUS CHARACTER OR HIS WISDOM, IT IS BECAUSE WE DO NOT KNOW HIM VERY WELL.
Godís Bride has fallen, as truly as Eve fell. And it all started when she got her eyes off of her beloved, and trusted in her own excellence and achievement: "But thou didst trust in thine own beauty...
What beauty was that? Nothing less than what she had received as a gift from her Lord: "For it was perfect through My comeliness, which I had put upon thee" (Ezek. 16:14, 15).
God, cause Your people to see the folly they have committed in making for themselves the "images of men"... and setting the oil and the incense before them as Israel did. God, cause us to know and understand that there is no real beauty or glory in ourselves, in any man or ministry... except that which You, Lord, have bestowed by Your own gracious handiwork. For it is not from ourselves but from You; and You alone are to be glorified in the beautiful work of Your own hands. Shall we gaze at the beautiful work of art, and exalt the canvas on which it is painted? Or admire the stone from which the sculptor chiseled his masterpiece? Or think the beautiful piano or violin is to be praised for the music that comes forth from the wooden box, rather than the master craftsman who made the instrument? And especially the master musician who calls forth the music? How ignorant we are! How dishonoring to God we are when somehow we get to thinking: How great is our preacher! How great is our church! How great is our music and our talent! Rather than worshipping the Lord, and saying from our innermost being, "O Lord, How great Thou art!"
And so the Bride of Christ has fallen! In every generation of the Church God would bring forth this holy Bride, and inevitably she would fall, and always for the same reason: she began to trust in her own beauty, failing to realize and understand that she had no beauty except what she received from the Lord.
But let us remember Godís order! Godís Day starts with evening, and ends with Morning! For when "darkness covers the earth, and gross darkness the people," it is then that God promises:
"The Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee."
This is Godís order that we observe everywhere in the Scriptures. There is a New Day for every night of darkness that has overwhelmed Godís people.
Yes, Godís Bride fell from her beauty and her glory, but that is not the end. God promised judgment: "And I will judge thee, as women that break wedlock, and shed blood are judged; and I will give thee blood in fury and jealousy" (Ezek. 16:38). His judgments are very far-reaching, and very awesome. But what God is doing is for His own glory... and there is restoration:
"Nevertheless I will remember My covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant... and I will establish My covenant with thee, and thou shalt know that I am the LORD" (Ezek. 16:60, 62).
God always finishes His work with Righteousness, and Life, and Glory.
The Bride, The Fullness Of Christ
This is the desire of Christ. As truly as Adam looked about him and saw all the beautiful handiwork of God and yet found no one that was really compatible with him... so our Lord, not even in the celestial realms could find one of whom He could say, "This is the one I want for My Bride, for the eternal satisfaction of My own heart." And the reason He could not find such a one is because in those realms God had never created anyone in His image and likeness. There was no angel, no archangel, no cherub, no seraph... that was really akin to His own nature and likeness.
If God were only a God of might and of power and of majesty... then He may have found a certain compatibility with powerful, beautiful creatures. But God is much more than that. He is meek, and lowly, and humble, and merciful, and gentle, and patient, and longsuffering, and kind... because He is LOVE. And so in His own great wisdom and knowledge He chose a weak creature, a man of the dust, through whom He would be able to display the fullness of His nature and character. This man became at the same time "lower than the angels" and yet the highest of His created order. For only in this Man would He be able to express Himself as He really is, and show forth the fullness of His glory.
This Man came to earth, and His Name was Jesus. But this Man in the earth found Himself ALONE, even as God was ALONE in the heavenly realm. God in Heaven had many wonderful creatures about Him, but still He was ALONE. Adam likewise, had a very wonderful garden in which he dwelt, and many wonderful and friendly creatures about him; but he was ALONE. Jesus in the earth had a few disciples who in time became His friends... but He was ALONE. And He would have to remain alone, as He Himself said, except He would be faithful, as a Seed, to fall into the ground and die.
And so it was the Father who arranged for His Son the sleep of death. And while He slept in the earth, there and then God was beginning to form for Himself and for His Son this one who was to be His Body in the earth, for the expression of His own life and glory.
"I will praise Thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are Thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in Thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them" (Ps. 139:14-16).
"Fearfully and wonderfully made..." So is the Bride of Christ. So is the Body of Christ. For we are the Body of Christ, of His flesh, and of His bones; just as Adam said of Eve, "This is now bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh... she shall be called ĎWomaní for she was taken out of ĎMan."í She was taken out of man, to be joined to him again... so that individually she was "Eve," but together with Adam she bore his name, "And God called THEIR NAME Adam."
Surely this should put our minds at rest when we talk of our union with Christ. Only as we are joined unto Him in this mystical union does God say that we are of the Christ Body. It is His Name that we take, because of our union with Him. "For as the body is one, and hath many members... SO ALSO IS CHRIST" (1 Cor. 12:12). We are not another Jesus, another Christ, even as Eve was not another Adam. It is only in union with him that she shares the name "Adam." In union with Christ we share His same anointing, for "Christ" means "Anointed One." His Name has been called upon us.
Now the word "fullness" as used by the apostle Paul means a "completeness"... and this is what Eve was to Adam: his complement, his completeness... the one who took away Adamís "aloneness," for she was very much like him, and of his nature.
So the Church is said to be the fullness, the completeness of Christ: "The Church which is His body, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all" (Eph. 1:23). Eve came out from Adam, and was created for Adam, to be his glory. A new personality had come into being, having the same virtues as Adam, the same heart, the same hopes, the same longings, the same potential to know God and walk with Him. But she was to be dependent upon and subject to Adam, and together with him in subjection to God who created them. God had projected Himself into the earth in a new way, in a man created in His image. Now He would project Himself still further, in a brideÖ who would be the "glory of the man" even as the "man was the glory of God." God was no longer alone. Adam was no longer alone. He was one of kind, his like, his completeness, his fullness. Like him, and yet different... but it was this "difference" that gave greater meaning to his own life, and made possible the expression of those qualities with which he was endowed by the Creator: to love, to fellowship, to communicate, and to share his own life with another. Can we understand this a little? That God wanted us, that He needed us, to provide an outlet and a channel for the satisfaction and the delight of His own heart, and for meaningful fellowship with a people in His own likeness?
We pray, "Lord, make us channelsÖ just channels of blessing to others..." And this is good: but God is really after much more than that. He desires to so endow us with His own life and nature and character that we become like Him, and yet different. Not to become another Jesus, or another God. But in being like Him we are totally dependent upon Him. Like Him so much that we are "bone of His bone, and flesh of His flesh." Not just a puppet easily manipulated to do His will. Not just a pipe through which His blessing might flow. But another person, another personality... walking in such union with the Christ that the same law of life that functions in the Head, functions also in the Body: even "the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus" (Rom. 8:2). As the Spirit would speak, so we speak. As the Spirit would work, so we work. He thinks this way, so we think this way. The apostle said, "It seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us" (Acts 15:28). Presumptuous, is it, to say that, "It seemed good to God and it seemed good to us..."? Was it not enough that it was good in the sight of God? And leave us out of the picture? No, not at all; for God wants His people to have His mind, to think as He thinks, to work as He is working, to speak as He is speaking. "The Spirit and the Bride say, Come..." (Rev. 22:17). Is it not enough that the Spirit says come? Not really, for His Spirit, men do not know... and unless the Bride is speaking in union with the Spirit, men are not going to hear. As long as the "Bride" in her carnal, apostate, and corrupt way of life sends forth the message to the nations, "COME! COME!" there will continue to be scorn and derision heaped upon the people of God. But wait till the Spirit has a Bride in union with Himself, and together they speak! Great will be the impact upon the nations when "the Spirit and the Bride say, COME" (Rev. 22:17). This kind of invitation, this kind of working, is powerful... because menís hearts are moved by the Voice. The vessel is not just seen as a medium through whom God can work, but he is seen to be ONE WITH THE SPIRIT, motivated by the Spirit, energized by the Spirit--of one heart and of one mind with the Spirit. This great ecumenical show of unity is totally worthless. But when man becomes ONE WITH THE SPIRIT, great and terrible and wonderful will be the Voice that the nations shall hear.
This is the way of the spiritual man. It is a high and holy ideal. But we must not falter because of that. Nor must we try to make it work. The Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ will cause it to work. We must keep drawing closer to Him, and He will keep drawing closer to us. And when we meet, the Law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus will begin to function in our lives in a manner we have never known or imagined to be possible.
You long for this kind of a life. Your heart is drawn toward this kind of union with Him. Be assured: God longs for you far more than you long after Him; and the only reason we long for Him in the first place, is because He apprehended us, and caused us to long for Him. There is a "deep" in the heart of God that "calleth unto deep" in the hearts of His people. God knows it is "not good that the Man should be alone." He is seeking out a Bride for His Son. Once God was "alone"... so He knows what it is like. And when He made a Man in His image, He knew full well that this Man would experience loneliness; for this Man bore the stamp and image of His Creator. And from His side, as He slept, God began to build and to form the one who would be His beloved, His completion, His counterpart in the earth. Taken out from Him that she might become a New Creation, and joined unto Him again in mystical union... a union that only He and His Bride can comprehend and enjoy.
This is no selfish, self-entered thing that we speak of. This is Godís way for His people to become fruitful in the earth. It is Godís only way. The "job" that the Church speaks of is getting bigger and more complicated and more massive with every passing year, with every passing decade. And the "job" will never be accomplished by a sick, anemic Bride... wallowing in her own blood... wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked. Not until she is cleansed and made holy, and adorned with the beautiful garments of His righteousness, and comes into union with her Lord, will she be able to say "Come!" in a way that will produce a meaningful response. God is exceedingly jealous for this to happen; and therefore the Bride is exceedingly jealous for this to happen:
"For Zionís sake will I not hold My peace, and for Jerusalemís sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth... Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married... and as the Bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee" (Isa. 62:1, 4-5).
I do not profess to know the order of events that will unfold at the time of the coming of the Lord; and I feel sorry for those who think they do. Let us be ready to leave the blank spaces there in our understanding, until God sees fit to fill them in. For the apostle tells us that "we know in part, and we prophesy in part." The part we know is what He is pleased to reveal; and it is always sufficient for our walk with Him, and for our growth in His ways. It is far better that we leave the blank spaces open, in our chart of end-time events, than to fill them all in, and try to erase them later on. But we want to make this observation: When the marriage supper of the Lamb takes place, it is not all over at that moment: "Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb" (Rev. 19:9).
Now it is right after that, that the War takes place, in which the Bride of Christ is involved: "And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war... And His Name is called THE WORD OF GOD. And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations" (Rev. 19:11-16).
He is the Last Adam; but joined unto Him is the one who shares His Name, His ministry, His authority. He is Faithful and True, and His followers are faithful and true because of Him. His Name is THE WORD OF GOD... and the armies which follow Him administer that same powerful and living Word; for they too are clothed upon with "fine linen, white and clean," the attire of the Bride. The word from their mouth is "sharper than any two-edged sword" (Heb. 4:12); because they are clothed upon with "the whole armour of God" (Eph. 6:13). They, too, shall smite the earth with "a rod of iron"... because they move in His strength, and not in their own. They are in His yoke; they are one with Him; and they are clothed upon with His armor (Rev. 12:5).
In other words, it is not the Last Adam doing one thing, and His Bride another. It is not the Spirit saying one thing, and the Bride another. It is not the Lord Jesus fighting His war in the heavens, and His people struggling to fight their war here on earth. This is the way we generally see it in the earth today.
But it will be far different in the day when the King on Zionís hill has created for Himself a "willing" people, and who are joined unto Him in One Body.And the Law of the Spirit of Life reigns...
And "the Spirit and the Bride say, Come..."
And the armies of Heaven follow their Captain into battle, clothed upon with His Armor...
And the Battle is not ours, but the LORDís!
Chapter 7 - Interaction of the Heavenly With the Earthly
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