Note: J. Preston Eby, in order to continue to devote his full energy to writing, no longer works in the office and does not receive email. He does, however, respond to any urgent correspondence via snailmail.
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"Teaching the things concerning the kingdom of God..."
FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE
THE CHURCH IN EPHESUS
“Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love” (Rev. 2:4).
Some believe that the messages to the seven churches have no relevance to
the sons of God because they describe the conditions in the old-order church
realm, not the state of the overcoming elect.
These believe that only the promises to the overcomers relate to those
called to sonship who have already come out of the church age.
But I would be remiss if I did not remind you, my beloved, that each
promise to the overcomer begins with the phrase, “To him
that overcometh will I give…” The
question follows: To him that overcometh what?
And while it is true that we are called to overcome everything
that would dominate our lives to the detriment of our spiritual walk, yet the
thrust of these messages to the churches is not about overcoming cussing,
smoking, and drinking, but overcoming the very spiritual
conditions that are revealed in the seven churches, that is, among the
might like to pride ourselves that we have already
fully and forever overcome all these things, and no longer pertain in any sense
to the old-order church realm, I do not hesitate to tell you that I know many
who treasure the beautiful hope of sonship and are following on to know the Lord
who are still in the process of overcoming
in many of these areas. If the
work of overcoming would now be complete in each of us, would we not already
have received all the promises?
Therefore, until we have all
attained the absolute fullness of everything
the Father has apprehended us to, the messages to the churches are
still relevant to our present walk. Nothing
can be clearer than this! Otherwise,
how could we know and understand where and what it is that we still must
The saints in Ephesus had left their first love, and the One who walked
in the midst was unrecognized and only dimly known.
What is that first love which
is here described as outweighing all their wonderful works?
Think of it! Labor — steadfastness of toiling on and on for His name’s
sake; patience — the endurance to bear up under testing; uncompromising —
the refusal to fellowship evil; discernment — they had tried the false
apostles and found them liars — not a bad record at all!
This is one of the most mis-understood passages of scripture in all the
Bible. Most teachers have looked at
this departure from the first love in the sense of having left something we once
had. The idea usually expounded is
that there was a quality of love that we possessed in the beginning of our walk
with the Lord which we have departed from.
That is certainly true in a great many cases!
But the understanding I have received from the Spirit is that there has
at times been an experience in our walk wherein we have left or departed from
that which should have first place in
our lives, we have neglected that which we should love and esteem preeminently. What do we love the most?
What are our priorities? What
is it that grabs our attention and gains our affection most readily?
What is it that consumes most of our thoughts, time, and emotion?
That is indeed our first love,
although not the first love the Spirit has in mind!
If steadfastly trusting and praising God in all things,
walking out the nature of God, and doing all the Father’s will in every
situation is down the line in priority in our lives, then we have fallen short
of that which must have first place in the life of every son of God.
It is interesting to note the precise meaning of the word “first” in
the original as used in the phrase “your first love.”
“First” is from the Greek protos
meaning “foremost, best, chief, principle, prime, paramount, cardinal, main,
supreme, crowning, supreme, number one.”
Your first love is therefore
your paramount love!
Your supreme love!
Your crowning love! Your most
important and most imperative love! What
a message that is!
Christians spend a lifetime trying to recapture early experiences with
the Lord. They mistakenly believe
that the immature, romantic love they first experienced when they came to Christ
is the greatest quality of love — the first
love. But think about it, my
friend, does not true love grow, develop, increase, intensify and deepen through
the years? I know I loved my wife
when we got married — Lorain was eighteen years old and I was nineteen. She was so sweet, so innocent, so pure, so pretty, so very
desirable! Oh, how “in love” we
were! That was young
love. But is young love the best
love? In those early days, should Lorain have left me or been
killed in some horrible accident, almost certainly I would have gotten over it
in a few months or in a few years, married again, and gotten on with my life.
But after 48 years together, raising three children together, passing
through the hard times and the good times together, standing by each other,
truly getting to know each other, trust each other, and depend upon one another,
there is now a bonding, a depth, intensity, quality, and power of love that our
“young love” knew absolutely nothing about!
Today, I would gladly do anything, pay any price, spend my last dime and
suffer the loss of all my world’s goods to save her life or care for her —
so deep does our love go. Young
love, childish love, untried love, immature love, romantic love is not the greatest love and that is not the love the Lord rebuked the
Ephesian church for having left! Christians
mistakenly assume that going back to the first love is returning to the zeal,
fervor, and excitement of their early relationship with Christ.
They grieve over having lost some kind of youthful enthusiasm for the
Lord. It’s true, many believers
have grown cold and dry — but going back to a more innocent time is not enough
and does not express the deeper truth of this text.
WE SHOULD NEVER GO BACK TO WHAT WE WERE AT FIRST!
Who wants to return to the cradle, the bottle, the nursery, kindergarten,
or to the distresses of adolescence? Some get saved out of selfish interests — to escape hell,
to get blessed or healed, or simply because they want peace of mind.
None of us really knew the Lord, nor did we understand who He truly is, His ways, His
truth, or His great plan and purpose in our lives and in creation.
We knew so little! I have no desire to go back to my early days either naturally
or spiritually! Our understanding
was deficient, our experience limited, our wisdom incomplete, our zeal without
knowledge, our works were, for the most part, the dead works of religion, and
our love for Christ was more emotion than devotion! I would not want to return to anything LESS THAN I NOW HAVE
When Jesus uses the words “first love” He speaks not of the childish
and immature love we experienced when first we met the Lord. He’s referring to exclusive
love — first place in our hearts
above all other things!
The Christians in the religious systems today are satisfied with merely
an entrance into the family of God
where as children they can enjoy the many blessings and wonderful benefits of
God’s mercy, kindness, and goodness. Their
eyes are blind to the higher purposes of God, and any efforts to lead them on to
higher ground are rebuffed and resisted by a human reasoning that asks why one
should waste time on “deep things” when they are already saved and “on
their way to heaven.” But the new
birth, while it is the most astounding miracle of the ages, is, nevertheless,
but the birth of a mere spiritual infant.
There are many further steps that must follow this birth if one is to
come into all the glories and the full heritage which is prepared for those who
follow on to know the Lord.
The life of
God is a free gift of unmerited mercy and favor.
But there is a vast kingdom of spiritual heavenly wealth and power and
glory and usefulness that is given to those who grow up into the fullness of
Christ! In the wonderful
family of God we can give ourselves to become either spiritual paupers or
heavenly billionaires! We can
remain thumb-sucking children or mature in wisdom and stature to become kings
and priests upon the throne of the universe!
Once we see by the Spirit the high purposes of our heavenly Father in
calling us to sonship, there is no more desire to return to any stage of
spiritual development or any hope that we ever had before!
THE WILL OF THE FATHER IS OUR FIRST LOVE!
THE HIGH CALLING OF GOD IN CHRIST JESUS IS OUR FIRST LOVE!
THE FULLNESS OF GOD HIMSELF IS OUR FIRST LOVE!
Here is the test, my beloved, here is where those in THE EPHESIAN
CONDITION must overcome — we cling to the Lord of our first
love, our chief love, our best
love, our paramount love! The
overcoming ones do not neglect to yield themselves to the purpose and calling of
sonship to God! Their priority is
not in doing all kinds of religious works, getting all kinds of worldly
blessings, or in trying to convert the world by the antiquated methods of the
old church order. The fullness of
the righteousness and power and glory of God’s heavenly kingdom on earth, the
image and likeness of Christ within, and our full stature and inheritance in
Christ Jesus, is the supreme quest,
the first and highest love of our life! We
cannot, dare not, leave our first love!
We cannot, dare not, will not
settle for less!
The elect of God are true
worshippers, for by supreme love they worship the Father in spirit and in
truth. One can only fully and
maturely love God when he loves also His ways, His will, His word, and His
purposes. There is a second word
that goes with worship. It is the
word adoration. It is a term of endearment.
There is passion in that word! “O,
worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” (Ps. 96:9).
Worship is a love affair; it is making love to God.
You know, according to the Jewish sages, it was David who wrote this
Psalm on the day he brought the ark into Jerusalem.
His first wife, Michal, the daughter of Saul, who represents the rule of
the flesh, witnessed David bringing the ark into the city as he danced in the
Spirit and sang before the Lord, and the scripture says that as she watched from
her balcony she despised him in her heart.
Sure she did! She discovered that David loved God more than he loved her,
more than he loved the fleshly ways of the soul and the carnal mind, and that he
was making love to God in the spirit.
Is that not the same reason why the fleshly religious folks in the church
systems of man often despise the called-out elect of God?
Worship without love is like a flame without heat; it is like a rainbow
without color; it is like a flower without perfume.
There is spontaneity and intensity in love.
It has a tenderness, an eagerness, and an expectancy in it. God is bringing His elect into that place of the intensity
and expectation of love by which we anticipate the full fruit and inheritance of
our union with Him! In the union of
love we are being made one with His mind, His will, His nature, His glory and
His purpose. The overcomer will never
leave this first and highest love!
In union with God there is
rest that’s complete,
There is joy, and there’s
peace without measure.
In union with God we can sit
at His feet,
And enjoy this wonderful
He’s coming to us as our
hearts yearn for Him
And we’re changed in the
light of His glory;
The Father is pleased as with
gladness He sees
likeness brought forth in this union of love!
Come near to the holy men and women of the past and you will soon feel
the heat of their desire after God. They
mourned for Him, they prayed and wrestled and sought for Him day and night, in
season and out, and when they had found Him the finding was all the sweeter for
the long seeking. Moses used the
fact that He knew God as an argument for knowing Him better. “Now, therefore, I pray Thee, if I have found grace in Thy
sight, show me now Thy way, that I may know
Thee.” From there he rose to
make the daring request, “I beseech Thee, show me Thy glory!”
pleased with this intensity of desire, and the next day called Moses into the
mount, and there in solemn procession made all His glory pass before him.
In meekness Moses sought nothing for himself, but all for the glory of
God. Through faithful communion
with God Moses became acquainted with God’s intentions.
He was able to see far into the future and understand what the Lord
purposed to do in distant ages. His
wise heart knew what would evolve from the confusion and disorder of the day.
He knew that from among the stiff-necked people he led the Lord would
raise up a prophet like himself, and that prophet would be God’s Christ who
would, as a Son, do all the will of the Father and only those things that
pleased the Father. He saw,
furthermore, that by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit the Lord would
raise up other sons of God who would be manifest out of the church age in the
fullness of HIS LIFE. Out of his
love relationship with God he received the revelation of the Father’s purpose;
out of our love relationship with the
Father we are blessed to be made glad
partakers of the reality of what Moses
David’s life was a torrent of spiritual desire, and his psalms ring
with the cry of the seeker and the glad shout of the finder.
Paul confessed the mainspring of his life to be his burning desire after
Christ. “That I may know
Him!” was the goal of his heart, and to this he sacrificed everything, if
by any means he might apprehend that for which he was apprehended by Christ
Jesus, for Christ in all His glory, wisdom, righteousness, and power was
Paul’s first love.
He never left his first, his supreme love! The
church world for the most part is content to know about
Christ, but the heart of every apprehended member of God’s called and chosen
elect will never be satisfied until we fully and completely KNOW HIM!
Any man can come to know something of the acts
and the ways of God, but only those
who walk with Christ in the heavenly places of the Spirit can ever come to know
Him in the most wonderfully personal and intimate manner.
This depth of “knowing” Him is like the intimate relationship of a
man with his beloved wife, in which love he seeks to reproduce after his kind.
In fact this is precisely the way in which the scriptures in a number of
cases make use of the word “know” — to declare the giving and receiving of
human seed in the act of love. We
read that “Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain” (Gen. 4:1).
This statement does not mean that Adam was able to recognize
his wife as she walked about the house! “Knowing,”
in the sense of recognition, does not beget children!
When Adam “knew” his wife he intimately and fully explored her
physical and emotional being, and she “knew” him in return in a personal,
familiar, and private way that words could never communicate.
Only by the experience of the sexual relationship does man know woman in
this sense, and she him.
In like manner, it is only in that exquisite relationship where the
believer completely yields himself to the spirit, presence, mind, will and
desires of the Lord, and proves by his wholehearted response that he totally and
truly loves the Lord, that he knows
and is known of God. A husband and wife, by means of the act of “knowing,”
become ONE FLESH; so Christ and the believer, by the spiritual act of
“knowing,” become ONE SPIRIT. “Know
ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one
body? But he that is joined to
the Lord is one spirit” (I Cor.
6:16-17). As we truly come to know the Lord in the ecstasy of spiritual union, His seed is raised
up in us and His image and likeness is reproduced within us as the son
of God. This truly is the first love — the foremost, the crowning,
the chiefest of all!
From the earliest years of my memory there stirred deep within my bosom
an insatiable longing after reality. Though
only a child, I wanted to know Him who
redeemed me, who made me His own, who came as the pattern and forerunner of all
that we are called to in God. I wanted to intimately know
the Christ; oh, how I wanted to KNOW HIM! At
the tender age of twelve the Lord revealed Himself to me in a remarkable manner,
flooding my life with billows of His presence, power, and glory.
I had found the Christ and my heart was filled with joy because of the
love I had for Him. I wanted to be
near Him, and become like Him. I wanted to be conformed to His image and be the expression
of Himself in the earth to humanity. He
was to me the Center of all things and the most important Reality in the
universe! From that moment Christ
was the ONLY REALITY. He filled the
skies. He filled the earth.
He filled heaven and hell and all realms above and beneath.
He filled my life and flooded my heart with love, hope, and expectation
of the glory of God. He spoke
mysteries into my spirit. He enlightened my understanding concerning His great
plan and purpose to restore all things and all men unto Himself.
He raised up in my heart the hope of His kingdom coming in earth as it is
in heaven. He showed me the throne of His dominion and our call to sit with
Christ upon the throne of His power over all things.
He unfolded within the depths of my being the wonders of His awesome
holiness, His ineffable glory, His fearful majesty, His inscrutable wisdom, His
unsearchable ways, and His merciful, wise, glorious, and all-encompassing plan
for creation. Christ in
me in all His glory is truly my FIRST LOVE!
Can we not now understand what a sin, what a tragedy, what a failure,
what a loss it would be to leave our first, supreme, transcendent love!
Not the immature love of our beginning in Christ, but that love above all
loves, the greatest, highest love, the love
of loves — Christ Himself!
The most important thing for any person who has received the call to
sonship is to have a relationship with
the Father — not merely an experience, not a creed or doctrine or religious
program and activity — but relationship, a real presence in your life that you
know and that is made unto you strength, wisdom, understanding, faith, life,
love, and power. By way of
illustration, the earth has a relationship to the sun, all things in our solar
system and on earth have a relationship to one another, and only this perfect relationship makes life possible on earth!
of this is to be found in the unique position and size of the earth in relation
to the sun and the other planets of the solar system.
Were the earth only a few miles closer to the sun, we would all be burned
to a crisp and our tombstone could read, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant!”
On the other hand, were the earth only a little farther from the sun we
would all be blocks of ice. Were
the earth smaller than it is — as the moon, for instance — the power of
gravitation would be too weak to retain sufficient atmosphere for the needs of
life forms. Were the earth as large as Jupiter, or even Saturn or Uranus,
the power of gravity would be so strong as to render man’s movements
difficult. Were the earth as near
the sun as Venus its burning heat would be unbearable; were it as remote as Mars
there would be scarcely a night, even in its warmest zones, that would be free
from snow and ice. Then look, too,
at the perfect proportion of the earth’s land and water. If the ocean had only one half of its present area the earth
would receive only one-fourth its present rainfall. But, on the other hand, if the area of the ocean should be
increased one-eighth the rainfall would be increased four times, and the earth
would become a vast swamp. Truly
these wonderful relationships display
the marvelous intelligence of the Creator!
In the spiritual world our relationship to Christ, the Sun of
Righteousness, is altogether as vital as the earth’s relationship to the sun!
It is by relationship that we learn to respect Him, draw from Him, depend
upon Him, love Him, and live by Him. Spiritual
relationship is not cosmic law. Many
people have the idea that they can learn certain facts
about God and then walk with Him. That’s
not relationship! That’s not how you have a relationship with your husband,
your wife, your children, or your best friend.
You don’t search out a certain law that they live by and then relate to
them on the basis of that law. That’s
not relationship! Yet that’s how
vast multitudes of Christians think about the Lord today! They think they have His doctrines in their head, and His
rituals, ceremonies, and ordinances in the church, and by believing the
doctrines, attending meetings,
singing songs, saying prayers, going through the motions of worship, doing
religious works, and observing the ordinances they suppose that they have a
relationship with God. But that’s
You say, “Then, what is?” INTIMACY
OF FELLOWHIP AND VITAL UNION! First
of all, you have to communicate to relate.
That’s where prayer, praise, and worship come in.
Prayer is not designed primarily for asking or petitioning God for things
— prayer is communication and communion
with God! Prayer is seeking after
the presence of God, the voice of God, the knowledge of God.
This brings us near enough to experience
God in the spirit, and by the spirit exploring intimately the very personality,
mind, heart, and being of God. Relationship
is the key! We are being saved,
changed, matured, and transformed by relationship, not by knowledge or laws or
observances. I have seen hundreds
and thousands of people who sat in pews listening to doctrines of salvation,
doctrines of sanctification, doctrines of the Holy Spirit, doctrines of the
kingdom, doctrines of perfection, doctrines of sonship, doctrines of the feast
of tabernacles, doctrines of the most holy place, doctrines of the third day,
doctrines of life and immortality, and they are no closer to the reality of any
of those things today than they were when they first heard them.
Doctrine, teaching, and understanding don’t make anything happen!
You’ve got to have a relationship.
God is causing His true elect to seek this, pursue this, extend
themselves to this, and make it personal in their lives at all times and in all
circumstances. Intimacy of
fellowship and vital union — that's where it is!
That is how truth becomes experiential, that is how sonship becomes life,
that is how the purposes of God become power and reality within our lives.
God is raising up and maturing a seed in the earth.
Those who walk with Him and live with Him in this significant hour are
becoming that seed and are being made a harvest of salvation and righteousness
unto all the ends of the earth. God
gave His firstborn Son thirty years to mature in the life of the Father within
Him. And now many sons are growing
up into the fullness of Christ!
Relationship with God is a Song. It’s
a song in your heart, it’s a melody in your spirit — joy unspeakable and
full of glory! It’s like when two
people fall in love — they are like two songbirds.
As soon as the arrow of love pierces the heart all things are
transformed; in that exhilarating moment nothing else matters anymore. All that matters is that loving song that has occurred
between two individuals who are now lost in one another. And that is what relationship with God is like!
It’s a love song. The message of the inner chamber, the Holy of holies
within our spirit, is the message of those who have been brought into union with
Christ. The Holiest of all is the
conception chamber, the place of union. It
is not a place outside of us, it is not an experience, it is not found in some
church or group or meeting, or in heaven someday.
It is that place in the deepest part of our being, right within our
spirit, where the life of God ravishes our heart, and we are made one in love.
Song of Solomon is the reflections of king Solomon and is a revelation of love
and union. In the Song of Solomon the king purposed to bring the
Shulamite maiden into his conception chamber, into the most intimate part of his
life. The Shulamite is not just any
woman, she is not merely a little illiterate, unkempt, desert girl with dirt
underneath her fingernails and needing a bath.
Oh, no! She is undoubtedly
from the tent of the leader of the tribe, the wealthiest family among the
Bedouin. She is a princess — a
royal natured person of exquisite beauty and enchanting personality.
She is unusual, unique, special and unsurpassed in poise, grace, mental
adeptness, ability, and loveliness.
The significance of the Song of Solomon is found in the distinctions that
come forth between the various characters.
There are four main characters, two male and two female, although one
female is a group — the daughters of Jerusalem. The interplay between these four characters is the key
to the book and the secret lies in identifying the voice
— the one speaking. The
importance of this drama is rooted in the fact that in the beginning God created
man, male and female. And within
each of us are the characteristics of both male and female — spirit
and soul. Anyone who has read the Song of Solomon knows that it is very
sexual in content, it’s about the intimacy of love, about coming together,
about the union of two people, male and female.
It is not about something you do out in the world, in public, but it’s
private and personal. And that’s
how our relationship with Christ is — it’s not something we do in church —
it’s a secret love within ourselves.
Christ is in your spirit, dear one, and He seeks to come into your soul
fully. He wants to affect the way
you feel, the way you think about things, the way you act and react, your
deepest desires and all of your will. That’s
how it is in relationship! Over time a couple start to think like each other, act alike,
and even look like each other because
they are knowing each other through each other. And that’s how it is between the spirit and the soul,
between us and the Lord! In
relationship we no longer keep rules, believe doctrines, observe ordinances, or
do works to please God. We simply
begin to think like the Lord, desire
like the Lord, act like the Lord, talk like the Lord, walk
like the Lord, and look like the Lord!
We are not conformed to a law, but now share His life at the most
intimate, deepest, and powerful level of our being!
Every one of God’s called and chosen elect is brought to the place of
accepting the Lord into our soul.
I’m not talking about raising your hand or going forward in a revival
meeting, I am speaking of entering into a relationship with the Lover
of your soul. It is not a
matter of receiving a gift from the
Lord — union is far beyond gifts! The Lord invites us to the deepest and most intimate and
exhilarating relationship that can
exist between two people — the relationship of love! Love is a power
greater than anything we can imagine, for God
is love. As infinite as God, so
is the depth and height of all that the Lord expresses in love.
This is the first and foremost love we
must realize as we enter into relationship with God.
This is the supreme, first love!
The meaning of the message of the Song of Solomon is just this — a
song. Singing is one of the major
themes of scripture. In the book of
Revelation, when the elect of the Lord move into a higher place in the Spirit,
they sing a new song. The songs of the Bible came by revelation of the Holy Spirit,
indeed, they were revelations of the
Holy Spirit. Moses revelated by
song. David revelated by song.
The Psalms are songs. They
are music. They are singing. They
are a symphony. David ordained a
whole realm of ministry just for songs. Paul
spoke of “singing and making melody in your heart unto the Lord.”
The Bible is full of songs! But
of all the songs that have ever been sung, Solomon’s is the song of all songs.
It is called “The song of songs,
which is Solomon’s” (S. of S. 1:1). “Song
of songs” is a term like “King of
kings” or the “Day of days.” It denotes that which is higher, finer, supreme, superlative,
unexcelled! A song in scripture
means a message. Thus, the “song of songs” is truly the MESSAGE OF
MESSAGES — the greatest and highest message of all!
It is the message of love.
It is a song of love-making. It is a
song of intimacy.
It is a song of union. You know what
happens when you fall in love, everything else sinks into the shadows, and you
are consumed by this one fixation of your life. The grass appears greener, the sun shines brighter, the air
smells fresher, the birds sing sweeter, your step is quicker, and all creation
is alive, vibrating harmoniously to the melody of your awakened soul.
This is the song of creation — the eternal song of love!
That is why the Song of Solomon is in the Bible.
It is a book of love — in the very Book of God!
It’s not a poem. It’s
not a theatrical drama. It’s not
a novel. Its not a sex-education manual.
It’s a REVELATION! It’s
about who we are, why we are who we are, and how the relationship between Christ
and the church, the relationship between our spirit and our soul, works.
I view the story of the Song of Solomon differently than I did in the
past. I once saw the male character
in Solomon’s Song as king Solomon himself, and the female character was a
little desert girl whose beauty Solomon had discovered in the wilderness and
brought her into his harem. The
king fell in love with the Bedouin maiden, and in return she fell in love with
the king. That is how the story is
usually taught. As you carefully
read this story, however, you find something else altogether. It seems that this exquisite Shulamite girl was sent out to
work in the vineyards in the hill country north of Jerusalem where the blazing
sun had turned her olive complexion black.
How beautiful she must have been when one day king Solomon, traveling
through his kingdom, upon passing the vineyard, found her so comely that his
heart melted within him. Exercising
his right of authority he ordered that she be escorted to his court and made
ready for his pleasure.
Once there, Solomon sought, by every means in his power, to woo and win
the lovely Shulamite girl. At the
palace she was surrounded by the many careful attentions of the attending
ladies, king Solomon’s servants, the “daughters of Jerusalem.” Her sun-burnt skin was carefully rubbed with precious
aromatic oils and spices. She was
also bedecked with ornaments and chains of gold to please the king. Solomon wooed her as he praised her beauty and lavished
affection upon her. He told her of
his desire for her; the women of the court told her about the splendid life she
would enjoy as Solomon’s wife. The
mightiest and wealthiest king of that day offered every inducement at his
disposal to accomplish his ends.
The great king Solomon, however, was in for a surprise, for the girl
loved a shepherd boy from her home region and the little maiden’s heart was
faithfully fixed upon her first love,
her true love, her only love — her Beloved!
She would not be tempted nor intimidated by all the gold and glitter
lavished upon her, nor by the urgings of the women who attended her.
She refused to be moved by all the king’s enticing advances and intense
flatteries. She was desperately in
love with her one and only Shepherd and her mind and heart were stayed on him.
Throughout all her trying ordeal, she remained faithful to her lover.
She adamantly said, “I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine.
I am my beloved’s, and his desire is toward me.”
Not once did she deviate from that loyalty.
Nothing that the king could offer her could change her mind.
Nor could his threats make her yield.
She blotted out the enticements of Solomon’s glittering palace with the
recollection of her beloved. How
tenderly she spoke of him! How
often she whispered the words, “My beloved!”
While her body might be held captive by Solomon, her heart went winging
its way to the hills to relive over and over again the tender moments she had
shared with him whom she loved so much. As
she roamed about the city she was constantly looking and listening for the One
whom her soul loved. In the end
Solomon was forced to let her go because she stayed true to the love of her
heart. Joyfully she returned to the shepherd whom her soul loved.
In former days we have used king Solomon as a type of Christ wooing his
bride, the church. Let me tell you
something about king Solomon. When
Solomon became king he married the daughter of Egypt’s Pharaoh.
It is in the record that though he “loved the Lord,” he practiced
idolatry (I Kings 3:3), a strange mixture.
Then there follows the story of his wisdom and prosperity, and the houses
he built, one for the Lord, one for his Egyptian bride, and one for himself (I
Kings 3:7-8). But he also “loved many strange women,” a union prohibited
by the Lord to His people. Some
twenty years or so after his accession to the throne of Israel, he had “seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines” (I Kings
11:3) and, “his wives turned away his
heart…after other gods…and he did evil in the sight of the Lord,” and
slipped into terrible idolatry. Jerusalem
became filled with temples and shrines and altars built to the strange gods of
his many foreign wives.
SOLOMON IS NOT A TYPE OF
CHRIST! He is a type of the world,
especially of the religious world of
the harlot systems of man. He is a
type of Mystery Babylon the Great, of whom it is written, “Babylon is fallen,
is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul
spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.
For all nations have drunk the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and
the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of
the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies” (Rev.
18:2-3). And to the lovely little
Shulamite held captive within the clutches of this glittering religious
enticement the call goes out, “Come out of her, my people!” (Rev. 18:4).
In its spiritual application the bride of Christ is the Shulamite, Christ
Himself is the Beloved, and Solomon represents the world, the realm of the
carnal mind, the exalted and powerful religious realm, the distraction that once
took all of us captive, and which seeks to woo our hearts away from that
precious Shepherd lover who dwells right within the spirit of each of us.
But in the end, as we, the elect of God,
learned by the spirit of life within us what it means to remain firm in
our first love, our supreme
and true love, keeping our hearts pure
and our passions reserved, Solomon in all of his glory has been forced to loose
us to go to the One we love! That
is the Song of songs!
That is the Message of messages!
A dear friend of ours, Jackie Caporaso, has shared some precious insights
into this. She writes, “God’s
precious sheep are as this little Shulamite.
They have been taken captive to a lustful and ruthless system which
thinks nothing of stripping and using them to appease their voracious appetite
for fame fortune, and rulership. The
young maiden knew that her heart did not belong to the king, and that none of
his carefully planned enticing tactics could possibly separate her from the love
of her true beloved. Many of
God’s precious sheep have been in the king’s court, the powerful religious
systems of our day. Their spiritual
beauty and abilities have been exploited. They
have been made to give themselves to programs which keep carnal organizations
going strong. They have been
pressured to build the king’s desire for bigger and better harems —
congregations — that he might satisfy his greedy appetites.
This is a time of severe testing for the sheep.
The Voice of the Shepherd is calling unto them!
‘My sheep hear my voice,’ Jesus said, ‘and another they will not
follow.’ He will deliver and heal
The love of the Beloved is a special one.
The Shulamite is not a concubine, she’s not a queen, and she’s not a
virgin — one of the daughters of Jerusalem.
She is the only one of her mother, she’s a unique reality, a special
soul. That is what God is after —
a special soul. You cannot have a relationship with someone and be intimate
with them, and not spend time with them, care for them, and know them.
Love is not casual, love is not sex, love is not infatuation, love is not
a one-night stand, love is not a mistress, love is not a clandestine affair.
There is a deep mystery between Christ and the church!
The word “church” is from the Greek word ekklesia meaning “the out-called.”
God’s elect, chosen ones have been called
out both from something and unto something. If you have been called out of anything, out from any realm,
you are the church on some level!
That’s what constitutes who we are.
We are the “called out.” We
are called out of the world, we are called out of the flesh, we are called out
of our own desires, hopes, plans, and ambitions, we are called out of the
worldly, harlot church systems of man, and we are called out unto
the Lord. We are called out to
a special relationship with God! We
are called to walk with Him, to follow hard after Him, to pant after Him as the
hart pants after the waterbrooks, to keep ourselves unto Him and unto Him alone. We are called to
experience Him and know Him in the deepest measure and most intimate expression
The message of the Song of Songs represents that element of our
experience of Christ into which we shall move more fully as we enter into the
feast of tabernacles, into the third day, into the Holiest of all.
The significance of the Song of Songs is that there is an awakening of
the feminine side within each of us, and the church is
His bride. The reason we are
collectively His church, or His bride, is because the feminine side of being,
our soul, has been awakened within each of us individually by the Christ
in our spirit.
There are two compartments within the life of every person — there is a
male and there is a female reality within each one.
Within every regenerated person there is the consciousness of Spirit, the
Beloved, the Bridegroom, the Great Shepherd and Bishop of our souls; and there
is the Soul, the part of us that is wooed by Christ in our Spirit.
Christ is not just in some far-off heaven somewhere, for He truly dwells within
each of us! “Christ liveth
in me” (Gal. 2:20). “For He
abideth with you, and shall be in you”
(Jn. 14:17). In these simple words
our Lord announces that wonderful mystery of His indwelling which is the fruit
and crown of His redeeming work. It
was for this that man was created! It
was for this, God’s mastery within the heart, that Christ came to bring us to
the Father. It was for this that
Christ returned as the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. Dwelling consciously within us He would prepare us to receive
Him as our Lord — as Bridegroom. We
will never understand the deep mystery of the Bridegroom and the bride until we
know that Christ is the Bridegroom and that Christ lives in our spirit.
If you give godly consideration to these simple truths, you cannot avoid
the conclusion that THE BRIDEGROOM IS WITHIN YOU!
There is a place within you, in the bridal chamber of your life, in the
Holy of holies of your very being, where the Bridegroom dwells and comes out of
that place and woos you into a relationship with Himself.
The reverent heart is made to wonder at the unmistakable simplicity of
the ways of God. Long centuries ago
the apostle penned these meaningful words, “We have had fathers of our flesh
which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in
subjection unto the FATHER OF SPIRITS, and live?” (Heb. 12:9). All of God’s elect know now by the spirit of wisdom and
revelation that GOD is the FATHER OF OUR SPIRITS! He is not the Father of religious rituals or static creeds;
He is not the Father of man-made religious organizations; He is not the Father
of your flesh; He is not the Father of your carnal mind, your self-will, your
fleshly desires, or your soulish emotions.
You can never know God in any
of those realms! He is not there!
God is the
God of your spirit, and you must be in your spirit to be with God and touch God.
Today I am sitting in my office in El Paso, Texas.
If you go to Dallas you will miss me!
If you go on any other street, you will miss me.
If you stand outside my house on the street corner, you will miss me. You must come to the door and enter my dwelling to be where I
am and know me. And you must enter
in to where God is to know Him. God
is the God of our spirits! We all
need to turn to the spirit. From
thence is the fountain of all life! It
is a blessed day for any man when he makes the amazing discovery that Christ
Himself is the Bridegroom; that this Christ is in our spirit; that the
Bridegroom is thus in our spirit; when our soul
pants after God the soul turns to Christ in our spirit, and it is there that we
know union with God!
The natural mind, the human will, our carnal emotions and fleshly desires
are all aspects of the soul.
The soul is our natural, human consciousness!
Regardless of whether a man is walking in the mind, after his own will, or his natural emotions and desires, he is soulish. Every man that
lives by these senses apart from the life of the spirit is a soulish man.
Therefore it is very easy to discern whether a man is soulish!
I would be remiss if I failed to point out that the soul can be moved
upon to act religiously — and what a fine act it is able to perform!
The soul can be taken into a meeting where a religious atmosphere is
created by a man at the pulpit; with a suave and dynamic personality he tells
you to stand up, sing, clap your hands, raise your hands, praise the Lord, say
Amen, etc. By the rhythm of the
music and movements of the body the soul is stirred and takes on the appearance
of spirituality. And yet, the source
of all this is not the sovereign and spontaneous OUTFLOW OF HIS LIFE IN THE
SPIRIT, but merely the contrived actions of the soul!
When none of these “good” things are motivated from within by the
spirit, it is still naught but the vanity of the soul!
When we can recognize what type of person is soulish, it is not difficult
to realize what kind of person is spiritual.
Since a soulish person lives by the mind, will, emotion, and desire of
the natural life, a spiritual person is one who does not
live by these. A spiritual
person thinks by the spirit, desires by the spirit, wills by the spirit, acts by
the spirit, and speaks out of the spirit. The
spiritual person is not one who acts religious. Most people
who have a religious aura about them
are not spiritual at all! A
spiritual person simply allows the spirit to be the source and master of all
their action and behavior. The
spirit in them occupies the preeminent position; the soul in them is in the
position of submission, under the government of the spirit and dominated by the
spirit. They are not like soulish
persons, who let the soul dominate
in everything; they deny the preeminence of their own mind, will, emotion, and
desire by entering into union with the spirit and yielding to the high desires
of the spirit! Thus they allow the
spirit to BE LORD in them; they allow the spirit to direct their whole being so
that they become the expression of the spirit.
Whenever they encounter a situation they do not draw from their mind,
will, emotion, or desire; rather they draw from the life of Christ in their
spirit to understand what is the mind, the
will, and the way of the spirit! These
are spiritual, living by the life of the spirit, and the soul acts only in union
with the spirit, as the outward expression of the indwelling spirit.
It is Christ in the spirit who
becomes the Bridegroom that ultimately is fully joined to the soul — receives
the soul into itself. This
is the Song of songs, the Message of messages!
The wonderful goal, however, is not just our will, our mind, our
emotions, and our desires submitted to
His will and way, but ONLY HIS WILL! In
the marriage union of spirit and soul, of Christ and the church, there is one
new creature, Christ, with one mind, one will, one emotion, and one desire
— HIS made OURS. This is union!
Blessed union! It is not merely His mind controlling
our mind; it is our possessing HIS mind. It
is more than just “fill me” with more of God, but a being swallowed up into
Him, that henceforth it is “no longer I that live, but Christ that liveth in
me” (Gal. 2:20). This is UNION!
This is what all of God’s elect are yearning for and experiencing more
and more every day — that we have a constant outflow of our true
inner nature. As Paul wrote,
“Stop assuming an outward expression that does not come from within you and is
not representative of what you are in your inner being…but change your outward
expression to one that comes from within and is representative of your inner
being” (Rom. 12:2, Wuest).
how you get to know yourself — when you meet the corresponding reality to
yourself within yourself your true nature is awakened within you. A woman doesn’t know all that it means to be a woman until
she falls in love with a man! It is
in that intimate and exquisite experience that all her feminine qualities are
awakened within her. And it is the
same with a man, when his masculine capacities are awakened within him and
fulfilled in their totality. You
are actually changed — expanded, broadened, increased, intensified, amplified,
made complete — when you enter into a relationship with the beloved one of the
opposite sex. In that union you
come to know yourself in a way you never could by any other means. It causes your true feminine or masculine potentials to be
called forth, expressed, utilized, and fulfilled through that exchange.
It is just
the same between Christ and His bride, between the spirit and the soul!
The fullness of what He is and the fullness of what we are called to be
are revealed in the union of love! When
our soul bows low before the spirit, yields to the wooing of the spirit’s
love, submits to the will and way of the spirit, to find itself in union with
the spirit, that is when our true identity is discovered!
As long as our soul is doing its own thing, walking in our own way, after
our own desires, fulfilling only the promptings of our own mind, we know neither
who we are nor why we are who we are. That
is most of humanity! But as we, the
firstfruits of God, seek the Lord in our spirit and enter into union with Him,
the eyes of our understanding are enlightened and we are granted the spirit of
wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of HIM.
The Shulamite, as she went about Jerusalem searching for her Beloved,
said, “I sought him, but I could not find him; I called him, but he gave me no
answer” (S. of S. 5:6). At night
she was out looking for him and we read, “The watchmen that went about the
city found me, they smote me, they wounded me; the keepers of the wall took away
my veil from me” (S. of S. 5:7). The
watchmen of the wall represent the ministers of the carnal church systems.
It was the watchmen and keepers of the walls around the Lord’s people
who should have gladly assisted the Shulamite in finding her Beloved, but
instead they began to mistreat her in the most brutal ways.
It is truly irritating to those who are appointed to lead and tend the
sheep, for those who should go before the flock and first partake of every
pasture and all the fruit, to have those whom they esteem as “dumb sheep”
start out and run ahead of the shepherd, and the pasture in which they are
staying and keeping the rest of the flock.
Nothing will stir up persecution as this will!
But it is because the sheep have heard the voice of the true
Shepherd, instead of those appointed by man!
Many of us
have had this experience who have kept step with God in His on-going revelation
and walked on with Him, regardless of cost or separations.
And how some of us have been smitten by the watchmen!
No greater indignity could be offered an oriental woman than to take away
her veil. In those days it was only harlots who went about unveiled.
The watchmen taking away the bride’s veil denotes the removing of her
covering — the misrepresentation and slurs cast upon her, the claim that she
has no covering, therefore she cannot be considered acceptable in the city, for
shame is cast upon her. How many
churches have acted in this way to the Lord’s faithful chosen ones who cry out
for Him! We are not received by them, but of course we have no desire
to be. We are accused of being
“Lone Rangers,” unsubmissive to authority, uncommitted to the brethren, and
worse things. Because of the
veil being torn away from her condition and distress, the Shulamite was urged on
to greater love and fervency in seeking him whom her soul loved. And we, too, never before have we loved Him as we love Him
now! Never before has He seemed so
sweet and desirable to us, as He does now!
And never before have we been so determined to find Him, to know
Him in all His fullness as we are now!
So the Shulamite says to the daughters of
Jerusalem, “I charge you, O daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my Beloved,
that tell him that I am sick of love (love-sick).”
To which they respond, “What is thy beloved more than another beloved,
O thou fairest among women? What is
thy beloved more than another beloved, that thou doest so charge us?” (S. of
S. 5:8-9). And to those today who
are following hard after Christ in all His fullness the old-order church
daughters of Jerusalem say, “What is there about your message that is so much
better than anybody else’s message? What
is there about your hope that is so much better than anybody else’s hope?
What is there about your experience that is so much better than anybody
else’s experience?” They ask out of ignorance because they have neither seen
Him nor known Him as He is!
into a description of Him that was rooted in her knowledge of Him.
She knew Him!
She could describe Him! She
could praise and extol and say everything her heart felt about Him because she
knew Him. She knew what she was
after. And so do we know today who
is our Beloved and so do we know what we are after.
We know the beauty of His appearing, for He has disclosed Himself to us.
We know the wonder of His ways, the marvel of His salvation.
We know what is the hope of our sonship in Him — it’s beautiful,
it’s altogether glorious, and there is none like unto our Christ, our Beloved! There is no hope greater than His hope, no faith more
powerful than His faith, no love stronger than His love, no purpose more
excellent than His purpose, no life more abundant than His life, no peace deeper
than His peace, no joy more exhilarating than His joy, no righteousness more
pure and holy than His righteousness, no power more triumphant than His power,
and no throne higher than His throne! Aren’t
CHRIST is our chief, foremost, supreme, first
love! We shall never leave our first
To be continued… J.
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