THE MARRIAGE OF THE LAMB
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.
And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean
and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they
which are called unto the marriage supper
of the Lamb” (Rev. 19:7-9).
next thing we need to understand in order to grasp this great mystery of the
Lamb and His wife is that the bride of the Lamb is the virgin church, and the virgin church is just that — a virgin. I do not mean that every person who makes up
this virgin church company is naturally and physically a virgin, one who has never had sexual
relations in the flesh. The Spirit is
not talking here about natural things, but He is teaching us of spiritual realities. Can we not see by this that the beautiful
bride of the Lamb is spiritually a virgin, that is, she is virgin in her
relationship to the Lord, reserved for Him and for Him alone. We have known what it is to be conformed to
the course of this world. Then we have known what it is to trust
Christ as Saviour and seek to serve Him while being entangled in all the defilement of a corrupt Babylonish religious system. But God is calling forth a glorious body of
Christ who, because of the word of the
Lord and the quickening of the Holy Spirit, is desiring to be VIRGIN —
separated only unto her glorious Bridegroom.
How lightly we sometimes take the purposes of God in us! It is one thing to be washed in the blood, freed from all our past sins, and
quite another thing to truly be virgin in our desires to keep ourselves only
unto the Lord — no other loves.
Separation is coming from everything of the flesh, the world, the devil,
and from every vestige of entanglement with the false church systems of man which we have made our Head in place
of the living Christ. Though we may have previously been fornicators with this
bawdy religious harlot, the Lord is cleansing us, changing us, transforming us,
and bringing us forth as an entirely new creation, and in this new creation He is causing us to be
virgin in our desires toward our Lord.
next mystery that we need to understand, in order to comprehend what the Holy
Spirit is really saying to us, is that not only does this virgin church company
keep itself wholly unto the Lord, but while she is truly espoused unto the Lord the marriage of the Lamb has not yet been
consummated. She has not been joined in
marriage union with the Lord, else she would not be a virgin. When we speak of the “virgin church” we
must understand that we speak of the bride
of Christ who is espoused to Jesus Christ as His wife. We often entertain very faulty ideas
concerning this beautiful truth because many of our Western customs are so
different from the Eastern customs. Many
people think that the true church is not
yet the bride or wife of Christ and will only become the bride or wife of Christ at the time of the “marriage of
the Lamb” as revealed in chapter nineteen of the Revelation. But such is not the case! Let me explain the Eastern custom of
betrothal and marriage, the traditions from which the analogy of marriage in
scripture is drawn.
marriage customs in Bible times involved three major steps. The first step was betrothal, the
establishment of the marriage covenant that bound the man and woman together as
husband and wife (Mal. 2:14; Mat. 1:18-19).
The apostle Paul
referred to this great mystery when he wrote, “I have espoused you to one
husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (II Cor.
11:2). The meaning put on “espousal” is
vital. The Basic Bible reads, “You have been married by me to one husband…”
Wuest says, “I gave you in marriage…” Both show the marriage as a past
event. In Bible days, prior to the
actual wedding and marriage consummation, there was what was known as betrothal or espousal. This was somewhat
like our modern engagement, except that it was much more binding and
obligatory. It was more than a mere
promise between two individuals
to eventually “get married,” for it was in
fact the marriage — at least the
first step of the process. At the time
of the espousal the families of the man and woman were involved in the
negotiation of a contract between the two parties. It was a notable occasion! The payment of a suitable dowry was usually a feature of the
contract. The groom or his father had to
pay a price to the girl’s father for the bride.
When the contract was signed and sealed in the presence of witnesses,
the contract meant that the couple were legally married — they were husband and
wife. Matthew makes this plain when he
records, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ
was on this wise:
When as His mother Mary was espoused to
Joseph, before they came together, she
was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
Then Joseph her husband, being
a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her
away (divorce her) privately” (Mat. 1:18-19).
period of engagement or betrothal was taken so seriously that any violation of
the engagement was considered adultery and any break-up of the espousal required a legal
procedure — a bill of divorcement. This
reveals the seriousness of the situation when Joseph learned that Mary was with
child. The news did more than stun
him! It forced him to make a decision; either
to expose Mary publicly or divorce her privately. In either case, Mary would have been
dishonored by her family and friends, and degraded by the Jewish
community. Even worse, her son would
have been born an outcast with no rights of citizenship, and prohibited from
worship in the temple. Under these
circumstances, Joseph chose to be as gracious and kind as Jewish law permitted;
he decided to put her away privately.
But then the angel brought the message to Joseph and he took Mary home
as his wife, accepted her child as his own, and became legally the father of
Jesus. What explains his change of
heart? Just this — his belief in God’s
message that Mary’s child was a special creation, conceived of the Holy Spirit,
to bring salvation into our world!
let us return to the marriage customs.
After the espousal, at a later time, usually about a year, the second
step in the wedding took place. During
the interval, the two were not joined physically in intimacy. The bride remained a virgin. The girl continued to live in her own home,
and the man in his. The groom begins to
prepare a home for them to live in. This
period also gave the bride a chance to “prepare herself” and “make herself
ready” for the coming union. She learns
many needful things and beautifies herself in every way. She wants to be perfect for her lover. One of the most important parts of her
beautification was her gown. The white
wedding dress was then chosen and knit together into a beautiful garment for
her to wear when the groom comes for her.
The wedding dress symbolized her pure and chaste life.
second step in the marriage was when, on the appointed day, the groom came with
his friends to take the bride back to
his home. This “taking” of the bride was
usually done at night approximately one year after the betrothal. This led to the consummation of the marriage
through physical union of the bride and groom on the first night at the groom’s
house. Since this second step was the essence of the marriage
ceremony, it was regarded as the wedding or marriage. Thus the actual “wedding” or “marriage” was
not a ceremony at all — it was union!
We constantly read in scripture of a man taking a wife unto himself.
We get our attention, in modern marriage customs, fixed on the ceremony: forgetting that in the
biblical pattern the real marriage is
“this man taking unto him this woman”
to be his wife in all that it means. The espousal only announces it; just as the wedding feast only celebrates it! The perfect
picture of Christ taking His virgin church as His bride is seen in Genesis
chapter twenty-four, where Abraham would “make a marriage for his son.” He sends Eliezar, his steward, to far away Mesopotamia, to find and woo Rebekah by showing her the
“things,” that is, a sample of the wealth of Abraham and Isaac (as the Holy
Spirit now shows us “the things” of Christ, the firstfruits of the Spirit); and
eventually Rebekah says to Eliezar, “I will
go.” And then, the journey over,
the record states that when upon their camels Eliezar and Rebekah arrive in the
land of Canaan,
“Isaac took Rebekah (into his
tent); and she became his wife; and
he loved her.” The same scenario is
repeated a number of times in the Old Testament and this second step
corresponds precisely to the expression “marriage of the Lamb” in the book of
Revelation. It signifies the ultimate completeness
and fullness of UNION
WITH OUR LORD!
third step in the marriage was the “marriage supper,” actually a seven-day wedding feast took place to which guests
had already been called and assembled.
Once the marriage had been consummated by the bride and groom, that same
night the wedding guests would begin to feast and make merry! They often celebrated these feasts twice a
day during those seven days. The feast was
the part of the “marriage” that Jesus attended in Cana
of Galilee when He turned water into wine.
And this is also the scene at the “marriage of the Lamb” in the
Revelation! It is called the “marriage
supper” or marriage feast of the Lamb.
This is not espousal, but the time
of union. “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor
to Him: for the marriage (union) of the
Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready (for this union). And to her was granted that she should be
arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness
of saints. And he saith unto me, Write,
Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage
supper of the Lamb!”
we stand back and get a correct perspective of the sweep of the entire picture
I think we will understand it. You go
back to the very beginning — marriage was the first institution that God made
for man. And it was none other than the
Lord Jesus Christ Himself (the Word, the Voice of God) that brought the first
woman to the first man. He introduced
them and performed the marriage for them and made them one. In that far-off beginning, at the dawn of
human history, the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone;
I will make him a help meet for him” (Gen. 2:18). What fathomless and holy truth lies buried in
this remarkable statement! While God
said, “It is not good that the man should be alone,” I would like to give
another rendition and it goes like this: “It is not good that GOD should be
alone.” You see, my beloved, God’s
creation is the mirror, the reflection, and expression of God’s own personal
character and state of being. How can we
know this? Because God said, “Let us
make man in our image, after our likeness” (Gen. 1:26). Would you like to know what God is like? You can see it in man! God did not create just a man! “Male and
female created He them. And God blessed them, and said unto them, Be
fruitful and multiply…” (Gen. 1:27-28). The
message is just this: If it was not good for man in the image of God to be in that image alone, if the man needed a wife to complement him and reproduce
their life in the world, then it was likewise not good for GOD to be
alone! That is the mystery! It takes the mind of the Spirit to understand
that when God saw Adam
in his loneliness and said, “It is not good that the man should be alone,” God
was expressing the great mystery of His own Being within Himself. God had need for companionship. God had need for a union of love! This divine need is expressed by the apostle Paul in these words of
revelation and truth: “According as He hath chosen
us in Himself before the foundation of the world, that we should be…before Him in love: having
predestinated us…according to the good pleasure of His will” (Eph. 1:4-6).
ultimate desire and need was for the companionship of beings like unto Himself,
of His own kind, with whom He could share His mind and heart, and through whom
He could expand Himself, incorporating them into the outworking of His own
eternal purposes. As we view from the
Father’s heart it becomes obvious that God in His social and paternal nature
has “marked out for Himself” a vast family which shares His own life, nature,
mind, spirit, purpose, and power. I do
not believe that any creature or entity that existed before man either in the
heavens above or on the earth beneath, even came close to providing what God
needed. This is the condition which
prompted God in that long ago beginning to issue the wonderful fiat, “Let us
make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion…” (Gen.
wonder, then, that we read from the literal translation of the Hebrew text
these remarkable words: “And Jehovah God saith, Not good for the man to be
alone, I do make him an helper — as his COUNTERPART” (Gen. 2:18, Young’s
Literal). The Goodspeed translation
reads, “It is not good for the man to be alone; I must make a helper for him
WHO IS LIKE HIM.” Another interesting
translation says, “…and God made for Adam
a COMPARABLE helper.” There we have the
very first symbolism of the bride of Christ!
God made for Adam
someone with whom he should have complete and total correspondence and
intimacy. This only mirrored the desire
within God Himself, so we find that He came in the cool, or spirit of the day, as it reads in the
original, to fellowship with this man and woman made in His image and
likeness. The message is just this — if
the Christ is to have a bride then the bride must be COMPARABLE to Christ! She must be HIS COUNTERPART! She must be one who is in every respect LIKE
HIM! And that’s awesome, isn’t it! But how could Christ become intimate, on all
the levels that intimacy implies, with anyone who is not comparable to
Him? A human would not marry a monkey, a
horse, a dog, or a chicken. There is no
correspondence! There are no grounds for
union of mind, desire, emotion, knowledge, understanding, body, or love. And even within the same species, not
everyone is suited for the marriage union.
Would Christ become intimate with a little girl who is not mature and
cannot comprehend the ways of love or responsibility? Would He share all that He is and has with a
child who is physically and emotionally incapable of returning mature love, relating
to His deepest thoughts and heart, or participating in His divine activities
gives us patterns in the Bible. All the
patterns point to the central truth that God wants a people for Himself — a
special, purified, prepared, developed, matured, loving, and capable people
joined in union with Himself. All other
revelations and truths are secondary to that — just as all other considerations
in life should be secondary to a man’s relationship with his wife. God’s desire for such a people is the thrust
of the entire message of the word of God!
Everything must revolve around that truth. It was not good for man to be alone, and it
was not good for GOD to be alone! He
wanted offspring, and Paul
tells us in Acts 17:28-29 that WE are the OFFSPRING OF GOD! Nature itself teaches us that pigs have
little pigs and dogs have little dogs.
And I do not hesitate to tell you that God has little gods! That is the great mystery of our sonship.
“As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the children of God” (Jn. 1:12). “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible,
by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever” (I Pet.
1:23). “Jesus answered them, Is it not
written in your law, I (God) said, Ye are gods?
If He called them gods unto
whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken; say ye of Him,
whom the Father hath sanctified, and sent into the world, Thou blasphemest;
because I said, I am the Son of God” (Jn. 10:34-36). Oh, yes!
As children — offspring — of God, made
in His image, after His likeness — we are COMPARABLE! When once we learn this one grand truth we
discover our true identity and state of being and all the word of God begins to
fall into place. My beloved, it is
therefore in keeping that as the very first act of His sonship ministry our
Lord should go yonder to a wedding in Cana of
Galilee! There He went and put His seal
of approval and His blessing upon it. He
was there by His very presence and power to proclaim that UNION
between God and man is the grand theme and purpose of God in creation and
Browning poetically tells the story of Andrea del Sarto, a famous painter in Florence, Italy. In his youth, del Sarto married a woman of rare
beauty. She was, however, a
shallow-minded, superficial creature. She
was the woman, who, with a careless swing of her skirt, smeared the noble
picture he had painted in hours of great spiritual ecstasy. She filled his life with disappointment. Not because she robbed his hand of its
deftness, or his mind of its genius, or his soul of its inspiration — the
tragedy was this: she was heart blind; she never
understood the moral majesty of his mind; she never genuinely entered into the great
spiritual hunger and depth of his heart.
Consequently, he could not disclose to her his noblest and best
self. In like manner, the yearning of
God is able to reveal Himself to us only in proportion to our spiritual development,
capacity, and maturity. Methinks that
many Christians have not reached the stage of growth and development in Christ
which prepares them for being a bride. They
have little understanding of the majesty of the mind of Christ, or the
loftiness of His great and eternal plan and purposes, nor have they even begun
to enter in to the deepest yearnings of
His heart. Multitudes are spiritually
childish — heaven to them is a vast celestial playground where they can frolic and dance and shout throughout
eternity without a care or any responsibility beyond strumming a harp and
polishing their crown!
are children. Children are not sons in
the scriptural sense, for sons (Greek: huios, mature sons, placed ones) are
those who have grown up into the nature and authority of the Father. By way of example, if you saw a hardware store with the
sign over the door saying BROWN AND SONS, you would not expect to go into the
store and find the “sons” playing in a crib.
You would understand that these “sons” are mature sons who share with
their father the responsibilities of the business. In like manner, a girl, as long as she is a
child, is neither prepared for nor capable of fulfilling the role of a wife.
In order to enter into marriage a young girl must pass through
years of physical, mental, and emotional development. Finally, upon becoming mature in all these
areas, she is fitted for marriage and her role as a wife. And so it is in God’s family! Both sonship and brideship are MATURE
RELATIONSHIPS — not the prerogative of children! The term “child” describes the believer in
his walk of immaturity in God. But as one
begins to grow up into spiritual maturity it is then that
the truly feminine and masculine aspects of his or her relationship with God
begin to form and become manifest. “Vive
la difference!” someone once said. And
starting from early childhood we all begin to notice that there is indeed a
difference. We become increasingly aware
of it as we grow up. But it is only as
fully developed adults that the true power, potential, and purpose of the
feminine and masculine attributes find their function and fulfillment.
man can know something of the acts and ways of God, but only those born from
above, who also follow on to know the Lord, can ever come to know Him
in the most wonderfully personal and intimate manner. The 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 own kind. In fact,
this is precisely the way in which the scriptures in a number of cases make use
of the word “know” — to describe the giving and receiving of seed in the act of
love. For example, we read in Genesis
4:1, “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and
she conceived, and bare Cain.” This
statement does not mean that Adam
was able to recognize his wife as he walked about the house! “Knowing,” in the sense of recognition, does
not beget children! When Adam knew his
wife he explored her emotional and physical being beyond any external
observation, and she knew him in return in a personal and
intimate way that words could never
communicate. Only by the experience of
intense love and sexual union does man know
woman in this sense, and she him.
the blessed spirit of truth from God enable all who read these lines to
understand that it is only in that exquisite relationship where the believing
heart completely yields itself to the spirit, the presence, the mind, and the
will of God, where the believer proves by his wholehearted response that he
truly and totally loves the Lord, that he knows
and is known by God. This is the basis for Israel as a people under the Old
Covenant being given the name “wife of Yahweh,” and the chosen ones of this age under the New Covenant the
intimate title “the bride of Christ.” As
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. “He that is joined (in union) unto
the Lord IS ONE SPIRIT” (I Cor. 6:17).
The intimate relation and ecstasy here portrayed, are not found in any but those who are following
the Lamb whithersoever He goeth!
is no higher, no holier, no more blessed and joyous relation that can obtain
between a man and a woman than true marriage.
The marriage relation means more than the common possession of each
other, more than the sharing on a basis of equality all that either may
possess, more than the mutual exchange of admiration for personal charms, or of
confidence and trust in the integrity each of the other. True marriage means all of these things, but
in addition to all of these things, and above them, and more than all else it
means the union of hearts on a level
which results in profoundest love and unselfish devotion, such as will cause
each to live for the other, promote the welfare, comfort, and happiness of the
other rather than of SELF (I Cor. 13:4-8).
who thinks chiefly of self, who talks for the most part about those things that
promote his own self-interests, who takes opportunity to act with downright
selfishness, and therefore one who is self-centered, self-opinionated, and
self-willed, is incapable of entering
into a true marriage relationship with anyone. In the marriage relation, to whatever degree
SELF is made first and exalted, to that extent the relation is doomed to
failure. The love of self will destroy
true love and engender strife, bitterness, indifference, and even hatred. Ah, Christ Himself, our Bridegroom, has given
us the example! Let us dwell on the
words, “Christ also loved the church and gave
Himself up for it.” He values His
bride as Himself. And upon her, He
lavishes His personal affection, without limit, without reservation, constantly,
and forevermore! He loved the church
with an infinite and eternal love and gave Himself up to the death of the cross
for her. He nourishes and cherishes the
church that He might sanctify it, and present it to Himself glorious in beauty,
holiness, and power, without blemish in the presence of His glory. All that is required of the bride is simply to love
Him in the same way and measure as He has first loved us!
late George Wylie
shared some penetrating and instructive words of admonition in this
connection. He wrote, “I have never known two people
who were deeply in love with each other who did not want to spend a lot of time
alone by themselves. When a young man and woman are truly in love,
you may see them walking hand in hand down the street, sitting in a restaurant
having a piece of pie and a cup of coffee, or strolling through a department
store looking at things together. They
love to be together and they get together as often as they can. But why is it that being together on the
street, or in the restaurant, or window shopping, still does not satisfy the
longing of their hearts? Why is it that
after being together around town they will get in the car and drive out to
Lover’s Lane or Sunset Point, or to some deserted beach at night, where there
is no one else around and they can sit and talk, watch the sunset, or stroll
together under the light of the moon?
What difference is this from walking hand in hand down the street or
sitting together in a restaurant? They
are alone — that’s the
difference! It is being by themselves in
the solitude of their love.
man and his wife who are much in love with each other, may work together all
day in their business, go shopping together, or greatly enjoy going on a picnic
with the children. They may spend a lot
of time together during their busy daily lives.
But even then they are looking forward to the evenings when the children
are asleep in bed and they can spend a few quiet hours alone, sitting on the
couch or retiring to their bedroom and closing the door so they can be by
themselves in the intimacy of their love.
Their togetherness during the day cannot take the place of being alone
and sharing the tenderness of their love.
In their aloneness they are able to communicate with each other and
share together things they could never
share in the company of others or in the course of their busy lives. This
reveals the wonderful mystery of the bridegroom and the bride! When we love the Lord with all of our heart,
when we truly are deeply and passionately in love with the Lover of our soul,
we cannot be content to just have His company and think of Him, talk to Him,
and sing to Him during our busy times, or even in the congregation in our times
together unto Him. We will most
assuredly have an intense desire to BE ALONE WITH HIM! The more we love Him the greater the desire
and the more time we will want to spend alone with Him in intimate fellowship
and communion. Those who say they deeply
love the Lord, but who rarely get alone with Him to spend quality time in the solitude of His presence, cannot
possibly be material for the company of the bride of Christ! The yearning of the bride is expressed in the
words of the beautiful chorus:
in with God, in the secret place,
There in the spirit beholding His face;
new power to run in the race,
I love to be shut in with God!
truth is, many a man has lost the love of his wife and his marriage
relationship has been broken up because he was so busy attending to his
business and making money, that he didn’t have time to be with his wife. I have
known wives of many of these workaholics who, suffering from lack of their
husband’s love, looked in other places for the attention and love the husband
was too busy to give. They would find
another man to love them and who would supply the human need that the busy
husband didn’t give. Some of these wives
turned to drink and became alcoholics, and many of these marriages ended in
divorce. The business may be important,
and making a living is necessary, but neither of these are as important as the marriage relationship! When the husband and wife get so busy that
they do not have quality time to spend alone
with each other, their relationship suffers; they draw apart and there is not
that oneness that should be there. How true this is also in our relationship
with our Lord! When we are so busy, and
our time is taken up with other things, perhaps even good things including our work ‘for’ God, so that we haven’t time
to be alone with Christ, our relationship with Him suffers, and we draw
apart. There isn’t that oneness with Christ that we should
have! Oh yes, we may talk to Him for a
few minutes a couple times a day, maybe address Him a few times during the day,
or perhaps even speak of Him to someone as we try to share Him with others, but
our spiritual life and our union with
Him suffers when we fail to find the time to
get alone with Christ in seasons of intimate fellowship, communion, and
love” — end quote.
we come to the Lamb and His wife, however, here
is a marital love, a tenderness, an appreciation, and a delight, that
will grow forever and ever. Oh,
wonder of wonders, that such a record can be written! Christ will never change in His affections! What must the ages hold for the wife of the
Lamb! And the love of the bride, the
wife of the Lamb, will correspond to that of her husband — unceasing, increasing into infinity!
Have you known a husband and wife whose love deepened as the years
went by, whose satisfaction with and delight
in each other was such as to keep them together constantly, of their own mutual will; whom neither “society” nor
“business” nor “outside pleasures,” nor any “calamity” could separate? Let such a happy marital existence be a
whisper to you of what Christ and His bride will enjoy more and more throughout
unending ages! The bliss of the marriage
of the Lamb is without limit. And this
is not something to transpire some glad day after while or in some far-off heaven somewhere! This bespeaks the union of soul and spirit, a
union within ourselves, in which we are MADE ONE IN HIM. Oh, yes!
It is the personal delight
of THE INDWELLING CHRIST, not of a Christ far away. It is the personal delight of our very own soul — of our mind,
will, emotions, and desires, finding union with His glorious mind, His holy emotions,
His wonderful will, and His divine desires.
It is an internal union of love.
Parents love their children because they are children. Brothers and sisters alike have a love of
natural relationship. Friendships are
based on common interests. But the love
of bridegroom and bride is a delight
each in the person of the other. That is
why marital love is so wholly unexplainable!
We say, “What did he see in her?” or, “Why did she choose him?” There is no answer but one — LOVE!
we write much in these pages of the glorious truth of sonship to God, we want
to contemplate in our meditations at this time what it means to be the bride of
the Lamb. If you have never really fallen in love with the
Christ of God — and made HIM YOUR HEAD
and ABSOLUTE LORD — don’t ever expect to be a member of the bride company. If you are not truly VIRGIN in your desires
toward the Lord; if you are not walking in His spirit, putting on His mind,
learning to know His heart; if you are not keeping yourself unto Him and Him
alone; if you have not utterly forsaken the company of the wanton harlot of
Babylon, the carnal church systems of man; if you have not renounced the many
schemes and plans and ambitions of your own carnal mind nor abandoned your love
of the world and the desires of the flesh — don’t expect to stand in that
glorious company which has made itself “ready” for the marriage of the
Lamb! If you have any other love before
Him, any other master that rules your life, any other lord that dictates your
actions, any “reserved” areas of your life you are not ready to relinquish,
then you have not yet learned HOW TO BE A
BRIDE TO CHRIST!
the wonderful spirit of truth can teach us how to truly be a bride. As I have
pointed out, the key to being a wife is love and submission. We are prone to think of submission in such a
carnal way. The term conjures up images of the husband ruling, bossing, lording it
over, barking commands to his wife while the little woman, intimidated,
coweringly complies with his every demand.
But true, godly submission is the love
of a woman that is so pure and intense that she wants to yield herself to
the high desires of her husband — a woman so in love with her man that it
transcends infatuation — her submission becomes a willing and loving laying
down of her own life until she no longer has a life because HER LIFE IS
SURRENDERED AND JOINED IN UNION WITH ANOTHER!
Her cry becomes, “I don’t want my life…I want to SHARE YOURS.” Oh! how few of us truly know HOW TO BE A
I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one
husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ” (II Cor.
11:2). To be a virgin means to be pure,
undefiled, and separated unto our Lord.
God is creating the desire in a called and separated people in this hour
to be truly virgin in their desires toward Him. We have known what it is to be conformed to this world. Then we have known what it is to come
into fellowship with Christ while remaining entangled in all the defilement of
a carnal and corrupt Babylonish
church system. But God is laying His
mighty hand of dealing upon a people and calling forth a glorious body of
Christ who, in response to the quickening of the Holy Spirit, is desiring to be
— separated only unto her Bridegroom, unto intimate and vital union
with Him! How lightly we sometimes take
the purposes of God in us! In this hour
separation is coming from everything of the flesh, the world, the devil, and
from every vestige of entanglement with the carnal church systems of man which
we have made our HEAD in place of the
Christ of God.
us suppose — Rhonda
has a new boyfriend. He’s funny,
charming, and handsome. Her pulse races
when he calls, her temperature
rises when they touch. It feels
wonderful to be with him. She gushes,
“It’s like we’ve known each other all our lives.” People who don’t know her are charmed by her
infatuation. Her friends are not. They’ve heard all this before. Rhonda
always has a new boyfriend. One goes,
another comes in an endless parade. Each is the true love of her life. And then they disappear.
of Christians are like that! They are
looking for the perfect love, the ultimate union, and again and again they
think they have found it as they flit about from church to church, from
preacher to preacher, from revival to revival, from teaching to teaching, and
from movement to movement. Oh, how “turned on” they are with each one at
first — they have found the most exciting, fulfilling, loving, caring, perfect church! And they gush all over everyone who will
listen about how wonderful it is! But then before long they begin to see flaws, hear the gossip,
catch the undercurrents, discern the problems, and it soon wears off and they
start looking for another. The problem
is just this — they have not found HIM!
They are spiritual adolescents, juvenile, immature, undeveloped,
inexperienced — not ready yet to become a bride. They desire true love, but like the
girls that get picked up in bars, they are looking in all the wrong
places. Their eyes are on the boys — on men, and ministries, and movements — and
not yet have they truly SEEN THE LORD!
Some day, hopefully, they will hear the call, “Come out of her, my
people,” and will cease the spiritual “bar-hopping” and come apart to meet the one and only lover of their soul!
will close this article by quoting from a message delivered some years ago by the late brother
Stacy Wood. This message contains some
profound truths that I believe will be an edification and blessing to all who read.
was in New Mexico a few years ago and while ministering to a group I
made a statement that I was corrected on.
The statement I made was simply this.
I said, ‘There are some things in the earth, and also things in God,
that are certain, immutable, unchangeable, ever the same. For instance — 1+ 1 = 2. If you have an apple plus an apple, you have
two apples — and no matter how you calculate it, how you count it, one plus one
always equals two.’ After the service a
young man came to me, a young man that has a doctorate degree, a young man that
speaks numerous languages, a young man that is in my opinion is a genius, and
he said, ‘Stacy, I want to share something with you — one plus one does not always equal two.’ Well, he took me back. I just stood there and looked at him as if to
say, ‘Hey, wait a minute! I’ve been
taught all my life that one plus one equals two — what are you trying to tell
me?’ He sat down and with a formula and a
series of pages he expressed to me what he meant. The man is a nuclear physicist. Of course I didn’t understand the formulas
too well — but he convinced me after four pages that he had a valid point which
I wasn’t able fully to grasp — that one plus one doesn’t always equal two! So I considered this and then in the
scriptures I began to see the pattern and the reality that one plus one, even in God’s economy, does not always
“Paul says it very plainly in his first letter to the Corinthians. ‘Know
ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and
make them the members of an harlot? God
forbid. What? know ye not that he which
is joined to an harlot is one body? for
two, saith He, shall be one flesh.
But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit’ (I Cor. 6:15-17).
“Here Paul tells us that one man
joined to one harlot equals one
flesh. Therefore Paul says that 1 + 1 = 1. So when two things are joined, fused, knit
together, they are no longer two things, but become one thing. Another example of this is found in the book
of Ephesians. ‘For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father
and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning
Christ and the church’ (Eph. 5:30-32).
This is indeed a great mystery, but
what Paul is
declaring is the divine formula — 1 + 1 = 1.
He shows that we (Christ and us) are made
one in the body of Christ. We must
lose that vision of our uniqueness, particularness, and individuality and grasp hold of the concept
are one, not many.
was looking at this principle here in Ephesians chapter five and it is the
principle of marriage. A man leaves his
father and mother and he cleaves to his wife, and joined to his wife, one man
and one woman become one flesh. Most of us that are married look at that
verse and try to make it so mystical — that we are one somewhere, but we don’t understand
the disagreements! We do our best
to get beyond the disagreements and dissatisfactions to truly become one so
that we always think alike, desire alike, enjoy alike, and act alike. But that is not what Paul is saying. The reality is that God took one individual, me, and one individual, my wife, and has made an
expression of one. I can tell you
exactly where and when it happened — it happened when our daughter was born,
and again when our son was born. For
Jana and Stacy are simply Sheri and Stacy as one.
When God joined Sheri and me He put us together in such a way
that we can never
be separated. He took all of the
structure of my life and all of the structure of my wife’s life and He joined
them together between a sperm and an
ovum and brought forth one new creation that
is neither Sheri nor Stacy — it is the perfect joining of the complete whole of
both of us into one new whole. “When
we traveled with our children years ago we made note of people’s reactions when
they would see our children. Often
people would look at our son and say, ‘He’s the spitting image of your wife —
and your daughter, man, she’s so much like you!’ Then we would go to the next group and
someone would say, ‘Your son looks so much like you, he doesn’t look like your
wife at all, and your daughter looks just like your wife, she doesn’t look
anything like you!’ By the time several
years passed I was somewhat puzzled and thought and meditated on the
incongruity of this. Why is it, I
wondered, that some people think Jana looks like Sheri, whereas others think
she looks like me? Then it dawned on me
— they are bound to look like Mama and they are bound to look like Daddy
because all that we are, all of our genetics are brought together and combined
in one new form. Both of us are so joined, so fused together within them that
you really can’t distinguish or divide between what is Stacy and what is
Sheri. Different people with different
perceptions pick up on either the Sheri or the Stacy characteristics that shine
through, so that in the final analysis Jana and Stacy are each a new creation, one
flesh of us two!
you see the mystery that is great in that?
Christ and the church are also JOINED!
HE who is spirit, Christ, and SHE who is soulical, the church, when they
corporately are joined become one spirit.
The spiritual essence
of humanity is the soul — the soulical life.
The soul is simply spirit that is at a lower vibration, at a lower
frequency, or on a lower dimension than the Spirit of God. That is, the mind, will, emotions, and
desires of the natural man are not flesh in a tangible way. The soul pertains to a spiritual dimension. Few
understand the truth of this, but when God breathed
into man’s flesh the breath or
spirit of life, man became
a living soul. The Lord,
on the other hand, is spirit, and they who worship Him must worship Him in spirit
and in reality. When you take God who is
spirit on the highest plane, and then you take soul which is spirit on a lower
plane, and join them together you get a BRAND NEW SPIRITUAL DIMENSION that has
not yet been and that dimension is called ‘the Christ.’ As I meditated on this I saw that in
the marriage of Christ and the church, of the Lamb and His wife, there is a
joining of one plus one that would equal ONE!”
— end quote.
be continued… J. PRESTON EBY