Painting by Edmund Leighton (1853-1922).
The New Covenant Is A Blood Covenant.
And The True Church Is The Bride Of Christ.
The Bride Actively Participates In The Covenant.
Holy History Will Most Certainly Call For Her Witness.
She Signs And Seals The New Covenant With Her Bridegroom.
Her Witness Is Required Before The New Covenant Can Be Executed.
It Is Necessary Before The Marriage Of The Lamb Can Be Consummated.
The 5th Seal Witness Of The Saints Will Be Seen Before Men And Angels.
Then Comes The 6th Seal And The Awesome Deliverance At The Last Day.
A devotional/exhortational essay
by Gavin Finley MD
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HAS JESUS 'DONE IT ALL'?As Christians of the western world we are generally contented in our faith.
Many of us have become satisfied with what we have been told.
And the gist of that message we receive and live by is very often this.
"Jesus has done it all".
This statement is somewhat ambiguous. And what often follows is this.
"He did it all". ----> "Therefore there is no call on me to do anything in response."
Yes, it is true that the blood of Christ has been shed. Here we see the purchase price for our salvation. It is the holy blood of the spotless sinless Sacrifice Lamb of God. The atoning blood of Jesus/Yeshua is the complete and finished sacrifice. It can have nothing added from us. The blood of atonement is the bridal price, the purchase price for our redemption. The 'bridal price' for our redemption has been fully paid by the Bridegroom. Jesus Christ in His death, burial, and resurrection has totally and completely reconciled the account between God and His covenant people. Jesus/Yeshua has totally paid the penalty for sin. That penalty was His death on the cross. So this first matter of the covenant, paying the purchase price of our redemption, is finished. Our great salvation has been fully paid for.
The issue of the price of our redemption is a very important legal and accounting matter. And yes, the heavenly account for the purchase of our salvation has been settled. The debt for our sin has been canceled. The Bridegroom, our Lord Jesus, has picked up the tab. And the bridal price has been paid in full. With His shed blood our Messiah has made total provision for His Bride, the Congregation of Israel, or as we term it, "the Church". This is the great salvation which the Gospel brings. This is the message of redemption and salvation we have heard. This is the Gospel, the Light of Israel that shines out by God's grace to the Jewish House of Israel first, to the lost ten tribes of Israel, and to their companions being drawn out of the Gentiles, (or heathen nations), as an ekklesia/congregation/church. It is all one in Christ our Messiah, a single Elect company, drawn from every nation, race, and tribe. This is the Good News of the Gospel. All across this world, this wonderful message is bringing redemption to all who will hear. And this is the great salvation promised to all who respond in faith believing.
IS OUR FAITH A UNILATERAL CONTRACT TO ACQUIRE A "FREE TICKET TO HEAVEN"? OR IS IT A TWO-WAY BLOOD COVENANT BETWEEN US AND OUR MESSIAH, A COMMITMENT UNTO DEATH? HAS OUR SALVATION OF "CHEAP GRACE" BECOME JUST ANOTHER EXAMPLE OF A CHURCH MARKETED "INDULGENCE"? OR IS IT A BLOOD COVENANT IN WHICH WE WILL SELL OUT ALL WE HAVE AND ALL WE ARE FOR OUR SAVIOR AND LORD?This is sad to have to report. Nevertheless it is true in all too many cases. Our western merchant churches have been driven by the desire to profit. Church ministries are in a "price war" with ministerial competitors. And so the game for today's religi-business is all too clear. It is to "sell" the Gospel to the masses and for the cheapest possible price. Such are the ways of Mammon. In a profit driven economy the game is to "capture the religious market" targeting the Churchgoing Christians who are average or "middle of the pack" in their devotion.
The results of all this is all too apparent. The message of the Gospel has been brought down low. The bid to make Christianity seeker friendly has resulted in a lukewarm message that causes it to be scarcely recognizable as the faith that was once delivered to the saints. Christians of former times would be hard pressed to identify it as the true Christian faith. The message we are presenting now is in many cases not the Gospel at all. It is a figment of our own self-seeking imaginations. A free ticket to heaven just fell out of the sky. And we grabbed it. We do not stop to think or to meditate on what this means.
This is an awful state of affairs. We are rich and popular and in need of nothing. We are jam packed full of religion. And yet we do not know the God who comes inside us to bring us His righteousness and His grace. Our enemies are all around us putting their spin on the Bible. And we do not know it. We continue to be drawn ever deeper into compromise with the powers of this world. All too often we are inclined to dodge the higher calling of our faith. We are like the proverbial frog in the heated water bath our spiritual condition is becoming more and more tenuous. We are about to be cooked! And yet here in the western church we are quite unaware of the perilous situation we are now in.
What has happened to us? We started out with the true faith that was once delivered to the saints. But then we were enticed and seduced by Mammon. We proceeded to re-process, re-engineer, and re-package the message. The Gospel is now a "product" for sale to the masses. In order to sell it the message is processed and refined so as not to offend anyone. Then it is artificially sweetened to render it palatable and appealing for the average middle of the road carnal Christian. This is the profitable way to handle religion to make for "success".
Churchmen are in a bind here. In many cases they are hired by the state or by denominational boards.
Even pastors in the free churches are hired and fired by their deacon boards.
In many cases deacons are made up of businessmen, beholden to the "bottom line".
(Or so they think).
But they are wrong.
There is a true "bottom line" beneath the dollars written on the ledger.
And it is written in blood.
So Christian ministers are financially shackled. Sad to say, they are beholden to market forces. Church offerings, pastoral income, pastoral popularity, and mortgage payments on elaborate church buildings; are all factors that come into the equation here. And so churchmen must "sell" their religious sermons as wares. The customers in the pews, and "customer satisfaction" are the key here. Pastors are oftentimes beholden to fickle but financially influential church members. These are religious consumers who by reason of past finacial contributions to the church think they own the church and "hire" the pastor to serve them. So the concern about ministers of God becoming "hirelings" is a very real one.
The pastors smile and do the best they can under the circumstances. But their very livelihood depends on satisfying the whims influential church members. This would all be fine if the church were made up of committed Christians. But more and more the lifestyles of the Christian masses are being degraded. Today's statistics show that the lifestyles of Christian are indistinguishable from those of non-Christians. A "popular" minister will not offend. So more and more we see "post-modern" Christians dumbed down to the lowest common denominator. They are given the "OK" to live on the carnal side of their nature. And so the Everlasting Gospel of a holy God is watered down. It is blended with the psychobabble of the motivational speakers of Mammon. These pretenders have infiltrated the church and brought it down to the level of the country club. We are left with a lukewarm insipid syrupy religious stew. Lukewarm "christianity" is considered "normal" nowadays. Nevertheless, it is a mish-mash. Our Savior has told the Laodicean church that "I will spew you out of My mouth". (Rev.3:16) Western Christianity today is already there. The message we broadcast today in the religious bazaars of Mammon is but a pale imitation of the true faith that was once delivered to the saints.
This should not come as a surprise to us. Today as Western Christians we live under the political protection of a merchant world system. Our churches very definitely operate in a religious marketplace. Church membership offers a plethora of church programs, many of which are careful blendings of the holy and the profane. Christian bookstores have become bazaars for books, CD's and DVD's attempting to give spiritual meaning, 'purpose', and motivation to religious customers, most of whom are half asleep and in need of revival. Many who crave this soporific psychological sop are not willing to enter into Blood Covenant with their coming Messiah. They do not know the indwelling Christ. Nor have they made Him first in their lives.
As Christian believers the matrix of end-time Babylon is all around us.
The spirit of materialism is trying to get inside of us to dominate us.
And this is what we need to know.
The world they are laying out before us is a fantasy.
It is not real!
Today it has become "normal" for us to "buy" into the socio-religious blend that takes our fancy.
All too often we are inclined to "purchase" our religion at the cheapest possible price.
So the level of Christian commitment we have ended up with in the west is of very low grade.
This is because our relationship with Christ our Lord is lukewarm.
The marketplace of religious beliefs is now operating inside the marketplace of material things.
And the mores of the commercial world have now been installed inside the House of God.
Jesus told us that we cannot serve two masters.
We cannot serve God and Mammon.
But we are trying to do it!
The mindset inside the western church has slowly changed.
"Blood Covenant" has been replaced by "contract".
The spiritual consequences to this are very disturbing.
The would-be Bride of Christ is not the woman of glory we see in Revelation 12.
Instead she is debased and starting to look like a "material girl".
Of course our commercial contracts bring us some nice things. They keep us comfortable in this world and help us to have a nice day. But our marriage, (whether to our spouse or to Jesus Christ our Bridegroom), should be total and absolute as we see in blood covenant. It should not be brought down to just a "contract for services rendered".
Blood covenant is a two-way relationship. It is also a total commitment unto death. But what do we see in our modern marriage 'contracts'? Instead of being a mutual unconditional blood covenant commitment the marriage covenant is being revised, often in subtle ways. Marriage has effectively been chopped up into two independent conditional one sided 'his and hers' contracts. they are loosely cobbled together in the written and unwritten code of conduct we see in marriage today. Pre-nuptial material contracts are signed by both parties for division of wealth and property should the marriage fail. They are also, (in effect), contracts for "marital services rendered". Each marriage partner comes into the marriage as an independent 'buyer' in a marital marketplace of human bodies and souls. Outwardly the bride and groom pledge to keep covenant "unto death do us part". But the reality nowadays is quite different. Each partner still retains his or her independence inside the marriage. If the "deal" fails to deliver the offended party, perceiving a "raw deal" is able to "walk out" on the basis of "irreconcilable differences". The divorce lawyer, understanding friends, and our indulgent society then help them as they "go through" the divorce.
So much for blood covenant. For many couples entering marriage those blood covenant vows they took are not real. They are relics of an ideal situation, perhaps belonging to people in a former era. They are just another showpiece.
The merchant world uses the same contact law and property law to write up contracts for goods and services rendered. Business deals may also have a 90 day, (or other), cancellation option. Does the marriage "contract" we have today also have a cancellation option? Can the buyer "opt out" if he or she is not satisfied and the spouse does not "meet my needs"?
This subtle switch of 'contract' in place of 'covenant' has already happened in our marriages.
Is it also happening in our churches?
Could it be happening in our personal relationship with Jesus Christ?
This is a very sobering question. Just what sort of a relationship with Christ have we "bought into"? Is it just "a deal", a "contract" that we might cancel on a whim? Do we 'dump' Christ if we perceive that He "no longer meets my expectations". What if our walk of faith get rough, (as it is in China right now)? How will we react?
Across the waters in the suffering church the Christian life is difficult, and sometimes deadly. But the witness to Yeshua Hamashiach/Jesus Christ goes forth faithfully. 500 of our fellow believers died today. But we never heard about it. It did not make the evening news, or the cable news. Nor was it mentioned from church pulpits.
Christian ladies in prison
in Indonesia. Their crime?
Telling children about Jesus.
Western Christians have been blessed. Unfortunately they have allowed themselves to indulge themselves to the full. We as a church have become very spoiled.
So how will the western church respond in the trials to come? What will we do if we are O.B.E., overcome by events? Will we get bent out of shape? Shall we respond in anger or react in savagery when our faith is tested? Shall we join the heathen and rage along with the nations in Edomite anger? Shall we despise our birthright, even as Esau did, for the sake of a mess of pottage and the comforts of the flesh? How many will snarl and beat their fellow servants? How many will despise their relationship with Yeshua/Jesus as a 'raw deal"?
There is much hidden frustration in the Church right now. We may as well face this now, before it is too late for us to repent and change our hearts. How much of this sad/bad countenance is a stubborn or rebellious anger against God? Could our own carnality and self indulgence be the root cause of much of the depression and overweight we see today among western Christians?
Our apostle Paul spoke about a coming "great falling away". How many Christians will "walk out" on their Bridegroom in this coming 'great apostasy'? This is a matter of grave concern. Corrie Ten Boom has presented a very important and sobering message to the Church on this very matter.
It seems that modern western Christian may have been taught, (or may have come to believe), that "grace" means that we are merely passive recipients of this great salvation. Many of us seem to regard salvation as just 'a deal'. A "ticket to heaven" has been provided for us by our "receiving Christ's salvation". It has been purchased for us in full. But here is the question. Can we receive it? And if we can receive it then here is the next question. Can we keep it? Well of course in our own strength we cannot keep the faith. But will we stay around long enough to see God work within us? Shall we see our God "keep" or "preserve" us, even in the midst of trials and tribulations?
ACTIVE LOVE AND DEVOTION.Yes, we have a great salvation. And the price of our salvation has been paid. It was purchased in full during Passion Week two millennia ago. We also know that we cannot earn this free gift of salvation. We rejoice in the flows of God's grace, and rightly so. Jesus died at Calvary for our sins. He has showered upon us His grace, His "unmerited favor". We have been let off the hook. It is a wonderful reprieve. But is there is more to the covenant than we have been told? Is this escape from eternal punishment all that God's grace will do? Or is there more?
OUR RESPONSE TO THE LOVE OF THE BRIDEGROOM
Our apostle Paul exhorted us to,Philippians 2And no, he is not speaking here about salvation being obtained by our own human effort.
12. "....work out your own salvation with fear and trembling,"
Paul is not advocating a of "works" gospel. We know this for a certainty.
Because in the very next verse he goes on to say,13. "for it is GOD who works in you, both to will and to do His good pleasure."This is active pro-active grace working inside the inner man. The New Covenant is a blood covenant. And yes, it involves a responding action on the part of the Bride. But the energy comes not of ourselves. Rather, the grace comes by the empowering Presence of the indwelling Christ. He has given us His Holy Spirit, and He wants us to be filled to overflowing with Him. The covenant involves us. But there is a pre-requisite. We are being called to surrender up our own self life. Our Messiah wants us to let Him in to all the rooms of our soul and psyche. The New Covenant is a two way commitment involving two parties. The Christian faith is ultimately a continuation and an unfolding of the Abrahamic Covenant. It is a two way agreement between YHVH-God and His covenant people, the children of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
So the New Covenant is a mutual two way blood covenant commitment unto death.
It must be witnessed by both parties.
Have our pastors and teachers adequately informed us about these things?
Many of us in the west have played around with Christianity. Our Bible is a closed book. Many of us have “played church”. A religious smörgåsbord has been laid out before us in the religious bazaars. And we are picking and choosing what appeals to us.
This is so sad to report. Most of us in the west have simply not been informed. We do not know that our Christian faith is actually a blood covenant. Few, who call themselves Christians, have even invited Christ into their lives. They do not "know Him" in any real and personal way. We have not yet experienced His inner Life coursing within us. So we drift along in the narcissistic streams of life we see showcased today in the west. Even as Christians we still operate in our own strength and under humanistic guidance. It doesn't work very well. We still lack purpose and meaning in our lives. So we buy all the "self-help" and "human potential" and positive thinking" and "purpose" books in the Christian bookstore to help give our life meaning and "purpose".
The emptiness and the malaise in the western church fails to satisfy. We want more. And we push on to get it. Often we are wont to take "grace" further and further down the river until it becomes "licentiousness". We talk about "personal freedom" for "Me, Myself, and I". But we end up in a wilderness of sin. And like the Lady of Shalott, our love for the coming Bridegroom begins to flicker. While the worthless shepherds smile and take their money today's modern Christians remain starved of the heavenly food. Naturally, they go searching for it. They search for it in all the wrong places. Christians drift on down the river into swamp, a cesspool of "license" and lasciviousness. And in the slough of despair their Christian faith slowly and sadly begins to fade away.
For many in the western merchant church our basic material needs have been met. But our diligence in spiritual matters is just not there. We are inclined to drift in a passive "feed me something I like" sort of faith. Herein lies a great spiritual danger. Christians remain as babes. Swaddled in our material comforts we are 'fat and contented'. There seems to be no need for us to go deeper into the eternal covenant.
So we don't.
Fortunately we serve a God who cares. He loves His covenant people.
And He is going to lead us out of this spiritual quagmire.
He lays out a pathway for us, from
step 1. salvation to
step 2. sanctification to
step 3. glorification.
Our Redeemer takes us on from
step 1. "little children" as babes delighting to be fed the sincere milk of the Word by others,
step 2. "young men" rejoicing in their strength in the faith,
step 3. "fathers", concerned for the welfare of the entire global family of faith.
But most of us in western Christendom are passive in our faith.
We are as little children.
We are still in step 1.
Why is this so?
For new Christians, and many old Christians too, the self-centered 'old man' is still the strongman in our lives. He still wants to rule within us. Under the influence of the world, the flesh, and the Devil, we still give the "old man" the nod to call the shots. And the "old man" will continue to rule over the Church until the day comes when we take our faith seriously. We are being drawn into a love relationship. And in that love we shall respond to the Bridegroom. We shall get up from our beds of ease and answer the knock at the door of our heart. And in the devotion we shall invite the indwelling Christ into all the rooms of our spiritual house.
We keep talking about our great salvation as if it were merely a religious purchase deal. We talk and act as if Jesus purchased a ticket to heaven for us and has nothing further for us. But is this true? Could there more to the Covenant? Is there something more involved here, - something we have not been told?
Well of course there certainly is more to the New Covenant.
But do we want to know about these things?
Do we really want that deeper walk in the Spirit of God?
Unfortunately, for most of us, the answer right now is 'no'.
We have quite enough 'religion' right now, thank you very much. :-)
Obviously this is an unsatisfactory state of affairs.
And quite clearly it cannot continue on forever.
And it won't.
THE WESTERN CHURCH IS IS BETROTHED TO HER RETURNING MESSIAH.This is a very sorry state of affairs in the western church. Over here in the peaceful and pampered western countries our walk with God starts with a 'ticket to heaven'. All too often it stops right there. We let our faith drift. In the narcissistic milieu of our age this has become "normal". We grab our free ticket to heaven and to want nothing more in our relationship with Christ Jesus. We tend to make very little further response to Him in witness to this New Covenant. Like 'Sleeping Beauty' or 'the Lady of Shalott', the Western Church is asleep, and drifting down the river.
SHE IS IN A BLOOD COVENANT RELATIONSHIP WITH HER BRIDEGROOM.
BUT LIKE GOMER SHE HAS GONE OUT INTO THE WORLD TO FIND HER COVERING THERE.
SHE HAS FORGOTTEN HER BRIDEGROOM AND IS STRANGELY UNAWARE OF HER SACRED CALLING.
SHE SLUMBERS IN A SWOON OF PSYCHO-BABEL AND CARNAL SELFISH FANTASIES.
SHE IS ASLEEP. - - - - WHO WILL AWAKEN HER?
The Western Church Slumbers
Painting by John Grimshaw
Click here to go to the John Grimshaw Gallery.
This idleness is very strange behavior for the Church. She is a 'bride to be'. Does she know what this means? In the relationship with her Bridegroom she is highly privileged. She is especially called to be a witness for the Bridegroom in this world. She has been chosen into a glorious destiny. A holy city of 12 gates awaits her, even the New Jerusalem. It is a huge extended household of many mansions or "dwelling places".
It seems that we have forgotten our glorious calling. We are unaware of our magnificent future. As Christian believers we have become slothful. We have tended to slip off into a certain soporific religious slumber.
What if someone does respond to their salvation with enthusiasm? In the 18th century the word "enthusiasm" was a derogatory word used to describe the new Bible believing evangelicals. Their enthusiasm for their Savior seemed strange. It was frowned upon back then. The Church of England padlocked their pews against the preaching of John Wesley. Evangelical fervor was judged as "excessive" or "fanatical" by churchmen of the time. During the Great Awakenings people who began to respond to God's calling in revivals were often told to "settle down".
This still happens today. People who hear God's Word often come under conviction of sin. They may even repent and ask Christ to come into their lives. Some may even be filled with the Holy Spirit and manifest the gifts. People coming into the covenant respond in all parts of their being, and yes, sometimes emotionally. Their subsequent actions often reflect their love for their Savior.
This sort of witness is unsettling to the watching world. Often these responding saints are told to "come back down to earth",. The assumption is that they are merely in some sort of temporary "emotional state". Those who respond in this divine romance with some sort of zeal or new commitment may be cautioned, "Don't try to set the world on fire". They may even be reminded that "we are saved by grace" and warned not to 'add works' to God's free gift of salvation.
Is there something wrong with this picture? Christian believers often respond to the indwelling Christ with an entirely new behavior. Is this something we would merely call 'works'? Or is it possible that this is the "normal" response to the wonder of the New Covenant?
Let us return to the picture of the marriage covenant. How about the response of the prospective Bride to the coming of her Bridegroom? This bridal response is part of the covenant story is it not? Is the New Covenant just to be acted out by a single party, the Bridegroom? How about the response of the prospective bride to her Bridegroom? Is the New Covenant just a one way street?
Well the answer to that question is, "Absolutely not!"
In a blood covenant there are always two parties involved.
Here is another question that calls for an answer. Why is the Bride of Christ in the west still asleep? Why is "Sleeping Beauty" not awake and preparing herself, even as the 5 wise virgins) did? Why is she not attending to her bridal responsibilities in the covenant? This is something that all good brides do as a matter of course, is it not? Why then, is the Bride of Christ being doped down into abject ecclesiastical passivity, languishing in the pews. Why is she allowing herself to be hypnotized, shoved into the lower hierarchical domination of a religious hierarchy and told "shhhh", "be quiet" and "go back to sleep"? The church as Sleeping Beauty now has the Holy Scriptures and the Holy Spirit is waiting to be asked in. The church emerged from the dark ages over 500 years ago. But she still rests at ease in her glass case of stained glass and crystal. And the toxic apple of false man-made religion is still there in her mouth. Why has she shown so little response to the covenant so far?
OUR CHRISTIAN FAITH IS JUST LIKE MARRIAGE.The whole counsel of the Holy Scriptures bears witness to this fact. The Eternal Covenant of the God of Israel is a blood covenant relationship. It is a commitment unto death enacted in bond of love. It is a two way agreement between two parties, those being our Redeemer, (the Bridegroom), and His Bride, the full Congregation of the God of Israel spread out around the globe.
IT IS A BLOOD COVENANT RELATIONSHIP.
IT IS FULL COMMITMENT; EVEN UNTO DEATH.
Let us take a moment here to remember our own wedding, (if we are married). If we take a look at the painting above, we realize that a true bride is not passive. Not at all. She takes a very active and important part in proceedings. She has an essential role of witness before Bridegroom and the watching world. Look at her. She is responding to the Presence of her Bridegroom as He approaches. Underneath the signature of the Bridegroom the Bride signs her name. For Christians in the Sudan that act of witness will cost them their lives. Like any bride, the true Bride of Christ, takes a very active part in all the proceedings. She is bringing her witness to her Bridegroom before all who are present and watching. She is vitally, actively, and romantically involved in all of the festivities.
Here is the gist of the matter. The true Bride of Christ loves her Bridegroom! She knows that it may cost her her life to sign on the dotted line beneath that of her Bridegroom. But she signs her life away anyway. She is a Bride! She is prepared to testify of her love for her Betrothed, come what may.
And our returning Messiah has a glorious plan for His saints.
Out there in her future is a magnificent destiny that beggars description!
So as the Church comes towards the eventual Marriage Supper of the Lamb she is not to remain just a slave. And she is certainly not just a purchased concubine. Up ahead in a climactic marital ceremony with the returning King the true bride walks in beauty and in grace. She loves her Beloved and is 100% sold out to Him. She has committed herself to Him forever!
This, dear saints, is what the end time drama is all about. Blood covenant commitment unto death is what makes genuine Christianity awesome beyond words. A prospective Bride, God's covenant people, will be the prime witness when the Ancient of Days sits and the courts of heaven are opened. The true church, or Congregation of Israel, will testify before the world of her love for Yeshua Hamashiach/Jesus Christ. And if need be she will bring forth her witness walking through blood and fire, before men and angels. She will demonstrate this marvelous unconditional Agape love her Bridegroom gave her. And she will do so as long as she has breath within her.
Yes, true Christianity goes beyond the salvation "deal". This is a level of faith that is higher than the just a purchase of a cheap "ticket to heaven". Blood covenant issues will come up for consideration in those awesome future days of the final seven years of this age. The New Covenant involves a relationship with God that is far deeper and more awesome than we as westerners know. The blood covenant we have entered into with Jesus Christ goes beyond any business style "contract". It is not a "deal" that is canceled on a whim such as we have in our present day merchant society. Blood covenant is an eternal "blood covenant unto death". It is forever. Blood covenant means "blood for blood". It is like our marriage ceremony. It is "Until death do us part". This, dear saints, is the true "bottom line".
The relationship of true Christians to Christ is just as deep and binding as that of any true bride with her bridegroom. Her level of commitment in the marriage covenant is total. It is absolute. It is not dependent on how the bride-to-be 'feels' about it at the time. The marriage covenant is a blood covenant written in eternity. It is a relationship of total commitment unto death. Marriage was instituted by God. It is a reflection of the higher covenant between YHVH, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all of His covenant people.
IS THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST A TRUE BRIDE?With that picture in mind, here then is the question. Having purchased our salvation with His blood is it likely that our Savior is going to set forth anything different to the patterns He has already instituted in marriage? Are the roles for the Bride of Christ and her Bridegroom to be any different to the pattern God has established in marriage? Is the Bride of Christ passive and out of the loop, as we see in the pre-tribulation rapture scenario? Is Christ, our Bridegroom, going to stroll in, sign and seal the New Covenant all by Himself, and then just go in and "pick up" the bride and carry her off without her knowing what is going on? The end time drama is all about the covenant business of the Most High God. Is the Bride of Christ to be left out of the ceremonies? Is the Wife of the Lamb "out of the loop"?
IS SHE VITALLY INVOLVED IN FAMILY BLOOD COVENANT MATTERS?
OR IS SHE JUST A PURCHASED BUT UNINVOLVED CONCUBINE?
Messiah is surely coming back again to this earth. He will judge the wicked. Then He will be coming to gather His single Elect and take them off to His mansions in the glory. But how about this pre-tribulation Rapture of an unsuspecting uninvolved 'bride' leaving early without Israel? Does it sound like the way our God does things? Is this all there is to the execution of the New Covenant? Or is there more? Have we heard the 'rest of the story'?
The basic question comes down to this. Is the Bride of Christ merely a "tag along" "do-nothing" sort of woman who waits around waiting to be picked up? Is she just a purchased possession awaiting transport? Is she not personally involved with proceedings. Sort of like a concubine?
Here is another question. Do things just "happen" to this would be bride? Do events happen to her without her knowing about it? Is she surprised by the return of Messiah as if He were a thief in the night? Or is that just the experience of the wicked? Is the woman absent from the final witness and the final showdown of this age?
An awesome Blood Covenant end-time drama in God is up ahead in our future somewhere. It will unfold in the fall feasts during the autumn of some future year. And holy history will come to its glorious climax.
God is still on the throne. He is the Source of all our personal and cultural inspirations. We have inspirations for adventure and inspirations for romance. Who put these holy desires and powerful emotions in the bosom of men and women? Was it not our Creator? Were we not created in His own image? Are we not called into a consecrated relationship characterized by fidelity and devotion in love? Pick up any great novel. In any great adventure or romance do we not see that great love put to the test? Is such an idea really all that strange to us?
ISSUES OF THE END-TIME SEES THE RISING SPECTER OF FEAR.Well here we are. In times to come things will change. Our faith and patience could suddenly be put to the test very dramatically. At some point in our lifetime we could find ourselves suddenly thrust into the climax of history.
EVANGELICALS IN THE WESTERN CHURCH BEGIN TO FRET AND WORRY.
THE TRIBULATION PERIOD IS MISREPRESENTED AS "THE WRATH OF GOD". SADLY BIBLICAL CHRISTIANS ARE ENTERTAINING THOUGHTS OF DESERTION.
As we look at the end-time truths outlined in holy scripture we can initially become quite alarmed. We might complain, "Nobody warned us!" We might not expect to be challenged to this degree. Some might snarl, "This is a raw deal!" The specter of desertion by a portion of the present day Church is too awful to dwell on. But it is entirely possible that many who call themselves Christians could walk out on God in times to come. Moses warned of this in his closing address to the Church in the wilderness. The Old Testament prophets said that just "a remnant would return". Jesus said that "strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, and few that be that enter therein". Our Apostle Paul warned us that their would be a 'great falling away' from the faith or a 'great apostasy'.
A Runaway Bride! The Western Church?
Let us pray it never comes to this.
The 1999 movie, 'Runaway Bride' starred Julia Roberts.
The image is by Paramount Pictures.
SOME GOOD NEWS FOR THE BRIDE OF CHRISTBut as Western Christian believers we must not be despondent or disheartened. There is some exceedingly good news to report. Contrary to what we have been told, God, by His Holy Spirit will be with us! He will be covering us right through to the very last day. That is when our commission, the Great Commission, expires. There will in fact be an End-Time Revival. This will turn out to be a serendipity. We shall find ourselves being drawn, even wooed, into a newer and deeper relationship with YHVH-God, the God of Israel. He is God Almighty, the God who was, is, and evermore shall be. He has expressed Himself abundantly and quite clearly over these past four millennia. His Good News is one of total commitment and lovingkindness. The prophet Hosea said that God and His people, His holy city, were to compared to a Husband and His Bride.
AS SHE CONTEMPLATES THE "FINAL WITNESS".
THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL BE WITH US!
We cannot avoid it. End Time Holy history is up there in our future. It will turn out to be a grand adventure. It is also a divine romance. God is in control. He is the Sovereign of the cosmos. And He has written the play ahead of time, even the romance of the ages. Many of these romance elements are seen in the Song of Solomon. Awesome realities are destined to unfold.
Whether we like it or not, the scriptures tell quite a different story to what we have been told. We, as Christian believers, are due to go up on the stage of history. This is the divine drama of the latter days. This is the high adventure and the divine romance in God. It goes far beyond the cheap, low grade melodrama churned out by Hollywood. It is a romance and an adventure far more wonderful than what we see today in the depraved and debauched culture of the west. And we shall be there, center stage, before kings and rulers, and before men and angels.
So the would-be Bride of Christ is in the loop here.
And she faces a crucial 'choice'.
What is she going to do?
This will be the burning question in times to come. Is the Church to be unaware and passive in the Rapture, as our present day Bible prophecy teachings have suggested? Will God’s faithful witnesses be engaged in cheap, Hollywood style melodrama? Is the end time merely a boring, ho-hum story of survivalist Christians scurrying around like rats after being 'Left Behind'. Or is the truth something entirely different? What does the Bible tell us? Might the true Bride of Christ have a vital, even magnificent, role to play in the end-time drama?
Moses said that God will "call out" His remnant Elect, even "a kingdom of priests and a holy nation." (Exodus 19:6)
The Apostle Peter said the same thing. (1Pet.2:9) He echoed the words of Moses saying,"But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation;God will woo His true remnant Elect. He will draw them out of the present day Church and out of present day Israel. His true Bride will come into unity and restoration as a glorious remnant Elect in the crucible of the End-time. (Micah 2:12-13) This will not be a unity established by church-state or church-mammon wheeler dealing. Rather, this peace and unity will come in the refining of the gold the crucible of the end-time. A new blood covenant commitment to Jesus Christ/Yeshua Hamashiah will flow forth as gold. This will be the glory of the end-time, even as pure gold that flows forth from the crucible. Messiah Himself, as the Refiner, will be the author and the finisher of our faith. And He will do this strange work in the drama of the end time. He Himself will work in the hearts of His people. And by this inner working of the New Covenant He will bring about the re-union and restoration of all Israel.
that you should show forth the praises of Him who has called you
out of darkness into His marvelous Light." (1Pet.2:9)
God is at work in His people even now. And in the fullness of time the true Bride of Christ will emerge. She is in the world now. But like Cinderella early in the story she is not too obvious right now. She has been kept out of present day proceedings. But nevertheless, she must go up onto center stage in the times to come. There she will bring her testimony before kings and rulers.
History demands it.
The Church simply cannot be absent or passive in the end-time. She cannot just walk out on her Bride groom like that. She cannot 'go AWOL'. She must be present in the bridal proceedings. She is the key witness and key player in the unfolding of that climactic future time. Holy history will call for her 5th seal testimony. When the four horsemen have finished their ride through modern history and the first four seals and four horsemen have completed their run then the 5th seal 'final witness' of the Church will be called for. This is what has been written in the scriptures. It is an essential part of the story.
So here we see the Bride of Christ. There she stands before the watching world. What will she do? Will she try to escape from her glorious destiny? Or will she stay? Will she testify of her love for her Beloved? Will she sign on the dotted line next to the signature of her Beloved? And will she follow-up on the commitment she made in Word and in deed?
We know the answer. The scriptures are clear. The true Bride of the Lamb will be seen in glory. And the Bride will most certainly bring in her witness. (Dan.12) And when all is said and done, a great and glorious company of saints from all races, nations, and tongues will gather before the throne of God. Rev.7, Rev.20)
What a magnificent witness she will bring!
And what a vision of splendor the watching world will see!
THE BRIDE OF CHRIST ENTERS INTO THE COVENANT IN THE END TIME.
AND SO SHE BECOMES THE WOMAN OF DESTINY JOHN SAW IN REV. 12.
We see the woman of destiny all through the scriptures.
Who shall wear the starry crown?
Click on the image to go to
'the rest of the story'.
Art used by permission of
Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
Visit her 'Revelation Illustrated' website.
A wonderful picture of her is seen in the Song of Solomon.
We see an overcomer coming to her moment of victory.
The daughters of Jerusalem are amazed.
In wonder they ask,"Who is this who arises as the dawn,
fair as the moon,
bright and dazzling as the sun,
and as awesome as an army with banners?!"
- Song of Songs 6:8-10
Our Judeo-Christian God/YHVH is our Savior.
He gave His body and His blood for us.
He is worthy or our most ardent zeal and devotion.
He came out of heaven and into our cosmos.
We saw Him in the flesh as Jesus Christ.
He is the Sacrifice Lamb, the Holy One of Israel.
The prophets of Israel saw Him as the Light to the Gentiles.
(Isa.42:6, 49:6, 60:3)
Now, He is the Head of the Church. (1Cor.3:11, 1Tim.2:5)
There is no other.
What can we say about our God? He is the Ancient of Days, the sovereign Ruler who oversees all history? Is He not the Author of all drama, even the end-time drama? Has He not written "The Play" in which we now finds ourselves taking a part? And didn't He "write the Book" on romance which all others have had to either follow or to twist?
As we come into the final acts of this age we need to ask ourselves some serious questions. God has always called for a witness among men for the great things He has done in His covenant. Shouldn't we expect our God to continue to do this? Shouldn't we expect Him to remain true to His divine character? Isn't this Jesus Christ we see expressed in the Holy Scriptures"The same yesterday, today, and forever"?And our Lord Jesus is a gracious Bridegroom is He not? That being the case, wouldn't it be expected that the Father would call for a witness? And wouldn't He give the Bride an opportunity to have her say in the matter?
Let's think about the Bride for a moment. The Bride is coming to love her Bridegroom more and more as we come into the threshold of the Divine Romance and the End-Time Revival. How would she be expected to feel about this? Wouldn't a true bride cherish an opportunity to bring her witness before those assembled, even before a cloud of witnesses? Wouldn't a true bride actually desire with great passion to testify of the love she has with her beloved? Would she not actually seek an audience before men and the watching angels? And wouldn't her testimony and her bridal witness set her apart from a purchased concubine.
This is sad to have to report but nevertheless true. There are many power hungry Christian pretenders out there who are grasping the authority of Christ. They are in this for the sake of gaining power. And they want the power for themselves. There are also may are the "gold-digger" or "cargo cult' Christians. These people are like Simon Magus who asked the Apostle Paul to give him the spiritual gifts for him to make money. These are those who follow the way of Balaam for filthy lucre.
Magnificent events are set to unfold the times to come. The final drama will be acted out. And the woman of Revelation 12 will unveiled in all her magnificence. She will be revealed for who she really is. The Bride of Christ is a company of saints destined for a holy city more glorious than we can presently imagine. (Rev. 21)
THE END TIME DRAMA IS A STORY OF TWO WOMEN.
ONE IS THE WOMAN OF WONDER SEEN IN REV. 12.
THE OTHER IS THE HARLOT JOHN SAW IN REV. 17 & 18.
As the end-time drama unfolds it will be plainly seen to be a story of two women. One of them is true and faithful. The other is not. Even in the midst of her trials the true Bride is more precious than rubies. She is quite a bit different from that other woman, the partially committed two-timing harlot. John saw the harlot emerge riding a beast of ten horns. (Revelation 17). Then he saw her destroyed by fire. (Revelation 18)
John sees a vision of the harlot church in the end-time.
Art used by permission of
Pat Marvenko Smith, copyright 1992.
Visit her 'Revelation Illustrated' website.
And so it must come to pass that Christian history will eventually cross a new threshold. Those future days will call for a level of commitment we in the modern or post-modern western church have never seen before.
Our present society loves to ask questions about "feelings". Many a news reporter has asked the question, "How do you feel about that?" Most of our decisions and "choices" revolve around our feelings. And we often make our decisions based on how we answer that question.
OK, lets get "sensitive" here and explore our feelings.
How would you feel if - you attended a wedding with a passive non responding bride? What if the girl was given no opportunity to show her face at the ceremonies. What if she refused to turn up to be pictured with her beloved? What if she refused to sign and publicly witness the marriage covenant she had with her bridegroom before God and before men? What if the bridegroom alone signed the marriage document? How would you feel if you saw the bridegroom sign the register all by himself? Meanwhile, the would-be bride is just standing idly by, chewing gum and looking out the window. You are at a "wedding". But something is missing. You clearly observe that the woman has been given no chance whatsoever to make a public profession of her love and her commitment to her bridegroom. The bridegroom signs the book then closes it shut. Then snatching his 'tag along bride' he hustles her out the door.
This is a strange sort of wedding isn't it? The wedding ceremony has come to an abrupt end. The show is over. But the bride has not been given a chance to witness or demonstrate the love and commitment she has for her bridegroom!
Well here is the question.
How would you feel about that sort of a wedding?
Would that be OK do you think?
OUR BLOOD COVENANT COMMITMENT TO CHRIST IS EXCLUSIVE.Dear brothers and sisters in Christ. If we are true to our God then our commitment to Him will also be total and absolute. As Christian believers we are all members of the Body of Christ. We have been redeemed. We have been purchased by the shed blood of the Son of God. Our Bridegroom came to this earth 2,000 years ago. He came bearing the bridal price, the gift of our salvation. Now we are saved! We are born again into a new Life in Him. We are His witnesses! Heaven and earth will be watching us as this age comes to its appointed climax.
AND OUR DEVOTION TO OUR RETURNING BRIDEGROOM IS TOTAL.
So how do we respond to this? Do we just slip the New Covenant in our back pocket and forget it? Do we continue to view it as just a "ticket to heaven"? Is this great salvation merely a modern version "indulgence" sold to the crowds by the lukewarm latter day Laodicean church? Do we tell our Savior, 'thanks very much', and then turning our back on Him just walk back out into the world to go about our own business? Is that all that our covenant of salvation with Christ/YHVH involves? Is our relationship with the Bridegroom just a one way street with Him giving His Life and blood and us just grabbing the "ticket to heaven" and walking off to pursue our own business?
God forbid that we should accept that low grade ecclesiastical "deal". We have a far higher calling and more glorious destiny than that. We are invited into a marvelous Eternal Covenant with the Everlasting God. Our ticket to heaven is very wonderful. But it is just the beginning of our great salvation. It cost the of our Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ His life blood. He paid the bridal price for our salvation. This is not just a reprieve from hellfire. It is the pathway to eternal glory! Our salvation came to us because of God's love. He was the One who sought us out while we were yet sinners. Are we not to bear witness to Him in this?
God sows His Seed upon the earth and into the lives of His covenant people. There is a harvest. For some it is 30 fold, some 60 fold, and some one hundred fold. Our salvation is just the beginning! Our Lord, our Ishi, Jesus/Yeshua wants to take us further! He plans for us to follow Him. The pathway leads through a strait and difficult gate and along a narrow way. It is not the broad way. And yes, it can be a road of suffering.
But nevertheless, this is the road to glory!
It is the Paradise Road.
In the Everlasting Covenant we are His body, - we are His bride. We belong to Him. Are we just to continue on as passive non-responding recipients of His bountiful gift of salvation?
Are we never to grow up into maturity in the faith?
Our God is a gracious God. And yes, it is true that the bridal price has been fully paid. The bill was taken care of by the Bridegroom, our Redeemer. His blood purchased our redemption completely and totally at the cross of Calvary. We cannot add to that blood of atonement. All our human efforts towards that end are fatally flawed and totally useless. The blood He shed for us is holy. In purchasing this great salvation our Savior could receive no help from sinful men. All our attempts to render ourselves acceptable to God based on our own dead works are in vain. As the scriptures state,"All our righteousness is as filthy rags". -Isa.64:6
"For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. -Rom.3:23
"Not by works of righteousness which we have done,
but according to His mercy, He saved us...." -Titus 3:5
That truth is well established. Indeed, our salvation and our privilege in entering the new covenant was purchased 100% by the atoning blood of our Savior. Jesus Christ, our Redeemer has paid the bridal price for His church. But here is the question that calls out for an answer.
In the outworking of that Eternal Covenant is there not a new life stirring in the heart of the future bride? And in the day in which her witness of the covenant is called for will she not step forward and sign on the dotted line?
These matters should be self-evident. Is it not to be expected that there will be a response by the Bride to this magnificent work of redemption? Is our witness to that purchase agreement of no consequence? Once the bridal price has been paid to the Father of the bride and that legal issue is settled and concluded is that all there is to the Covenant? Is the wedding over? Or does not the bride too have her part to play in the co-signing and the sealing of the covenant?
Well this of course is the essential question and one that our western Church of Laodicea has tried to avoid answering. Wouldn’t it be expected that the Church, as the Bride of Christ, play an important part in these blood covenant proceedings? After all, will not God's covenant people be present at that magnificent celebration at the end of this present age?
Will she not be present, and robed in glory, at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb? And if so, how did she emerge from a wretched and wicked world with such wonderful character?
The Holy Scriptures prophesy that our Bridegroom will sit at table with a glorious bride. She is in the picture, she is in the loop, and she is responsive to her Bridegroom. She is, in fact, a bride who has made herself ready. (Rev.19:7)
Will she not be dressed in white,
even the righteousness of the saints? (Rev.19:8)
Will she not be resplendent with glory,
even of gold refined in the fire? (Zech.13:9, Rev.3:18)
BLOOD COVENANT CHRISTIANITY IS FIRST AND FOREMOST A MATTER OF THE HEART.AS Christian believers we are not passive in this Eternal Covenant. By the Holy Spirit we are revived. The Life of Christ stirs within us, wooing us, drawing us onward towards the gates of glory. And we awaken, as if from a dream. We may have once been lost and drifting down the river like the Lady of Shalott Gomer. But now, in Christ, things have changed. And in His Presence we enter into a serendipity. Oh yes, we now know that as Christian believers coming to the end of the age our lives are in jeopardy. But wonder of wonders! We find that we are now more alive than we have ever been before. In a divine epiphany we become aware of things happening around us that are exciting and unexpected. We have entered into a blood covenant. It is the same Eternal Covenant which Abraham our father knew. And in that blood covenant we discover that we are far from passive. And as the latter days draw near we have a vital and essential role to play. Our witness is being called for. And now we are being beckoned to the stage of history.
AND IT RESPONDS WITH ACTION, FULLY EMBRACING THE END-TIME WITNESS.
BLOOD COVENANT IS A TWO WAY STREET.There are two sides to any blood covenant agreement. This includes the Abrahamic Covenant which is ultimately fulfilled in the New Covenant. In our western church today there is almost no teaching on our faith as a two way blood covenant relationship with God. Instead the New Covenant has been rewritten in the merchant language of contract law. So now the Eternal Covenant with YHVH/Jesus Christ/Yeshua Hamashiach becomes a "deal". In "the deal" we are taught that Jesus gave His all. We put our hand up for a free ticket to heaven.
It's simple! That's all there is to it! (Or so they say.)
This is all very wonderful of course, as far as it goes.
This is the beginning of a wonderful new life in Christ.
But is there more to the New Covenant than this?
And if so, have we been told?
In Bible numerics the number "two" is the number of "witness". Similarly, we see this in the marriage procession in our churches to this day. The bride's family sits on one side. The groom's family are on the other. Both parties are called to witness the covenant.
When we pray we place both our hands together. It is a sign of the everlasting covenant between ourselves and our God. As we praise God we raise both hands toward heaven signifying that we are a witness to the covenant of Christ. BOTH sides will witness any true covenant. Blood covenant is always a two way accord.
It always has been that way.
And it always will be.
Let us pause and reflect on the wedding ceremony again. A marriage is the climax of a covenant of betrothal. In our western culture is it not fully expected that a bride will go before the watching world in witness to her bridegroom on her special day? Is it not normal procedure for a true bride to publicly bear witness to her marriage covenant? Do we not expect that the bride will co-sign the register with her Bridegroom before all those gathered? And on this day of wonder and weeping is she not declaring her love and her union with the One she loves?
It is in this crucial area that our present Laodicean style church teachings have sold us short. It has become popular to refer to the moment when Jesus cried out from the cross, "It is finished", as the completion of the New Covenant. But wasn't Jesus referring to His finished work of sacrifice on the cross? If the New Covenant had been finished up by our Redeemer 2,000 years ago then why didn't He wrap things up right then and there? Why didn't He emerge from the grave, judge the wicked and glorify His saints at that time? Why has He been waiting around for these past two millennia? If the full burden of the New Covenant was complete back then in 32 A.D. then why didn't He assume His office as Messiah, judge the nations, and establish His Millennial Kingdom right then and there?
What was He waiting for?
And what is He waiting for even now?
SIGNED! SEALED! DELIVERED!Is there something that must be seen before the Bridegroom goes off with His Bride? Well in the wedding ceremony we know what that is. The Bride signs the covenant before witnesses. And Jesus Himself told us quite clearly what must happen before he returns.
THE COVENANT CANNOT BE EXECUTED UNTIL IT HAS BEEN WITNESSED.
IT MUST BE SIGNED AND SEALED BY THE COVENANT PEOPLE OF GOD.
THIS IS NECESSARY BEFORE IT CAN BE DELIVERED.
Here are His very words."And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the worldThe verse above seems to be a key to the covenant as it applies to the Apocalypse. It seems that the job of witnessing to the nations must be wrapped up before this age comes to an end. Only then shall see the second coming of Christ.
for a witnessunto all nations,
and then shall the end come." (Mat.24:14)
So just who did God have in mind to bring this epic final witness. Who will be bringing their testimony before kings and rulers and before all nations up until the time of the end? Well it seems that God's covenant people, (His Church), were going to be involved. His Elect would be spreading the Gospel to the ends of the earth. Through an avenue of grace God's Christian, (and returning Jewish), Elect would be divinely enabled to bring their witness to Jesus Christ/Yeshua Hamashiach. Empowerment for witness would come by the inner working of the Holy Spirit. Christ is the head of His church. His people are His body. We live in vital union with Him. Before this age ends the Body of Christ is destined to bring in the final witness. Then comes the return of Messiah and the grand finale to holy history.
The Bride of Christ, even in a time of great travail, is destined to be resplendent in white, even the righteousness of the saints. She will purchase the 'gold refined in the fire' and be covered in the glory of her Father. Her partial blindness will be healed and she will see clearly for the first time. And in the power of this epic and climactic Holy Spirit outpouring the Bride of Christ will come into the End-Time Revival that Joel saw. (Joel 2:28-32) All this will be seen by the watching world.
THE NEW COVENANT IS A BLOOD COVENANT.The New Covenant we have with Christ began a long time ago. It is a blood covenant. Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Sacrifice Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. - Rev.13:8 The sacrifice of Jesus Christ at Calvary as our Passover Lamb began the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant. Our Gospel came out of the very same blood covenant which YHVH, the God of Israel, cut with Abraham 4,000 years ago. Our spiritual father, Abraham, was present as a witness when that original Everlasting and Eternal Covenant with YHVH was cut. The scriptures bear testimony that he was present. - Gen.15. But did he walk it out in his own strength? No, he did not. Abraham's covenant partner, YHVH-God walked through the blood of the covenant for Himself and for his partner Abraham. There was one set of footprints in the blood. Abraham was being carried across a threshold.
IT IS THE FULFILLMENT OF THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT.
This is a magnificent story. God took Abraham out and showed him the stars. He asked Abraham if he could number them. Then He declared to Abraham,
"So shall your descendants be!"
Brothers and sister in Christ, here is something we have yet to realize.
We in the Church, along with returning Judah, are that myriad company of saints!
God respected and honored Abraham. He is our spiritual father. (Gal.3:29) Abraham was a witness to that covenant way back at the beginning. Abraham entered into covenant with YHVH, whose name means 'the God who was, is, and ever more shall be'. When he entered into this two-way blood covenant the saga of the Judeo-Christian people truly began.
Of course Abraham was awed and overwhelmed by it. -Gen.15 God came to Abram as His covenant partner at nightfall. God gave him His Spirit, and part of His name. The "h" in the breath of God turned Abram into Abraham. And to complete the covenant exchange YHVH became the "God of Abraham". Animals were cut right down the middle when that original covenant was "cut". (Gen.15)
Blood is always shed in the making of a blood covenant. This goes beyond "choice". What we are looking at here is total commitment. How can we insist that our teenagers come into responsible commitment if twe water down our faith? Unfortunately the "Christianity" we have in the west falls so far short in the commitment department. So much so that Christians refuse to embrace true blood covenant Christianity. Corrie Ten Boom has given us a very important warning about this very thing.
Abraham was God's covenant partner. So too are we. It is by faith in Christ, who is the 'Seed of Abraham', that we come into the family of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This happens when we cry out to God to save us. Our salvation comes by the shed blood of Christ. Christ is the promised Sacrifice Lamb, the Seed of Heaven, and the Seed of Abraham. When we are born again we receive Him into our hearts and into our lives. The indwelling Christ within every true Christian believer is the Seed of Abraham. He is the Seed who brings forth within us our new identity in Christ. And so we become "new creatures".
Is our identity in the Seed of Abraham just a religious matter? With the unfolding of the end time drama we shall discover that the New Covenant is more than this. Both offices of Melchizedek, the political and the religious authorities, the kingdom and priesthood, will be filled by our returning Messiah. He is our High Priest and King of Kings. He is priest and king after the Order of Melchizedek. (Ps.110:4) In covenant with our Messiah we shall bear witness to both anointings.
Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Prince of Israel. When we are born again as new creatures we leave our heathen/goyim past. Christ/Mashiach brings us into our new national identity. As incredible as it seems our true Christian identity is in the Commonwealth or Citizenship of Israel. (Eph.2:12-13) As a wild olive branch we are grafted into the olive tree of Israel. (Rom. 11:17)
The Bible also bears witness that toward the end of this age the covenant people of God will preach the 'Gospel of the Kingdom'. This sounds decidedly political. So we know that the coming of Christ as Messiah is more than just a religious matter. And as we can readily see from the Apocalyptic books of Daniel and Revelation the reality of earthly politics will definitely be involved. In fact the nations will be raging. King David wrote a song about this 3,000 years ago. (Ps.2)
This still sounds strange to us. But it is in the Seed of Abraham, not just our national or racial seed, that we find our true eternal identity. Jesus Christ entered His city of Jerusalem 2,000 years ago riding on a donkey. As our Kinsman Redeemer came bearing the bridal price. And that price was measured out in His blood. He is destined to be the banner and standard for the peoples. In Him we find the only esteem we shall ever need. - Mat.13:44 He has left us a great treasure hidden in a field. In Him we begin to discover, and come to possess, our inheritance. In the covenant the Testator in His death has left us great expectations. He has left us an eternal dwelling place in His Kingdom, and mansions of glory.
As we have seen, the saga of the redemption of this planet and its people is very much a family business. It is the family business of the children of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. As the scriptures testify,
"If ye be Christ's then are ye Abraham's seed
and heirs according to the promise". (Gal.3:29)
THE NEW COVENANT CHRIST MAKES WITH INDIVIDUALS WILL GO ONContrary to what we have been told, God is not through with the nation of Israel. He will use the New Covenant he makes within human hearts to fulfill the Old Covenant He made with the Nation of Israel. This is truly amazing! The New Covenant is the outworking of the Old Covenant through the promised Seed of Abraham. Then God turns around and uses the New Covenant He makes within individual hearts to restore the Old Covenant He made with the nation of Israel. Wrapped up in this restoration of Israel is the promised great Light to the Gentiles. bringing salvation to the ends of the earth. - Isa.49:6 In such a manner YHVH's grand restoration project will come full circle.
TO FULFILL THE OLD COVENANT GOD MADE WITH THE NATION OF ISRAEL.
So just how will the New Covenant we have in Christ go on beyond the lives of individuals to restore the nation of Israel? God is obviously planning a full and total restoration here! Just how does He propose to do this?
Well His plan here is no secret.
Repeatedly, back in the Old Testament, God has said He would restore the nation of Israel. Here in the verses below we see just how He will go about it.Jeremiah 31:31-34The New Covenant we have in the Church/Ecclesia/Congregation of Christ is therefore the fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant. -Gen. 15 It is a blood covenant relationship based on a great salvation that comes in by grace through faith in the blood of the promised Sacrifice Lamb. Indeed our Lord Jesus Christ is the Seed of Abraham. He came in the flesh as that ultimate Sacrifice Lamb. He shed His blood "giving His life as a ransom for many". (Mat:20:28) The task of bearing witness to His great salvation and His righteous rule within men's hearts, would go out beyond the borders of Israel. It would involve the preaching of this "Good News"/Gospel of salvation to all nations. The Light went out to the gentiles in an enormous worldwide missionary outreach. It would bring these new believers into the Commonwealth of Israel. (Eph.2:12-13) This witness was going out beyond the DNA genetic riverbed of national/racial Israel. Like the Jordan River, the Seed of Israel would overflow national riverbanks of Israel all the days of the harvest. (Josh 3:15) These waters of Life would go out as a flood to the surrounding heathen gentile nations. Ultimately it would bring in a magnificent harvest. The Seed of Abraham, Jesus our Savior, would enter into humble human hearts out among the nations. The Gospel is even now being preached to the ends of the earth.
31. "Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah-- 32. not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. 33. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord:
I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts;
and I will be their God, and they shall be My people."
Jesus Christ/Yeshua Hamashiach is Israel's "Light to the Gentiles". (Isa.42:6-7) The the end of the story will see the fullness of the Gentiles will be brought in. Then National Israel will be saved even as Jerusalem is surrounded by the armies of the nations at the Battle of Armageddon. (Joel 2:28-32) The royal Jewish house of Judah will be saved to rejoin the wider Commonwealth of Israel. Both houses will be re-united together as one single remnant Elect. (Rom.11) The throne of David will be restored by the returning Christ. He is the Lion of the Tribe of Judah (Rev.5:5) and our coming Messiah. (Zech.12:7-13:1)"And so all Israel shall be saved".-Rom.11:26
AT PENTECOST THE COVENANT GOD MADE WITH ISRAEL OVERFLOWED INTO THE GENTILE NATIONS. THE HOLY SPIRIT OUTPOURING WILL CONTINUE TO POWER UP AND COME TO A GLORIOUS CLIMAX IN THE END TIME.
The witness to the gentiles began on the Day of Pentecost in that epic summer of 32 A.D. There were 120 committed Jewish saints in that upper room when the Holy Spirit fell. On that day the witness went out mightily into the city of Jerusalem. When Peter preached there were 3,000 saved. But that was just the beginning. That job of witness, of making disciples of all nations, races and tongues was going to take some time. Christ is our Head. We are His body, His church the "ekklesia" or "called out" congregation of saints. His witness flows through us and out to the watching world. We are living epistles, read of men, written not with ink but by the Spirit of the Living God. -see 2Cor.3:3 Jesus said that He would not be concluding this present age, or "generation" until that task of witness was completed. Only then would the end come.
Image from 'Christianity Today'
We now live and witness in the age of the gospel. The gentile church expansion went out from the early first century Jewish church in Jerusalem. From Jerusalem it went on to Judea. From Antioch the main bulk swung westwards into Asia Minor. Today it extends out towards the uttermost parts of the earth. That mission is not finished. It will continue throughout the final seven years of this age until the awesome blow-out climax of this age at the 6th seal. -Joel 2:28-32
GOD'S PEOPLE ARE NOT JUST PASSIVE RECIPIENTS.So we as Christian believers are not passive in the covenant. We are His witnesses.
A TRUE BRIDE IS VITALLY INVOLVED IN WITNESS TO
THE COVENANT SHE HAS MADE WITH THE BRIDEGROOM.
Our Christian witness to the Good News is our side of the covenant.
This response we have to the indwelling Christ comes by a ministry of His divine grace. It is not a matter of our "works". Our witness to His Great Salvation flows out of the blessings of the covenant. Our power to witness comes as we open our hearts to Him. And our witness is a response He produces in us by His Holy Spirit. It is a response to His wooing.
It is a response to His love.
This is the "rest of the story".
For how long will this witness period of the Great Commission, (-Mat.28:18-20) be expected to continue? An obscure prophecy in Hosea suggests that the final climactic revival would come 2 millennia of biblical (360 day) years from the last "cutting" prophetic words of God. (-Hos.6:1-2) These cutting words were given in the Olivet discourse in the springtime of 32 A.D..
So why do we assume that the covenant between Christ and His people was all finished 2,000 years ago at the cross? We hear that a lot from the pulpits. Do we like it that way? If so, why? Is it because we only wish to bother ourselves with the legality of our own personal ticket to heaven?
What about our corporate collective identity as the congregation of the elect, the called, the chosen, and the faithful? Are we not individually just one of many saints, a glorious company of God, from all nations and from all historical periods? Do we have a sense of the wonder and the splendor of that great company of which we are members? -Heb. 11:1-12:6 Are we the final runners out on a grand relay race? And will our race take us to that glorious finish line? Are we readying ourselves spiritually to run that race? -Rev.3:18. Is there not a world to win? Do we, as the congregation of saints,"....have promises to keep,
And miles to go before we sleep"?
HAS THE NEW COVENANT BEEN FINALIZED?Here is another issue. Is it possible we could be members of the Laodicean church? Many narcissistic Christians are satisfied with their Christianity as a legal matter, a ticket to heaven and little else. But are we sure that our own personal "deal" or "contract" with Jesus is all signed, sealed and ready to be delivered?
HAS IT BEEN SIGNED AND SEALED?
IS IT READY FOR EXECUTION/DELIVERY RIGHT NOW?
Does our decision to follow Christ "finish" our faith?
Or is being "born again" (-John 3:3-7) just the beginning of our walk? If our Ishi/Beloved, Jesus Christ the "author and finisher of our faith" (-Heb.12:2) can we truthfully say that His work in us is finished?
HISTORY AWAITS THE WITNESS OF THE CHURCHHere is another consideration. Is there not going to be an endtime apostasy, a great "falling away" from the faith by many in the end time drama? -2Thes.2:3
AS WE COME TO THE CLIMAX OF THE AGE.
Didn't Jesus exhort us to patience when He said,"He who endures to the end, shall be saved?" -Mat.24:13And have we, as the collective covenant people of God, completed our role of witnessing the good news of our Lord Jesus Christ to the ends of the earth?
Have we "signed on" to all His wonderful truths?
Have we witnessed and testified to all His power,
all His glory, and all His victory?
Even His victory over death?
Has holy history for this age been wrapped up?
Has the Great Commission been completed?
Has the Gospel been preached to the ends of the earth?- Mat. 24:14
Have we seen all the "greater works" of the Holy Spirit?-Joel 2:28-32
Has the House of David and the whole Jewish house of Judah
repented and been saved?-Zech.12:10-13:1
Has the city of Jerusalem been delivered from the armies
of the nations mustered at Armageddon?-Zech 12:1-9
Has the last lost sheep of the House of Israel been found? -Mat.15:24
Has the pilgrim family of Abraham (-Gal.3:29)
come to the end of their long Journey from Ur?
Have all the covenant people of YHVH, finally come home?
Have they arrived there before the throne,
singing the song of Moses,
before the crystal sea? - Rev.15:2-4
What if the answers to the above questions are "no"? Well then we must conclude, that even though we may be committed Christians individually, the new covenant we have collectively "cut" with the Redeemer is still unsealed. The marriage covenant which we, the corporate Judeo-Christian Elect, have with the Bridegroom, has not yet been fully witnessed. It has not been signed. As committed partners in a blood covenant relationship with God our role has not yet played out to its conclusion. Indeed holy history awaits the completion of our signature and our witness on all its points.
THE NEW COVENANT WILL BE SEALED FOR THE COURTS OF HEAVENWhen will this final signature and the sealing of the New Covenant occur? This momentous event will occur after the four horsemen have exhausted all their strength. This final signing and sealing of the new covenant by God's people will indeed happen just as prophesied. God's elect will indeed sign and seal the covenant and bring it to closure. But when?
AND READY FOR EXECUTION AT A CERTAIN FUTURE TIME IN HOLY HISTORY.
The scriptures show us quite clearly that this climactic apex of Christian witness will occur at the 5th seal. -Rev. 6:9-11, Joel 2:28-32 This corresponds to the final half of the 70th week of Daniel. The time allotted by God for this final witness is the final three and one half years of this age. Indeed this epic and climactic signing and sealing of the everlasting covenant by the saints is what the 5th seal witness is all about. The 6th seal follows with the sign of Christ appearing in the heavens under a darkened sun and a bloody moon. -Rev.6:9-12 At this point, the Second Coming of Christ and the Resurrection-Rapture is imminent.
Dear saints, we may not like this scenario at all. But this is what has been written in the Holy Scriptures. It must be this way.
Because we are not passive in our relationship with Christ. And we cannot be passive, or absent, in the end time. We, after all, are the covenant people of God. The fire of His love burns within the hearts of those who know Him. -Luke 24:32 It is a fire that cannot be extinguished. (Jer.20:9, Song of Songs 8:6) Even the cosmos, the creation no less, awaits our final witness and glorification. The earth and the ecosystem is groaning, awaiting its restoration."For the earnest expectation of the creation,
eagerly awaits the revealing of the sons of God."-Rom.8:19
THE GRAND FINALE TO HOLY HISTORY FOR THIS AGE.Just like in the classic fireworks festival, there is to be a similar grand finale at the end of this age. The climax or peak of the Holy Spirit outpouring will be seen at the end of this age. - Joel 2:28-32 The close of this age will see the completion of the witness of the church. And the 6th seal will follow with the cosmic disturbances and the appearance of the sign of the Son of Man in the heavens.-Mat.24:29-31 and Rev.6:12-17. At His glorious second coming the Holy Spirit outpouring will climax at that time.
And the saints will go out in a blaze of glory. They will find themselves caught up in a magnificent deliverance, -Micah 2:12-13; even as the sun turns to darkness, the moon turns to blood, and the stars fall.-Joel 2:28-32
THE BRIDAL PRICE:The bridal price, the price of our redemption, was enormous.
AND OUR RESPONSE.
God Himself took on flesh, carried our sin, and purchased our salvation.
He sent the Holy Spirit who sanctifies us from within into the likeness of Christ.
He empowers us to do His wonderful work.
Our privileges and responsibilities are far from over. -Mat.28:18-20.
We shall also have responsibilities in the Millennial Kingdom to come. -2Cor.2:11-12, Rev. 20:4-6.
That will continue on in the new heavens and new earth.
Are we aware of the glorious destiny God has planned for us? We shall go out beyond this present earthly station into realms of splendor far beyond description. -Rev.21
Image by gracious permission of photographer Dolores Neilson.
Click on the image above to go to her website.
THE WESTERN CHURCH AT THIS POINT IN TIMESo.
IS THE RELUCTANT AND HALF-ASLEEP BRIDE OF CHRIST.
All that being understood.
Why all this reluctance to co-sign the new covenant as bridal witness alongside the signature of our Bridegroom?
Is the Western Church a ‘runaway bride’? When we take communion do we not sit down at the communion table and drink His cup fully betrothing ourselves to Him? Do we not sup with Him, even as David, "in the presence of our enemies"? -Psalm 23
Why all this fog of forgetfulness in the rich western church today concerning what the cup of Christ really means?
Why all this malaise?
Here we are, camped out once more,
by the rivers of Babylon.
And our harps hang in the willows,
as they did long ago.
We remember, and we long for,
a Holy City yet unseen.
Shall we ever see that City?
Shall we enter through its gates?
Gates of righteousness and mercy?
Shall we see the vision splendid?
Oh yes, we shall arrive at last;
What a Day that will be!
When "the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
And come with singing unto Zion,
And everlasting joy,
shall be upon their heads".- Isa.35:10
We have been ransomed, redeemed, bought back, purchased at an awesome price. -1Cor.6:20
What is our response to this great salvation?
Do we just work and play, watch the ballgame and the soaps on TV, talk with our stockbroker, attend church, and wait around for the rapture?
Is the bride of Christ, passive in the covenant?
Are we, as the bride of Christ merely "purchased goods", awaiting shipment to an upscale piece of property in the New Jerusalem?
THE NEW COVENANT AND THE HEBREW/WESTERN WEDDING BETROTHAL.The New Covenant opens with a betrothal. And in any true Judeo-Christian marriage betrothal the bride always signs the register. She will be present and bear witness to her marriage covenant. If her signature of witness is not inscribed on the document beneath that of or the Bridegroom then such a document cannot be sealed and consummated. And as a matter of law the arrangement would not be a legitimate marriage. Without her witness it will fail to bring forth the glorious consummation that a true bride would long for.
THE BRIDE'S WITNESS, HER SIGNATURE, AND HER SEAL ARE THERE ON THE RECORD.
THESE ARE ALL ESSENTIAL PARTS OF A TRUE MARRIAGE.
Why is an unwitnessed marriage covenant of no value?
Because without her signature such a consort would be showing her indifference to her consort. She would not have publicly declared marriage to the man before God and men. It would be obvious to all that she was there as part of some sort of undeclared sex deal. Without the bridal statement of total commitment, the relationship would not be a marriage at all. Without total spiritual commitment expressed by both parties there would only be weak fleshly and material bonds holding the two together. And without that vital commitment the woman would not be a true bride.
If she was not a bride then what might she be? In the typology she might be a bond slave or the consort of what we might term nowadays a "sugar daddy". At best she could be a "common law" wife. Otherwise she might be a "mistress", or a concubine. Perhaps she might be just out to enjoy the physical blessings the Bridegroom brings, and only for a season here below as well as their ticket to heaven in the sweet by and by. (And sadly, that is all that some Christians want of God.) But in such an uncovenanted earthy relationship where would be the romance and the adventure? The Bridegroom would not really have her heart. And she would not really have experienced the splendor of His love. She would not "know Him". Nor would her heart be committed to go with him through the Valley of Decision and beyond, into that magnificent Marriage Supper that awaits them. As a concubine she would be passive and unresponsive to all this romance and drama. Instead of being a true bride she would out of the loop. She would merely be an indigent or indifferent spectator to an unwitnessed, one-sided, half-baked, incomplete, unfulfilled covenant.
MARRIAGE IS MORE THAN JUST A PURCHASE AGREEMENT OF A WOMAN BY A MAN.Is the marriage covenant the payment of the bridal price and nothing else?
IN SUCH A DEAL THE MAN WOULD BE PIMPING FOR HIMSELF.
AND THE WOMAN WOULD BE A CALL GIRL, A HARLOT, OR A CONCUBINE.
DEVOTION TO CHRIST DRAWS US INTO A LOVE RELATIONSHIP.
IT IS A TWO-WAY BLOOD COVENANT COMMITMENT "UNTO DEATH".
If that were the case then such a transaction would be a unilateral one on the part of the bridegroom. It would then become merely a contract for delivery of the young woman into his household service. If she were not called upon to give her consent or witness then the coupling would be organized around her but not with her. We saw this very scenario played out in that wonderful musical, "Fiddler on the Roof". Such an bridal purchase/dowry deal was contracted between the prospective bridegroom and the father of the bride. The woman in question was not involved. The dowry agreement was consumated, declared to be a done deal, and celebrated before the actual wedding was to take place. But it was a hollow and empty affair. The bride-to-be was not invited into the proceedings. There was no consent and no witness to the covenant. Nor was there a declaration of love by the girl to follow up on that arrangement for a marriage conducted through third parties.
The result was quite predictable and and awful.
There was no wedding; ... and no marriage supper.
THE CHURCH, THE CALLED OUT CONGREGATION OF CHRIST.We all enjoy going to weddings. And we are moved to see the bride and groom make their vows. They totally commit themselves to each other in a blood covenant unto death. And they do this before a host of witnesses. This is where the hankerchiefs come out and the tears are brushed aside. It is a special time of consecration rarely seen in our society. But what if we were to attend a wedding where that did not happen?
IS SHE A TRUE BRIDE?
OR IS SHE JUST A PASSIVE CONCUBINE WITH A PURCHASE/INVOICE TICKET TO HEAVEN?
OK, let us lay out the scene here. What if the man declared himself willing and paid his dowry price. But the girl was absent from the proceedings? How would it be if you attended a "wedding" where the "bride"'s witness and consent was not considered necessary at all? The bridegroom was there. And he proceeded to sign an agreement between just himself and the father of the girl? How would that go down?
In some cultures, sometimes in the Islamic world and in pagan cultures, this very thing happens. The "bride" is not given a chance to respond. Her bridal and marital response is not considered an issue at all. Effectively the man is signing an invoice for the delivery of the girl. She is being purchased and brought into his household service for sexual consort, child bearing, and housekeeping. He signs the agreement for her unilaterally just as he would sign a receipt for a bond slave, or for cattle. The contract would be little more than a bill of lading for the arrival of the man's property, for promised goods. The price paid for her would not be a dowry but only a payment for consort. In such a scenario the girl's consent would not be in the picture. Her response would be assumed and by-passed in the celebration. The woman would be just a passive third party to a financial deal.
Of course this would be preposterous. This would be a far cry from our Judeo-Christian standard for marriage. In such a one sided contract the girl in question would not truly be the covenanted wife of the bridegroom. At best, she would be like Gomer, the unfaithful wife of Hosea, after he purchased her in a slave market. At that stage she would merely be a purchased bond slave or handmaiden.
Is this a far as the relationship will go?
That, dear saints, is the big question for the western church.
Most Christians today are living on the carnal side of their nature.
They have only experienced the lower levels of love, even eros.
But as with Gomer, perhaps the church will go through the Valley of Achor, or tribulation.
And like Gomer, perhaps the church may begin to sing, and to remember her Betrothed.
She may even cease from calling Him "Lord" and start to call Him "Ishi", or "Beloved".
And perhaps in the Valley of Achor the church may learn to love unconditionally,
Even with that higher level of "agape love".
GOMER, THE UNCOMMITTED AND WAYWARD WIFE OF THE PROPHET HOSEA:Is the scriptures we read an amazing love story. It is the saga of Hosea and his wayward wife Gomer. It has been rightly interpreted as a prophecy for national Israel.
IS SHE A 'TYPE' OF THE ESTABLISHED CHRISTIAN CHURCH?
But have we perhaps been inadequately informed about the full extent of this prophecy? Is this Hosea and Gomer story also a prophecy of the wayward compromised western Church?
Gomer would not settle down and commit to her husband, Hosea. Her wanton eyes took in the baubles of the world and she was drawn to secular champions, princes of Rome and the ones that followed. And so Gomer drifted away from her true husband, bringing him terrible grief. She spent many years wandering in the world, commiting adultery with her princely lovers. But as the story unfolds she is betrayed by all of them. Her final fling was the worst of all. And eventually Hosea finds his beloved lost wife. He finds her in a slave market. -Hos. 3:1-2
This is just the way it has been, (and will be again), for YHVH the God of Israel with His wayward people. Hosea purchased his wife Gomer back to himself. He redeemed her, buying her from her taskmasters for 15 pieces of silver. At that stage she is purchased goods, ......and nothing more.
Is this beginning to ring a bell with us?
At that time Gomer had been redeemed. She was certainly very grateful to her Bridegroom for saving her. But she had not yet really learned to love Him as Her Betrothed in any deep and committed sort of a way. Isn't that like us in the western Church today?
Gomer had initially called her betrothed "Baali" or "My Lord". She did not yet know him as "Ishi" or "Beloved". -Hos.2:16 She only really learned to love Him when she made her deeper discoveries. She found her 'Ishi', and fell in love with him in the Valley of Achor (tribulation). -Hos.2:15
She found her Beloved, and would not let Him go. - Song of Songs 3:4 Is that a prophetic picture of God's Judeo-Christian covenant people? Is this a snapshot of what they will experience in the end time?
HAS THE CHURCH ENTERED INTO COMMUNION WITH GOD?Is the receiving of the bridal purchase all that Jesus/Yeshua has for His church?
HAS SHE LEARNED TO RESPOND TO HIS LOVE?
Because that is what is being taught from the pulpits of the untried untested pampered western church. The bridal purchase of Christ for His congregation is being sold on the streets as merely a free ticket to heaven. From a legal standpoint this is a wonderful start. But do we say, "That's all folks!?"
Let's think this over for a bit. If the would-be-bride does not go on to respond in love to the bridal purchase offer and respond by fully committing herself to him alone then who is she? She remains just an object of God's love. She is just a young thing who has not yet come into her character. She has not gone on further to become a responder to love. She does not KNOW HIM! If there is no ensuing love relationship beyond the purchase agreement then she merely continues on as chattel;
She is "purchased goods".
She remains passive in the covenant.
She does nothing.
She is "out of the loop".
DOES THE NON-RESPONDING CHURCH HAVE AMNESIA?Will she go on to the glorious consummation? Maybe.
DOES THE BRIDE REALIZE WHO SHE IS?
If she is brought to a place where she comes to remember.
Remember the Covenant.
And remembers who she really is.
But what if she is comfortable and content with her "ticket to heaven".
What if she wishes to go no further in the relationship than that?
Perhaps this "easy believism" would be easy for her and she would remain popular with her friends.
But in such a scenario is she really and truly a called out bride?
It is questionable.
THE BELOVED IS THE DIVINE VISITOR.In the Song of Songs, the Shulamite had a second disturbing dream. In this dream her Beloved came knocking at the door. But she was too pre-occupied with her own comfort to respond. She does not get up to open to Him. He disappears. As the story unfolds she finally leaves her house of ease and goes out looking for Him. She enters into some trials and tribulations. She is struck by the watchmen of the city. They take away her veil. In all of this she never ceases from seeking and testifying of her absent Shepherd lover. -Song of Solomon 5:2-8 Why was she struck by the watchmen? In her self absorbed state the Shulamite had lost her honor in the eyes of the world.
HE IS KNOCKING AT THE DOOR OF OUR HEARTS.
HE WANTS TO COME INTO OUR LIVES AND TALK WITH US.
HOW SHALL WE RESPOND?
The western church today is in that very same situation. She is comfortable. She knows that her Betrothed is "out there somewhere". Meanwhile she is preoccupied with herself, engaging in a fruitless narcissistic pursuit of “self esteem”. Yet she never finds happiness and satisfaction. Why is this so?
The answer is simple. True happiness lies in the very devotion she and her psychologist friendss have studiously avoided. She is the bride of Christ. Her true esteem is only to be found in Him!
The western church is not like that today. What is wrong with us? Why all this spiritual indifference to the blood Covenant Christianity. Is this aversion to intimacy with our Betrothed just part of the "grace" which our Bridegroom bestows on us?
Brothers and sisters, this is where the worldly religion of cheap, unilateral, merchant contract law has led us. In our flight from blood covenant we have become prisoners in a materialistic world of mundane objects. The people of God are still just rendered as "objects" of God's love. They are not yet functioning "participants" in His love. A cheap gospel without any preparation for a deeper subsequent commitment to Christ is just another evangelical form of the "indulgence" of the type the medieval Roman church sold to the peasants in the middle ages. Christians continue to be ushered away from the great devotion. And they have still not discovered the true Agape love in Christ.
Is the church today still boxed up by Nicolaitan religious powers? Have we really come all that far from the religion of the peasants in the middle ages? How many evangelical Christians today are still dependent on intermediaries between them and Jesus Christ? For most of us we still need to be spoon-fed the Word of God for one hour on Sunday. We lack a daily personal walk with God. And milk, not meat, is all that most of us desire or can handle. Even in our elder years we continue on as spiritual "children". (1 John 2:1-18) In our church life we continue to content ourselves with being mere spectators to bold motivational speeches by crusaders and being patrons to loud musical concerts. This sweet soporific "poisoned apple" of marketplace religion leaves the church "cold", - just as we find her today.
And that is how she remains; a non-responsive "Sleeping Beauty".
THE CRISIS OF THE CHURCH IN THE END TIME DRAMA.Our western culture has many stories of the central character being alienated and cut out of the ceremonies. This is the case with the "Ugly Duckling".
He doesn't know who he really is;
- Until the end of the story.
In the story of Cinderella her stepsisters cut her out of the climactic gala events.
They compromise and connive and for their own pride of place in the ball.
The would-be-princess is hidden away from the returning Prince.
She sits in the cinders in alienation and tribulation.
But all of that will change,
- in the midnight hour.
If the church has being alienated like Cinderella, or is doped and "out of it" like Sleeping Beauty", is she just a victim here? Or might she have brought some of this upon herself? We in the western church, the former center of Christendom, have accepted very little responsibility in the covenant with our God, especially with the gospel. Only 5% of our church budgets go to missions. Like Cinderella we have played in the dirt of sin. And like Sleeping Beauty we continue to accept the poisoned apple of pre-packaged formula religion. This has effectively doped us, put us to sleep, and kept us "quiet" for the ruling elites. But our returning Prince, our Messiah, is coming.
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At midnight the shout of the friend of the Bridegroom will be heard. (Mat.25:6)
We shall be awakened, - at the midnight cry.
In the darkness the saints shall get up to trim and fill their lamps.
Do we have the oil?
OUR PREPARATION IN THE SPIRIT.Do we take our personal faith seriously?
FINDING THE OIL FOR THE COMING NIGHT.
Do we remember the Great Commission?
Do we seek the fullness of the Holy Spirit?
Or are we content with the pursuit of our own happiness?
Dear saints, this state of affairs cannot last much longer.
History will come to a climax.
And like it or not, we are right in the middle of it.
THE CALL TO BLOOD COVENANT COMMITMENTOur relationship with Jesus Christ is a blood covenant relationship. We have avoided that and accepted a cartload of cheap imitations in its place. In the ensuing vacuum we seek deep purpose in our lives from many other substitutes. We seek that deeper meaning to life in all the wrong places; We seek meaningful blood covenant relationships in our careers, in Freemasonry, in fraternities and sororities, in military and warrior gatherings of radical nationalism. Spectator sport has reached cultic levels and riots break out at football and soccer matches. We seek blood covenant in racism, in royalty and rock star worship, in the business cult worship of the golden calf/bull market of mammon on Wall Street. We seek it in the peasant cult of communism, in religious cults, in the eco-cults following the shamans of the goddess Gaia around "Mother Earth". The sexual cults of Hollywood and pornography on the internet are swallowing souls by the millions. Our children more than ever, are seeking deeper and more meaningful blood covenant relationship in sexual affairs, in street gangs, in drugs, in body piercing and the tattoo parlors. All this while the established western church slips away into the slime pits of personality cults, feminism and homosexuality.
WITH JESUS CHRIST/YESHUA HAMASHIACH
The God we love, (who deserves first place), we no longer seem to remember.
Is this world of mammon all there is? The scriptures testify that this present age of human government will lead on towards a general state of apostasy. Those called of God will even enter into a covenant by with a false messiah. -John 5:43, Dan.9:27 Then history will come unglued. It will destabilize violently in a raging of nations. Only the return of the Messiah will save this world from utter destruction.-Mat.24:22 At a certain time in future history Christ will return to judge the nations and to establish His Millennial Kingdom. -Isa.40. Will He be welcomed by the powers of this world? Not at all. The nations are even now conspiring and raging against His coming rule. King David wrote a Psalm about the last days conspiracy of secular humanism and religious humanism a full 3000 years ago. -Ps.2. Eventually the powers of this world will gather their armies against Jerusalem on the plain of Armageddon in northern Israel.
What if our Deliverer comes later than we have been told?
What if future church history, like the first three centuries, calls for our witness to the Kingdom of Jesus Christ? What form might our bridal witness take then?
Will pressure be put on us to compromise our faith in Him?
Have we considered this?
Like the Shulamite, are we due for some adventures?
And like Gomer, shall we find ourselves falling in love with our Beloved,
even in the Valley of Achor/Tribulation?-Hos.2:15
BLOOD COVENANT CHRISTIANITY = AGAPE LOVE OF GODTrue agape love means total exclusive commitment. We are called to holiness. As the scriptures say,10:21 You cannot drink from the cup of the Lord and from the cup of demons.
You cannot eat at the Lord's Table and at the table of demons, too.
- 1Cor. 10:21
Our God is calling us to Him. Future holy history will see to it. Our God is also calling us to that divine romance of which the Shulamite in the Song of Solomon testified,"Set me like a seal over your heart, As a seal upon your arm.
For love is as strong as death,
And jealousy is as cruel as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
A most vehement flame,
The very fire of the Lord"
-Song of Songs 8:6
In the Jewish Wedding Betrothal ceremony the prospective bridegroom presents the cup of wine before the one he loves and hopes to marry. She either drinks from his cup signaling her agreement to the betrothal; or she gets up and leaves. The true bride will accept His cup of betrothal. As she takes His cup, she remembers Him.
And she drinks "all of it".-Mat.26:27-28. Blood covenant cuts both ways. Both give themselves totally to each other, to the extent of all they own, - and to the extent of their very lives. Herein lies the mystery of a true and happy marriage.
And for the church/ecclesia coming into union with Yeshua/Jesus herein is also found the "mystery of godliness" in Christ Jesus.-1Tim.3:16
Even through all her trials and tribulations, His betrothed bride, remains loyal and true. Like the Shulamite in the Song of Songs she has resisted the seductions of the "man of the world" (King Solomon). She ignores the enticements of his property, his power, his pomp and his pageantry. She is unaffected by the peer pressure of hundreds of other wives and concubines, those "daughters of Jerusalem", in the harem of King Solomon. She has rejected their temptations. How?
Because of the One to Whom she is betrothed. She cannot forget her absent Shepherd lover. She loves him. And she knows that He will come for her.
Meanwhile, even in the midst of trials, she searches for her Beloved. She is struck and wounded by the watchmen of the city. -Song of Songs 5:7 Yet even in his absence, and even when her love is put to the test she is unmoved. She is totally preoccupied with Him. This is the "divine romance".
Finally, at the end of Solomon's Song those watching are amazed and ask,"Who is this who comes up out of the wilderness,God created man and women to have a free will. He will never try to re-engineer humans into automatons, androids or robots. And consent is always necessary in coming into covenant with God. A bride is always called to witness her marriage covenant. In this ceremony she will attest before other witnesses that she loves her betrothed. She will joyfully affirm that she has fully committed herself to Him. She testifies before a crowd of witnesses that she will follow Him if need be to the point of death. As Rebecca, in her part of the covenant ceremony she is pointedly asked,
leaning upon her Beloved?" -Song of Solomon 8:5"Will you go with this man?" -Gen.24:5In her answer to God, to the watching host of angels, and to men she declares,"I will".By this witness she joins herself to him in the covenant of marriage.
And among those who watch and witness this betrothal ceremony of total commitment there are tears.
And the handkerchiefs come out.
But they are tears of joy.
THE COMMUNION CUP. HAVE WE DRUNK 'ALL OF IT'?Is our relationship with Christ a one way street?
The communion cup involves a deeper commitment than that."And He took the cup and gave thanks, and gave it to them saying,
'Drink ye all of it.
For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many, for the remission of sins." -Mat.26:27-28
Have we drunk all of it?
Do we know what "all" means?
LOVE AND GRACE ARE THE WELLSPRING OF THE END-TIME WITNESS.Dear saints, this is not a matter of law. Our salvation is assured by our faith in Christ. It is covered by the blood sacrifice He made for us at the cross. But our love walk takes us beyond the realm of the law. Now we witness and walk out the covenant by His divine enabling grace, through faith. -Eph 2:8. We are carried across a threshold in a transport of Grace. And in that passage we enter into another dimension in God.
THEY FULFILL AND TRANSCEND THE LEGAL REQUIREMENTS OF THE LAW.
Our Christian faith runs quite a bit deeper than we have been told. As blood covenant Christians we are not passive observers. We are the Body and Bride of Christ. As we have shown, our witness for (or against) Jesus Christ, is inescapable. God is not just an impersonal Jedi "force" that we play around with. That road leads to witchcraft. Nor is God just a circular ying and yang of positive and negative energies that we try to "balance" in a humanistic way as eastern mysticism would have it. Life on this earth is more than just endless cycles of summer and winter, conquest and declension, sex and death. Holy history is laid out in a teleological linear fashion by the sovereign hand of God. He wrote the play of the ages. The story has its beginning and ending, its protagonists and its antagonists. The epic saga of life on this planet has a plo. There is an epic contest Going on. This leads on into a climactic resolution in the closing scenes of the play.
God does not play dice with His universe. Nor is He an indifferent clockwork maker who has left the scene. YHVH-God, the God of Israel, has manifest Himself into this cosmos in Jesus Christ. Our "manifest destiny" is not bound up in this earth below but rather expressed in a blood covenant witness to Him, the One who came to earth from above! He is the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end of all things. It is not what we know but WHO we know. This age of the gospel is the time of His witness. God's covenant people have been given a Great Commission, a quest and a glorious destiny. And they will be there when this age comes to its climactic end, when all is said and done.
FIRST COMING: THE SUFFERING SERVANT.2,000 years ago our Lord Jesus came to us as the Suffering Servant. He came as the Bridegroom to the bride, bringing His dowry, His gift, His offer of redemption. This next time it will be quite different. He will be returning as the conquering king. Yes, the long awaited Messiah will return to this earth. Jesus Christ/Yeshua Hamashiach will bring closure to the holy history of this age. The 7th seal will follow bringing in the final establishment of His glorious Millennial Kingdom.
SECOND COMING: THE CONQUERING KING.
ARE WE READY FOR HIS RETURN?
THE COMMUNION CUP.So the Communion Cup is a deeper matter than we had thought.
AND OUR PASSAGE BEYOND.
As we drink the Cup of Christ we pass through a threshold.
His Agape Love is wrapped around us.
In a divine serendipity we discover that,"......the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts
by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." -Rom.5:5
Suddenly we are beyond our self life.
We are "in Christ".
We are in the "communion of saints". -1Cor.10:16
Now, our desire, - our passion,
is to live out and to witness,
the covenant we co-signed with Him;
- even, if it comes down to that ultimate witness;
- the witness of our own blood.
This is the full implication of the blood covenant we have in Christ.
It is still an unpreached and untold story in the west.
This is the "rest of the story".
This is the full communion.
'Commune with Me' - by Keith Goodson.
Q. So will the western church be called on again
to witness the blood covenant of our Lord Jesus Christ?
A. In the first three centuries of church history we did.
And in countries abroad many Christian believers are bearing
faithful witness to the new covenant right at this very minute.
More people are being saved now than at any time in history.
And every day 500 Christians give their lives as witness/martyrs.
Q. How are they able to do this?
A. They are doing this by God's divine enabling grace.
Q. And why are they doing this?
A. They do this because of Love.