October 2, 2015
While the parable of the ten virgins plays again into the picture of the release of the Glory of God, we're going to take a different track today as we get back into the picture we first drew with Adam and Eve of the union that God created between them, and the union He has been building between us and the Lord Jesus Christ.
For that union to be built to the place where we are the reflection -- and the completion -- of the Lord Jesus Christ, there must be some radical changes to our nature, our personality, our makeup, the very essence of who we are. And that's where we take up with today's discussion.
Revelation 3:12: Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.
I've taken this verse out of its original context, so let me briefly take you to that overall prophecy. This was a statement made to the Ekklesia in Philadelphia -- the sixth of seven letters to the seven Ekklesias in Asia Minor. These seven letters comprise a single letter overall to the body of Christ, and address a series of issues that still affect the body of Christ today. Each of the seven letters wraps up with the promise "to him that overcometh," and each letter is sequential in its promise from the first one to Ephesus, to the last one addressed to Laodicea.
Each promise to the overcomer adds a new dimension to the one previous. These seven letters begin with the rebuke to Ephesus because they've been so caught up in doing good works that they've lost their first love. (In fact, that same issue affects several of the Ekklesias addressed in these letters.) They've turned their attention to the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and are making decisions predicated on humanly acquired reasoning and rational thought. There's a whole lot more here than I want to even try to get into today so let me simply summarize. The promise to Ephesus is that if they will overcome their reliance on the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and/or the Knowledge of Evil, the Lord will reopen the Garden experience to them and give them to eat of the Tree of Life.
The progression in the seven letters continues from there, and without recapping each of the ones that follow, let me quickly move to the promise in the letter to Philadelphia.
There is so much contained in this one prophetic promise that it is almost mind-boggling, so let's see what it looks like when we retranslate and amplify from the Greek text.
He that overcomes [the temptation to rest on previous overcoming and past victories] will I make to be a support (and a symbol of the Glory) in the dwelling place of Yod Hey Vav Hey (Elohim), and from that place of dwelling there will be no reason [or cause] to ever leave; and I will engrave within and upon him the very nature, the character, the authority, the makeup, the very essence of Yod Hey Vav Hey (Elohim), and the very nature, the character, the authority, the makeup and the very essence of the city of Yod Hey Vav Hey (Elohim), which is the new Jerusalem (*), which descends [to the earth] out of Heaven from my Yod Hey Vav Hey (Elohim); and I will engrave within and upon him my new (and completed) nature, character, authority, makeup and very essence. (Revelation 3:12, RAC Translation and Amplification)
(*) Now, put this together with Revelation 21:2: And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
This isn't bad as a translation, but it still misses the whole picture. Let's try this one again:
And I, John, saw the holy, consecrated and set apart city [of many people], the recently made and unprecedented Jerusalem, the city of double peace (**), descending out of Heaven [to the earth] from Yod Hey Vav Hey, made ready as the betrothed Bride, adorned, ornamented and embellished with honor for her husband-to-be. (Revelation 21:2, RAC Translation and Amplification)
I'm starting to look like a broken record with these asterisks, but there is a point to this.
(**) A short history lesson, if you don't mind. The picture of the "double peace" as the Hebrew translation of Yerushalayim goes is based on David's capture of the city from the Jebusites. The Jebusites had occupied the fortress of Salem (Shalom) after Shem's death and renamed the city, Jebus, after their father. Ironically, their father's name had been, Jerus, meaning "foundations." Jebus meant "crushing," and that was the military tactic of the father of the Jebusites -- hence the name change given by Jebus' sons.
When David took the city from the Jebusites, he restored Shem's original name of Salem, but added to it the original name of the father of the Jebusites, Jerus (pronounced "Yeroos"). Thus, the City of David became Jerus-Salem, and the "foundations of peace" were established in the now-combined ten tribes of Israel with Judah and Benjamin, creating the nation of Israel with its capital.
That was the first of the two pictures of peace. The geographical city of Jerusalem lost its picture of peace when Rehoboam (Solomon's son) disbanded the ministry of praise and worship in the Temple at the urging of his counselors, and Jeroboam came up out of Egypt and split the nation into two again, taking the ten tribes with him. Throughout the Psalms, David clearly had the picture of Jerusalem as the City of God and as the heart of the Lord. In the years that followed after the division of Israel, the prophet Isaiah made a unique distinction by referring to Jerusalem in general as the people of God, but identifying Zion (where David established his Tabernacle, and the Temple was later built) as a metaphor for the Bride to come.
When John, therefore, is given the picture of Jerusalem as the double peace, he is drawing the analogy of reestablished, permanent peace, "the peace that passes all understanding." (Philippians 4:7)
Some of you are looking cross-eyed at me wondering what all this has to do with the Glory of God being revealed. This is a quick illustration, but let me put it like this:
Once you've been in or under the Glory of the Lord, you just don't want to move. That's a bit of an exaggeration, but the peace is so phenomenal that you NEVER want to leave it. I won't take time now to share some personal stories, but let me simply say that whenever you have a time of very intense intimate worship that continues on and on and on, you frequently experience the Glory settling in over everyone in such a way that folks don't want to move, they don't want to talk, and they just want to "soak".
Very frequently, we launch into "soaking worship" as a fellowship. There is often a period of silence following that worship such that no one says a thing, and everyone is just quiet before the Lord, enjoying the enormous, indescribable peace.
OK, I've kind of taken you down a rabbit trail for a bit in order to do some clarification as to the translation and amplification from Revelation 3:12 and 21:2. Let's get back on track.
The promise from Revelation 3:12 is for a transformation and radical change of our character, our nature, our personality, our makeup, our identity and the very essence of who we are. Consider the change promised to the one who overcomes and gains victory over -- and I'll take these in quick succession from the six letters up to this point -- the Fear of Evil, the Fear of Death, the Fear of Man, the Spirit of Jezebel, the Spirit of Compromise [we know it as "Democracy" in the body of Christ] (and its companion, Legalism), and the tendency to rest on past laurels, the overcoming one has achieved to this point, never mind the revelation that comes with each of these areas of overcoming.
In order to draw this characterization back to something we've shared in previous Coffee Breaks, let's consider the message revealed in The Song of Solomon, chapter 1, verse 5, along with the same message embodied in Jeremiah 8:21 in which we see the statement repeated, "I am black."
As already noted, this is a common Hebrew metaphor rooted in the extraction of Eve from Adam's side, and the knowledge that for each of us God has created a counterpart, an "other self" who completes and finishes our makeup. In Jeremiah's prophecy (and he draws pretty much the same picture in the sixth chapter), the Lord is crying out for that people whom He created for Himself. Israel was a nation whom God had chosen, blessed, protected, caused to multiply, set apart from every other nation on earth to be the reflection of His Glory. Israel was designed to become His counterpart in the earth and a representation to the rest of the world of what could be available to anyone who could and would walk by faith in and with Him.
The cry of the Lord, therefore, in Jeremiah's prophecy is identical to the search that continues to this day. The Lord was speaking through Jeremiah and calling out for that people He had searched out for Himself. The search was going forth throughout the earth for that people. It is the same search He has built in each of us for our counterpart, our "other self" -- that one who completes and fulfills us (and that was the message of the Shulammite in the Song of Solomon).
Revelation 3:12 is the completion of the search God has made on behalf of Jesus Christ for His counterpart, His other self. Is that clear so far? Then let me add to this picture. Consider how Paul put it in writing to the Romans:
Romans 12:2: And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
The Amplified Bible puts it even better.
Romans 12:2, AMP: Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs [and mindsets], but be transformed (changed) [metamorphosed] by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude [taking on the mindset and manner of thinking of the Lord Jesus Christ], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]. (with my additions)
The whole purpose of this metamorphosing is to change us back into that image in which we were first created. But there's more! You see, Adam and Eve were created in the image and likeness of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. There is a difference, however, between Adam and Eve, and that which we are being transformed into. Adam and Eve were imbued with the same qualities and nature of God and they were given dominion over the earth. They had only one command or warning from the Lord, and that referred to their NOT eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. What Adam and Eve DID NOT HAVE was a Covenant. True, when they were being evicted from the Garden, the Lord told Eve that her seed would crush the Serpent's head -- and through that prophetic promise would come the Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ.
What makes our existence so different from Adam and Eve is that first of all, we have a Covenant with Father, made on our behalf by the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a Covenant we can all freely enter into, and it is a Covenant which guarantees our being changed, transformed, re-created, molded and metamorphosed back into that perfect image and likeness of Father, Son and Holy Spirit -- SO LONG AS WE RESPOND!
It shouldn't be necessary to say this, but the Covenant that Jesus Christ made for us is a Covenant we MUST enter into if we are to become partakers and beneficiaries. Furthermore, this Covenant was designed to fulfill the purposes of God which were set in motion before time began. From the very beginning, all of Creation was designed to bring into being, to grow and to mature a species of being who would become the very family of God -- a species of being unlike any ever created. Creation was set in motion to grow and mature a people who would overcome every conceivable obstacle, every temptation, every force pitted against them, and choose an intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ above life itself.
The point of all this is that the Glory of the Lord is revealed in the earth, throughout the Universe, and throughout all Creation. Holy Spirit brings Glory to the Lord Jesus Christ through the teaching, the instruction, the filling up of us as a people with the very presence and essence of the Lord God. Jesus brings Glory to Father because it is through Him that these changes, and this maturing process all achieves the destiny Father, Son and Holy Spirit set in motion when they agreed and said, "Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness, and let them have dominion....."
We need to talk about the changes Holy Spirit is working in us. Those changes are no small thing -- and it is in those changes that the Glory of the Lord is being revealed. We are being changed from Glory to Glory.
And that's where we'll go next week.
I remind those of you in need of ministry that our Healing Prayer Call takes place on Mondays at 7:00 PM Eastern (4:00 PM Pacific). As of Monday, September 14th, our call-in number has changed to (712) 775-7035. The new Access Code is: 323859#. Our previous conference line experienced drop-outs and periodic audio quality issues, so this was a needed upgrade!
At the same time, in case you are missing out on real fellowship in an environment of Ekklesia, our Sunday worship gatherings are available by conference call – usually at about 10:45AM Pacific. That conference number is (605) 562-3140, and the access code is 308640#. We hope to make these gatherings available by Skype or Talk Fusion before long. If you miss the live call, you can dial (605) 562-3149, enter the same access code and listen in later.
Blessings on you!
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