CHURCH WITHIN THE CHURCHES
Copyright © 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
The Christian churches of today consist of those whom God has called out of the world plus a multitude of people who have been brought into the assemblies by means other than the drawing of the Holy Spirit of God. Within the churches there is a firstfruits, a warlike remnant who are faithful workers in the organization but whose hearts are married to the Lord. In the days to come the holy remnant will be called out of the babylonish confusion of man-centered Christianity. They will be purified by the fires of tribulation and will be prepared to meet the Lord when He appears.
THE CHURCH WITHIN THE CHURCHES
My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her. The daughters saw her, and blessed her; yea, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her. (Song of Solomon 6:9)
The twenty-fourth chapter of Genesis tells of Abraham sending his oldest servant, the one who ruled all Abraham’s possessions, to Paddan-aram to obtain a bride for Isaac.
In this episode Abraham typifies God the Father; the servant typifies the Holy Spirit; Isaac typifies Christ; Rebekah typifies the firstfruits of the family of God (“the only one of her mother”; and the family of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, portrays the Christian churches.
The Christian churches consist of those whom God has called out of the world plus a mixed multitude of people who have been brought into the assemblies by means other than the drawing of the Holy Spirit of God. All the truly called, including the elect of the Jewish race, constitute the family of God.
It is not that the called are the only persons whom God intends to save. Rather, the called are the Israel of God. They have been chosen from the nations of the earth in order to be a holy priesthood, a people who belong peculiarly to God. They are the light of the world, the new Jerusalem. Through them the nations of the earth will approach God and receive the Life and blessing of God.
We believe there is a firstfruits of those whom God has called, a “bride” selected from the whole family of God just as Rebekah was selected from the family of Nahor. The firstfruits are the victorious saints, the pillars of the Temple of God. The firstfruits of the family of God will be raised as powerful rulers, as priests, kings, and judges at the return of Christ. They will be crowned with righteousness and eternal life. They will be revealed with Jesus in glory at His appearing.
Being revealed with Jesus in glory at His appearing is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. He will receive back his mortal body from the grave in order that he may rule on the earth with the Lord Jesus throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age (Revelation 20:4-6).
The first resurrection, the resurrection of the royal priesthood, must be attained by seeking Christ each day of our discipleship.
Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6)
We must “win” Christ to the extent we enter fully into the power of His resurrection and the sharing of His sufferings. Otherwise we are not authorized by the Scripture nor competent to be a participant in the first resurrection—that which is out from among the dead.
If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection [out-resurrection] of the dead. (Philippians 3:11)
Few believers in Jesus live as true disciples. The majority of the churchgoers are not worthy of Him. It is our belief that such will be chastened severely when the Lord comes. Some may be cast into outer darkness or the Lake of Fire.
Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. (Revelation 3:4)
There is a firstfruits of those whom the Lord has called. There is a firstfruits of the family of God. There is one who is “the only one of her mother” (Song of Solomon 6:9).
Let us see now how the story of Rebekah reveals the selection of the firstfruits of the family of God, the Church within the churches.
And Abraham said unto his eldest servant of his house, that ruled all that he had, Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh: And I will make thee swear by the Lord, the God of heaven and the God of the earth, that thou shalt not take a wife unto my son of the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I dwell: But thou shalt go unto my country, and to my kindred, and take a wife unto my son Isaac. (Genesis 24:2-4)
Although the churches are filled with sins and problems of all kinds, it is true, nevertheless, that the Lamb will seek His Bride from among His own people. Sometimes we Christians turn away from the believers and seek fellowship (or a wife or husband) from people of the world whom we esteem.
This can prove to be a mistake. The Lord’s people, in spite of all their problems, have been called out of the world by the Holy Spirit. The peoples of the world are spiritually dead in their sins, being ruled by the spirit of Satan. No matter how much integrity the unsaved may demonstrate, no matter how honorable they may be or how friendly, we are not to enter alliances with them. Sooner or later a conflict will result.
And if the woman will not be willing to follow thee, then thou shalt be clear from this my oath: only bring not my son thither again. (Genesis 24:8)
Being a member of the firstfruits of the Church is our choice. The Lord Jesus never will force anyone to be part of His loved one.
Eliezer made his journey from Canaan to Haran.
And he made his camels to kneel down without the city by a well of water at the time of the evening, even the time that women go out to draw water. (Genesis 24:11)
Calling the Bride out from the Christian churches will take place “at the time of the evening.” It is in the present hour, in the “evening” of the Church Age, that the Lamb is drawing out His Bride.
While the marriage of the Lamb will take place at the time of the Lord’s return to earth, the all-important decisions are being made now. We now are being invited to enter eternal union with Christ. Those who do not obey the Spirit in the present hour will not be married to the Lamb at His coming whether or not they profess faith in Christ.
And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast shewed kindness unto my master. (Genesis 24:14)
The servant of Abraham put forth a “fleece.” Before he had finished praying Rebekah appeared with a jar on her shoulder. So it is today. It is time now for us to enter perfect union with the Lord Jesus Christ. When we pray for complete union with Christ, for marriage to Him, our prayers are answered speedily.
God’s people often pray for money, for power, for open doors, to have their own way in matters. But the prayer of the Holy Spirit is for our union with Christ.
Rebekah was beautiful and a virgin. But the servant did not ask for someone who was beautiful and a virgin, he asked for a worker. The right kind of Christian service wins the heart of Christ.
The Bride asks the Bridegroom:
Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions? (Song of Solomon 1:7)
She desires to know the Bridegroom intimately.
The Bridegroom answers:
If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherds’ tents. (Song of Solomon 1:8)
If we would come to know Jesus we must be willing to perform faithfully the tasks that are our part of building the Kingdom of God. The believer who is not performing some kind of service in the Kingdom should seek the Lord diligently in this regard. It never is the Lord’s will that a member of His Body be occupied solely with the responsibilities and cares of the world, having nothing to contribute to the Body of Christ (Ephesians 4:16).
Christ desires to know if we truly love Him. If we do we reveal that love in faithful service.
So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. (John 21:15)
When we open the door of our heart to Jesus He enters into us and dines with us, giving us the living Word of God, His own body and blood. After we have dined, after union has begun, He appoints us a place of service in His Kingdom.
Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods. (Matthew 24:45-47)
There is much work to be done in the Kingdom today. The peoples of the earth, and the earth itself, are Christ’s inheritance. The Lord loves those who are giving their lives in His service. His heart goes out to them when He perceives their faithful plodding through the night for His name’s sake. Such will know the favor of a grateful Monarch. But woe to those who sleep through the time of harvest!
The industrious Rebekah gave water to the servant of Abraham and to each of the ten camels.
And the man wondering at her held his peace, to wit whether the Lord had made his journey prosperous or not. (Genesis 24:21)
It is wise for us to “watch in silence” as the Lord works. Much of what takes place between us and the Lord never should be revealed to other people. Many spiritual battles are lost because the Lord’s people talk too much.
Sometimes we are so anxious for God to move we act before all the camels have been watered, so to speak. If it is the Lord’s will that we are to water ten camels before we are permitted to go with the Holy Spirit to the desired place, it may happen that the first nine are watered in thirty minutes but thirty years go by before the tenth camel is watered. We are to wait for all ten camels.
How often the work of God is ruined because we act before every detail of God’s Word has been fulfilled in our circumstances! Sometimes it is necessary we experience tribulation for “ten days” before we are given the crown of life (Revelation 2:10). If we manage to escape from our prison before the ten days have been completed we will lose our crown of righteousness and life.
And said, Whose daughter art thou? tell me, I pray thee: is there room in thy father’s house for us to lodge in? (Genesis 24:23)
The Holy Spirit has come to the Christian churches today. He has been sent by the Father to obtain a Bride for the Lamb. First, the Spirit looks to see if He is welcome, if there is any place of abode for Himself. Some Christian churches are so busy with their own programs there is no place for the Holy Spirit of God.
And she said unto him, I am the daughter of Bethuel the son of Milcah, which she bare unto Nahor. (Genesis 24:24)
The Bride of the Lamb knows who she is. She knows that she has been washed in the blood of the Lamb, that she has been born-again of God, and that she has been filled with the Spirit of God. She understands that God is her Father and that Christ is her Lord and Savior. It is not possible for a lukewarm, wavering, double-minded Christian to be a member of the Wife of the Lamb, of the true Church.
And he said, Blessed be the Lord God of my master Abraham, who hath not left destitute my master of his mercy and his truth: I being in the way, the Lord led me to the house of my master’s brethren. (Genesis 24:27)
Abraham’s oldest servant did not know the Lord. He prayed to Abraham’s God. Many believers do not know the Lord for themselves. They pray to the God of the pastor or of their father or mother. The Bride knows her Lord personally and intimately.
And Rebekah had a brother, and his name was Laban: and Laban ran out unto the man, unto the well. And it came to pass, when he saw the earring and bracelets upon his sister’s hands, and when he heard the words of Rebekah his sister, saying, Thus spake the man unto me; that he came unto the man; and, behold, he stood by the camels at the well. (Genesis 24:29,30)
Laban, Rebekah’s brother, typifies the family of God, from which the firstfruits of the Bride of the Lamb is taken.
In our day the Holy Spirit has come to the Christian churches. He is bringing glory, blessing, revelation, gifts, ministries, and all other forms of spiritual life and renewal. Like Laban, many churches will welcome the Holy Spirit because of the spiritual treasures He is bringing. The churches that receive the Spirit will be filled with life and will grow in number.
But many do not understand the single-mindedness of the Spirit of God. The Spirit has been charged by God the Father with obtaining a suitable Bride, a complement to His beloved Son. The blessings the Holy Spirit is showering on the churches today are a means to an end. The Spirit has not come to give but to take.
Among the multitude of Christians in the world there is a Bride who is “the only one of her mother.” She is not a partaker of the sin and self-seeking of the churches. Her heart belongs to the Lord exclusively. While the majority of believers are excited and occupied with the wondrous works of the Spirit, the Bride quietly is being conducted away by the Spirit.
This does not mean that the members of the Bride cease their labors in the Kingdom or necessarily leave their churches. Rather, it is a spiritual exodus that is taking place.
It is not difficult to observe in the Scriptures the difference between the Bride and the remainder of the family of God.
There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number. My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her. The daughters saw her, and blessed her; yea, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her. (Song of Solomon 6:8,9)
After describing her sisters of lesser attainments, the Bride states:
I am a wall, and my breasts like towers: then was I in his eyes as one that found favour. (Song of Solomon 8:10)
She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee. (Psalms 45:14)
It can be seen in the actions and words of Christ that there indeed are such distinctions in the Kingdom of God. Jesus ministered to the multitudes, sent the seventy on their way, explained the parables to the twelve, and invited three of the twelve to witness the glory of the Mount of Transfiguration. Jesus spoke of some who will reap a hundredfold, some sixtyfold, and some thirtyfold.
To deny the uniqueness of the Bride among the household of Israel is to deny the central concept of the Song of Solomon.
So far we have been discussing the difference between the firstfruits of the Church and the remainder of God’s elect. The firstfruits will be resurrected at the time of the Lord’s return to earth and will rise to meet Him in the air. The members of God’s Israel who do not attain the first resurrection will be dealt with in some other manner.
As we understand it, at the termination of the thousand-year Kingdom Age the entire new Jerusalem, the complete Wife of the Lamb, all true Israel, will be perfect and complete, ready to be sent from Heaven to the new earth as the Throne of God and of the Lamb.
So far we have spoken of the difference between the firstfruits of the Bride and the remainder of the Bride. There is a “Bride” within the larger Bride, the larger Bride being the entire Church of Christ.
It is important also to distinguish between the Church, which is the elect of God, and then the nations of the saved. As we stated previously, the elect are Israel, the house of God. Israel has been called out of the world so that through Israel, the Church, God’s kingdom of priests, the nations of the earth may be blessed and taught of the Lord.
Isaiah reveals the difference between the Church, which is the Wife of the Lamb, and the nations of the earth. If the nations are to be saved they must accept the sovereignty of Israel over themselves; for Israel, the Kingdom of God, is destined to rule all the nations of the earth:
For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted. (Isaiah 60:12)
“Thee” is referring to the family of God, the Wife of the Lamb, the whole Church. “Those nations” are the peoples of the earth who are the inheritance of the Lamb and His Bride.
But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves. (Isaiah 61:6)
The “Priests of the Lord” are the members of the Body of Christ. The “men,” of the above verse, are the nations of saved peoples of the earth.
The New Testament portrays the identical concept:
That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. (John 17:21)
Those who are one in Christ in God are the members of the true Church. The “world” that believes consists of people who will be saved by believing in what they see to be true of the Bride.
And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. (Revelation 21:3)
The “tabernacle of God” is the New Jerusalem, the Wife of the Lamb, the entire Church of Christ. The “men” are the peoples of the earth among whom God will dwell in His holy Tabernacle, the Church.
And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. (Revelation 21:24)
“It” is the new Jerusalem, the Wife of the Lamb. The “nations of them that are saved” consist of people who are saved but who are not part of the Church.
Some of the members of the churches of today are serving as a firstfruits of the entire Wife of the Lamb. They are a bride within the larger Bride, so to speak. They reveal in themselves what one day will be true of the entire Church, the Wife of the Lamb. They are pressing forward in Christ. They are washing their robes in the blood of the Lamb until they are spotless in righteousness, holiness, and obedience to God.
They now are attaining what one day must be true of every member of the Body of Christ.
That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:27)
The ministries that have come to us from the ascended Jesus will continue to operate until the whole Church, not just the firstfruits, has been brought to perfection.
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ: (Ephesians 4:13)
But what is true of the churches of today, the golden Lampstands of God?
But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication. (Revelation 2:14)
Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols. (Revelation 2:20)
Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. And I will kill her children with death; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works. (Revelation 2:22,23)
In the above passages, Christ is addressing the churches on the earth. The contrast between the description of the Lord’s beloved that is found in the Song of Solomon, and the rebuke of Christ directed toward the seven churches of Asia, leads to but one conclusion: there is a firstfruits of the Church, of the Wife of the Lamb, that consists of the victorious saints; of those who will walk with Christ in white because they have been found to be worthy.
This agrees with the concept found in Song of Solomon 8:10:
I am a wall [have overcome the enemy], and my breasts like towers [have borne much fruit, thereby gaining dominion]: then was I in his eyes as one that found favour.
Righteousness is given to us when we place our faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. But membership in the firstfruits, in the ranks of those who receive the life and authority promised to the victorious saints, cannot be given to us by our merely making a profession of faith. If it could, then the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation would make no sense; for these two chapters do not base their praises and rebukes on belief in doctrine but on works that come from true faith and obedience.
To every one of the churches Christ states: “I know thy works.”
Membership in Christ begins with the grace of forgiveness and imputed (ascribed) righteousness. Membership in Christ is maintained as we bring forth in our lives the fruit of the Spirit. Those who do not bring forth the fruit of the Spirit after a period of time are cut out of the Vine (John 15:2,6).
When we read of the Lord’s attitude toward the Christian churches (Revelation, Chapters Two and Three) we realize the churches on earth are far from being the “undefiled one” whom the Lord is seeking. We find the Lord addressing the victorious saints one at a time, calling His firstfruits out from the Christian churches.
As we understand the Scriptures, it may not be true that all believers who do not overcome will be thrown into the Lake of Fire. But it does mean, certainly, that only those who overcome will be drawn to that place in Christ’s heart reserved for His “choice one” (Song of Solomon 6:9; Revelation 14:1).
There are at least four areas of discipleship that should be considered in connection with our securing our place in the Bride of the Lamb: (1) preparation; (2) patience in affliction; (3) service; and (4) union.
Preparation. The Christian discipleship is not intended to be a passive “wait until I die and go to Heaven” way of life. Each day of our pilgrimage contains opportunities for making ourselves ready to live in perfect union with the Lord Jesus.
Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. (Revelation 19:7)
The Lamb’s wife must make herself ready!
Through the grace of the Lord Jesus we can:
- Pray without ceasing.
- Confess our sins as the need arises.
- Meditate in the Word of God day and night.
- Seek the Lord for an area of service.
- Keep our heart free from all bitterness and unforgiveness.
- Listen carefully for the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
- Keep our heart and mind and speech filled with what is holy and constructive.
- Redeem the time, remembering always who we are and for whose sake we are being formed.
- Strive to do what Christ and His Apostles taught.
But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. (Romans 6:17)
We, through the grace of Christ, must make ourselves ready. God will not do all the work for us, neither can our readiness be imputed to us. We must “win Christ,” with the Lord’s help (Philippians 3:8).
Patience in affliction.
Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. (Revelation 3:4)
The members of the Bride must be found worthy by the Lord, and their worthiness is demonstrated by their patience in affliction.
Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience. (James 5:10)
The Lord God provides every saint with the opportunity to demonstrate his worthiness of the Kingdom of God.
So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that ye endure: Which is a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that ye may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which ye also suffer: (II Thessalonians 1:4,5)
The Bride of the Lamb is called to rulership, and all the rulers of the Kingdom must experience suffering in the world. The believer in Christ who is unwilling to accept the afflictions and imprisonments into which the Holy Spirit leads him cannot possibly become a member of the firstfruits.
There is no way by which we can escape the suffering of Christ and still be raised as a royal priest in the first resurrection, in the resurrection and ascension that will take place when Christ appears in the clouds of glory.
Service. We have mentioned previously that the Bride wins the affection of the Bridegroom by serving Him faithfully. The Lord Jesus desires that we give our attention to Him and to what He is saying and not be encumbered with the endless chores of this present life (“Mary hath chosen that good part”—Luke 10:42). But it is true also that the Lord Jesus expects us to be diligent and fruitful in the Kingdom of God. When we are not busy about our Father’s business we can expect to be rebuked sternly by the Lord.
And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matthew 25:30)
Union. Of all the areas of discipleship and redemption, union with Christ is so supremely important that the other areas become relatively insignificant. The marriage of the Lamb is an event of such profound importance that all the other aspects of the universe receive their significance, purpose, and direction from it.
The essence of marriage is union.
The current belief is that at some point in the future every Gentile Christian, having attained union with Christ or not, will be carried up to Heaven. There a wedding ceremony will be conducted. The Bride and Groom will stand before God the Father. On the Groom’s right hand will be His best man, perhaps John the Baptist. On the Bride’s left hand will be some of the saints from the Old Testament who will serve as the maid of honor and the bridesmaids.
The audience will be the elect angels.
God the Father will lead the Lamb and His Bride through the Anglican wedding ceremony. Christ will say, “I do.” The Bride will answer, “I do.” The Father will pronounce them husband and wife. The angels will cheer, and then all will go to participate in the festivities.
It did not happen that way with Adam and Eve. It did not happen that way with Isaac and Rebekah. It will not happen that way with the Wife of the Lamb.
Eve was married to Adam as she came into existence.
The marriage of Rebekah began when she decided to leave her father’s house and journey to a strange land, there to become the bone and flesh of a man she had never seen.
Our marriage to the Lamb begins when we decide to leave all that is familiar to us and go to a place where we never have been, there to become the “flesh and bone” of a Man we have never seen, being married to Him as we come into existence in the new creation.
Multitudes (perhaps the majority) of Christians have never decided to leave what is familiar; neither are they married to Christ and coming into existence in the new creation. They picture Christ as being some kind of Santa Claus, or a spiritual principle they can learn to manipulate in order to obtain what they desire while they retain their original, adamic personality.
Ignorance of what it means to be married to the Lamb is becoming dangerous in our day. The Lord’s people are being taught concerning the availability of spiritual power. The gifts of the Spirit are being sought. The believers are encouraged to bind and to loose in Jesus’ name. The Lord Jesus encouraged us that if we would but speak the word of faith, mountains would be moved. Attempts are being made to practice this.
The current spiritual efforts are based on the Scriptures. But spiritual efforts, even in the name of Jesus, apart from union with Christ constitute the False Prophet.
The central commandment is, “Abide in me.”
Nothing else is as important as the marriage of the Lamb. The power and glory of the latter-rain revival, the moving of God among the nations, the restoration of all the gifts of the Spirit, the working of powerful miracles in the name of Jesus, the creation of churches of multiplied thousands of people—all this is insignificant compared with the importance of the fact that God’s firstborn Son is acquiring a complement, someone to complete Him, someone to relieve His loneliness. It is not good for a man to be alone. (Genesis 2:18)
Multitudes follow Christ for the loaves and the fish. A smaller number hear because the miracles draw them to the Presence of God.
But when Christ begins to speak of union, the people who have followed Him to this point will depart by the thousands.
From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him. (John 6:66)
Yet the marriage of the Lamb is the central goal of the Holy Spirit of God. The Holy Spirit has not come into the world primarily to give gifts to the family of God. He has been charged by God the Father with obtaining a perfect Bride for God’s beloved Son. All else is to be helpful in realizing this achievement.
Only those who understand and enter total union will be included in the Bride, the true Church, the Complement of the Lamb.
How complete, how intense is the union to be? We do not have the vocabulary to portray adequately the intensity of the union to which the Lamb has called us.
The Lamb has taken the flesh from His bones and the blood from His veins so we may receive them into ourselves and become one with Him as He is One with God. The union that exists in the Godhead is the nature of the union into which we are to be drawn.
He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me. (John 6:56,57)
We are to be one with Him as He is One with the Father.
Becoming one with the Lamb enhances our identity but removes our individuality. Our identity is our uniqueness as a person. The working of the Spirit of God in us underscores our uniqueness. Each of us is to be made, through Christ, a unique expression of God’s Personality.
In the process we lose our individuality. We no longer are a separate person, a will separate from Jesus. For eternity we are of Him and by Him and for Him. We are of one Spirit with Him. We are the extension, the completion, the fullness of Him. For us to present ourselves as separate from Him in any manner is to subtract from the total union to which we have been called.
Human marriage is a foreshadowing of what God is seeking. But our union with Christ is, in its totality of union, as far above human marriage as Heaven is above the earth.
God and the Lamb are unique as to identity but not as to individuality. They are called by one name—God. It is impossible to have the Father apart from the Son or the Son apart from the Father.
This is the completeness and intensity of the union to which we are being invited. This is what it means to be married to the Lamb.
When the marriage of the Lamb has been perfected our individuality (not our uniqueness as a person) will be gone. We will have one name with the Lamb. It will be impossible for anyone to have the Lamb apart from us or to have us apart from the Lamb.
The Lamb forevermore will be identified with us and we with the Lamb. There can be no dissolving of this total union. Neither time nor power can effect a division between the Lamb and those who have become bone of His bone and flesh of His flesh. This is the eternal romance. It is the subject of the Song of Solomon.
If any person desires to become a member of the true Church, the Wife of the Lamb, he must make himself ready. He must arm himself to suffer in the flesh. He must be willing to serve faithfully and consistently—long after the initial enthusiasm has departed. Also he must be willing to lose his individuality as he or she becomes an integral part of Christ’s Person.
Christ is knocking on the door of many hearts today, but the believers cannot decide whether or not to receive Him. Since Christ is seeking people to become part of His Being, how long do you think He will allow them to waver between their love for Him and their love for the world and the demons?
Rebekah did not waver. “I will go,” she announced.
If there is any doubt whatever in our mind, any wavering, any indecision as we weigh our love for the things and people of the world against our love for Christ, we immediately place in jeopardy our opportunity to enter eternal union with Christ. His name is jealous ! Let us choose to receive Him without further delay.
Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame. (Song of Solomon 8:6)
Many of the Lord’s people of today are playing silly spiritual games. They have not begun to enter the fierce union to which we have been called as members of the Wife of the Lamb. Let the children play! But out of this great congregation will come the “dove,” the undefiled, the “only one of her mother.”
Nahor’s family typifies all the Lord’s people. Rebekah, the type of the firstfruits of the Church, was of the family of Nahor, and it is she who was the purpose for the servant’s journey. It is His firstfruits who enables the Lord to tolerate the religious Babylon (man-directed Christianity) for a season.
And her brother and her mother said, Let the damsel abide with us a few days, at the least ten; after that she shall go. And he said unto them, Hinder me not, seeing the Lord hath prospered my way; send me away that I may go to my master. (Genesis 24:55,56)
The churches will continue to play with the things that interest them. But the Holy Spirit is single-minded and He will fulfill His responsibility as quickly as possible.
And they said, We will call the damsel, and inquire at her mouth. And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go. (Genesis 24:57,58)
“I will go”!
The Holy Spirit is not the only One who is single-minded. The true members of the Bride of the Lamb also are single-minded. They go straight on toward the Lord Jesus.
Rebekah at this time did not understand the Messianic purpose that abode on Isaac. She did not know of the Divine plan that had called Abram out of Ur of the Chaldees, of the promised Seed, of the offering of Isaac on the altar. Rebekah did not realize that she was deciding between a simple life as a village girl of the Middle East and eternal glory as the grandmother of the twelve tribes of Israel.
Rebekah’s heart and her mouth said, “I will go”! God grant that our heart and our mouth will cry “I will go”!
So it is that we believers in Christ do not realize the enormous consequences of the choice that has been placed before us as we are laboring in the plainness of our surroundings. The Lamb has invited us to be His bride. But then we look at our pots and pans and are not certain how we should respond.
As we were reminding a man who had his own sewer installation business, of the Divine calling that rests on him, he responded by asking, “But what will I do with all my shovels?”
Sometimes our “shovels” take on so much importance that it is difficult for us to realize the sublime significance of the invitation of Christ. The Lord asked Peter which he loved the most—the fish or Himself.
So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these [the pile of 153 large fish]? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs. (John 21:15)
The heart and mouth of the true Bride, the Church within the churches, say, “I will go”!
The remainder of the believers are fascinated with the pots and pans and shovels and fish of the world. They are not comprehending what is being required or the consequences of acceptance, or of hesitation and halfheartedness, or of rejection.
If we, like Joash (II Kings 13:19), could see the consequences of our actions, we would be much more diligent in the manner in which we are serving the Lord.
And Rebekah arose, and her damsels, and they rode upon the camels, and followed the man: and the servant took Rebekah, and went his way. (Genesis 24:61)
Scholars are not in agreement as to how long this journey was. But one thing is certain: it was long enough to bring Rebekah to Isaac. Rebekah was willing to set out on an adventure into the unknown. She had never seen Abraham or Isaac or the country in which they lived.
Every member of the true Church undergoes a “camel ride.” After we say “I will go,” there is a journey to take. It is a journey into the unknown. Many things happen to us that we do not understand.
The Bride must be prepared, and the work of preparation is not always pleasant or of our choice.
She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework: (Psalms 45:14)
Sometimes the needlework is painful.
But what about Isaac? He too was entering a change. He was about to lose his individuality. A stranger was coming who would become a permanent part of his personality. Isaac no longer would be alone.
And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming. (Genesis 24:63)
What was the subject of Isaac’s meditation? It was his bride. He was wondering what she would be like. He was waiting anxiously for her.
So it is that the Lord Jesus is waiting for us. We may imagine there are all sorts of things on the Lord’s mind. There is one thing on the Lord’s mind—His Bride. Human love is but the merest flicker when compared with the blazing inferno who is God Himself, the holy Fire from which our feeble life was ignited.
We do not comprehend the magnitude or intensity of the love that Christ bears for us or what marriage to Him involves for Him or for us. It is an eternal union. After the thousand-year Kingdom Age has ended, and the universe to which we are accustomed has disappeared, there will appear a new heaven and a new earth. The Lamb’s love for His Wife then will be dawning in the fullness of its splendor. When we come to the end of eternity, that will be just the beginning of our righteousness, love, joy, peace, and gladness of heart.
Today we are struggling in the dark womb of flesh-and-blood life on the earth. We shall spend our spiritual childhood and adolescence with the Lord during the thousand-year Kingdom Age. But our true life will begin when the new heaven and earth appear. Then the former things will be forgotten.
Our present “life” is but the threshold of true life. Yet the seemingly insignificant decisions we are making each day are determining our eternal destiny in the true world that is to come in the future.
The Lamb is receiving us into His Personality. This embrace will change what He is forever. We are being created an integral part of His Personality. This union changes what we are forever. The marriage of the Lamb is the adding to Him of a complement to His Being. It is an event of such extreme importance that everything else in the universe derives its significance, purpose, and direction from the uniting of the Lamb with His Bride.
The Holy City, which is the Lamb’s Wife, the true Church, will be the center of the universe and will govern the creation of God forever—ages without end.
(“The Church Within the Churches”, 3490-1)