“Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal. Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west.”
Revelation 21:9-13 NKJV
We here in the west have embraced many falsehoods in the pursuit of the knowledge of God. I think much of it is from our self centered pride, thinking more of ourselves than we ought. More likely, it is lack of the willingness to interpret Scripture with Scripture, and actually read what the bible says. Since I became a follower of Jesus I have heard of those who have called upon the Lord for salvation, referred to as the “bride of Christ, “ and that one day the Lord Jesus would return to take us home.
In truth we are but betrothed to the Lord, promised in marriage at a later date, after the Lord has prepared a place for us. During our time apart from the Lord, we go through purification and beautification, much like Esther was prepared for an entire year before being presented to the king. I love the types and shadows that God provides in His word.
“Each young woman’s turn came to go in to King Ahasuerus after she had completed twelve months’ preparation, according to the regulations for the women, for thus were the days of their preparation apportioned: six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with perfumes and preparations for beautifying women.”
Esther 2:12 NKJV
We are being made worthy, cleansed and refined, covered with the fragrance of righteousness. All that we endure is part of the process. In our persecution, often unto death, we are bathed in the myrrh, a spice meant for burial, as we bury our old selves in the grave. Through our walk in the faith, we put to death our old sinful lives, from the death and burial depicted baptism, to the new creation the Lord is building.
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.”
II Corinthians 5:17 NKJV
I have personally felt the purifying hand of God on my life, as health, emotional and social trials have brought me low, humbling me. In the death of self, the fragrance of Christ has been made more evident. I walk as one bathed in myrrh, having all of my fleshly desires made dead, and replaced by a desire to serve Almighty God.
In the days ahead, many of us will pay with our lives. Do not be shocked at such a claim, because even now our brothers and sisters around the world are paying with their lives, as they press on for the sake the of the Gospel. We are part of them, and they of us. All of us are in Jesus. We have an appointment with destiny, whether we desire it or not. The Lord is going to complete His work.
Take heart, my brothers and sisters, all that we are going through is to make us the beautiful and radiant bride worthy of the King. In our endurance, we are made fragrant, smelling of the grace of God.
The process will include much pain and trial, and at some point the very world we live in will be destroyed, only to be remade.
“But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”
II Peter 3:10-13 NKJV
Let us endure the refinement of the Lord with great joy, rejoicing that the momentary pain that we have, will be someday replaced by indescribable things, that we cannot yet imagine. We will be presented to the King in all His glory, and we will be with Him. Let us ponder these things as we wait and endure.
We are in our betrothal, our engagement, as we are prepared. Many things that we hold dear will drift awes from our lives, but do not despair, as they will one day be replaced by glory.
“Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.””
Revelation 21:1-5 NKJV
Let us conduct ourselves faithfully, honoring the One who awaits us, as we await His return. Let us go and proclaim the Gospel, that many more be engaged to the lamb. He is coming quickly!
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