“When the LORD shall build up Zion,
he shall appear in His glory”
God is a covenant keeping God. The reins of His dealings in His people are neither arbitrary nor random. He is a God of purpose and intent. It is always striking to me to hear people say that the Lord could return at any moment as if there were no real purpose in His timing. He is coming back for something specific and precious to Him.
“…to present her to himself as a radiant church,
without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish,
but holy and blameless”
The church which God is going to present to Himself is to be radiant, pure, and holy. The stains of selfishness, strife, division, and worldliness will be removed. She will be ONE in truth, love, and holiness. Her garments will not be wrinkled nor soiled. The members of this glorious body will have a fervent love one for another and there will be no schisms within those who have the faith of the Bride. Those who are not bothered by the division and the worldliness of the church today know little of either His return or His heart. Those not burdened to the point of speaking, praying, and admonishing His people to repent from their ways know not God! His return is predicated upon the fulfillment of the prayer of Jesus.
The Prayer of Jesus
God is not going to allow the prayer of His Son to go unanswered! The prayer of Jesus (John 17) will not fall to the ground unfulfilled. We are here to serve His purposes and desires; to walk contrary to these things is disobedience.
“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”
Those who walk in the faith (the call) of the Bride cannot hold to evil thoughts about their brothers and sisters; they cannot gossip, speak evil, or withdraw themselves from others. Those who would be ready for Him must know of the burning and purifying required to walk in the white robes of His righteousness and grace. We are required to speak truth and present the Holiness of God to all. The declaration of His Holiness does not arise out of a perceived self-righteousness; it is simply because He who is Holy has called His people to be holy. People who see little are not troubled by the horror of the present day Church of God. They are so involved with their own “church” that they are blinded to the reality of God’s house.
How can it be that we can have our “own” church and our “own” spiritual agendas? Even in our “preaching of Christ” we secretly desire to bring men and women to our building, our organization and our ways. The hidden agenda to enlarge “our” church body reveals the carnality of self-seeking. The result of this worldly way of living is that we are divided against ourselves; an indictment of a people who have wandered far from the truth and power of HIS love in our midst.
“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”
Many religious people do not take the substance of this prayer seriously nor is it thought of in terms of actual fulfillment. The prayer of Jesus is given little consideration as to how we live and conduct ourselves within the household of faith. This Oneness for which Jesus prayed can only be known by “us being ONE IN HIM”. If I am in Jesus, I love His people; if I do not love His people, I do not know God.
“He that loveth not knoweth not God;
for God is love”
1 John 4:8
Living outside a true knowing of God will leave an individual separated from the influence of the prayer of Jesus. Men take the knowledge of God’s Word and purposes as an intellectual formula but do not know the heartbeat or the power of His love within their hearts. They journey through life unaffected by the condition of His House. In stark contrast, the Bride makes herself ready for she feels the anticipation of being one with Him. Her aspirations are not born by some religious concept; she desires purity because she wants to present herself to Him. This spiritual betrothal is a real and living thing that beats within her heart; a hope that purifies.
“And every man that hath this hope in him
purifieth himself, even as he is pure”
1 John 3:3
Everyone that has this hope knows of this purifying! It is a day of separation of the wheat from the chaff, the wheat from the tares, and the Ishmaels from the Isaacs. The Day of the Lord is upon us and the life which we now live reveals the truth of our condition. Those who hold His heart and His faith are asking God to search out their hearts, repenting of the works of the flesh and the severing of relationships. There is a fire to speak the truth and to hold one another accountable in our walk with Him. There is a circumspect walk and a rising up of His Word within the hearts of those who know and feel that the day of His appearing is nigh; not waiting in faithless inactivity but cooperating with the burning of His Spirit within their hearts. They seek out others in whom the fire is burning “to provoke one another unto Love and Good works”.
The Father waits for the prayer of the Son to be realized within those whom He has called.
“Behold, the husbandman waiteth
for the precious fruit of the earth…”
It is He who is waiting for the full and rich harvest from the precious seed which was sown into the earth! The Day of the Lord is the Day of the Harvest. He is waiting for the fullness of Christ within His own. We cannot know God and have little or no concern for the welfare of the Body of Christ. Daniel saw the state of Israel and spent his time weeping and praying over their condition. Paul, Peter, Jude and others wrote and spent their lives beseeching His people to preserve the unity of the Spirit and hold fast to the love of God.
“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord,
beseech you… to walk worthy…
Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit
in the bond of peace
There is one body, and one Spirit,
even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
One God and Father of all, who is above all,
and through all, and in you all”
How do we walk worthily?
By endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit!
This is not about the organizations of men but about the One Body of Christ. To walk worthy of His heavenly call we must seek the welfare of His house! Without a burden for his house we are without His Heart.
“By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples,
if ye have love one to another”
A heart devoid of love reveals the indisputable fact that it is not a disciple of Christ. Love is the very signature of God in His own. Apathy is deception; it holds to His word but is bereft of the power and wonder of His Love for Him and one another.
Religion is comfortable with loving one another in word but the love of God calls us to a higher standard.
“My little children, let us not love in word,
neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth”
1 John 3:18
When the Church of God is pure, holy, and unified in the fervency and power of His Love, He will suddenly appear with unspeakable glory.
“It came even to pass,
as the trumpeters and singers were as one,
to make one sound to be heard
in praising and thanking the Lord…
that then the house was filled with a cloud,
even the house of the Lord
So that the priests could not stand
to minister by reason of the cloud:
for the glory of the Lord
had filled the house of God”
2 Chronicles 5:13-14
“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come”
Those who are of the Bride speak the same word as the Spirit.
Note that there are many aspects of His return and his appearing will be according to a person’s relationship with Christ. To the wicked and evil of this world He will come as the Righteous Judge with retribution upon those who have not obeyed the Gospel. To the slothful servant who hid His talent in the ground He will judge and render a just recompense (Matthew 25:24-28). Those who kept their lamps burning by the oil of His Spirit He receives into the marriage feast (Matthew 25:10). To the foolish virgins the marriage feast is closed (Matthew 25:10). To those who knew His will but did not prepare themselves His coming will be accompanied by many stripes (Luke 12:47). His coming to each of us will be in accordance to the life we have lived not the doctrines we hold.
“Blessed is that servant,
whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing”
“the Lord, whom ye seek,
shall suddenly come to his temple”
With an acknowledgement to Brendan Jaster and Linda for help with editing
Please also visit: Brendan Jaster's Blog