Joseph Herrin (10-27-09)
Note: This post continues the series on The Marriage Covenant. It is recommended to read these posts together and in order. They can all be located at the following links:
Foundation Stone Seven - Glorious Union
What if it were the Father’s plan to so fill mankind with His own holy, omnipotent and omniscient presence that it became impossible to tell where He ended and where we began? Suppose that in a moment of time we became so infused with the divine life that it was like a high voltage electric current filled us with the same power that fuels a trillion stars. Try to envision for a moment that the vitality you now experience as the life of God glows within you was suddenly fanned into the brilliance of a million suns shining in their strength. Imagine suddenly, in an instant, having your mental capacity expanded to understand all mysteries and to contain all knowledge in such a way that even Solomon’s experience would be eclipsed as but the smallest foreshadowing of things to come.
Such an experience is not hyperbole, nor vain imagination. In truth, these words do not come near describing that which the Father has planned for His sons and daughters. Consider the following testimony of Scriptures.
I John 3:2
Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when [Christ] appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.
For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren...
I Corinthians 15:49
And just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
For our citizenship is in heaven, from which also we eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Yahshua Christ; who will transform the body of our humble state into conformity with the body of His glory...
From the very beginning of creation Yahweh set a plan in motion to create beings after His image, and in His likeness. It was four thousand years before the first man appeared who would fulfill this prophetic declaration of the Father. The first Adam could not say, “He who has seen me has seen the Father.” It was not until Christ walked this earth that a man appeared who could make this statement.
Yet the glory of Christ while He was on this earth was veiled. There were moments when it was glimpsed, as was revealed on the mount of transfiguration.
And six days later Yahshua took with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and brought them up to a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; and His face shone like the sun, and His garments became as white as light.
Christ walked in the power of God, but it too was hidden under the appearance of earthly flesh, waiting to break out to the astonishment of those around.
Now as He approached the gate of the city, behold, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a sizeable crowd from the city was with her. And when the Lord saw her, He felt compassion for her, and said to her, "Do not weep." And He came up and touched the coffin; and the bearers came to a halt. And He said, "Young man, I say to you, arise!" And the dead man sat up, and began to speak. And Yahshua gave him back to his mother. And fear gripped them all, and they began glorifying God, saying, "A great prophet has arisen among us!" and, "God has visited His people!"
What astonishment must have gripped this people. The Scriptures describe their reaction as fear. How could such a thing be comprehended? One who appears as an ordinary, impotent man, suddenly manifests the power of resurrection life. How can a man speak a word and the dead be raised? The people said truly, “God has visited His people.”
Even though the power Christ manifested caused great fear among the people, it was merely a token of the power at His command. There was a far greater glory and power that belonged to Him. For a season He laid it aside, but when He departed this world at His ascension to the heavens He took it up again.
Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Yahshua, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore also God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Yahshua every knee should bow, of those who are in heaven, and on earth, and under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Yahshua Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
The apostle John walked with the Son of God when Yahshua bore the image of man. John loved Christ, being the most intimate with him, yet He never imagined the greatness of the glory that once belonged to his beloved Master, and which would be His again.
While exiled on the isle of Patmos John had a revelation of the resurrected Christ. He describes Him as follows:
And I turned to see the voice that was speaking with me. And having turned I saw seven golden lampstands; and in the middle of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed in a robe reaching to the feet, and girded across His breast with a golden girdle. And His head and His hair were white like white wool, like snow; and His eyes were like a flame of fire; and His feet were like burnished bronze, when it has been caused to glow in a furnace, and His voice was like the sound of many waters. And in His right hand He held seven stars; and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength. And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as a dead man.
The revelation of the glorified Christ was so great that all strength left John’s body. He was overcome by the magnificence of Christ’s appearing. John fell down as if dead, his sinful flesh being unable to arise in the presence of such holiness, power, and glory.
Yet, the awesome truth, incredible in its comprehension, is that this same glorious appearance is to be shared with the victorious saints of God. This is what John wrote in his first epistle. “We shall be like Him!” This is what Paul testifies in the following words:
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed in us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.
Paul writes also of the power we are to experience in the coming ages. Paul walked in moments of great power, where astounding works were performed by his hands, as testified in the book of Acts.
And God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out.
The apostle knew that, as awesome as such experiences were, they were only a foretaste of the powers to be experienced by the saints in the coming ages.
For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come...
Peter also wrote of that glory which is to come.
I Peter 4:13
To the degree that you share the sufferings of Christ, keep on rejoicing; so that also at the revelation of His glory, you may rejoice with exultation.
And Paul again writes of this glory of Christ that the saints are to share.
II Corinthians 4:17
For momentary, light affliction is producing for us an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison...
When Christ, who is our life, is revealed, then you also will be revealed with Him in glory.
People of God, being revealed with Christ “in glory” is not a location, it is an experience. It is the fulfillment of that which Christ prayed in His high priestly prayer recorded by John.
"And the glory which You have given Me I have given to them...”
In a single moment of time mankind will be transformed, but each in his own order. The first to experience this glorious conformity to Christ will be the overcomers. Isaiah prophesies of the glory of God arising upon His people.
"Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of Yahweh has risen upon you. For behold, darkness will cover the earth, and deep darkness the peoples; but Yahweh will rise upon you, and His glory will appear upon you. And nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising.”
Who can comprehend what this experience will be like? Yet a greater marvel is revealed in how it will come about.
Some have imagined that they will simply receive an enduement of power, that their old body will be replaced with a new incorruptible body, an immortal tabernacle not made with hands. These things are true, but there is something far greater to occur. The transformation will come about through the process of entering into a fullness of union with Christ.
"I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one...
Right now we have been given a measure of the Spirit of Christ, but we are to receive the Spirit beyond measure.
You were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession, to the praise of His glory.
When a man gives a woman an engagement ring, he is setting his seal upon her. He is giving her a token of some value as a pledge of greater things to come. Though they are engaged, the hour is to arrive when the man will give himself fully to the woman. The two will become one flesh. The members of his body will become her members, and vice versa. Everything he possesses will belong to the woman.
(This reveals the corruption of those men and women who enter into pre-nuptial agreements. They are refusing to give themselves fully and without any reservations to the one to whom they are entering into a marriage covenant.)
Christ has given His betrothed a pledge in the form of the indwelling Holy Spirit. This present limited experience of the Spirit, as precious as it is, will one day give way to the glorious fullness of union with Christ. The Spirit will be given without measure.
If we would understand the holiness of sexual intercourse, we must perceive how God has designed the physical union of the man and the woman to serve as a parable of the spiritual union between Christ and His people. Repeatedly, the Scriptures reveal that these two forms of union are given as types and shadows of one another.
I Corinthians 6:16-17
Or do you not know that the one who joins himself to a harlot is one body with her? For He says, "The two will become one flesh." But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him.
For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.
Every detail of the physical union of the man and woman is given as a parable of the spiritual union that is to be experienced by the Bride of Christ. God designed the physical union so that it is accompanied by tremendous physical sensations of pleasure and joy. This is a foreshadowing of that glorious spiritual union to be experienced in Christ.
In Your presence is fulness of joy; In Your right hand there are pleasures forever.
In the act of sexual union the man and woman are brought face to face. The King James Bible often speaks of sexual union as “the man KNEW his wife.” We see the same language employed when describing the fullness of spiritual union that is yet to appear between Christ and His church.
I Corinthians 13:12-13
For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I shall know fully just as I also have been fully known.
In the act of physical intercourse the man enters the woman. This is with purpose and design, for Christ is to enter His people and fill them. The result will be a rapturous bliss of which the physical union provides only a small foretaste. Paul never writes with such rapture and prophetic joy as he does when he describes the glorious union of Christ and His church.
For this reason, I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man; so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fulness of God.
Undoubtedly, some will take offense at comparing the physical union of the man and woman to the spiritual union of Christ and His people. Yet, Yahweh clearly intended one to stand as a symbol and revelation of the other. Our problem is that we live in a perverse society that has transformed that which was designed to be holy into a promiscuous, adulterous, fornicating, cesspool of indecency.
I would raise the vision of the people of God to see the holiness with which Yahweh has adorned the physical union of a man and his wife. Can anything be more righteous than the spiritual union of Christ and His people? Should we not then guard with jealousy that physical union that is given as a type and shadow of that which is most holy?
The apostle Paul declares that the man and woman become “one flesh,” but the one joined to Christ becomes “one spirit with Him.” I urge you to reflect upon this for a moment.
Consider that the day will come when Christ will approach His bride. He will say, “The time has come for us to become fully one in spirit. Before I have given you a pledge of this union. Now I will give Myself fully to you. All you must do is receive.” In doing so, everything that pertains to Christ will enter into His people. His omnipotent power; His omniscient mind; His fathomless glory; His indestructible life; all that He possesses will in a moment be infused into His people. The experience will be indescribable joy.
The apostle Paul declares, “We shall know fully, even as we have been fully known.” There will be no more veil. Is this not the message of the virgin’s veil. She has seen things as through a veil, but the veil will be removed. The veil is symbolically removed by the Bridegroom during the wedding ceremony. It is removed in substance when the hymen is torn and the man enters into his virgin bride. We too will have the veil that has covered our eyes removed when we experience a complete spiritual union with Christ. We will see as He sees. We will know as He knows. We will be one.
Can you not sense the deficiency of your current union with Christ? We struggle to know His thoughts. We see through a veil darkly. We wrestle with perplexity and confusion. We desire to have power to open blind eyes and unstop deaf ears. We yearn to raise those who are spiritually dead. We experience that which Paul described in the following words:
For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.
We presently have “the firstfruits of the Spirit.” We do not have the fulness of the harvest. We have the pledge of that which is to come, but we have yet to enter into its abundance.
This precious pledge we have received is further constrained by this sinful flesh. Oh, to be delivered from this body of death. We are like a chick struggling to emerge from the shell. We are like the newly formed butterfly seeking to break free of the cocoon. We can taste the things to come, and we yearn to enter into the fulness, but the struggle continues. We are not yet free.
An hour is coming when Christ will complete the work He has begun. At His next appearing He will finish the salvation He started. He will deliver His overcomers from all that is hindering them and holding them back.
Even so it is that Christ, having been offered to take upon Himself and bear as a burden the sins of many once and once for all, will appear a second time, not to carry any burden of sin nor to deal with sin, but to bring to full salvation those who are [eagerly, constantly, and patiently] waiting for and expecting Him.
This will be the moment of our ecstatic and glorious union. It is no wonder that those who stand with Christ on Mount Zion will sing a new song (Revelation 14:3). The praise will not be able to be contained. The glories of the Son of God, revealed IN HIS PEOPLE must be given voice.
Let us now make this very practical. This teaching series is presented to promote understanding of God’s mind as it pertains to sexual purity, the marital union, divorce and remarriage.
Seeing that we have been betrothed to Christ, and have received His pledge, should we not be looking forward with great anticipation to that full spiritual union that lies ahead? We should be like a virgin betrothed, waiting expectantly for the appearing of her bridegroom.
Will the one who has been sealed with the Holy Spirit and who is promised to freely receive everything that belongs to Christ, then pursue other lovers while they await the return of the Bridegroom? Can we not all put aside the pursuit of all that competes for our affection for this brief season of our lives? Can we not hold in our hearts a passion and desire for Christ, during this season in which He has gone away to prepare a habitation for us in which we might dwell together as one? It is this fervent love and longing for Christ that Yahshua speaks of to the church of Ephesus.
“But I have this against you, that you have left your first love.”
Will not Christ reject all those who have been betrothed to Him as a pure virgin, when He discovers their lack of chastity? The wait for His appearing may be long; the days may seem wearisome, and the trials unending; yet, should not the delay make the anticipation of His appearing all the more precious in our sight?
We must guard against weariness. Let us stir ourselves up by reminding ourselves of that glorious union that has been promised to all who look with longing to His appearing.
People of God, if we are espoused to Christ, we must live in expectancy of His return for His Bride. What would a man think of his virgin to whom he has given his pledge, if in his departure she began acting promiscuously, giving herself to many other lovers, unwilling to wait for the moment of pleasure when her Bridegroom should appear? Would not that man be righteously indignant? Would he not give to her a writing of divorce and declare to her, “Depart from Me, I never knew you.” Truly, she will not be known to Him, nor He to her, for she played the harlot.
Many in the church today are living in an unchaste manner. They say they belong to Christ. They may even make a spectacle of showing off the evidence of their betrothal by flashing around the gifts of the Holy Spirit, but their hearts are lusting after many other things. They love the world and the things in it. Such ones may expect that Christ will sweep them off their feet and carry them away to heaven, but they are deceived. Their portion will be weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth. They will be assigned a portion with the unbelievers. The door will be shut before them, and they will be unable to enter into the marriage feast. They will not know the full and glorious union of the Son of God that could have been their portion.
This spiritual adultery is paralleled in the physical lives of God’s people. The church today is rife with fornication, with adultery, with divorce and remarriage. Multitudes are acting out physically the condition of the church spiritually. They are unchaste.
God intended the marriage union to symbolize the union of Christ and His Bride. How many have turned that symbol of holiness into something unholy?
If you have sinned in this matter, do not hesitate to repent before God. Seek Him with the deepest fear and humility lest you discover at His appearing that He has not come for you.
There is a promised holy and glorious union that will be consummated at the next appearance of Christ. Let the Bride make herself ready. Do not delay, Soon a voice will be heard from the heavenly realms.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He shall dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be among them, and He shall wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there shall no longer be any death; there shall no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”
A glorious union is set before those who have made themselves ready. John sums up the matter well:
I John 3:3
And everyone who has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.
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