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The last few posts that I have posted all lead to this one post. It stands to reason that this post is important. As with all the other posts, nothing I write is just for the purpose of writing, but it is two-fold. The first is that it is an outworking of what He is doing in me. For me it is not just words, but a reality. The second is for the edification and exhortation of the Bride. Those who are consciously choosing to die to self on a daily basis. From all these posts there is a continues theme of resurrection life from out of death.
My last post was about crying out. It was about judgment on the virgin of Babylon referring to Isaiah 47. First He calls her virgin, referring to her purity as His Bride, but then calls her daughter of the Chaldeans. She goes from virgin to daughter. The process is of removing her veil and her trail when you search out the meanings in the Strong’s Concordance. The message is clear…Sit down in sackcloth and dust. This dust is the word ashes. She is to exchange her beautiful wedding dress and veil for sackcloth and she is to sit in dust, or ashes. She is to lament and repent of her sins and wickedness. My suggestion is that you return to the word Father gave me that I recorded on the audio, called PUT ON SACKLOTH. It is a sobering word for the USA, but first and foremost for the Bride. I mentioned previously in my post “Enough is Enough”, that judgment begins at the house of God. I am concerned about how many are truly recognizing their hour of judgment as the virgin of Babylon, thinking that this is only for the wicked and not the Bride. Indeed His judgement now is a mercy extended to us. Would you rather have it now or later? There are two verses that I would like to draw your attention to in Isaiah 47 that will form part of this post’s subject.
Isaiah 47: 7 - 8
7 And thou said, I shall be a lady forever: so that thou didst not lay these things to thy heart, neither didst remember the latter end of it.
The “Sackcloth and Ashes” post flows from the previous post called No Jordan, No Jericho. And in the understanding of the essence of the Jordan, which is to enter into His death, one can understand why the post following it is a call to sackcloth and ashes. But what does this constitute? How is this Jordan theoretically and practically different from the Red Sea and wilderness experience? These are questions we need to ask, because the correct doctrine does not make it a reality, but only that which is birthed in you through the process of death. So in essence, what does this death look like in the Jordan? What does this sackcloth and ashes mean practically?
In Isaiah 47 He is requiring the removal of the Bridal veil. This removal of a veil is the very veil that Paul speaks of that needs to be removed for us to gain understanding, or revelation (2 Corinthians 3: 16). The revelation of our true state. So whilst the Bride has the attitude of being virginal and that she will be a lady forever, His purpose is to remove this deception and show her the truth of her real disposition. Only the truth sets us free. Not doctrinal truth, but reality. He has to remove the veil for us to see, to discern. This in affect means that she is to be made naked and be exposed so that the only garment fit for her would be that of sackcloth. This Bride who has gone through the wilderness has learned how to bear her cross and has died numerous deaths along the way. She has died to her desires to attain things in life. She has died to family and friends and fortunes. She has died to this world. Indeed her Bridal gown is embroidered with precious pearls and gold and she is a beauty to behold. Her Bridegroom does delight in her and He loves her beyond measure. And yet it is to her that He is speaking and pronouncing a judgment over. Why is she, who once were His precious jewel become one that is hunted? One whom He desires to destroy?
When I realized that this is the process He is taking me through I asked Him, “Lord, your coming is so soon. I have prepared my bridal gown. I have set all things in place and my desire is for only you. Yet now you come as one who slays, as the Lion of Judah, the High Priest of my faith, desiring to slay me on the altar as a lamb? Do you not desire that I shall come before you as your beautiful Bride, but instead as a lamb slaughtered, bloodied and torn? Why do you want to devour me?” His reply to me was that He who stands before the Father, is as One slain before the foundation of this world. The only One worthy to open the seals. That as His Bridal Company we too are to be slain, not by this world, but by the judgment of God. The Lover has become the Lion and the Bride the lamb. There will be no place to hide. How will He do this? He has to lift the veil, especially the beautiful spiritual veil that she has draped over her eyes.
I spoke about this veil in my post called The Rented Heart of God, in which I explained that although the veil has been rented that separates us from the Holy of Holies, that there was another veil that needs renting, which is the renting of the veil of our own hearts. When you look at the structure of the tabernacle, it has an outer and inner court, and then the Holy of Holies. The entrance to the outer court is the rebirth, the washing with water. The entering into the inner court is the wilderness experience, also entered through a veil. But the last veil is the one before the Holy of Holies. In there no flesh can dwell. In there one finds the Ark of the Covenant and the only light is the glory of God. In the wilderness you are circumcised, still able to do works within the inner court that constitute priesthood. But in the Holy of Holies one is cut off like the Eunuchs and have to first stand within the Jordan, in order to enter into Canaan, which is into the rest of God where you seize from your own works. You enter to abide and to live from this place by faith (Hebrews 3 – 4). To have your being from out of death. The veil has to be rented and removed. He has to show her who she is.
If what He shows me of who I really am, the “I”, and the lifting of the veil only discomforts me, only breaks my heart and disgusts me. If I don’t really see with eyes that see reality, the eyes that see the enmity against God that is “I”, that hates Him, then what will happen from out of this seeing will not be eternal. It will discomfort me, sadden me, but it will not devastate me. It will not leave me as dead, but after some time, “I” will pull myself up and think that He has raised me and I will go on, slightly changed, but not from death unto life.
Once the veil is ripped off, it stays off and I have to then look at the horror that is “I” and hate my life. Hate the “I” with a pure hatred as it is the very essence of that which crucified my Savior. That veil can never be put back on again. I have to stay on that cross, receive the just deserved smiting, the pulling of the beard, the spitting of the face and die on that cross. And after that I have to wait. Wait in the grave for four days. The reason why Lazarus was dead for four days before Jesus came to resurrect Him was because the belief was that after three days, the soul was still able to return to the body. And so the waiting is for four days until there is no more hope. No hope for me to raise myself up as I have done all along. And once I have reached that point of hopelessness and start to rot and stink, I wait more. Until I hear the voice of the Resurrection and the Life call my name…”Come forth!”
As long as there is self-consciousness, self-pity, self-awareness, self-consideration, I have not yet died, no matter what I profess. Self-consciousness is still self, even if it is a spiritual self-consciousness. Self will still be embedded within the fiber of our spirituality and we will forfeit the glory of God, which is His resurrection life.
Art Katz says, “The glory of God is a merciful provision of God to lift us up to a higher plane of being and consideration.”
But instead we operate from our self-dependence and spiritual efficiency and do what we need to do from out of our own wisdom and call it God’s wisdom. All the while it may be godly and spiritual, but lacks the essence of God, which is His glory. And it is not that He does not use us. The reality is that what the Israelites experienced in the wilderness was miraculous and spoke of the love of God for a rebellious people for whom He died. But Canaan speaks of a rest that comes from a death where Jericho fall because man has not lifted one finger! Entering into death is all about the glory of God. The glory of God was Paul’s foremost consideration and because he knew that requirement, he could exclaim, “Who is sufficient for these things!” Unless He brings us to this death, this ultimate devastation, self will be in our doing and subconsciously take God’s glory. The real question is, are you willing to go that far? To that kind of death and devastation, to ashes? I ask myself, am I writing this post in my strength or His? In my power or His? For my glory or His? In my wisdom or His wisdom? The issue is not whether it is true, but out of what life it springs forth? Out of the essence which constitute “I” or out of the resurrection life? Because only that which comes from death constitute resurrection life. This is why He includes that if we are to be His disciples, we are to hate our own life.
26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.
Some look at this as a mere sense of what we have in life or have achieved. Our gifts, talents and friends and loved ones. The reality is that He is speaking of that which constitute your very being. That seed that has entwined itself around the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that we still cling to. That lurks in the branches of our minds saying, “Have God really said that you would die? Surely you shall not die.” But die you must and not just that which constitute life around you, but the very life in you which is that vile serpent’s seed that is in enmity with God. That life, that “I”, the seat of pride in you has to die and be brought to ashes. If you think for one moment you can do this from out of your own wisdom and spiritual understanding you are still thinking from out of the context of what you can do. For those who carry their cross cannot crucify themselves on the cross, but unto another it is given to do. By the hands of the soldiers, those who pierce your hands and side. Those who smite your back, pull your beard and strips you naked, heaving for just one breath, until you cry in authenticity, “Father, into Thine hands I commit my spirit!”
It is only He that can bring us to that death. Very few go all the way and die on their cross. They deny friends, family, fortune and all that they have done, but they do not hate their life. And the reality is that the last resort of that life, that “I” is to hide behind the priestly garments of saints, having died a thousand deaths, but yet still alive. There yet remains hope of resurrection. There yet remains hope for a future, even a spiritual future of great exploits.
But Lazarus died. The friend of God died and after four days in the grave he began to stink and there was no Jesus. This is the very example of righteous Job. And as with Job and Lazarus, the cry will come out from those believers around you crying, “Where is God? What have you done?” They will look on you as dried up branches, eunuchs cut off and no longer producing seed and only see death. They will say, “Lord, he stinks!” And this will not only be from a perception of no more life as you know it, but no more spiritual life. All has died, even the spiritual in all its categories. This is the God who devastates of which righteous Job testifies. God is an ultimate God and He will not share His glory with any man. He is the same God of Job who does not change. The same God who waited until there was no hope for Lazarus. It is a mercy and a grace to be brought to this place, and it is the glory of God to be resurrected.
Art Katz also says, “For us then the issue of resurrection is more than a correct doctrine, but the source of our being.”
20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
The moment you think this to be works, you still do not get it. Who can raise you from death unto life, save Jesus Christ, the Resurrection and the Life! This is not something your life circumstances bring you to. The wilderness experiences and the cross you bear there are your identification with His suffering, through your own suffering. But you enter into the Jordan by choice so that you may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death (Phil. 3: 10). In the one you walk with Him, in the other you die in Him. And only He can bring you to the brink of this Jordan.
Jesus said, “No man has greater love than he who lays down his life for his friends. You are My friends.” (John 15) Lazarus was Jesus’ friend. And John the Baptist was known as the friend of the Bridegroom. And in this death there is a friend that sticks closer than a brother, even if He does not make one move to save you, but waits for four days, that He may raise you up.
If you desire this death above all else, you will have to lay that life that lives in you, that constitute the “I” in you, down. At the right time as you end your wilderness journey, He will bring you to the Jordan and baptize you in His death. You will not be able to do one single thing to raise yourself up, because there will be no more “I”. Like Paul, you will be able to authentically say, “I no longer live, but Christ lives in me”. You will have your being from out of Him. You will be able to say, “Oh death, where is thy sting?” for you would have gone over from death unto life.
After everything that Job went through, we hear him saying the following in chapter 42:
Job 42: 2 - 6
2I know that thou canst do everything, and that no thought can be withhold from thee.
Job was restored with twice as much as what he had and was taken from him. But it was not until he came to this place of abhorring himself and not only his ears opened, but his eyes opened that he could repent in dust and ashes. It took total devastation for Job to see himself and God as He truly is and therefore he could not but cry out that he abhors himself and repents in dust and ashes.
I am not sure how to end a post like this. It is such an ultimate place He takes us to, to be completely devastated. It is indeed the fulfillment of the word He gave me…”Will you stand before me alone, which you can read in the post No Jordan, No Jericho. May the God who devastates so that He may receive the glory, receive all the glory not only through this post, but through my life. All I can say is that until we know Him as this, our fear of God will be limited to what we have experienced till we stand in the Jordan. Only then will we know Him as He truly is.
I am adding to this post a link to a 16th Century writer called Joseph Salmon. This writing is called “The Anti-Christ in Man - The Whore of Babylon”. You will remember that I wrote that we need to face the Haman within before we face the Haman without in this world that seeks to destroy and kill God's children. It is a brutal truth of the true state of the “I” in us and I have not come to any writing in all my reading quite like this. Hasten through it, and you will do it at your own peril, for I believe this is a provision given for those who wish to enter in. I do not share these pearls lightly and therefore it should not be read lightly. The truth is that she starts in Isaiah 47 as a virgin bride, but He exposes her as the whore of Babylon that she is. The devestation is in part in the realization of who she is, and then the fact that He loves her knowing this. This love causes her to give her life to Him. May He devastate us to the core so that He may raise us up. Amen.
Isaiah 50: 3 - 11