|subscribe | address change | article archive | print version | online giving | unsubscribe|
Don't Touch the Bride
Throughout the Scriptures the people of God are referred to as His bride. This metaphor starts in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 2), through all the queens of Israel (especially Esther), the Song of Solomon, the wedding parables of the Gospel, Paul's epistles, the glorified woman (Revelation 12), the bride made ready (Revelation 19:7), and the marriage feast (Revelation 21). It is a great mystery (Ephesians 5:32).
In ancient times, those who took care of the wives of the king were eunuchs. They were given great delegated authority, on the one obvious condition that they could not touch the affections of any of his brides.
We as dedicated believers in Yeshua (Jesus) are members of His spiritual bride. There are those of us who are called also to be "friends of the bridegroom" (John 3:29). They are part of the bride but also have some leadership to help prepare the bride for His coming. These co-leader-friends have special access to the people of God, to the heart of the bride. However, like spiritual eunuchs (Matthew 19:12), they must be sure not to steal the affections, attention, and ownership of the bride.
My wife and I have a wonderful relationship; we are best friends and lovers after 30 years of marriage. Yet I am the number two man in her life; number one is Yeshua.
Those of us called to leadership must be very careful to die to the temptation of "stealing the attention" or "possessing the affections" of the people of God. We have the love and respect of the people but only to a secondary degree. This is true of worship leaders, pastors, preachers, and anyone in a place of authority or influence. When we operate in the anointing of the Holy Spirit, people are drawn to us and to Yeshua in us. That is acceptable. At the Red Sea, the people of Israel believed in both God and Moses (Exodus 14:31). Yet Moses was very conscious not to pull the hearts of the people toward himself. (It took forty years in the desert to die to that tendency.)
The subconscious desire to gain affection and honor is incredibly dangerous and subtle. It lies at the root of the fall of Lucifer. May those of us in leadership enjoy the love and trust of the people of God, but make sure that we never let the subtleties of pride lure us into "touching the bride." She is for Him.
(Excerpt, night between 20-21 January, 2012)
We were standing in a field near our home in Israel. There was a feeling in the air as if right before a big storm. The wind was blowing and the clouds were racing across the sky. The feeling grew and intensified. Those of us who were believers began to understand that these were signs that the time of the Second Coming had arrived. No one had to tell us, we just knew. In fact, we knew that there were only 13-14 minutes left. This time was also concurrent with a battery of missiles launched at Israel from Iran; they were in the air on the way and would land in the same 13-14 minutes.
We felt the fear of the Lord; there was an intense urgency to tell the people around us what was happening.
The non-believers around us sensed that a great disaster was about to happen, like a war or an earthquake-tsunami. They were crowding into cars in order to flee, but they didn't know where to flee. I turned to one car, with a family of one of the people who threw me out of the synagogue in our neighborhood. I told them they needed to cry out to Yeshua. They frowned at me, but knew that this was right. They cried to the Lord and were saved.
I turned to another family, also from the synagogue, and told them the same thing. They also frowned, but this time, they rejected the message and were lost.
I turned to a close relative getting into another car with friends. I told them to cry out to the Lord. They also frowned, and seemed perplexed; I did not know whether they decided to accept it or not.
The fear of the Lord intensified wildly. We, the believers, were not at all fearful for ourselves. We were totally at peace and secure about our own destiny. However, the concern for those around us grew to almost a panic. Thinking back over our lives - whatever we had done which was not part of spreading the kingdom of God had been a waste of time.
I awoke with that same fear of the Lord, an urgency to preach the good news from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8), the gospel of the kingdom (Matthew 24:14), and that "before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord, all those who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved (escape)" – Acts 2:20-21.