Friday, February 5, 2016

The Perfection of Beauty

“Out of Zion, THE PERFECTION OF BEAUTY, God has shone forth” (Psalm 50:2).

Zion means “a conspicuous desert or dry place”; conspicuous means “something that attracts attention by being great or impressive.”  According to James Strong, it is “a monumental or guiding pillar—a sign.”  It is therefore something readily visible or observable, something both openly rebuked by the blazing noon zenith of God at the full brightness of His coming, and something therefore evidentially manifested in the full spectrum of His pure white scrutiny; it attracts “special attention, as by outstanding qualities or eccentricities.”  Zion is God in us, the light of the Lamb being the only light necessary inside our New Jerusalem city.  He beautifies us with His love, and He, the perfection of beauty, beautifies us first in Jerusalem/Judea, places which mean “lion of God or heroic” and “celebrated,” and which correspond to our spirits; secondly in Samaria He beautifies us, a place which means “idolatrous sanctuary or tent” and which corresponds to our souls; lastly He beautifies our bodies outside the camp, even unto the outermost limits of the earth—if we receive His commissioning and give our service to promoting His kingdom wherever we go.

“May our God come and not keep silence; fire devours before Him, and it is very tempestuous around Him” (Psalm 50:3).

When God arises, His enemies scatter!  When God speaks from out of Zion into the rest of our being, it sends shock waves or tremors throughout the whole of our tripartite being.  Consequently, we become emboldened in our spirits (lion-hearted and courageous), we cast away the idols in our soul, and we throw our flesh outside the camp (into outer darkness).  At least that is the way we ought to respond to His still small voice (which is actually and ironically large and loud in portent).  Indeed, fire devours before Him in still small flames of uproarious joy in our spirits and in upwelling waves of conflagration in our idolatrous soul and body.  Until all is purged and refined, it is, indeed, “very tempestuous around Him.”  But as Samuel Rutherford so insightfully put it (paraphrased), “The Rock in us doesn’t ebb and flow, only our sea.”  The Lord is a root out of parched ground and water from a flinty and desert rock, not because He is not within Himself all fruitful and flourishing and verdant and abundantly watered, but because He is all that in us!  Out of the dry and barren desert of His regenerated children He shines and gushes forth abundantly, but out of His remnant bride (the Zion part of the Jerusalem whole), THE PERFECTION OF BEAUTY, He shines out more profusely and gushes out even more steadily and violently than abundantly, to the point and measure that ultimately causes His glory to cover the earth as the waters cover the sea.

“The angel of God, who had been going in front of the camp of Israel, moved and went behind them.  The pillar of the cloud moved from in front and stood behind them.  So it came between the camp of Egypt and the camp of Israel.  It was a cloud along with darkness [even by day to the Egyptians], but it gave light by night [to the Israelites]; so one [army] did not come near the other all night” (Exodus 14:19-20 AMP).

The darkening pillar of cloud and the enlightening pillar of fire are one and the same pillar of truth, but what was light to Israel (the new creation spirit) was darkness to Egypt (the soul lifted up and not right in man).   

Charles Finney said,

If one observes the ways of God very closely they will soon learn that God moves with an amazing economy of motion.  In other words God always achieves more than one of His objectives with each of His interventions.  The amazing mercy of God is always accompanied by awakening judgment.  The thorns of judgment always accompany the roses of grace.  In one motion God bares His arm of salvation to believers, and at the same time He strikes those who know Him not.  Throughout Scripture we see this.  When the Israelites were delivered from Egypt through the Red Sea, at the same time they were delivered, the Egyptians were drowned in the water which had provided walls to the Israelites.  When the stone flew from David’s sling, at the same time deliverance was wrought for Israel, a blaspheming foe was felled.  When the temple of Dagon collapsed in Gath, not only was Israel delivered from the Philistines, but a prophet of God was disci­plined and delivered out of his misery and more Philistines were slain than in any event in his prodigious life.  God always acts with an amazing economy of motion.  He accomplishes many objectives in one act.  This is the profound wisdom of God.  The same event can be a blessing or a curse, depending upon where one’s perspective is or interests lie.

Thus God in one mighty swipe rebukes the uplifted soul and affirms the oppressed (by that uplifted soul) spirit in the same person.  Once this process is over, when the spirit ascends to its rightful place, and subjugates the soul and body as it does, a bride begins to ready herself to marry.  The perfection of beauty is the bride prepared to meet her bridegroom.  The glory that arises on her is the Lord resurrected inside her heart/spirit.  Indeed, says the apostle concerning the prophetic word, “You do well to pay [close] attention to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and light breaks through the gloom and the morning star arises in your hearts” (2 Peter 2:19 AMP).  Because it is only “He who overcomes [the world through believing that Jesus is the Son of God] and he who keeps My deeds [doing things that please Me] until the [very] end, to him I will give authority and power over the nations; and he shall shepherd and rule them with a rod of iron, as the earthen pots are broken in pieces, as I also have received authority [and power to rule them] from My Father; and I WILL GIVE HIM THE MORNING STAR [emphasis mine]” (Revelation 2:26-28 AMP).       

The temple which is our body was the tent we sojourned with in the desert.  But the outer-skin tent of the Law schooled us into the inner-substance temple of the gospel of Christ.  God VISITS our iniquities (joined by whoredom to our souls) in order to HABITATE our persons (in holy matrimony, FIRST in our spirits, then in our souls, and finally in our bodies).  He ever moves from VISITATION to HABITATION, from Law to Grace and Truth, from sinner to saint, from slave to son, from called to chosen, and ultimately, most deeply and intimately, from harlot to bride.  As stated, we must overcome to the end of the process to inherit the Morning Star.  Our perfection of beauty is Immanuel (God in us) in matured expression.     

“When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purged the blood of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning, then the Lord will create above every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and above her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night” (Isaiah 4:4-5 NKJV).  Here is the end of the process, the cloud by day and the fire by night (His manifest presence, His Shekinah glory) in and over the temple of His people, over “every dwelling place of Mount Zion, and above her assemblies,” above the single disciple (as he dwells in his house and moves about among the people) and the corporate disciple (as they come together as Jerusalem [His body], “a city compact together,” no fissure or schism is between any of her lively stones—see Psalm 122:3).  This pillar of God’s presence is that light risen upon us which simultaneously densely darkens those unprepared to meet their Maker.  “‘And the Lord [the Messiah], whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; the Messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,’ says the Lord of hosts.  But who can endure the day of His coming?  And who can stand when He appears?” (Malachi 3:1-2 AMP).   

Indeed, the time has come to be favorable to Israel (the true Israel of God!).  “Arise [from the depression and prostration in which circumstances have kept you—rise to a new life]! Shine (be radiant with the glory of the Lord), for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you!  For behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and dense darkness [all] peoples, but the Lord shall arise upon you [O Jerusalem], and His glory shall be seen on you” (Isaiah 60:1-2 AMPC).  “Fear not, for you will not be put to shame; and do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced; but you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more.  For your husband is your Maker, whose name is the Lord of hosts; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, who is called the God of all the earth” (Isaiah 54:4-5 NASB).    

The Holy Ghost and fire is the spirit of judgment and the spirit of burning; those baptized thusly are those who emerge...without the scent of fire (we are not appointed unto ULTIMATE wrath)...purified and refined, without spot and wrinkle...He beatifies us with His love (makes His bride ready by activating her reciprocal response of love).  And what does His love look like?—that love that beautifies us?  “For love is as strong as death, jealousy as cruel as the grave; its flames are flames of fire, a most vehement [even violent in its intensity] flame” (Song of Solomon 8:6).  “Our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29), not by external fiat, but by inherent nature; for God to come near to and embrace His bride, therefore, she must be utterly constituted like myrrh, not only fireproofed (see my notes on “myrrh” at the end of this writing), but of such substance that she even blooms in the conflagration of His holy and jealously protective flame of pure love.  We, unlike most, must be able to endure the day of His coming!  And those who love His appearing shall!  “‘For the Lord has called you, like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, even like a wife of one’s youth when she is rejected,’ says your God.  For a brief moment I forsook you, but with great compassion I will gather you.  In an outburst of anger I hid My face from you for a moment, but with everlasting lovingkindness I will have compassion on you,’ says the Lord your Redeemer” (Isaiah 54:6-8 NASB).

As George H. Warnock put it, “The ministration of the gospel goes far, far beyond declaring a message, or writing and talking about it.  It involves a people penetrating the world of darkness by coming into association with the powers of the heavenly realm, and becoming acquainted and KNOWN [a holy matrimony intimacy term] of God in the citadel of Zion.  Only then are we able to loosen the shackles from the hearts and minds of men.”  Only the bride of Christ walking in holiness and pure white glory is bright enough to penetrate “deep darkness.”  Only Zion is bright enough in this hour (the night HAS come when no man can work).  Only the pinnacle (the choice elevation) of Jerusalem, the remnant (those few who comprise the Bride of Christ) of His people are qualified to represent Him in this night.  Only those who “press on to know the Lord” from “the spirit of harlotry” (see Hosea 6:3 and 5:4) up and onward to the faithful and holy oneness of matrimony are worthy to share (emanate) His glory in the deep and midnight darkness of the dawning Day of the Lord.

“For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not keep quiet, until her righteousness goes forth like brightness, and her salvation like a torch that is burning.  The nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; and you will be called by a new name which the mouth of the Lord will designate.  You will also be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.  It will no longer be said to you, ‘Forsaken,’ nor to your land will it any longer be said, ‘Desolate’; but you will be called, ‘My delight is in her,’ and your land, ‘MARRIED’ [emphasis mine]; for the Lord delights in you, and to Him your land will be married.  For as a young man marries a virgin, so your sons will marry you; and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so your God will rejoice over you” (Isaiah 62:1-5 NASB). 

Some notes on “myrrh” as it pertains especially to this message:

Myrrh symbolically represents tears of repentance and has a very unique quality when burned by fire.  It also has significance in relationship to The Day of the Lord.   The formation of myrrh is produced by a process of internal attrition—a hollowing out—like as the displacement of self on the throne of our lives allows Christ to enlarge within us until He genuinely reigns.  Myrrh is our personal residue; the cremated ashes of what remains of self life.  The phoenix that is to arise from these ashes lies at the base of our heart.  We have endured the Dark Night of the Soul, the fiery furnace of affliction, and we are now one with our consuming fire of a God; we have so taken on the nature of our Lord that we even expand and bloom in the conflagration (myrrh comes in tears or drops of resin which respond differently than other resins to fire; whereas other resins melt or liquefy when heated up, myrrh actually expands and blooms).  Our tender Lord treasures our tears, but only wise men present them in the proper form of myrrh.  Myrrh is not symbolic of tears alone, but symbolic of what they produce: “godly sorrow...not to be repented of” (2 Corinthians 7:10).  Myrrh, like genuine sorrow, forms within the heart of trees; likewise, we as trees of righteousness must be genuinely sorry from the heart if we are to produce a final judgment that is fireproof—a repentance not to be repented of!  Tears and sorrow do more than purify—they kill; if we will allow ourselves to be forever drowned by the flood (where God sits as King forever) we will forever remain baptized—forever placed into His death—and thus forever fireproofed.

It is additionally noteworthy that Esther (at that time a queen in training) was dipped in oil of myrrh regularly over a six month period of time in preparation to stand before the scrutiny of a worldly king (how much more should we prepare to be examined by the King of kings?).  A regimen of “Six months with oil of myrrh and six months with sweet spices and perfumes and the things for the purifying of the women” (Esther 2:12 AMPC) did Esther and all the queen candidates undergo.  Just as God is nowhere to be found (mentioned) in the book of Esther, and so He seems absent now to many at the advent of His second coming, so we, like Esther need say, “If I die, I die!” but I will prepare and go into the King’s presence.  But without preparation?  The scrutiny of God is witheringly perfect, and anything in us unprepared to face it will burn to ashes.  Let us not neglect to thoroughly prepare ourselves to meet the bridegroom; let us regularly baptize ourselves in oil of myrrh.  “Blessed [forgiven, refreshed by God’s grace] are those who mourn [over their sins and repent], for they will be comforted [when the burden of sin is lifted]” (Matthew 5:4 AMP).