23 December 2010 (Chamashee/Teruah)|
Day #282, 5934 AM
Our Mansion and Place
Learning True Heavenly Tavnith
Continued in Part 2
"In My Father's house are many mansions (mone, residences); if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare (hetoimazo, provide, make ready) a place (topos, location) for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know" (John 14:2-5, NKJV).
This morning Yahweh showed me something interesting as I was waking up that I want to share with you today that revolves around the Scripture just cited. Here we are told that the Bridegroom, Yah'shua (Jesus), goes to prepare a "place" or location for us to live in heaven, and specifically a "mansion" within the New Jerusalem that will one day dscend upon the Millennial Earth. As I was meditating on this verse, Yah'shua said to me:
I thought on this a minute. Yes, while we remain on earth, or as disembodied spirits awaiting the final judgment of Yom Kippur, there is nothing we can do to prepare our final home. I remembered the biblical practice of a husband going away and building a house for his betrothed wife to live in. Only when he has this ready does his father give him permission to go and collect her to bring her home and take her in full marriage.
"I want you to notice that you have no part in the preparation of this place. The Bridegroom does it all."
And so it is with our allegorical marriage to the Lamb of Elohim (God): we are not taken to the "place" that is prepared for us until the final Yom Teruah when He announces His arrival or Second Coming by means of heavenly shofar blasts, the final Yom Kippur when judgment is passed to see whether we are worthy to be His Bride (children of the first resurrection) or not (second resurrection) and the actual banquet or consummation itself at Sukkot. That "place" or "mansion", moreover, is complete - it is not something we create together with Him let alone apart from Him - and this is the essential tavnith or pattern that we must note: we have no part whatsoever in its construction - we are simply to live in it and find our shalom (peace) and simcha (joy) in his completed and perfect work on our behalf.
I then got to thinking about the design of this "mansion" and as I was thinking about this, I heard Him say: "You know". The inner design, at any rate, is Torah. In practical terms what that means is that the lifestyle we live in heaven has been given to us as a shadow in the teachings and commandments of the Scriptures, and in every particular. When we arrive in our "mansion" there will not be some totally unfamiliar, unexpected or different lifestyle. It may be orders of magnitude greater than what we have known on earth but the tavnith or pattern will be identical.
Many are under the mistaken belief that what we are to receive is is of a totally different tavnith to what Yahweh ever gave us on earth. For instance, there is an almost universal belief amongst Christians, on the basis of a single misunderstood scripture about the resurrection, that we will all be single or unmarried in heaven, as though this were a superior spiritual lifestyle. Such a notion, which originated in Catholicism and the austerity of Augustianian theology, is needless to say, false. All Yah'shua said is that no one enters new marriage contracts in heaven - earth life determines whether we are married or not in the eternities, and to whom (Mt.22:23-33). The whole concept of our allegorical marriage to Messiah is based on the eternal concept of marriage. Were marriage only for this life, then so would our eternal relationship to Messiah, since the latter is patterned on the former. And we all know that is not true - we will be with Him forever.
What "preparation" is the responsibility of the Bride? Is the "mansion" the responsibility of the Bride? No, as we have seen, it is not - Yah'shua the Bridegroom does all the preparation. So what is the Bride's responsibility?
Some months ago I had a vision which I wish to share with you for the first time:
"'Repent (change direction), for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!' For this is he who was spoken of by the prophet Isaiah, saying: 'The voice of one crying in the wilderness: 'Prepare the way of Yahweh; make His paths straight''" (Matt 3:2-3, NKJV).
In the vision a husband and a wife faced one another in a desert. The wife prostrated herself on the ground before her husband in complete submission to him (1 Pet.3:1). As she did so, a road appeared under her body and extended under the feet of her husband and behind him into the distance. The moment the road appeared, her husband turned round and prostrated himself before Yahweh, his wife directly behind him where she remained motionless. I saw the road continuing to extend in a straight line towards a very large hill or obstacle. When it reached the foot of the hill, the hill split in two so that the road did not need to ascend but remained on the level. Then the vision ended.
I was awestruck by the vision because of the deep truths which it taught, upon which I could discourse for many hours. In the passage cited in Matthew, John the Baptist shows a picture of what the people must to to prepare for the coming Messiah or Bridegroom.
In those days if a king was coming on a visit the people, who lived along the way and at the final destination, would go out into the highway and clear all the rocks and stones that would have fallen on it so that the visiting king would have a smooth ride along that road. They would also iron out the twists and turns in the road to make it straight. In this prophetic allegory, the prophet John is telling the people that they must prepare their minds and hearts and lives for the imminent arrival of the Bridegroom-Messiah by clearing away all the obstances of sin away in their lives and get on the "straight and narrow" (Mt.7:13-14).
The call to repentance, which marked the ministry of John the Baptist, is prefigured in the ordinabce of baptism, which he taught. This ordinance, which is commanded of all believers in the Messiah, is a public testimony of the disciple's complete surrender to the Messiah-Bridegroom. It symbolises a complete death to one's previous lifestyle by burial in water (the grave) and rising to new life and a totally new lifestyle as a Bride of the Bridegroom into whom the Bride has been immersed. Preparing the way of the mind and heart follows a single tavnith or pattern that serves as the model for both the submitted Bride to the Messiah-Bridegroom and for wives in their relationship to their husbands. It is paralleled by the crossing of Yam Suph or the Sea of Reeds (Red Sea) by the children of Israel at Yom haBikkurim when that nation was baptised into Moses as a type of Messiah (1 Cor.10:2). In the same way, a wife is baptised into her husband as a type of the immersion of the Messianic Bride into the Messiah. Thus before full marriage, a wife should receive a mikvah or water-baptism into her husband like her baptism into Messiah Yah'shua.
As Messiah Yah'shua prepares a "place" and "mansion" for his Bride (us), so the husband prepares a place for his wife. That "place" and "mansion" is, of course, the physical house or home where they live. Internally, it is represented by his lev (mind and heart) yielded to the Messiah and His Torah lifestyle or divine tavnith. Thus a prospective fully married husband has two preparations he must make:
Her responsibility is, as we have seen, to prepare the way of her own lev (mind and heart) to abide by this tavnith in complete submission (the same way as she is to submit to Yahweh - Eph.5:22). She does, however, have one final responsibility:
- 1. He must prepare a physical home for his wife; and
- 2. He must prepare his lifestyle - mind, heart and body - patterned after the Torah in which his wife can abide.
The Messianic Bride (represented by two of the three presiding apostles) must prepare the meal. Note that the room or Tabernacle (Sukkah) has already been prepared in advanced by the Master. The Bride must prepare the meal. Thus in marriage the rôles are clearly established - the male covers (and protects) and the female feeds (and nourishes). Yah'shua sits at the head of the table (covenant) and serves the meal, including the appended Lord's Supper. Sound like a typical family scene? It's supposed to be because it's the heavenly tavnith and it's exactly the same one found in heaven. In other words, the family relationship continues in heaven - there is no way it cannot, for the Elohim (God) is a family too.
"And He sent Peter and John, saying, 'Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat. So they said to Him, 'Where do You want us to prepare?' And He said to them, 'Behold, when you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house which he enters. Then you shall say to the master of the house, 'The Teacher says to you, 'Where is the guest room in which I may eat the Passover with My disciples?'' Then he will show you a large, furnished upper room; there make ready.' So they went and found it just as He had said to them, and they prepared the Passover" (Luke 22:8-13, NKJV).
For many, conditioned by worldliness and feminism, all of this is wholly unacceptable. Many a wife will refuse the "lord and master" way (1 Pet.3:6) because they either find it demeaning (pride) or because they will offer the excuse that a husband is not Christ, and therefore imperfect (as is true), therefore she will not yield to anything or anyone but perfection. Instead, she will have a list of conditions before she accepts even nominal headship. (Of course, by the same token, a husband should not love her until she is perfect either, thus demolishing the excuse).
As the vision I had showed, submission is something that has to be learned by men. More of a natural predisposition to women, with men there is greater resistance because of his rôle as a leader. And whilst his resistance may also said to be rooted in pride, it may also be rooted in other things (like a lack of patterning in growing up). Submission by men (as well as women) is learned from their parental rôle-models. If the parents are not living a tavnith lifestyle, then the children are most unlikely to either. Then parenting has to be learned from Yahweh and the Ruach haQodesh (Holy Spirit). And since the whole of society and our upbringing (even in a Christian environment) is anti-tavnith, learning the true way is not easy. Secular psychology teaches a totally different coheadship doctrine with Yahweh out of the equation altogether, a doctrine unfortunately accepted by far too many Christians too.
What do you do if one or other spouse is not a believer?
Here the apostle Paul makes it clear that there is a way for a believing spouse to save (deliver) an unbelieving one. Our English translations use an interesting verb in "sanctify" for we are told that the believing spouse "sanctifies" - and may as a result "save" - the unbelieving one. But what most antinomian (anti-Torah, lawless) Christians do not realise or understand here is that when Paul talks about "sanctification" he is talking about the Hebrew concept of SETTING APART according to Torah. The Hebrew word here is kadosh, the same word used of the Ruach haQodesh or "Set-apart Spirit", i.e. separated. 'Sanctify', 'holy' and 'set-apart' are all the same concept.They mean that the talmid or disciple is separated to Yahweh and therefore separated from the world. How is that done? By living a completely different lifestyle in mind, heart, body and spirit - the Torah-lifestyle. It means being completely different, sticking out, and (upon occasion) being dispised and persecuted.
"Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife. But to the rest I, not Yahweh, say: If any brother has a wife who does not believe, and she is willing to live with him, let him not divorce her. And a woman who has a husband who does not believe, if he is willing to live with her, let her not divorce him. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified (hagiazo, make holy) by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified (hagiazo, make holy) by the husband; otherwise your children would be unclean, but now they are holy. But if the unbeliever departs, let him depart; a brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases. But Elohim (God) has called us to shalom (peace). For how do you know, O wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, O husband, whether you will save your wife?" (1 Cor.7:10-16, NKJV).
Specifically, Paul is here alluding to spiritually invisible covering laws that operate beyond our natural eyesight. And here, indeed, a believing wife does something unusual - she temporarily covers her unbelieving husband, a job that he should be doing. This does not mean that she rules him - rather, by her submission to Yahweh through Yah'shua, she is able to bring a saving and sanctifying influence to her husband, just as Huldah the prophetess brought covering and deliverance to Israel in the absence of a suitably qualified man. The believing wife is still in submission to her unbelieving husband's wishes when these do not force her to break the commandments. And so her Christian graces may convert his hard heart. She will not convert him by assuming a domineering or demanding attitude. (For excellent counsel, see the Essential Reading section of our Marriage page).
Paul also said that this covering ensures the children are not rendered "unclean" (impure and uncovered), an interesting paradox for antinomians who claim that the Torah has been nailed to the cross, especially the so-called (and inappropriately named) 'ritual laws'. Cleanness and uncleanness are clearly still important otherwise why would Paul mention this? To be in a state of cleanness or purity, then, very much hangs on true tavnith or pattern. Thus an unbelieving spouse with a believing spouse has a head-start on salvation, all the more reason why the believer should, if at all possible, stay with the unbelieving spouse - out of love for his or her soul. So unless there is violence or some other kind of abuse, there is never a reason for a believing spouse to abandon an unbelieving one - only the reverse is permitted, so that there may be "peace".
Needless to say, living in tavnith with an insincere heart will not move heaven to effect changes in others through you, even though it is better than not living in it at all. Sometimes good habits themselves slowly change the heart.
And now a final word about Christmas, which is in two days' time, because while I was meditating on today's opening passage, Yahweh also showed me something else. All true tavnith is revealed in Torah of which Yah'shua (Jesus) is the living incarnation. All that He did, we are to do too, even as He did all that His Heavenly Father told Him as a Torah-submitted talmid. Since the lifestyle of the Torah is also the lifestyle of heaven, defining the "mansion" and "place" which we inherit, what signal are we then sending when we observe religious festivals which have not been commanded by Yahweh? And who are we honouring and submitting to when we observe them?
"When you observe a festival which I have not commanded, you are committing adultery", Yah'shua said to me. I thought back on Old Covenant Israel and how they blended the pagan observances of the surrounding nations with Torah, how Yahweh had forbidden this, and how He had condemned his allegorical wives Judah and Israel to a terrible end because of their rebellion and apostacy. Then I remembered what He had taught me about not sitting at table with an enemy and entering into a salt covenant with him and everything began to connect.
It does not matter whether these festivals have elements of truth like Christmas, Easter, Hanukkah or Purim because when you observe them you are presuming to order the House which He has prepared for you when HE ALONE can do it. You are then defining your own heaven. And if it is not His, then what 'heaven' do you suppose you are going to inherit? We are to prepare His weekly, monthly and annual feasts (both inwardly and outwardly), not the world's and not Satan's paganised counterfeits.
So I have to ask you in all soberness: what tavnith or pattern are you preparing for in the eternities? What you do or don't do in two day's time will be a major statement on your position. Consider wisely.