Acts 3:19-21: “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.”
Rev. 18:1-5: “After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory. And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, ‘Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.’ And I heard another voice from heaven saying, ‘Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.’”
Rev. 19:1-8: “After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, ‘Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God! For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her.’ Again they said, ‘Alleluia! Her smoke rises up forever and ever!’ And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sat on the throne, saying, ‘Amen! Alleluia!’ Then a voice came from the throne, saying, ‘Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!’ And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, ‘Alleluia! For the Lord God Omnipotent reigns! Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.’ And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”
The scripture is clear that it is God’s intent and design for the bride of Christ to be made ready for His return. This will also be preceded by a world-wide harvest of the nations coming into His kingdom. We are in the first throes of this restoration of the church to New Testament purity and power and the nations harvested for the glory of God.
Zion (the bride of Christ) vs. Babylon (the great Harlot of the earth)
The scripture is clear in many passages that the last days are a time when two entities will emerge in the earth. One is the bride of Christ, which is the restored Mt. Zion (Heb. 12:22). We see this bridal company standing on Mt. Zion (metaphorically symbolizing the restored Tabernacle of David which stood on the literal Mt. Zion) in Revelation 14. The original, physical location of Mt. Zion no longer exists in Jerusalem. It was the place where the worship tabernacle erected by King David housed the unveiled glory of God resting above the Ark, in which the musicians and intercessors ministered to the Lord night and day (see 1 Chron. 16:1-4). The scripture specifically tells us that we in the New Covenant have not come to the law, symbolized in Mt. Sinai, but we as New Covenant believers, have “come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel” (Heb. 12:22-24).
It is God’s specific design that the church be the restored Tabernacle of David (David’s greater Son – the Lord Jesus) and Mt. Zion where the glory of the Lord rested unveiled in the earth (Acts 15:15-18). Col. 1:27 tells us it’s “Christ IN US the hope (or confident expectation) of glory.” This means the hope the earth has of experiencing the unveiled glory of God will come when He is released, established and unveiled in the church, both individually and corporately. This will be an experiential reality in the earth before the Lord returns. This is the church “glorious” (Eph. 5:25), making herself ready to become the one who shares His throne. As this work deepens and matures, so will the church until the fullness of His stature and power becomes manifest in the bride of Christ in the earth (see Eph. 4:11-16). This is the bridal company seen in Rev. 14:1-5 who have been purified by the “spirit of judgment and burning” (Isaiah 4:2-6), His “refiner’s fire” (Mal. 3:1-6), and who follow the Lamb in burning love wherever He goes. They are sealed with the flame of love (Song 8:6) in their foreheads, hearts and arms (their thoughts, emotions and actions), which is the fullness of the Holy Spirit expressed in and through them. This is in contrast to the religious Harlot spoken of in Rev. 17 which “rides” the antichrist system/kingdom of the world, dressed like the world. Outer garments in scripture represent actions and behavior. (Note the bride in Rev. 19:7-8 is dressed in white, fine linen, which are the righteous works carried out by the Bride in loving faith – faithful acts. This means that the internal/positional righteousness obtained for the believer through the Cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ, have now become a manifest reality in and through the life of the bride!) This religious harlot looks, speaks, thinks and behaves just like the world – those under the deception and dominion of the “ruler” of this world system – Satan.
Isaiah’s “Apocalypse” – Isaiah 24 through 26
Isaiah chapters 24 through 26 have commonly been termed by many expositors as Isaiah’s apocalypse, in the sense Isaiah has foresight and insight to things happening in the last days surrounding the second coming of Christ. Isaiah 24 speaks of these two specific entities, the bride and the Babylonian harlot, within the one chapter. Isaiah 24:7-13 speaks of a “global” city of “confusion.” Confusion is the word translated “Babylon.” This passage describes a world-wide mindset as focused in one city…Babylon. This of necessity refers to the days we currently live in, because never before could there be a global “city” or “mindset” as there is today with the technology present to connect the entire earth. While describing the languishing of an earth that has rejected God, the prophet at the same time describes hearing “songs of praise singing of ‘glory’ to the Lord.” While the world grows darker and more wicked in sin and hardness, there is a bride singing and worshipping in which the glory of God is rising. It is my opinion that this is what we are beginning to see globally. Globally, the world is connected in its worship of money, power, sex, addictions and self-exaltation, using satellite technology, the internet, etc. Globally the church, the emerging “Zion,” is becoming connected by these same technologies. Two “global” cities are emerging…Babylon, the political/religious system of the world controlled by Satan, and Zion, the lovesick, burning-hearted bridal city that stands with the Lamb on Mt. Zion – the place of God’s unveiled glory, power and extravagant love, praise and worship. From this place of Zion, mighty signs, wonders, miracles, healing and harvest is coming forth.
He is the “Vine” and we are the “Branches”
Isaiah 4:1-6 gives a clear picture of the present work of the Holy Spirit in the earth.
Isaiah 4:1-6: “And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, ‘We will eat our own food and wear our own apparel; only let us be called by your name, to take away our reproach.’ In that day the Branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious; and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and appealing for those of Israel who have escaped. And it shall come to pass that he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem will be called holy– everyone who is recorded among the living in Jerusalem. 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. For over all the glory there will be a covering. And there will be a tabernacle for shade in the daytime from the heat, for a place of refuge, and for a shelter from storm and rain.”
Verse one describes the backslidden condition of the professing church that will be evident when the Lord begins to undertake this restoration and release His glory in the earth, through the restored church. I believe the “seven women” represent the seven churches of Revelation, which are a picture of the universal church in the earth. These seven “women” (churches) say, “we want our own food,” or our own personal preference of doctrine to the detriment of a well rounded meal that will bring full growth and maturity into the fullness of Christ. “If it ain’t Baptist, I don’t want it.” “I’m sorry, but I only eat at the Methodist table.” “I beg your pardon…free will gives me indigestion. I can only eat predestination and God’s sovereign will.” “No, I’m sorry, I don’t care how many have been saved through your ministry, or even raised from the dead for that matter, but unless you absolutely speak in tongues, you are not filled with the Holy Spirit.” (One of the ministers that minister with Heidi Baker had the testimony of raising several people from the dead before his prayer language manifested. Now tell me, who is really filled?!)
Many say also, we will “wear our own apparel….” This is any apparel except faithful obedience out of love to the Lamb. These are the wedding garments of the bride (Rev. 19:7-8). “What will people think of me? I won’t fit in with my church friends anymore. They’ll think I’ve become a fanatic.” And your point? “I only want to eat my choice of doctrine and biblical revelation, and I don’t care about bridal apparel (like Achan who wanted to wear the garments of Babylon), only, please, don’t let me go to hell!”
In contrast to this harlotry and apostasy, verses two through six describe Zion – the bride of Christ. This “branch” attached to the Vine is beautiful and glorious, just like the Vine, Himself. How did they get that way? By the release of the “spirit of judgment and burning.” The Lord’s refining fire of purification and healing was released to bring WHOLENESS back to the body of Christ. He wants us to be just like Himself. He is completely WHOLE, body, soul and spirit. This is His express will for all of us who know Him. This “flame of love” (Song 8:6) is being released in these days to captivate, liberate and purify the body of Christ to position us for the full release of His glory within and among us. Look for greater manifestations of the healing, delivering and restoring power of His glory to come forth. As the church comes to wholeness and His glory begins to manifest ever greater in and among us, the nations will come, some even to mock, ridicule and disrupt. But the Lord is bringing them down (Joel 3:9-17), not to destroy them, but to reap a harvest. Those we find our greatest opponents, many of whom would like to see the church eradicated from the earth, will actually be profoundly saved and changed as His glory comes forth.
The Lion of Judah is only beginning to growl. Wait until we see/hear Him roar (Joel 3:16)!