And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” (Rev. 22:17a).
It is imperative that the church enter into the “bridal” identity designed for her by the Father on behalf of the Son. It has been the Father’s intention, from all eternity, to have the Son’s desire for an eternal companion fulfilled. (John 17:22-26.) The theme is continuous from Genesis through Revelation, and all throughout human history, that the purpose of humanity is to be the eternal companion of the Son of God.
The “bridal identity” of the church, by default, means entering into our identity as intimate, passionate lovers and partners of the Lord Jesus, in His Person and His work. The bridal identity of the church is summed up in the reality of becoming a kingdom of priests. (1 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 1:6; 5:10; 20:6.) Priestly ministry primarily involves worship and intercession.
The principle ministry of the Lord Jesus, right now, is as the great Intercessor. (Heb. 7:25.) It is imperative that the bride enter into the fullness of her priestly identity before her “kingly” authority can be fully released. Jesus is the King-Priest after the order of Melchizedek. (Psalm 110:4; Heb. 5:6, 10; 6:20; 7:15.) Therefore it follows that we, the bride of Christ, are made of the same royal priesthood, called to exercise authority and dominion. This is first and foremost expressed through agreement with who God is (worship) and what God wants to do (intercession). From this place of unwavering agreement in worship and intercession, the authority, power, grace, mercy and justice of the Lord are released from heaven to earth. This happens as the bride of Christ faithfully agrees with the Lord in worship and intercession. This bridal agreement creates an opening between heaven and earth, and the kingdom of God invades earth bringing transformation and harvest.
The Bridal Garment is a Priestly Garment
“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 (Rev. 19:7-8).
The church makes herself ready wearing the bridal garment, which is also the garment of a priest. The books of Exodus and Leviticus reveal to us that the priests, and later the Levites/musicians, were to be clothed only in linen garments. (See Exodus 28 & 39 and Lev. 6 and 16.) All of the garments, both inner and outer, were to be made of fine linen, of which we are told in Rev. 19:8, represent the “righteous acts” of the saints. These acts overflow from a life of loving obedience to the Lord. When we are born again, we are clothed with the imputed righteousness of Christ. (2 Cor. 5:21.) By judicial decree, God declares us righteous because of the finished work of the cross. But the Lord does not stop at imputed righteousness. He intends the bride of Christ to enter into an experiential impartation of the righteousness of Christ, or the accusations of the enemy against God will prove true – “You could bring them out, but You could not bring them in.” The enemy has held an accusation against God since humanity fell. The accusation is the same one that he leveled against God about Job:
So Satan answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have You not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But now, stretch out Your hand and touch all that he has, and he will surely curse You to Your face!” (Job 1:9-11).
The accusation against God from the enemy constantly echoes, “They only serve You for what they can get out of You. If You allow them to be tested, they will not only stop following You, but they will become Your enemies.” Sad to say, this has been the testimony of most of the church throughout history. Except for occasional occurrences, as in the case of the suffering, underground church in present day China, and many other individuals and groups who have refused to bow the knee to compromise, the church has proven the enemy’s accusations to be true. The Lord still seeks a corporate bride, worldwide, who will “follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth.” (Rev. 14:4.) Unfortunately, the character and nature of Judas appears more through the church than the character and nature of Jesus. Judas used Jesus to pad his own pockets (John 12:4-6) and to try to further his own spiritual/political agenda. Jesus was never Lord over Judas’ life (Matt. 26:25 – all the other disciples referred to Jesus as “Lord,” and Judas refers to Him as “Master.”). When things get inconvenient, uncomfortable, or persecution and pressure come, do we do as Judas did…betray Him and walk away? The Lord will have a corporate bride on this earth, full of His glory, moving in His power, and, if necessary, voluntarily suffering because she is ravished with His love before He returns. This bride will be wearing white, linen, priestly garments, and because of the love, glory, purity and power of the Lord that will be revealed through this corporate bride, the whole world will acknowledge her to the glory of God. (Isaiah 61:1-7.) There will be a corporate bride clothed in priestly garments who will stand in the gap. This will lead to what scripture refers to as the “commanded blessing” of God being released from heaven to earth.
The Commanded Blessing – Spiritual, Natural, Cultural and Geographic Inheritances Released
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion; for there the LORD commanded the blessing– life forevermore (Psalm 133:1-3).
The anointing that releases the commanded blessing of God is inseparably linked to true unity. True unity involves much more than just having a good feeling or attitude toward the other parts of the body of Christ. It involves laying down our lives for one another, if necessary.
The unity of the Spirit (Eph. 4:3) is much different and less deep than the kind of unity needed to bring the commanded blessing. The unity of the Spirit involves having the right attitude toward other Christians, and honoring and respecting them. This is much different than living and working together when we have theological or practical differences. The body of Christ in a city or region will come together for specific tasks such as hosting a Billy Graham crusade. Christians from every segment of the body of Christ will come together and work and pray, night and day, organizing an event with a view of seeing lost souls saved through the power of the blood of Jesus. People who normally would never have any intercourse together, Protestants and Catholics, Pentecostals and Baptists, etc., will willingly lay down certain theological precepts and practices to come together for such a work. Out of this, many thousands of souls might be brought into the kingdom, and this is wonderful. But, after the crusade is over, each segment of the body goes back to their own place, remaining separated with little or no interaction, and although many souls were brought into the kingdom, the hold of the powers of darkness over the area has not been affected because there has been no transformation to the city or region. This is not what happened when the day of Pentecost had fully come (Acts 2:1-4); when the Holy Spirit was poured out in manifest glory and power. When the Holy Spirit came, the King and the kingdom came in power and affected the entire city. Not only were thousands of souls saved, but an entire new culture was brought into existence. (See Acts 2:41-47.) The body of Christ lived, ate, worshipped and cared for one another, on a corporate level, which released the commanded blessing of God to an even greater extent. The commanded blessing manifested in mighty miracles, signs, wonders and great displays of generosity, brotherly love and kindness. The entire societal structure of Jerusalem was set on its ear, which, in turn, caused persecution to come to the church. (Acts 3.) This is also the testimony of history as one reviews a history of revivals. True outpourings of the Spirit of God throughout history, such as the Welsh Revival, Azusa Street, the Lewis Awakening in Scotland of 1949-52, etc., came about because a small remnant of people were desperate for God and for change to come into their lives and communities. They entered into a dimension of intercession and worship, agreeing with God on Who He is and His will and purposes, and refused to give up until breakthrough came. When they entered this dimension of their bridal identity as priests, what God had promised (2 Chron. 7:14), manifested.
The commanded blessing of God is everything the Father has promised, redeemed and laid up for us in Christ. Ephesians 1:3 says: Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ…. The commanded blessing of God includes everything that belongs to Christ, and it is available to us. This includes the entire realm of the Spirit and all that the realm of the Spirit holds, including experiencing His glory (John 17:22-26), doing greater works (John 14:12) and unbroken communion. But also, because Jesus is the fulfillment of the promised Seed to Abraham (Gal. 3:16), this means that everything promised to Abraham is now available to us who are in Christ.