The Gathering Home of Saints
The Marriage of God’s Dear Son
A wedding is a time of joy. The joy of this wedding will surpass the total joy of every human ceremony that has taken place.
Even the thought of it brings joy, and in that joy a sense of encouragement, and with it, a sense of blessed urgency that motivates to greater zeal and endeavour in the preparation that precedes our completed union with the Lord. "The marriage of the Lamb is come." The sound of that glad proclamation, how it stirs our hearts! Now, in every way this marriage has to be the most remarkable of all, because the completion of union involves every faithful saint of the age.
A full assembly of the firstborn church, the gathering home of the saints of light. Each one united with each other in perfect oneness—oneness of mind, and of every deep feeling of the heart, one in every thought. Harmony and concord—not of polite low‑key and deferential diplomatic smiles from afar, but intensely alive sharing of deep love for truth and holiness and one another and, most of all, for the Lord Jesus. Each one perfectly in tune with the Lord. The mind of Jesus, perfection of accordance with the mind of God, a mind of purity and light, a mind totally full of wholesome holy thought, and yet so deeply aware of all that goes on in each other mind of that whole assembly of saints. An intellect full of understanding, rich beyond present thought in treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Creative of all that is beauty, capable of every perfect expression of all that is lovely.
This glorious mind of Jesus, reflected like the sun in 144,000 characters like gems, each one a precious part of His Father’s peculiar treasure. A composite Christ, with one heart, and one holy anointing without measure, and in one mind, the mind of Christ. "I in them…perfect in one..." This present anticipation of that joy of full oneness in completed union is something that each saint has shared with the Lord. Fellowship with Jesus has involved a sharing of this desire, and the depth of that fellowship at each stage of the way could be measured by the depth of that joy and the sanctifying power of that hope. As the heart has been enlarged to comprehend more and more of the love of our beloved Bridegroom so that veil has seemed to grow thin before us, as though something of the brightness of that awaiting glory was shining through its folds as light of the most blessed reality sent forth to greet us, to welcome, and to bring us to His holy hill, into the radiance of the presence of His glory.
Yet it is like looking at the sun through darkly smoked glass. There is, there has to be, limitation in what the Lord is able to share with us in our present state—or we, like Saul of Tarsus, would need to be led about, blinded by a glory this frail body was not designed to bear.
This situation, I suppose we could call it the Rebekah and Eliezer journey, is fertile ground for the development of that needed trust and confidence in the One calling us, sending His Spirit to bring us to a glory beyond the power of human mind to conceive or trace. As day followed day, Rebekah would ask more and more of Eliezer. Day after day the picture grew in her heart of the one who waited to share with her such mutual delight and joy. But until that moment of meeting she knew only in part, and so do we. And we prophesy in part, we talk together now on the basis of a partial knowing yet to be swallowed up in the full brightness of perfect day.
What will that meeting be with that One Who, having not seen, we love...? We have mentioned how we are told in Genesis 24:64, that at the sight of Isaac meditating (we think we know what about) in the field, she fell off her camel! (TLV) One polite translation says she "dismounted quickly," but the word means to fall! Such were her emotions; what will be ours?
So long has our Master waited—waited for that moment of completion in every saint of the work of grace—waited for that hour of total sharing with no limitation, with full mutual appreciation and comprehension of all eternal and divine truth. "Father…" He had prayed so earnestly near His darkest hour, "Father, I want these to be with Me, I want them to see My glory, I want them to share it."
It is His desire, my Master’s desire, that I should be with Him where He is, and that I should behold His glory—without a vail. (Gen.24:65) No language can describe the blessedness, the happiness, the deeply shared joy, when Jesus with each saint together realize the fulfilment, the filling full, of each other’s heart’s desire. This is the consummation, not of earthly love, but something grander, higher far than all earthly love, the consummation of uttermost love.
That full measure of a Father’s love was first expressed in Jesus. It was Jesus Who first loved, and it is He Who undertakes by that continual immersion in this realization and every other sanctifying truth of the Word that needful cleansing of the mind, that singleness of heart‑longing for Him, the bringing of every thought to the adoration and obedience of Christ. All to one blessed end. And every thought of holiness that Our Lord inspires, and every attitude of praise and act of loving acclamation and desire, is a step along the aisle.
When, at last, the point is reached, the perfect merging of my every thought with His, the full triumph of divine grace within my heart, true holiness beautifying His dwelling place therein, it will be that "love for me once crucified" that will then joy over the fruitage of that same love’s labour in me.
"Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness, leaning upon her Beloved?" Leaning—that implies trust, but more than mere knowing He is there. It speaks of loving confidence that He Who drew me from a spiritual desert into the pastures of love will still pursue in me His task, and at the end present me to Himself, not me alone, but all who have been drawn and captivated by that same love; a glorious church, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. Can we envisage ourselves without one blemish? "Able to present me faultless..."
In language so beautiful, yet familiar, of marriage, we have a remarkable illustration of the Lord’s way to reach our finite minds without exploding them, for His thoughts are higher than ours as heaven is higher than earth. The language is human, the truth divine. The eyes of our heart are open wide, yet when every spiritual sense has indulged that new mind of His creation and saturated and satisfied its hunger and thirst for the knowing of its Lord, each saint is well aware that yet there is more...the half has not been told us.
The thought of a betrothal, a marriage, and its joy, this is the Lord’s selection from human experience. From man’s beginning did the Lord institute what was ideally designed to be the most joyous act of humankind. And this He takes and uses as an analogy to draw our minds away from every joy of earth to high above the loftiest realm of human thought, to drift indeed in realms unknown to man and glimpse the glories of eternity. How can we grasp the concept of that "forever with the Lord"?
The endless age composed of countless gemlike moments of perfect alignment of all thought and activity in heart delight and mutual joy. I in Him, enveloped in Him, and He in me. When every saint will think as one, and act and speak in the unity of one single mind, that of the Lord Himself, and yet contribute, each its special part to play, to that one glorious Body, each supply according to one blest design that which will enrich each other part.
Grace, unmerited and undeserved favour from a divine heart, grace is at work this moment, taking the things that are nothing, to make of each a valued part, a precious contribution, not one superfluous, to that glorious whole.
Each step of this way, each day, it has been our joy to find in Jesus our every want. "I need Thee every hour." When we are not singing the words the sentiments are there expressed in hearts that ache for the Lord. That aching must be precious to the Lord. But what is our emotion when we hear the Master’s voice, as in a dream, and know it is of me He speaks the words, My glorious Head, as He surveys His work of grace in me, the least of those uncomely parts, "I, your Head, need you." So here eternally my utmost need and His together meet, and perfect love in perfect oneness flows.
Reception at the Father’s House
The Lord’s Own choice of human analogy now will prompt the heart to reach beyond that blessed moment of completed union, Bridegroom and Bride, to that scene of joy, that festal occasion of such shared delight—the marriage supper.
In eastern custom this glad feast of revelry and dance and love would last for many days, and involve a whole community. That which began with the Bridegroom’s approach to the home of His Bride in accordance with His betrothal vow... "I will come, and take you unto Myself," now continues in rejoicing as He takes her to His Father’s House.
"I go to prepare there a place for you." With feeling must those holy lips have framed those words, and yet He surely knew that words could not convey to finite minds, still strangers to the place of which He spoke, the fullness of the glories of His Father’s House. For this is Heaven itself, to which the Holiest of the Sanctuary point in Tabernacle and in Temple, where shone between the gold‑winged cherubim that light of the very presence of God, the glory illuminating that sacred place. Hidden from the eye of common man, that glory remained veiled throughout those days of shadowy vague portrayal, and to this hour the veil of human limitation intervenes between the state of man and things divine.
With all the advancing knowledge of our day, a knowledge increasing at such rapid rate, and doubling within decades the accumulated knowledge of man’s history past, man has but scratched the surface. These are but the edges of His ways. Countless are the secrets that remain and mysteries too even in the material realm. If we do not comprehend earthly things how shall we fathom heaven?
Earth is a place. The universe occupies space, each star and nebulae having position and magnitude in material terms. But Heaven is not a place in that sense. It is a different realm of existence to that of man. Long centuries past have men looked upwards from the earth, some from the north, some south and others east and west, and pointed to the starry space beyond terrestrial things when indicating heaven. In such vague gesture only could he point to where God dwells. For space expands the further we might go, the opposite of finite here on earth.
This is our Father’s realm, immeasurable in human terms, not place, but state divine. Here human language, formed to describe all human experience and thought, at once must fail when venturing into the divine, or else must coin expressions incomprehensible to the mind of man. Thus words like "omniscience," "omnipotence," are like "the ether" terms confessing ignorance, a way of alluding to the indescribable.
This is His Father’s House where Jesus said He went again, that in that holy realm of things divine He might prepare for each of His beloved friends in partnership to share, that He might come again and take His own within that palace of blessedness, that home of love, and "habitation of thy (His) holiness and glory." (Isaiah 63:15)
No man has heard His voice or seen His shape, yet in our Saviour do His glories shine, and while the natural eye has never seen the glorious things prepared for sons of love, yet to our hearts the Spirit shows such precious glimpses of these things for us to yet be fully known. The intellect draws back. With no precision can it view those scenes in heaven when the Lamb with such rejoicing brings His Bride, yet even now, by that Spirit’s power, we rise as if on eagle’s wings, and feel the warmth of heaven’s love and apprehend the joy of that blessed hour that lies beyond the sphere of natural sense and opens to eternal life.
What comfort lay in the Master’s assurance that His Father’s House embraced so many resting places for the sons of His love. Since the common version used the word "mansions," four centuries ago that word has somewhat lost its onetime simple thought of home. Verse 23 of that same chapter John 14, repeats the word. There it is translated "abode," and in its roots John’s favourite word "abide," gives a clue to that sense of warmth and rest, and satisfaction of the soul, first our rest in Him, then, wondrous thought, His rest of satisfied desire in us. "O sweet home of the soul..."
What feasting and rejoicing there awaits the holy hearts of saints! What untold depths of a Father’s heart of love will find their full expression of delight as He draws His family to Him, precious jewels in His glorious crown. The love like sweetest incense that will fill that holy Temple, each heart delighting in its treasure in each other’s precious company. And as each child of love is now brought forth resplendent in a body like the Lord’s the Father from His treasure house of things divine delights to share those sacred holy things dear to His heart, whose glory and whose brightness in our previous state we could not bear. The riches of His Wisdom, and the wonders of His Skill, and every blessed purpose of His Holy Perfect Will.
Only the best of fare becomes a marriage feast, and poorer families with modest means may well incur great debt to rise to such an occasion, or else depend on gifts to supplement their own provision. What nightmare, what great disaster, and what shame if before the climax of the feast the wine ran out! No wonder it was known to water the wine and eke out the rich food with cheaper fare when the effect of the first and better provisions had made the heart glad and the senses less discerning.
The feast our Father has prepared for those that love Him reflects both riches beyond dream and highest taste. Nor will the fare decline with time, for as the feast progresses further guests appear, and joys are shared and thus increase, until all shall turn to fellow and confess "the best He kept until the last."
At such a wedding festival two families meet and celebrate the new‑formed bond that now unites the people of the Bride with those of the Groom. Thus in the course of this great feast as men begin to hear the sound of truth, catch notes of joy in heaven at their response, and taste the blessings stemming from this union above, the Bride with God’s dear Son, they too will come, men will respond in heartfelt joy to that glad call to celebrate and join with hosts above, acknowledging the union that will forever bind the family of God in heaven with that of earth.
Psalm 45 verse 12, includes amongst the guests that come to share that atmosphere of nuptial joy and great exuberance of spirit, one named the "daughter of Tyre." And look! She bears a gift! In holy Writ we know that Prince of Tyre, is another name for Satan with his pride and arrogant power. This one was born in his domain, and once had known indeed the power of sin, the pride of this world’s life estranging every soul from God. From that poor wretch the sevenfold power of Satan had been cast. The life, once waste, now fills with purpose and resolve. No longer servant to the king of Tyre, yet neither to herself did she belong, for she was purchased, wondrously redeemed with price that spoke such volumes of great love. A deep compulsion now lays claim, persistently it draws her to respond to Him Who gave His all on her behalf. And now, responding to that love, she comes, to bring her gift of gratitude and praise, a willing offering of her heart. The seal on the alabaster box breaks to pour forth those contents, oh so precious to her Lord, while at the sight all heaven rejoices with great joy. And are there tears in Bride and Bridegroom’s eyes as now they turn to feast upon that blessed smile that radiates the Father’s face?
So will the excitement grow as more and more come into truth’s most blessed light and fellowship, and learn to sing the songs of life with hosts above, until from every corner of the earth the incense rises and the chorus grows to form with that same song from every part of heaven a mighty anthem full of joy and praise from lives reflective of their Lord, and hearts that love His Ways.
Dear to the hearts of saints who know their God is this delightful thought. Amid the rapturous scenes of heaven above when glory fills the souls of all who share that sacred place of love at Jesus’ side, their Saviour’s joy will yet be fully known when from that table of delights are portions sent to those who once had feared that for them nothing was prepared. What fellow feeling will be shared as beggars from the dunghill, everyone those saints in glory seated busily will send, in sympathetic language to the heart of every man, the invitation... "Come!"
The Feast of fat things that will gladden earth has its great beginnings in those scenes in heaven when Jesus takes His Bride within His Father’s House, to drink anew with her the wine of sacred love that seals a covenant of grace yet to beget to life abundant all mankind. Nor will that marriage supper end until from every corner of this earth all men that river of His pleasure come to drink. And not only will they from that river drink but each will in its crystal waters take their stand, and as its waters cleanse their feet and walk, they will indulge in bathing every part until in full immersion they are swept along to find the blessed fullness of that life eternal of full knowing of their God.
The Father’s arms are aching for that hour when from their worthless ways all men will turn. A long way off the Father has enjoyed the prospect of a family in heaven and in earth complete. The best robe waits, the ring of everlasting love, the feast and the rejoicing when at last He will proclaim. "This one who once was dead to Me and heaven’s love, is now alive! "
Then will the Christ, with healing in its beams, rise as the sun to gladden hearts on earth with cheering warmth, and overspill to man the joys of truth and righteousness, that atmosphere of love, that pure devotion to His Will that fills all heaven. And thus the Father’s House, His dwelling place, expand, to then include the hearts and lives of men that fill a sin‑cleansed earth. So will His House become a House of Prayer for all mankind, when all desires of human hearts there meet and satisfaction find forever in their God, in Whom are all their springs.
They all will eat the fatness, drink the goodness of the Lord, and come to know the treasures of His Wise and Faithful Word, while showers of blessing gladden all the earth.
The Word resorts to poetry to describe what still defies man’s language to portray. The bliss of spirit realms is still beyond our thought, though now so thin the veil that intervenes. Yet wisely did He choose this form of speech. How else could He enable us to bear the glories that await us there? We need that hope, we need its sanctifying power now in our lives. We find such joy in even the vaguest glimmers through that veil of untold realms beyond this mind to comprehend save now in part. What will it be, that ‘face to face’?
The language of a marriage and its joys is part of that poetry. It conveys in contemplation now to minds too limited to fathom all its depths something of glory we are yet to fully know—enough, and more than we could have hoped for here below! This is no abstract truth, but truth which centres in a person we have come to know and love. Whatever scenes await us there beyond, we know Our Lord will not be stranger to His own. With Him they walk today, and in His Name they pray for those desires He prompts within our minds, and for the longings He has kindled in our hearts.
When Jesus said, "I will return and take you to myself within My Father’s House, the language of betrothal did He use, so precious to the heart of every saint. And we the language of betrothal also spoke when to the invitation of the Spirit we replied "I will," and echoed there those words that changed Rebekah’s life.
Those blessed expressions of His heart and mine began this fellowship, and ever since propelled our feet towards one goal. And nothing in our lives is now more real than this relationship with Him. So real, it has dismissed the things of earth as if a dream, for we have eyes for Him alone. These truths we know, and yet, like Sheba’s queen, our breath is taken at the sight of Him Who sits on glory’s throne, and they who share the honour at His side.