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The Crucified Ones, Part 4
1 September 2014
In Part One of this series, I introduced the incredible, must-read book called The Crucified Ones: Calling Forth the End-Time Remnant by Charles E. Newbold. If you haven't read that article yet, I urge you to do so before you continue here.
Even though The Crucified One is only 115 pages long, it is so deep and so rich that there are way too many excerpts for me to share all of them in one article. Therefore I have broken it down into manageable, digestible sections. Part One covered chapters one through five. Part Two gave an overview of chapters six through nine. Part Three featured extracts from chapters ten through fifteen. Today's final Part Four covers the last two chapters of the book.
As I shared previously, Entire sentences highlighted in this color are MY emphasis — thoughts which struck me as especially important. All other emphasis is the author's, or implied by the author. If the flow of thought from paragraph to paragraph feels disjointed at times, that's because it is! I've taken paragraphs which were spread throughout each chapter, so there can be large chunks of text missing in between the paragraphs I've shared here. That's why you need to get your own copy of the book and read the WHOLE thing!
Other articles in this series: Shop for The Crucified Ones book on Amazon.com
Chapter 16 — The BrideThe whole story of the Bible begins and ends with a wedding.... It's a story of love between a husband and His intended wife. The story begins with a wedding, the wedding of two people, man and woman. "...and they shall be one flesh" (Genesis 2:24). With this story begins a love affair between the Creator and His created one. Throughout the Bible, God was viewed as a husband and Israel, His chosen one, was viewed as His bride.
Hosea, the prophet, depicts this husband and wife relationship between God and Israel in terms of his own life. He is called upon by God to marry a harlot. Yet, even after she leaves him to return to her harlotry, he shows forth his great love for her by purchasing her off of the auction block.
In this great story God is seen as wooing harlot Israel back by His love. She is unwilling to love Him, seemingly incapable of doing so, so He purchases her Himself. Of course, we see this now in view of the act of God's redemption in Christ Jesus our Lord who shed His precious blood to purchase us from sin and deliver us from idolatry. It is impossible to see Israel and the church as separate entities. The church of Jesus Christ is merely the extension of Israel as God's chosen people. Israel and the church are one personality throughout history.... Israel and the church are one and the same from God's point of view. He has always and only had one bride in His eye. He did not divorce one and remarry another.
Whatever was Israel's history is our history in the church today. Abraham is every bit our father. His history is our history. When we read of Isaac and Jacob, we are reading about our spiritual ancestors. We identify with them and they with us as being a part of that one body, one man, one person, one bride. But the church today, just as it was true of Israel then, is just as capable of idolatry. We are just as likely to play the harlot as she. Ephesians 5:25-27, we read, Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it; that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
The word for church in the Greek is ekklesia which actually means "called-out-ones" and is feminine in gender.... It is unfortunate that the translators mistakenly used "church" instead of "called-out ones" and "it" instead of "her" because this emphasizes that false notion that the church is a thing instead of a person.
One of the greatest idolatries that has crept upon the body of Christ throughout the Christian era is this elevation of institutional Christianity. In many, many cases one's church, as an institution, has become a greater love than one's obedience to Christ. All that pertains to institutional Christianity is assumed to be the gospel.
We love our church. We serve our church. We join our church. We try to get others to join it. We compete with other churches over who is the best, who is the biggest, and who is right. Our churches have become our "high places" wherein we worship ourselves, pretending to be worshiping God.
There is a legitimate scriptural mandate for us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:24-25). But there is a big difference between assembling for the sake of perpetuating the local church or the denomination of which we may be a part, and assembling to provoke one another to love and to good works.
We not only are to come together as the body of Christ, but we are to be assembled by the leadership of the Holy Spirit. It is one thing to go to "church" and quite another to be assembled as the church — called-out ones for assembly unto Christ.
Jesus is coming for His bride. He is coming for a bride without spot or wrinkle (Ephesians 5:27). He Himself was the Lamb of God without blemish and without spot (1 Peter 1:19). That unblemished Lamb can only be joined as one flesh to an unblemished bride.... The bride without spot or wrinkle is she who has kept the faith; that is, has been faithful to her first and only love, Jesus Christ, her Lord. She is a true lover.
There is no way we can come into the deeper things of God, no way we can approach the great throne room of God, no way we can enter into that Holy of Holies without loving as He loved. To be faithful to Jesus is to be faithful to one another. To love Him is to love one another. For we are all His body. Whatever we say or do against one another we have done it unto Him.
But true holiness is summed up into one basic commandment: love. If you love God with all of your heart, soul, mind, and strength, everything else will fall into place. You will separate yourself from sin and idolatry. You will love your neighbor as yourself. You will involve yourself in the family of God, encouraging and strengthening one another in the household of God. You will see to it that there is plenty of oil in your lamp (Matthew 25:1-13).
An abundance of Christians today are anxiously awaiting the rapture of the church. Their eyes are more on the rapture and their hearts are more intent upon escape than upon the Lord. The true bride, on the contrary, is anxiously awaiting that glorious day when she will be joined with her love. But she does not want that day to come before she has made herself ready. That day is rapidly coming, but it will not come until the bride has made herself ready.
The love affair between God and His people carries on to this day. And in this day, God is separating the wheat from the chaff, the bride from the harlot. He is exposing the harlot and revealing the bride.... It is important now for all true believers to take seriously that mandate of Christ to "look up, lift up your heads, for your redemption draws near" (Luke 21:28). There is going to be a remnant church. There is going to be a people called out of a people in this last day who will show forth the glory of the Lord, who will emerge as the bride without spot or wrinkle, who are faithful and loving.
This remnant will not consist of all who merely claim to be Christian, though many of those will be saved. It will not include even the many well meaning Christians who are jumping for joy over the prospects of the rapture. It will include only those who are committed to faithfully following the Lamb wherever He goes.
This is not an elite group of people as the world would measure it. They are hidden, faceless, a people who bear the image of their Father, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit, who bear fruit a hundredfold, who dare to die to self that His life might be lived out through them, who enter into the Holy of Holies where Jesus is the only thing there is, who are purged, purified by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit and are well on their way to being glorified — not in the exaltation of self, but in the total denial of self.
There are those believers whom have willingly received the baptism in the Holy Spirit, but who stopped there. They began to gather around the gifts instead of the Giver and in many subtle ways tended to exalt themselves in pride rather than allowing that anointing to bring them to the end of themselves.... They have played the harlot, for spiritual harlotry is anything for self.
The heart of God goes out today in advance of the great and terrible day of the Lord and is calling forth the bride. He who has ears let him hear. the tabernacle of David rested, where Jesus is the only thing there is. The northern kingdom of Israel, Samaria, is likened unto those who are in the outer court of the temple, institutional Christianity, those who are full of idolatry, those who are not to be included when the measuring rod of God is put to the church.
The southern kingdom of Israel, Judah, is likened unto the Pentecostals and Charismatics who once saw the atrocities of their older sister Samaria, and came out of her to be led by the Spirit to higher ground. Soon, however, she became just as institutional, just as self-centered, just as legalistic, just as idolatrous as her sister.
Only a remnant returned from Babylon with Zerubbabel, Ezra, and Nehemiah. Most of the rest were content to stay in the comfort of their Babylonian cities. The way was not easy for those who came out of Babylon to return to Jerusalem. They had to constantly contend with the taunting, threatening enemy in the land.
God is bringing His body together.... This is not being accomplished in the ecumenical movement of institutional Christianity. It is accomplished only by this remnant who is willing to answer the call of God to "come out of her, My people" (Revelation 18:4).... Nothing is going to be accomplished for God in this hour until it is first accomplished in prayer.
This remnant is the church without walls. The coming together of the fivefold ministry to truly equip the saints for the work of service — a people who gather only in the name of Jesus for strength and who go out in the power of the Spirit for service.
So, the bride is not the northern kingdom of Israel, institutional Christianity, nor the southern kingdom left in Babylon, but those straggly few who dare to take up the cause of God to return to Zion. They are the Zion of God. the true prophet is also going to be speaking the words from God that call His people to repent, to come out of Babylon, to come to Zion, to holiness. He will call forth the bride.
The prophetic ministry today is likened unto John the Baptist as one crying in the wilderness, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord" (Matthew 3:3). The coming forth of the bride, the preparation of the bride for His coming is the preparation of the way of the Lord.
For God is coming for His bride. That's what the whole story of the Bible is about. If we lose sight of that, we miss the whole point of scripture and of the purposes of God.
It is best that we devote our time and energies not so much in trying to attain things from God, or in getting our doctrines in agreement with one another, or in building large congregations and bigger buildings, but in seeking the face of our Bridegroom.
For more of Mr. Newbold's hard-hitting writing, see THE Ministry, Part 1.
This article is 39th a series of articles on this Web site related to Modern Christianity and the Church which also includes (scroll to see the entire list):
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