There are many images that the Bible uses for the Church. It calls the Church the Body of Christ, to show its interconnectivity as an organism birthed by God. The one image that has an eternal image of love and union is that of the Church being the Bride of Christ.
When you read of mystics like Catherine of Siena, or Teresa de Avila, you get the notion concerning what motivated them in their devotion to Christ, is the concept that we walking in ever increasing union with Him. In this earthly walk we can interpret eschatology as being the bringing in of the fulness of Union between Christ and His Church. This image is shown in both Revelation 21 and 22. The Bride is made ready, and in chapter 22 the citizens of the new creation of heaven and earth. At the end of chapter 22 we see what qualifies us for that citizenship and that union where no light of the sun is needed, but Jesus is that light. There is a sense of eternal bliss, fruitfulness, which sustains the whole new creation we are seeing John visualise concluding his heavenly vision on Patmos.
This week in praying concerning the situations that I am passing through with my health right now, and the current situation in the UK, the Lord turned my attention to two women which you can compare in both Esther and Revelation. They represent the same connotation. In Revelation we get Babylon, the false bride, and the Church being the true. In Esther we get Vashti, removed and Esther as being received, prepared and pleasing to the king, who goes on to liberate the people of God from tyranny. I am sure that this must speak to our day.
Vashti who refuses the King’s presence and is removedThe disrespect and regard for the king causes her downfall
In the beginning of the book of Esther we are presented the kingdom of Persia just before the Captives of Israel return to Jerusalem. We are presented with the King in feasting who calls out for his queen but is met with pure refusal, and disdain, and for which the king is angry. This feasting did not go on in just the King’s house but the queen had her own feast. In the spirit of joy the queen sees fit to introduce her own attitude not in keeping with the spirit which the kingdom found itself. It is seen to be a precedent which needed to be made an example of or marriages in the realm would have been at risk. Vashti is removed.
What the Lord seemed to indicate to me is that the modern Church is acting like Vashti. There is little honour for the King, there is little respect, there is little obedience to the royal life upheld by the King and lived out by the queen. It seems the queen rather enjoyed the privileges but lost sight of her duty to her King. It seems that for the modern day Church too, she is lost in misconception concerning the King of kings, she has lost sight of His Glory, and lost sight of her own lifting up by Him, through Christ, that now an arrogance has come in. There is a season when God calls an official presentation of His Queen before His Kingdom, to exercise in His pleasure His will. I believe when I read and studied the account, the Lord was alluding to a season when He will call His Bride to be presented before His Kingdom for a time of manifestation of glory and power.
When I am speaking of Vashti here I am speaking of an attitude and a arrogance in one so privileged and esteemed. I am speaking of a condition of heart. I believe we have arrived at such attitudes when we esteem our privileges as sons and daughters of God, in the provision, protections that God bestows upon us, but when a season of being summoned comes we refuse this duty and price of being His Bride. The result is removal.
Esther catches the eye of the King
Once Vashti is removed, the King looks for another. And Esther caught the eye of the King that she is selected by the King for major preparation. There is a quality that shines out to the King that causes Him to be drawn, and to choosing. It is obvious that spiritual qualities that Esther had shine out in physical beauty. She was not of Persian stock, but in fact was of Israel. She is schooled in the care of Mordecai. Wisdom is the key quality that shines out right from the beginning.
Esther submits to tough preparation
Esther is taken from her people and placed in a place of preparation. This speaks to all of those who have sensed and stepped out in the vocation God has called us with. It entailed leaving and giving up, as a first test and requirement of being prepared by God for His task. She was to bathe in bitter oils first. How many of us pass seasons when it seems that our decision to follow God means that we pass “bitter oils”. These “bitter oils” break our ego, and prepare us for a new identity.
Esther is bathed in “perfumed oils”
After 6 months in the “bitter oils” she is then placed in a further 6 months of perfumed oils. This is now the anointing for being queen. This tough experience gives way to the pleasant oils that bring joy and bring esteem in the Palace. This is now the preparation which exchanges the stripping away of an old identity for now putting on a new one. Paul speaks in Ephesians concerning putting on the New Man. The Lord is telling us through this that the Church must transition from being like Vashti to become like Esther. For her to catch the eye of the King and be brought forth to Him she must go through the corporate preparation where the whole collective has one mind, to be prepared to be the Bride of Christ. The whole narrative in the book of Esther is how much pleasure the King has in her, that this pleasure spills out into favour. It is this kingly favour that Esther is going to need for her role to liberate her people from the conspiracy of the enemy.
When Esther does not rest in her position or her privilege, but rests in the favour she has with the King.
The conspiracy of the enemy brings Esther face to face with the enemy himself. This is the picture today, more and more the enemy has come within the palace and has placed a legality upon the world being that the majority is under his control. The silence of Esther would not guarantee her own safety. The Church is now facing the governments of the world as more and more laws come against her fabric. She cannot face the crisis depending just on her position Christ, she must come into the palace and must intercede until the King extends to her His Sceptre. When He does so so does the Church come into a place of power. There is no power in silence, no power in doing things we have always done, no power in meditating on blessings, we must come into the realms of the King, even if we die, found not worthy in His Glory, but that He extends to us His Sceptre, and asks for what we need in this hour. We must come into our Bride moment, our Queen moment with Christ. He extends His Sceptre as we are in His Presence and favour is ours, but we are in His Presence with purpose. This is the hour, when the enemy desires to strike and determines to change the hearts of the world against the Church. The enemy is finally hung on the gallows he has made for the people of God. In every generation since Christ’s Ascension has the enemy come against God’s people, but the Lord has arisen defended and liberated His people.
The message came with an urgency, a cry of the Heart of God to His Church. The parallel between the Book of Esther with that of Revelation is that there are always two women vying for position, Babylon and the Bride, Vashti and Esther. The Lord asks us to submit to a tough preparation in that we are no longer determining our vision, our theology, but that He strips away former identity so that He may mould us to be the Bride. For the Church to transition from being like Vashti, glorying in herself, to being an Esther, pleasing to the King, saving God’s people we need to go through the preparation of the oils, the anointings, so that we may gain His identity. Many ask for the anointing but do not comprehend for what they ask for. They believe the anointing is power, yet the anointing builds identity so that the power may come forth.
Maranatha! Come Jesus.