Cut: Something sharp making secure the highest.
In these next chapters, we will be considering those factors that make up the experience we call “redemption”, “being born again” or “salvation”. When we use these terms, we are considering God the Father’s plan to see us moved from a place of union with the false vine, into a relationship of living communion with His Son, Yeshua, the True Vine.
You may be wondering why it is necessary to look at what it means to be “born again”. I have two reasons for addressing this crucial area. Firstly, my own experience in being born into the “church” and spending 35 years in that environment before I experienced what the Bible teaches about being “born again”.
Secondly, I had the opportunity to observe a teenage girl being “born again” at an evangelistic Gospel Music concert. What immediately followed when an appeal was made at the end of the concert was a classical evangelical conversion experience for this teenage girl. I did some follow up with her and I was convinced that she was in the Kingdom of God; however, within a matter of weeks this girl was pursuing Satanism with a vengeance and finding it very much to her liking.
Faced with these two experiences I was forced to go back to Scripture and painstakingly review my classical evangelical view of “being born again”! What follows here is the result of that journey.
In the natural realm, if a vinedresser wishes to graft a branch from one vine into another vine he must first cut that branch from its parent vine.
The thought of a parent vine takes us to those words, spoken by Yeshua, to the Pharisees in John 8:
43 “Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. "You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it.
Clearly, Yeshua saw the Pharisees as being attached to the devil, the false vine, and their parent vine.
It is crucial to stop and realise that this was Yeshua’s assessment of the spiritual state of one of the most influential religious groups in all of Israel! In Yeshua’s opinion the Pharisees had aligned their desires with the desires of the devil, just as Adam and Eve had done in the Garden of Eden.
If this is true, then what is Yeshua’s assessment of those of us who make up the influential denominations and movements of our day?
What is His appraisal of you?
What is His assessment of me?
These are important questions because they clarify for us personally our need to be cut to the heart, which is the first step towards being cut free from the false vine. It also serves to focus our attention on where we are at “spiritually” right at this moment.
The phrase: “cut to the heart” only occurs twice in the NT and both occasions are in the Book of Acts:
2:37 Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?"
7:54 When they heard these things they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed at him with their teeth.
Before we look at the context of each of these verses let us look more closely at the meaning of the words in this phrase. The word “cut” in Verse 37 means “to pierce thoroughly” and the word “cut” in Verse 54 means “to saw in two”. The word “heart”, in both Verses means “the middle” or “the thoughts and feelings”.
To my way of thinking what is described by this phrase is not a positive, emotion-charged, pleasurable experience, rather it is an intensely painful process. There is a direct parallel between the physical cutting of a branch with a knife, or a saw, and the cutting through or the piercing thoroughly and exposing the centre of the thoughts and feelings of a human being.
This is the starting point for people really encountering the Gospel.
If I understand the Scriptures aright encountering the power of the Gospel is not intended to be a wonderful, enjoyable and warm emotional experience. Experiencing the vitality of the Gospel is intended to be a painful encounter, a devastating occurrence, something that tears at, and through, our flesh.
How foolish this Gospel is, in that it must bring such intense pain to our human flesh before we can ever begin to understand its truths!
Let us look firstly at the context of the verse in Acts 2. It was the Day of Pentecost. It was the day that the Holy Spirit was poured out on the disciples who had waited for this promise of the Father in that upper room in Jerusalem. As the impact of the Holy Spirit’s entry into the lives of these people became public, in the streets of Jerusalem, Peter began to preach. Peter preached in the power of the Holy Spirit. The condition of “being cut to the heart”, recorded in Verse 37, is directly attributable to Peters’ preaching in this manner.
This fact leads us to a very important verse in Hebrews:
4:12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
We see this verse in full action mode as Peter preaches on the Day of Pentecost. The word of God, flowing through Peter as a channel, is cutting those who hear this word to the very centre of their being. It is here, at the centre of their being, that their thoughts and attitudes are exposed and they are seeing the thoughts and intentions of their hearts in all their gory detail, perhaps for the first time in their lives. They were under the conviction of the Holy Spirit (see John 16:8).
At this point let us shift our attention to the context of the verse in Acts 7. Here we find Stephen preaching under the power of the Holy Spirit. Again we see Hebrews 4:12 in full action mode as Stephen preaches. The word of God, flowing through Stephen as a channel, is piercing those who hear this word to the very centre of their being. This second group of people are also having their thoughts and attitudes exposed and they are seeing them in all their gruesome detail, they too have come under the conviction of the Holy Spirit. Here again, the condition of “being cut to the heart” is directly attributed to Stephen preaching in the power of the Holy Spirit.
It is more than interesting to discover such strong parallels between these two passages, up to this point!
Whilst the means of being “cut to the heart” are identical (i.e. the Word of God being preached under the enabling of the Holy Spirit) in both passages, the response of the hearers could not be more contrasting.
In Acts 2 the hearers respond by asking: “What must we do?” The hearers in Acts 7, on the other hand, respond by getting so angry that they begin to grind their teeth!
This presents us with a mystery: how could the Word of God working as the Sword of the Spirit, bring about such differing responses? How can 3,000 people be added to the Church in Acts 2 and yet not one soul be saved in Acts 7?
The answer to this mystery is to be found in studying the vine and the branch. Remember, we said earlier that before a branch can be grafted the vinedresser must cut the branch from the parent vine? Initially, the vinedresser will cut the branch to its centre, or its heart, but in so doing the vinedresser has not separated the branch completely from the parent vine, it is still half attached.
This was the case when Peter preached and when Stephen preached. As they preached, the Word of God cut like a knife to the centre of each listener (branches on the false vine) exposing the thoughts and attitudes of their hearts. But, despite this fact, all those who heard the Word were still firmly attached to the parent vine, satan!
Something more was required to see these people cut free from the false vine; that “something” is found in Acts 2 but is noticeably absent in Acts 7.
What is it?
It is Verse 40 of Acts 2:
And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation!"
It was the “many other words” and Peter’s continued “exhortation” that saw the Word of God cut through the remaining half of these hearts (branches). Stephen did not have the opportunity to “solemnly testify and exhort with many other words”, because his hearers in their anger at being cut to the heart murdered him; hence he was no longer able to preach. So it was that his hearers remained in that place of being attached to the false vine.
There is no detailed identification of those who murdered Stephen. Hence, we do not know whether there were Pharisees actively involved in his death. However, we do know that a young man called Saul, who was a Pharisee, is identified as being present at the murder of Stephen and Scripture records this fact: “Now Saul was consenting to his death.” (Acts 8:1)
Saul must have heard the Word preached through Stephen, he must have been cut to the heart. However, we know that Saul did not experience salvation; he was not born again at this point in time but continued to be a branch attached to the false vine.
In Saul’s case it was not until he was confronted with the Living Word Himself, Yeshua, on the road to Damascus that the other “half” of Saul the branch was cut through.
The point, which must be made, the point that we must comprehend is this: you can be “cut to the heart”, you can have a spiritual experience of hearing the Word and yet still remain in a place where Yeshua would say: “You are of your father the devil”.
This leaves a devastating question hanging in the air: How many people are there in Christian communities, as we know them today, who have been “cut to the heart” by the Word of God, maybe once, maybe many times, but have never been cut free from the false vine?
That young teenage girl was “cut to the heart” on the night of that concert, but she was not cut free from the false vine; hence it was quite easy for her to have a classical evangelical conversion experience and then plunge headlong into the worship of satan. You see, despite hearing the gospel she was still under bondage to the law of sin and death.
There are numerous ways in which a human being can react to being “cut to the heart” by the Word of God. What happened in Acts 7 is one of the more extreme reactions of human nature, as was the reaction of the teenage girl I have spoken about. Other people, after being “cut to the heart” develop a fascination for the Word of God and for Christian community, but their true allegiance remains in, and with, the prince of this world, the false vine! Their lives continue to be dominated by the law of sin and death, manifesting itself in the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the pride of life.
Obviously, in the light of these facts, we need to develop our understanding of the human heart a lot further if we are to comprehend what occurs when people are “cut to the heart”.
To accomplish this let us consider the example of Pharaoh, in the Book of Exodus. Pharaoh is a particularly interesting case because we find clear evidence of God “hardening Pharaohs’ heart” and of “Pharaoh hardening his own heart”.
10:1 And the LORD said unto Moses, Go in unto Pharaoh: for I have hardened his heart, and the heart of his servants, that I might show these my signs before him:
9:34 And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants.
Here we are confronted with the sovereignty of God. It was for the accomplishment of Divine purposes that the Lord God moved to harden Pharaohs heart. This is a difficult issue for us to comprehend and yet it is a fact that God took an active role in hardening Pharaoh’s heart.
Nevertheless, an equally impelling fact is that Pharaoh played an active part in hardening his own heart. It is this aspect that we need to focus on if we are to understand what happens when people are “cut to the heart”.
In Exodus Chapters 7, 8 & 9 it is stated again and again “Pharaoh would not hearken”. In Hebrew that old fashion sounding word “hearken” means “to hear intelligently with the intention of obeying”.
It is clear, from this definition, that there are two important factors involved if we “hearken” to the voice of someone. First, we must listen to what is said, and secondly, we must obey what we have heard.
"But why do you call Me 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do the things which I say? (Luke 6:46)
"Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. (Matthew 7:21)
People who suffer from hardness of heart refuse to listen and refuse to obey; that is, they refuse to act upon what they have heard. Those who heard Stephen preach were suffering from hardness of heart. Even though the Word of God cut them to the heart, when that Sword of the Spirit hit its mark they refused to hear or obey. They refused to respond to the stark reality of the evil thoughts and intentions that existed in their hearts.
The second symptom of hardness of heart is also a recurring theme through these chapters in the Book of Exodus. It is Pharaoh’s refusal to “let go” of the Children of Israel:
Exodus 10:27 But the LORD hardened Pharaoh's heart, and he would not let them go.
Clearly, the Children of Israel had become such an asset, such an important element in Pharaoh maintaining his image as a god, (in the eyes of the Egyptian people), that he could not even entertain the thought of letting them go. This was a direct result of his hardness of heart.
People who suffer from hardness of heart refuse to let go of those things that they consider as being able to control their destiny. Their focus is not on the reality of God being well-able to guide and guard their steps; it is on the false reality of the power of people, material possessions, status, political power and a host of other things, to control their destiny. Hence, they refuse to let go of these things. Look back at Yeshua’s words in Matthew 10:34-38!
Also, if you read Stephen’s sermon, in the Book of Acts very carefully, you will see that he was homing- in on this point and that his hearers flatly refused to consider letting go.
What I am about to say few people will be willing to accept. Nevertheless, I consider it to be an essential truth that we need to be confronted with. I have noted that there exists a deep and profound unwillingness amongst people within Christian communities to “let go” of the man-made denominations and movements in favour of acknowledging Yeshua as the only Foundation of the Body of Christ. Hand in hand with this goes an unwillingness to “let go” of relationships that are based on the “club mentality” of the denominations and movements of our day. Hence, hardness of heart prevails and an environment has been created in which people who have been “cut to the heart”, yet still remain attached to the false vine, live very comfortably.
The third symptom of hardness of heart is that it causes us to harden our hearts even more.
Exodus 9:34 And when Pharaoh saw that the rain and the hail and the thunders were ceased, he sinned yet more, and hardened his heart, he and his servants.
Hardening your heart is a sin. It puts you in a place of rebellion against God the Father. That is why it says in this verse that Pharaoh “sinned yet more, and hardened his heart”.
So too, in the case of those who listened to Stephen preach. Initially they hardened their hearts, which led them to sin yet more. They went from being angry with Stephen to murdering Stephen!
In a nutshell these are the symptoms of hardness of heart:
(1) Refusal to listen with the intention of obeying.
(2) Refusing to let go of those things that we consider as having the power to influence our future life.
(3) Keeping on sinning, keeping on hardening our hearts in rebellion against God.
When that sharp blade, which is the Word of God, comes and cuts us to the heart it brings each one of us to an important cross road in our lives. Here, we have concentrated on the negative response, which the Bible calls hardness of heart, but now we can move on and look more closely at the “positive” response to being cut to the heart.
Vine: Hugging and Turning
In John 15:1 Yeshua says: "I Am the True Vine". This establishes for us the identity of the One who is the only Foundation of the Body of Christ.
Have you ever stopped to contemplate why Yeshua didn't just say `I am the vine'? If Yeshua is the True Vine then it means there must be a false vine!
In Romans 11 Paul is speaking about olive trees, rather than grape vines, but he too makes this same distinction between the True and the false, but instead he uses the terms Good Olive and wild olive.
Romans 11: 17-18 & 24 And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the Olive Tree, do not boast against the branches. But if you boast, remember that you do not support the Root, but the Root supports you.
For if you were cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and were grafted contrary to nature into a Good Olive Tree, how much more will these who are the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?
These verses have much to say to us about the vital role that Israel has, and must continue to have, in the plans and purposes of God. It also speaks of an intimacy that should exist between Jews and non-Jews who have been grafted into the Good Olive, or the True Vine. But all these things I must put to one side for future study, because as yet I have not comprehended the richness of what the Spirit is saying to the Church about these things. But let me just note one thing; clearly Paul is stating that both Jews and non-Jews alike must be grafted into the Good Olive Tree (the True Vine).
Also, at this point, we wish only to establish that there is a wild olive/false vine. Moreover, you and I have been, or we currently are, attached to this wild olive/false vine.
The identity of this wild olive/false vine is, of course, prince of the power of the air.
Ephesians 2:1-3 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,
in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
The intimate relationship between humans and the false vine was established in the Garden of Eden. Indeed, there we also find two distinctive plants, or more precisely, trees: The Tree of Life and the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
It should not surprise us to discover both these trees in the midst of God's creation. But not only do we find them here, we also find them side by side, expressed in one form or another, throughout the pages of Scripture. That is, until we get to the Book of Revelation that speaks of The Tree of Life, but no longer do we find the tree of the knowledge of good and evil standing.
All this is to say that the decisions taken by Adam and Eve, in the Garden, resulted in humans becoming branches of the false vine, the prince of the power of the air; rather than people living in vital union with God. Before they made their decisions, Adam and Eve were able to walk with God, but afterwards this was no longer possible. God was the Tree of Life to them and they were abiding in His fellowship every day. However, it was God's desire that Adam, Eve and their children’s on-going fellowship with Him should be a choice which stemmed from their hearts, rather than being a matter of robotic compulsion.
The key components that describe our union with prince of the power of the air, are: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life.
John refers to these fundamentals in his letter; 1John 2:
16 For all that is in the world; the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life; is not of the Father but is of the world.
If you look again in Genesis 3:6 you will see these components at work in the decision-making processes of Eve.
So, when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.
To lust is to long for, or desire, that which is forbidden. It is interesting that in the Hebrew language the words “pleasant” and “desirable” are extensions of the meaning of “to lust”. We can quickly diagnose whether we are in relationship with the false vine by noting how often we lust: “good food”, or what is “pleasant to the eyes” or that which is “desirable to make us wise” (or at least appear to be wise!)
GOOD-PLEASANT-DESIRABLE are angels of light to us. Their apparent light hides the reality that they are in fact the operatives of the law of sin and death, the operatives of the prince of the power of the air. It is that which was good, pleasant and desirable in the opinion of Eve, Adam and the prince of the power of the air which led to humans being separated from the grace of God. It is that which, in our opinion, is good, pleasant and desirable which will keep us out of the protection of God and in union with the prince of the power of the air.
God knew, all too well, that the temptation to agree with the opinion of the prince of the power of the air would be too much for Eve, and in turn for Adam.
For God the Father, the only way back into fellowship with mankind was to plant out His own Son as the True Vine and thus make the way possible for people to be cut free from the false vine and be grafted into Christ, the True Vine.
What God foreordained and what God did through Yeshua is summed up in the words SALVATION and REDEMPTION.
In John 15 Jesus goes on to describe how He, and the Father, together, accomplished Salvation and Redemption for us. But Yeshua also goes on to explain, in plain language, what is required of us in entering the fullness of God’s salvation and redemption.
What is required is expressed in the key word of John 15: abiding, or to express it in other words to maintain a living common union.
I am convinced that the study of the meaning of this word, “abide”, as it exists in the heart of God, is fathomless! What we can learn about this word from our study of the Scriptures falls well short of all that God has ordained for us if we will abide in Christ.
Therefore, in the next chapters we will consider The Importance of Being Cut to The Heart followed by The Importance of Being Circumcised in Heart. These truths are indispensable; for the actions of “being cut to the heart” and “being circumcised in heart” prepare us to enter that place of abiding in Christ.
I realise we appear to be moving slowly, but it is difficult and slow work when you are crawling down around the foundations of a building! Just remember that the importance of the foundations rests in the fact that they (the foundations) ultimately determine what (fruit) can be built upon those foundations. Like Abraham we need to be certain that the Architect and Builder of these foundations is God and not man.
Branch: To protect a mighty harvest.
It is no longer permissible to simply know that the foundations exist in your house and then take that fact for granted because, as we saw in the previous chapter, a time is coming when everything that can be shaken will be; including the house you live in.
But such apathy towards foundations is now even more dangerous when it comes to the foundations of the Gospel or our spiritual foundations.
There must be an intimate relationship between the Foundation Stone and those stones that are built upon The Foundation, which is Yeshua. Anything less than this will result in a very unstable building and the Kingdom of God is not unstable! In fact, it is only the Kingdom of God that will be left standing after God has severely and thoroughly shaken everything in heaven and on earth. (See Hebrews 12:25-27)
So, what form does this intimate relationship between The Foundation Stone (Yeshua) and those stones that are built upon Him take?
The fact is the analogy of a building falls short of communicating, in a comprehensive way, the level of intimacy that God has ordained for those He has called and chosen to be built into His Spiritual House.
If we attempt to use the building analogy, as the basis for understanding our intimacy with Christ, what we end up with is a sense of our dependency on other human beings. We see this in many churches of our day. It is what I refer to as the “club mentality”.
The point is this, when you look at a brick or stone-wall what you see is the relationship between each adjoining stone, or brick, rather than the relationship of dependence that exists between each individual stone, or brick, and the foundation stone.
In saying this I am not suggesting there is not a place for relationship with one another in the Body of Christ, but here again the foundation of those relationships must first and foremost be Christ Himself.
Consequently, we must purposely turn our thoughts to consider the analogy of the branch and its relationship to the vine, in order that we might begin to understand the level of intimacy God has called us to.
In John 17: 21 Jesus personally describes for us the relationship that His Father has ordained: "that they all may be one, as You Father are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me."
In heaven, before Yeshua was born into this world, the relationship that existed between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit can be pictured as follows.
God the Father: the HEAVENLY VINE. Jesus: the HEAVENLY BRANCH abiding in the HEAVENLY VINE. The Holy Spirit: the LIFE-GIVING SAP flowing through the HEAVENLY VINE into the HEAVENLY BRANCH.
The Vine, the Branch and the Sap are all ONE in Heaven!
But God ordained, before the foundation of the world that this intimate relationship would have to be modified, for a time, for the sole purpose of re-establishing relationship between God, the Creator, and human beings, His creation.
Isaiah wrote of this event in Isaiah 53:2 & 3: For He (Yeshua) shall grow up before Him (God the Father) as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected by men, a Man of sorrows acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.
It is important for us to note, at this point, that Yeshua is referred to 17 times in the NT as Yeshua of Nazareth. The word Nazareth, or Nazarene, means, “branch”. Hence, we see the importance of this verse of Scripture:
Matthew 2:23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, "He shall be called a Nazarene."
This verse states clearly “He shall be called a Branch”.
Yeshua went from being a Heavenly Branch, in intimate relationship with God the Father, the Heavenly Vine, to be a planting of the Lord God. God the Father cut His Own Son from Himself in order to plant Him in the dry and dusty earth of humanity. This is the event that Isaiah is speaking about in Isaiah 53. I encourage you to sit down and read the whole of that chapter.
Paul also speaks of this event when he writes to the Philippians.
Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. (Ch.2:5-8)
This is what I view as the `pruned lifestyle of Yeshua'. The human flesh Yeshua took upon Himself became a barrier to His intimate relationship with the Father. Therefore, His intimacy with the Father was no longer a "given". Intimacy with the Father could only be maintained now through Yeshua’s human flesh being constantly pruned.
A branch planted out, as a cutting, isn't much to look at. It has been severely pruned to improve its chances of forming a new plant.
This was the case with Yeshua, when He became a cutting from the Heavenly Vine; He wasn't much to look at. But, God the Father had ordained that He would become the Foundation of God’s Kingdom here on earth. He had decreed that The Branch should grow up and fill all things with the Glory of God. He had determined that once again Yeshua would become the Heavenly Branch connected to the Heavenly Vine and thus the means of re-establishing unity between God and mankind.
Zechariah was inspired by the Holy Spirit to write in the following vein: "Behold the Man whose name is the BRANCH! From His place, He shall branch out, and He shall build the Temple of the Lord; Yes, He shall build the Temple of the Lord. He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule on His throne; so, He shall be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both." (Ch.6:12 & 13)
So, when Yeshua begins to speak, in John's Gospel, about the level of intimacy that should exist between the Vine and the branches, He speaks out of that relationship of intimacy between His Father and Himself. He also speaks as one who has not only been pruned, as a Branch, but as one who has become a Holy Cutting in the plans and purposes of God.
When Yeshua returned to the Father, after His resurrection from the dead, He once again became the Heavenly Branch intimately joined to God the Father the Heavenly Vine. Now, at the same time, Yeshua is both the True Vine and the Heavenly Branch. This is how He has redeemed us and restored us to fellowship with the Father.
John 14:20-21 “At that day you will know that I am in My Father and you in Me, and I in you. "He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him."
In your mind, you may be questioning the use of the word “intimacy” in this context. I use it purposely because Yeshua saw a direct parallel between the intimacy of sexual union between a husband and wife and the spiritual union which is to exist between the believer and Yeshua and thus with the Father. Let me show you this from Scripture by looking at the use of the word “know”.
Matthew 1:24-25 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name JESUS.
Here the word “know” clearly refers to sexual union between man and wife.
This brings us to an important spiritual principle that was stated by the Apostle Paul:
1Corinthians 15:46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual.
The intimate relationship between a husband and a wife is the natural; it follows then that there is a spiritual equivalent to this natural intimacy.
Matthew 7:22 “Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'
I believe that in this statement Yeshua is referring to the absence of spiritual intimacy that is akin to the physical, emotional and spiritual intimacy between a husband and a wife. The presence or absence of spiritual intimacy will be one of the criteria Yeshua will apply in weighing our relationship with Him.
In the natural, we all know that a vine does not bear fruit but rather the branch does. However, the ability of the branch to produce fruit is totally dependent upon the maintenance of intimacy with the vine. Also, in the natural, men do not bear children, rather the woman does. Nevertheless, the ability of the wife to bear this holy fruit of marriage is dependent upon the maintenance of intimacy between a man and a woman.
In the natural God has provided clear models for our intimacy with Himself.
At this stage the relevance of spiritual intimacy may seem difficult to pin down. However, as we move on it will become increasingly clear that Yeshua’s expectations are much higher than ours when it comes to this issue of intimacy with the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
In the next chapter, we will look at The Importance of Understanding that There Are Two Vines. As you will see, this is a vital forerunner to our fully understanding the intimacy of relationship that God has called, and chosen, His people to experience with Him.