35. Clothed with Sun
"Clothed with the sun," is the same thing as Paul's statement, "Put on the Lord Jesus Christ," - sink into Him as into a garment. There is no "mystery" here. They are simply two ways of saying exactly the same thing. Here is a definition of the Greek word translated "clothed." - "I cast around, wrap a garment about, put on; hence: I put on to myself, clothe myself, dress; I draw (a line around me)." - Notice that the word implies action on her part, that is, by faith, by speaking what God says is true against all outward appearance.
35. Clothed with the Sun
I cannot write an exploration of the book of Revelation without focusing a chapter on God's precious woman in our day. She is precious and holy; she is a pain in the backsides; she is facing her hour of greatest need.
Those who sit on thrones are not concerned about the judgment of all mankind right now. Their entire focus, the burning devotion of their hearts, is focused on one thing alone – this woman, clothed with the Sun, and in the time of her greatest need, this woman whose obstinacy and foolishness make us want to beat our heads against a wall, this woman who fills the bowels of Jesus with overwhelming desire.
Judgment must begin in the house of God.
Judgment is the vanguard of mercy; judgment is always to life.
Now a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a garland of twelve stars. Then being with child, she cried out in labor and in pain to give birth.
And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail drew a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth. And the dragon stood before the woman who was ready to give birth, to devour her Child as soon as it was born.
She bore a male Child who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron. And her Child was caught up to God and His throne. Then the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, that they should feed her there one thousand two hundred and sixty days. Revelation 12:1-6
Revelation 12 is the key chapter of John's vision, the heart of the Lamb-Slain. Revelation 12 is what Jesus thinks about all the time. When you take Revelation 12 and lay it alongside of Romans 8, the key chapter of Paul's gospel, drawing them into yourself by the believing of the Holy Spirit, you find that they are much the same thing, presented in two different ways.
Revelation 12 is the practical outworking and fulfillment of Romans 8 in the earth.
The key word to understanding both chapters, the key word to unlocking the heart of the Lamb-Slain and alive forevermore, is in the NKJV, “labor.” But in this case, the KJV is superior.
The key word is “travail.”
Then being with child, she cried out in travail and in pain to give birth.
For we know that the whole creation groans and travails with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.Romans 8:22-23
Now, isn't it a fascinating thing that these two chapters, clearly key chapters of the Bible and of the gospel, contain at their core the two primary “heresy” passages in Christianity. And at the center of those two heresy passages is this word, “travail.”
Yes, anyone who considers the manifestation of the sons of God and the manchild caught up to God and to His throne as being in any way relevant to believers now is ran away from as quickly as possible by most Christians. I have experience of this fact. Those who mention these verses are heretics and unacceptable in polite company.
It is evident that John saw a heavenly woman and a heavenly dragon. There is only one heavenly woman in the Bible and that is Jerusalem above, the mother of us all, the Church of Jesus Christ, His bride, His woman.
There is only one Jerusalem of God, of David, of Jesus, and that is this bride, walking upon the earth today, in the hour of her greatest need. Only those who hold her in their hearts are “praying for the peace of Jerusalem.” The other place is 100% false, yet set in its place by God as the delusion for many, a distraction for hearts not yet His.
“Clothed with the sun,” is the same thing as Paul's statement, “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ,”– sink into Him as into a garment. There is no “mystery” here. They are simply two ways of saying exactly the same thing. Here is a definition of the Greek word translated “clothed.” – “I cast around, wrap a garment about, put on; hence: I put on to myself, clothe myself, dress; I draw (a line around me).” – Notice that the word implies action on her part, that is, by faith, by speaking what God says is true against all outward appearance.
By first understanding that reality, that we are clothed utterly with Christ Himself, that He lives as us in this world, we then see clearly what “the moon under her feet” must mean. The moon does nothing more than reflect a tiny bit of light from a far-away sun.
Christianity until now has done little more than reflect a tiny bit of light from a far-away Christ.
“On her head a garland of twelve stars.” Since this woman rules the heart of the Lord Jesus, in turn, she rules all things taking place now upon the earth.
Everything is for her, including us. It is for her that we lay down our lives. Make no mistake about it, Jesus will spend us gladly for her sake. That He is free to do so is the greatest honor known by any created being.
You see, you and I said, “Yes, Lord,” at a number of critical moments in our walk with Him, didn't we? Did we have any idea of the fine print to which we were saying “Yes, Lord”? It matters not whether we read the whole document before we signed our name or not – our signature is there, and God has seized us for His purposes.
There is no more “us” involved.
And I tell you, with all the tears of certainty, that ONE THING ALONE commands the passion of the heart of this One who has seized us in His grip to use us freely for His DESIRE. That one thing is this woman, polluted and wandering, faithless and confused, AND more precious to Him than His own blood.
If He poured out His life for her; He will do the same with us; He will pour us out just as freely.
Never again concern yourself with yourself. You are utterly poured out by a Fierce and Uncontrollable God who has already locked you in as a channel through whom He will show Himself as He is, a second time upon this earth. We walk in an absolute Bubble of God; our way is nothing but eternal and infinite PURPOSE.
“Father, forgive them” is who we are.
Before we explore “travail,” let's look at this whole picture. These verses in Revelation 12 are the essence of the gospel, the essence of God's purpose in the universe – The Word God speaks carried inside many in weakness, proven true before the face of all accusation.
The key words for us right now are “in weakness proven true.” There is a single English word that means the same thing. It is the word, “travail.” Then, Isaiah 62:1-7
For Zion’s sake I will not hold My peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest,
Until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a lamp that burns.
The Gentiles shall see your righteousness, and all kings your glory.
You shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord will name.You shall also bea crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, And a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
You shall no longer be termed Forsaken, nor shall your land any more be termed Desolate...
For the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married.
For as a young man marries a virgin, so shall your sons marry you; And as the bridegroomrejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.
I have set watchmen on your walls, O Jerusalem; they shall never hold their peace day or night.
You who make mention of the Lord, do not keep silent,
And give Him no rest till He establishes and till He makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.
I reject utterly as contrary to all that is Christ, contrary to the cross and contrary to His resurrection, the idea that this is speaking of that carnal, wicked city that men today call “Jerusalem,” but that God calls “Sodom.”
There is one Jerusalem alone that fills the heart of God, and that is His bride, the church of Christ in this hour. Every individual person, Jew and Gentile, whom the Father has given to the Lord Jesus Christ as the fulfillment of His Desire, are members in particular of that one woman.
Notice what Isaiah saw: So shall your sons marry you.
Because we are earthly creatures, we have a hard time understanding heavenly realities. So when God calls us sons on the one hand and His bride on the other, we get confused. We don't realize that these earthly terms are symbols in the same way that any word is a symbol of some reality. And as symbols, these terms are pointing to various aspects of a heavenly reality way beyond the limitations of the earthy.
The six blind men of Hindustan help us to understand exactly how to see all these things. That is, we never take any one thing, any one symbol, and think “Is it this or is it that?” A good brother was wondering, “Am I a son of God or a servant of God?” The answer is both and much more than either. Just as the elephant is a living reality way beyond its individual parts, so we are a reality in God way beyond the various symbols God uses to describe us. Yet, in spite of the fact that the trunk is not the elephant, the elephant cannot be what he is without the trunk.
I am the revelation of God both to earth through my flesh and to heaven through my spirit. Some aspects of that revelation can be described by the word “son” or the word “servant” or the word “bride.” On the one hand the full reality is far more than any one of those limited words. Yet on the other hand the full reality of the Revelation of Christ in me does not exist separately from each part of itself.
There is the woman in travail; there is the manchild caught up to God and to His throne; and there is the THEY who take care of that woman in her time of greatest distress.
Understand that we are no longer the Bride. Somewhere in the fine print that we said, “Yes, Lord,” to, we agreed to be the revelation of Jesus Christ by which He would move in all of His Desire through us towards His precious woman in her time of greatest need.
We are THEY. Yet in all ways, we move out from the throne, seated always upon it.
Then Isaiah saw this, in 66:7-8.
Before she was in labor, she gave birth; before her pain came, she delivered a male child.
Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things?
Shall the earth be made to give birth in one day? Or shall a nation be born at once?
For as soon as Zion was in labor, she gave birth to her children.
The birthing of the manchild comes BEFORE the travail.
Union with God always comes first. Christ is all now before any not-Christ vanishes away.
One more thing before we consider travail. This is the third time I have shared this word given to Annie Schissler – Ed Miller’s spiritual daughter. It is worth reading over and over. I share it again because this seeing is so very important to us. If we want to be the revelation of the Passion filling the heart of Jesus right now and flowing out upon this planet, then we must see in this way.
The Wave of Pure Light
God showed me a new and extraordinary wave of heavenly pure light and life that He is accumulating to prepare the manifestation of the Great Harvest, that will develop underneath the storm of evil which is forming...
He showed me how this new wave operated: there were like gigantic arms that collected in an increasing scale countless multitudes of souls for Christ. In amazing operations of God, in great power and strength, thousands and millions were taken for Him.
However, there were differences between the levels and conditions of these souls that the wave of light had reaped regarding the elect ones who walked above the storm. The elect ones were obviously superior in development and light, but despite their inferior condition, the souls that gathered under the storm were more numerous and were equally precious to the Lord and He was especially interested in the harvest of these multitudes. With great joy and power He was intensively working to fulfill this.
The inferior condition of the new ones was detectable not by their appearance, but by their relationship with God. Those who walked above the storm had a very intimate relationship with Him, characterized by a great intensity, as if they were linked with the same fires and torrents of the divine nature.
When the new ones took abundant blessings from God, it was due to the fact that they rebounded from His chosen ones. The blessing of one had an impact as a blessing for another one...
The ones who were under the storm, though they received great provision of light and life that God shed, nonetheless they were allowed to be moved, shaken and buffeted. However, through this, it would be provided the way in which the Lord would mold, transform and develop them. On the contrary, those who were above the storm of darkness, that is, the elect ones could not be shaken as they were rooted and asserted in their relationship with Christ.
He told me that these sons that would give way to this new wave, must be extremely purified. This purification is of fundamental importance, not only for themselves, but also for these new ones that will be gathered. This high, complete purification of the elect ones is equivalent to the opening of the doors inside them that will rebound in a force of great life and light to those thousands that are still in darkness.
– His chosen ones – had a very intimate relationship with Him, characterized by a great intensity... linked with the same fires and torrents of the divine nature. –
“Intense fires and torrents of the divine nature” revealed now through us. This has nothing to do with superiority-inferiority nor any form of elitism. This is simply the revelation of Jesus Christ through us.
Let's look, now, at travail.
I'm glad I live in a day when it is common practice for a man to stand with his wife in the birthing of their child. A man needs such a moment, a moment of the full revelation of utter and absolute uselessness. A man needs to behold the strength of a woman giving birth. He can never again regard his own puniness as being anything.
If a woman had not birthed Jesus into the world, then all of God's great ideas would have come to nothing.
No man can ever bring forth life apart from a woman, and neither can God.
It is NOT good that man or God should be alone.
Without a woman, the Desire to bring forth life can never be fulfilled.
Yes, it was God's intention in the beginning that there should be no pain in childbirth. However, God revealed Himself as He really is for the first time to all the universe ONLY through travail, only through Gethsemane and stumbling in weakness and all outward appearance of awfulness.
There are two responses only to the pain of travail. Either a woman accepts the pain with all acceptance and works with it to bring forth her child, or she fights against that pain in one way or another. There is NO condemnation whatsoever; however, most women choose against the pain by various means, either through a C-section or by drugs or simply by screaming in horror.
My own wife chose to work with the pain for the sake of her children. When I watched her bring our first son into the world, I loved her as I never had known love before. That love has only grown to this day.
Don't ever think that we must force God's symbols into straight jackets, that is, require them to be this or that and not both at the same time and far more besides.
Yes, filled with all the fullness of God comes FIRST before any travail. Yet Jesus shares all the pain of those whom He is living all the way into life AND He does so through us as well.
If God's woman is in travail, we are more so.
It is God who stands there feeling useless in this exercise, not Jesus.
God has hung the universe upon a woman in pain.
God's dream will BE only through human faith, and the faith of Jesus in us is entirely human.
Faith is the seed of the woman and the Substance of an invisible God.
Be assured that this letter is being written through travail, through a valley of tears.
Why does God cast all of His hopes and dreams upon a woman in travail? We must know that God is not whimsical; He does not do this or that for the fun of it. Is faith in His Word in the midst of travail the only capacity inside of God capable of bringing forth the quality of sons He desires? I think that it is.
The dragon is a central figure in the travail.
Paul describes this travail several different ways; in fact, three of them are in Romans 8 – !
For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Romans 8:18
Is this not the exact same word as Revelation 12:2-5?
Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Verse 26
As it is written: “For Your sake we are killed all day long (the beast); we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.” Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors (nike)through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers (the dragon), nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God(the throne – our hearts) which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. 36-39
Romans 8 and Revelation 12 are the same thing.
The womb is the largest and strongest muscle found in any human body, but possessed only by the female. No man has a muscle as strong as the womb. The womb is not under any conscious control. A woman cannot make her womb muscle contract; when it decides it's time, then the womb displays the greatest strength the human form can know. No man knows the strength of the womb.
Yet that huge muscle displays its strength only for one purpose and only those few times when a woman births a child into the universe. Yet for a woman to work with her womb and not fight against it, she must learn to rest quietly in utter weakness. The strength of the womb is found only in utter female weakness.
No woman can bring forth a child; it's just too big for her. Being filled with all the fullness of God is just too big for us. Rivers of living water setting creation free, how could we ever bring forth such a thing? It's just too big.
You know, I'm realizing now that pain or no-pain in child birth is not a function of the process – the process stays the same with or without pain. Rather, pain is a function of the nervous system/brain connection. There are parts of the physical body that, even if torn, send no pain signals to the brain. Could it be that in God's perfect design of the female body, no pain signals would be perceived by the brain during travail? Could it be that sensing the pain is part of the curse Adam and Eve spoke upon themselves?
In order for a woman to work with her womb, she must learn to work with pain. In practice sessions her husband will pinch her hard while she looks only in the eyes of her friend and breathes slowly and deeply, placing the pain into its place in the background and not reacting against it.
The antidote for pain in childbearing is to give thanks FOR all things. If you are not doing that, practicing now on a regular basis, then when the real pains of travail hit, you will not know how not to scream.
This woman screamed in travail to give birth.
We must be her “giving thanks” for her. We must bear that pain in all confidence of faith.
As my wife waited through long hours of travail to bring forth our firstborn son, several other women gave birth before her. None of them were prepared for the pain; all of them screamed and cursed. I could not shield my dear wife from the sound of their horror.
She did not. Rather, she kept her eyes focused upon the eyes of her friend and breathed with her in full acceptance of the pain, knowing it's glory and purpose. Afterward, the other ladies wondered what was “wrong” with her; she had not screamed.
When I came to see my wife the next day, I could afford only one small rose. I felt embarrassed as I saw all the garish displays of flowers and balloons the other men had brought their wives. Then I remembered that in their hour of greatest need, the other women labored alone and unprepared. Yes, I was completely useless, but I was always at her side, along with her friend. The three of us had prepared together; my wife was not alone.
As this woman, clothed with the Lord Jesus Christ, presses with the greatest strength displayed in the human scene to bring forth the very life of Almighty God through us into this universe, you and I will be just like God, standing there as useless as can be.
Only a woman can bring forth life.
But we will also be as the Lord Jesus Christ, her dearest and closest friend, as she fixes her eyes upon His and breathes when He says breathe.
This woman is not alone; THEY are with her. They is us.
Here, again, is what Annie saw:
– He told me that these sons that would give way to this new wave, must be extremely purified. This purification is of fundamental importance, not only for themselves, but also for these new ones that will be gathered. This high, complete purification of the elect ones is equivalent to the opening of the doors inside them that will rebound in a force of great life and light to those thousands that are still in darkness. –
Give thanks, give thanks, give thanks IN all things and FOR all things. See God alone filling you full NOW and in all fulness. See nothing else. “The opening of the doors,” – travail.
You see, a woman's body is not made to bring forth life; it's too small. Yet that life is in her and that life will come forth. One thing alone can transform a woman's body and press it wide open so that the life she carries can be seen by all. – Travail.
Only one thing alone could transform God's body, press it wide open so that the real life of God inside of Jesus could be seen by all. – Travail – Father, forgive them.
Every step from the upper room to the resurrection was a step of travail, of resting utterly in God in all the weakness of the human, in giving thanks, giving thanks, giving thanks. In bearing the pain, seeing the JOY that was the woman He carried inside Himself, you and me, through every step that He took.
It is by this means alone that the Holy Thing that is the very Heart of the Almighty can be birthed through human flesh and seen and known and read by all creation.
The Scroll is laid wide open by travail, by the overwhelming operation of the strongest muscle found in utter human weakness – the capacity to bring forth life.
When Jesus' side was pierced upon the cross, blood and water poured out upon the ground. The church, you and I, came out from His heart. We are on this earth because we came out of Jesus, out from His heart.
My wife's travail had begun, but it would be many long hours before she brought forth. As we walked around the blocks outside the hospital to help loosen her body, we passed a Native American couple. The woman looked more like a man, homely and rough, much larger than my wife. She was drunk. As we passed them, this woman saw my wife, so obviously in her time and so vulnerable and frightened. This woman wrapped my wife in her arms and spoke Christ into her, spoke faith and hope and certainty. How lifted up we both were, how filled with the knowledge and wonder of God as we returned to the hospital and the long hours of waiting.
Outward appearance means nothing. In the hour of birthing, substance is the only thing that matters.
In an earlier letter I said this – Trust is the medium inside of which faith works. But trust is rest and faith is very active, even strenuous, work. Yet faith cannot do anything except it operates entirely inside the full rest of trust. – I am speaking of the same thing again.
We are in the birthing.
The whole earth is in birth pangs. The earth is being hammered from every direction by wicked men. The dragon moves across the earth lying openly in every direction. This is his hour, his last hour. The nations are in agony. People everywhere know something is up, but they also know that there is nothing anyone can do about it.
When I said, “We are not the Bride,” I did not mean to put any straight jacket upon our experience now. We are in travail. Yet our travail is for others. We lay down our lives by faith. We believe – we know – that everything God takes us through is for her sake. We bear the pain for her. We give thanks for her.
God's people do not know it, but right now, they depend utterly upon our faith in all that God speaks. They depend utterly upon our sitting fully upon the throne, seeing all things through eyes of fire, moving out with God as her provision and care.
Those Christians who do not know God cry against us when we say that God limits Himself to moving through us, His body. They don't understand the whole purpose and intention of God, to make Himself visible to all through man, His image. Yet we can speak only from the throne of heaven; we walk only inside of God.
Why the dragon?
A lion will stalk a mother wildebeest or gazelle about to give birth. The lion will stalk her for days, waiting for her weakest moment, as she enters into labor, to devour both her and her child as soon as it is born.
The dragon stalks the church of Christ across the earth like never before in history, waiting for her to go into labor, waiting to devour her child as soon as it is born.
It is the serpent's final and greatest mistake.
The serpent pressed against Adam's way; he pressed against Jesus' way; he presses against our way.
We cast down the accuser. No accusation dare remain in our minds.
Yet we are sealed because we asked God to seal our minds, and we believe that we have received what we ask.
Now when the dragon saw that he had been cast to the earth, he persecuted the woman who gave birth to the male Child. But the woman was given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness to her place, where she is nourished for a time and times and half a time, from the presence of the serpent... And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. Revelation 12:13-17
What this will look like in the experience of individual people we cannot know. I'm certain it will “look” different for each one. What is important to us is that we draw these words into our hearts that they might birth within us all that they are and that they might fulfill themselves out from us as the revelation of Jesus Christ.
Now I want to switch tack entirely, though speaking of the same travail. Earlier, I said that God needs a woman in order to bring forth life, and that when God's woman brings forth His life into the earth, He is like the man; there, yes, but fairly useless. The purpose of language is to convey meaning, thus we speak poetically. But no straitjacket can contain God. Our hearts contain all of Him, but no other form. Thus, we look again, and we see God as the coach, speaking encouragement, and again, by the Holy Spirit, as the woman herself. Indeed it is God's heart she bears and God in Person she is bringing into manifest visibility.
Those who keep the commandments of God are not those who, in unbelief, “try to” obey those commandments. Those who keep the commandments of God are those who receive the words God speaks into themselves as creative life and power, as their very and only life, those who tell themselves the story that they are those words God speaks, knowing that He only speaks true, and then watch as those very words transform them from the inside out. This is the testimony of Jesus Christ, the seed of the woman.
God is speaking into you. He is not pleading with you to “do” something. He is speaking Christ into you, His Words of faith by which all things are created and sustained.
“My son, my daughter, be just like Me. Be just like Me. Be just like Me.
“I made you just like Myself. I formed you as My image in both earth and heaven. I fill you with all of Myself. Be just like Me.
“Love just as I love; have mercy just as I show mercy; forgive just as I forgive. Be just like Me.
“Serve in the same way that I serve; receive one another just as I receive you. Be just like Me.
“Be holy, in exactly the same way that I am holy; live in newness of life just as I live. Be just like Me.
“Be perfect as I am perfect; be one just as I am One; walk just as I walk. Be just like Me.
“Overcome, just as I overcome; sit in My throne, just as I sit in your heart. Be just like Me.”
And we answer with the only answer in our hearts.
“Look at me, God. I belong to You. Let it be to me according to all that You speak.”
Having received into ourselves all that God speaks with wide open hearts, having made all that God speaks personal to us, and here and now, having watched the knowledge of God grow and grow inside of us, a God who does not show Himself by outward appearance, but who is meek and lowly of heart, tender and kind, doing good things for others in all gentleness, now we place ourselves before Him.
God has made us weak. And God has made us strong. Inside of us is the strongest muscle in the universe. We can't control that muscle, but we can move with it, allowing it to do its work inside our perfect rest in God.
Keeping our eyes fixed upon Jesus, in utter certainty of faith, we bring forth the very Life of Almighty God, His heart, His visible expression through us into the universe.