Gene Benjamin II
The following article is lovingly and respectfully posted. It was written by Batya and Angus Wootten, founders of Messianic Israel Alliance and now Alliance of Redeemed Israel (ARI, in Hebrew means Lion!). You can find their teachings at www.messianicisrael.com and www.redeemedisrael.com.
Like Queen Esther,
We Need to be Dressed by the King’s Helper
by Batya and Angus Wootten
“The Banquet is ready, the Bridegroom, He cometh.
The Banquet is ready, the Bridegroom, He cometh.
Wedding garments, wedding garments,
Do you have on your wedding garments?
(From the song, “The Bridegroom Cometh” by Batya Wootten, © 2000-2013).
Many Believers teach about the Bride of Messiah and our coming wedding, but two important points are often left out of most scenarios:
The role of New Jerusalem and our required wedding garments.
New Jerusalem is said to be “the Bride of the Lamb,” we are called to be her “watchmen,” moreover, we are called to be one with her. Therefore, we cannot logically leave out New Jerusalem, nor our call to protect her, out of our “Bride Theories”. (Psalm 122:6 (HCSB) “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: “May those who love you prosper.”” Isaiah 62:1-7 (HCSB) “I will not keep silent because of Zion, and I will not keep still because of Jerusalem, until her righteousness shines like a bright light and her salvation, like a flaming torch. 2Nations will see your righteousness and all kings, your glory. You will be called by a new name that Yahweh’s mouth will announce. 3You will be a glorious crown in Yahweh’s hand, and a royal diadem in the palm of your Mighty One. 4You will no longer be called Deserted, and your land will not be called Desolate; instead, you will be called My Delight is in Her, and your land Married; for Yahweh delights in you, and your land will be married. 5For as a young man marries a young woman, so your sons will marry you; and as a groom rejoices over his bride, so your Mighty One will rejoice over you. 6Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen on your walls; they will never be silent, day or night. There is no rest for you, who remind Yahweh. 7Do not give Him rest until He establishes and makes Jerusalem the praise of the earth.” Revelation 21:9 (HCSB) “Then one of the seven angels, who had held the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues, came and spoke with me: “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”
In addition to this point is the fact that Messiah Yeshua warned that we will not be allowed to stay at the wedding if we are not properly dressed. Thus, we might say that our “dress code” here on earth will have much to do with this coming wedding.
Our required clothing is described in one of Messiah Yeshua’s parables:
“The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son. And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come. Again he sent out other slaves saying, ‘Tell those who have been invited, “Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast.”‘” “But they paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business, and the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them and killed them. But the king was enraged, and he sent his armies and destroyed those murderers and set their city on fire. Then he said to his slaves, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.’ Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests. But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes, and he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?’ And the man was speechless. Then the king said to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:1-14).
Our Messiah compared the Kingdom of our God to a wedding feast. In His parable, the king’s servants were told to go into the highways and invite whosoever they could find to the wedding feast, and they found attendees – both evil and good. Then, when the king came in to visit with the dinner guests, he came upon one who was not dressed in wedding clothes. When questioned about how he had gained an entrance, the man was speechless, and the king had him thrown out, into the outer darkness.
This parable describes the state in which we now find ourselves: The wedding has not yet begun, the Messiah’s servants are busy inviting whomsoever they can find to the coming wedding feast. And, the guests among whom we all must wait consist of both evil and good. The Greek word translated “evil,” or “bad,” speaks of hurtful influence, degeneration of character, working mischief, malice, wickedness (Strong’s # G4190.)
Even so, there are some among those who await the Marriage Supper of the Lamb who work evil and are not properly dressed. But rest assured that they will one day be silenced by the Master.
Our God wants His children to be appropriately clothed. We see His concern for how we are arrayed in that, once Adam and Eve sinned, He “made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21). This first mention of clothing in Scripture reveals that our sin must be covered – and that our God is the One who offers us that covering.
We again see the Holy One addressing clothing in Exodus 28. There, He gave detailed instructions about the way His priests are to be arrayed. Their clothes were called kadosh, or holy garments. Each item had special meaning, one article being an ephod, which the High Priest was to wear when he appeared before the Almighty in the Holy of Holies. His breastplate had twelve engraved stones set in it, one for each of Israel’s tribes. On each shoulder of his prescribed garment was placed a single stone, each one engraved with the names of six of Israel’s twelve tribes.
As Believers in the Messiah, we are called to be a “kingdom of priests.” Like the priests of old we are called to minister to our God (1 Peter 2:9-10 (HCSB) “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His possession, so that you may proclaim the praises of the One who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. 10Once you were not a people, but now you are Yahweh’s people; you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”) The priest’s breastplate teaches us how to do that, for, it depicts the truth that concern for the well being of all twelve tribes must always be on our hearts. We cannot choose only one tribe, or only one house, but must instead realize that we are a nation of many different tribes. We are two houses that are being called to a holy reunion. And for now, we must stand as intercessors before the Almighty, ever reminding Him of His beloved nation. As members of Messiah’s Body, the burden of the restoration of all Israel rests squarely on our shoulders (Isaiah 8:14 (HCSB) “He will be a sanctuary; but for the two houses of Israel, He will be a stone to stumble over and a rock to trip over, and a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.” Ezekiel 37:15-28 (HCSB) “The word of Yahweh came to me: 16“Son of man, take a single stick and write on it: Belonging to Judah and the Israelites associated with him. Then take another stick and write on it: Belonging to Joseph—the stick of Ephraim—and all the house of Israel associated with him. 17Then join them together into a single stick so that they become one in your hand. 18When your people ask you, ‘Won’t you explain to us what you mean by these things?’— 19tell them: This is what Sovereign Yahweh says: I am going to take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel associated with him, and put them together with the stick of Judah. I will make them into a single stick so that they become one in My hand. 20“When the sticks you have written on are in your hand and in full view of the people, 21tell them: This is what Sovereign Yahweh says: I am going to take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them into their own land. 22I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel, and one king will rule over all of them. They will no longer be two nations and will no longer be divided into two kingdoms. 23They will not defile themselves anymore with their idols, their detestable things, and all their transgressions. I will save them from all their apostasies by which they sinned, and I will cleanse them. Then they will be My people, and I will be their Mighty One. 24My servant David will be king over them, and there will be one shepherd for all of them. They will follow My ordinances, and keep My statutes and obey them. 25“They will live in the land that I gave to My servant Jacob, where your fathers lived. They will live in it forever with their children and grandchildren, and My servant David will be their prince forever. 26I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. I will establish and multiply them and will set My sanctuary among them forever. 27My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their Mighty One, and they will be My people. 28When My sanctuary is among them forever, the nations will know that I, Yahweh, sanctify Israel.” To have a lesser attitude indicates that we are not properly dressed.
Clothed With Salvation
The Holy One promised that He would one day clothe the priests of Zion with salvation. Messiah Yeshua is “Salvation” (Psalm 132:13-16 (HCSB) “For Yahweh has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His home: 14“This is My resting place forever; I will make My home here because I have desired it. 15I will abundantly bless its food; I will satisfy its needy with bread. 16I will clothe its priests with salvation, and its godly people will shout for joy.” Matthew 1:21 (HCSB) “She will give birth to a son, and you are to name Him Yeshua, because He will save His people from their sins.” Isaiah said of Him, “I will rejoice greatly in Yahweh, my soul will exult in my Mighty One; for He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels” (Isaiah 61:10). Our God wants to wrap us in beautiful robes of righteousness – to even adorn us a bride.
When we are baptized into Messiah, we are “clothed with Messiah” (Galatians 3:27 (HCSB) “For as many of you as have been baptized into Messiah have put on Messiah like a garment.” We buy from Him, without cost, white garments to cover our nakedness. We are then called to walk with Him, dressed in white robes. The Word reveals that it is given to us to be clothed in fine linen, bright and clean, for “fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints” (Revelation 3:4, 18 (NKJV) “You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. . . . 18I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.” Revelation 7:9 (NKJV) “After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands.” Revelation 19:8, 14 (NKJV) “And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” . . . 14And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.”
How can we know if we are actually dressed in fine linen? After all, there are many opinions among Believers about what constitutes “righteous acts.”
The answer to our inquiry is suggested in the story of Queen Esther.
In Esther 1-2 we read that Queen Vashti refused to appear before King Ahasuerus. So his attendants advised that he replace her and that beautiful young virgins be sought for him to choose from. During this same time, a Jew named Mordecai was bringing up Hadassah, or Esther, his uncle’s daughter, because she had no father or mother.
Esther was very beautiful, and in response to the king’s decree, Mordecai took her to the citadel of Susa and gave her into the custody of the king’s eunuch, Hegai. Esther soon found favor with Hegai, the king’s assistant and personal helper. Each of the young virgins that had been gathered from all over the land went through twelve months of beautification: six months with oil of myrrh and six months with spices and cosmetics. Each young lady would go in to the king in this way: anything that she desired was given her to take with her from the harem to the king’s palace. In the evening she would go in and in the morning she would return to the second harem, and she would not again go in to the king unless the king delighted in her and she was summoned by name. However, when Esther’s turn came to go in to the king, she did not request anything except what Hegai, the king’s eunuch, who was in charge of the women, advised. Thus Esther found favor in the eyes of all who saw her. When she appeared before the king, he loved her more than all the women, and he set the royal crown on her head and made her queen.
Our King’s Helper
What point do we need to see in this story? “When the turn came for Esther…to go to the king, she asked for nothing other than what Hegai, the king’s eunuch… suggested. And Esther won the favor of everyone who saw her” (Esther 2:14-15).
We too serve a king who is looking for a Bride who will follow His commands. And, He similarly has a “Helper,” Who is the Ruach HaKodesh, the Holy Spirit – and He well knows what pleases our King.
Messiah Yeshua said of Him, “The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I said to you.” And, “When the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify about Me.” “When He comes, He will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment.” John 14:26 (NKJV) “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” John 15:26 (NKJV) “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.” John 16:7-8 (NKJV) “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.”
Esther allowed the king’s helper to choose how she would be clothed, and she was thus empowered to please the king. She caught his eye because the king’s helper knew what the king liked. And he graciously advised the one virgin who sought his council about how to dress herself. We must be like Esther if we are to catch the eye of our King and bring Him pleasure, the Ruach HaKodesh must be the one who chooses how we are to be clothed. It is He who must lead us in our search for robes of righteousness.
Esther’s appearance on the scene resulted in the salvation of the Jewish people of her day. So it will be for a returning virgin Israel that is wise enough to allow the Ruach to choose her garments Jeremiah 31:20-21 (NKJV) “Is Ephraim My dear son? Is he a pleasant child? For though I spoke against him, I earnestly remember him still; Therefore My heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him, says Yahweh. 21“Set up signposts, Make landmarks; Set your heart toward the highway, The way in which you went. Turn back, O virgin of Israel, Turn back to these your cities.” Zechariah 10:7 (NKJV) “Those of Ephraim shall be like a mighty man, And their heart shall rejoice as if with wine. Yes, their children shall see it and be glad; Their heart shall rejoice in Yahweh.”
In Esther’s day, the problem was that all of the virgins in the land had their own ideas as to how they should be clothed for the king – which ultimately led to their dismissal. The same is true for some today. They have their own ideas of how they are to be dressed – especially when it comes to a “move of the Spirit.” They decide. They do not look to the Ruach for wisdom. Based on bad experiences, real and/or imagined, many do not want to have anything to do with the Holy Spirit. However, we must have the help of the Ruach if we ever hope to be the Bride of the Messiah of Israel. We do not want to displease our King; and we do not want to be improperly dressed, nor be dismissed to the outer darkness. Instead, we want to be a beautifully arrayed bride, and this will require that we seek advice from the King’s Helper. Wisdom dictates that we ask Him to clothe us from on High.
The Speechless Ones
In Messiah Yeshua’s wedding parable, the king asked the man without wedding garments, “Friend, how did you get here without wedding clothes?” When asked this question by the master, the man was “speechless.” While we await our coming Bridegroom, there will be some who will trouble us and try to influence us to believe lies about our King. They will try to work their mischief and tell us that our King is not YHVH in the flesh, but that He is some lesser being. However, we who know Him know that He is “Yahweh, our Holy One, the Creator, and our King” Isaiah 43:15 (NKJV) “I am Yahweh, your Holy One, The Creator of Israel, your King.” John 1:1-5 (NKJV) “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with Yahweh, and the Word was Yahweh. 2He was in the beginning with Yahweh. 3All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” John 19:19 (NKJV) “Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was: YESHUA OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.) When these errant ones stand before Him, they will then be speechless, their wagging tongues stilled in His Eternal Presence. They will also be speechless because they do not have a proper “testimony” about Him. Revelation 12:11 (NKJV) “And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death.” With head knowledge alone they know about the wedding time and the wedding place, but they have never met the Bridegroom face to face. Such people have not been washed in the blood of the Lamb. They have not put on the Messiah. They are not arrayed in His white robes of righteousness. A day is coming, friends, when head knowledge about the King will not suffice. A day is coming when all will have to be dressed in His freely given blood washed white linen. The only way to obtain these precious garments is through true repentance. White robes are given without cost to those with truly repentant hearts.
Arrayed From On High
Messiah Yeshua said of the Holy Spirit, “Behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed/endued/arrayed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). We need the power of the Spirit in this hour. We need to hear the voice of the Ruach as He whispers in our ear, “This is the way, walk ye in it.” We need to be able to speak the wisdom of the Ruach to our beleaguered Jewish brothers who live in the Land. Most importantly, we must realize that our Father says the good things happen to Israel in the last days, will be done, “‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says Yahweh Almighty.” Isaiah 30:21 (NKJV) “Your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” Whenever you turn to the right hand or whenever you turn to the left. Zechariah 4:6 (NKJV) “So he answered and said to me: “This is the word of Yahweh to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ Says Yahweh of hosts.” We must not resist a much needed move of the Ruach because some have abused the idea in the past. People have used and abused the eternal truths of Torah and we do not throw out its wisdom – and neither should we resist a true move of the Holy Spirit. To make it through the hard times of the end, we must be clothed with power from on High and not be self-willed virgins who feel we know best. We want to instead yield ourselves to the wisdom of “The King’s Helper.” Let us therefore beseech the Ruach HaKodesh to choose proper wedding garments for us at this time. Surely He will choose only the best for us.