The Hope Trilogy
The Bride of Christ and Worship Dance
The Most Holy Place and Worship Dance
These songs belonging to the Hope trilogy, I have been writing about, can be seen as an allegory of our spiritual life. When we go to church or pray we come before God with difficulties in life. We leave the storms of life to him to resolve and he shelters us in his fortress. He saves us from our problems, our sins and our enemies etc., including the spirit of heaviness. We come with difficulties but as we focus on him as our rock, whom we can build our hope upon, like the "Solid Rock", alluded to, we change from focusing on the problems and instead focus on the solution, Jesus. This we do in the first song of this trilogy known as "The Solid Rock". Our problems fade away and we see the presence of Jesus before us. Sometimes we see Him at a far distance and sometimes we sense Him closer and it is then that we are ready to begin praising him. As we praise Jesus as the rock in our lives, as our deliverer and fortress, we approach closer to him and begin to enter his courts with praise. When we sing about his attributes discussed above and praise these attributes through dance, music or song, prayer or discussions such as sermons or bible studies we begin to enter his courts or the Holy Place. Like Psalm 100:4 states, "Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise." This is what happens in the second song of the trilogy: namely, the song known as "Praise the Name of Jesus." We cannot praise others unless our eyes are off ourselves and focusing on the other person. We cannot praise or worship God unless we do the same thing. We enter closer to God's presence as we praise him and reach communion, intimacy or fellowship when we worship him. During the last song in the hope trilogy "The Church's One Foundation", I often sense the communion and intimacy after dancing this trilogy. An other way of putting it is, in the first song of this trilogy, I give God through my belief in Jesus, my troubles knowing He will help me with them. In the second song, I praise Jesus as my deliverer who will or has helped me. In the third song I have moved even closer or ascended higher towards God and often commune with or worship Him. God created us so we could have fellowship or this very intimate personal relationship with Him. The Most Holy Place of the Jewish temple is also known as the Throne Room and it is in this room where we symbolically enter into, and into the presence of God the Father and Jesus the Holy Groom. God loves us and wants to show us this love while in fellowship with Him.The last song of the trilogy, The Church's One Foundation, is a worship song that touches upon this intimate spiritual fellowship with Jesus.
The Jewish people used to do the same thing as Christians do today. We go to church. They would go the the temple. The temple or tabernacle was a physical place the Jews would go to worship God. They would approach the temple or tabernacle to worship God and they would often come burdened with the cares of life. As Terry Law states in "The Power of Praise and Worship" , "In Psalm 120, in the Psalms of Ascent, the people are very much concerned with their personal distresses, their personal problems. Psalm 120:1 states, I call on the Lord in my distress, and he answers me." p243. Terry continues "In psalm 121 they quickly arrive at, "I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help." p243. The Jews remembered that God is the one that would help them with the cares and distresses in life. They were able to leave their distress and cares with God and would often do it on the way to the temple. In the first song in this trilogy we also leave our storms in life with the Solid Rock or Jesus. Don Nori in his book, "Secrets of the Most Holy Place", puts it this way, "Glory has the instant result of moving man's heart from his own troubles and certain doom thereof to the awesome abilities of a compassionate and caring God." God does indeed have the ability to help us and many Christian writers and Christians in general along with the Jews have experienced this truthh.
Terry continues to explain what the Jews are doing as they approach the temple to worship by stating, " They are preparing to come into the tabernacle. They know they cannot come into the actual experience of worship until they are in the tabernacle itself." p243. As the Jews walked toward the tabernacle they prepared their soul by looking to God for help in aiding them with their problems. The Jews would then be ready to praise God in the temple when they got there. We can leave our burdens and troubles with God and find the peace we need. God's glory, God's abilities, God's power and love is what can and does calm our fears if we let God's power and glory do that in our lives. This song encourages and reminds me to do the same and I hope it encourages you too.
God is within us so we can praise and worship Him anywhere, including church. As the bible states, "For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people." 2 Cor. 16. Furthermore, the bible states, "Don't you know that you yourselves are God's temple and that God's Spirit lives in you?" 1 Cor. 3:16. NIV Bible. God is present now with the spirit of the people who have faith in him and His Son Jesus and have made him their king and only God. God's temple is our body and His Spirit is influencing our spirit, and influencing the soul of people who believe in Jesus. God is not found in an earthly temple anymore. His Holy Spirit is in us influencing and teaching our minds and giving love to our hearts our soul. God is indeed walking with us and within us. Our soul and spirit can be seen as related symbolically to these rooms within the temple of our body too. The Holy place has been seen by Christian writers as the place that symbolically houses the soul and the Most Holy place as the place that houses the presence of God and our spirit. The next number of paragraphs will explains this in more detail and how Christian dance can be used to help people move closer to God and therefore do the same thing. Christian dancers praise and worship through dance and through these dances that involve praise and worship mysteriously bring themselves and those watching into a closer experience with God. They can symbolically help themselves and those watching walk or dance through these rooms so to speak. Dance is one way of moving through the tabernacle with praise dancing occurring in a symbolic way in the Holy Place and worship dancing occurring in the Most Holy Place. I would like to demystify this experience by discussing what praise and worship did for the priests and Jews in the temple and what it does for Christians and Christian dancers now.
It is wise to go to the bible to learn more things about God. I personally, have found what it says about God, I have experienced first hand.The bible is the truth of God. It also has things to say about the temple or tabernacle, for example, and how the Old testament truths and spiritual concepts are also found in the New testament. Like the Bible says in Hebrews 9:1-2, "Now the first covenant had regulations for worship and also an earthly sanctuary. A tabernacle was set up." The first covenant was the Old Testament and the earthly sanctuary was built by Solomon and God resided in this temple in a room known as the Most Holy Place. As Terry puts it "There is a pattern, a model in the tabernacle that we can follow today. The way into the holiest of all is the way of worship. God dwells in the Holy of Holies, the holiest of all. The tabernacle shows us the pattern to get to the holiest of all." p244. The inner court or holy place of the temple is entered into by praise.The Most Holy Place where God and Jesus reside is entered through worship and faith in Jesus .
First I will briefly look into the room known as the holy place. As Terry puts it, "The holy place relates to the soul, and praise relates us to the elements of the soul." p245. In Hebrews 9:2 -3,5 Paul explains the furniture found in the tabernacle or temple as follows , "In its first room were the lampstand, the table and the consecrated bread; this was called the Holy Place. Secondly, I will look into the room known as the most holy place. Since the "Churches One Foundation" is about Jesus the groom and the church his bride and the intimacy of this relationship that take place in the Most Holy Place I will concentrate more on the Most Holy place for the rest of this narration.
Praise involves our will, our emotions and our mind which makes up the soul. The last paragraph touched upon the idea that the Holy Place relates to the soul and it is the soul that praises. The soul is made up of three parts one of which is the will. As Terry says "Praise begins with an act of the will. We decide to put on a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness."p249. The Jews did so in the psalms and Christians must make the same choice using their will. We give our problems to Jesus, "The Solid Rock" and then are free to praise Jesus and draw nearer to Him.Terry goes on to say "We begin to praise the Lord as an act of sacrifice no matter how difficult the testings of life, no matter how hot the furnace and the fire have been."p249. As stated in the bible and Terry reiterates in his book, "There were three items of furniture in the Holy Place. One piece was a table. On the table was shewbread. Each piece of furniture represented three parts of the soul. As Terry says "The shewbread represents the will of man in the human personality."p248-249. We willfully praise even if we do not feel like it.We give a sacrifice of praise even if it is hard. Our will makes that choice. Part of our soul, namely our will, has begun to turn and focus on and submit to God.
A second part of our soul is our mind. Our minds are also transformed or illuminated in the Holy Place and during praise. Our mind begins to be filled with the truths, spiritual concepts and ideas about Jesus as we praise His attributes in front of others. Our thoughts are eventually completely focused on Jesus. We have stopped focusing on problems and ourselves and begun to focus on Jesus.The candlestick was a second piece of furniture in this room. As Terry puts it, "The candlestick represents the human mind; a human mind that is illuminated by the fire of the Holy Spirit. p250. My mind with the help of the Holy Spirit begins to understand that God and Jesus are all powerful and can do great things if I let Jesus be my fortress, deliverer etc. Don, in his book "The secrets of the Most Holy Place" puts it this way,"In this second court, the candlesticks, oil and flame correspond to a humanity filled with the Holy Spirit."p12 He goes on to say, "In the Holy Place, flesh and spirit work together to produce light."p13 The second song in the trilogy or "Praise the Name of Jesus" is the song of praise. These praise songs help us further ascend, walk or dance into the presence of God or move further step by step, so to speak, closer to God and His throne room and dancing these praise songs help us do it too. Our will and mind, which naturally does not want to praise God or anyone during hard times but wants to complain, has chosen instead to praise God. It is easy to praise God when life is going good but it is a sacrifice to praise Him in the midst of hard times.
The third part of the soul are our emotions. Terry goes on to say, "our emotions give powerful and intense expression through the praise of our lips and our heart. It is that emotional thrust that brings us through the veil into the act of worship."p.251. Our soul is completely enveloped by God's love and truth and focused on Him. My will, mind, and emotions are completely focused on God.When I dwell upon the idea that Jesus died for me and is my fortress I feel great joy and reassurance that He can help me in the trials in life. When my will and mind turn to Jesus and are all effected by the truth about Jesus my soul is flooded with great joy and the presence of Jesus and God is very strong in my life. My "praise" narration goes into more detail about praise and praise dancing but because this narration is about worship I will just touch upon praise briefly. When my will, mind and emotions are completely focused on God then I am ready to worship. In other words when my soul is enveloped by the love of God I am naturally ready to want to worship God. Our soul does indeed praise God and it can be compared to what happens in the holy place of the Jewish temple or within us. Our soul needs to be prepared in the holy place of our temple or body in order too be ready to praise God. When it has been made ready then our spirit is ready to move into the most holy place to worship symbolically speaking. Our soul is made ready through praise in the holy place so our spirit is ready to fellowship with God in the most holy place.
I have spent alot of time talking about praise, the soul, and the Holy place because our mind and will and have to be made ready so to speak in the Holy Place before we can enter the Throne room or Most Holy place or what is also known as the Holy of Holies or the Holiest. Our soul has to be emptied of our problems and ourselves and sin and filled with thoughts of God and His son Jesus and love for Jesus and others before we are ready for intimacy with God the Father and Jesus in the Holy of Holies or Holiest. In the Jewish tabernacle there was a curtain that separated the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place. As the Holy Bible states in Hebrews 9:3 "Behind the second curtain was a room called the Most Holy Place." My spirit through the act of worship dance or other forms of worship enters into the presence of God in this Most Holy Place. Terry reiterates this as follows,"Worship of course is offered in the Holy of Holies, in the presence of God, and takes place in the human spirit."p245. It is my spirit through the act of worship dance that becomes close to God and fellowships with God. It is our spirit that enters into this place of worship or intimate presence with God. Praise involves the soul and worship involves the spirit of man and Jesus in communion. We can worship in church or elsewhere and draw nearer to God and actually enter into his presence. Andrew Murray also asked, "What is the Holiest? It is just the place where God dwells: the Holiest, is the dwelling place of the Most High. This does not refer only to heaven, but to the spiritual Holiest place of God's presence. In the Holiest the favor and fellowship of God are enjoyed; the life and blessing of God experienced."p110. Andrew is saying anywhere God is on earth, that is where the Most Holy Place is too.
The first point I want to make about this room is only the priest could enter into the presence of God in the Holy of Holies or most holy place before Jesus came. Because of Jesus, the veil or curtain separating us from where God is or the Holy of Holies was torn in half when Jesus died signifying that because of our belief in Jesus and Jesus' blood we can now enter this throne room or Holy of Holies where God is. Our bodies cannot physically enter His presence like the Jewish priest could but our spirit can enter into His presence and worship Him now. See the narration, "Come Now is the Time to Worship" for a more detailed exposition about worship. Jesus became the priest and blood offering or lamb of God so that those who believe in Jesus can enter through the torn veil into the throne room and presence of God and can begin to have a relationship with God. Millions of people around the world now have this experience. Billions or more have had this experience of intimacy, worship, and communion throughout this last two thousand years. A relationship with God our creator is real and in fact Jesus came from heaven to earth to seek out His people, His Bride that He loves so much. This song, "The Churches One Foundation" touches upon this very special loving intimate relationship Jesus has for His people. This song paints a visual picture of this relationship of love and intimacy using a bride and groom imagery to explain this intimate love he has for His church and each one of His people who believe and love Him. As the song says "From heaven He came and sought her to be His Holy bride." He loves you too annd wants you to experience His loving presence.
As stated earlier in this narration, The Holy Place had furniture which represented aspects of the soul of man and how God through the Holy Spirit influences these aspects of the soul. A second point I want to make is that the The Most Holy Place also had furniture which bible scholars and writers have written about that apparently symbolize aspects of the Son of God. One of these pieces of furntiture is the ark. As Hebrews 9:3-4 states "The Most Holy Place had the gold covered ark of the covenant." This piece of furniture had spiritually symbolic relevance just like the furniture in the Holy Place did. This piece of furniture in the throne room symbolizes Jesus and aspects of who he is such as His humanity and His divinity. Alice Smith in the book "Beyond the Veil states "The ark was made of two materials: shittimwood, overlaid with gold inside and out. The wood symbolized Christ's human nature. Pure gold covered the wooden box, symbolic of His divine nature. The gold and wood together represented Christ's two natures: His humanity and His deity." p.100. Jesus is represented in the materials that make up the ark of the covenant. There is more though because the mercy seat or place of atonement rested atop the ark. As Alice says, "Once a year the High Priest would sprinkle the blood of the atonemnet on the mercy seat atop the ark for the cleansing of Israel." p. 100. Jesus shed His blood so it was sprinkled once and for all atop the mercy seat. Jesus' blood cleanses the Christians from their sins just like the blood sprinkled by the High Priest cleansed Israel. As Hebrews 10:12 states, "But when this priest had offered for all time one sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God" He became both the lamb and the high priest. As the bible says "We do have such a priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, and serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord not by man." Hebrews 8:1-2. In Hebrews 9:11 it says "When Christ came as high priest, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not part of this creation." The true Holy of Holies or tabernacle is wherever God is, which is in heaven or like Andrew pointed out anywhere on earth where God is including in Christians. The Jewish tabernacle was a copy or a foreshadowing of the tabernacle to come. As Hebrews 9:24 states"For Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; he entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God's presence. Jesus was represented in the ark of the covenant furniture and it was His blood that was sprinkled on the mercy seat. It is because we are cleansed due to Jesus' blood that we can enter the Most Holy place where Jesus and God are or the throne room of heaven itself and have fellowship with God the Father and Jesus.
A further point to be made about this room and its furniture is that Jesus and God the Father are seated on a throne in the throne room. The last paragraph touched upon this. Two verses as quoted in the last paragraph from the bible make it clear that Jesus sat at the right hand of the throne of God in heaven. During the Old testament times God or his glory was found between the cheribum and He was mentioned as being seated enthroned between them. For example, the Jews call to God to save them in Psalm 80: 1 "Hear us, O Shepherd of Israel, you who sit enthroned between the cherubim, shine forth." When God was giving directions to Moses regarding the building of the tabernacle and the ark and atonement cover for the ark, he said, in Exodus 25:22,"There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the Testimony, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites." God was indeed in the Most Holy Place of the tabernacle enthroned on the throne seat or mercy seat and that presence was mentioned in the bible. The tabernacle forshadowed and has become a metaphor to help Christians understand how God's presence is, in this day and age of grace. It is my spirit that becomes close to God's spirit and enters into God's presence.
The last point to be made about the throne room is that the fellowship with God the Father and Jesus is found in the throne room. Our soul may be influenced by the Holy Spirit but in the Most Holy Place our spirit is influenced by God the Father and Jesus. Our sprit communes with Jesus and experiences His love and intimate fellowship with us in the Most Holy Place. He is not a distant king or God but one who wants to be friends and have intimate fellowship with His people. Chuck Pierce in his book "The Worship Warrior" puts it this way, "All biblical prayer and communion is a type of ascension to the Throne Room and presence of God." p67. Chuck also says as if God were speaking, "My Son (Jesus) has given you access into My Throne Room. My Spirit can cause you to ascend and be enveloped by My love." p39. It is through prayer, communion or worship that believing Christians can ascend into the throne room with the help of the Holy Spirit of God where they can experience the love and presence of God. The tabernacle of the Old testament and the song of ascension in the Psalms both foreshadow what happens and is experienced by Christians now, even though it is heard to put into words. I encourage all those people who are not Christians to go to Jesus, to begin to praise him and worship him and see for themselves that He can envelope them too in His love and help them in their time of need. Instead of using drugs to deal with life or alcohol both of which destroy the body I encourage you to turn instead to our creator who loves you so much too. Other Christian writers have tried to explain the experience of love and fellowship experienced in the presence of God in the Throne room or Most Holy Place. For example Don Nori in his book "The Secrets of the Most Holy Place writes, " To be sure, He has always wanted you to share the glory of His presence and His majesty. He has prepared the Most Holy Place as a place of fellowship and ministry for you who are being drawn to this most wonderful realm of life. As you see Him in this realm, your fellowship and your ministry toward Him are on the highest plateau of experience possible this side of eternity."p3. He goes on to say "The purpose of Jesus' coming to earth was to bring Heaven's experience to earth." p. 5. God the Father and Jesus are in heaven but their presence can be experienced here on earth in this throne room. Don's first chapter in his book concludes as follows "He is, as always, inviting you to dwell with Him, in the sweetness and fullness of His manifest Presence within the veil of the Most Holy Place."p6. He, like myself and many Christians around the world have experienced this fellowship and intimacy with God. God created us to have a relationship with God here on earth. We can indeed walk or dance through the temple of God, through the Holy place, then through the veil and into the Most Holy Place where we can dwell and dance with and before God. Christian dance helps me enter into the very presence of God--- into the Most Holy Place. Dance helps us to draw closer to Jesus. We are figuratively speaking dancing with Him or for him in the Most Holy Place within the veil. Christian dance is just an outward physical manifestation of this walk or dance with God that happens deep within us. In God's presence there is love and light. As Don puts it, "The realm within the veil is all spirit. Whatever you see there, you see by the light of God. There is no natural sun, there are no burning candlesticks. There is , however, the unapproachable light of His Presence shining and pulsating from between the cherubim above the Mercy Seat. In this realm there is light and mercy."p13. In the realm of the partial, the Holy Place, abide faith and Hope; but in the Most Holy Place, love abides. Love is a Now experience. It describes the greatest encounter, the present reality: His love shining in and filling your heart with Himself." p13. Christian worship dance is one form of worship that brings us into the Presence of God. Indeed, worship of Jesus leads us to fellowship with Jesus.
Now that I explained worship and how it is related to the Most Holy Place, I would like to explain how it relates to this song in particular. When we worship Jesus we begin to enter into the presence of Jesus and begin to experience a loving intimacy with Jesus as explained in the last paragraph.This special fellowship with Jesus is often compared to the relationship between a bride and groom. Jesus came to earth from heaven to seek His people that He loves as if they were His bride. He wants to relate lovingly to His people. Don Nori says "What keeps a marriage intact, but a solid relationship? p. 68. A solid relationship is needed with our Spiritual Groom as well as with our earthly groom if we are a bride to a man. In order to have a strong relationship with a spouse time needs to be made to regularily talk and share thoughts and feelings and concerns with each other. Likewise, we need to regularily fellowship with Jesus as individual Christians at intellectual, emotional and spiritual levels and when we do so we are relating to Him spiritually speaking as if we were His bride.
The church as a whole is also seen as Jesus' bride. The song "The Churches One Foundation" may be a song of worship but it is also about the church, Jesus' bride. He wants to know and be known by his bride. The bible helps us to get to know Him theologically or intellectually. Time spent thinking about Him or contemplating about Him helps too. Time involved in praying to Him, praising and worshipping with our hearts and emotions engaged leads to strong emotions of love for Him. There is intimacy. affection, conversation, companionship, admiration, adoration, acceptance, forgiveness, devotion, kindness, praise or to sum up these words-------- love in a healthy marriage between a bride and groom down here on earth and likewise a healthy holy spiritual intimacy and love between Jesus and his bride, his believers. Jesus comes to visit his bride his church and to fellowship with individual believers. He relates personally with each one. The writer of "The River is Here" Melinda Fish asks, "So what is the purpose of a day of visitation? For the Lord to draw near to bless and refresh His church; when the Bridegroom initiates, through overtures of love and blessing, a season of making Himself known to His people and firing their passion."p 131. He reveals his love for us when he communes with his believers and bride. This makes me and us love him more. Melinda Fish goes on "Today the Lord is flooding all who are open with a ravishing sense of His passionate love for His bride. p.132. " The marriage image helps us see what passionate love Jesus has for us more clearly. It helps us see how intimate and close God wants this fellowship with man to be. Robert Webber in "Worship is a Verb", states, "The image of the bride in the Old and New Testaments emphasizes the mystery of God's nearness. He who is high, holy and lifted up is so near to his people, the church, that their relationship can be described as that of bride and a groom. p. 115. He goes on to say, "I wonder what would happen in our worship services if we would exercise our imagination a bit-- stretch it perhaps to fulfill this biblical image that worship is like the bride coming to the wedding feast to meet the groom." p116. I worship more passionately when I dwell upon the fact that Jesus loves us so much that He wants to fellowship with us. That is how I respond to His love for me. A bride dances for and with her groom at a wedding feast and that is what Christian dancers are symbolically doing when they worship dance.
We can sense the passionate love Jesus has for us and this makes us love Him in return. We can also sense how much He sacrificed for us. To sacrifice for another is also an element of love. Ephesians 5:25-27, says "Husbands love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy."It is saying husbands should love and sacrifice like Jesus sacrificed and gave himself up for His bride the church. He gave His life by dieing on the cross for the church His bride. Dieing for another is the ultimate sacrifice a person can give to another. This is what Jesus did for His bride.I watched "The Passion of Christ" and the movie reinforced the love he had for us such that he was willing to spill his blood and suffer and die a gory and painful death for us. Like the verses of this song says "With His own blood He bought her, And for her life He died. p277. "The Hymnal for Worship and Celebration". Very few grooms on earth would die for the life of their bride but Jesus sacrified nothing less then his life for His bride--His church and those who believe in Him. When I dwell upon his most perfect love and sacrifice which is even higher then the love of an earthly bride and groom I am filled with great joy at having such a great saviour who died on calvary for me that I cannot help but dance gladly at this point and with great energy. I dance the last repeat of the chorus, "On Christ the Solid Rock I stand all other ground is sinking sand.", with gusto because I realize what a great love He has for me and so I know He will do great things in my time of trouble. My mind and emotions are completely focused on Jesus and His great love for me that the love and passion I have for Him is easy to express through the dance. His spirit and my spirit are one at this point and this is what the bride and groom analogy is trying to say about this communion love or intimacy we can have with Jesus. The oneness and love between husband and wife is physical as well as involving the mind and heart. With Jesus it is not physical or sexual in nature but it does involve the emotions and mind as well as the spirit.
The oneness of this human marriage is first described in the Old testament of the bible. In Genesis 2: 2 it says, "Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and cleave to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." Raymond. Ortlund Jr. in his book "Whoredom-God's Unfaithful Wife in Biblical Theology", states, "The man and his wife are to become "one flesh". The new life created by a marriage fuses a man and wife together into one, fully shared human experience, prompting mutual care, tenderness and love." p22. As stated in Genesis "Then the man said, "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh" Genesis 2: 23. As Ortlund states , "It affirms the true, if not 'blood' kinship between the man and woman."p23. Raymond goes on, "A one flesh' union is unparalleled in human relationships, which argues for the uniqueness of the marital bond. Marriage is the deepest human relationship." p23. This vision and picture of human marriage is used to symbolize the relationship the Jews had with God and marriage is the same vision used to symbolize the relationship between the church or individual believers and Jesus. A human husband may be too focused on his ambitions and hobbies etc. to properly show care, tenderness and love to his wife but Jesus is never too busy to care, be tender and love his church corporately and to love individual believers in this way too. In an ideal marriage we become one flesh as marriage partners and one heart and mind. Likewise, our spirit and heart and mind can become intimately united or commune with Jesus. The bond between Jesus and His church is seen as marital in nature. He indeed tenderly cares for each member of His church.
The book of Song of Songs in the Old Testament is also about human marital love and is often compared to God's love for man and relationship with man. It is about a love relationship between King Solomon and the Shulamite maiden who many believe was the queen of Sheba. Chuck Pierce says something similar by stating, "The Old Testament book presents a passionate exchange between a man and a woman with love as its central theme. The Song celebrates the potential of love when expressed in the covenant of marriage. This mirrors the relationship between God and man." The Worship Warrior" p64. As Watchman Nee puts it in his introduction to his book the Song of Songs, "Speaking of the matter of communion, the relationship is that of husband and wife." p13. Later in the book Nee states, " we need to be reminded here of the theme of the Song of Songs, namely, a developing union with every forward step. The objective of union is communion, and communion is developed only by identification." p121-121. When we focus on Jesus and begin to identify with His will, thoughts for us etc. it is not long before we are communing with Him. Many people including Watchman Nee see the Song of Songs as an allegory explaining the marriage type relationship between Jesus the Groom and individual believers- the bride. Our union with Jesus develops in steps and culminates in communion. In a sense the first part of this narration talked about the steps. The first step involves our will, the next our mind, the next our emotions and then our spirit. We take our first steps involving our will, mind and emotions in the Holy Place and our next step involving our spirit in the Most Holy Place. Further still in his book Nee states, "The Lord desires to possess all believers in the fullest and purest of spiritual affections and in the closest and most intimate relationship." p125. We want to be loved fully by our spouse and Jesus wants us to fully love Him too. In the Song of Songs, the Shulamite woman goes through trials in her relationship with Solomon. She looks for him, for example, at one point in the book and goes to other people for help to find him. These people do not help her at all and are in fact mean to her. This situation was a type of trial and testing that the Queen of Sheba went through and likewise we as believers sometimes go through similar types of trial and testings but we have union with Christ. As Watchman Nee says, "Thus we are taught that though such believers as this spouse live in a desert world and are subject to fierce trials and testings, yet there is a hidden union with Chirst." p136. He compares the trials of the Shulamite woman with the trials of the bride of Christ. Later Nee also says, "They were moving together in the work. From now on, therefore, one can discern a togetherness in their toil for God." p139. There is a togetherness and a moving as one or in union between Jesus and His Bride both during her trials and when she helps Jesus with His work on earth. As our relationship with Jesus matures this relationship with Jesus does become stronger and more unified too. The song of songs is a book about the union and love between Solomon and the maiden but it is also about the union and love between Jesus and His believers.
I try to symbolize this step by step movement of our soul and spirit through the tabernacle and closer to Jesus by using dance steps. I use a dance move to symbolize the church of Jesus as His Holy bride too. The joining of hands symbolize the bond, the union, the intimacy or joining of two so now they walk hand in hand as one as marriage partners do. I use the same picture image: namely, the joining of hands with Jesus to represent the intimate spiritual marriage bond between Jesus and his church and individual believers. In the song "The Churches One Foundation" it states "from heaven He came and sought her to be His Holy bride." I use the joining of hands symbolism to represent the joining together, unity, intimacy and affection I have with my heavenly groom Jesus and what the church of believers have as a whole with Jesus as discussed and developed in the proceeding paragraphs. I show this affection and fellowship the Holy bride has this her Holy Groom by extending my hand out and high up as this next picture shows as if to grasp and hold His hand as a symbol of this special bond of love and oneness we have with Him. Going hand in hand with someone inplies a close relationship with someone and handling life together side by side. Like Watchman Nee implied in the last paragraph, Jesus is helping us in our trials and there is a togetherness, a oneness with Jesus when we toil for God with Jesus. The symbol of the bride of Christ is easily represented through dance in this simple holding of hands gesture and is another reason why Christian dance is so powerful and necessary a puzzle piece to understand and use within the Christian experience. It can be a powerful form of praise and worship to God and a teaching tool to help others understand the idea of the Bride of Christ imagery within the bible. I have spent over a thousand words trying to explain the bride and groom imagery that represents Jesus' love for us and meanwhile the symbolic gesture of joining of hands with our Holy groom Jesus to explain this deep loving intimacy we can have with Him is more powerful and quicker.
As Nee pointed out a couple of paragraphs back there is a furthering union with Jesus for each forward step. I do a step by step walk in the song. while I do the holding of hand gesture. I take my first step into the Holy place by submitting my will to God's will. I take the next step closer to Jesus by turning my thoughts to God. I take my third step closer to Jesus by showing my affections or emotions of love towards Him by praising Him passionately. The last step can be symbolically seen as when I enter the Most Holy Place and my spirit and soul is in union with Jesus.The church as a whole and individuals within the church do symbolically speaking often walk step by step holding hands with Jesus while they praise and worship Him or serve Him in other ways. When the church and the individuals in the church do so great things happen. Watchman Nee has a very succinct way of putting this walk with Jesus in words. I will paraphrase what he says so it fits into what the dance step is about. "The maiden or bride leaves the world behind during a step by step walk with the Lord. One is drawn away from the world and under the compulsion of a heavenly destiny, leaves it behind. The face is set toward a heavenly goal; the back is given to the world. The bride is not of the world, but turns from all its appeals to a closer and closer union with her Lord. When I do this dance move of holding hands my back is turned towards the congregation with my face upward to represent this same set of ideas. The church as a whole and individuals inside the church slowly stop doing and start turning away from negative, selfish, unloving attitudes seen and practiced in the world around us and instead walk hand in hand with Jesus with love in their soul and spirit. The walk I do is slow and so is the change. They walk hand in hand with Him and ultimately become more and more like Him and one with Him just like a bride and groom start to think and feel the same way about things.
The Old Testament had begun to define human marriage. The new testament elaborates further on God's definition of human marriage and how marriage is similar to the relationship of oneness and unity we have with Jesus. Indeed in the New Testament of the Bible there is the marital symbol peppered throughout it too. In the New Testament there are imagery and descriptions of Jesus as the bridegroom. For example, John the Baptist stated, "The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he the hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. Before he said this John also said ""I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him" John 3: 28-29. John was saying That he was a friend of the groom, the groom being Jesus Christ but that John was not the Messiah or bridegroom; although, he was joyful to hear the bridegroom Jesus' voice. The New Tewstament points to Jesus as the bridegroom very clearly within this part of the gospel of John. One spirit with Jesus or unity with Jesus that sounds very much like marriage oneness and unity is also discussed in the New Testament. For example, in 1 Corinthians 6:15-16 it says, "Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I therefore take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who joins himself to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, it says, 'The two shall become one flesh. But he who is united to the Lord is one spirit with him." My spirit unites then with Jesus during worship and communion in the throne room and this verse in the bible explain this unity of spirit quite clearly. Raymond Ortlund in his book "Whoredom" interprets this as "The Christian has been brought into spiritual union with the Lord, analogous to sexual union." p145. He goes on to say a couple of paragraphs later that "The believer is even more intimate with the Lord than with his or her spouse, for this is a union of spirit, and spirit always leads one more deeply into reality than does flesh. No more profound communion exists than that between the believer and the Lord. The earthly marriage between husband and wife mirrors the spiritual marriage between a believer and Jesus but it involves the spirit and not physical union or sexual union. This verse also points out clearly that indeed Christians can and do have communion or unity with Jesus the Lord and are thus one spirit with Him. This symbolism of Jesus as the husband and the church as a pure virgin bride is further developed in 2 Corinthians 11:2. It says, "I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ." Ortlund states, "He (Paul) feels for them what God feels for them, and what God feels is a pure, intense, possessive desire to love the Corinthians and to be loved by the Corinthians within the sanctity of an exclusive covenant of communion. Paul has betrothed the Corinthian church to her one heavenly husband and to him only, and the apostle bears a responsibility to present her to him on their wedding day. p148-149. We are to have only one heavenly husband our spirit unites with and that is Jesus.The spiritual marriage type union between the church and Jesus is developed quite strongly in these verses of the New Testament of the bible. This symbol is also touched upon in this song.
When I get to the song about Jesus dieing for me I realize the immensity of his sacrificial and deep love for me. I know therefore he is capable of loving me fully and so I can be assured that he will help me with my trials. My heart feels great joy when my mind contemplates this revelation.This is an example of how truths expressed in the bible or in songs effects the mind which in turn effects the emotions.The emotions of passionate love and appreciation felt in the heart help our soul focus completely on God. When I focus completely on God his presence is real in my soul and spirit. When I am in Jesus' presence there is a great delight that I feel. In Watchman Nees' book Song of Songs he has a fine way of expressing this spiritual feeling. He says when putting into words this feeling, " there is an ecstatic delight in His presence which gives the feeling of being taken up in rapture."p37. I dance more joyfully because this revelation of His deep love for me brings great joy and strength to my heart and spirit so the troubles fade even more and so I can peacefully and patiently wait for him to do what needs to be done in the problem in my life. I must admit I sometimes get impatient and must remember instead to leave the problem with Him. When the troubles and fear fade and unbelief has been conquered God and His presence on His throne and in my life becomes stronger in my life.
Jesus is in our lives because He loves and wants to fellowship with us. Jesus also influences and changes us. We become a new creation because of this change. As the song points out ,"She is His new creation by water and the word." We His church members become a new changed person or people because Jesus by the work of the Holy Spirit in us cleans us like water cleans us. As Andrew Murray in his book "The Power of the Blood of Jesus", says, "Cleansing " refers to an inner condition that must be changed." p62. Andrew goes on to say that Ezekiel states, "Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you." Ezekiel 36:25. p62. God was talking about cleansing his people. God wanted to clean his people from their inner condition of filthiness including idolatry or worshipping of other gods. This Old testament verse talks about God cleaning His people with water. God still cleanses His people the Christians. The New testament says something similar. For example in 2 Corinthians 7:1 it reads "Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit." Andrew goes on to say "All these places in the bible teach us that cleansing is an inward work wrought in the heart and that it is subsequent to pardon." p 63. After we are pardened from sin we are then cleaned from this sin. It is the Holy Spirit that is symbolized as this water that cleanses. As Andrew points out "Lift up your eyes and see by faith how ceaselessly a stream flows from heaven above to earth beneath. It is the blessed Spirit's influence, through whom the power of the blood of Jesus flows earthward over souls, to heal and to purify them." Just like a river cleanses us and purifies us from dirt when we are cleaned it, the stream or river of God cleans us as well. This narration is about the image of water not as an agent of refreshing (like in the song "The River is Here), but water as a cleansing agent. The Holy Spriit then, cleanses our thoughts and feelings and motives, in short He cleanses our souls or heart in the Holy Place. His word or the bible shows us how God wants us to be and so the word or bible helps too in changing us into this new creation. Slowly over time he washes away the selfish, weak and bad things within our personality, heart or soul. Watchman Nee puts it another way, "When all that issues from the Old Adam, all which is natural, has been dealt with, then that which rises, and remains will be of the new creation." p51. The church Jesus' bride becomes His new creation by water or by the work of the Holy Spirit within her.
The stream of water that refreshes and cleanses us is the Holy Spirit. The bible makes this clear. In John 14:26, Jesus says before He dies, "But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." The Holy Spirit was in Jesus until Jesus was alive and entered into the souls or hearts of Jesus' believers only after Jesus died. In John, 7: 38-39 Jesus said, "Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him. By this he meant the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were later to receive. Up to that time the Spirit had not been given, since Jesus had not yet been glorified." Forty days after Jesus died the Holy Sprit was indeed given to the believers during pentecost. From these passages of the bible it is made clear that it is the Holy Spirit that flows within us as a stream and it is the Holy Spirit that cleanses us and teaches us and encourages us to be this new creation. It is the Living water of the Holy Sprit that changes us into a new creation. When Jesus died a "soldier pierced His side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water." John 19:34. It is often interpreted that when Jesus died the Holy Spirit or Living water flowed out of Jesus and when the time was right was given to the believers at Pentecost. The sudden flow of water from Jesus' side symbolizes the Holy Spirit leaving Jesus at the time of Jesus' death. The water that flowed from Jesus' side, flowed like a stream flows. Due to Jesus' death the believers of Jesus received this living stream of water or the Holy Spirit. Water cleanses and as Watchman Nee puts it , "cleansing is synonymous with being set aside for the Lord's own usage." p92. He also says "not only had her whole body been bathed--that is, her life fully cleansed and purified from sins-- but also the dust and dirt and defilements of the world which soil believers had been faithfully attended to and cleansed away each day." p104. Andrew explains the situation about sin and cleansing by water from sin as follows, "We have an inner , hidden life that brings us into touch with God; and an outer, bodily life by which we are in relationship with man." p125 He goes on to say, "the body must be washed with pure water" p125. As Andrew states further on "The divine work of cleansing by the spirinkling of blood and the human work of cleansing by laying aside sin are inseparable." p126. The blood of Jesus covers our sin but we must make the effort to turn away from sin or lay aside sin. In other words we need to make an effort to stop doing what is wrong too. The Holy Spirit helps us to lay the sin aside so we are cleansed from it. I show this idea of my body being cleansed with water by having my arms and hands move down the front and centre of my body in order to symbolize the idea of water streaming down my body starting at my head and down to my legs. This flowing movement I do with my arms and hands along my body is meant to represent this idea that the Holy Spirit washes this sin or filth away from my and our life through the work He does in us. It is meant to show the idea of a cleansing stream of water running down us and making us clean and making us new. This move can be seen in the video.
These pictures show this movement too. It is reminiscent of how water flows down the body when someone is taking a shower. The water of a shower streams down from a shower head and the Holy Spirit streams down from the fountain head or throne of God. He streams down from the throne of God and cleanses us and is the one that takes us up to the throne room or presence of God too when we are made clean. We can enter into the Most Holy Place because of our faith that Jesus' blood has forgiven us. We enter the Most Holy Place only after we are cleansed of impure thoughts and emotions and an ill will towards God and man. We have a role to play and that is to forsake sin too. This allows us to have intimate fellowship with Jesus and it also changes in to a new creation. We become a people or the Bride with pure and clean and dedicated hearts and minds towards our Beloved---- Jesus our Groom. We have been cleansed so we are ready to worship God in the Most Holy Place and do God's work.
We cannot be made clean unless we are willing to give up our filth or sin or separate from this unclean or filthy thing and stop doing it. Each day we have to make an effort to stop doing, feeling and thinking what is wrong and that is the challenge. If we fall we can still get up, wipe off the filth or sin so to speak and try again and ask to be cleansed again and try again to stop doing what is wrong. As Andrew Murray, in his book "The Power of the blood of Jesus" says, "Cleansing cannot take place where there is not an entire separation from, and giving up of, everything unclean."p69. Unclean, unholy behavour, thoughts and feelings must be given up, for example, by believers. Clean, holy, pure behavour, thoughts and feelings that is in accordance to what is outlined in the bible replaces the unclean behavour, thoughts and feelings and so slowly we are changed from the inside out and thus a become a new creation.The church is a new creation because God has changed the people within it. Some aspects of our soul are changed completely some aspects of our soul are in the process of being changed. Many things we did before we were Christians we have stopped doing and that aspect of who we are has been permanently changed. Don touches upon this by stating, "When there is true repentance, the inner change is total and permanent." p40. One way to separate onenself from anything unclean or wicked or evil is to turn away from these behaviours thoughts and feelings. 2 Timothy 2:19 says it this way, "Everyone who confesses the name of the Lord must turn away from wickedness." Another way to stop sinning is to flee from situations that cause us to behave in sinful ways. 2 Timothy 2:22 "Flee the evil desires of youth"
The bible and other writers also talk about believers and the church becoming a new creation. Watchman Nee, in the book he wrote called "Song of Songs" has this to say about the changed Queen of Sheba and the changed believer, "This loved one had endured and experienced numberless disciplinary dealings until at present there is manifested in her body all the spiritual features of a new creation." p87. Watchman Nee is saying that after we are changed by God who disciplines us through the trials of life for example, we become a new and spritually beautiful creation in the site of God. We have spritual features of a new creation indeed. The church as a whole and individual Christians take on spiritual features which make it and us a new creation. I think it is important to check that my interpretation and others interpretation agrees with the bible because the bible is the word of God. The bible also says that Jesus' people are indeed a new creation. For example, in 2 Corinthians 5:17 it says, "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come." God cleanses each believer with water so they are purified from sin and made new. He not only forgives our sin but helps us turn away or forsake the sin so we are a new changed person. The believer indeed becomes a new creation -- a beautiful bride in His site. She has spiritual beauty. When dancers dance about the bride of Christ it is the church and individuals within the church they represent. It is this spiritual beauty of the church and of the individual that they represent. The church and individuals within it though are at the present time not perfect and blemished free because humans are weak and fall short of the glory of God. A turn of the body in dance can represent the idea of a change or transformation. I do a turn at this point of the dance to represent the idea of the church and individual members of this church becoming a new changed creation. It can also represent the idea of turning away from sin and turning towards Jesus and God and thus becoming a new creation as well.
The Holy Spirit cleans us like a river or water does by teaching us what is wrong and right and helps us change and be transformed into this new creation. The word of God is used by the Holy Spirit to help in this transformation too. The word of God or the bible is the tool used by the Holy Spirit to show us what is sin and what is good so we can forsake sin and begin doing what is right and pleasing to God. In the Holy place the Holy Spirit shows us how to have the right will, thoughts and love using the bible as his tool to show us. The bible or the Word helps to wash us too. Terry states,"This indicates the washing of water by the Word according to Ephesians 5:26. It is important that our bodies be cleansed by the washing of the Word." p247. The bible also points out then that the word or the bible is another menas by which believers are cleansed and transformed into a new creation. Ephesians 5::26 states, Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word." The word of God compels us to turn away from behaviour that it convinces us is wrong. We stop carrying out that behaviour and are thus cleansed from it. When our behavour is changed we are changed and we slowly become a new creation indeed. The word of God is His bible and I represent this bible with my hands together and opened up like a book. As Elizabeth Hoekstra in her book "Quenching the Divine Thirst" puts it " The New Testament tells us how to conduct ourselves, how to minister to others, and how to live by God's rules and not man's." p161. The word of God shows us how to behave which is different from how we behaved before. The word of God is a tool used by the Holy Spirit to change us into this new creation. Our conduct slowly changes. We are transformed by reading and applying the teachings of the bible. We learn from the bible how Jesus conducted himself and how Jesus taught the people regarding how Jesus wanted people to conduct themselves. We apply these words of teaching to our own lives and become changed into a new Christ-like creation known as the bride of Christ.
We can enter the Most Holy Place to commune with Jesus now because of the blood of Jesus that cleanses our guilty conscience. Secondly, the believer can enter into the presence of God and worship Him because of faith. Thirdly, the bride of Christ can enter into the Most Holy Place and have spiritual intimacy with her Holy Groom and know His love for her because she has been washed with pure water and thus made into this new creation, this bride of Christ. Like Hebrews 10:19-22 says, "We have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water." We begin our journey and dance towards God by giving our troubles over to God by faith and making a conscious effort to turn away from sin including the sin of worrying about our troubles. We dance further into the presence of Jesus by praising the one who saves us from our troubles as well as our sins. We finally dance into the Most Holy Place and into the presence of Jesus as the bride of Christ and into the intimacy of worship.
In this closing paragraph, I would to include the definition of Christian dance. The churches one foundation is Jesus Christ like this song says and the one foundation of Christian dance is also Jesus Christ. Christian dance includes grace dancing, warfare dancing, praise dancing and worship dancing. This narration and "Come now is the time to worship" were about worship and worship dance. "Praise the Name of Jesus" is an example of a song and dance about praise and praisng Jesus in particular. The "Grace Medley" was about grace dancing and the "Victory Chant" is an example of warface dancing. The central figures praised and worshipped in this form of dance are God the Father, Jesus Christ his Son and the Holy Spirit thus the name christian dance. The Father of Lights was about God the Father and "The River is Here" was about the Holy Spirit. Finally, it is my desire to give a gift in the form of this narration to Jesus and his church at Christmas in this year of 2006. God the Father gave the gift of His Son at Christmas so I want to give a gift back to Him and His son.