The Wages of Jealousy
And I will judge thee, as women that break wedlock and shed blood are judged; and I will give thee blood in fury and jealousy, Ezekiel 16:38.
God espoused Israel unto himself as a bride and his complaint is that she was wanton and unfaithful. They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man's, shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted? but thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the LORD, Jeremiah 3:1.
As there are three distinct persons in the Godhead, there are three brides. God the Father marries Israel, Jesus Christ marries the church (2nd Corinthians 11:2), and the Holy Ghost marries the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2). It is to the tumultuous relationship between God and Israel that we will look.
As we saw in Ezekiel 16:38, part of God's judgment of Israel is as women that break wedlock. That is found in a strange passage of the word of God. I will copy the entire passage below, but for those in a hurry, I have highlighted the most pertinent parts.
Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, If any man's wife go aside, and commit a trespass against him, And a man lie with her carnally, and it be hid from the eyes of her husband, and be kept close, and she be defiled, and there be no witness against her, neither she be taken with the manner; And the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be defiled: or if the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be not defiled: Then shall the man bring his wife unto the priest, and he shall bring her offering for her, the tenth part of an ephah of barley meal; he shall pour no oil upon it, nor put frankincense thereon; for it is an offering of jealousy, an offering of memorial, bringing iniquity to remembrance. And the priest shall bring her near, and set her before the LORD: And the priest shall take holy water in an earthen vessel; and of the dust that is in the floor of the tabernacle the priest shall take, and put it into the water: And the priest shall set the woman before the LORD, and uncover the woman's head, and put the offering of memorial in her hands, which is the jealousy offering: and the priest shall have in his hand the bitter water that causeth the curse: And the priest shall charge her by an oath, and say unto the woman, If no man have lain with thee, and if thou hast not gone aside to uncleanness with another instead of thy husband, be thou free from this bitter water that causeth the curse: But if thou hast gone aside to another instead of thy husband, and if thou be defiled, and some man have lain with thee beside thine husband: Then the priest shall charge the woman with an oath of cursing, and the priest shall say unto the woman, The LORD make thee a curse and an oath among thy people, when the LORD doth make thy thigh to rot, and thy belly to swell; And this water that causeth the curse shall go into thy bowels, to make thy belly to swell, and thy thigh to rot: And the woman shall say, Amen, amen. And the priest shall write these curses in a book, and he shall blot them out with the bitter water: And he shall cause the woman to drink the bitter water that causeth the curse: and the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter. Then the priest shall take the jealousy offering out of the woman's hand, and shall wave the offering before the LORD, and offer it upon the altar: And the priest shall take an handful of the offering, even the memorial thereof, and burn it upon the altar, and afterward shall cause the woman to drink the water. And when he hath made her to drink the water, then it shall come to pass, that, if she be defiled, and have done trespass against her husband, that the water that causeth the curse shall enter into her, and become bitter, and her belly shall swell, and her thigh shall rot: and the woman shall be a curse among her people. And if the woman be not defiled, but be clean; then she shall be free, and shall conceive seed. This is the law of jealousies, when a wife goeth aside to another instead of her husband, and is defiled; Or when the spirit of jealousy cometh upon him, and he be jealous over his wife, and shall set the woman before the LORD, and the priest shall execute upon her all this law. Then shall the man be guiltless from iniquity, and this woman shall bear her iniquity, Numbers 5:12-31.
One of the strange things about that passage is the usage of the term "holy water". I grew up a Roman Catholic and we had a definite but inaccurate picture of holy water. To us, holy water was special water blessed by a priest and in basin at the back of the church. God gave no such instructions in his word. Instead, I want to draw my readers attention to the holiest water that was ever on earth and show it mixed with dust.
When he had thus spoken, he spat on the ground, and made clay of the spittle, and he anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay, John 9:6. Why was this man born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him, John 9:3. Herein is a man whose blindness was devised by God for a specific purpose. The rulers of Israel drank of that holy water mixed with dust when they judged that man whose eyes were opened. They answered and said unto him, Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us? And they cast him out, John 9:34.
To this day, Israel brings forth no spiritual fruit unto God. Her belly is swelled and her thigh has rotted. If a man loves God he should mourn over this. God told Israel, For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee, Isaiah 54:7. A small moment? For those of us who mourn for the coming of Jesus Christ and rejoice at the thought of Israel being established in her glory as the central nation on earth, this small moment has been too long. The pogroms of Europe, the Holocaust, and the unceasing hatred that the devil has manifested through his minions on this earth are a grief.
Yet the church, that Gentile bride of Jesus Christ has drunk of that holy water mixed with dust and she has flourished. I am not talking about the pagan rituals practiced in Jerusalem and around the world by silly Gentiles thinking that they please God by waving incense and eating wafers purported to be God himself. I'm not talking about the 2000 years of Mystery Babylon (Revelation 17) garbed in her purple robes and hoisting her golden chalice while she connives with the kings of the earth from the seven hills of Rome.
I'm speaking of the thousands of independent assemblages that have sprung up on this earth over the centuries through the grace of God and have practiced the ordinances as Paul delivered them. I am speaking of those churches that have held the commission of Jesus Christ; And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen, Matthew 28:18-20.
I am speaking of churches that function as, the pillar and ground of the truth; But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth, 1st Timothy 3:15. For those who dare and are not ashamed they are called Baptist or Anabaptist. Those churches have drunk long and hard of that holy water mixed with dust. They thrive and bring forth fruit unto their Lord and saviour.