“BEULAH LAND” – Heaven’s Border

“You shall no more be termed Forsaken, nor shall your land be called Desolate any more.  But you shall be called Hephzibah, and your land be called Beulah, for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married” ~ Isaiah 62:4.

“Beulah Land”

An Old Favorite Hymn from the Past:

Refrain:

“O Beulah Land sweet Beulah Land,  As on thy highest mount I stand,

I look away across the sea,  Where mansions are prepared for me,

And view the shining glory shore,  My Heav’n, my home forever more!

My Savior comes and walks with me,  And sweet communion here have we,

He gently leads me by His hand,  For this is Heaven’s border land.”

Hymn by Edgar Page Stites and John R. Sweney

The Hymn’s Beauty–

The words speak of the eternal glory prepared for believers in Christ Jesus.  Beulah Land is “Heaven’s border land,” a land where shines undimmed one blissful day.  For all my night has passed away.”

THE “BEULAH LAND” CONCEPT:

The term “Beulah Land” is unfamiliar to many people today.  This hymn is seldom sung in churches where praise songs, and contemporary Christian rock music dominate the worship experience.  This phenomenon is not peculiar to contemporary churches.  In a brief survey of hymnals, several denominations reveal that this hymn is unknown or no longer relevant in many churches today.

The Use of Biblical “Metaphors”–How God Makes Us Into Something New!

Metaphors are used throughout the Bible and the passage in Isaiah  62, is not an exception.  Now when I say “metaphor”, I don’t mean that it wasn’t real.  What I mean is that Scripture uses metaphors as a “picture language.”  It talks about our relationship with God; understanding what it means to have relationship with God is pretty difficult at times.  God uses language of our everyday lives to help us kind of get the idea.

Understanding what God makes us into, how God transforms us, and changes us.

First things first.  We need to realize what we were without God.  Isaiah 62:4, God says, “No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate.”

It seems we are dealing with a metaphor of the land.  Without God in our lives, we are like a “desolate” place.

Desolate and Barren Places

Without God, we’re EMPTY, BARREN, without the things we need in Life.

And yet, behind the words, is also the ideas of marriage.  It is the real metaphor going on here.  Without God…we’re deserted, left at the altar, left with no one who would marry us.

Now I’m not saying that it’s wrong to be single.  It all goes back to the way ancient Israelite culture was structured.  A woman who wasn’t married, had no good way in having an income on her own.  If her parents died, her brothers were dead or wouldn’t take her in, she was left without anyway to survive except to beg.  She was deserted and desolate.

Spiritually Speaking:

This concept describes our situation in life if we didn’t have JESUS.  We wouldn’t have anyway to survive spiritually without God.  We would find ourselves deserted and desolate, without the things we need in our spiritual life.

Now I’m not inferring that you, as a reader of this blog, are at this place in your life.  Yet, even when we believe in God, it doesn’t mean we never feel like we’re outside of God.  Even though we know JESUS has come into our lives, on accepting Him as Lord and Savior; and in the power of the Holy Spirit, we may feel at times deserted and desolate in our circumstances: illness, sickness, stress, anger, etc.

“NO LONGER” ARE WE FORSAKEN (verse 4):

“Hephzibah” is the Hebrew word used and it means “My delight is in her”.  And then we run across “Beulah”, which means “married”.  Remembering that God is working with the metaphor of marriage.  He uses the metaphor from that ancient Israelite culture; God is transforming you from an unmarried woman, who is desolate and deserted by society and begging for food.  And now, you are His delight–to be married to the Lord.

This is Not The Only Place in Scripture of God “Marrying His People.”

The powerful words used is in describing the relationship we have with God and will have when JESUS CHRIST is our groom and we the Church, become His Bride (Revelation 19).

JESUS comes to many of us–despite the fact that we are desolate and deserted; despite the fact we feel unlovable, despite ALL of our sins, our faults and bruises, past mistakes.  JESUS comes and says,  “My delight is in you.  You will be married to Me.”

“Something Like A Hero”–

I love the lyrics of a song by Charlotte Martin, and here are a few of the words I want you to pay attention too.  Try if you can to put yourself in the shoes of the woman in the song.

On Your Shore

I dig my heels into the dirt ’cause this one’s gonna hurt

Won’t let the wave wash me away, is what I always pray

In my heart I know you couldn’t see in the dark or find your way through me

Now I’m alone, my hands are numb how do I carry on?

And at the turn of the tide this part of me die

Am I washed on your shore and barely alive?

Here I am in my insecurity

Here I am with my damaged dignity

Here I am, you’re pulling me in too deep

Here I am

The woman in the song is feeling deserted and desolate, and even if her reasons for those feelings are different from yours, her experience is similar to ours.  There are things in our lives that make us feel deserted and desolate.  Which then makes us feel deserted by God and where we’re in a desolate place spiritually.

Here Is God’s Promise–Count on it!

“You [fill in your name] shall no more be termed Forsaken, nor shall your land [where your ‘spirit place’ is] be called Desolate any more.  But you shall be called Hephzibah  [My delight is in her], and your land be called Beulah [married]; for the Lord delights in you, and your land shall be married [owned and protected by the Lord]”  (Isaiah 62:4 AMP).

“Crying Out to God”–

As in the Charlotte Martin’s song, crying out to God is asking Him to rescue you from a desolate beach [in the sand dunes of a desert-above photo] of “insecurity” and “damaged dignity.”

God answers that prayer through Christ Jesus:

*  Where once you would’ve been named Deserted, God calls you “Hephzibah”–my delight in you!

*  Where once you were insecure, God gives you eternal security!

*  Where once you had a damaged dignity but God gives you “dignity”, sees you so wonderful, beautiful, holy!

TRANSFORMATION takes place in you through Faith.

Without God, you were on a desolate beach with insecurity, damaged dignity all around you and living without hope.  But now, through faith and confidence in The Groom, you are Hephzibah, Beulah, the delight of God, His bride.  You are secured in the marriage.

These are the gifts He gives to you at the ‘wedding shower.’  This is how HE transforms you!

See How God Decorates His Bride:

Look again at God’s words in Isaiah, see how He pours out the blessing on you, the way He dresses you in a beautiful gown {Tuxedos for the guys) which is His blessing.

I used to have difficulties as a man understanding the Biblical terms of being the Bride of Christ.  But when I realized that the Bride of Christ is describing the character of the Church, male or female becomes  gender neutral.  So relax men, you don’t have to dress up in a wedding gown.

Verse 1:  “I will not rest until her imputed righteousness and vindication go forth in brightness, and her salvation”

The Blessings radiates as does a burning torch.”

Verse 2:  “And the nations shall see your righteousness and vindication, and all kings shall behold your salvation and glory…”

Verse 3:  “You shall also be [so beautiful and prosperous as to be thought of as] a crown of glory and honor…a Royal diadem [exceeding beautiful]…”

“HEAVEN’S BORDER”:

The idea of the Land of Beulah as “Heaven’s Border” actually comes from John Bunyan’s “Pilgrim Progress”.  Bunyan says that “the Enchanted ground is place so nigh to the land of Beulah and so near the end of their race.”

He also says the Land of Beulah is a place “where the sun shineth night and day.”  I’m sure that Mr. Bunyan must have previously been meditating on God’s Word when being inspired to write down his thoughts (Isaiah 60:11; Rev. 21:24-27).

The Future Will Be Entirely Different for God’s People–the Church.

We will not lie forsaken nor left in desolation but will be called ‘His delight’ (Hebrew Hephzibah).  When His people stop trying to exalt themselves and again lean on and trust on the Groom, He will bless them.

The Conditioning of Choice, JOY, Commitment and Covenant

Many people call MARRIAGE a ‘contract’.  But that isn’t what God has promised–but He has given the Bride a covenant promise; He makes good His Word in conveying what He clearly wants to speak into our lives every day.

The Original Covenant Blessing Upon Marriage.

Genesis 1:28 is speaking about His creation of Adam and Eve:  “And God blessed them and said to them,  Be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth”.  And now God’s promise, His covenant with the Church (His Bride) is in prospering the people and their dwelling place.

ISAIAH CONTINUES THE THOUGHT OF MARRIAGE – (verse 5):

“For as a young man marries a virgin, so shall your sons marry you; and as the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.”

Righteous Zion is no longer barren, forsaken, or desolate but is found to be a delight to God; have spiritual sons and bear spiritual fruit.

Thus God will rejoice with great joy over the Bride, His Church at the great wedding day! 

“My delight is in You”–Hephzibah–is still true for today’s believers.  When circumstances and problems attempt to destroy HOPE, you may hear your triumphant Bridegroom whisper to you His Bride (2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:27; Revelation 21:2, 9),the new name that is for you and for you alone “The Lamb’s Wife”!

“The [Holy] Spirit and the bride (the church, the true Christians) say,  Come!  And let him who is listening say, Come!  And let everyone come who is thirsty [who is painfully conscious of his need of those things by which the soul is refreshed, supported, and strengthened]; and whoever [earnestly] desires to do it, let him come, take, appropriate, and drink the water of life without cost”  (Revelation 22:17 AMP).

A Name Change At Your Heavenly Arrival !!

The Wind Words Blowing

ARE YOUR EARS AWAKE AND ARE WE LISTENING?

Revelation 2:17 The MESSAGE:

“Are your ears awake?  Listen, Listen to the Wind Words, the Spirit blowing through the churches.  I’ll give the sacred manna to every conqueror; I’ll also give a clear smooth stone inscribed with your new name, your secret new name.”

Revelation 2:17  The AMPLIFIED Bible:

“He who is able to hear, let him listen to and heed what the Spirit says to the assemblies (churches).  To him who overcomes (conquers).  I will give to eat of the manna that is hidden, and I will give him a WHITE STONE with a NEW NAME engraved on the stone, which no one knows or understands except he who receives it.”

The “WHITE” or “CLEAR SMOOTH STONE”–

The object, the stone, is given to those in the assembly who “conquer” or “overcomes” the pressures and temptations of the world.  There are many differing interpretations on the one hand, but that doesn’t mean we are hopeless in our efforts to attempt to understand what JESUS meant in the above Scripture passage.

I’ve been reading in the Book of Revelations of late and when I read Revelation 2:17, the Holy Spirit whispered…You need to stop here and meditate on the words, to grasp their full meaning.”  And of course as the WORD Detective, I began my investigation of the evidence presented in the Bible (God’s WORD).  I found that being somewhat cautious in my studying, and avoiding dogmatism; regardless of whichever view I lean towards, on how I embrace the new and secret name in eternity (the “This” or “That’s”) was my ultimate goal.

THE “WHITE STONE”:

In the Greek language, the word used for WHITE is “leukos” = “a light, bright, brilliant from whiteness [dazzling white].”  Several years ago, I noticed my wife was gazing intently in a jewelry store window along Front Street.  There in the display case was a gold necklace with a brilliant OPAL in the center mounting (Opal is her favorite gemstone).  It was glistening in the natural light, to the degree that it even caught my eye and I am definitely NOT the jewelry type.

She never said a word except, “Okay, let’s keep window browsing down the street’s storefronts.  That doesn’t cost us anything.”  The more I thought about the brilliant stone, the more I contemplated over purchasing the necklace.  Well, to make a long story short…I purchased the necklace for my wife; and not because of it’s brilliance.  I didn’t even think much about the value so much as I did about how much I loved her.  It became a special LOVE GIFT and because it was given in LOVE, many other since have recognized and admired the brilliance of the stone.

Other Viewpoints.

Some recognize the “white stone” signified acquittal by a jury, as over a “black stone” which pointed to the quilt of the defendant.  Others point to the pagan religious people who would carry a stone with them with the name of their particular deity engraved upon it.  If this is the background of our Lord’s reference, then “the written name will be that of God or of Christ,” as in Revelation 3:12 (cf. 14:1; 19:12).

The point is then an allusion to ancient ideas; the power of divine names.  To know the name of a deity was to possess a claim upon his help: “having the POWER of Christ to save and protect is exalted over that of His pagan rivals” (Colin Hemer, 99).

I could go on listing options on the meaning of the “white stone”.  But I want to give you the view I think is the Scriptural evidence being the most likely accepted.

WHITE STONES were often used as tokens of membership or tickets for admission to public festivals.  If THIS is the background for the referenced verse, the  WHITE STONE may be a symbol for the believer’s, the over-comer’s admission to the Messianic Feast in Revelation 19.

It is “white” in order to display the righteousness of the “over-comers”; those who are granted entrance.  NO GATE CRASHERS HERE!  As we read in Revelation 19:8 the invitation presented is granted to the Bride i.e., the Church:

She has been permitted to dress in fine (radiant) linen,

dazzling and white (“leukos”)–

for the fine linen is (signifies, represents) the righteousness

(the upright, just, and godly living, deeds, and conduct, and right standing with God)

of the saints (God’s holy people).

THE BRIDE (the Church)

Little wonder, then, that John goes on to write  “Then [the angel] said to me, Write this down: Blessed are those who are summoned (invited, called) to the marriage supper of the Lamb”  (Revelation 19:9a).

I’M CAPTIVATED BY THE “NEW NAME” WE WILL RECEIVE:

The name that is written on the stone “that no one knows except…”  (Revelation 2:17b).  The words point to the prophecy given in Isaiah 62:2:  “and you shall be called by a new name” and in Isaiah 65:15, “…another name.”

A Question About Our New Name.

The question is whether this “new name” given to the over-comer is Christ’s or the individuals.  Although the first alternative is certainly possible, I’m inclined to think the “new name” in verse 17, is one given uniquely to each individual believer in Jesus Christ.  I also believe through my study,  it “symbolizes the individuals entry into a new life, status or personality…The thought may then be compared with that of 2 Corinthians 5:17”  (Hemer, 103-04).

In other words, because we’ve become believers in JESUS, we’ve become “new creations.”  It’s only fitting then, each one receives a “new name” suitable to their position in and with our relationship with JESUS.  That doesn’t mean the old or original name, given to us by our parents or the world is bad or to be thrown away.  Rather, one’s name in biblical times typically signified or point to ones character or calling or function:

Abram to Abraham, “father of a multitude.”

Sarai to Sarah, “princes.”

Jacob to Israel, “prince of God” (or also “he who struggles with God”).

Simon becomes Peter, the “Rock” (or more properly “stone”).

God is making a point about the individual concerned (memorializing their spiritual accomplishments and their spiritual potential, and His blessing on them).

Today We Name Our Children For Different Reasons.

Often we name our children, hoping their name might inspire confidence and perhaps power.  We might name our son “Gregory” rather than “Gomer” (for anyone reading this blog has a son named “Gomer”, I’m not making fun of the name); or a daughter “Wendy” rather than “Winnie Mae” (I can get away with that one since “Winnie Mae” was my aunt’s name).

All this to say that God will re-name each of us in accordance with the transformation of our nature in the likeness of His Son, to reflect the new and altogether unique identity:

“We are citizens of the state (commonwealth, homeland) which is in heaven”  (Philippians 3:20).

My new name, like yours, will be suitable to the new heavens, new earth in which I’ll dwell, a place where evil and error are not present.

THERE IS EVEN MORE TO THIS “NEW NAME” THAN MERELY NEWNESS!

The “new name” that’s given is a name that “no one knows” except for the individual “who receives it.”  Pet names between a husband and wife are given to each other in private.  My wife has an affectionate name for me that no one else knows but us!  It’s just between the ones who are the “giver” and the “receiver” in an intimate relationship.

Your TRUE IDENTITY with God is REFLECTED in Your New Name.

This new identity transcends any shame or regret or disappointment wrapped up in who you are now.  There is a very private and personal place of intimacy with Him which brings hope and freedom and joy.  None can touch or steal it.

The apostle Paul said it best–“…your [new, real] life is hidden with Christ in God” (Colossians 3:3 b).  Then Peter repeated much the same thing in 1 Peter 1:4:

“[Born anew] into an inheritance which is beyond the reach of change and decay [imperishable], unsullied and unfading, reserved in heaven for you.”

“Did I Missed Something in the Verse–How About the “HIDDEN MANNA”?

Although the emphasis I’m placing on Revelation 2:17 is about the meaning of our “name changing” on our heavenly arrival, I’ll briefly touch on the meaning of the “hidden manna.”

Some believe this is a reference of the manna being hidden in a jar; in the Ark of the Covenant.  But I think it’s more involved.  If JESUS is the manna, the “Bread of Life”, perhaps the point is–all that awaits us in Him is “hidden.”  It is reserved and kept safe and guarded against all possibility of loss! so that we might celebrate its certainty and the assurance of what God has promised, that He will provide!

Remembering An Old Chorus to a Hymn:

A New Name in Glory by C. Austin Miles

There’s a new name written down in glory,

And it’s mine, O yeas, it’s mine.

ANY GUESSES WHAT YOUR “NEW NAME” WILL BE?