In Matthew 22, Yahushua gave the following parable. "The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king [Elohim, the Father], which made a marriage for His Son [Yahushua]. and sent forth His servants [the prophets] to call them that were bidden [the Jewish nation] to the wedding: and they [the Jewish nation would not come.
"Again He sent forth other servants [the apostles and disciples], saying, Tell them which were bidden [the Jewish nation], Behold, I have prepared My dinner: My oxen and My fatlings are killed [Yahushua], and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: and the remnant [the Jewish nation] took His servants [the apostles and disciples], and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. But when the King [Elohim, the Father] heard thereof, He was wroth: and He sent for His armies [the Roman army], and destroyed those murderers, and burned their city [Jerusalem in A.D. 70]. Then He said to His servants [the apostles and disciples], The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy [the Jewish nation]. Go therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests [we are the guests], and when the King came in to see the guests, He saw there a man which had not on the wedding garment [‘the fine linen of the righteousness of the saints’ (Revelation 19:8).]: And He saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. Then said the King to His servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; and there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:2-14).
As portrayed in this parable, an examination is made prior to the marriage supper, and anyone found not having on the “wedding garment” is taken away, even in spite of being called a friend by Elohim. It does not matter how cozy a relationship you may think you have with Elohim, you must have on that “wedding garment”. The King called this man “friend!" But yet he was bound “hand and foot” and cast into “outer darkness”. Elohim is not partial nor does He play favorites. Elohim does not overlook our faults. He provides a remedy (the “wedding garment”), and He expects us to make use of it by “wearing it."
Elohim is no respecter of man, and the garment which He has provided; He expects His children to wear. This garment has been purchased with the most precious blood, even the blood of His Own Son. It is a very precious (priceless) garment for it is His very Own righteousness that He is willing to impart to the helpless human agent to enable mankind to be transformed into His likeness and to become a part of His family throughout eternity. Nothing that man can do, can improve on its quality, nor can he purchase it. Our only claim to it is our great need and our utter helplessness to change ourselves and fit ourselves for heaven and for eternity. “Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit to his stature?” (Matthew 6:27).
Any garment other than this one which Elohim has provided, is like the “fig-leaf garment” Adam and Eve covered themselves with when they sinned against Elohim. In the garden, Elohim took from them the “fig-leaf garments” and clothed them with the skins of lambs that He had slain. “Unto Adam also and to his wife did Yahuwah Elohim make them coats of skins, and clothed them” (Genesis 3:21). Elohim slew those lambs with His hand in order to provide them with those garments. This may have been the first time the Universe had seen a physical death. We see this analogy again played out in Genesis 22:8. We read: “And Abraham said, My son, Elohim will provide Himself a lamb for a burnt offering.” And we know that Lamb was His only begotten Son, Yahushua.
It was Elohim Who had required a lamb as a burnt offering. In the story of Cain and Abel, we find that Abel’s offering, of “the first firstlings of his flock”, was accepted by Elohim, but Cain’s offering of the “fruit of the ground” which symbolized his own works which he had produced by his hand, was not accepted. See Genesis 4:4.
When Elohim set up the sacrificial service for the Hebrews, this illustration was repeated over and over again in order to teach, not only the Hebrew people, but all of mankind, the truth that “Elohim would” eventually “provide Himself a Lamb” for the sins of mankind in order that the punishment which was rightly deserving by humanity would be laid upon His only begotten Son. And not only that, but as with Adam and Eve, we must be clothed with the garment provided for us by Elohim, as was illustrated in the parable found in Matthew chapter 22. John the Baptist, when he saw Yahushua approach him, said: “Behold the Lamb of Elohim which takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
It is one thing to have a garment provided for you; and quite another to actually put on that garment! Mankind, on the whole, is very proud and self-righteous or self-made. Yahushua told the religious people of His day “that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and the Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven” Matthew 5:20). The Pharisees of Yahushua day were very religious, and they made sure that people knew it. They talked it, walked it (not very well), wore it, and pretended to live it, but it was totally self-serving and self-promoting and did not honor or glorify Elohim. It is like the child who is told by his parents to do a particular thing, and the child does everything, except what they have told him to do, and then comes to you looking for commendation, but instead receives your condemnation! The parent wants nothing more than to commend his child, not to condemn! So it is with Elohim!
In the parable of Matthew 22 “both bad and good” were found. Even the “good” had to wear the garment provided by the King for the guests at the marriage supper. Even the “good” realized that in their own righteousness they were not good enough to enter into the marriage feast, and they gladly wore the garment provided by the Host.
“But we are as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). The “good” in the parable may have more difficulty with this assessment than the “bad."
When a Doctor of Medicine gives us his prognosis of our medical situation, we do not normally question him, but Elohim, in Isaiah 64:6, is giving us His prognosis of our situation, and He also has a remedy for it that will bring complete reversal of the symptoms and most importantly the cause. Most Medical Doctors only treat symptoms; our heavenly Doctor treats the cause and the symptoms clear up as a result.
The Heavenly Physician gives us His prognosis and the prescription for our situation and is found in the counsel and admonition given to the church at Laodecia according to Revelation 3:17, 18. Elohim told the church at Laodecia that one of their problems was that they were naked and needed to “be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear." They needed the “wedding garment” just as the man in the parable needed it.
Elohim does not tell us of our need and then leaves us to remedy the problem on our own. Far too many in this world have never been told the “good news” that Yahuhsua not only came to die for our sins, in order to pay the penalty which our sins have incurred, but He came to save us from the act of sinning itself; to save us from the control of our sinful, fallen human nature which we inherited from Adam. See Genesis 5:3. He can fix the problem! This is truly “good news” and is called the Gospel. “And as many as received Him, to them He gave POWER to become the sons of Elohim” (John 1:12). "And thou shalt call His name Yahushua: for He shall save His people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21). He will not save His people IN their sins but FROM their sins. Not just to be called a son or daughter of Elohim, but to be changed so that our characters are like His character. Unfortunately most have never been told how to plug into that power!
There are multitudes who claim they are Christians and are “saved” because the Bible says “believe in the Master Yahushua the Messiah and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). It says “thou shalt be saved." It does not say that you are saved, does it? Many believe that they are already saved and go around telling everyone that they are saved. This unfortunately has given many a false sense of security, and many live as they once lived, while believing in a lie. They base their entire salvation on a misunderstanding of what Acts 16:31 is saying. The word, translated “believe," includes much more than an intellectual acknowledgement. This is how it is translated in the Amplified Version. “And they answered, Believe on the Master Yahushua the Messiah [give yourself up to Him, take yourself out of your own keeping and entrust yourself into His keeping] and you will be saved” (Acts 16:31, emphasis added). If you maintain a close, intimate relationship with Yahushua as He said was likened to the Vine and the branches (John 15:5), you WILL be saved. For now we have an adversary that we fight on a daily basis, and if we do not put on “the whole armour of Elohim” (Ephesians 6:11-13), we will be defeated, for we battle “not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places”. We are told in Revelation 12:9 that “Satan, which deceiveth the whole world” is going about like a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8).
“Thou believest that there is one Elohim; thou doest well: the devils also believe and tremble” (James 2:19). So are the devils going to be saved? No, and why not? They believe! The devils know more than we do that there is one Elohim. They had lived with Him until they were expelled from heaven with Satan. See Revelation 12:9. And they know Who Yahushua is also. See Mark 1:23, 24. But they did not commit the keeping of their being into Elohim’s hands and disregarded Elohim’s authority.
Belief is the starting point in one’s experience. When a child is born there is a natural progression in the child’s development. When a child does not develop normally, whether it be physically or mentally, we get greatly concerned for the welfare of that child. We seek to know the cause, and if there is a remedy, do we not?
How about in the spiritual realm of life? Should there be growth in the Christian experience? Should we be concerned when we see retardation taking place in the Christian’s experience? Peter, in his letters to the churches, urged his readers to “grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Master and Saviour Yahushua the Messiah” (2 Peter 3:18). And how does a newborn baby grow? “As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:2). And eventually one progresses to food of a more substantive nature. See 1 Corinthians 3:2.
Many who call themselves Christians are suffering from spiritual anemia and spiritual malnutrition. They expect their pastors to feed them and look to them; instead of looking unto Yahushua who is the Author and the Finisher of our salvation. See Hebrews 12:2. They may attend religious services once and even twice a week, but they never learn or are taught to feed themselves by spending time reading the Word and praying to our Father. As a result many will be found wanting, not having a “wedding garment” on! Sometimes I wonder to myself; are ministers making the people dependent on them in order to satisfy their own egos instead of teaching them how to go to Elohim personally?
Elohim has provided the “wedding garment” for all who are planning on attending the wedding feast, but it is the individual’s responsibility to put on the “wedding garment” which has been so graciously provided. This is a matter of eternal death or eternal life, and should we fail of eternal life, we have only one to blame and that is our self. We cannot depend on anyone to determine for us where we end up in eternity. Salvation is an individual issue, and we are not saved by which church we attend or which religion we adhere to.
“And this is life eternal, that they may know Thee the only true Elohim, and Yahushua the Messiah, Whom Thou hast sent” (John 17:3). This is not a casual relationship as exists between two friends on earth. We can know someone and yet not really know what they are all about. When the word “know” is used in this verse, it implies the most intimate relationship known to man.
In the Old Testament when “know” was used, it was used to denote the relationship between a man and a woman that brought forth children; the most sacred and intimate and pleasurable act given to man by our loving Creator. This is similar to the intimate relationship that Elohim would have with us, His children, throughout eternity and beginning here and now. Our lives with Elohim in turn are to bring forth spiritual children.
Eternal life is promised only to the righteous and never to the wicked. Elohim is working to place the Universe on an eternally secure basis so that sin will not ever intrude into His creation ever again. “What do ye imagine against Yahuwah? He will make an utter end: affliction shall not rise up the second time” (Nahum 1:9).
Sin has been left to run its course. It has had approximately six thousand years to mature to what we see in the world today. In Elohim's wisdom, He permitted Satan to carry on his rebellion, and the entire Universe is now in complete agreement, that Elohim should put an end to it. What the inhabitants of earth have gone through will be the safeguard for eternity that sin will never “rise up a second time." But know this that before Elohim allowed Satan to carry out his rebellion, He did everything that He could possibly do to stop Satan, but He would not interfere with Satan’s freedom of will, which Elohim values so very highly in all His created beings and which it seems man is so wanting to control in his fellowman.
When Elohim pronounces those words found in Revelation 22, the fate of every man, woman, and child is fixed for eternity. “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy let him be holy still. And behold I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give to every man, according as his work shall be” (Revelation 22:11-12, emphasis added). Elohim is not going to be giving an unjust verdict just because of who you are or who you may think you are. If He were to make an exception for one then would He not have to do it for others and where would it end? The plan of salvation provides forgiveness for every confessed sin. Unconfessed sin cannot be forgiven. See 1 John 1:9. And He provides the power to keep you from sinning (Jude 24).
Even though we are saved by grace (Ephesians 2:8), we are judged by our works. “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before Elohim; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works … and they were judged every man according to their works” (Revelation 20:12-13, emphasis added).
So how do we make sense out of this? We are saved by grace and yet we are judged by our works? Let us make it clear that we are saved by Elohim's grace as stated in Ephesians 2:8 and elsewhere in the scriptures and not by our works: “For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is a gift of Elohim." A gift cannot be earned, but it is given because of the graciousness of the Giver.
So how can we tell whether this grace has been received and has taken effect in one’s life? Many have a very restricted view of what grace is, and thus have problems with being judged by their works. Many only see grace as the forgiveness of Elohim, but the scriptures also say that “the gospel of the Messiah: for it is the power of Elohim unto salvation to everyone that believeth” (Romans 1:16, emphasis added). So how much or how big is that power which is available in the gospel? Limitless! By the Word of Elohim the entire Universe was spoken into existence. Elohim spoke and the Universe came into existence from nothing. How does one define that type of power?
Remember we are not the only ones being judged. Elohim is being judged as we are told in Revelation 14:7: “for the hour of His judgment is come." And we are told that we are His witnesses. See Isaiah 43:10, 12. The ninth commandment is “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor” (Exodus 20:16). There are far too many professed followers of Yahushua who by their lives are giving a false witness for Elohim to their neighbors, and those neighbors may be making their decisions for or against Elohim on how we conduct ourselves.
Do we rightly represent Elohim? Can we rightly represent Elohim? We are told that we are ambassadors for Elohim. “Now we are ambassadors for the Messiah” (2 Corinthians 5:20). An ambassador represents the nation he is from. How are we representing the kingdom of Elohim to this world? So if we are saved by grace, then how is it that we are judged by our works?
How do we know that an apple tree is an apple tree? By the fruit it produces. If a tree produces cherries, and it claims to be an apple tree, would we question its claim? Every tree is known by its fruit. An apple tree produces apples because it is an apple tree; it never does so in order to prove it is an apple tree!
James in his epistle asks this question: “Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? Either a vine, figs? So can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh” (James 3:12). A fountain either bears one or the other, but not both. If your life is bearing both good fruit and bad fruit, you need to stop and ask yourself why is this so?
“Either make the tree good, and his fruit good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for a tree is known by his fruit” (Matthew 12:33, emphasis added). Just as the fruit is the evidence of what type of tree it is, so the fruit (works) of our lives are an evidence of whether the grace of Elohim has taken effect in our lives. The truth of the matter is that many have accepted a false gospel. Let me illustrate it this way. In clinical trials people are given the real medication and some are given what are called placeboes. No one is told which group was given which one. Usually the results tell which group was given which one. So it is with the message of salvation. The lives of people indicate which group has received the placebo and which one received the real deal.
“Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. Every tree that brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. [This is how the wicked will be destroyed.] Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not everyone that saith unto Me, Master, Master, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of My Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:16-21, emphasis added).
The “time of trouble” which is soon to come upon the world will reveal who is a professed Christian and who is in a living connection with the Vine. Profession is nothing in Elohim's eyes! But Elohim makes the provision for us to be changed into His likeness, but it is left with us to allow Him to do so. And the fruit that is produced in our lives will either confirm that we are indeed abiding in the Messiah or that we are living apart from the Messiah, even if we, at one time, have been “born again." We must stay connected to the Vine. Yahushua said “I am the Vine you are the branches: He that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me you can do nothing” (John 15:5). And we stay connected through Bible study and prayer. Matthew 12:33 says: “Make the tree good.” When the life of Elohim dwells in us, through the impartation of His Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit shall be seen in us and not one will be missing. See Galatians 5:22-25.
The fruit in the Christian’s life is not the result of one’s own effort, but is the result of their connection with Elohim and therefore merits him nothing. These are the words of Yahushua: “Believe thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father [the Spirit of Elohim] in Me]? The words that I speak unto you I speak not of Myself: but the Father [through the indwelling Spirit of Elohim] that dwells in Me, He doeth the works” (John 14:10). It was the Father’s Spirit dwelling in Him that was doing the works and giving Him the words to speak. Yahushua said this: “I can of My Own self do nothing” (John 5:30). That is how much we can do without Elohim’s Spirit abiding in us – nothing! Oh, yes we can do many things, but they will not be of an eternal value when done apart from Elohim.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (Galatians 5:22, 23). It is the Spirit of Elohim living in us that produces these qualities of character.
Yahushua was completely dependent upon the Father’s Spirit dwelling in Him in order to live the life He lived while on earth. He came not only to become our sacrificial Lamb, but to become our Example by showing us how to live in this world. Different places in the scriptures tell us how to live (Psalm 15), but Jesus came to show us how to live. Knowing and doing are two separate issues. One is only theory and the other is experience. Having the presence of the Spirit of Elohim dwelling in us supplies the power to live a Elohim-like life.
When Peter walked on the water, he kept afloat as long as his eyes were fixed on Yahuhsua, but once he took his eyes off of Yahushua, he sank into the waters. So it is with us! As long as we keep our eyes fixed on Him, we can stay dry even amid the storms we encounter in this life. “I can do all things through the Messiah which strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).
And in all this, Elohim is being judged! Is His grace sufficient for us like the Bible tells us? “And He said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for My strength is made perfect in weakness” (2 Corinthians 12:9).
Those who are weak realize their need for an outside source of power, while those who are self-sufficient may not realize their need. Many have said that the Bible is only for those who are weak. I would disagree because it is for all who will realize their need. Unfortunately those who think themselves strong do not realize their weakness or need. Yahushua said: “They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous [those who think they are righteous], but sinners to repentance” (Mark 2:17). Those who think that they are reasonably good do not realize their need of the help Yahushua came to offer to mankind, while those who the world considers wretched, miserable, poor, blind and naked realize their need and come to Yahushua. They are the poor in spirit mentioned in Matthew 5:3. We all need the help that only Yahushua came to give mankind for all have been affected by the disease of sin, but not all will realize their need and come to Yahushua for healing. We are suffering from a more deadly disease than Ebola and that is sin, and the Great Physician has the cure.
Is He able to keep us from falling into indulging sin? “Now unto Him that is able to keep us from falling, and to present us faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy” (Jude 24). The Bible says He can. Do we believe what the Bible says? “According to your faith be it unto you” (Matthew 9:29). And how is that faith obtained? By getting to know Elohim on a personal level. We do not have faith in total strangers or someone we know only casually.
We are to be Elohim’s witnesses of His ability to keep and fulfill His promises in us and through us and to us. When people question us as to whether we can be perfect; they are in fact questioning Elohim’s ability to keep us perfect. Yahushua told us to “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). Would He tell us something to do that was impossible to do? “With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26, emphasis added).
How big is your Elohim? How powerful is your Elohim? How mighty is your Elohim? If He cannot keep what He has promised then you had better switch gods, because you may not be worshipping the One True Elohim! Do you think that if Elohim can create the Universe by speaking it into existence; He can also keep you from sinning? See Jude 24. The early followers of Yahushua were called believers. They believed every word that Elohim said, just as a child believes every word that comes from their parents’ mouths. “Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3).
“And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His name is called the Word of Elohim. And the armies which were in heaven followed upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean” (Revelation 19:13, 14). This is the same “fine linen” which we read about in verse 8, as we have just been describing and was described there as “the fine linen is the righteousness of saints."
Yet we are told in the Bible, that all our righteousness is as “filthy rags” and not “fine linen." And yet Elohim takes us as we are: “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17 and transforms us by His Spirit so “that the righteous of the law might be fulfilled in us” (Romans 8:4).
“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of Yahuwah, are changed into the same image from glory unto glory, even as by the Spirit of Yahuwah” (2 Corinthians 3:18). This is what is called “the mystery of godliness: Elohim manifest in the flesh” (1 Timothy 3:18). Our flesh! While this verse is speaking primarily of Yahushua, it is also speaking to our experience where “the word is made flesh” (John 1:14) once again in us, and Elohim is revealed unto the world through us. Jesus said His words were “spirit and they are life” (John 6:63). Just as Elohim spoke this Universe into existence from nothing, the Word transforms us by the Spirit of Elohim into His likeness.
After we repent of our sins and turn to Elohim for the cleansing of the blood of His Son, and as we spend time with Yahushua in prayer and the study of His word, we partake of the Father’s Spirit and life, and we become transformed into His likeness. What food does for the body, so the Word does to our entire being! “So shall My word be that goeth forth out of My mouth: It shall not return unto Me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11). Even the transformation of a sinner into a saint!
If you presently do not spend time reading the Bible, take time to read it and see what happens in your life. For those of us that do, you already know what can happen in your life. That in a nutshell is how we exchange our “filthy rags” for the “fine linen” which is described in this chapter as the “righteousness of saints” and which we must have in order to attend the marriage supper of the Lamb. This white garment was provided for us in the redemption the Messiah wrought out for us in the atoning sacrifice made at the cross. It was made to bring us into “one” (atonement) with the Father!
As Yahushua revealed His Father to us when He lived on planet earth, so those who have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb and restored into Elohim’s likeness by the gift of His Spirit will be revealing once again to those living in the last days of earth’s history what Elohim is like.