When we accept His pursuit and His Mohar, when He places His Name on us and seals us with His Holy Spirit we then find ourselves in the waters of the Mikvah. In coming to the mikvah we are accepting His pursuit of us and telling Him that we are willing to follow, to take up our cross and follow Him daily as Luke 9 tells us to do.
Romans 6:3-4 says, “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”(NIV) For Jesus it was Him telling His Father, “I’m ready to pursue this course of marriage. I’m ready to pursue my Bride and I’m ready to pay the Mohar. I know where it goes, it goes to me paying the Mohar and I’m willing to follow”. That’s why the Father could say, “This is my Son, whom I love, with Him I am well pleased.” John let’s us know that the reason the Father loves Him is because He laid down His life. He was willing to pay the Mohar.
For us though, remember, it’s all about our response to Him because we cannot come to Him unless He draws us. So everything we do is in response to Him. I Peter 3:20b-22 “In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also–not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand–with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.”(NIV) Our Mikvah is not about clean verses unclean, not the removal of dirt from the body. Do you remember as we accept His Mohar, remember from Hebrews 9, His Mohar redeems us and cleanses our conscience. Only with that good conscience can we respond in any way to Him.
I want to talk to you about that phrase, “pledge of a good conscience” because it is essential, it is the whole crux of the matter. The word “pledge”, if you have a different translation you might see the word “response” or “answer”. That word in the Greek literally means “question”. What question might that be? Take a wild guess. Will you marry Me? Will you marry Me? What we do is a response to His question. It is our pledge, our vow, our answer and our response. It is our “yes” to Him.
It’s important that you let your yes be yes. Numbers 30 let’s us know that vows and promises and pledges are irrevocable. They’re forever binding. So we give Him our “yes” in the waters of the Mikvah. We give it to Him out of the good conscience He has given us, the conscience that He purchased for us. Did you catch that? We give Him our “yes” through the waters of the Mikvah, that physical act, out of that good conscience that He purchased for us.
There is a second part, though, to our Mikvah. Do you know that when we come to Christ were entering a nation? We are acknowledging our rebirth into the nation of Israel by the Name of Jesus. I want to share with you what happens when anyone converts to Judaism to this day. A convert to Judaism, whether male or female, is required to immerse themselves in the mikvah waters two or three times marking their rebirth as members of the people of Israel. Isn’t that interesting? Are you aware that in very early Christian history it was very popular that when one was baptized they would be immersed three times, in the Name of the Father, in the Name of the Son, and in the Name of the Holy Spirit and some denominations still practice that? Upon doing so, they exit the waters as a Jew, a citizen of the nation.
Unfortunately, the Christian church has distanced itself from it’s heritage and roots in Judaism. Even though the Old Testament is still read and preached, the church has in a lot of ways removed itself from that same Old Testament. Yes, we are under the New Covenant, but that New Covenant writes the Old Covenant on our hearts. To say it another way, it writes the Israelite Constitution on our hearts. Therefore, we are exiting the waters of our mikvah as citizens of God’s Kingdom, members of God’s household.
This leads us to Acts 2:38-39 where Peter responds to the people on the day of Pentecost when the people ask the disciples, “What shall we do?” “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call.”(NIV)
In other words, go through the waters of the Mikvah, everyone of you. You see, on this particular day and in very early church history there was no separation in the accepting of the pursuit, the accepting of the Mohar, the coming of the Holy Spirit and going through the waters of the Mikvah. Today, we tend to think of those as separate steps or stages. But for them, it was all one fluid motion.
Whereas, we tend to dissect it into different pieces, making salvation more about us getting the steps right than on the work of the Messiah and God’s ability to call us and justify us through His Holy Spirit. Upon exiting the mikvah waters they had re-identified themselves with Yeshua and the New Covenant. They became true citizens of the Kingdom of God, God’s Israel, God’s Royal family (His princes and princesses) under King Yeshua, God’s Ambassadors, God’s Holy Priesthood under His High Priest Jesus Christ.
We also find in Isaiah 44:3-5 the following words: “For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams. One will say, `I belong to the LORD’; another will call himself by the name of Jacob; still another will write on his hand, `The LORD’s,’ and will take the name Israel.”(NIV)
All who go through this process of Kiddushin, go through the waters of the Mikvah and receive the Holy Spirit, it’s all one fluid motion, remember that. Don’t try to divide it in your head like we often do today. It is all one fluid motion. Those who do that, who receive the Spirit, look what it says, one will say I belong to the Lord, another will call himself by the name of Jacob, still another will write on his hand ‘the Lord’s’ and will do what, will take the name Israel. Those of us who are not Jewish by birth, we have to take on that name because it is completely foreign to us. We take on the name of Israel. Therefore our Mikvah gives Jesus our pledge or our answer to His marriage proposal and confers our citizenship as part of Israel.
I know that the book of Romans can be a very deep, deep theological book, but I am going to attempt to sum it up in just a few sentences to show how it fits our theme here. First of all we are dead in our sins in need of a redeemer. We call on the name of the Lord and we are baptized, we go through the water of the Mikvah in the name of Christ and receive and live according to His Spirit, the Seal. We are brought into the nation of Israel and made God’s children and heirs of His promise. And Israel lives how? According to the Spirit by giving sacrifices acceptable to God, living sacrifices. That’s the book of Romans. If you ever wondered why that talk of Israel is right in the middle of the book, that’s why. Because when we call on the Name of Jesus and go through the waters of the Mikvah we are entering the nation. The blessed nation of Israel.
I want to make it very clear that I am in no way advocating Replacement Theology in any way, shape, or fashion. I do not believe the “church” replaces Israel and God still has some very specific promises for the land of Israel and the Jewish people. However, we are now included in those promises in the way God sees fit because we have been grafted into that nation and those Jews who place their faith in Yeshua will also be grafted back into that nation. We are all one nation. There is not one way of salvation for the Jew and one for the Gentile, but one way for all, Jesus Christ. My Jewish brothers and sisters in the faith have their part to play and I have mine as a non-Jewish believer and God decides what those will be. The “church” does not become the new Israel, but upon belief Jews enter into God’s true Israel – the Assembly of the Saints. To say the the “church” becomes the new Israel separates the Old Covenant from the New and thereby separates God’s story into two stories. God’s story is one story. It is one truth and Jesus/Yeshua is the center of all of it. You see, all of the Bride awaits the same beloved Bridegroom!
To accept His pursuit and His Mohar is to call on the Name of the Lord and, of course, everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved. When we believe and confess and call on His Name He gives us His promised Holy Spirit, the promised seal. Again, let’s look at Ephesians 1:13-14 “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory.”(NIV)
II Corinthians 5:5 puts it this way, “Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”(NIV) What is to come? There is more yet to come. He is not done with us yet. Our seal, the Holy Spirit, is our deposit guaranteeing what is to come.
There is something else that is important for us to see. His seal is connected to His Name. We see in I Kings 8:10-11 when the ark of the covenant was brought into Solomon’s Temple it says, “When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the LORD. 11 And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled his temple.”(NIV) Now let’s look at I Kings 9:3 where the Lord is responding to the prayer of Solomon dedicating the Temple, “The LORD said to him: “I have heard the prayer and plea you have made before me; I have consecrated this temple, which you have built, by putting my Name there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.”(NIV) Where did He put His Name? On the Temple!
In I Corinthians 3:16 it says, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?”(NIV) That cloud was God’s presence that filled the Temple. Yes, His Spirit filled the Temple. He made it Holy and placed His Name upon it. Again, later in the book Paul writes in I Corinthians 6:19-20, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”(NIV)
Your not your own, you’ve been bought with a price and your very body is a temple. II Corinthians 3:18 says, “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”(NIV) What did He fill the Temple with? His Spirit. It was called His Glory in I Kings. The Glory that comes from the Spirit, which is in us, and He is giving us an ever increasing Glory, He continues to fill us with His Glory. With ever increasing Glory, that’s what He’s doing in us. If that doesn’t excite you I don’t know what will. So be filled with the Spirit.
Alright, Revelation 2:17 says, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.”(NIV) What might that white stone be? A seal. We receive that name. He is going to give to us a new stone, a white stone, a pure stone, with a name on it. When we receive Him, when we receive His Holy Spirit He literally marks us with His Name, the Name upon which we call upon. He Marks us with His Name.
And of course, that Spirit according to II Thessalonians 2:13 sets us apart for Him, “But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.”(NIV) The Spirit continues to sanctify, it continues to set us apart.
Remember our Kiddushin, it is a ceremony and period of sanctification. He sanctifies. We who are believers in Yeshua the Messiah are living our lives in a period of sanctification. That is where we are at, we are being set apart for that awesome day. That day when our faith is made sight and we see face to face our beloved Bridegroom.
So let’s recap this amazing segment. When we accept His pursuit and His Mohar He seals us with His Holy Spirit and His Name so that our future is guaranteed. That future is with our Beloved Bridegroom forever and we will forever bare His Name.
So how do we respond to those steps that He took as the Bridegroom? How do we respond? Who are we? How do we accept this offer of marriage? Well, as you might guess, because He loved us first and because we would not have known how to love Him without that, our steps are a little bit different than His. The same, but a little varied.
The first one, of course, is that we must accept His pursuit. Remember, there was a pursuit set in motion. We must accept that pursuit. In other words, sooner or later, it’s got to grab our attention. We must accept the fact that He is pursuing us. John 6:44 says, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.”(NIV) The Father makes the arrangements, the Father calls the Bride to the Son.
We also see that in Isaiah 54:5&10; 55:1-8 scripture says, “For your Maker is your husband–the LORD Almighty is his name–the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. The LORD will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit–a wife who married young, only to be rejected,” says your God. “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the LORD your Redeemer. “To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again. Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you….”Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David. See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander of the peoples. Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations that do not know you will hasten to you, because of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.” Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.”(NIV)
Do you see the pursuit? The invitation and the pursuit. God pursued the nation of Israel, His people, after they had abandoned Him and made them a Light to the nations. His Son, the Son of David, is His ultimate Light. He is in pursuit of a people, a people to call His own. He is in pursuit. In pursuit of a Bride for His Son. We have to recognize His pursuit and follow. Come to me while I may be found.
And, of course, we know that when Jesus went to His disciples in pursuit He said, “Come follow me.” Come you who are thirsty, come drink from the waters of life, come follow me. There is a pursuit set in motion. Therefore, our first step is to accept His pursuit when He calls us to follow Him. For today is the day of salvation. (2 Cor. 6:2)