The Bride of Christ: the Jewels in His Crown      copyrighted 1993
       by Priscilla Van Sutphin

Then , I John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Revelation 21:2

The royal daughter is all glorious within the palace; Her clothing is woven with gold.  She is brought to the King in robes of many colors, the virgins who follow her, shall be brought to You.  (Songs 1:4) With gladness and rejoicing they shall be brought. They shall enter the Kings palace.  Instead of your fathers, shall be your sons, whom you shall make princes in all the earth.  I will make your name to be remembered in all generations; Therefore the people shall praise you forever. 
Psalm 45:13-17

Your people will offer themselves willingly in the day of Your power, in the beauty of holiness and in holy array out of the womb of the morning; to You will spring forth Your young men who are as the dew.  The Lord has sworn, and will not change His mind, " You are a priest forever after the manner and order of Melchizadek. 
[Hebrews 5:10, 7:11, 15, 21]  Psalm 110:3-4

3b) [the Shulamite] Your name is ointment poured forth; {Jesus our myrrh} therefore the virgins love you.
4 )  Lead me away ! [Hosea 11:4]  {virgins=pure in heart} [the daughters of Jerusalem] We will run after you [Phil 3:12-14] [the Shulamite-Bride of Christ ] The king has brought me into his chambers.  [Psalm 45:14-15] [the daughters of Jerusalem] We will be glad and rejoice in you. We will remember your love more than wine. [the Shulamite] Rightly do they love you. {amplified of this last sentence is: The upright [ are not offended at  your choice, but sincerely ] love you.}
Song of Solomon 1:3b-4 Amp

The Zondervan Bible Encyclopedia states that in Semitic languages "l and n are interchangeable."  Therefore the Shulamite mentioned could be a Shunamite (woman of Shunem).   Abishag was a Shunamite woman taken to minister to King David in his old age. (I Kings 1:1-4,15; 2:17-22).  She may have been the Shulamite of Song of Solomon.  Remember, they brought her to David to lay with him to keep him warm, but he did not have relations with her other than her covering him to help keep him warm and ministered to his other needs.  David was a type of  Christ and Abishag a type of the bride.  Lying down is symbolic of dying and she laid down with him, speaking of intimacy and laying down our lives with Christ.

Solomon, as David's successor would have acquired Abishag along with the rest of David's concubines. Another  Shunamite was the wealthy woman who provided a room for Elisha, and whose son, having been smitten by the sun, was restored to life by Elisha.(2 Kings 4:8) ( That is another whole typology; Elisha being symbolic of end-time ministry, having the double portion, and sun representative of the Son, and the Shunamite symbolic of the Bride of Christ , her son being representative of the offspring of the remnant)  Also "Shulamite" is a companion form of  Solomon ! . { for example: Judith is the feminine form of Judah}  Shulamite could be read as Shelomith (fem. form) and "Shelomo" (Solomon).  Shelomith appears in Greek as Solome.  It's meaning is Solomoness ["queen" or "princess"]  Reading the previous passage in Songs then takes on  greater understanding with this translation.

The Shulamite speaks of her Beloved (Solomon as a type of Christ), " Your name is ointment poured forth; therefore the virgins love you.  Surely all the names of Jesus are like ointment poured forth as they represent the character of God.  And Jesus, our "myrrh", poured Himself out on the cross to accomplish our healings so rightly it is that we should love Him.

Hosea 11:4 AMP says: I drew them with cords of a man, with bands of love, and I was to them as one who lifts up and eases the yoke over their cheeks, and I bent down to them and gently laid food before them.

What a beautiful picture and poetry of the love of Jesus!  He came as the gentle servant.  He healed and delivered, and gently taught them.(food representing the teaching of the Lord)  He bent down to wash the feet of the apostles, as a symbol of His servanthood, as an example to us of the humility and servanthood we  should also demonstrate as sons and daughters of the King.

Now look back to Hosea 11:3 AMP.   Yet I taught Ephraim [means doubly fruitful ] to walk, taking them by their arms or taking them up in My arms, but they did not know that I healed them.  Not even the apostles totally understood what happened till after He again appeared to them.  And Israel certainly did not know they had been "healed".   Isaiah speaks of double honor, and double in reference to possession of the land spoken of in Isaiah 61:7.  We are about to receive that double blessing in the days ahead..a return of apostolic holiness and power.

         There are many types of the Bride and Christ in the old testament:
         Adam and Eve - Christ being the second Adam representing sinless marriage.
         Abishag and David - Christ and His bride in intimacy with Him.
         Solomon and the Shulamite - as above
         Abraham and Sarah - Christ and Israel  (Jeremiah 3:6-14, Ezekial 16:8-14)
         Isaac and Rebekah - Christ and His church  (Genesis 24)
         Jacob and Rachel - Christ and His church (Genesis 29) Remember Leah, the unlovely wife in comparison,   representing the 1st bride of Christ, Israel (1st covenant), and Rachel, representing the 2nd covenant, the  church of Jesus Christ. He laid down His life for the both of them. (Romans 12:26)
         Joseph and Asenath -a type of Christ and His Bride.
         Moses and Zipporah - (Esodus 2:21)  Here Moses is a type of Christ as the deliverer.  Zipporah, a foreigner, representing the gentile Bride grafted in to the branch.  Look at Exodus 4:24-26 AMP.

v. 24) And: Along the way at a [ resting] place, the Lord met Moses and sought to kill him [make him actually and almost fatally ill].  V.25)  [Now apparently he had failed to circumsize one of his sons, his wife being opposed to it; but seeing his life in such danger] Zipporah took a flint knife and cut off the foreskin of her son and cast it to touch Moses' feet, and said, 'surely a husband of blood you are to me !'
The bride exclaims."surely a husband of blood you are to me!" According to the scripture Zipporah SAW that the Lord was about to kill Moses! Think about that!  v. 26 says, When He let Moses alone [to recover] , Zipporah said, 'a husband of blood are you, because of the circumcision.'  Circumcision is symbolic of covenant relationship , and cutting off of the flesh life [dying to the flesh].  Blood is a symbol of the life of all flesh.   Remember , " The life is in the blood". The Israelites were not to eat, or drink the blood.  Kosher law was to drain the blood out of the animal when it was killed.   Jesus is our husband of blood !  He shed His blood that we might LIVE.  He is the Way , the Truth and the Life.  To live in HIM, we too, must DIE first to our flesh.   The Holy Spirit's work of sanctification is to produce that death, then life in us. And in Revelation it says, that we will overcome by the  word of our testimony and the blood of the Lamb !

     A.W.Tozer speaks of this dying in a short teaching on the "Old Cross and the New".  He states, " the heart that learns to die with Christ soon knows the blessed experience of rising with Him, and all the world's persecutions cannot still the high note of holy joy that springs up in the soul that has become the dwelling place of the Holy Spirit."."Simply, we must repent & believe.  He must forsake his sins, & then go on to forsake himself.  Let him cover nothing, defend nothing, excuse nothing. Let him not seek to make terms with God, but let him bow his/her head before the stroke of God's stern displeasure & acknowledge himself worthy to die."
..Further he states,  "We who preach the gospel must not think ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ & the world.  We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, or the world of sports, or modern education. We are not diplomats, but PROPHETS, & our message is not a compromise, but an ultimatum." Remember that Jesus said, " Do not suppose that I came to bring peace, but rather a sword!"

The high priest and the virgin bride  - (Leviticus 21:1-13amp)
Salmon and Rahab - another type of Christ and the bride. (Joshua 2:1,11-13,   6:22-25)  Look at Rahab the harlot's words from  Joshua  2:11-13 amp   When we heard it, our hearts meltedneither did spirit or courage remain anymore in any man, because of you; for the Lord Your God, HE  IS  GOD  in heaven above, and on earth beneath.  (Heb. 11:31)    v. 12)  Now then, I pray you, swear to me by the Lord, since I have shown you kindness,  that you also will show kindness to my father's house, and give me a sure sign, and save alive my father and mother, my brothers and sisters, and all they have, and deliver us from DEATH.  Rahab is symbolic of the gentile bride...who is then grafted into the vine.  She ended up being in the line of Christ.

Boaz & Ruth -  Christ and His bride  (Ruth 3:1-11a) Boaz was the son of Salmon and Rahab, & his name means "In Him is Strength"  Boaz is a type of Jesus, our Kinsman-Redeemer.  Ruth means "friendship" & is a type of the gentile bride of Christ grafted in to the vine.  Naomi means "My delight" & is symbolic of Israel, the first bride of Christ.
                 Look at  Ruth 3:1  Then Naomi, her mother-in-law said to Ruth, "My daughter, shall I not seek rest or a home for you, that you may prosper?"   
                 Rest symbolizes refreshing, relaxation, cessation from work.  Home - is a symbol of God our dwelling place (habitation), the church and  the 'Way', as Paul called it. v.2)  And now is not Boaz, with whose maidens you were, our relative?  See he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor.
Winnowing - in Hebrew, zarah - means cast away, disperse, fan, scatter away, spread, strew..  
Barley -symbolic of poverty, lowliness, low reputation, Passover harvest  
Threshing-symbol of separation, trampling underfoot, chastening,  judgement.
Here is a picture of Christ and the work of the cross, casting away our separation from God, our judgement and punishment for sin, our poverty.

V.3)  Wash & annoint yourself, therefore, & put on your best clothes & go down to the threshing floor; but do not make yourself known to the man until he is finished eating & drinking.
This reminds me of the wedding feast parable & the symbolism of Christ washing the feet of the disciples, shedding His outer garments. Ruth representing the bride must clean herself,  prepare herself for going to Him.
          Eating - symbol of meditation or digestion of food, and  Drinking - symbol of imbibing, and fellowship.
          v.4)  But when he lies down, notice the place where he lies; then go and uncover his feet, & lie down; & he will tell you what to do.
          Lie down -symbol of sleep, rest, refreshment , spiritual indifference, or physical death, or death of the flesh.
          Uncover - expose        
          Feet -symbol of walk, conduct, formal possession
I believe this is a beautiful picture of Christ our Redeemer, laying down His life for us, & the bride is told to go lie down & uncover his feet.  In Jewish tradition this is an action for betrothal.  And in this scripture we as the bride are to also die to self, to rest & be refreshed by His sacrifice, to walk the way He walked & to depend on HIM for what to do.  Dependency on God is a major qualification for sonship.  Jesus said, unless you become as little children you will not enter the kingdom of God.  The scriptures also say repent so that times of refreshing may come upon you.  Death to our flesh is a requirement for power that comes through refreshing.   We are also told the Comforter will come & He will lead you into all truth. 
           v.5-7)  & Ruth said to her, all that you say to me, I will do.  So, she went down to the floor & did all her mother-in-law told her.  And when Boaz had eaten & drunk, & his heart was merry, he went to lie down at the end of the heap of grain.  Then Ruth came softly, & uncovered his feet & lay down.
Grain- 6872 (from 6887); [a parcel (as packed up); also a kernel or particle (as if a package); bag, bundle, least grain, small stone]----6887 (prim root); [to cramp (lit. or fig.)  ADVERSARY, to be in affliction, besiege, bind up, distress, enemy, narrower, oppress, pangs, etc.]                                        
      The idea being a kernel of grain, having to die before life can be brought forth. Jesus our Kinsman-Redeemer laid down His life on the heap of grain, our affliction, our sin, our distress-all that our adversary has done to oppress us...that we might be restored to intimacy with God.  And the bride responds to this great act of love, by doing the same in dying to self & surrendering her life in the hands of the Living God, in obedience to her Maker, her Protector.  Jesus said He who seeks to save his life will lose it, & he who seeks to lose his life, it will be saved.  We are told in scripture that if we suffer with Him, then we will also share in His glory.

        v.8)  At midnight, the man was startled, & turned over, & behold a woman lay at his feet!
When the bridegroom stirs, & comes at the midnight hour, behold a church, spotless bride, ready in the final hour.  The Holy Spirit will make it so through His annointing & cleansing power - the Spirit of Burning.  
        v.9)  & he said, "Who are you? " & she answered," I am Ruth, your maidservant.  Spread your wing (of protection) over your maidservant, for you are next of kin."
Ruth means friendship.  The bride will be a friend of God, a prophetic church.  The prophets are God's friends, those He has relationship with & speaks to.  The end-times church will be a prophetic church.  Moses said, "I would that all God's people were prophets !"
         v.10)  And he said, "Blessed be you of the Lord, my daughter; for you have made this last loving-kindness  greater than the former, for you have not gone after young men, whether poor or rich.
This is a picture of the purity of the end-times bride (not going after young men - a virgin) the lack of adultery (meaning idolatry) in the bride.
        v.11a) And now, my daughter, FEAR NOT; I will do for you ALL YOU REQUIRE ! (emphasis mine)
This is His promise to us that He will supply all our needs for establishing His kingdom on earth through His riches in glory. He is our RESOURCE for everything we need.

         v.15)  Also he said,  "Bring the  mantle  you  are  wearing, & hold  it.  So [Ruth] held it & he measured out 6 measures of barley, & laid it on her; & she went into the town.
        Mantle-symbol of spiritual covering      6 - is the number of man in this case   Barley-symbol of Passover harvest in this example, poverty, lowliness.        In the days ahead Jesus Who is our spiritual covering will pour out onto the bride the fullness of the harvest of the souls  of the lame, the outcast, the jeered at,    
Skipping to  Ruth 4:13-16 it says 
...So Boaz took Ruth, and she became his wife; & he went into her, & the Lord caused her to conceive, & she bore a son.  And the women said to Naomi (symbolic of Israel)," Blessed be the Lord, Who has not left you this day without a close kinsman, & may his name be famous in Israel.  And may he be to you a Restorer of Life & a nourisher and support of your old-age; for your daughter-in-law who loves you who is better to you than 7 sons has born him!  Then Naomi took the child  laid him in her bosom, & became his nurse.

         Now Naomi was old...and SHE becomes his wetnurse?  What is in this?  Son-offspring of the bride, fruit of her womb, fruit she bears is restoration, reconciliation.  This bride of Christ in the end-times is about to give birth also; to Christ in us, the Hope of glory.   And the church like the women in this scripture says to Israel represented by Naomi, the Lord has not abandoned you.  Spiritual Israel is composed of Jewish & Gentile believers (The One new man).  Ruth being espoused is better to Naomi than 7 sons means I  believe-more loving, & faithful than the fullness of Israel, for the Holy Spirit has birthed that in her.  Ruth is more fruitful; the Bride is to be made without spot or wrinkle, by the power of the Holy Spirit Himself.  And Naomi in v. 16, nurses the child in her bosom which I believe represents gentiles & natural jews coming to the Lord. The bosom represents a place of nurturing loving on the Lord Jesus Christ. So the OFFSPRING is nurtured & (accepted) by Naomi...

        Another typology of Christ & His Bride is in the story of: Esther & Ahaseurus - Ahaseurus means "king" & Esther means "star",  but Esther's Hebrew name was  Hadassah  which means "myrtle".  Here is a picture of the King of Kings taking for Himself Hadassah representing the second bride of Christ & changing her name from fruitfulness which myrtle is symbolic of, to star.  It says we will shine like the stars in the heavens.
      Isaiah 55:13 says, "Instead of the briar shall come up the myrtle tree."  According to Zondervan's Bible Encyclopedia, the myrtle is symbolic of fruitfulness.  It grows abundantly in Israel, especially around the lake of Galilee & near Samaria & Jerusalem. The berries from this plant produce a perfume & precious oil which is used medicinally.  Because it's an evergreen, its boughs are used for the feast of Tabernacles. (Christ making us His habitation ) ....(Nehemiah 8:15)  Russian and Turkish leather smells unique because myrtle bark & roots are used in the tanning process.  Queens of England also carried sprigs of myrtle in their wedding bouquets as a symbol of peace. One of the fruits of salvation.
When God builds His character in us we too are like a perfume to the world.  Our boughs (as believers are likened to trees in scripture) become a resting place for those seeking shelter from life's storms. And in tanning, these things are rubbed into the skin of the animal.  Just like the Holy Spirit rubs on us till we smell like Jesus.  The fruit of our UNION with the HOLY ONE is peace. Haggai 2 says" & in this place I will bring peace."

Vashti means beautiful woman.  She was the deposed & divorced wife of King Ahaseurus, who represents the first bride chosen by Christ, Israel.  Turn to Esther Chapter 1. 1:9)  Queen Vashti also made a feast for the women in the royal palace which belonged to king Ahaseurus. On the seventh day when the heart of the king was merry with wine, he commanded  
                                   Mehuman, -  meaning faithful
                                   Biztha - meaning a  eunuch (one incapacitated for wedlock)                                      Harbona - meaning bald man (uncovered head)  [Jesus gave
                                       up His position in heaven]
                                   Bigtha - means gift of God
                                   Abagtha - means father of the winepress
                                   Zether - means sacrifice
                                   Carcas - meaning severe, 
Seven eunuchs who served in the presence of king Ahaseurus, to  bring Queen Vashti before the king wearing the royal crown, in order to show her beauty to the people & the officials (kings & nations) for she was beautiful to behold. But Vashti refused to come at the king's command brought by his eunuchs; therefore the king was furious, & his anger burned within him. (Israel not fulfilling her commission)

    Eunuchs were confidants to the king & I believe in this example represent the prophets.  God speaks to and through His prophets, & in this example they care for the women or the Bride if you will.  They are the watchmen in the king's court.  They are asked to bring Vashti before the King so He can show off her beauty to the people but like the first bride of Christ she is rebellious & refuses to come to the king.  See God wanted her to be something the rest of the world would be jealous for,  but she could not be on her own strength, so as the names of the eunuchs spell out the plan of salvation - the character of Christ .  It took Christ to die for us - for us to be able to have the beauty God desired to show to the world.  We can't get holy by ourselves, it takes the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to sanctify us that we can be beautiful to the world.   

In  Jeremiah 3:8 amp it says.
"And I saw, even though Judah knew that for this very cause of committing adultery [idolatry]  I, the Lord, had put faithless Israel away & given her a bill of divorcement.." Just as God divorced Israel,  Ahaseurus divorces Vashti & looks for a new wife for Himself.

          v.18b)   says, "Memucan (a Persian prince) said of the ladies of the kingdom, 'They have heard of the behavior of the queen.  Thus there will be excessive contempt and wrath.'  And  v. 19b) says,  "let the king five her  royal position to another who is better than she."
Thus the Lord brought salvation to the Gentiles, for Israel did not accept His love & authority.  So how can the world know what is right behavior from a rebellious acting church?  This is the implication of the words here, but through the righteous blood of the Lamb Christ Jesus there is a way for the world to come to Him.  Our own righteousness is as filthy rags so His sacrifice made the way for us to be accepted as holy, that we might have intimacy with our King. (Justification)

It says in Esther 2:5 Now in Shushan the citadel there was a certain Jew, whose name was Mordecai, (the great, great grandson of Kish).  Mordecai means "dedicated to Mars" and  Mars was the Greek god of war.  Mars (697); Ares in the Greek is a derivative of (4078) pegnumi which in some simpler forms means "to fix" [Christ dedicated Himself to fix or restore relationship with the Father through His death on the cross]  ie; specifically it means to set up a tent  (a covering) .  In the desert, the tent of meeting was the Tabernacle of God. Thus Mordecai is a type of Christ.

Esther 2:6 says Kish had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captives who had been captured with Jeconiah, King of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away.  7) and Mordecai had brought up Hadasseh, that is Esther (fruitful star), his uncles' daughter for she had neither father nor mother. [Esther as an orphan is also a symbolic type of the Gentile church] The young woman was lovely & beautiful.  When her father & mother died, Mordecai took her in as his own daughter.  [Similarly, Christ (Whom Mordecai represents) takes us in ..& becomes our Protector, & Father to the Fatherless, demonstrating the Spirit of Adoption for those who are grafted into the True Vine.]

In verse 8 Esther is taken to the king's palace, into the care of Hegai (which means Sprinkler), the custodian of the women.  The Holy Spirit is the custodian of the church which is often in scripture represented by a woman.  Hebrews 12:24 amp says... And to Jesus, the Mediator-Go between, Agent-of a new covenant, & to the sprinkled blood which speaks [of mercy], a better & nobler & more gracious message than the blood of Abel [which cried out for vengeance]. The Most Holy Spirit's job is to testify of Jesus.  He is our teacher.  And in verse 9 it talks about the beginning of preparations, & the Holy Spirit is the One Who is preparing the body of Christ for her wedding. 

V.9)  Now the young woman pleased him, & she obtained his favor, ( Jesus said, blessed are those who have not seen yet believed) so he readily gave beauty preparations to her, besides her allowance.  Then seven choice maidservants were provided for her from the king's palace, & he moved her & her maid-servants to the best place in the house of the women.
      To me this is a picture of the favor of the Lord being poured out because of the love of the bride being expressed to the King of Kings.  And it also speaks of obedience of the bride which wins favor with God. ( 1 John 3..If you love Me , then obey Me.) Also, without faith, it is impossible to please God the scriptures say, so faith is a necessary ingredient for the favor of the Lord. So then He gives to the bride favor; His GRACE to become beautiful & this goes beyond her allowance that is what is normally given to the believer. Our allowance is our inheritance in Christ of salvation & all that entails which includes the gifts of the Spirit. The preparations are the cleansing & purifying process which makes us into the pure and spotless bride of Christ.  Being moved to the best place I think represents intimacy with Christ, but more than that since that is every believer's right,  a deeper intimacy which brings the authority & fruitfulness, & gift of Christ Himself. Christ birthed in us, the hope of glory the ministry of Christ & the greater things He spoke of.

In verse 12 it further states that there were 12 months of preparation 12 being the number of apostolic fullness); (12 apostles, 12 tribes) 
6 months with oil of myrrh (representing the suffering that produces a sweet fragrance  to the Lord- His character in us ), 
&  6 months with perfumes & oils, preparations for beautifying women. ( 6 representing man meaning the { 8 } fullness required by each person).  
The last 6 months, represents the equipping and anointing of the Lord, & the teaching by the Lord in preparation for the apostolic commission.  (Romans 5:1-5) God is interested in our character so that when He pours out His glory we are ready to receive the fullness of what He has for us.
v.13)  Thus prepared, each young woman went to the king, & she was given whatever she desired to take with  her form the women's quarters to the palace. 14)  In the evening she went, & in the morning she returned to the second house of the women, to the custody of Shaashgaz, the king's eunuch, who kept the concubines.  She would not go into the king unless the king delighted in her. 
Jesus said, "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate of destruction, & there are many who go in by it.  Because narrow is the gate and DIFFICULT is the way which leads to life,  & there are FEW who find it." Matthew 7:13-14 NKJV
       Verse 15 says that when Esther went into the king, she requested nothing but what Hegai advised.  And Esther obtained favor in the sight of all who saw her. Like Esther relied on Hegai for advise, we need to be dependent on the Holy Spirit for every action we take. He alone knows the will of the Father for us.  We must follow the ways of Jesus, not our own way. We must come to a total surrender to Him as Adonai.  Paul said he was a slave of Jesus.  Should we be anything less?  Our lives are not our own. We were bought & paid for with the precious blood of Jesus. 

          It says that Esther obtained favor in the sight of all who saw her.  We also, as grafted into the vine, inherit the blessings of Israel, which means "favor with God & man".  I've noticed the longer my own walk & the more surrender produced in me, the more favor with man I see.  When we have been prepared for what God wants for us, in the way of  HIS  ministry, HE will make man to notice as well. Seeking favor on our own is dead works & selfish ambition.  We can do NOTHING apart from Him.  He is the Vine & we are the branches.  The tree gets its water & nourishment through the roots, & the branches get theirs from the trunk. Likewise with the vine.

          v. 17 says that king Ahaseurus loved Esther more than all the other women, & she obtained GRACE & FAVOR in his sight more than all the virgins; so he set his royal crown upon her head & made her queen instead of Vashti. 
Vashti is figurative of unfaithfulness, in general, as well as unfaithful Israel, the object of the first covenant.  The second "wife" , the combined branch of Jewish & Gentile believers is through the blood of Jesus, made more beautiful than the first.  Matthew 13 has several parables which speak about the sower & the seed, the parable of the wheat & tares growing together, & the parable of the mustard seed which speaks of the least being greatest in the kingdom of God, & the pearl of great price which is about giving up everything for the kingdom of God-for union & communion with the King of Kings.  And all these seem to make it clear that not everyone who says "Lord, Lord" will enter the kingdom of heaven.
             In verse 18, it says, the king made a great feast, (symbolic of the banqueting feast of Christ our Bridegroom), the feast of Esther for all his officials & servants; & he proclaimed a holiday in the provinces and  gave gifts according to the generosity of a king.  Likewise, our King of Kings will reward us in heaven according to our works and here on earth the Holy spirit gives us gifts, out of His love,  "by measure" it says in 1 Corinthians.  As we walk in obedience to Christ, He will also & increase the measure of gifting for the greater works we will do.                                
           The Old Testament is rich with symbolism of the things which came through Christ & has much to teach us for our own times.  Malachi  3:16-17 NKJ says.....Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, and the Lord listened and heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord and who meditate on His name.  "They shall be Mine", says the Lord of Hosts, "on the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them."

      The process of gemstones , being found, cut, polished, & set, is an analogy for the preparation of the Bride of Christ. The gemstones mentioned in Revelation 21 are similar to the gemstones that were on the breastplate of the high-priest of the old testament.  There were 12 stones on the breastplate, and 12 loaves of showbread on the table before the altar, one for each tribe of Israel.  And there are 12 layers of gemstones in the foundation of New Jerusalem in Revelation 21. Twelve is the number symbolically of apostolic fullness.  The urim & thummin were in the backside pocket of the breastplate, over the chest of the high priest, close to his heart.  In Ephesians 6, we are to put on the "breastplate of righteousness" as a part of our armor.  Christ is  our righteousness (Jehovah Tsidkenu).  Lets look at how the gems relate to our character & it's development.

Revelation 21:9-27, & 22:17 NKJ
9)Then one of the 7 angels who had the 7 bowls filled with the 7 last plagues came to me & talked with me saying, :"Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb's wife."
10)Then he carried me away in the Spirit to a great & high mountain, & showed me the great city, the holy city descending out of heaven from God.
11) having the glory of God. And her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.
12) Also she had a great & high wall with 12 gates & 12 angels at the gates, & names written on them, which are the names of the 12 tribes of the children of Israel.  13) 3 gates on the east, 3 gates on the north, 3 gates on the south, & 3 gates on the west.
14) Now the wall of the city had 12 foundations, & on them were the names of the 12 apostles of the Lamb.  ( On us is the revelation of the Son that they had.)
15) And he who talked with me had a gold reed to measure the city, its gates & its wall.
16) And the city is laid out as a square, its length is as great as its breadth. And he measured the city with the reed: 12 furlongs (1377 mi). Its length, breadth, & height are equal.
17) Then he measured its wall- 144 cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is of an angel. (216 feet)
18) And the construction of its wall was of jasper; & the city was pure gold, like clear glass.
19) And the foundation of the walls of the city were adorned with all kinds of precious stones.  The first foundation was JASPER  The second foundation was SAPPHIRE,  The third foundation was CHALCEDONY   The fourth  EMERALD  The fifth SARDONYX  The sixth SARDIUS   The seventh CHRYSOLITE   The eighth  BERYL   The ninth   TOPAZ   The tenth CHRYSOPRASE   The eleventh JACINTH, and The twelfth AMETHYST &
the twelve gates were 12 PEARLS; each individual gate was one pearl. And the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass....
22But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty & the Lamb  are  its temple Think about that a moment! No Temple because the LORD is the temple! {Heaven is His Throne, earth is His footstool}                  
23) And the city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for  the Glory of God illuminated it, & the LAMB IS IT'S LIGHT.
24) And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in it's light, & the kings of the earth bring their glory & honor to it. It's gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there) & they shall bring the glory & the honor of the nations into it. But there shall be no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination, or a lie, but only those  who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.  
          Rev. 22:17 NKJ "& the Spirit & the Bride say "come!" & let him who hears say, "Come!" & let him who thirsts come. And whoever desires, let him take of the water of life freely."   I believe the Lord showed me the saints (we) are the stones.  We are the jewels in the foundation of New Jerusalem. I began to wonder about the similarities between the stones in the breastplate of the old testament priest & the stones in Revelation, & began to study the symbolism associated with gems or jewels in the word of God.  There are charts that follow which show the 12 precious stones throughout the ages.   

Cooper in "The Precious Stones of the Bible" shows:
Carnelian - Blood red - translucent - belonging to the tribe of REUBEN        
Peridot -     Yellowish green        -  SIMEON
Emerald -     Green                 -  LEVI                                                     
Carbuncle - the almandite garnet   -  JUDAH
Lapis lazuli - Sparkling - blue      -  DAN                                                      
Rock Crystal - Sparkling - clear    -  NAPTHALI
Jacinth -    Fiery, yellow           -  GAD                                                      
Agate -       Banded colors         -  ASHER
Amethyst - Modern amethyst        -  ISSACHAR                                              
Citrine -     Yellow, clear           -  ZEBULUN
Onyx  -    White and brown layers -  JOSEPH                                              
Plasma -    Green - translucent     -  BENJAMIN

The Twelve Precious Stones Through The Ages
Hebrew     Masoretic-Jewish Septuagint      Josephus   Authorized        Rev.Version
                Translation     Greek-250b.c.  90 A.D.  Version-1611A.D.      1884
Odem         Sardius          Sardion         Sardonyx       Sardius          Sardius
Pitdah         Topaz        Topaz ion         Topazos        Topaz            Topaz         
Bareketh    Emerald       Smaragdos       Smaragdos   Carbuncle   Carbuncle or Emerald
Nophek     Carbuncle      Anthrax       Anthrax        Emerald   Emerald (or carbuncle)
Sappir       Sapphire        Sapphiros       Iaspis       Sapphire          Sapphire  
Yahalom     Diamond        Iaspis         Sapphiros     Diamond     Diamond (or Sardonyx)
Leshem       Opal          Ligurion          Liguros         Ligure       Jacinth(or amber)
Shebo        Turquoise       Achates       Amethystos      Agate           Agate  
Ahlomah     Amethyst      Amethystos       Achates    Amethyst         Amethyst
Tarshish    Chrysolite     Chrysolithos      Chrysolithos     Beryl          Beryl (chalcedony) Shoham     Onyx         Beryllion           Onyx           Onyx    Onyx (or beryl)
Yashpheh    Jasper       Onychion        Beryllus       Jasper           Jasper     

                           Revelation                Modern
Hebrew                Foundation Stones      Birth Stones
Odem                 Jacinth                   Garnet
Pitdah                Amethyst                Amethyst
Bareketh              Jasper                  Aquamarine
Nophek               Sapphire                 Diamond
Sappir               Chalcedony                Emerald
Yahalom              Emerald                   Pearl
Leshem               Sardonyx                 Ruby
Shebo                 Sardius                  Peridot
Ahlomah             Chrysolite                 Sapphire
Tarshish               Beryl                    Opal
Shoham                Topaz                   Topaz
Yashpheh              Chrysoprase            Turquoise

The following information also comes from the above reference. Kunz in "Curious Lore of Precious Stones" gives two lists, one for Aaron's time & A second for the second temple, as follows.

Time of Aaron                               Second Temple
1.          Red Jasper                        Carnelian
2.          Light green serpentine             Peridot
3.          Green feldspar                     Emerald                
4.          Garnet                               Ruby
5.          Lapis lazuli                        Lapis lazuli
6.          Onyx                                 Onyx
7.          Brown agate                   Sapphire or jacinth
8.          Banded agate                     Banded agate
9.          Amethyst                          Amethyst
10.        Yellow jasper                         Topaz
11.         Malachite                            Beryl
12.      Green jasper, jade                Green jasper, jade

Kunz in the same book gives the following
Odem                    Reuben                 Red
Pitdah                   Simeon                 Green
Bareketh                Levi                    White, black, red
Nophek                 Judah                  Sky-blue
Sappir                   Issachar               Black
Yahalom                 Zebulun                White 
Leshem                  Dan                    Sapphire color
Shebo                   Gad                    Gray
Alemah                 Naphtali                Wine color
Tarshish                Asher                  Pearl color
Shoham                 Joseph                 Very black
Yashpheh               Benjamin           Colors of all the stones

      I  found some interesting information in the Encyclopedia Brittanica.  Many in "new age" religions & witchcraft are purporting the value of crystals & gems in healing again in this age.  The idea of gems possessing healing or miraculous powers goes way back in pagan religions. Up to the 18th century, gems played a role in popular "medicine".  Pope Clement VII died in 1534.  He had taken pulverized gems as'medicine'valued at 40,000 ducuts. An early document on this subject is a didactic poem by a Greek seer & priest, Onomachritus (5th century b.c.) in which the writer apparently employing Babylonian ideas, discusses the peculiar 'powers' of gemstones.  Unfortunately it didn't help Pope Clement much.
          Taken out of the ground, few gemstones are attractive. Only after the gem cutter has taken them out of the ground & has given them proper proportions, cutting, grinding, sanding, & polishing to emphasize it's pleasing characteristics may it be called a gem.  Likewise, we, who are made in the image of the ROCK of Salvation, Who is Jesus Christ, are fashioned by Him to reflect an image pleasing to the Father, in the likeness of Christ, that we might be a true 'living epistle' to the world.
          "Identification of stones is made only after one or more of the physical constants is determined. " Likewise God uses testing & trials in this manner to determine our constancy under fire to HIM.  (See Romans 5:1-5)

          Only a few gems are idiochromatic ( a distinct color).  Most gems are allochromatic (colorless when pure).  I liken this to the way God does not want us to have white-washed walls but transparent walls, so that we are real to the eyes of others.  Color is dependent on impurities, which act as pigmenting agents. In most instances, allochromatic gems are translucent or transparent.  Opal is the only gem which is amorphous (not found in a crystalline state).  The impurity of copper in emeralds is what gives emeralds their beautiful green color. Like gems, each of us has impurities which make us unique & 'colorful' in our personalities.  Color is the most important aspect of gems, (except the diamond).  Color is like character in us that God wants to transform, for example stubbornness.  He will change stubborness to resoluteness as a pleasing characteristic.  Thus changing us from one type of stone to a most precious diamond.  
     Even distribution of color is important in transparent gems; even as it is important that our character be even & unchangeable under testing.  In some translucent stones; ie; agate or heliotrope (bloodstone), their mottled appearance (uneven pigment distribution) is characteristic.  
     In the body of Christ there is an unevenness to the distribution of certain gifts and strengths in character, ie: each of us has a different role to play in the Kingdom of God, so He has delightfully & individually measured, gifts & characteristics in people to match their calling.  Can the eye say to the hand,  I have no need of you?  Can the heart say to the eyes, I have no need of you?  He measures out gifts of mercy & compassion to those called to healing, than to those in administration for example sometimes.  

          Brilliance of gems is measured by light refraction.  The amount of total reflected light increases with the index of refraction.  The diamond is the most brilliant.  Interestingly, the ancients considered sapphires, rubies, and emeralds more precious than diamonds largely because the diamond was too difficult to cut and polish with primitive tools.  Likewise we are measured by how much we reflect the light of Christ's love to the world.  The scriptures say, "You will know them by their fruit." Also diamonds are considered today to be the most valuable.  And like it takes more effort for the gem cutter to cut & polish the diamond, so does it take more time & effort sometimes for the Master Gem  Cutter to produce beautiful diamonds in His kingdom. (also diamonds take a long time to develop from coal chunks to diamonds.
          Flashes of red and blue which are seen when light is dispersed by a properly cut diamond, zircon, garnet, or others, are called  "FIRE".  Like a rainbow, fire is caused by dispersion of light. This reminds me that we are to be a reflection of God's light through the power of the Holy Spirit's work in us in sanctification. Sanctify me with Your Glory Lord has been my prayer.  The more God's fire works in us, the more light we will reflect.

There are three categories of cutting: 
1) cabochon - curved surfaces   
2) faceted -    flat surfaces       
3) carved  -  a) cameo relief -(sculpted)        b) intaglio-engraved
Examples of this are shown in the encyclopedia, and are amazing, considering the tools they had to use in those days.  Agate, onyx, and chalcedony are porous & can be stained all different colors with chemicals or dyes.  I think there are some people like this, that are so sensitive to the leading of the Spirit, & so yielded, that they can be molded & carved & stained with whatever the Lord wants for their lives, in order to serve the King of Kings and to expand the Kingdom of God.

         An unblemished pearl is one of the most ancient symbols of perfection & was among the most precious of gems. (Matthew 13::45-46)  It is used metaphorically of things of great value...& of wisdom.  Genuine pearls result from the accidental entry of a grain of sand, or a parasite into the pearl oyster which coats the source of irritation with nacre (mother of pearl).  It is the only gem made by a living process & the only one which comes from the sea.  The Red Sea used to be a considerable resource.  Now the Persian gulf is the largest resource.  God makes precious pearls in the same way...through rejection, persecution & affliction - The irritations of our lives.

          1 Peter 2:4-5, 9-10, 15 says "coming to Him as a living stone rejected by men, but chosen of God & precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people, but are now the people of God, who had not attained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.  For this is the will of God, that by doing GOOD, you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.

         Matthew 13:44 Amp says, "The kingdom of heaven is like something precious buried in a field, which a man found & hid again; then in his JOY he goes & sells all he has & buys the field. (other versions say a hidden treasure rather than something precious).  Likewise we need to be like this man, that when we find Jesus.we would give up anything & everything to have HIM..& it is just like the Father Who saw us as precious & gave up His most precious Treasure, Jesus to save us.
          Again,  Matthew 13:45-46 NAS says, "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, & upon finding one pearl of great value, he went, & sold all that he had, & bought it."  We are to think of Jesus as the pearl of great price, just as He looks at us as precious treasure, for whom HE surrendered everything to have.  We were so valuable to the Father, that He gave His only Begotten Son, so how could we do less?  We are living stones.             Zechariah 9:16 Amp says,  " and the Lord their God will save them on that day as the flock of His people, for they shall be as the [precious]  jewels of a crown, lifted high over & shining glitteringly upon His land. " Other versions say "stones" of a crown. The Hebrew word for stone here is 'eben  (#68-Strongs) which is from the root of (#1129) which means to build ; a stone: + carbuncle, +mason, etc.  The root means to obtain children, to make, to repair, to set up.  

         Conner in "Interpreting the Symbols and Types in the Bible" (Multinomah Press) shows that stones (onyx & gemstones) are symbolic of: Preciousness,Value, Glories, Gifts, & the preciousness of the glory of Christ & His saints. Jewels represent the glories of the saints, a symbol of special treasures, the people of God. Twelve is symbolic of apostolic fullness, & the number of Divine government. Pearl is symbolic of precious truths, values or formation through suffering.   Cornerstone represents Christ from Whom the building is aligned.  Daughter of Zion is representative of the local church - offspring of the larger church.
Lame is symbolic of imperfection.

          Malachi 3:16-17 NKJ again.says; "Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another, & the Lord listened & heard them; so a book of remembrance was written before Him for those who fear the Lord & who meditate on His name.  'they shall be Mine', says the Lord of Hosts, 'On the day that I make them My jewels. And I will spare them."

          The Hebrew word for jewel here is  ce gullah "which means to shut up wealth, (as closely shut up safely), proper, good, jewel, peculiar treasure, special.  It is sometimes translated "possession" or "treasure".  It signifies "property" in the special sense of a private possession one personally acquired and carefully preserved.   Six times this is used of Israel as God's personally acquired (elected, delivered from Egyptian bondage, & formed into what He wanted them to be), carefully preserved, & privately possessed people." (Note the part that says formed into what HE wanted them to be, not what we want to be.)
          "Now therefore, if ye will obey My voice indeed, & keep My covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all the people for all the earth is Mine." Exodus  19:5  KJV

"For all the peoples [now] walk everyone in the name of his god, but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God forever & ever.  In that day, says the Lord, I will assemble the LAME (emphasis mine), & I will gather those who have been driven away, & those whom I HAVE AFFLICTED. And I will make the LAME  a remnant & those who were cast off, a STRONG  NATION; & the Lord shall reign over them in Mount Zion from this time forth & forever. And you, O tower of the flock, the hill & stronghold of the daughter of Zion, unto you the former dominion shall come, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem.
          Now why do you cry aloud?  Is there no KING among you? Has your counselor perished that pains have taken you like a woman in labor? Writhe in pain, & labor to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in childbirth; for NOW  YOU  SHALL  GO  FORTH  OUT OF THE CITY, & you shall live in the open country; you shall go to Babylon.  There you shall be rescued; there the Lord shall redeem you from the hand of your enemies.  Now many nations are assembled against you, saying, let her be profaned, & let our eye gaze upon Zion. But they know not the thoughts of the Lord, neither do they understand His plan; for He shall gather them as the sheaves to the threshing floor. Arise & thresh, O daughter of Zion! For I will make your horn iron, & I will make your hoofs bronze; you shall beat in pieces many peoples, & I will devote their gain to the Lord, & their treasure to the Lord of all the earth.   Micah 4: 6 +

          Today, many of us are acting as if there is no King among us.  As if we have not been given power & authority to rule over our enemy.  The horn is representative of POWER, or in this case defensive power & iron is symbolic of  STRENGTH, like bronze, & hoofs like feet, are symbolic of our walk.  Therefore the Lord is saying He will strengthen us in authority against the enemy, & in our walk of holiness with Him.  Intimacy with Him leads to holiness if we are submitted to Him in all areas of our lives. This in turn gives us greater authority against the enemy.  What we have been given overcoming power over, we then will have power to expulse.  The kingdom of God suffers violence and the VIOLENT take it by force; one of the meanings of violent is LION.  Worship is one key that unlocks the door of intimacy with the Lord.  Enter His gates with thanksgiving, His courts with PRAISE.   

In Zephaniah 3:10-13 NKJ it says, From beyond the rivers of Ethiopia MY WORSHIPERS,  The daughter of my dispersed ones, shall bring My offering.  In that day you will not be shamed for any of your deeds in which you transgress against Me; for then I will take away from your midst those who rejoice in your  PRIDE, & you shall no longer be HAUGHTY in my holy mountain.  I will leave in your midst a meek & humble people & they shall trust in the name of the Lord. The REMNANT of Israel shall do no unrighteousness.  And speak no lies, nor shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth; for they shall feed their flocks & lie down, & no one shall make them afraid.

The following words of the Lord speak even louder.of the promise of restoration;  Zephaniah 3:14-20  NKJ
          "Sing, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O Israel! Be glad & rejoice with all of Your heart,  O daughter of Jerusalem!  The Lord has taken away your judgements, He has cast out your enemy. The King of Israel, the  Lord is in your midst: You shall see disaster no more. In that day it shall be said to Jerusalem: 'Do not fear;  Zion, let not your hands be weak. The Lord your God is in your midst, the Mighty One, will save; He will  rejoice over you with gladness, He will quiet you with His  LOVE, (Is 62:5,65:19)  He will rejoice over you with singing. I will gather those who sorrow over the appointed assembly who are among you, to whom its reproach is a burden, Behold, at that time, I will deal with all who afflict you; I will save the lame, & gather those who were driven out.  I will appoint them for praise & fame in every land where they were put  to shame.  At that time I will bring you back even at the time I gather you; for I will give you fame & praise among all the peoples of the earth, when I return your captives before your eyes," says the Lord.

Daniel 12:1-4, 10 Amplified says:
          And at the time [ of the end ] Michael shall arise, the great [angelic] prince who defends and has charge of your  [Daniel's] people. And there shall be a time of trouble, straitness & distress, such as never was since there was a nation till that time. But at that time your people shall be delivered, every one whose name shall be found written in the book [of God's plan for His own]. And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth  shall awake, some to everlasting life an some to shame & everlasting contempt & abhorrence.   And the teachers & those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the firmament, & those who turn many to righteousness - to uprightness & rightstanding with God [shall give forth light] like the stars forever & ever. (Matt 13:43)  But you, O Daniel, shut up the words an seal the book until the time of the end. [Then] many will run to & fro & search anxiously [through the book], & knowledge [of God's purposes as revealed by His prophets] shall be increased & become great. (Amos 8:12) Many shall purify themselves  & make themselves white, & be tried, smelted, & refined; but the wicked shall do wickedly. And none of the wicked shall understand, but the teachers & those who are wise shall understand.
Note it says in the time of the end these things will take place, we shall purify OURSELVES, & be tried & refined because Christ is coming for a pure BRIDE, spotless & unblemished.

          Isaiah 60:1-2 NKJ says, "Arise and shine, for Your Light has come! And the glory of the Lord is risen upon you. For behold great darkness shall cover the earth, & deep darkness the people; But the Lord will arise over you, & His glory WILL BE SEEN UPON YOU . 

In a word to me years ago the Lord said He is going to remove every bit of  PRIDE,  COMPETITION,  JEALOUSY,  DISOBEDIENCE,  HESITATION, &  DOUBT from HIS  CHURCH.  That this move of His Spirit will destroy the works of the enemy in His true church , & that we will be given such grace as has never been seen before.  On earth, Jesus said  "These things & greater things will you do."  Which has been unimaginable to us.  About  15 years ago in a Tustin Vineyard home church meeting (& I've heard it since then, many times)  the Lord spoke through a member saying, " Don't you know that soon, before you even stretch forth your hand to touch someone, they will be healed !!!!" 

       The some time.  Once again,  THE  LORD will rule in ZION (the church) & will ROAR  out of Zion (Son of Righteousness is about to arise with healing in His wings, & in fact has already started for as it says in Joel).   He has been roaring through his people, but the spirit of jezebel has been trying to shut them (Him) up. There will arise a prophetic people in the earth whose very words being spoken, will the devil fear & tremble, because the yokes of bondage, oppression, affliction & suffering, mental torments & diseases will be destroyed.  And the dead will rise up in the name of Jesus at their command!  And this will be a great company of peoples, not just an elite few!  A great company of Gideons who will tear down the idols in their Father's house with a  prophetic word & with a song of proclamation! The Spirit of God will arise in this army with PRAISE  as it says in Zephaniah & they will not tire of worshiping their Lord!

         All that the Lord has spoken in His word is happening before our very eyes.  We are truly a blessed generation, tried, & purged through suffering, rejection & affliction, & persecution.  Truly we should  REJOICE,  because it has been His grace poured out on us to prepare us for such a time as this!  God is purging our tongues now that we might not devour ourselves any longer. That we might take captive every thought & word to the Lord Jesus Christ, is His will.  He wants to pour into us His LIFE, His Resurrection LIFE!  The Word of life in prophecy will break every chain & free every captive, so we must eat the scroll as well.   
The prodigals are coming home , but not to a self-seeking, judgmental, gossiping church. They are to come home to Christ Himself in a LOVING, HUMBLE church, filled with the love of the Father, and empowered to set the captives free, to bind up the brokenhearted . We will be a church who worships Him in Spirit and in TRUTH. 

We will be a humble people, not given to pride and insecurity, not afraid of being left out, not given to sibling rivalry. We will be like Jacob who humbled himself before his brother on his return from Haran, because  of the Portion of Jacob in our midst.  The Portion of Jacob is not like them, for He is the maker of all things, & Israel is the tribe of His inheritance; the Lord of Hosts (Jehovah Sabaoth) is His name.  Jeremiah 10:16

         There is an invisible war going on now between the "harlot church" dominated by jezebel spirits, & spirits of control, religion,  & conformity.  Pride will be confronted.  Paul said, "And my speech and my preaching were NOT with persuasive words of HUMAN  WISDOMbut in demonstration of the Spirit and of POWER, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God."  Likewise the powers and principalities behind the harlot church are about to be confronted,  so submit Bride of Christ to His cleansing that you may be able to do the work that lies ahead,  to help heal the church and to take in the magnificent harvest He has for us .

         A few years ago while in Colorado, staying with friends,  I was reading a book on the bride of Christ which was talking about the honey in scripture representing the sweetness of the Lord Himself, & the treasures in His word.  While I was reading a program came on the TV about honey gatherers in some far off place.  I watched as this man without protection climbed up this huge tree with about 5 branches with one or two hives on each branch, and he lit a torch he had carried with him and smoked out the bees.  The commentator said, the smoke causes the bees to gorge themselves on the honey, then they become calm and they won't sting when they come out.  And I felt the Lord impress me with this analogy - that we like the bees, if we will gorge ourselves on Him - His presence & His word, then we too are transformed into people who are full of His sweetness & we won't sting others either.  We too will be calm & at peace, walking in the Spirit instead of our flesh.  It is a time for gorging,  that we may be made ONE as They are One.  So that we will love one another as He has loved us, and forgiven us much.