A Short Sample of
The Priestly Bride
by Anna Rountree
The edges of the air were on fire.
I raised my hand to shield my eyes from the searing light. The very molecules of the air within our apartment were burning white-hot from a central point.
Swiftly the Holy Spirit spoke: "Rise, Anna." At the time I was down on my knees in prayer asking for more of God. Now, however, I had stopped praying, for I was struck by the wonder materializing before my eyes. The air sizzled and curled.
From the center of this phenomenon, the fiery glory of the Lord began to burn through the wall of our apartment. The Holy Spirit had to set me on my feet, for I could not stand. Seeing the Lord's glory while on earth and in one's body is very different from seeing Him above while in spirit. His glory is almost more than the physical body can bear.
ANGELS OF HIS PRESENCE
As I rose to my feet, stately angels of His presence stepped through the center of the blazing light to enter the room.
They came in pairs but separated as they touched the room's atmosphere. Four angels stood before me in a semicircle to my left, four angels in a semicircle to my right. They wore pale lavender robes embroidered with deep purple and gold on the sleeves and hem. Golden girdles bound these garments across their chests. Each angel carried something in his hands in the manner of an emissary.
Then four additional angels, similarly dressed, entered the room through the burning air. Each of these held one pole of a canopy, the sort one might see in a Jewish wedding. As they moved forward, the word LOVE could be seen at times in the canopy's fabric.
The Holy Spirit stirred and swelled into a whirlwind in response to the One who now stepped beneath the canopy. King Jesus, brighter than the sun, entered the room.
Through the shock of unbelievable light, I could see faintly that He was wearing a rich purple cloak that opened in the front and hung in folds to the ground. It had long sleeves and was edged with a wide, gold brocaded border. Beneath this garment was a white robe that also reached to His feet. The robe was grappled across His chest with a golden girdle. On His head was a golden crown that was similar in some respects to the crowns used to cap Torah scrolls. He was terrible in majesty, awesome in holiness, splendid in beauty.
The Holy Spirit swirled around me to strengthen me, for the intense light and power emanating from the Lord made it difficult for me to stand.
Then, as if by some silent command from Jesus, the nearest angel in the semicircle stepped toward me. In his hands he held a golden crown, which he carefully placed upon my head.
"Wisdom," he said, smiling slightly. Then crossing his arms over his chest, he nodded respectfully and stepped back into the semicircle.
The angel opposite him in the semicircle stepped forward with the gift he was carrying. He placed golden earrings on my ears. "Knowledge," he said. Then he too folded his arms over his chest and moved back to join the other angels.
One by one each of the remaining angels of His presence brought the gift that he held in his hands. After the physical gift was placed upon me, the angel named the spiritual gift it symbolized. The gifts these angels presented included a golden heart that hung on a chain over my own heart-understanding; golden bracelets on each wrist-discretion; a golden nose ornament-discernment; golden rings on each finger-the ability to communicate; and a golden necklace-the fear of the Lord. The eighth angel stepped forward and blew a mist of gold over me. It covered me like a veil from my head to my feet. "Favor," he said as he smiled. He too nodded and stepped back into the semicircle.
I was stunned. I had never received such an immediate and extravagant answer to prayer. I looked down at the gifts that I was able to see. They were princely-gifts of my Father from my Father. But why the canopy?
"Lord," I said, "let all of these gifts be within for Your pleasure."
He smiled at me. "Because you have asked that these be for My pleasure, they will be [for My pleasure] and will also be experienced by others. These gifts will unlock My heart to you and to My body. All mysteries are bound up, locked away in Me, Anna. But the mystery of My love is the greatest revelation of all." Moving toward me, He said, "My chosen one, My love, a fruitful bough, an orchard of fruitfulness."
"Lord," I replied, "I am barren." (I had never borne physical children.)
He smiled again as He answered, "You will bear and be more fruitful than if you had borne physical children. I have withheld your bearing. But now I place My hands upon you that you might bring forth good fruit-many children, all heirs, kings and priests to their Father."
He placed His hands upon me. Fire and power surged through me. He continued to speak, "No longer will you bear shame because of unfruitfulness."
RATIFICATION OF BETROTHAL
"Cleave to Me," He said. "I am your Husband. Let My covering be on your head." His eyes burned into me as He continued, "I am the Lord your God, and none is like Me. I am the beginning and the end. I am your health, your protection and your fruitfulness. Thousands upon thousands of heirs will you bear, those who will walk right into My kingdom, those who will be at home in My chambers.
"Anna," He said in a more intimate tone, "you are more beautiful now than earlier. My heart is turned toward you. My desire is for you. You have captured My heart. Lock this away in your heart, for My promises are true and sure."
I could hardly breathe. "Lord," I whispered, "let it be soon." "It is already accomplished," He said. "Bear fruit for the kingdom. Shun pride. Point not the finger."
He bowed at the waist as a sign of His departure and stepped back under the canopy. Once under the canopy, He turned and walked through the burning opening in the wall of the apartment. The four angels holding the poles of the canopy also bowed and walked out with Him, holding the canopy over His head as He disappeared. The angels of His presence
also signified their departure, and two by two they followed the Lord.
Then the Holy Spirit swirled before me again, this time gathering up all of the remaining fire and light. He too passed through the apartment wall. Instantly, the gifts became internal and no longer adorned me externally. The wall closed.
"Father," I whispered, "who am I to marry a King? I come with nothing. I have no dowry. I do not even have a hope chest with linens and ... "
Before I could continue, my Father thundered audibly in the room: "Can I not provide linens for My children?" Immediately, I heard a knock at the front door of the apartment. Although engrossed in all that was occurring, I managed to cross to the door and open it.
"Hello, Anna," blurted a tall angel. I say that he was an angel because he called me by the name that at the time was known only in heaven. Also, he was dressed in Bedouin attire (uncommon apparel for this continent). Beyond him in the parking lot, I saw a caravan of twenty-four camels with Bedouin attendants.
I shot a quick glance around the apartment complex. My husband and I were living in a low-rent housing facility in Florida. We had adjusted fairly well to these living conditions since we had learned to duck when the neighbors were shooting at each other. However, I was not sure how they might react to a camel caravan. Although usually the complex was alive with adults and children, no one was in sight.
The angel continued. "We have brought your hope chests,"
he said effusively. "Twenty-four chests. Where would you like them?"
My hands went to my face in amazement. I was flooded with so many mixed emotions that I began to laugh and cry at the same time.
"It is all right, Anna," the large angel said comfortingly.
"Do not be troubled. Your Father loves you."
In the parking lot the Bedouin attendants signaled the camels to kneel down. These angels began unloading the chests.
Between the laughing and crying I said, "Can you stack the chests in here [meaning in the living room]?"
"We certainly can," he brightened. He whistled to the other angels and indicated with his head to bring the chests. Then he turned his attention to me again. "Hope is of God, Anna. Each chest your Father gives to you is hope that you can share. This is a greater gift to your Husband than laces and embroidered towels," the angel smiled.
The attendants began carrying the chests into the living room with two angels holding each chest. All of these angels wore camel-colored, desert clothing. After delivering a chest, each pair of angels smiled broadly like those wishing to show themselves extremely agreeable. Then they returned to the caravan.
The chests seemed to be covered in camel skin. They were large and looked something like treasure chests. The five straps encircling each chest were gold, and the two handles for carrying were an intense blue. The opening for a key on each chest was encased in gold, with the shape of the keyhole itself being a cross. No one ever gave me a physical key, however.
Because of their size, the chests stacked up to, and then through, the apartment ceiling.
The large angel rocked back and forth on his heels enjoying the sight. "Yes," he smiled, "there is great hope here."
Then he took a pencil from behind his ear and pulled out a clipboard that held a receipt. "Sign here, please," he said, extending the clipboard to me.
"What name should I use?" I asked. "Anna would be fine."
I wrote "Anna" on the white receipt and then handed the clipboard back to him.
"All right," he said with a sigh that denoted closure of a mission. He pulled out the under copy of the receipt and handed it to me. "Here is your receipt. Twenty-four chests full of hope."
Suddenly, I remembered Rebekah and how she had watered the camels as well as drawn water for Abraham's servant. "Would you like some water or something?" I asked haltingly, not sure of what to say.
"Oh, no," he laughed. "We have better water than your city's water system can supply. We will be going now before we draw a crowd."
"Thank you for bringing the chests," I said. "Our pleasure," he smiled. "Shalom."
The attendants whistled and clicked their tongues for the camels to rise. The large angel grasped the reins attached to the headgear of the lead camel and guided him around so that the caravan could reverse its direction in the parking lot. Then he and the camels with their attendants began to leave. Suddenly, they disappeared.
Just as suddenly, life in the apartment complex returned to normal.
I closed the door and leaned against it looking at the chests piled through the ceiling. 'Thank You, Daddy," I whispered.
My Father spoke audibly again. "You have a bigger and better hope than any princess brought to her wedding day. Now," He continued, "come up here."
Amazingly, in my spirit, I began to rise.
As I rose, I realized that a protective shield surrounded me. lt was clear and round. I wondered if this shield was present at all times, even though I did not see it. I sat down, drawing my knees up to my chest with my arms hugging my legs.
THE DEEPER LIFE
I began to reflect during this ascent. How did all of this begin? Certainly when I was born again, I thought to myself. But I wanted to think beyond Christian infancy and adolescence. No, I thought, it began when I decided that I wanted to live as deeply as possible-to touch the essence of life itself. The only way to do that was to know truly Life Himself.
I had come to a place in my life where I did not want to live like a pebble skipped across the water. I wanted to experience deeply. I wanted to know Him.
As I reflected, I realized that it had taken me twenty years as a Christian to come to this conclusion. Twenty years to be persuaded that to know and to fellowship with God is the noblest pursuit of mankind. Why, I wondered, had it taken me so long?
As I neared the second heaven, I had a sense of foreboding.
Suddenly, in the distance the atmosphere ripped, and a black swarm poured through the opening. From my perspective, the swarm looked like locusts or bees. Whatever it was, it was rapidly heading in my direction.
Demons-black, red-eyed, putrid smelling-surrounded the shield. They looked like winged gargoyles. They began screaming curses at me. I felt trapped, cornered.
These spirits began to vomit a sickly green bile onto the shield. The bile must have had the properties of acid, for it began to burn into the surface, causing it to warp and thin like heated plastic. Then with sharp claws, the demons began to dig through these weakened areas.
"Lord, help me," I cried.
Immediately, shrieks came from several of these demons on the outer edge of the pack. Quickly they turned their attention from me to two warrior angels clothed in bright armor and to the angel Azar.
I was very glad to see Azar. When I had seen him before, he had told me that he was an angel of "helps" assigned to protect me. Well, I certainly needed help now.
He was dressed in work overalls over which he wore a thin, brown robe. A white tool pouch hung from his belt. Two suction cups that had a handle between them also hung from this belt. (These cups were the kind used to move large sheets of glass.) In addition, he had a tank harnessed to his back. I cheered when I saw him.
The warriors were dressed in armor similar to that worn by centurion guards-except that the armor was shot through with light. Instead of swords, they carried long rods that displayed the Word of God. The demons recoiled at the touch of these rods as if receiving a violent shock. Like wild animals with a fresh kill, however, they fought viciously to retain their prey.
While the warriors were fighting the enemy, Azar pulled out a hose that was attached to the tank harnessed to his back. Quickly he hosed down the bubble to stop the bile from eating through the surface. Just as rapidly, he attached the two suction cups to the bubble. Then he grabbed the handle that was between them. With a great heave, he started to pull the shield upward, away from the battle. The demons began to scream when they realized we were getting away.
The warrior angels held the demons at bay while we made our escape. As we climbed higher, I saw that the warriors were routing the enemy, driving them back toward the rip in the atmosphere. I sighed in relief.
As we arose, the sound of demonic clamor faded. A great sense of peace came over me. Azar had pulled the shield into an invisible passageway. On either side of the bubble, thousands of angels were flying in a slow, upward spiral. They formed a magnificent, shimmering corridor to Paradise. They smiled at us as we passed. Laserlike streaks of light flashed by us going up and down. These were angels who were traveling the passageway.
Before we entered a greater light at the end of this corridor, Azar veered off to carry me into Paradise a different way. Suddenly, the bubble surfaced through an opening in the turf of God's perfectly groomed park.
As soon as the shield touched the grass, it went "pink," bursting as easily as a fragile soap bubble. "Sorry to burst your bubble," Azar joked.
"Thank you for helping me, Azar," I said with great relief. "We aim to please," he drawled in a cowhand accent. He pulled out a clothes whisk and began dusting me off. I suppose I had bubble flakes on me.
I looked around. How at home I felt here now. Even though I had visited Paradise many times, the beauty and grandeur of God's park always overwhelmed me.
Azar continued concerning the demons, "They're just a nuisance. Those have no real power. That's the reason they travel in packs. They're a bother, though. They can slow you down."
"And the warriors?" I asked.
"Well," he smiled, "sometimes I need help myself. Those, were Watchers, part of the border patrol. They refuse to take any nonsense from those wishing to interfere." He stepped back, looking at me, "So, how do you feel?"
"I feel fine," I said. "Will you thank the Watchers who helped me?"
"I will," he smiled. He began taking his arms out of the straps that held the tank to his back. "Are you going to see your Daddy?" he asked.
"Yes," I smiled, handing him the suction cups that had fallen to the ground when the bubble burst.
Two angels who looked like lovely young women came flying by. They wore pale blue robes and had no wings. "Come fly with us, Anna," they called.
Azar smiled, "They will escort you to the throne room." "Will you come with us?" I asked Azar.
"I need to test this equipment before I store it," he said.
"Go on," he continued. "You'll enjoy the flight."
I lifted my arms toward the angels, indicating that I wanted to join them. Laughing, they swooped down and picked me up, one on either side. Immediately they executed two loop-the-loops that took my breath away.
Azar laughed and called after me, "Have a good time with your Daddy."
Off they flew with me between them. They were like precision stunt flyers executing perilous aerobatics over the terrain of Paradise. They banked, rolled, dove and looped-the-loop. I knew they were trying to share an experience with me that I could not have on earth. However, I was beginning to be grateful for that fact. They were as exuberant as children.
THE THRONE ROOM
We arrived very high in the throne room and rather far away from the throne. However, from this vantage point I had a panoramic view of the glorious bow of colors emanating from my Father, the thousands of redeemed on the sea of glass, the angels corning and going, the elders, the four living creatures and the activity around the throne (which I supposed to be official business of the kingdom).
I wonder if I should disturb my Father? I asked myself.
I did not wonder long. "Come here, Anna." My Father spoke in that loud but soft voice that penetrates to the core of your being.
The angels who were carrying me responded instantly to His request. They made a steep turn and flew toward the throne area-too rapidly for comfort, I might say. Right before we arrived at the throne, the angels dipped down and made an abrupt landing at a respectful distance from the activity. Unfortunately they released me too quickly, and the
momentum caused me to slide on. Those conducting official business moved out of the way, being unsure of how far I might travel. I was incredibly embarrassed, and the angels who brought me were abashed.
But like a powerful head of government whose two-year old stumbles into his office, my heavenly Father was more concerned about my feelings than His own.
"Not bad," He chuckled, commenting on my landing. "Just out of the nest, Daddy," I sputtered, trying to help the situation.
He spoke graciously to the escort angels, seeking to relieve their distress. "Thank you for bringing My child," He said. They bowed deeply, shaking their heads and biting their lips as they excused themselves.
I turned in an apologetic way to those who had been in conference. "I did not realize so much was going on up here." I looked back at my Father, "Are You busy?"
There was a pause-then God laughed. The elders laughed.
The redeemed and the angels laughed. I laughed. It was a laugh that rolled and continued to roll throughout heaven.
After the sound subsided, my Father said, "Come here, My child." He picked me up and set me on the armrest of the throne. Those who had been meeting with Him bowed and withdrew.
I looked up toward the area of His face. Our Father is light-dazzling light. He has a form and even looks clothed in a garment of light.
From His chest upward it is impossible to see His face because of the brilliance. The white light of His presence radiates outward to create an aurora of jewel-like colors. Resplendent.
Even though He embodies holiness and majesty, to be
near Him is to have the deepest sense of coming home. I felt completely safe and utterly loved.
"There must be millions of people speaking to You right now," I said to my Father.
"Millions," He affirmed, "but each of My children has a personal relationship with Me. Each feels like an only child, receiving all of My attention."
THE GOLDEN EAGLE
"So," my Father continued, "How is My golden eagle today?"
I supposed that He referred to me as a juvenile eagle because of my inglorious landing near the throne. "I am fine, Daddy," I said. "How long does it take a golden eagle to mature?"
"When your feathers become pure white, you are ready to nest above. You must fly the mountains and valleys of heaven, though, and you must eat from My hand. Do not seek that which the eagles below seek. They seek fresh meat [fresh revelation], but their game is earthbound, and so is their revelation-times, seasons, natural signs and consequences of sin. I have given them to see into human souls, but all of it concerns the needed revelation for the outer court. Most eagles labor there for the need is great."
He continued, "There are those eagles who fly in the holy place. They minister to Me more intimately. They fly among the branches of the golden lamp stand. They, like David, are in communion with My Son, eating the showbread. Their revelation is used to assist those who minister at the golden altar of incense. Fewer minister in the holy place. But who ministers to Me before the ark?"
THE GREAT HIGH PRIEST
"The High Priest, Daddy," I said.
"Yes, My Son. He is the great white Eagle as well as the
great High Priest. He is the sacrifice, and His is the blood sprinkled. How many enter into that place [meaning the holy of holies]?"
"One," I answered.
"One," He reiterated. "He is the Door, the Way, the Truth and the Life. He draws near to minister to Me. And when you, joined to Him, eat from My hand, when you eat from the hand of the One who sits upon the throne, you too become white. Narrower and narrower is the way, Anna. Fewer and fewer are those who will continue. But for those who will be drawn near to Me-for those who will lay their hands upon the ark and die to the fleshly use of their own souls-they will live between the cherubim and will bear much fruit for the kingdom."
Suddenly, He opened my eyes in vision to see two white eagles cart wheeling. He continued, "I have chosen you, and you have chosen Me, and I have chosen you ... " It was as though the cart wheeling could go on and on, like an eternal wheel. The vision ended.
My Father continued, "Let nothing turn you to coarser food, helpful though you think that would be to mankind. Eat from My hand and sleep between the cherubim."
When the vision ended, I realized that a golden rain of light was falling on me. It piled up on my head, my shoulders and then my upturned hands. It was soft like snow but not cold.
"Golden manna, My child. Food for the golden eagle." He scraped the manna from my head, shoulders and hands, and held out His hand of light from which He wanted me to eat. "Food from the hand of God, Anna."
I ate from His hand. He continued, "That which goes in your mouth will issue forth through your hand so that you may write what you see and hear."
The golden rain ceased.
"Now for the reason I summoned you, Anna," my Father continued. "You must make yourself ready. Since your betrothal to My Son, you are no longer your own. You belong to Him. Prepare yourself as Esther did. We love you, and you are called and chosen. Therefore, the need is not eliminated for the all-important training that lies in obedience. Your obedience must arise out of a perfect love for Me--not under constraint, but for love's sake. Catch the little foxes, Anna, that My harvest may be full."
He continued, "This time will pass swiftly. We want you to treasure all of it. Courtship is a memorable time, a suspended time. It is a time when lovers walk hand in hand, a time of growing in knowledge and understanding concerning the other. The time of courtship on earth is sweet. But you, Anna, are in a courtship with My Son, the Prince, none more perfect and beautiful, none more powerful and glorious--My Son. Abandon yourself to the experience of the time."
THE FLESH VS. THE SPIRIT
"I do not want you to live by what your eyes see nor your ears hear, nor by what you reason," He said. "I want you to live by every word that proceeds from My mouth to you. The arm of the flesh can never do My will. Try My way, Anna. You have given your own way a princely chance. Now take the way of the Prince Himself--the mind of Christ, the emotions of Christ, the will of Christ. All of Him. None of your flesh. Complete and total union. He deserves nothing less, does He not?"
"'Yes, Daddy," I said quietly.
"That is My girl," He said, picking me up and placing me onto the sea of glass before Him.
My Father held out a large emerald to me. "For your crown, Anna," He said. I took it. "Oh Daddy, it is beautiful!" I replied (although I did not know to what crown He was referring). "Thank You."
There was a pause. Then He asked, "Would you like to see your Beloved?" I felt embarrassed, for He had read my innermost desire. I ducked my head and pulled out the golden key that hangs from a scarlet cord around my neck. Jesus had given the key to me. It unlocks the golden filigree gate to the enclosed gar den of my heart in Paradise. The Lord had told me that if I wanted to see Him that He would meet me there. I held up the golden key and smiled at my Father.
"Go to Him," my Father said tenderly. His glory came from Him and kissed my forehead.
Instantly, I was before the walled garden.