Voice of the Kingfisher speaks out …from a different perspective
by Elinor Montgomery
June 13 & 14, 2004
Jesus has previously established, through Nathanael’s response, the importance of the prophetic Word to draw people to Himself. Even greater is the message of salvation, by which He equates Himself to Jacob’s ladder, the stairway of salvation for Israel to the kingdom of heaven. John first gave the message of His deity, then His divine nature, but now it is time to see Him as a Bridegroom.
This chapter informs the world about a royal wedding, which will take place between the King of heaven and His bride. Both the Bridegroom and bride are identified on the letterhead of the invitation. The location of the symbolic wedding was being held in the village of Cana, just north of Nazareth in the Galilee and outside of the boundaries of Judea, where the Temple Mount, with its religious order, was housed. The practices of this religious order were something for which Jesus had nothing but contempt.
Cana, on the other hand, as a name, means ‘ownership’ or ‘reed’, a word, which suggests papyrus. This gives us a sense of scriptural ownership within the name of the village where the wedding of Cana took place. It is here, and not on the Temple Mount, where Jesus chose to introduce Himself, His miracle working and the reason why He would ultimately go to the cross to pay the wedding price for His bride. He tells us prophetically that He is going to return the Spirit of Life to His precious church, purifying her of the river waters of the empires, which lead to death.
The miracle He performed there was the first one to follow His refusal to work miracles for Satan in the wilderness. However, He will work them when it is important for the understanding of the marriage supper of the Lamb. The word Cana not only comprises the first four letters of the word Canaan, a name for the Promised Land, but also, comprises the first four letters of the word Canada, the name of another type of promised land.
Present at this wedding was the mother of Jesus. As Jesus takes on the identity of the Bridegroom, she becomes the mother of the Groom and the mother-in-law to be of the bride. This takes us back in prophecy to a famous mother-in-law of the Scriptures, whose name was Naomi, a mother-in-law within the nation of Israel, seeking a husband for her daughter-in-law and widow of her dead son. Our Kinsman-Redeemer, like Boaz, was present at the wedding feast in Cana, along with His disciples, whom He was about to redeem and take unto Himself as His church and bride of the future.
This was a wedding at which the wine ran out. Prophetically, we are looking at a time when the institutions, which are called by the name of ‘church’, are lifeless and empty of the Spirit. Note that this is not about Mary, the mother, but rather about Jesus, the Son. She is simply a mother of a supernatural childbirth of one born of both a virgin woman and of the Spirit of the living God.
Jesus’ mother made the statement that there was no longer any wine left for the guests at this wedding. Mary’s concern rests in the fact that in her the lineage of spiritual Israel begins, with her giving birth to her Son Jesus, born a Son of Man by the Spirit of God. She established the lineage for all mankind to become ‘second-borns’ in the Spirit of Life for the first time since Eve relinquished the role of giving birth in the Spirit of Life, when she chose to rebel against the truth of her God. That was the moment she lost the Spirit of Life, in harmony with her husband, for the entire human race. They tried to cover up their sin and refused to take the blame for their own actions. One could say that there was absolutely no sign of repentance on their part.
A day will come, and is already here, when the voice of another woman will be heard, who has birthed an adopted son supernaturally for God by the Spirit of Life entering into her as well. She will regard the religious, church system, determining that she can no longer be a part of it, seeing it as being almost lifeless in a tomb of religion with very little, if any, Spirit left within it. This woman is the truly redeemed bride of Christ, having a relationship to Mary, as Ruth had to Naomi, by producing the good fruit and adopted sons of inheritance for the Father.
She is a woman in labor to bring forth the man child (see Revelation 12:4-5). To Mary’s way of thinking, the betrothal of the communion between Bridegroom and bride has run out of the very essence of spiritual commitment, as was reflected in the natural wedding celebration, where the wine had proven to be of insufficient amount and the Lord had pointed to filling up the six water pots.
The Cana wedding had a master in charge of arranging for the tables, the numbers and the required amount of wine to be served. Yet, the master would come to recognize something very different about this wedding, which was unlike any other wedding over which he had presided before. Again, prophetically, we are looking at today’s priesthood, with their doctrines and agendas, responsible for arranging institutional churches in accordance with their own plans for how a nice, decent, orderly ‘church’ service should be conducted. ‘Dignified’ might well be the descriptive word applied to the traditions of the church as we know them.
That which has had moments of being spirit filled in the past, has become empty, lacking in the Spirit, and has ceased to point to Jesus. In fact, it has become difficult for a ‘traditional church member’ to even speak the name of Jesus, without feeling embarrassment. And then there is Pentecostalism at the other end of the spectrum, separated from the traditions to take on a new form of Pentecostal emotionalism, often lacking in true Spirit as it becomes self-centered on pleasure only to miss the concept of worshiping in spirit and in truth. One could say the focus of this is much more on outward display than on an inward heart response to the Lord.
Jesus’ response to His mother was in the form of a question. “Woman, what does your concern have to do with Me? My hour has not yet come (John 2:4).” She knew that only her Son was able to do anything about the situation. Did Jesus actually have any authoritative place at this wedding of the world with its own religious priesthood and master in charge, when He came to testify to the truth and not to religion at all? Perhaps this was the time for a miracle and a parable to be combined in the presence of a worldly group, which had no idea of just who Jesus was, though He was among relatives, friends and His disciples, His future servants.
Would it have been likely that anyone at that wedding might have been interested in hearing about another, far more important wedding? Would they have been ready and able to hear the truth if presented with it, about who He actually was as the Bridegroom of humanity? It is highly unlikely their thoughts were of such a lofty spiritual nature, as opposed to being rather confused by the celebration of the moment with wine.
The spirit of the hour more likely was that described in Luke 17:27. “They ate, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.” The here and the now were the important things, and the host would only have been interested in his need to save face, in view of the fact his celebration feast had run out of wine. What did they either care or understand about spiritual matters? We call it a Laodicean church today.
Jesus was in this world to testify to truth and to die to the world that He might save it. He had come for the sinners to cleanse them of all sin, and, by the infilling of the Holy Spirit, make them responsive and responsible servants of God. But until He had carried out His commission in coming to earth as man, which would lead to the cross, the Spirit could not be given to mankind; it was not yet His time to do so. John had baptized with water, but Jesus never baptized with water while on earth. For His would be a baptism of the Spirit of the living God, given to Adam at the time He created him to be indwelled by the Spirit in the temple of the body, the living being, just as the Spirit of the living God indwelled Jesus at birth.
The essence of wine lies in the fact that it is the fruit of the vine. Jesus is the true vine, and we, as mankind are the branches. The Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Jesus, which does not bear fruit, He takes away. Every branch, which bears fruit, He prunes, so that it might bear more fruit. Without Him the branch can do nothing; for the vine is the Spirit of Life running through the tree of life. Squeeze the fruit of it, and out comes the wine, making the wine the symbol of the Spirit.
Have you not heard of alcoholic beverages being referred to as ‘spirits’? Is it not possible for the consumption of wine to change what we might call the spirit or behavior of the man/woman? The Word is clear. Anyone who does not abide in Jesus is cast out as a branch and burned in the fire judgment. If you abide in Jesus, and He in you, through the Spirit in you, then you can ask what you desire and it will be done for you (see John 15:1-11).
The six, large, stone, water pots present at the wedding, contained the water for the purification of the Jews according to religious practices, with each holding twenty or thirty gallons apiece. Obviously, they were not full, so the cleansing waters had been partially used for this purpose. The significance of this was found in the fact that Jesus would say at a later time, at His final Passover meal, that it was by the Word His apostles were cleansed and not by His washing of their feet.
He was about to have His servants fill the pots to the brim with water, which speaks of an infusion of the Word, which had been sealed from their understanding by Daniel and John for this time. Now it was time to receive more water for cleansing purposes, suggesting the infilling of the Holy Spirit, in turn, leading to the fruit-bearing woman of Israel, going into labor to produce the good fruit.
One must compare this miracle with the miracle of Moses, when he turned the water into blood. It was Moses who gave the Law to Israel, and introduced the nation to the concept of animal blood sacrifices for atonement or cleansing. The water changed to blood, spoke of judgment unto death, but the water changed to wine speaks of salvation unto life in the Spirit.
It is very important to understand that the book of John is a book about life in the fullest sense of the word. It is about life given by the one and only Way, Jesus, and it did not come, and never could come, from a nation by bloodline. It comes from a spiritual nation attached by spiritual lineage to the vine of salvation, as a branch that will bear fruit from the majestic cedar, with which the house of David was built (see Ezekiel 17:22-24).
Jesus’ mother had taken it upon herself to not respond to what seemed like a barbed reply from her Son, but rather gave an order to the servants, saying, “Whatever He says to you, do it (John 2:5).” If there is any doubt as to who these servants were, we can go back to Naomi, Ruth’s mother-in-law, who was giving advice to Ruth. She was advising her on how to catch the eye of her potential husband who would be winnowing and separating the wheat from the chaff. In other words, it was harvest time.
Ruth was to wash and anoint herself and to not make herself known until Boaz had finished eating and drinking. She was to see where he would choose to lie down and then go lie beside him, uncover his feet, or bare his walk, spiritually speaking, and allow him to tell her what to do. Ruth’s reply, as the one who desired to be the bride of Boaz, could well have been spoken to Jesus by His servants/disciples in response to what Jesus would command of them – “All that you say to me I will do (Ruth 3:5).”
Now, that very night Ruth identified herself as the maidservant of Boaz, asking to be taken under his wing as a near kinsman. Jesus’ mother is advising the bride, the servants, to do as Jesus commands and to not listen to man or be afraid to do the unusual, no matter where the Lord leads. In this case, to obey Him would lead to an incredible miracle for the servants to behold. It is never the usual, but rather the unusual, to which His servants are called, often to demonstrate spiritual truths by the very nature of the prophetic Word. His bride will be His maidservant who does only what the Lord tells her to do.
The bride’s mother-in-law, Mary, has birthed of the Spirit before her and wants nothing more for the bride than to look to her Son for redemption and then, like her, birth of the Spirit an adopted son for the Father God, who will snatch him up to His very throne as His own. Ruth, a Moabitess and a gentile, produced a son and full heir for Naomi and the house of Israel. Likewise, the maidservants of Jesus who seek Him out, desiring intimacy with Him and to obey Him even though they might come from a gentile nation, shall become sons/daughters of the house of Israel and the spouse of Jesus, as his/her Redeemer.
What was the significance of the six, stone, water pots, which Jesus commanded His servants to fill? At this wedding in Cana, Jesus was beginning to point to His own marriage to His bride, the church, and to the very way in which He was going to consummate the marriage. The number of six pots speaks of the church being for all mankind and not just for a nation by bloodline. 666 is the number of the beast, which has corrupted all of mankind.
The fact remains that, in so far as the church is made up of man born into sin through their father Adam, there would have to be a changing of the spiritual waters in their lives from the spiritual water of death to the spiritual water of life. The church of Jesus is not made up of man-made temples or buildings, but rather each believer becomes his own temple, a unique temple of stone, which speaks of its solid foundation of truth, as indicated by the renaming of Simon to Peter, meaning a little stone.
Jesus was the large rock and chief cornerstone of the church, and His apostles became the smaller stones, formed in His image, to make up the rock foundation of the church. This passage of Scripture separates the true church from religious buildings, creeds and doctrines, which we call church, but they are not such as a religious system under deception, caused by the master deceiver, the devil, himself.
Now, the stone vessels contained purifying water, but no matter how often they washed in it, they would never become clean in a permanent sense of the word, any more than water baptism can purify anyone. Until we are washed and baptized not by water alone, but by the wine of the Spirit, there can be no spiritual inheritance, or fruit of the marriage, in Israel.
This is the miracle of Cana – the fact that this wedding became the pattern for the greatest wedding celebration that will ever take place, being that between God and man. Jesus said to the servants to fill the water pots with water, and they were filled up to the brim. He would not allow there to be any question about His adding something – perhaps a little coloring as the skeptical, liberal ministries might suggest in the future. The miracle was that the water changed to wine within the vessels. Such a picture of being born of the water and the Spirit! There must be a change in our lives from the spiritual water beneath to the living water from above – one full of sin, the other life-giving.
Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser (John 15:1). Wine comes from the fruit of the vine. By changing the water to wine, Jesus is pointing to the infilling of the Holy Spirit in His stone, living vessels of the church with their actual purification coming from Jesus and the truth of the Word, which washes her clean. Only the Word can cleanse us. “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you (John 15:3).” Religion can never cleanse the bride, but truth can cleanse the bride of religion.
The wine was sent to the master of the feast to taste, and he was surprised at it being the good wine, saved until the end of the wedding feast. He could not understand how this could be and where it had come from. He did not understand spiritual truths, and did not seem to come to the knowledge that he had witnessed a miracle. Only the servants and the disciples knew what had transpired as this miracle was performed. And because of it, His disciples believed.
His disciples would come to form the apostolic body of believers, never to be known as a body of Christianity, a religious system of church, which had its beginning in Rome, the final empire. This was His true, believing church, which had witnessed to Jesus’ manifest glory. The master of the feast got one thing straight; the best wine of the Spirit is saved for the last, contrary to the ways of the world, which wants the best in the here and now, and is unwilling to forego the pleasures of the world for the treasures of heaven.
Jesus established that every miracle performed and all that He would teach would be for the purpose of the wedding between Himself and mankind, which was first and foremost in His ministry. This would involve testifying to the truth and to finding a comparable partner who would be Spirit filled and then would serve Him by carrying out His commission to do the same. It begins with standing only on His truth of the gospels, and not on religion at all. Her sword of battle, like His, would become the sword of truth. He would bring forth the true house of Israel for His Father as the children of Israel, and as His spouse.
Jesus moved from Cana to Capernaum, a city known for being a fishing center of the Galilee, but also a place of disbelief. He led all there, including His mother, His brothers and His disciples. It speaks of them all being in a place of captivity to the sin of the Garden, for which their bloodline could offer them no special privileges, which would exempt them from the judgment.
These people had been raised on the Judaic system of religion, just as we, today, have been raised on the Christian system of religion, within the captivity of the religious tomb, which has been imbedded in all of us. They did not stay there many days after the miracle of Jesus changing the water into wine at Cana. He would quickly return them to fishing, but now for men, rather than for fish, saving them from the deadly spiritual waters, which cause death.
We next skip over the centuries of time to the Passover of the church in Jerusalem, which will require a pure and spotless bride before she can cross over into the kingdom. Another exodus is looming for the church, as the house of Israel, before she can ever become fruitful, unlike Judas who never escaped from the religious system. He allowed the truth of the gospels to be compromised by religion, which led him finally to suicide for committing, perhaps, the worst recorded sin of history, which in turn led directly to the cross.
Upon what does Jesus look down over the centuries to see? He sees a church system, with their temples belonging to Christianity. It has become a business system like any other business of the world in which it finds itself. For starters, the great commission has been silenced by tax-dollar exemption bribery. The priesthood is being paid salaries to teach the Word of God. Musicians are hired to lead in worship. Bazaars fill the houses of worship and dinners are offered at a price.
Most Christian conferences provide tables where books of the ‘prophecy’ of the ‘prophets’ are sold. Eastern religious practices are conducted in ‘off hours’ for a fee charged for the use of Christian premises, if not being used for fund raising dinners or other fund-raising functions. Hats, caps and T-shirts are often sold to raise funds to perpetuate their building programs, while candles are lit for a price, which supposedly will help the dead on their way to heaven.
Does this sound like Jesus, or rather more like eastern mystical practices? These and all the other man-made programs cannot be found anywhere in the commission of Jesus for His church. Jesus says, “Take these things away! Do not make My Father’s house a house of merchandise (John 2:16)!” The bride will have no part of any such practices, as she separates herself from them, lest she receive of their sins and their plagues (see Revelation 18:4).
Again, the disciples look to the Scriptures to find within the prophetic Word, the message they need, which assures them that the actions of Jesus completely fit Scriptural prophecy. His feelings of anger will be transmitted to His bride who cannot stand the religious practices focused on the economic business ways of the world. Jesus’ anger as He drove the money changers out of the temple in Jerusalem, led His disciples to reflect on the words of the psalmist, and how could that be possible if they did not know those words, or, at the very least, had not heard of them? The psalmist wrote, “Zeal for Your house has eaten me up (Psalm 69: 9).”
The response of the religious is always different from that of the believer. The believer looks to the Word for prophetic validation. The religious never ceased to question the authority of Jesus, and they will most certainly question the authority of the bride; they look for a sign or a miracle. Again, Jesus answered them with what to them made no sense at all, for they could not see beyond their institutions of religion any more than the institutional church, today, can see beyond organized Christianity.
Jesus said, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I shall raise it up (John 2:19).”
In the same manner in which the stone, water pots pointed to the vessel, which would contain the changed waters, the body becomes the vessel of the Lord’s church in which the Holy Spirit of life will reside.
The religious will never grasp the full understanding of this chapter of the book of John and, hence, will not be able to relate to the actual revival of the apostolic church, which will occur with the freeing of the bride from the religious systems of the world. The religious can relate only to a revival within the church-building system of religious Christianity and the denominational churches. Such a revival would have no connection whatsoever to any real revival of the Lord’s planning.
Religion is the essence of the rebellion and sin of the Garden, the first religious belief system coming from the words of the serpent. Jesus willingly sacrificed Himself to the judgment of sin, but was resurrected from it in the location of the Garden tomb. The resurrection is the central message of salvation and the only necessary doctrine needed, along with a belief on the name of Jesus, for man to be saved. While in Jerusalem at the Passover, He worked signs and miracles, and many believed on His name because of them.
Jesus is not looking for a bride who depends on the outward displays of men, in their love for priestly positions and comfortable pews; He is not impressed by rich robes, and lofty platforms. The healing conferences, which are validated by their numbers, consist, all too often, of faked miracles, catapulting ‘priestly healers’ into high income brackets. All of this is as despicable to the bride as they would have been to Jesus, who knows the hearts of men. No one needs to testify of man to Him.