Chapter 5: The Heart of the Matter
Zoe was instantly transported to a place she had never been to before. She knew she was still somewhere in heaven, as the glorious presence of the Lord was all around her. But it was dark, and she couldn’t see where she was. She was lying on something squashy and soft, and it was moving, bump, bump-bump. Up and down the floor moved. Zoe pressed her hands against it. It was warm and living and moved as though it were breathing! She could feel life flowing through the floor, like a giant, powerful, living stream.
Where am I? she thought.
“You are inside me,” said a voice, rich and deep. Zoe had heard this voice before. The voice continued. “You are inside my heart.”
Before Zoe could answer, it grew lighter. She was in a vast chamber. It was like a majestic cathedral, but made of living tissue instead of stone and glass. Blood flowed through giant veins and arteries that were the pipes and structures supporting the massive chamber. Valves opened and closed like some massive industrial factory. Instead of steam and gas being emitted as the valves moved, sparks of energy and filled the air. It resonated and vibrated through the giant chamber like the most beautiful earthly choir you could ever imagine, only magnified a thousand trillion times. The effect of the heavenly music made Zoe want to laugh and cry, all at the same time, and to love everything—especially God. Zoe could have listened to the music forever.
In the center of the chamber was a magnificent tree. It was beautiful. Its leaves were the greenest of greens, and the fruit on it sparkled and shone. The tree looked very holy and was full of life. Then, before Zoe’s very eyes, the tree began to change color. It turned brown and then black. The leaves withered and fell, and the fruit shriveled and dropped to the chamber floor. The strong branches disintegrated into ash and drifted to the floor. Within moments, all that was left of the magnificent tree was a withered stump. Blood ran down the stump, pooled on the floor, and then slowly seeped into the floor of the chamber. The beautiful music ceased. Zoe gasped. She had just witnessed something catastrophic.
She held her breath. All she could hear was the giant heart beating faster. She knew that this tree was the most precious tree that had ever existed … and now it was dead!
Maybe an angel will come and heal the tree, she thought.
But no angel came and nothing happened. After a long wait, which seemed to last forever, the voice spoke again.
“You are my Son, chosen and marked by my love, pride of my life. Out of love for me you haven’t held onto your own life, run your own show, or done your own thing. But you’ve laid your life down, as a beautiful fragrant offering—your wholehearted sacrifice and obedience is a pleasing perfume in my nostrils. You are my pride and delight.”
The figure of a man entered through a door in the chamber. He walked reverently, with purpose and direction over to the tree stump. His features were not clear, as they shifted and shimmered as he moved. As he walked, his feet did not always touch the ground, hovering a few inches above it. He glided like an eagle as he walked, and yet he was strong and powerful like an ox or a lion. The beauty and radiance about him was like a thousand fluid rainbows and exploding sunsets. Words could not adequately describe the man’s utter beauty and holiness. He was off the Richter scale! Zoe was captivated by this person—unable to remove her gaze from him. He must be Holy Spirit, she thought. He’s so beautiful, powerful … so awesome!
Holy Spirit bent down and picked up a seed that had fallen to the ground, where the tree had died. He examined it very carefully, turning it over lovingly with his fingers. Then he opened his mouth and sang, the chamber itself vibrating in unison with him. The song was beautiful, filling the chamber.
It was a song of love and hope being awakened again. It was the heart-cry of the Father for his beloved son, his one and only son. Zoe was inside the heart of Father God—sometime long ago, even before the courts of heaven existed. Zoe heard the voice again; the one she had first heard when she had entered the chamber. It was Father who had spoken to her! He sang about how much he loved his son. Holy Spirit responded and sang back to him. Back and forth in duet they continued to sing over the seed.
“How precious, how wonderful is my love for you, my son,” Father sang.
Holy Spirit responded, “Your son loves you more than life itself. To please you and bring you honor is his highest desire.”
Father continued to sing over the seed. “My love for you, my son, is beyond measure and time. It lasts forever. Your presence, your company, is more precious than diamonds and gold. You are the jewel in my crown, the light of my life. Your love has captured my heart.”
“You are the Father to all fathers, the compassionate one to all mothers, the friend to all children,” sang Holy Spirit.
“I have prepared a most holy dwelling for you, my son, delight of my eyes, a chamber so rich and vast, so beautiful— like your love for me, within my very own heart,” Father sang. “It is the place of great secrets and mystery—covered and protected from all but those closest to me. There you can furnish your chamber, that most intimate of places … yes, when it’s ready, yes, when it is finished, it will be time—time to bring home your Bride.”
Zoe trembled as she realized that she was being shown one of the greatest mysteries and privileges in all of heaven. The Father’s heart was the chamber prepared for his precious son. The Father was also going to look for a Bride for his son. When the Bride was found and ready, Jesus would bring her back to this most intimate place. They would be together forever.
Zoe wanted to look away. She felt that she was witnessing something so intimate, so holy that she should not be seeing it. But then the Lord had brought her here, to witness this great and ancient mystery. Zoe stood, weeping and trembling.
The tears rolled down her face. How could anybody be found worthy enough to come to such a holy place, to the place of the Father’s heart, to be with Jesus? Why had she even been allowed to be here?
Holy Spirit then turned to Zoe and said, “Help me find the Bride, help me bring her home to Father’s chamber.”
He then bent over and tenderly placed the seed he was still holding into the flesh of the Father’s heart. The seed was black and dead. When it touched the living flesh of the Father’s heart, death radiated out from the seed in all directions. It was like black ink in water as it was sucked up into the veins and arteries. Once vibrant and red, the pulsating chamber of life became black and died. The Father let out a cry of pain and anguish for his tree that had died. Father wept.
Zoe fell to her knees. She too was overcome by the grief that the Father felt. She cried with her head between her knees.
How long she cried, Zoe did not know. But then she felt droplets of water falling on her. At first she thought that she was imagining it, but no. Zoe looked up and saw rain falling from the roof of the chamber. Father God was crying. Father’s tears formed small pools. The tears ran into the crevice where the seed had been planted. The pool of tears touched the seed. Then the miracle happened!
There was a rumbling sound like a giant earthquake. An explosion of light filled the chamber.
“The seed…the seed, it moved!” shouted Zoe, momentarily forgetting she was in the most holy place. “It’s moving, changing …” but Zoe didn’t finish what she was saying.
One moment it was a dead seed and the next, there stood… a Lamb!
This was the most ancient of mysteries. This was the great secret within the heart of the Father, before the foundation of the world. This was the secret plan of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. The Son had willingly sacrificed himself out of his exceedingly great love for his Father. He was the sacrifice that had been prepared before time began, so that all people, from every tribe, tongue, and nation, could be brought home to his Father’s house.
One day, a long way in the future, a man and woman would be given a test. God would plant them in a garden paradise. He would give them everything, but he would test them. He wanted to know, would they love and follow him because they wanted to, or because they had to? He would give them a choice to see what was really in their hearts. But they would choose sin, believe the serpent’s lie and become separated from God. This story was of course about Adam and Eve. Zoe sure knew it … she had even been there and seen it happen before her very own eyes! Only the perfect sacrifice of the Lamb of God in human form could bring mankind back to God again. This mystery would be locked away in the vault of the Father’s heart until the right time. It had even been hidden from the angels. This mystery was so great it had to be kept hidden, hidden from the one who would fall and be cast from heaven …
But then, on that most gruesome day, the day that the Son of Man would be murdered on the cross, it would all be turned around. Redemption day! It would become the day of the greatest victory—the Son of God who took on human form, left his majesty in heaven, and became the perfect man. He was totally God and man all at the same time … and sinless! He was the Lamb that was sacrificed before the beginning of the world, the mystery hidden in the Father’s heart. He was the perfect guilt offering that took away the sin of his precious, fallen Bride. Now she could be restored to the Father, Holy Spirit, and to Jesus himself. Death could not hold the Son of God, nor could Satan. Jesus was perfect—sinless. There were no legal rights for Death and Satan to claim him, because he was faultless and perfect. No human since the fall of Adam and Eve in the garden paradise had ever achieved this. It had been impossible … until now. God had shown up as the son of Man in human form, and he was awesome! He would strip bare and plunder the kingdom of darkness. He was about to rescue the righteous ones who had died before he was born on earth, who were waiting for his return. Jesus would rise from the grave, from the bowels of the earth, and return to heaven.
The Lamb stood, hidden in the center of the Father’s heart. He was also the tree, the tree of Life that would bring life to his Bride. He was the One who would give his leaves to bring healing to the nations. For the moment though, this too was hidden, a secret in the heart of the Father, waiting, waiting patiently for the right time to be revealed.
Zoe shook. She was seeing the most holy secret of all, right before her very eyes. What had she done to deserve this?
Holy Spirit turned to her and said, “It is time for the mystery of the Bride to be revealed to the world. That is why you have been allowed to see this. What was hidden will be made known. You are part of the great company called to prepare the way for the Bride’s return. Every tribe, tongue, and nation is part of this mystery. I have planted this secret seed within every culture and people group. You are commissioned to go to a very particular part of the Bride. You are called to release this seed that I have already planted in them.”
The Lamb turned and spoke to Zoe. “Remember the sickle sword I gave you?”
The voice of the Lamb was as smooth as silk, as fine and sweet as honey, and more majestic and powerful than a roaring waterfall. It was as if all the crashing waves on beaches all over the world now crashed in one place at the same time. Yet Zoe was able to hear the beautiful voice as clear as day. Zoe shuddered as she remembered the sickle sword. It was a powerful weapon. The Lord had told her, in another time and adventure, to stand on a crescent moon. When she did, it had tried to destroy her. Zoe had broken free by striking the crescent moon with the sickle sword. The weapon was activated and only possible to use by moving in God’s love, not in fear. “Yes,” she replied, “I remember.”
“I want to show you some new moves with your sword. I want to take you deeper into my purposes of warfare and worship. You will be challenged and changed. Once you have been transformed, healing will be released; for you, your family, and for the nations.”
Tears ran down Zoe’s face. She had still not given up hope for her family, who were still trapped within the wreckage of the car. With all that was going on, she had not dared ask the Lord about them, but she was also his friend. Could she ask him now?
The tenderness in the Lamb’s eyes told her everything. She knew in that instant that he cared more about them than she could ever do. The Lamb nodded. Reassured, Zoe knew everything would be fine. The Lamb grinned and then smiled. The smile became a laugh. Zoe had never seen a Lamb laugh before! But it appeared to be the most natural thing in the world.
“Come,” said the Lamb, still laughing, “I want you to meet a friend of mine.”
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