Look again at the cover of this book. Note how distinctly different the caterpillar and the butterfly are in appearance. They would seem to not be related in any way, yet they are one and the same creature. An awesome transformation takes place in the life of this amazing insect. The transformation is so radical and complete that this insect has two different names. At one period of its existence it is called a caterpillar. At another, it is called a butterfly.
In the same way, God has changed the names of men and women whom He has transfigured. Abram became Abraham. Sarai became Sarah. Jacob became Israel. Cephas became Peter. Their names were changed after they were transfigured by an encounter with God.
In these last days before the return of Christ, there is another amazing transfiguration which must take place. A Bride will be fashioned and formed; a Bride that is radiant; a Bride without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. This Bride will be awesome to behold. She will be a fit Bride for the Son of God.
The metamorphosis that must take place in order for the Bride to be revealed is no less radical than that of the caterpillar into a butterfly. The world will see the change and stand in awe. The Holy Spirit, even now, is at work to call forth a Bride out of the church, to wash her, to transform her, to make her ready.
Some who read of this transformation will be incredulous. They will look at the fleshly caterpillar that the church now resembles and balk at the prospect of a butterfly coming forth from her. Some will believe it is merely wishful thinking. Others will believe the timing is off; they will believe that the church will be transformed, but only after the saints get to heaven.
There will be those, however, who read and believe. There will be those who, being washed by the water of the word, find faith arising in their hearts. They will allow the transforming work of God’s Spirit to perform miracles in their lives. It is these who will receive a new name. They will be called “the Bride of Christ.”
It is appropriate that these receive a new name. They are in actuality a whole new type of creature. They will be as different from the mass of nominal church goers and half-hearted confessors of Christ as the butterfly is different from the caterpillar. They will not be content to remain in the Outer Court of the Tabernacle, satisfied with salvation and a promise of heaven. These will have a passion for knowing intimately the One who gave all for them.
It is this passion that will hold these faithful ones to the path of transformation. The path is difficult and comes at great cost, but the end is glorious and promises an assured habitation with the Son of God.
There is an in-between stage that occurs as a caterpillar begins the process of becoming a butterfly. This stage is most vital. The caterpillar will never become a butterfly without this period of its existence. The caterpillar fashions a cocoon around itself. This cocoon becomes a hidden chamber where the miracle of metamorphosis occurs, out of sight.
There doesn’t appear to be much activity in the cocoon. Caterpillars appear active. Butterflies appear active. But the cocoon seems to be lifeless. It appears as a sarcophagus of death. Those who desire the appearance of constant activity will not eagerly enter into the cocoon. Those who seek comfort above conformity to Christ, or who live for the opinions of men, will not willingly enter into this place. It is uncomfortable, confining, and does not make sense to the world, nor does much of the church understand its function. For these reasons, and others, many will shun this place of death and they will forfeit the greater glory and resurrection life that can be attained by no other way.
For the remnant portion of the Body of Christ who will follow wherever their Savior leads there is a cocoon stage, a death process, to which they must submit. This stage is vital and cannot be skipped over. It correlates to the wilderness portion of the trip from Egypt to the promised land of Israel. God will lead all of His children through this part of the journey, but few appreciate its significance. Some will not survive this part of the journey. Some will want to turn back. It is here that transformation takes place. It is here that flesh is stripped away and a spiritual being arises.
As with the butterfly, the Bride of Christ will be prepared in a hidden chamber. Her transformation will be veiled from the eyes of the world, and from much of the church, as well. These will see her emerge and will wonder at the miracle that has taken place. Yet, even in knowing, many will not submit to the process required for the glory of God to be revealed in them.
Our Savior’s invitation is to come and die; die to the flesh, die to self, die to the soulish powers of life. This death is not an end. It is a glorious beginning. After death comes resurrection life. After shedding the fleshly form of the caterpillar, the glorious butterfly emerges. What then will be the form of those children of God who allow the same process to work in them?
Their end will be glory.
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