Mystical union. This, the highest degree of importance. God as Husband in sacred wedlock, bound together, body and soul, fed by His body, quenched by His blood–this is where eucharisto leads . . . God, He has blessed–caressed. I could bless God—caress with thanks. It’s our making love. God makes love grace upon grace, every moment a making of His love for us . . . Then God lays down all of His fulness into all the emptiness. I am in Him. He is in me. I embrace God in the moment. I give Him thanks and I bless God and we meet and couldn’t I make love to God, making every moment love for Him? To know Him the way Adam knew Eve. Spirit skin to spirit skin . . . The intercourse of soul with God is the very climax of joy . . . To enter into Christ and Christ to enter into us–to cohabit. (1)
Ann Voskamp, popular author of the best-selling book, One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are, is leading women into an attempt to achieve divine union with God. While this may seem like a pursuit for the heart of God, this type of sensual experience is not taught in the scriptures. In fact, it may actually break God’s heart! One reason it’s out of order is because the Marriage Supper of the Lamb hasn’t happened yet. The church is still the BRIDE of Christ. If we try to make spiritual love to God we’re actually committing spiritual fornication!
We don’t please God by having a sensual experience with him. We please God by loving and abiding in the truth of his Word. “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15; KJV). Ann Voskamp says she wants to know God as Adam “knew” Eve, “spirit skin to spirit skin,” but if we truly want to “know” God we must study and adhere to the truth of his Word.
For now, we are only joined to the Lord in the sense that Jesus is joined to the Father. Jesus prayed in John 17:23 (KJV) “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” Ann says that she is in God, and God is in her, but then asks if she can make love to God in the spirit. Jesus said he was in us and God was in him, but I don’t think he was referring to a form of spiritual lovemaking.
In 1 John 3:24 (KJV) the terms “in him” and “in us” are actually speaking of faithfulness. “And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.”
The words “dwelleth” and “abideth” are both the Greek word number 3306 “meno.” Strong’s Concordance says this word means “to remain, abide,” and in reference to a state or condition, it means “to remain as one, not to become another or different.” To remain, (or stay) in him means to not leave or depart. The Spirit he’s given us is Holy Spirit. It’s the Spirit of purity and holiness. These scriptures are about remaining faithful to God and not changing or corrupting the faith.
It’s true that Jesus wants us to be ardent about him. The Song of Solomon is a symbol of Christ and his church, and it describes the passion the two lovers have for one another, but they don’t consummate their relationship. He comes to her door and then leaves. She runs out into the streets looking for him, but she doesn’t find him. Her desire for him grows, and his desire is for her “undefiled” beauty (Song of Solomon 5:2, 6:9; KJV), but even though she seeks him in her bed, he isn’t there. In fact, she warn three times: “I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, or awake my love, til he please.” (Song of Solomon 2:7, 3:5. 8:4; KJV)
To have desire for Jesus and to long for the day you’ll be with him is one thing, but to initiate intimacy before its time is spiritual fornication. We can’t “cohabit” with Christ. According to the Oxford University Press dictionary, cohabit is defined as “to live together and have a sexual relationship without being married.”
Ann Voskamp is appealing to the hearts of women to have an intimate love relationship with God, but it’s out of order. The church is espoused (2 Cor. 11:2) to Christ, but the relationship can’t be consummated yet because the Bridegroom is coming for a chaste, virgin bride.
If a Christian woman wants an intimate love relationship with God, love the truth! Love the Word. Love purity and faithfulness. This is the way to show your true love for him. Show the Bridegroom you will be equally yoked to him in unity, truth, and purpose. This is how we’re told to find a Christian mate. Why would it be any different for Jesus?
It’s also important to know that just because we’re not married yet, that doesn’t mean we’re allowed to be unfaithful in our relationship with the Lord. Joseph was about to divorce Mary because she was pregnant and he thought she had been unfaithful to him, so he was going to quietly “put her away (Matthew 1:19; KJV).” Even though they weren’t yet married, the law still provided for divorce when a person who was merely espoused was found to be adulterous.
The same is true for the church. We aren’t married yet, but we can still be found unfaithful and be given a bill of divorce. Jesus said that adultery was the one reason for which divorce was allowed.
But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery. (Matthew 5:32)
Even the arch-heretic of the scriptures is a woman named Jezebel whose name means un-chaste. (2) What was she doing that was so evil in God’s eyes? The Old Testament Jezebel supported the prophets of Baal. She was an idol worshiper. The New Testament Jezebel was seducing her followers to commit fornication, adultery, and to eat things offered to idols.
20 Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed unto idols.
21 And I gave her space to repent of her fornication; and she repented not.
22 Behold, I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. (Revelation 2:21-22; KJV)
Paul warned the church against the practice of eating food that had been sacrificed to idols.
20 But I say, that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to devils, and not to God: and I would not that ye should have fellowship with devils.
21 Ye cannot drink the cup of the Lord, and the cup of devils: ye cannot be partakers of the Lord’s table, and of the table of devils.
22 Do we provoke the Lord to jealousy? are we stronger than he? ( 1 Cor. 10:20-22)
Paul was saying that eating things offered to idols was a form of spiritual adultery that made God jealous because they were actually drinking the cup of the Lord (calling themselves Christians) while drinking of the cup of devils! But what was the spiritual fornication that Jezebel was leading the church into committing?
I believe Jezebel was seducing the church into spiritual fornication of the type promoted by Ann Voskamp, Teresa of Avila, and all the other Catholic, emergent, evangelical mystics (such as Mike Bickle of IHOP) who are promoting divine union with God while still espoused and not yet married to Jesus. It was reported that Teresa of Avila was known to levitate while seeking divine union. Could it be that she was actually partaking of the “cup of devils?”
The church is playing with “strange fire.” When we add ascetic, mystical acts to the blood of Jesus, we’re actually adding our own efforts to God’s instructions, just as the sons of Aaron (Nadab and Abihu) did when they added incense to the fire on the blood altar although God hadn’t commanded it. (Leviticus 10) (For more insight on “strange fire” read this article.)
The Hebrew word (number 348) for strange here in Leviticus 10:1 is zuwr. It means “to turn aside, to be a foreigner, strange, profane, and to commit adultery.” When Nadab and Abihu added incense to the fire, they burned a different kind of fire before the Lord than he had commanded, corrupting the grace offering of blood and making them guilty of spiritual adultery.
When Christians attempt to seek divine union with God before the Marriage Supper of the Lamb they are spiritual fornicators. They are seeking an experience that’s out of order. While Ann Voskamp refers to her lovemaking with God as a “holy experience”, and is endorsed by the likes of Max Lucado, Patsy Clairmont, and many other Christian leaders, it may be that Ann is actually pursuing something that is UNHOLY and impure. She’s looking for a sensual spiritual experience, but this experience isn’t a characteristic of the chaste, virgin bride that Paul wanted to present to Christ.
For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. (2 Cor. 11:2; KJV)
- Ann Voskamp. One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010), 213,216-218.
- “Hebrew Lexicon:: H348 (KJV).” Blue Letter Bible. Accessed 15 Feb., 2015. https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?Strongs=H348&t=KJV.