01 - The Apostate Bride of Christ - Introduction

This series will contain between 40 - 50 recordings when it is finished. I am continually working on this project and adding them over the next few weeks.

2019 Copyright Notice. While these recordings in the series “The Apostate Bride of Christ” may be downloaded for personal use on your own device, they are not to be copied, transmitted, edited, publicly played, shared, or uploaded to any website, social media platform, or content distribution systems such as YouTube. All other use of these recordings is strictly prohibited and all rights have been reserved by Michael Chriswell, owner of said recordings.

 

The Apostate Bride of Christ

A Real-Life Allegory & Warning to Last Days Believers

Please note, if you have not already listened to the amazing story of how God orchestrated hundreds of details, by His divine providence to bring Persis and I together as husband and wife, please do not continue in this series until you have done so.  Doing so will lessen the impact of this series and possibly leave you confused.  Thousands have testified to rich blessings they received by watching that series called, “Walking with God into the Impossible”, parts 1-21.  Please click on the link and watch that series here on RelentlessHeart.com first.

This series is based on dozens of personal journal audio recordings which were made by me, Michael Chriswell, throughout the time period of my Christian wife’s journey into apostasy. 

Apostasy in Christianity is the rejection of Christianity by someone who formerly was a Christian. The term apostasy comes from the Greek word apostasia ("ἀποστασία") meaning defection, departure, revolt or rebellion. It has been described as "a willful falling away from, or rebellion against, Christianity.

Introduction

I wish to point out, right up front, the astonishing fact, that both, Jesus Christ and the apostle Paul, just before they left their followers, (the early believers), felt led to share the same exact warnings.  The very first thing they both warned the believers about, just before they departed, was apostasy and deception.

Jesus’ warnings:

Jesus answered: “Watch out that no one deceives you.” – Matthew 24:4

“At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.  Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.”  – Matthew 24:10-13

Paul’s warnings:

“I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.  Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.  So be on your guard!  Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.” – Acts 20:29

 

This series is meant to serve as a clear picture and strong warning to all of us as “last days” believers in Christ, about the dangers of falling away in the times and days ahead, even for those of us who are mature believers.

By no means is this meant to be an in-depth theological study on apostasy.  Rather, this is a very personal and divinely inspired story/revelation, from my own wife’s apostasy, which will show us how easy it is to fall away from our true faith in Jesus Christ.

“If you think you are standing firm, be careful that you do not fall.” 1 Corinthians 10:13

Without any doubt, the most shocking thing I have seen in 30 years of being a Christian, was how my own lovely wife Persis, once so strong in her faith and wisdom in Christ, became deceived and slowly slipped away over a two and half year period, right in front of my eyes.

However, almost in direct proportion to the shock of losing her to apostasy, was my amazement to discover that my marriage to Persis, and her journey to apostasy, were all a part of God’s Sovereign design and plan.  What I found in her journey to apostasy was a remarkable prophetic picture of the actual Bride of Christ and her current state today.

In accordance with God’s purpose, I am sharing this journey publicly that it may serve as a warning to some and an encouragement to others.  This has been done before.  God, Himself, disclosed all the rebellion and spiritual adultery of His first wife, Israel, in the Old Covenant which we learn in the New Covenant were all disclosed as warnings for us, to protect us from falling into the same mistakes and traps.

 1 Corinthians 10:1-4,6-12 NIV

[1] For I do not want you to be ignorant of the fact, brothers, that our forefathers were all under the cloud and that they all passed through the sea. [2] They were all baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea. [3] They all ate the same spiritual food [4] and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. [6] Now these things occurred as examples to keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did. [7] Do not be idolaters, as some of them were; as it is written: "The people sat down to eat and drink and got up to indulge in pagan revelry." [8] We should not commit sexual immorality, as some of them did---and in one day twenty-three thousand of them died. [9] We should not test the Lord, as some of them did---and were killed by snakes. [10] And do not grumble, as some of them did---and were killed by the destroying angel. [11] These things happened to them as examples and were written down as warnings for us, on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come. [12] So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don't fall!

On a much smaller scale, I believe what has happened to my wife is to be an example and warning for all who will hear.  Again, this is not something new.  God has used a man’s wife before, to serve as a physical illustration of the unfaithfulness of his people.  Her name was Gomer, and she was the wife of the prophet Hosea, whom God told him to marry. 

Hosea 1:2  When the LORD began to speak through Hosea, the LORD said to him, "Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the LORD."

Only a fool would look down on Gomer or Hosea in this scene, for they were both chosen by the perfect and Sovereign hand of God.  I say, equally, with such boldness that only a fool will read this and look down on Persis or myself.  As you will see, in much greater detail, than even in the Hosea story, this was all ordained by the Sovereign hand of God, whose ways and thoughts are not our thoughts.

Just before the launch of this series, I shared only two stories from these recordings with my mother, and about the prophetic insights Father had shown me about all of this and how it relates to the body of Christ now.  Her eyes filled with tears, her heart with awe, and after the Holy hush had subsided, she said, “My goodness, not many people get to experience or be a part of something like this in real life.”  In that moment, my mother sensed the heavenly weight of this revelation I had been given. I just exclaimed, “Praise the Lord…Praise the Lord…Praise the Lord!” 

Over the two and a half years of my wife’s journey into apostasy, I observed her, warned her, and then recorded every major insight, struggle, and step that took place in her journey.  I gained valuable insight into all that Satan was doing to lead her astray.  I will be sharing a significant portion of these recordings in this series. 

As I prayerfully reflected on the amazing marriage God prepared for us to have, as detailed in the series, “Walking with God into the Impossible”, I began to see dramatic links between my marriage to Persis, and Christ’s marriage to the Bride of Christ.

The Similarities between Christ’s Marriage to His Bride and My Marriage to Persis are remarkable.

  •   God chose a lowly bride for Christ.  Christ’s bride was going to be chosen among the lowest, poorest and most oppressed people on the earth, eventually to include mostly “foreigners”.

  • God chose a lowly bride for me.  She was a foreigner, born on dirt ground in a small village in the poorest country in the world.  She lived without running water or electric until she was a teenager.

 

  • Christ’s bride was trapped in the dual oppressions of legalistic Judaism and Roman rule.  She was lost, weary, burdened, even despairing of life.

  • My bride was trapped in the dual oppressions of the legalistic church and the Indian culture. She felt lost, hopeless, and often despaired of living, even thinking of suicide several times.

 

  • Christ’s bride was calling out for delivery from the despair, longing to be saved from her pain and oppression.

  • My bride was calling out to God for pain relief and then even inquiring to me about how long the pain would last?

 

  • Christ left his very prosperous and comfortable home and “country” and came to a very rough place, very far away, in order to betroth himself to His lowly bride.

  • I left the wealthiest and most comfortable country in the world and traveled 8,720 miles away to one of the most difficult and uncomfortable places on earth, in order to marry my lowly bride.

 

  • Because of His love for her, Christ suffered immensely in this difficult land, facing all kinds of obstacles, resistance, and persecution to secure His bride.

  • Because of my love for my bride, I too suffered a great deal in India, facing countless obstacles, resistance and persecution before I could finally marry my bride.

 

  • Christ came and was proclaimed to be the bridegroom, showed her his sacrificial love for her, secured her as His bride, but then had to immediately leave and go back to where He came from, promising to again return for her but not knowing when because only God knew the time.

  • I flew to India and showed Persis my sacrificial love for her, secured her as my bride through marriage registration but then had to immediately leave and go back to where I came from, promising to again return for her but not knowing when because only God knew the time.

 

  • Christ’s bride was left alone, vulnerable, and scared, wondering if He would ever really come back.

  • Persis was left alone, vulnerable, and fearful, wondering if I would ever actually come back for her.

 

  • Christ came back to her by way of His Holy Spirit and power, 50 days after he was crucified, on Pentecost.

  • I flew back to India to be with Persis exactly 90 days after I first left her alone in India.  (Another interesting note:  Pentecost is 50 days after the Passover, and in between that period, Christ revealed himself to the disciples over 40 days (Acts 1:3).  50+40 = 90 (the number of days Persis and I were apart)

God’s Remarkable Sovereignty in the 40’s and 7’s of our marriage

Even more extraordinary proof that God the Father ordained our marriage and every single detail in it, can be seen in the triple set of repeating, back to back occurrences of the number 40 and the number 7 throughout our marriage process.

Numbers are precise and our God is a God of numbers.  There is not a single major event in the entire Bible that is not somehow tied to a specific number, indicating either a time, or an amount.  God is not random, and neither is life, in spite of what the atheist believes.  God is intentional and God is precise!

“The LORD has established His throne in the heavens, And His Sovereignty rules over all, Dominion and awe belong to God; He established order in the heights of heaven.  “I choose the appointed time.  Surely, as I have planned, so it will be, and as I have purposed, so it will stand.” Psalm 103:19, Job 25:2, Psalm 75:2, Isaiah 14:24

Of all the numbers in the Bible, there are two that stand out as special and they are the numbers, 40 and 7, both of which symbolize completion or perfection.  The number “forty” (or fortieth) appears 105 times in the Bible, while the number “seven” appears 457 times in both spellings (seven and seventh).  These numbers are both connected to some of the most significant events and details in the entire Bible.

There are too many too list here, but I’ll share 12 examples of each below:

The Number 40

·         It rained for 40 days and forty nights during the flood - Genesis 7:4

 ·         After 40 days Noah opened the window on the Ark - Genesis 8:6

 ·         Isaac was 40 years old when he married Rebekah - Genesis 25:20

 ·         Jacob (Israel) was embalmed for 40 days - Genesis 50:3

 ·         The Israelites ate manna for 40 years. - Exodus 16:35

 ·         Moses stayed on the mountain with God 40 days and 40 nights. - Exodus 24:18

 ·         The Israelite spies spied out the Promised Land for 40 days. - Numbers 13:25

 ·         The Israelites camped in the Wilderness for 40 years. - Numbers 14:33

 ·         Aaron died in the 40th year after the Israelites came out of Egypt. - Numbers 33:38

 ·         Joshua was 40 years old when he was sent to spy out the Promised Land. - Joshua 14:7

 ·         Goliath taunted Israel for 40 days before David slew him. I Sam 17:16

 ·         Jesus Christ fasted and was tempted by Satan for 40 days and 40 nights in the desert. - Matthew 4:2

 The Number 7

 ·         God finished his creation work on the 7th day - Genesis 2:2

 ·         After the flood, the ark rested on Mount Ararat in the 7th month. - Genesis 8:4

 ·         Jacob agreed to work 7 years to have Rachel as his wife. - Gen 29:18

 ·         Moses spent 7 days ordaining Aaron's sons to be priests - Exodus 29:35

 ·         Most periods of uncleanness and consecration in the book of Leviticus lasted 7 days.

 ·         Samson gave the Philistines 7 days to solve his riddle. - Judges 14:12

 ·         King Saul was to wait for Samuel to make the sacrifice for 7 days. - 1 Samuel 10:8

 ·         Elijah sent his servant 7 times to look for rain. - 1 Kings 18:43

 ·         Jobs friends sat in silence with him for 7 days and 7 nights. - Job 2:13

 ·         At the end of 7 days the Word of the Lord came to Ezekiel. - Ezekiel 3:16

 ·         There were 7 basketfuls of food left after Jesus fed the multitude in Mark 8:8

 ·         Jesus sent revelation to 7 churches in Revelation 2 & 3

 

However, what is even more remarkable are the instances where these two numbers of completion, seven and forty, appear together. 

Genesis 7:4 NIV - [4] Seven days from now I will send rain on the earth for forty days and forty nights,

2 Samuel 10:18 NIV - [18] But they fled before Israel, and David killed seven hundred of their charioteers and forty thousand of their foot soldiers.

1 Kings 2:11 NIV -  [11] He [King David] had reigned forty years over Israel---seven years in Hebron and thirty-three in Jerusalem.

2 Kings 12:1 NIV -  [1] In the seventh year of Jehu, Joash became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem forty years.

One of the most remarkable instances of 40 and 7 together is the unwritten one in the death and resurrection of Christ. 

Jesus died on the day of Passover (John 18:28), was resurrected three days later (Luke 24:7), and appeared to his disciples over a period of 40 days (Acts 1:3) which included the day he was resurrected. This means Jesus ascended to heaven 42 days after Passover.

Pentecost means “fiftieth day” and it was the 50th day of the Passover, or 49 days after Passover. It was called the “Feast of Weeks” in the Old Testament — the 49-day rule is given in Leviticus 23:15.

Therefore, there was a period of exactly 7 days from when Jesus went to heaven to when the apostles received the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.  He visited and taught the disciples over 40 days, and then 7 days later they received the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.  An incredible but hidden instance of 40 and 7.

 The Skeptics

Who could blame the Biblical skeptics who may search for the hundreds of times these two numbers show up independently of one another in the Bible and then conclude, “There is no way that these numbers are historical or factual based information…rather this is just symbolism and Jewish storytelling, because there is no chance of so many things all happening like this repeatedly in perfect increments of 40 and 7.”

 40’s and 7’s in Persis’ and I’s Marriage

The same Living God who wrote the actual literal stories in the Bible and who’s Sovereign power and hand had many of them occur in periods or amounts of 40’s and 7’s is the same Living God who wrote them into the details of the marriage He gave to Persis and I.  God does these types of things, as if to leave His Sovereign signature on them, leaving no doubt that He is the author of them.

Just as we’ve seen God connect many major events in the Bible to 40 and 7, ever major part of Persis’ and I’s marriage was done in series of 40’s and 7’s. 

  1. Through a divine encounter, God stirred my desire for my future wife on August 31st, 2012 and subsequently gave me a promise for her using Psalm 21:2.

  2. I waited for this desire and promise until December 31st, 2015, which is exactly 40 months.

  3. After sharing only email communication and recordings for a month, I begin to realize that Persis is more than just a “sister” in Christ to me.  That same day, she shares her phone # with me on January 6th , 7 days (including the 31st ), as the final day of the 40th month.

  4. After God’s confirmation, I ask Persis to marry me, on January 13th, 2016, which was exactly 7 days later.

  5. In spite of not yet having the money, Father tells me to begin moving forward on the 1st trip to India on 2/12 (Psalm 21:2).  He required me to move forward before we had secured the difficult marriage pre-registration process.  India law required that I be there for the pre-registration but I could not be.  If we were not able to get the pre-registration the entire trip would have been wasted.  I would have come home with no marriage cert and couldn't apply for Persis visa (risky faith) In faith, using my parent’s donated sky mileage and cash, I bought the only tickets I could afford.  The amount of mileage required for the ticket was 40k.  That plane left for India on 3/22, exactly 40 days from the day He told me to move forward.

  6. Persis went to the Indian Marriage Registrar's office (the man we called our Pharaoh) 7 times, before God finally delivered us and the man broke the India government law and permitted us to pre-register the marriage without my being there.

  7. I then Arrived home back to the US from that 1st trip to marry Persis in India on 4/20. We have no idea how long we will be apart, but we are praying for God to let me go back to India and wait with her. Without asking anyone for money, $500 is donated by Jared Taibi, towards next India plane ticket on 5/29, which was exactly 40 days from the day I landed back in U.S. from 1st India trip.

  8. 7 days from the day Jared gave the $500 gift, on June 4th, Persis discovers I qualify for a special visa since I'm married to an Indian and I can go now and stay longer while we wait for her visa.

  9. I finally have enough money and mileage to buy my plane tickets back to India 7 weeks after arriving back in the US from the 1st trip.

  10. I sent off for my 2nd India visa on 6/10. Despite a warning on the site to NOT buy plane tickets until you receive your passport and visa back (an unknown processing time) Father tells me two days later to move forward and buy plane ticket before the visa is even approved (risky faith). I buy the plane ticket on June 12th, 2016. Again, the only flight available at the 40k sky miles price leaves for India on 7/19, arriving in India on 7/21, which is exactly 40 days later from the day I purchased the tickets.

  11. I sent my Indian visa application and passport to Atlanta, GA on Friday June 10th, via overnight Fedex. It arrived to them on Monday. They approved the visa and overnighted it back to me. It arrived back to me the following Monday, exactly 7 days from the date they received it.

  12. We received the acceptance notification from USCIS for Persis Visa i-130 immigration application 7 days after I arrived back in India.

  13. Persis visa was finally approved and received on December 13th 2016, 7 months and 21 days (7x3) from the date we applied.

  14. I first landed in Hyderabad Indian and married her the same day, on March 24th, 2016.  Persis and I boarded a plane to fly home to the US with her via on on December 24th 2016, exactly 9 months to the day.

As you can see, God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ was leaving NO doubt that He was the One doing all of this by His Sovereign Hand!  These marks of God’s supernatural guidance in our marriage in addition to all the incredible miracles we saw Him do throughout the process to deliver us into this promise, is what gave me the confidence to keep going, even when Persis began to drift further and further away.  Above all things, and I have told Persis multiple times, “I know that I know that I know God gave her to me as my wife.” What ever happens after that is not my concern, but the outcome belongs to the Lord.

 

First, please let me share a few helpful reminders before we proceed.

 1. When you listen to these recordings, it is important that you see my wife Persis as a type, or an illustration, of the current bride of Christ, which means you, if you are in Christ and He is in you by His Spirit. I’m asking you to believe this now by faith, but as you move through these recordings you will see this is exactly what God has intended. I do not understand why God chose us for this, but I see it, accept it by faith, and tell it all now in obedience to Him.

2. Please be very careful not to look down upon my wife Persis, or the story as you hear these recordings, or me for telling it, because God has allowed all of this to be a glorious illustration, warning, and a wakeup call to many who are going astray, may go astray, or who have already gone astray. When in doubt, think back on and remember all the occurrences of 40’s and 7’s in our marriage, remembering that God’s hand is in every detail of this story.

3. This is a remarkable opportunity to see Father’s hand and heart in this extraordinary story. So, please try not to pre-judge the story, coming to your own conclusions, or project what you think will happen. Instead, let the story be an education and give God the humility of a child, letting Him tell you what He wants to teach you through this story. I warned my YouTube subscribers in Part 19 of Walking with God into the Impossible about pre-judging mine or Persis’ actions and motives, but many simply could not keep down their flesh and its desire to make meaning, even when it doesn’t have all the facts. Many of them, if they follow along now, will be humbled as the facts of this story unfold.

4. As we move through the story, you will begin to hear that I get more and more light and understanding on what God is teaching me through this. However, it’s important to remember that I do not have all the light in each one of these recordings, but that my understanding continues to build more and more until towards the end, I have some final revelations that pull it all together.

5. Please do not get lost in this story, as if it were just a story. Remember that this story is being told as a warning and even as an encouragement to others. We are indeed living in the terrible times of the last days.

May God bless you as listen, and may the peace and grace of Christ be yours in abundance!