…Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. ( Revelation 19:7-11)
I love the church. From the time of my conversion to Christ, forty years ago, I knew that I was called to partake in the company known as the Bride. What a privilege to know Jesus; to anticipate finally seeing Him, to be called to identify with Him, in this present evil Age, even if it means accepting rejection and reproach in this life.
We the body of Christ, are the bride.
I get the metaphor, we are the ones whom our LORD has purchased and redeemed, Christians are the company who have forsworn all else, and who await the day of all days, ‘the Marriage Supper of the Lamb’, the ground of all true Joy and Happiness.
We hold to his word which He gave us, we will not forsake it, for he has never forsaken us. We love Him because he loved us first, in fact we never chose Him, He chose us to be with Him, we merely accepted.
In Prophetic imagery, a spiritual body of worshippers, is likened unto a woman. We hear the Prophets speaking in God’s name, to ‘the daughter of Zion”, tenderly calling to her, and wooing Israel as the wife of Jahweh, The bride whom he sought, and rebought out of the slave market, as in Hosea.
Israel is seen as being pregnant with a man child in the deep and mysterious vision of Revelation 12, whilst the Dragon, (The Serpent of Old) awaits the birth, that He might destroy the man child, before he can accomplish his mission. The child is the “seed of the Woman’ who eventually crushed the Serpent’s head.
The New Testament too, speaks of the church as the Bride, the one who makes herself ready, and who , in the crisis days leading up to the wedding, when loyalties are tested, or when pressures to defect mount, the espoused virgin remains true. She is attacked, deposed and rejected in this world, because she has been espoused to Him who loved her, and washed her in his blood… but she waits patiently for the marriage, and prepares herself as all Brides do.
Both the Book of Revelation and the book of Proverbs have this in common, that the Bride is a major theme in each of them.
Remember that the King’s Son must pick a Bride. We hold our breath, early in Proverbs when the wrong woman presents herself almost immediately, for we hope He chooses wisely.
To deliver thee from the strange woman, even from the stranger which flattereth with her words; Which forsaketh the guide of her youth, and forgetteth the covenant of her God. For her house inclineth unto death, and her paths unto the dead. None that go unto her return again, neither take they hold of the paths of life. ( Proverbs 2:16-19)
It isn’t as simple as merely picking the right one, it gets complicated, for an alternative is presented. the Bride is out there, but so also is the “strange woman”,(Strange = foreign, ie foreign religions) .
We are so relieved by the time we get to the end of Proverbs, when He picks the virtuous woman, as described in Proverbs 31.
She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms. She perceiveth that her merchandise is good: her candle goeth not out by night. She layeth her hands to the spindle, and her hands hold the distaff. She stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.(Proverbs 31:17-20)
What is this all about? Do you believe Proverbs is just good “dating advice” for teenagers, or is there something else being said in all of this comparison of differing kinds of women?
Look at the Passage in Proverbs 2 again… She flatters with her words… she forsakes the guide of her youth…the covenant of God… her paths lead to the dead… she fails the ‘Path of Life’.
The Revelation also has this contrast, between the True Bride who makes herself ready, and the Harlot, (which is an obscene parody of a bride).
And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:; With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon The Great, The Mother Of Harlots And Abominations Of The Earth. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. ( Revelation 17:1-6)
We are horrified, like John was at this spectacle. the Apostle John knew a persecuted, despised, impoverished Bride, who is this gaudy, blasphemous, powerful (in worldly terms), drunken Harlot?
In the prophetic imagery, women represent spiritual bodies, congregations of people. the “Daughter of Zion” the “wife of Jahweh” the Bride of Christ”. Jesus is the true Bridegroom and his friends, (ie John the Baptist and the disciples, are the ‘friends of the Bridegroom’).
But as usual, there are choices presented. there is a substitute ‘Word’, there is a substitute ‘spirit’, and there is a substitute ‘christ’ as well. And there is a ‘substitute ‘bride’ who turns out to be a Harlot.
We who call on the LORD have to chose between the Bride or the harlot…More to come