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The Ultimate Purpose of God

B) The bride in the New Testament

We have seen that God declares Himself the husband of Israel. What does the New Testament say about it? The Apostle Paul makes the most direct statement when he wrote the Corinthians. 2CO 11:2 For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, that to Christ I might present you {as} a pure virgin. 3 But I am afraid, lest as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds should be led astray from the simplicity and purity {of devotion} to Christ. 

The Apostle Paul is informing the Corinthians about how he views reality. For Paul, his life’s work involved not only the salvation of a people but the sanctification as well. Paul intended to present to Jesus a people who were holy in spirit, soul and body. Paul knew that this would not only benefit the Corinthians but himself as well (the reason for the middle voice of the word betrothed). As we will see in the section on apostles, Paul was fulfilling the apostolic call God put on his life by seeing that the Corinthians were as a pure virgin not a whore as Jerusalem was said to be.

While the words “betrothed” and “husband” in 2 Cor 11:2 are adequate translations, they can also lead to confusion. For the word translated “betrothed” is more accurately translated “to fit together or joined.” Most Christians would agree that we are joined to Christ through salvation and yet we believe that we will not be fully presented to Him until our death. The word “husband” in this verse is “andros” which means a male person of full age. We can see subtle differences but the general understanding remains the same. Every Christian is now joined or betrothed to one man, Jesus the Christ. We will not be presented to Jesus until our lives have been completed, which is the concern that Paul has for the Corinthians. Those that hold to the Church being the bride of Christ believe that there will be a future time where the whole Church will be presented to Jesus. This presentation will happen sometime during the tribulation. Yet the book of Revelation states, REV 19:9 And he said to me, "Write, 'Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.'" And he said to me, "These are true words of God." If the Church is the bride of Christ who is it that will be invited to the marriage supper? Everyone accepting Jesus as Savior is part of the church, does that leave anyone out? Even the old testament Jews no doubt had to believe that Jesus was the Messiah, whom the prophets prophesied would come, before they were transferred from Abraham’s bosom into heaven. Yet we know that there will be people who are invited to share in the festivities of the marriage supper of the Lamb.

 MAT 9:14 ¶ Then the disciples of John came to Him, saying, "Why do we and the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?" 15 And Jesus said to them, "The attendants of the bridegroom cannot mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them, can they? But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.

Here Jesus is confronted by John the Baptist’s followers who seem confused by Jesus’ disciple’s behavior. They ask about fasting and Jesus doesn’t declare His apostles and disciples as the bride but as attendants. ATTENDANTS! Jesus openly declares Himself the bridegroom and even implies that there is a day He will die but makes no inference that His disciples are anything but attendants to the groom. Now if they were the bride, Jesus would have called them that and yet He did not. Some may say Jesus didn’t want to confuse them, that is why He called them attendants. Jesus was not worried about people misunderstanding Him. He told people about eating his flesh and drinking His blood which resulted in many leaving, yet He did not explain what He meant. Jesus even turned to the twelve (who were also confused by the state of His body and blood) and asked if they also were going to leave Him. The purpose of the parables was so that casual observers would not understand them and be accountable to the things they have heard. Everything Jesus said is true even if we have difficulty understanding it. He never avoided the confusion that truth was destined to bring, but abandoned Himself to the truth as life itself. So Jesus does not declare His followers as the bride but attendants.

We are able to gain further understanding from a parable Jesus tells. MAT 22:1 And Jesus answered and spoke to them again in parables, saying, 2 "The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king, who gave a wedding feast for his son. 3 "And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come. 4 "Again he sent out other slaves saying, 'Tell those who have been invited," Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are {all} butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast. "' 5 "But they paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business, 6 and the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them and killed them. 7 "But the king was enraged and sent his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and set their city on fire. 8 "Then he said to his slaves, 'The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 9 'Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find {there,} invite to the wedding feast.' 10 "And those slaves went out into the streets, and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests. 11 "But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw there a man not dressed in wedding clothes, 12 and he said to him,' Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?' And he was speechless. 13 "Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, and cast him into the outer darkness; in that place there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' 14 "For many are called, but few {are} chosen."

In verse two we see the father (who is a King) preparing the feast for his son and the parable is compared to the kingdom of heaven. Jesus is telling a story that accurately illustrates a heavenly reality. Knowing that Jesus is God and that he was involved with the creation helps us understand that Jesus knew what He was talking about. Now we know that there is a “bride of the Lamb” for the book of Revelation states the fact several times (Rev 19:7, 21:2, 21:9). So what we see is, God decrees a wedding feast for His son Jesus and sends out his servants to invite people. The people (Jews) who are initially invited are not interested and some actually fight against God’s servants, so God kills them. God still intends to have this feast for his Son and sends his servants to invite those (the followers of Jesus) that are on the highways. Jesus here is prophesying what was shortly to take place, which was that the call would go out to the gentiles because of the hardening of the Jews. Even as He is predicting the future, Jesus is also explaining the facts surrounding His wedding feast and how those who were first asked to attend seemed indifferent to the call. The people who actually attend the feast are those from the main highways. Now if this parable is speaking about the Jews and Christians as those who are invited to this wedding feast then they are invited as guests not as the bride. Jesus makes no attempt at explaining who or where the bride came from, just the guests.

When the people are gathered and ready for the feast the King noticed a person not clothed in wedding attire. Here wedding attire or clothing refers to righteousness. This man was not clothed in his suit of righteousness that was purchased by Jesus and consequently God casts him into the outer darkness. Our clothing of righteousness is by faith alone. Faith that we are clothed with Jesus’ righteousness not our own. Seeing that scripture declares our righteousness is as filthy rags (IS. 64:6) we must not neglect our responsibility to be clothed in His righteousness.

Where in this parable would we (the Church) fit as the bride of Jesus? Are we willing to twist it and make it say what we want? This scripture taken as written implies we are not the bride but guests of the bride and groom.

Now I know there will be some screaming that this is just not right. Don’t allow satan to steal truth. Search the scriptures yourself to see if these things are true.

We see in Matthew a story about twenty virgins: MAT 25:1 Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps, and went out to meet the bridegroom. Most people know this story and yet we must ask who are the ten prudent virgins as well as the ten foolish virgins the story refers to? These twenty virgins were waiting for the bridegroom for what reason? Were they eligible to be the bride? Matthew records that those who where prudent had enough oil to wait for the bridegroom and at his arrival “those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut v.25:10.” These virgins were not the bride but they were invited to the wedding feast. They were responsible to be ready to enter the feast when the bridegroom came.

The ten foolish virgins were also invited to the feast but they failed to prepare themselves. The result of the virgins being unprepared resulted in the Lord speaking against them: MAT 25:12 "... 'Truly I say to you, I do not know you.'” Who was Jesus speaking about in this story? I believe He was speaking about His disciples and those who would come after them. Jesus was only talking to those who followed Him and not to the general public. MAT 24:3 And as He was sitting on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be, and what {will be} the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?" Matthew says that Jesus’ disciples came to Him privately and asked questions that resulted in this story. Jesus not wanting His disciples to misinterpret the two sets of virgins warns His disciples by adding: MAT 25:13 "Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.” Jesus is telling those who are listening that they have a choice, you can either be wise or foolish like these virgins. He is also informing them that they will not know the day nor the hour so they must have a lifestyle of readiness.

What about the other facts in this story, can we hold to them as truth? The fact that when Jesus comes for us it will be so we will enter the feast God prepared for His Son and His bride? Yes, I believe so. There should be little doubt that what Jesus is talking about is His marriage supper. Jesus is making sure that His disciples understand that they have to be prepared to enter when the time comes. We have already seen in Matt 22:11-14 where a man got into the wedding feast without fully being prepared (he did not have his wedding clothes on). The outcome of this man for being unprepared was that he was bound and cast out into the outer darkness. We should strive to make sure that not only are we prepared but other brothers and sisters as well. REV 19:9 And he said to me, "Write, 'Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.'" And he said to me, "These are true words of God." We may not be the bride in the way that many teach us we are, yet we should rejoice over our invitation.

C) What is the bride of the Lamb?

While the answer to this question is not profound, for it is openly stated in the book of Revelation, the understanding of it is. REV 21:9  And one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues, came and spoke with me, saying, "Come here, I shall show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb." 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,     

The angel tells the Apostle John that he is going to show him “the bride, The wife of the Lamb.” Was the angel lying to John? Was this a bait and switch? Maybe this angel was a fallen angel and lied to John? Those who believe in the inspiration of the word know that this angel was not lying and in fact showed John the bride of the Lamb. So what is the bride? “The holy city, Jerusalem.” Some may be saying how can this be? I thought we (the church) were the bride. Well we may be, in a way, but definitely not the way most think we are. This will take some time to explain so please be patient. Most of your questions will be answered.


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