have seen in the previous chapter how Jesus promised
to build His Church, and how nothing would be allowed
to stop this from happening. We have seen how His Church
is made up of people who believe Jesus is ‘the Christ,
the Son of the living God’.
several occasions in Scripture the Church is referred
to as Christ’s bride. Jesus is the Bridegroom, and we
who are saved through faith in Him, are collectively
known as the bride. Jesus speaks of Himself as the Bridegroom
in Matthew (chapter 9, verses 14-15):
John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that
we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not
answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn
while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom
will be taken from them; then they will fast.”
the Baptist, whom God had sent to help prepare the way
for Jesus, said:
yourselves can testify that I said, ‘I am not the Christ
but am sent ahead of him.’ The bride belongs to the
bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits
and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears
the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is
now complete. He must become greater; I must become
chapter 3, verses 28-30).
is one of the closest and most intimate relationship
two people can have in this life; in the words of Scripture
‘the two become one flesh.’ In a true and faithful marriage
the man and wife become as close as possible physically,
mentally and emotionally; they know each other so well
they can almost read each others thoughts, and when
separated they feel like part of their own self is missing.
Each makes up for what the other may lack; they fulfil
and compliment each other. It is mystical; the two halves
make the whole. A man or a woman is not so complete
on their own.
is the superglue of the family and of society. Today,
our society is crumbling before our eyes, moral decline
and murderous selfishness is an epidemic. ‘Who cares
about marriage anymore?’---God does. But, God is also
a realist, and He knows that to force us to do things
against our will never really gets anywhere. So, He
will allow us to have our way; He will allow us to bring
society crashing down around our ears; He will allow
us to drink to the last drop the bitter Wormwood we
are brewing for ourselves. If we don’t care about marriage
anymore and what it stands for; then, really, we don’t
care enough about anything---except ourselves.
see, marriage is of God, and is yet again a symbol or
shadow of heavenly realities.
submit to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband
is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the
Church, his body, of which he is the Saviour. Now as
the Church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit
to their husbands in everything.
love your wives, just as Christ loved the Church and
gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing
her by the washing of water through the word, and to
present her to himself as a radiant Church, without
stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and
blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love
their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife
loves himself. After all, no-one ever hated his own
body, but he feeds and cares for it, just as Christ
does the church---for we are members of his body. “For
this reason a man will leave his father and mother and
be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.”
This is a profound mystery---but I am talking about
Christ and the church.
chapter 5, verses 22-32).
true Christian has a very real and intimate relationship
with Jesus, obviously not in the physical sense, but
certainly in the spiritual. All physical relationships
will end; a believer’s relationship with Christ will
never end, but will only get sweeter. There will be
no separation or divorce between the heavenly Bridegroom
and His bride. It will be a perfect match---truly,3
a marriage made in heaven.
I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the
roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder,
shouting: “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the
wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made
herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given
her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts
of the saints.)
the angel said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who
are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’”
chapter 19, verses 6-9).
we have a glimpse into heaven at what seems to be the
formal banquet to celebrate the marriage of Christ and
His Church, a heavenly wedding reception, you might
say. Again, as in many verses in Revelation, Jesus is
seen as the Lamb; a constant reminder that His sacrifice,
as the spotless Lamb of God, is the only thing that
has made it possible for anyone to be allowed into God’s
heaven---without that, there would be no Church, no
bride and no wedding supper.
the 24th chapter of Matthew Jesus gives some quite lengthy
insight into what is termed the ‘signs of the end of
the age’ and of His returning to earth in power to set
up God’s Kingdom. Remember the prayer He taught us?
‘Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is
in heaven---’ This prayer which has been repeated countless
times over the last almost 2,000 years will, one day
soon, come to fruition. God has allotted a specific
span of time for this age of mankind’s rule over the
earth, just as He did from Adam to the flood of Noah’s
day. He allotted a specific amount of time for forming
the nation of Israel, and through them the Mosaic law
and the prophets, all prior to the time of Jesus. Jesus
ushered in a new age, which will end at His return.
can know the exact time of His promised return, but
Jesus told us we would recognise its nearness by certain
signs. These signs are all around us now like never
before. Jesus also spoke in parables about His sudden
and, for most of us, His unexpected return. He wanted
to bring home the fact that because He would be gone
a long time, many people would ridicule, or no longer
believe in, the idea of Him coming back at all; or they
would grow lax, thinking that if it ever did occur it
would be some time in the distant future. He wanted
to show that these are dangerous positions to take.
Lord is bringing the kingdom of God, the kingdom of
heaven, to earth, and in the following parable He, once
more, speaks of Himself as the bridegroom:
that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins
who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
Five of them were foolish and five were wise. The foolish
ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with
them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with
their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming,
and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come
out to meet him!’
all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The
foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your
oil; our lamps are going out.’
they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and
you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some
while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom
arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him
to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!’ they said. ‘Open the
door for us!’
he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’
keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”
chapter 25, verses 1-13).
is the Bridegroom; the wise virgins are believers in
Him; the oil is representative of the Holy Spirit, which
all who have faith in Christ receive. If we have faith
in Jesus, then we have the Holy Spirit, and we are part
of His Church, His bride; we are the ‘wise virgins’
with oil in our lamps.
He had received the wise virgins ‘THE DOOR WAS SHUT.’
No-one else would be allowed in. Notice what He
said to those left outside: ‘I tell you the truth, I
don’t know you.’ Very scary words. Remember what He
said about His sheep? ‘My sheep listen to my voice;
I KNOW them, and they follow me.’ (emphasis mine).
worry! If we are His sheep, we are also His bride.
the last few verses of the Bible, Jesus says,
I am coming soon!”
in response to this we see:
Spirit and the bride say, “Come!”
let him who hears say, “Come!”
chapter 22, verses 12, 17).
Holy Spirit and the bride, the Church, urge His coming;
as do those who will yet hear and believe.
truths, astonishing realities, unimaginable and glorious
events await the bride of the Bridegroom. One of these
is the promise that when the Lord does return to the
earth, all who belong to Him will be caught up to meet
Him in the air. The bodies of those who died ‘in Christ’
will rise first (their spirit, which will have been
with Christ since the time of death, will be united
with their now changed, imperishable body), and then
those believers who are still alive will be instantly
changed from mortal to immortal and rise together with
them to be with Jesus for ever:
the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a
loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with
the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will
rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are
left will be caught up together with them in the clouds
to meet the Lord in the air.
Thessalonians chapter 4, verses 16-17).
in 1 Corinthians chapter 15, verses 51-53 we read:
I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we
will all be changed---in a flash, in the twinkling of
an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound,
the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be
changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with
the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.
amazing thought! In ages past, all men have died, except
Enoch and Elijah, and all mankind will continue to die,
with the exception of the generation of believers who
are still alive on the earth at the time of the Lord’s
return. Their bodies will be miraculously made immortal
and will fly off to meet with Jesus and all their brothers
and sisters ‘in Christ’---‘in the twinkling of an eye.’
day soon, the Bridegroom will come for His bride.
He comes with clouds descending,
for favoured sinners slain;
thousand saints attending,
the triumph of His train;
appears on earth to reign.