The relationship between God and his people was described as a marriage even in the Old Testament. God was described as always faithful. But too often his people were unfaithful in that relationship.
“For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.” ~ Isaiah 54:5
Did you notice that he said your maker is your husband? And did you notice he said that he is also the God of the whole earth. Everyone is invited to this faithful relationship with God. But most do not respond, and too many who claim to respond, are not being faithful.
“Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: And I will give you pastors according to mine heart, which shall feed you with knowledge and understanding.” ~ Jeremiah 3:14-15
So again in Jeremiah he declares that I am faithful. But you are not. And I’m still calling out to you to return to me. And I will establish you in faithfulness through a true pastor! Notice that when he says “I will take you one of the city and two of a family”, that he is talking about a remnant. The harsh reality is, that not many return, once they backslide.
So we need pastors that are a reflection of true faithfulness with God! And then individuals need to find who those true pastors are, who will feed them with true knowledge and understanding. A true pastor, who is after God’s own heart, not their own.
John the Baptist was a true preacher who was after God’s heart, not his own. And he also described Jesus as the bridegroom.
“Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.” ~ John 3:28-29
And Jesus also described himself as the bridegroom. The husband of his church.
“Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not? And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.” ~ Matthew 9:14-15
This call to this special spiritual marriage relationship, is so important to Jesus Christ, that he warned us very seriously in a parable about not missing it. Because if we missed it, we would be left out. And so pay close attention to the reason why we could be left out!
“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.” ~ Matthew 25:1-4
The lamps represent the salvation of each virgin. Because as true Christians we are supposed to be the light of the world: by the light of our love for Jesus Christ shining through us. But this light cannot continue to burn brightly, unless it is being refilled regularly with the burning love oil of the Holy Spirit within it. It is a sacrificial love we are talking about. And that is why Jesus said, in order to follow him, we must take up our cross daily.
“While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.” ~ Matthew 25:1-13
You cannot obtain this sacrificial love of the Holy Spirit within your vessel, through relying on another preacher or teacher. Their burning love can never be substituted for the love that you need. You yourself must seek the Lord with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, to have this love kept burning within your own soul.
“And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.” ~ Matthew 25:10-13
It is important that we respond to the call of the Lord, when he calls. The door of opportunity is not guaranteed to be kept open. And this is why the scripture in another place teaches us: “if today you hear his voice, harden not your heart.”
When the bride/church loses her burning love for her husband, and the purpose for which her husband died. Then she will begin to live for herself, and not her husband. And all kinds of evil things then will begin to enter into that which calls itself the church.
And this is especially what the book of Revelation warns us against. It calls this self-loving church: Babylon. So Revelation chapter 18 shows spiritual Babylon being destroyed. And once her influence has been destroyed in the minds of the people, the Revelation messages declares against her:
“And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.” ~ Revelation 18:23-24
A church that has self-love, where the leadership and the people are living for themselves; that church will begin to persecute and find fault with true Christians. When the church’s heart is not on fire for Christ, they will become jealous of the true bride of Christ, and start to persecute her. The apostle Paul very carefully warned us of this deception.
“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. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” ~ 2 Corinthians 11:2-4
Notice how this corruption can sneak in. Very similar to the way it happened to Eve in the garden. Satan deceived her to desire after knowledge of a different type. To desire experience in something which God had forbidden.
Now this new marriage to Christ, is one through the burning love of the Holy Spirit in the heart. One that obeys from the love that’s in the heart, rather than by the outside rules and laws that demand obedience.
“Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law, by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” ~ Romans 7:4-6
When our love for the Lord is no longer just outward rules and fearing the expectations other people: then our relationship will be based on something else. On true sacrificial love! And it is a relationship that you can only understand by exercising yourself in that same sacrificial love. And then you will be able to truly comprehend this spiritual marriage between Christ and the church. And this spiritual marriage will truly honor Christ as the head of the church, instead of some man-made governance and control.
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;” ~ Ephesians 5:22-25
Notice that the responsibility for love in the relationship, does not all fall on the wife. But it actually also has a lot to do with the sacrificial love of the husband. Just as Jesus demonstrated true sacrificial love towards all of us. And he also taught us many things while showing us that love, so that he might present to himself a pure church.
“That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” ~ Ephesians 5:26-27
When we as the church have truly prepared our hearts in sacrificial love, then there is a powerful witness of Almighty God amongst us! Because only God is on the throne of our hearts. And this is what the Revelation message is trying to help us to comprehend, and receive. So after the false relationship of spiritual Babylon’s hypocrisy has been removed, then we see that the true church has prepared herself: for the marriage feast!
“And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, 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 19:6-9
This bride of Christ, is the same one that Jesus Christ brought down from heaven to us. He did this when he first appeared on the earth to bring us the gospel. That is why when Jesus began his ministry on Earth he said: “repent for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”
The kingdom of heaven is not an earthly church organization. It is the purpose that God speaks, and then that is carried out through those who are devoted to him. Therefore in the Book of Revelation, the final vision of that book is the bride, the church. The church is shown as coming down from heaven to Earth, through Jesus Christ.
“And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” ~ Revelation 21:2
Note that in the next scripture, it makes it very clear that it takes a ministry with a strong judgment message against hypocrisy, to be able to show the true bride. And that is why it shows that it takes an angel/preacher messenger, who has already poured out the judgment vial message against hypocrisy, to be able to reveal the true church.
“And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God” ~ Revelation 21:9-10
This bride from heaven, could not be spiritually seen, until the fake bride of hypocrisy, called Babylon, was removed. Upon her removal from the minds of people, then people can see the true church. And then they can respond to the call from the church, to be saved!
“I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” ~ Revelation 22:16-17
So the question is: has the confusion of the false bride been removed yet? And then, have we responded to the voice of the Spirit and the true bride of Christ?