BRIDE OF CHRIST
“Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready." 8 And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. 9 Then he said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!' " And he said to me, "These are the true sayings of God."
The Lord is coming back for a bride that will be counted worthy of Him. Jesus is not coming back for a bride who lives in a cushy palace that has never had to lift a finger to work, or one that has never known stress. This bride will have been purified by fire. This bride will have “made herself ready” and “will be granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright” because the fine linen represents “the righteous acts of the saints.” Verse 8 in the Amplified Version reads,
- Revelation 19:8 (AMP) She has been permitted to dress in fine (radiant) linen, dazzling and white—for the fine linen is (signifies, represents) the righteousness (the upright, just, and godly living, deeds, and conduct, and right standing with God) of the saints (God's holy people).
And these righteous acts of the saints, include being done during times under pressure (Mark 13:1-13, Mark 13:24-27, Revelation 12:11-12, Revelation 12:17).
From time to time, I get a comment sent in, that the Lord is not coming back for a “beat up bride.” And some even further say, “God would never let His children suffer.” Quite frankly, when I hear these types of things, I wonder if we are reading the same Bible, or if they read theirs at all.
The Bible tells us, that God’s people suffer sometimes. God even gave His own Son, over to the greatest suffering, for our sake.
- Isaiah 53:9-11 And they made His grave with the wicked-- but with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth. 10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. 11 He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities.
- Isaiah 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.
More about this in a moment, but the Lord not only suffered for the salvation of our souls, but other important needs were also taken care of.
- Isaiah 53:4-5 Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.
The holy Son of God, who never sinned, took upon the sins of us all. It “pleased the LORD to bruise Him” and “the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” Jesus, the Son of God Himself, was falsely accused, viciously beaten and crucified. And yet some people think God’s people will never suffer. What kind of sheltered world are they living in? The prophet Isaiah was sawn in half by King Manasseh, the son of King Hezekiah who would never have even been born, but for the Lord extending Hezekiah’s life and the Lord granting him a son.
King David endured by being hunted like a criminal by his father-in-law, King Saul, for years. He was the rightful heir to the throne and yet he lived in the desert, in caves and everywhere else on the run, until the time was right.
Daniel was highly beloved of God and yet he was taken as a slave by King Nebuchadnezzar to horrible circumstances. Daniel rose to a high position under the first king who took him captive, but every time there was a change in ruling kings, he had to handle it. And in an extremely pagan land under cruel and idolatrous times.
It has been recorded that all the disciples of Jesus, died gruesome or harsh deaths except for the Apostle John. They tried to kill John at least once, if not more times, but failed. One attempt was being cast into burning oil, but he would not burn.
Paul the apostle, suffered tremendously. Paul said of himself being: “… in labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more frequently, in deaths often. From the Jews five times I received forty stripes minus one. Three times I was beaten with rods; once I was stoned; three times I was shipwrecked; a night and a day I have been in the deep; in journeys often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils of my own countrymen, in perils of the Gentiles, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; in weariness and toil, in sleeplessness often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness” (2 Corinthians 11:23b-27).
Right now, while some have the freedom to follow Christ openly and even worship Him openly, many Christians are persecuted for their faith where they live. Most communist and Muslim countries, outlaw true Christianity. Believer are forced to meet underground and if caught, face severe punishment and even death.
Consider these verses about suffering.
- 1 Peter 4:12-14 Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; 13 but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ's sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy. 14 If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified.
- Romans 8:16-17 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.
- Romans 5:3-4 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope.
- Isaiah 59:15b So truth fails, and he who departs from evil makes himself a prey. Then the LORD saw it, and it displeased Him that there was no justice.
- Philippians 1:29 For to you it has been granted on behalf of Christ, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,
- 1 Thessalonians 1:6-7 And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit, 7 so that you became examples to all in Macedonia and Achaia who believe.
- 1 Peter 2:21-23 For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: 22 "Who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth"; 23 who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously;
- Matthew 5:10-12 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 "Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
- Hebrews 11:36-39 Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented-- 38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. 39 And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise,
- Matthew 10:22 “And you will be hated by all for My name's sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.”
It is amazing to note that the people of the early church, were excited to be counted worthy to suffer for Christ. What a contrast this is with many people of today.
- Acts 5:41 So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.
- 2 Thessalonians 1:4-5 so that we ourselves boast of you among the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions and tribulations that you endure, 5 which is manifest evidence of the righteous judgment of God, that you may be counted worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you also suffer;
- 1 Peter 2:19-20 For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what credit is it if, when you are beaten for your faults, you take it patiently? But when you do good and suffer, if you take it patiently, this is commendable before God.
- James 5:10-11 My brethren, take the prophets, who spoke in the name of the Lord, as an example of suffering and patience. 11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord--that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.
Here is one final verse with this train of thought, that has been applicable for God’s people throughout the ages.
- Psalms 34:19 Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the LORD delivers him out of them all.
So now that it is duly noted that God’s people suffer, let us consider how the church of the last days will be purified through fire.
The tribulation, that Jesus has spoken of, in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21, has a meaning of being pressed, as between two things. The actual Greek word used is a form of “thilipsis” which means suffering from being afflicted, persecuted, oppressed and/or distressed.
- Romans 5:3-4 And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; 4 and perseverance, character; and character, hope.
The refining fire of the Lord, only comes to make us strong. He comes to burn away the impurities that when He is done, we are more purified and refined. In the world, a human refiner skillfully does his job as best a human can. But God, refines, as only God can do. The Lord knows best what fire He allows for each of us and how long it should be allowed.
Let’s look at some of the verses, pertaining to the time before the Lord comes to take His bride up from this earth and take her to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
- Revelation 19:1-2 After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, "Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God! 2 For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her."
- Revelation 13:5-7 And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months [3 ½ years]. 6 Then he opened his mouth in blasphemy against God, to blaspheme His name, His tabernacle, and those who dwell in heaven. 7 It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.
- Revelation 12:10-12 Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, "Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down. 11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, and they did not love their lives to the death. 12 Therefore rejoice, O heavens, and you who dwell in them! Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time."
- Revelation 12:17 And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her offspring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.
- Revelation 6:9-11 When He opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the testimony which they held. 10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying, "How long, O Lord, holy and true, until You judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?" 11 Then a white robe was given to each of them; and it was said to them that they should rest a little while longer, until both the number of their fellow servants and their brethren, who would be killed as they were, was completed.
- Mark 13:14-27 "So when you see the 'abomination of desolation,' spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing where it ought not" (let the reader understand), "then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 15 Let him who is on the housetop not go down into the house, nor enter to take anything out of his house. 16 And let him who is in the field not go back to get his clothes. 17 But woe to those who are pregnant and to those who are nursing babies in those days! 18 And pray that your flight may not be in winter. 19 For in those days there will be tribulation, such as has not been since the beginning of the creation which God created until this time, nor ever shall be. 20 And unless the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's sake, whom He chose, He shortened the days. 21 Then if anyone says to you, 'Look, here is the Christ!' or, 'Look, He is there!' do not believe it. 22 For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. 23 But take heed; see, I have told you all things beforehand. 24 "But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; 25 the stars of heaven will fall, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 26 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds with great power and glory. 27 And then He will send His angels, and gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest part of earth to the farthest part of heaven.”
Just take the words of our Lord for what He has said. Disregard the teachings of man that many have believed, because the people who said them were famous or charismatic speakers. Believe Jesus. Take Him at His word. Once the abomination of desolation is set up in a temple that will be built in Jerusalem, which is the only place it can happen at… then the worst tribulation ever will happen. And except the Lord cut the time short, there would be no one left alive on earth for the rapture. This is the bride He is coming for. Would anyone truly think that after 42 months (3 ½ years) of blasphemy and persecution, that the true church of Jesus Christ will not have gone through the fire? Only misinformed or deceived people can miss the words of Jesus about this. He is coming to receive unto Himself, a church, not that different than the early church, that grew during the worst times of persecution we have known so far. Only true believers will stay faithful and only serious people will choose Christ as the world grows darker. But those that do, will be the church triumphant and the purified bride who will make herself ready, even through the fire.
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