Thursday, January 16, 2014

P2 Further considerations on the bride of Christ: Seeing the complete bride in eternity

Revelation 19:9 "Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”

Introduction and review:
In yesterday's post we considered the following two main thoughts regarding the bride of Christ:
1. The calling of Bride this current age
2. The inclusion of Israel with the bride in the Kingdom age

In today's post we want to consider further the bride of Christ, specifically how the Bible portrays the completed bride in the Eternal age.

Dr. John MacArthur weighs in regarding the complete bride in eternity
An excellent preacher and Bible teacher, Dr. John MacArthur, preached on the above text.  The below quote is from his sermon: "Heavenly Hallelujahs - P2 (, and is well worth the time to read. After the quote, I will close today's post with a few remarks and a conclusion. 

"This is it. The complete and full union of the betrothed church is now ready. They've been betrothed in eternity past, they've been presented since the Rapture, now comes the great ceremony. It's about to be accomplished.

Now this ceremony which is about to be accomplished, I believe, takes place at the establishing of the Kingdom. And I believe this ceremony, I don't think there's any other way than this to interpret it, stretches clear through the thousand-year Kingdom and is really fully and finally consummated in the new heaven and the new earth. Why do I say that? Look at chapter 21. At the end of the thousand year millennial kingdom, which follows the return of Christ, at the end of the thousand-year millennial kingdom, John says, "And I saw a new heaven and a new earth for the first heaven and the first earth," which, of course, had been renovated and renewed and restored during the thousand years, nonetheless, that first heaven and first earth, having been restored, "Passed away and there's no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God made ready as a bride adorned for her husband."

Now again, do we have to take the imagery of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb and put it all the way over into this one, or is this just another use of a marriage picture to show the glory of the new Jerusalem? It could well be that. It could be nothing more than the fact that when the new Jerusalem comes down out of heaven into this eternal state and people look and see it, the way it is described in the vision here by John is that it was decked out like a bride adorned for her husband because that's the most adorning that they would understand in ancient times.

But on the other hand, it might be unfair to exclude the thought that here is the bride, the glorified saints, all of them now out of the Old Testament, Israel, the church, the Tribulation, all of them are now in the new Jerusalem, descending into this eternal state. So it may well be, and I mean, who am I to be dogmatic, but it may well be that we can look at the ceremony as something that starts at the coming of Christ and is ultimately consummated at the establishment of the new heavens and the new earth.

You say, "Well a thousand years is a long time for a ceremony." Yes, but a thousand years with the Lord is as...what? one day. The marriage of the Lamb has come. And it really isn't fully consummated until the end of the Tribulation, Satan loose for a little while, a final rebellion squashed and then the new heaven and the new earth is established.

I don't think that the marriage is ultimately finally and fully consummated until eternity future, new heavens and new earth has come. And I have a lot more to say about that. Betrothal in eternity past, presentation began with Rapture, presentation continued through that communion in the presence of the Lord in the time of the Tribulation, I think that presentation leads to the great ceremony where the Lord comes together for the marriage with His bride and that marriage stretches across the period of the Kingdom and is finally consummated in that eternal state when the bride and the bridegroom settle to live forever in glory."

The completed bride glimpsed, gathered and glorified
In light of Dr. MacArthur's insights, we can clearly see that the "Divine Wedding theme" of scripture portrays biblical salvation as centered around the Son and His love for His bride.  How can we possibly grasp the grandeur of the Apostle John's vision of the complete bride in eternity, knowing full well that God, by His Spirit, is calling forth sinners right now and that future events will aim at completing that bride? Frankly such a task is near impossible, and merits more worship than anything.  However let me offer a thumbnail sketch of Revelation 19-22 in an attempt to close out these considerations of the bride of Christ. 

1. Glimpsing the bride of Christ. Rev 19:7-10 
2. Glory of the coming Groom. Rev 19:11-21
3. Grandeur of the groom and His bride in His millennial reign, with Israel in attendance. Revelation 20:1-10
4. Great white throne judgment. Rev 20:11-19
5. Great marriage of the Groom and the Completed Bride (composed of glorified Jews and Gentile believers). Rev 21:1-22:9
6. Grand invitation to come be a part of the bride to all who will believe by His grace. Rev 22:10-21 

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