The Things which shall be Hereafter (Rev 1:19)  – The Marriage of the Lamb

7Let 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. 8And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb

The Marriage of the Lamb

The third in our series of forthcoming events is the marriage of the Lamb. Chronologically the Antichrist and the great tribulation probably come first, but I would like to concentrate first on the events which affect the church and the saints of our dispensation:

  1. The Rapture
  2. The Judgment Seat of Christ
  3. The Marriage of the Lamb (this note)
  4. The Millennium (to be written)

 

Revelation 19:6-9

King James Version Darby Version
6And 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.7Let 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. 8And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9And 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. 6And I heard as a voice of a great crowd, and as a voice of many waters, and as a voice of strong thunders, saying, Hallelujah, for [the] Lord our God the Almighty has taken to himself kingly power.7Let us rejoice and exult, and give him glory; for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready. 8And it was given to her that she should be clothed in fine linen, bright [and] pure; for the fine linen is the righteousnesses of the saints.

9And he says to me, Write, Blessed [are] they who are called to the supper of the marriage of the Lamb. And he says to me, These are the true words of God.

 

The marriage is described in this passage.  I have shown the Darby version as there are expressions which he, and several modern translators, believe that the KJV rendering is inaccurate.  These are highlighted.

The Current Relationship between Christ and His Church

The church came into existence when the Holy Spirit filled the 120 or so persons who were gathered in the upper room in Acts 2:2, a number that soon grew to 5000.   From the start, she was united to Christ, and even at this early date fully capable of fulfilling her function as the wife of Christ.

The epistles often refer to the church as Christ’s body.  The body comprises only those who are alive now, not to all who will form the bride.  Nevertheless, the relationship between Christ and His assembly is clear: ‘For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church’ (Eph 5:31-32.

It is not until Revelation that we have the Church described as a bride.  His wife had made herself ready, so she was a wife before she was a bride.  The church is now the wife looking after her Husband’s affairs in His absence.  She is His trustworthy confidante. Although the marriage ceremony has not yet taken place, the relationship already exists.  There is perfect unity between Christ and His church.  Christendom publicly is something else.

When is The Marriage of the Lamb?

Before the marriage celebration of the Lamb, Babylon – the rival – will have been overthrown and judged..  It says, ‘[the] Lord our God the Almighty has taken to himself kingly power’  (v. 6 Darby).  He had taken the power, and was about to reign, but He was not actually reigning.  Hence we can say that this event would take place between the great tribulation and the millennium

The judgment seat of Christ, must precede the marriage.  No doubt ‘his wife hath made herself ready’ (v. 7would refer in part to that.  What remains is the bride’s bright clothing – the righteousnesses of the saints (v. 8 Darby).  – things that they had done which had met with God’s approval. (Note KJV appears wrong again here – most modern translations say ‘righteous deeds or acts’, which is correct – Greek δικαιώματα/dikaiōmata/Strong 1345).  What qualifications the bride has!

 

The Marriage Celebration

When a couple gets married, the persons will not have been united beforehand (at least if they have been conducting themselves according to God’s clear ordering).  Traditions might vary, but in any marriage there is generally a legal act and a celebration.  The bride is the centre of attention, beautifully dressed (hopefully comelily), and looking her best.  A new household is established, the man and the woman having both left their parental homes (see Gen 2:24 and Psalm 45:10).  The fact that the Holy Spirit introduced this concept so early in Genesis shows that the marriage relationship was always in God’s mind and purpose.

From what we have seen this will be no ordinary marriage.  We might say that legal side has already taken place.  Now it is time for a celebration of an existing relationship.  Until Satan had been overcome publicly it was not yet the time for her to be seen publicly in her beautiful radiance

It says ‘Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.’ v. 9.  Abraham and other Old Testament saints will be there as guests. They are children of the bridechamber, but they are not united to Christ as the church is (see Minstry of James Butler Stoney vol 6 page 116).  It has been suggested that the invitees include the king’s daughters and the daughters of Tyre in Psalm 45: 9 & 12.

  

Jerusalem as the Bride

The bride is described as a city because of her function of rule.  ‘Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.  And he [the angel] 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, having the glory of God…’ (Rev 21:9-11).  However, this will be seen in the millennium – the bride (or wife) of Christ, already married.

The holy Jerusalem is, of course, totally different from the millennial Jerusalem on earth, described in Ezekiel 40-44 and many other scriptures.  The city we are referring to will not be physically on the earth – indeed its foundations will be visible. Rev 21:6 describes the city as a cube 12,000 cubits (approx. 1380 miles or 2200km) in each dimension.

 

What is the difference between Christ’s heavenly and earthly bride?

The following table shows the difference between the two:

The Heavenly Bride The Earthly Bride
What The Church or Assembly Israel
Key Scriptures Rev 19:6-9 Psalm 45
Where In heaven – or at least over the earth On earth (see Ezek 40:2)
Jerusalem The holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (Rev 21:2) I am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem: and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the LORD of hosts the holy mountain (Zech 8:3)
Relation to Christ She adores her Head She worships her Lord
When formed Starting with the Spirit’s coming, complete at the rapture Before Christ’s appearing and during the tribulation

 

Conclusion

We should guard ourselves from applying too much human logic and chronology to these holy matters.   I have not wanted to be technical, but have been feeling my way prayerfully through this holy subject.   I trust I have covered the matter justly.  If any reader feels that I have erred, please write immediately.

But it is wonderful that we are part of this beautiful bride!  Magazines are full of pictures of very beautiful women – pictures often enhanced digitally.  No such outward improvement will be required for the bride of Christ.  She will be just how Jesus wants it.

And we will be part!

God’s blessings

Sosthenes

February 2017

A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible – Ephesians

In Ephesians we have the relationships of the saints with God the Father, and with the ascended Christ.

Outline of Bible coverIn Ephesians we have the relationships of the saints with God the Father, and with the ascended Christ.

First we have our calling, involving our relationships with God and with the Father. Then we have our acquaintance with all God’s plans, everything being headed up in Christ. Hence we know our inheritance, and our place as heirs, the Holy Spirit having been given as earnest till the redemption of the inheritance.

In chap.1, Paul prays to the God of our Lord Jesus Christ (Christ being looked at as man), that the saints might know what God’s calling and inheritance is, and that we might appreciate the power that works in us. This power was shown in Christ, when God raised Him from the dead and set Him at His own right hand, setting Him over all things, and making the church His body and completeness.

Then, in sovereign grace, we are quickened, raised, and made to sit in heavenly places in Christ. This shows the exceeding riches of His kindness to us. The Gentiles were afar off; the Jews were dispensationally near, all forming one new man in Chris – the dwelling-place of God on earth by the Spirit. Thus we have the assembly connected both with Christ as His body on high, and as God’s dwelling-place on earth by His Spirit.

The mystery is now introduced for the first time. It is a witness of the all-various wisdom of God in heavenly places. The apostle then prays to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ that we may realise the full blessedness of this, Christ dwelling in our hearts by faith. Being rooted and grounded in love, we are to be able to comprehend the infinitely wide extent of the character of God’s glory, and to know the love of Christ. So we can at the centre of it all according to the fullness of God Himself. With this he ascribes glory to God in the church in all ages, implying the distinct, continuous existence of the assembly.

Note that in chapter 3:15 read “every family,” instead of “the whole family.” (As in Darby version) In verse 18, the breadth, and depth, and length, and height is not “of the love.” The whole of chapter 3 is parenthetic, and the first words of chapter 4 connect themselves with the beginning of chapter 3.

At the start of chapter 4 the apostle unfolds, in connection with the headship of Christ, the various unities into which we are brought. There are three unities: a real one, one of profession, and a universal one in God. First, one body, one Spirit and one hope. Secondly, one Lord, one faith, one baptism. Thirdly, one God and Father of all, who is above all, through all, and in us all. We are to walk in lowliness, so as to endeavour to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Then we have the gifts – instruments of building and edification. The gifts are from the ascended Man, who overcame Satan and led him captive, so as to gather and perfect the make those who were formerly Satan’s captives, the instruments of His own warfare in power. At the same time He who ascended is the One who first descended into the lower parts of the earth, so as to fill all things. The measure to which the saints are to be brought up is that of the stature of the fullness of Christ Himself; the body being fitted together, and supplied by every joint in order for its own building up. We start with the individual. Then we get exhortations connected with the new man being created of God in righteousness and true holiness. It is only the new man which has to do with righteousness and holiness.

We are to be imitators of God, and act as Christ Himself has acted in love – the perfect expression of God – the new man. Furthermore, in this new man we are light in the Lord.   The measure of our walk and works is the light itself, of which Christ, if we are awake, is to us the perfect outshining. Hence we are to be wise in the midst of this world. In going through our relative duties, Paul speaks of the relationship of the church to Christ, founded on the working of His love. He first gives Christ’s giving Himself for it; next, Christ sanctifies and cleanses it by the word; and, thirdly, He presents it to Himself a glorious church, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing. Two things are to be noted:

  1. That, in the analogy with Adam and Eve, Christ stands in the place both of Adam and God.
  2. The intimate connection between Christ’s present operation and the glory.

He sanctifies and cleanses the church, so that He might present it to Himself. Then, the church, as well as being His wife, is presented as His body. According to the analogy of Eve. Christ is looked at as nourishing and cherishing it, as a man would his own flesh (chap. 5).

Finally, Christians are exhorted to put on the whole armour of God, and in His might enter into combat, entirely dependent on Him (chap. 6).

 

Originally by JND.   Lightly edited by Sosthenes,  September 2014

– Se A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible  for the original

A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible – Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs

We have had subsequent to the history, the moral development of the heart of man, and of the Spirit of God working in various ways in his heart. Especially in Ecclesiastes, the heart of man makes itself a centre, and tries to feed itself, In Canticles, the heart is getting out of itself into the heart of Christ.

lay-preachingPROVERBS.

Here is the wisdom of God showing its path to man, in contrast with the corruption and violence in man.  The first eight chapters give us the principle, showing Christ as wisdom.   The remainder of Proverbs enters into details.   It is addressed to man in a remarkable way.   A man of the world escapes by knowing the crookedness of the world: this book enables a man to escape without knowing it – wise in that which is good, simple concerning evil.

ECCLESIASTES

Here is the result of the pursuit of happiness under the sun.   Man’s wisdom, as man, is God’s law.

CANTICLES or SONG OF SONGS

The Song gives us the relationship, and the affections of the heart of the spouse, with Christ.  This special form of the relationship, is to be realised properly in Israel, though we may apply this book, abstractedly, to the church and to the individual.   (What Canticles treats of is not relationship, but desires, faith, getting the joy of the relationship with occasional glimpses, but not an established known relationship.  The place of the church, though the marriage is not come, is that of being in the relationship.  Israel will not have this.)

There is a kind of progress observable. (1) “My beloved is mine” – this is the lowest point. (2) “I am my beloved’s” – this is the consciousness of belonging to Him. (3) “I am my beloved’s, and his desire is towards me.”

_______

We have had subsequent to the history, the moral development of the heart of man, and of the Spirit of God working in various ways in his heart.  Especially in Ecclesiastes, the heart of man makes itself a centre, and tries to feed itself,  In Canticles, the heart is getting out of itself into the heart of Christ.

 

 

 

Slightly edited by Sosthenes, May 2014

What the Father has done in Grace for the Church’s Glory

Christ is exalted, sitting on the “right hand of the majesty on high”, waiting for the resurrection of the Church. The Church has already been reconciled to Christ, the earnest of this being in the presence of the Holy Spirit in us believers. Reconciliation of all things to Him is future.

In the dispensation that will start at the Saviour’s coming, the heirs will have the enjoyment of their inheritance. All things will be subjected to Christ, and to His church, united to Him and manifested with Him.

JN Darby – Lecture 2 on The Hopes of the Church of God

The Church and its Glory – A Summary by Sosthenes

new-jerusalem-2sChrist is exalted, sitting on the “right hand of the majesty on high”, waiting for the resurrection of the Church.   The Church has already been reconciled to Christ, the earnest of this being in the presence of the Holy Spirit in us believers.  Reconciliation of all things to Him is future.

In the dispensation that will start at the Saviour’s coming, the heirs will have the enjoyment of their inheritance.  All things will be subjected to Christ, and to His church, united to Him and manifested with Him.

Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenlies in Christ…and has put all things under his feet, and gave him [to be] head over all things to the assembly, which is his body, the fulness of him who fills all in all.”  Ephesians 1.

The Name of Father

Considering the Church and its Glory leads us to the name of Father – how God has revealed Himself to us.  From this Name the fruits of grace flow to the Church, just as everything flowed to Israel from the name of Jehovah.  In addition, the Father has given the church to Christ as His bride, with a view to the Church’s full participation in all His glory.  In adopting us as His children, the Father has associated us with the dignities and glory of the Son, “firstborn among many brethren,”(Rom. 8:29). As the bride of Jesus, we enjoy all the privileges that belong to Him, because of His incomparable love to us.

Far more than just salvation, we shall participate in the glory of the Son; as it is said in John 17:22, “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them“; and the world is know that the Father loves us as He loves Jesus.  By the Holy Spirit we are full of joy and intelligent as to those riches in glory.

Ephesians 1

God presents Himself as “our Father” (v. 2), and “the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ” (v. 3).  In v-4-8 we have salvation “accepted in the beloved”.  We are predestined to be the Father’s children having redemption through Christ’s blood.  This is according to the riches of God’s grace.

In v. 8-10, we see the actual power of the grace of salvation introducing us into the knowledge of the purpose (or decree) of God.  God treats us as His friends, and calms our souls to see the end of all the man’s agitated efforts.  God will “gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth.” (v.10).

Then we have the sealing by the Spirit and our future participation in the glory: “Sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.”

The remainder of the chapter is a prayer for the faithful to understand their hope in an exalted Christ, to whom the church is united, and that they might appreciate the power that works towards them as believers.

The Resurrection of the Church

Christ is sitting on the “right hand of the majesty on high” ( Heb. 1:3), waiting for the resurrection of the Church. He does not even know (as Man) when this should take place, since as a servant He waits perfectly upon His Father’s.

Currently Christ is glorified.  But as yet, all things are not yet subjected to Him.  We acknowledge His rights as Creator, as heir of all things, as head of the body, the Church.  He is both firstborn of every creature, and firstborn from the dead.

Christ will take the inheritance of all things as a man, in order that the church, bought with His blood, and purified, should inherit all things with Him.

There are two fundamental points:

  • Christ possesses all things.
  • The Church, the bride of Christ, participates in all that He has, and in all that He is, except in His eternal divinity

Jesus Exalted

We see in Ephesians 1:20, 23:

  • Jesus as the Head of the Church, His body
  • Jesus highly exalted the right hand of the Majesty on high
  • All things under His feet
  • The Church introduced into the same glory,

We see in 1 Corinthians 15:

  • The glorification of Jesus
  • All things subjected to Him
  • Head of a kingdom which He will possess as Man and which He will eventually deliver up to God the Father, with God all in all.

In short, the time for His being invested with royal power will have arrived, God having put His enemies as a footstool under His feet.

Reconciliation of all Things to Christ

The Church has already been reconciled to Christ, the earnest* of this being in the presence of the Holy Spirit in believers.

* An earnest payment is a specific form of security deposit made in some major transactions to demonstrate that the applicant is serious and willing to demonstrate good faith about wanting to complete the transaction. (Wikipedia)

The reconciliation of all things is future. We see in Romans 8:19-23 that the deliverance of creation will take place at the same time as the manifestation of the sons of God.  Christ will be sitting at the right hand of God.  He becomes Possessor of the heavens and the earth in fact, as He is that now by right.  Were there, for example, a blade of grass that was not subjected to His power in blessing, Satan would have got an advantage over Christ, His rights, and His inheritance.

Clearly, ‘all things’ relates to things in heaven and earth, not to sinners in unbelief.

Now creation is in misery and bondage.  We sigh and groan because of that.  All is in disorder; but we know Him who has redeemed us and made us heirs of all things. He has introduced us into the enjoyment of the love of the Father, enjoying the privileges as heirs.

In Col 1:20, the church is already reconciled. The things of earth and heaven will be reconciled later, by the efficacy of His blood.  “And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you . . . (the saints) now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh, through death.”

When He comes, Christ will be the source of joy to all created intelligences.  Joy and blessing will be spread over the whole creation.  Judgment will vindicate all the righteous titles of Christ.

Heavenly Places

We shall find our abode in the “heavenly places”. The spiritual blessings which we enjoy even now in hope, though hindered in many ways, will be for us in actuality.  The earth will feel the effect of that.  “Wicked spirits in heavenly places” (see margin, Eph. 6:12), will cease to be the continual cause of misery of a world subjected to their power by sin.  Their place will be filled by Christ and His church, reflecting His glory.  She will beam upon the earth in blessing; and the nations will walk by her light.  She will be the worthy and happy instrument of His blessings, the living demonstration of their success.   God has done these things, “that in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness towards us through Christ Jesus” (Eph. 2:7).  The earth will enjoy the fruits of the victory faithfulness of the last Adam.  This is over against the chaos made by sin, the ruin and of the iniquity of the first Adam.  The joy of joys will be the communion of the Father and of the Bridegroom for “God is love.”

Summary

Darby concludes “I have detailed to you, briefly and feebly, what is the destiny of the church.   We live under the dispensation during which the heirs are gathered together.  In the dispensation which will start at the coming of the Saviour, the heirs shall have the enjoyment of the inheritance of all things.  All things shall be subjected to Christ, and to His church, united to Him and manifested with Him.

What is to follow that is not our business now.  In that last period God will be all in all, and Christ Himself, as Man, will be subject to God; and chief, of a family eternally blessed in the communion of God.  God has loved that family, and His tabernacle will be in the midst of it – God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, eternally blessed. Amen.”