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WORDS OF LIFE FOR OUR TIME Booklet No. 2
TITLE: "THE VOICE OF THE BRIDEGROOM"
NOTE: "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." (Rev. 19:7). Christ is going to return for a PREPARED people who have made themselves READY. This requires much more than just professing to be a Christian, or even knowing that one is saved. This booklet will help you to understand just what the Lord requires of those who aspire to be CALLED into His very presence to share His intimate fellowship and glory in His own Kingdom realm. "They that were READY went in with him (Christ, the Bridegroom) to the marriage: and the door was SHUT" (Mt. 25:10). If you wish to understand the questions of BRIDESHIP, SONSHIP, etc., then read carefully the contents of this booklet. Do not read casually or hurriedly, but slowly, carefully and prayerfully, and ALONG WITH YOUR BIBLE, looking up the scripture references as you read.
All signs indicate that the time is drawing near for the sounding forth of the greatest CRY since Jesus uttered the triumphant words from the cross, "It is finished" (John 19:30). I refer to Matt. 25:6, where we read: "And at midnight there was a CRY made. Behold the bridegroom cometh; go [ ] out to meet him." This CRY will likely be made by the two witnesses when they suddenly appear in Jerusalem to proclaim the imminent return of the Lord. However, there is also a sense in which this CRY is going forth NOW, through messengers whom the Lord has chosen.
It is significant to note that the scriptures show Christ returning to this earth first as a BRIDEGROOM. (Later, as "King of Kings and Lord of Lords”--Rev. 19:16). It should be rather obvious that a Bridegroom would come for His Bride, who goes into the marriage with Him (Matt. 25:10). Some teach that there is to be a "Bridegroom company" who, along with Christ, is to "marry" the "Bride company." I personally fail to find any scriptural backing for such a teaching. However, I certainly won't argue with those who differ, and I refuse to make such differences a hindrance to unity and fellowship in Christ. All the scriptures which mention the Bridegroom seem to reserve this unique and exalted position to Christ alone. [Ed note: evidence for the “Bridegroom company” concept is likely drawn from Isa. 62:5, “so shall your sons wed you.” But in cosmic context, this does not speak to a “Bridegroom company,” but of the final uniting of the historically outcast sons of the prophets and true apostles to the rest of the body of Christ.] But how great is the privilege which waits those "overcoming" sons and daughters of God who shall make up the Bride company; and even now all creation waits in anticipation of the day of their UNVEILing (or manifestation—Rom. 8:19). Notice that Rebekah (a type of the Bride of Christ) was veiled until she was taken by Isaac into his mother's tent, but after she became his wife she became unveiled (Gen. 24:65-67). So shall the day of the Bride's unveiling come after she has donned her "wedding garments" (glorified bodies like unto Christ's glorious body—Phil. 3:21), and has been received by her Bridegroom in celestial joy; for she will have a ministry to perform on earth during the time of great tribulation which is coming. Notice Rev. 12:12-17 where Satan is pictured as sending out a "flood" of vilification and persecution against the "woman" (church), but "the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood." The "earth" here indicates the appearance (or manifestation) of the saints of the Bride Company in their glorified earth bodies (flesh and bone—see Luke 24:39), to open their mouths and speak words of help and deliverance that will nullify the fear-instilling propaganda, threats and persecution being "poured out" on Christians in that day. They will be able to appear to individual saints or to groups gathered together just as Jesus appeared to the disciples who had shut themselves in with the doors barred "for fear of the Jews " (see John 20:19,26). Jesus dispelled their fears and gave them new hope and courage.
Most Christians of the fundamentalist churches believe that all those who are born again will be in the so called "rapture" when Christ comes for His church. Scarcely a worse delusion could be entertained. Christ's Kingdom is to be a ruling kingdom (Rev. 5:10, 20:6). Even in the kingdoms (or nations) of men, think of the chaos that would result if immature, unproven babes and children were put in positions of responsibility to run the "affairs of state." Horrors! If man would not do such a foolish thing, what makes anyone think that God would? Even Jesus' parables of the "talents" and "pounds" show that those to be received into His heavenly kingdom are to be given posts of rulership: "Well done, good and faithful servant: you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things" (Matt, 25:21). . . "Well, [ ] good servant: because you have been faithful in a very little, have [ ] authority over ten cities" (Luke 19:17). The majority of Christians in the world are yet babes and children, spiritual progress and growth considered. Many have begun to enter into the "adolescent" stage, which is good and needful, but this is a "problem time" in spiritual growth, even as it is in the natural. The chief difficulty seems to be spiritual pride (see I Cor. 8:1-2), which can manifest in many ways.
It is beyond the scope of this short introduction to elaborate, but we can see a type of spiritual pride and consequences in the story of Noah after the flood. Noah planted a vineyard (a type of the Kingdom); but when he drank the fruits thereof, it went to his head, exposing his nakedness and gendering a curse to some (see Gen. 9:20-25). How often is this true when Christians begin to grow and partake of the greater fruits and blessings of the Kingdom. They get "heady" on the "wine", and havoc is often the result. And how hard it is to teach and correct those who are exhilarated in the "fling" of adolescent pride. But thank God there are Christians who have begun to enter into a measure of maturity: who are becoming "pillars" in the temple (church) of God through overcoming (Rev. 3:12). Only such "overcomers" are to sit with Christ on His throne and be given power over the nations (Rev. 2:26-27, 3:21, 12:5).
Those who are to rule and reign with Christ are to be kings and priests (Rev. 5:10), and joint-heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17). In the Old Testament times, kings and priests had to be anointed for their offices with the holy anointing oil which was poured upon their heads to sanctify (separate) them to the Lord (Ex. 29:7; Lev. 8:12; I Sam. 10:1; 16:13). This is a type of the Holy Spirit baptism which is pictured in the book of Acts as being "poured out upon", "coming on" or "falling on" those who received (Acts 1:8, 2:17-18, 8:15-17, 10:44-45, 11:15, 19:6). See also Psalm 133. The Lord made it clear however in the Old Testament types, that He requires a proving (through testing) resulting in obedience and faithfulness (I Sam. 2:27-35, 13:13-14, 15:22-23, Acts 13:21-22), or those "anointed" could "lose out" on their high calling. In Rev. 17:13, those who are with "the Lamb" are the "called, and chosen, and faithful". This is why Peter says we must "give diligence to make our calling and election sure" (II Pet. 1:10). Salvation is a free gift (Rom. 6:23), which is different than the prize of the high calling of God (Phil. 3:14); and for that "prize" one must "run" (see I Cor. 9:24-27, Heb. 12:1), in order to be successfully "crowned." We are called " to His kingdom and glory (I Thess. 2:12), and "to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ (II Thess. 2:14), that we might have our bodies changed into the likeness of "his glorious body," for it will be through such glorified saints ruling with Christ that He will be able “to subdue all things to himself" (Phil. 3:21). "Many are called, but few are chosen" (Matt 22:14). Truly it is a "high," "holy" and "heavenly" calling (see Phil. 3:14, II Tim. 1:9, Heb. 3:1), to be in Christ's ruling Body and Kingdom.
Also, in Bible times, a son became a "joint heir" in the inheritance of his father only after he had been tutored, disciplined, and grown to sufficient maturity to be formally "placed as a son." This "placing as a son" is the correct translation of the Greek word huiothesia which appears in Ephes. 1:5, Rom. 8:15,23 & Gal. 4:5, and is misleadingly translated, "adoption," in the King James version; for it has nothing to do with adoption as we use that term. It has to do with those who are already "born again" children in the family of God, but who reach that place of "overcoming" and spiritual maturity where they are ready for "placing as sons" as joint heirs with Christ. Paul says that we are "waiting for the adoption, [that is to say], the redemption of our body.'' (Rom. 8:23). Thus "full sonship" will come only when our bodies are glorified and made like to Christ's glorious body (Phil. 3:21). We will be joint heirs with Christ, IF so be that we suffer with him, that we may be glorified together (Rom. 8:17). . . IF we suffer (for His sake) we shall also reign with him" (II Tim. 2:12). At the present time we have "the Spirit of adoption (within), whereby we cry Abba, Father" (Rom. 8:15, Gal. 4:6). This "firstfruits of the Spirit" is the "seal" and "down payment" of our inheritance, "until the redemption of the purchased possession" (Ephes. 1:13-14, II Cor. 1:21-22, Rom. 8:23).
All truly born again children of God are predestined to the "adoption" or "placing as sons": to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ (Ephes. 1:5, Rom. 8:29). But not all will be ready at the same TIME. Let me give an illustration. Suppose a very rich man with vast business enterprises had a large family of children. These could vary in age from babes to teenagers. We will say that it is the father's purpose for all of his sons and daughters to be adequately cared for, disciplined, schooled and prepared for the day that they were sufficiently grown in maturity, understanding and responsibility to be given a share in the family inheritance and "placed" as mature sons and daughters in positions or "posts" of executive oversight in the family businesses. Obviously not all the children would be ready to be co-heirs in the family inheritance at the same time. Not only would the difference in their ages preclude that, but no doubt some would be much more diligent than others, wanting to please their father and prove that they were trustworthy, responsible, faithful, etc. Others, on the other hand, might be so selfish, careless, and foolish as to "fritter away" their opportunities. Thus they would require more time for the father to prove them, before they could share in the family inheritance and be "placed" in positions of responsibility.
In light of the foregoing Illustration, it may be easier for the reader to understand the reason why those to be received by Christ when He comes must be made READY (Matt. 24:44, 25:10, Rev. 19:7). And also Jesus' warning about those who will be rejected as being unqualified for the heavenIy kingdom (Mt. 7:21-23, 22:11-14, 25-.10-12, Lk. 12:45-47). Notice how Paul's words of admonition in Ephes. 5:14-18, parallel the parable of the wise and foolish virgins in Mt. 25:1-12. "Wherefore he says, awake you who sleep (the virgins were sleeping), and arise from the dead (spiritual deadness), and Christ shall give you light (oil for the virgin's lamps). See that you walk circumspectly (accurately, carefully), not as fools (as the foolish virgins), but as wise (as the wise virgins), redeeming the time (making the best use of it), because the days are evil (the pitfalls and temptations are many). Wherefore be [ ] not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is (see Mt. 7:21). And be not drunk with wine (the "wine" of Babylon—Rev. 17:2), wherein is excess, but be filled with the Spirit (the extra oil of the wise virgins). TIME is of the essence. It is Christ's purpose to "bring many sons to glory" (Heb. 2:10), "that he might be the firstborn among many brethren" (Rom. 8:29). And because of this, those who are not ready when the Lord comes for His Bride at the beginning of the tribulation, will have sufficient time (if they are diligent) during the tribulation period to "prove themselves" that the Lord might "know" them, and be received into His kingdom glory at the close of the tribulation.
In Gal. 4:7, Paul says that we are sons of God and thus heirs through Christ. But in 4:1-2, he points out that an heir, though potentially "lord of all "must await the "time appointed of the father" for his "adoption" or "placing as a son" in his full inheritance. So again we see it is a matter of TIME. This was true dispensationally, for those under the law were kept "in bondage" or limitation to the elemental or rudimentary precepts of childhood, and under enforced servitude as a servant or slave (4:1,3). This was because the law was weak through the flesh (Rom. 8:3), and had no power to bring to perfection (or maturity). "For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did" (Heb. 7:19,11; 9:9; 10:1). But what was true dispensationally, is also true of each of us as individuals. Although we have been "redeemed" from the limitations and weaknesses of the law (Gal. 4:5), each of us begins our Christian experience as a "babe In Christ" (I Pet. 2:2), and we must grow up (Ephes. 4:14-15), if we are to receive the "adoption" to full sonship. We are sons, not servants (under the compulsory servitude of the law), but because we have been "bought with a price and belong to Christ (I Cor. 6:19-20, 7:22-23), we voluntarily submit to Him as His servants or love-slaves, that we might be "tutored" and "disciplined" by Him through the Spirit. Read Ex. 21:1-6, Deut. 15:12-17 for a type of this. Although freed by our Master, we say, "I love my master, I will not go out free," and we have our "ears bored through with an awl" (that we might hear His voice) and serve Him forever! See Rev. 22:3 & 21:7. SONS, yes; but also SERVANTS!
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