#9 – The Genesis of Life [Rev19:1-10]: The Bride – a mystery…

“Let us rejoice and exult and give glory, for the marriage supper of the Lamb has come, and the Bride has made herself ready;” Rev 19:7 ESV

So Who is she? Who is this Bride that has made herself ready? Who is this woman that when all is said and done, is united in marriage forever with the righteous Lamb of God?

She is a mystery!

Yes, there are scriptures in the bible that refer to her, like when John the Baptist says in John 3:29 that, “The one who has the bride is the bridegroom. “ and in Revelation 21:2 when John the Apostle says: “And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

Even in the Old Testament God refers to Israel as His bride, like in Jeremiah 2:2 when He tells him to, ‘Go and proclaim in the hearing of Jerusalem, Thus says the LORD, “I remember the devotion of your youth, your love as a bride, how you followed me in the wilderness, in a land not sown.’ The prophet Hosea is even asked to marry a prostitute as a prophetic sign that God’s bride, Israel, was prostituting herself by forsaking the Lord. There are seemingly many scriptural references to the bride, and how God relates to His people as a bridegroom does to a bride; but is that it? Is that all we are supposed to gather about the bride? That it is a metaphor for the way we relate to God? Or is there more? Is there a deeper story running through the pages of scripture, that at first glance cannot be seen? Is there maybe more to her than meets the eye? Lets look a little deeper….

I love the way Paul talks in Ephesians. He uses the word mystery 6 times. He is trying to convey something spectacular to the Ephesian assembly, yet he can’t seem to express it in words. So he uses the word mystery, defined as ‘a truth that is incomprehensible to reason and knowable only through divine revelation,’ to try and help them understand.

I don’t know if any of you have experienced this before, but sometimes when I can feel something brewing inside me that I can’t seem to describe, I find that sitting down and writing helps me process my thoughts. Eventually what happens is I figure it out. Yeah, by running through all the concepts and placing them down, the mystery within me eventually reveals itself. Or maybe you think verbally and so speaking to someone helps you process everything and then eventually without them even saying anything, you kinda just figure it out. Well, whichever works best for you, I believe Paul was doing just that in his letter to the Ephesian saints. He was trying to express a revelation the Lord had given him, and as he wrote (and spoke) to them, the picture became clearer.

I will not be making a theological or exhaustive interpretation of Ephesians, but for the sake of this study, will just be commenting on the mystery thread that seems to run through its pages.

In chapter 1, Paul already makes mention to this aspect of mystery. He basically interprets the times and helps the saints understand that what is happening with the church (in terms of people getting saved, the gifts of the Spirit, and so on) is actually what God had predestined all along. He then continues to expound that this is a reality that is in Christ and explains what it means in its practical outworking. In chapter 3 he says that the mystery that was given to him by revelation of Christ was hidden in God from the beginning of time; and then, just a little later he actually says out-rightly that the mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

After this, in chapter 4 he introduces a breathtaking new concept, the [body of Christ], and how everyone is a member of that body, like limbs and organs are a part of a human body. He is clearly developing a concept and leading up to something and in chapter 5, to further reveal this mystery Paul decides to personify the church as the bride of Christ and in verses 25-27 he says that “Christ loved the church (his bride), and gave himself up for her, that he may sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so he might present the church (his bride) to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle, or without blemish.”

And then, to end off his attempt to try and reveal the depth of the revelation that God gave him concerning Christ and the church, he likens them to a divine and eternal mystery that God established in the garden of Eden, way before the fall in Genesis 2:24 when He said that, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” He explains that this same mysterious power that joins a man to his wife and makes them one flesh (body), is what joins Christ to the church and makes them one body (flesh). What a mystery!

And so, if all I have done is completely confuse you… good! For that is what a good mystery should do. Thus far, in all generations, this enigma of the Bride of Christ and the ambiguity of how she is one with Him has confused, confounded, and mystified… And for good reason. God has kept this amazing secret hidden to the eyes of the proud. For it is His greatest delight, His eternal enjoyment, His most passionate purpose. Hence, you will not find scripture that out-rightly explains who the Bride is. For God has hidden her. In parables, riddles, and stories. To ensure that only those willing to seek will find. Those willing to look past the words and choose to see and appreciate His heart will discover. Those, who delight in knowing God as friend. With them he says He will share all His business. (John 15). All His inner workings, plans, and desires He will reveal to those He calls Friend.

And His Bride, this [pearl of great price] that He searched for, eventually found, and sold everything He had for, (including his very own son), He will never throw before swine to be trampled upon. She is too precious to Him.

And so, only with those who truly desire to know Him and value His heart will He share this revelation. It is His greatest secret. The most precious thing He owns. That which He gave everything He had for.

And so, my question to you today is: “Do you really love the Lord and His heart’s desires? Do you really appreciate Him for Who He Is? Can He share His most precious pearl with you? Can He trust you?  Will you make space for His heart? Can He feel safe with you? Can He really call you Friend?

Lord, my prayer today is for us all. I pray that you will show each of us the pride and selfishness in our hearts that keep us from loving you unconditionally. That which keeps you from feeling safe with us. That which keeps us from being able to receive and cherish the truth in your heart. That which keeps the bride veiled from us. We want to be your Friend. We want to know you. We want to be stripped from everything that would keep us from loving you. Please God, change us. Do a deep work in us. Prepare our hearts to house your pearls. Prepare us to be safe loving vessels of your deepest desires. Make us real Friends.

4 thoughts on “#9 – The Genesis of Life [Rev19:1-10]: The Bride – a mystery…

  1. After reading your blog, I’m wrestling with the idea that the Bride is the greatest or ultimate delight of God. On one hand, I think God does delight in his Bride with all his heart. But having just read John Piper’s “The Pleasures of God”, I feel that God’s ultimate delight (the start and end of all his delights) is himself. He values himself above all because he is most valuable. And he is most satisfied in himself because he is most satisfying.

    The fact that he was prepared to give his Son raises some tough issues. My thoughts on this:

    a) he does love mankind a lot;
    b) this love is an overflow of his great heart (it starts in him, not us)
    c) the giving of his Son comes from and leads to his delight in himself. His delight in his Bride is delight in Himself because he created her, redeemed her and sanctified her.

    So (as you point out) His Bride is very precious to Him. I think this is because she is His and so what becomes of her reflects on Him.

    On one hand this is a blow to our pride and sense of self-worth. But on the other, it is a source of great relief. Our future is secured not by our own value but by God’s. God has attached his value to what becomes of us… so we are completely safe once we become one of his who are “called by his name”.

    Finally, in terms of this being a blow to our self-worth, this is redundant because we have no worth of our own. We were created by God and all worth we “have” comes from him. So we are mistaken in trying to look in ourselves for worth – all worth is ultimately in God. The fact that we can enjoy his worth and value (and in this way become a container of it) is a reason to rejoice.

    1. Peter

      Thank you for your comment. I really like and agree with what you are saying. The fact that God’s ultimate delight is Himself. I think this reflects even more greatly on how precious His Bride is to Him. And not only precious, but also Holy, just like He is.

      Would you consider that He actually delights in her as much as He does in Himself? That He has chosen to make her equal in splendour with Himself…?

      Lets see what else Paul says in Ephesians 5:28-30. “In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. (Just like you have suggested). For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church (His Bride), because we are members of his body.”

      Essentially, this means that the Bride is Christ’s own body. She is inseparable from him. Equal to Him. Flawless. She has been taken out of Christ, just like Eve was taken out of Adam, and so she has the same DNA. She is a “partaker of the divine nature” (2 Pet 1:4). The same life flows in her that flows in Christ. Hence, the same love that He has for Himself, He has for her, just as you have said.

      This is amazing. It means that He loves mankind a lot, as you have said in point (a), but He loves His Bride as Himself. (Which is a hell of a lot… 🙂 ). And yes, to concur with point (b), a woman is made to respond to the love that comes from a man. Not the other way around. Love ultimately originates in God, and as it flows over His Bride, her heart within her is awakened with love for Him. This means, that the same love He has for Himself, is essentially the same love that she has for Him. Not her own love. His love and passion for Himself, flowing in her, and then returning to Him through her. Like a circle of perfect passionate holy love flowing between them. Isn’t that amazing!

      And yes, it means that she has no worth within herself. Everything that is good in her, comes from Him. And so, all she has to do is open herself to receive His love and allow the natural process of that love to take root in her heart and flow back to Him.

      And so in conclusion, to say that she is His ultimate passion and delight is correct, because she bares His DNA. She is by Him, to Him, and for Him. She is Christ, but just in another form. He loves her as He loves Himself. He delights in her as He delights in Himself, and He is ultimately and eternally passionate about her, just as he is forever and will forever be passionate about Himself.

      So yes, this is much reason to Rejoice!!!

      Bless you bro

      1. Hey Dyl!

        You make some good points. Seeing our love for him being the second half of a circle of love that began in him is great.

        And I like how you’ve got me thinking about how we will be in eternity and how God will see us – something very interesting and wonderful to think about.

        On the one hand, God is clear that marriage leads to two becoming one flesh. This can surely be used to know what we will be like with him after our marriage to him. We will be one with him. He will clothe us with his splendor.

        I’m not sure what exactly you mean when you use the word “equal”. Here I think there is some kind of distinction. While we share in his splendor, in some ways his splendor is greater than ours, because everyone knows all splendor comes from him. This is essentially a Creator/creature distinction and a “Worshippee”/worshipper distinction. So this seems opposed to equality.

        I would say we share in his righteousness fully but not his glory fully. And we share in his love fully (perfect love flow).

        What do you think?

        Thanks, bless you too bro.

  2. Peter

    Good question. I thought that you would have something to say about my use of the word “equal,” so I left it in. This is something that I too have pondered a little bit. Equality with God. Can we be just like Him?

    I think that my thoughts on this are connected to the desires of God’s heart to be with us as well as the nature of equality with God. The question is not “Are we equal with God?,” but “Is Christ Equal with God?” There is much reference to us becoming like Christ, being holy as God is holy, being transformed into the image of Christ, being in Christ, and so on. And so, I can definitely see a theme in scripture that suggests that we are to stand before God just like Christ does. Equal, yet different. Not worshipping Him out of duty, but out of Love. Just like Christ shows us to.

    The question again is, “does Christ worship God?” And if so, what does the word “worship” entail?

    Do you “worship” your Father? Because since Christ came, knowing God as Father is essentially the revelation that we can now live and relate to God in. You revere your father. You honour your father. You respect your father. You love your father. And in some cultures, children even bow down before their fathers, not because they are gods, but because it shows their respect for them. Similarly, I think that when we realise that God is our father, our “worship” may begin to look a lot more relational and even bridge the gap of inequality with God.

    Another question is “Are you equal with your father?” In principle you are. You are a person just like your father is and therefore you are equal to him. But you are also different from him, and in that relational difference you treat your father in a certain way. So the difference is not in principal, but in practice. Christ shows us how to treat our Heavenly Father. He models what it means to live like a son in the Kingdom of Heaven. Not as a subject, but a son. Yes, you can live as a subject, but there is an invitation to be a son. The question is, “Which do you want to be?”

    I know this is a tough one to get one’s mind around, but I definitely think that we still have much to learn about the way God sees us and the way we now are in Christ. I personally choose to be a son. To see myself as equal with my Father and so take ownership of my position as a son, because I bear His name. I believe that is true worship. Receiving the gift that my Father has given me in Christ Jesus and humbling myself to His desire to know me as a son.

    So yes, the thought that God would make Himself equal to us humans is preposterous, but He has done it. He has made Himself a man, and in that has given us the ability to be sons. It’s up to us to decide if we will accept it.

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