The Bride of Christ
New World Order Series, Part 5
The Gospel message is like a diamond that bends and refracts the pure light of truth for those who gaze upon its beauty. When Jesus said you must be born again, He was referring to the day when people would receive the kingdom as little children, in simple faith with the power to bend and refract godly values as proof of their holy call (John 3:3; Luke 18:17). In Hebrew "holy" is the word kadesh, which denotes setting aside from ordinary use for a special use. The holy call is a divine invitation to come out from the cinders and ashes of the world to the beauty of life in Christ. Life in Christ is indeed special and not a fairy tale as many would suppose.
The holy call to live anew reminds me of the Cinderella story written by Charles Perrault in 1697. The animated version by Walt Disney reveals how a young maiden, abused by her stepmother and stepsisters, is helped by her fairy godmother, dresses in a beautiful gown, attends a ballroom dance, and marries the handsome prince. While the Cinderella story is a story about a glorious kingdom wherein everyone lives happily ever after, the picture given in the Bible about the Groom and Bride is no fairy tale.
The Bible says there is a real kingdom ruled by a real Prince, the Prince of light. This is the kingdom of holiness and godliness punctuated with angelic beings and miraculous wonders of every type. Within this kingdom is a beautiful young lass living amidst the cinders and ashes of a fallen world (Ephesians 2:2). Living also within this fallen world is the prince of darkness, a dreadful being ruling over despicable spirits slithering about with evil intent. In this dark kingdom, godlessness rules the day much like the cruel stepsisters and wicked stepmother ruled over Cinderella. Although the dark kingdom thrives on evil and the misfortune of many, there are some who have found favor with God (Romans 5:17). They know God, of His grace, and of His promise to come again to receive them unto Himself (John 14:3) as His Bride and celebrate in a Heavenly wedding banquet (Revelation 19:9).
Jesus used the Jewish wedding customs of the day as a metaphor to help people understand that He would return for them. "The Jewish wedding custom had three major phases. First, a marriage contract was signed by the parents of the bride and the bridegroom, and the parents of the bride would pay a dowry to the bridegroom or his parents. This began what was called the betrothal period—what we would today call the engagement. This phase was the one Joseph and Mary were in when she was found to be with child. (Matthew 1:18; Luke 2:5)" 
In flow with the imagery and symbolism of the wedding, the first phase occurs when a person is born again by saying 'yes" to the Holy call (2 Timothy 1:9). The Spirit places the betrothal ring around the believer's heart as the "seal of promise and protection" until the Groom returns (2 Corinthians 1:22). Just as there was a betrothal period in biblical times during which the bride and groom were separated until the wedding, so too is the Bride separate from her Groom during the church age. Our charge during the betrothal period is to remain faithful by wearing the ring of promise that bends and refracts the light of pure truth and faithfulness for all to see (2 Corinthians 3:2-3).
The second phase in the Jewish wedding process usually occurred a year later, when the bridegroom, accompanied by his male friends, went to the house of the bride at midnight, creating a torchlight parade through the streets. The bride did not know in advance when this was going to take place, but when she heard the trumpet blast, she would get ready with her maidens, and they would all join the parade and end up at the bridegroom's home. This custom is the basis of the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25:1-13.
The second phase marks the rapture of the church, the long awaited midnight call that summons the Bride to join the Bridegroom's celestial parade. Thoughts and worries about the New World Order will fade away in the light of Christ. From her exalted position, the Bride will go hand-in-hand with her first Love to the Father's house where the celebration begins. Soon thereafter is the official wedding ceremony (Revelation 19:7-9; 21:1-2). Of this glorious home coming and wedding celebration, the angels and saints will praise God for what has and will be done (Revelation 19:5). Amen!
The third phase was the marriage banquet itself, which might go on for days, as illustrated by the wedding at Cana in John 2:1-2. And we will discuss this celebration in the next segment of this series.
Next: Part 6: The Wedding Ceremony
 What is the marriage supper of the Lamb?, GotQuestions.org
 What does it mean that the church is the bride of Christ?, Got Questions.org (paraphrased)
New World Order, The Series
Part 1: To Rule Over You
Part 2: One Banner of Faith
Part 3: No Need for God
Part 4: The Opening Act
Part 5: The Bride of Christ
Part 6: The Wedding Ceremony
Part 7: The Coming King of Kings
Image Credit: Alan Nakkash; "Natural Born Killer"; Creative Commons
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