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What the Bible says about Preparing the Bride for Christ
(From Forerunner Commentary)

Matthew 22:11

In verse 11, the King comes and sees one who did not have on a wedding garment. Notice that, to this point in the parable, no one has addressed the qualifications for acceptance. The King's very first concern was proper attire! Perhaps we are past the "invitation" stage—except for a few who come in at the eleventh hour—and are in the "garment donning" stage. Revelation 19:7-9 says those who are blessed have proper garments and have put them on. It is essential not only to have the truth, but to live it! Isaiah 61:9-10 shows the church as an example to the Gentiles of a godly bride and groom.

Can there be any argument about dressing and preparing the bride being the first area of concern? It certainly was to the King!

Staff
Who Are the 'Guests at the Wedding'?

Matthew 24:29-31

In Christ's description of His second coming in verses 29-31, He depicts it as a unique occurrence. His return will be so astounding and powerful that the people of this world will quail in fear, thinking that they are all doomed to destruction. His return will not be in secret or done in a corner. It will be wonderful, glorious, frightening, and decisive. And it certainly has not happened yet.

Isaiah 66:14-16 is a parallel passage:

When you see this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like grass; the hand of the LORD shall be known to His servants, and His indignation to His enemies. For behold, the LORD will come with fire and with His chariots, like a whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire. For by fire and by His sword the LORD will judge all flesh; and the slain of the LORD shall be many.

After building His church, the Bride, to the point that she is complete and ready for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, Jesus Christ will return in wrath and power as the great Judge to slay His enemies and set up His Kingdom. It will not be a good or fun time. The Day of the Lord is a time of death and destruction. As Amos 5:18 says, “It will be darkness, and not light,” and not an event in God's Plan that we should desire. While it is necessary for God's justice to be satisfied, it will be a time of appalling loss of life and devastation. In Malachi's words, it will be a “great and dreadful day” (Malachi 4:5).

In one way, we can be thankful that that Day has not yet come. Would we have been ready if it had? As the days darken toward the return of the King of kings, true Christians need to heed the warnings embedded in these latest disasters and repent of their sins and move even closer to God. Christ is preparing His Bride, and she will make herself ready for His glorious appearing (Revelation 19:7). If we desire to be part of that Bride, we should do as the apostle Paul advises in Ephesians 5:15-16: “See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.”

Richard T. Ritenbaugh
The End Is Not Yet

Acts 20:28-32

Regarding God's work changing its emphasis according to need and God's will, Acts 20:28-32 is especially interesting. Predicting that conditions would not always remain the same, Paul warns that significant events would trouble the church after his death. He felt it was critical that they pay special attention to feeding the flock through the Word of God, and in doing so the people would build spiritual strength. Clearly, God's focus, the church's focus, shifts occasionally to meet the spiritual needs of the church and His will.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Preparing the Bride

Romans 1:11-12

Do not be misled by the word established because it can suggest that they were not already established, which they were. The next verse explains what he means.

The apostle Paul is talking about "feeding the flock," preaching "the whole counsel of God" in infinite detail. The words of God—the gospel—when understood in its broadest sense, include the entirety of the Bible. It is not confined to making a witness so that people might have this held against them in a legal sense by God—as if God were saying, "I gave you My word, but you didn't respond to it."

God's primary concern is to prepare His children to share a relationship in fellowship with Him for all eternity—everybody living exactly the same way. The "gospel" requires an infinite expansion on the bare basics that bring us to conversion so we can see the application of God's way of life in every situation possible in our lives.

John W. Ritenbaugh
What Is the Work of God Now? (Part One)

Revelation 19:7

This verse records in advance that the bride "has made herself ready." When Christ comes she is prepared to take her place beside Him. This indicates she yields to God to be ready exactly when He is, but it does not say how painful it is for her or what she has to go through to be ready.

Preparing for a wedding between a man and woman is stressful. Besides the bride and groom beginning to blend their lives together, a multitude of arrangements must be completed so that the marriage ceremony proceeds smoothly. Jesus Christ is energetically working on us now to prepare us to take Him as our Husband. Paul writes in II Timothy 3:12, "Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution." Jesus adds in John 16:33, "In the world you will have tribulation." There will also be times of stern correction (Hebrews 12:5-11). It can be very painful if we fail to yield because He will apply whatever pressure is needed to motivate us to use our free moral agency rightly. Does it not seem wise to yield? Why not make it easier on ourselves?

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Sovereignty of God: Part Four

Revelation 19:7-8

At this time, the bride of Christ, the church, has made herself ready and is clothed in white linen, which represents her righteous acts. The implications are clear: Getting ready, walking worthy, and overcoming are the righteous acts of the saints that prepare her to be His wife in the resurrection to the Kingdom of God.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Elements of Motivation (Part Five): Who We Are

Revelation 19:7-8

The fine linen represents the righteous acts of the saints. Consider that the marriage analogy carries right through from the Old Covenant into the New. Under the New Covenant, the church is seen as a bride preparing for marriage.

There is a major difference, however, between the Old and New Covenant marriage analogies. In the Old Covenant, when Israel agreed to God's proposal, and Moses performed the ritual described in Exodus 24, they were married. When we enter into the New Covenant, we are not married yet. We are like a bride preparing for marriage, even though we have already agreed to the New Covenant. God has made this change to resolve the weakness of the first covenant, which will be eradicated before the actual ceremony and union take place.

Revelation 19 is the announcement that the bride is now ready and the marriage can take place. There are four things that a marriage relationship must have to really be successful:

1) A marriage must have love. A loveless marriage is a contradiction in terms.

2) A marriage must have intimate communion—so intimate that the bride and groom become one flesh. The two become one.

3) A marriage should have joy. This will be a natural result if love exists in the marriage. The joy of loving and being loved is like nothing else.

4) A marriage must have fidelity, loyalty, and faithfulness. No marriage can last without it.

The weakness of the first covenant will be resolved—eradicated—before the actual ceremony and union take place. This time, Christ will be married to a wife who has already proved that she loves Him, that she is capable of intimate communication, that she is happy with Him as her Husband, and that she is faithful in every aspect of her life.

Notice how attention is drawn to her preparations, as well as her righteous acts. Could her righteous acts have anything to do with the preparation? Absolutely. Could it have anything to do with her being qualified? Absolutely. Works—her righteous acts—are represented here.

We should not be misled into thinking that her deeds, her righteous acts, have earned her salvation. All through the Bible, it maintains a delicate balance between grace (what is given) and obedience (the proper response). Here, that balance is shown by the wife's garments being granted to her. She has worked, but the gift is still given.

It takes work to make a marriage successful. It takes work to make our relationship with God successful. If we do the right kind of works, there is no doubt that the relationship will be successful, and God will be well pleased with us. And we will enter His Kingdom.

John W. Ritenbaugh
Love and Works

Revelation 19:7

Most believe that this person in question, "His wife," is the church, the Bride of Christ. Notice, however, what the verse says: "[She] has made herself ready." God does not lead us in wrong directions, so whhat this description suggests is true. The woman - the Bride, the church - has had to do things. She had to perform certain actions to get herself into position to be ready to marry Christ. It was not merely a matter of repenting, getting baptized, and receiving God's Spirit. She had to do something to be prepared to be in the Kingdom and marry her Savior.

John W. Ritenbaugh
The Covenants, Grace, and Law (Part One)

Revelation 19:9

It will be one of eternity's supreme blessings to be called to this Marriage Supper. But who are these blessed ones? Who will be called to the Marriage Supper of the Lamb? Who will be there?

Of course, God the Father and Jesus Christ will be there. They will be doing the inviting—the calling. God's angels, archangels, twenty-four elders, and four living creatures will all be there. And it cannot be a wedding without a bride—the Bride of Christ will be there, collectively made up of the resurrected and changed members of God's true church from throughout the generations.

But who will not be there? The church members who make up the five foolish virgins will not be there, because they will have not adequately prepared (Matthew 25:1-13). Satan and his demons will not be there. They will have been banned from even visiting heaven, as they had been able to do before (Revelation 12:8).

Staff
The Marriage of the Lamb


 




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