Introduction/why the Bride?

Hello friends and partners,
       It is our heavenly Daddy’s greatest desire, that we would develop from merely being born again, the church, a son or daughter, into His sold out Bride. We can see in Rev. 21:9 that the Bride, His wife, is the New, heavenly Jerusalem. The Bride in this passage, is a “betrothed woman”. His wife in this passage, is also described as a betrothed woman. In Rev. 21:10, Jerusalem is described as “the city or the inhabitants”, metaphorically speaking, a form of the “true” church in this age, and after Christ’s return, in the form of the perfected Messianic Kingdom.
  We must begin to understand the difference between the earthly church, in our current condition, a son or daughter, and His Bride. Each one has a different position, authority and relationship with Christ. Who of these has the greatest intimacy with Christ? Can we see the differences even when we look at a natural earthly marriage? God told men and women to leave their earthly parents and to be “cleaved” together as one. Gen. 2:24. To cleave means to, cling, stick, stay close, keep close, stick to, stick with, follow closely, join to, overtake, catch, to be joined together. This is passage speaking about an earthly marriage while others also speak about cleaving to the Lord. Strong’s H1692. In Matt. 19:5 Jesus quoted this scripture but the Strong’s G4347, cleave, means, glue upon, glue to, to join one self to closely.
  In Deut. 4:4, it says that those who cleaved to the Lord “are alive” everyone of you this day. Here the Strong’s is H1695 and means clinging, “adhering too”. To adhere in the dictionary can mean ” to be united by a molecular force”. I think we can see that all of these meanings are a bit deeper than just a “casual” relationship.
  When we look at the Old Testament speaking about man leaving his earthly parents, Gen. 2:24 ” to join together” with his earthly wife, and compare it to Jesus saying in Matt. 10:37, ” if anyone loves father or mother more than Me”, he is not worthy of me, we can easily see that these two passages parallel each other in very significant way. God does not want us to place any one or anything in higher value than Him. He wants us to place our highest love, (phileo), and value, upon Him. In other words He is seeking a Bride who will put Him first place over all others. Jesus clearly states that if we don’t, we are not worthy,(befitting), suitable, proper, becoming, of Him. We simply are not a suitable Bride.
  In this same context Jesus goes on to say in in the next verse, Matt. 10:38, he who does not take up his cross and follow Him , is not worthy of Him. In Rev. 19:7 John heard a vast throng shout, ” Let us celebrate and ascribe to Him glory and honor, for the marriage supper of the Lamb, [at last] has come, and His bride has “prepared” herself. His wife prepared, “made herself ready” for Him. Remember, Jesus is coming back for a Bride without spot or wrinkle. One who is faultless or unblameable.
   When we look at the 5 wise and the 5 unwise virgins in Matt. 25:1-12 , talking about what the Kingdom of heaven is like, we can see that the all 10 of the virgins started out the same, and were all “marriageable maidens”, Strong’s G3933. They were all equal and they all had the same opportunity to meet the bridegroom. Some teachings I have seen refer to the 5 unwise virgins as the church and refer to the 5 wise virgins as the bride. In other words, we all start out the same, with the same opportunity to meet the bridegroom, but only the wise virgins or marriageable maidens “prepared” themselves for him. Only these wise virgins were allowed to enter into the “marriage or the wedding feast”. The door was shut and when the 5 unwise virgins, who were not prepared beforehand, finally showed up, they were not allowed to enter in, and the Lord said, “I do not know you”, I am not acquainted with you.
   In Phil. 3:10-14, amplified version, Paul said, ” For my determined purpose is that I may know Him, that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of HIs Person more strongly and more clearly, and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection, which it exerts over believers and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed in spirit into His likeness, even to His death, in the hope………I press on toward the goal to win the supreme and heavenly prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward.
  I am in no way trying to imply that the church cannot enter into heaven, saved, but that only the Bride can enter into the marriage supper of the Lamb. Only those who have “prepared” themselves in intimacy are allowed into the wedding feast. I am trying to say that being the church is fine, being a son or daughter is fine, but that God is calling us “upward” to a higher calling, as His Bride, for those who want it and are willing to be prepared, or rather to lay down their own lives and follow Him.
  As we progress in this teaching over the next several weeks we will see more clearly, through the Song of Solomon, the progression from being a casual follower of Christ and being a Bride who has made herself ready. Love Mark and Catherine
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