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A Valentine Story – The Greatest Love Story Ever Told – The Lord Jesus Christ Obtains a Bride
A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse, a spring shut up, a fountain sealed…..Awake, O north wind, and come, O south! Bow upon my garden, that its spices may flow out. Let my beloved come to his garden and eat its pleasant fruits…..I sleep, but my heart is awake; it is the voice of my beloved! He knocks, saying, “Open for me, my sister, my love, My dove, my perfect one…My beloved has gone to his garden. To the beds of spices, to feed his flock in the gardens, and to gather the lilies. I am my beloveds, and my beloved is mine. (Parts of Song of Solomon 4:12,16, 5:2, 6:2 NJKV)
And the Spirit and the Bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come” And let him who thirst come, Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. (Revelations 22:17)
Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, “Write, Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!” And he said to me, “These are the true saying of God.” (Revelations 19: 7-9 NJKV)
The greatest love story ever told, is summed up in the gospel tale. God in Christ, reconciling men unto Himself, and from among the redeemed selecting those who by the power of the choice of their faith make themselves commensurate to Himself, to the end that they might enter an eternal marriage with the Creator and Redeemer of men. Where did it have its beginning? It began before time, in eternity past when the Creator purposed in His heart that He would bring forth a natural world with people upon it that would be created after His very own image. A world that would be filled with people that would be honored with the freedom of choice to choose good or evil, and henceforth in possessing that ability would make the decision to respond to Him in love, versus loving their own ways and being a part of the world’s system which belongs to Satan. Why did the Creator do this? The short and simple answer is this: to make a demonstration of who He really is. (Ephesians 1: 1-14) No, not in the egotistical manner that is so common among men, but in the way that a God who is 100% holy and wise (which means He is 100% pure, true and just, a God who loves light only and in whose presence sin and darkness must be judged, and that has unlimited understanding) can only do. And in making such a show of His divine attributes He opens up an avenue of life, beauty, glory and immortality for all that would choose to love and embrace Him and His ways, and in doing this He calls to Himself a bride. A people who truly are individuals, yet corporately stand as one, who being commensurate to Christ will share an entitled relationship with Him throughout the ages of eternity.
So the Creator made all natural things as a home for these elite beings whom He referred to as man. (mankind) He created two varieties of this same species. They were made very similar to each other, but at the same time completely opposite. He created the male and the female. He created the first of them as grown adult people, a man and a woman, a husband and a wife. He purposed the continuation of the human population, but choose that to be done through the relationship and act of marriage. This started with the very first couple He created, and then couples thereafter. So that the miracle of His power of creation was to be acted out as a part of the beauty of the love that He had purposed to exist between the male and the female in the marriage relationship.
I am beginning to get a head of myself, Speaking of what they were to created and assigned to do, but first lets speak of the depth and beauty of the genius and power of our God to create the male and the female persons. None of the innumerable aspects of either the male or the female persons are by accident, but absolutely every aspect is with reason and intelligence. Eternally cursed is the lie and corruption of truth that is called evolutionism, which teaches that the formation of the universe happened of its own accord, discounting the truth that the human person, which is the highest of God’s creation sprang forth by God’s power and wisdom.
The man (created as an adult male) was created to be a living-breathing mortal illustration of God Himself. He firstly was made in the image of God, as the Christian minister Paul teaches us in 1 Corinthians 11:7. The woman (created as an adult woman) was created to bear the same image, but only through the man from whose rib she was made. The Creator’s objective for her was that she be a living mortal illustration of that “One” who was to become the exceeding object of His attention and heart: the Church. That’s right, the woman is meant by God to be a living mortal expression in every aspect of her being of the individual Believer, and at the same time the collection of all Believers: the Church. Thus in the very act of creation we begin to see the exceeding numerous parallels between the relationship of the Lord Jesus Christ to the Church, and the Church back to Him, and the relationship of the man (husband) to the woman (wife), and the woman (wife) back to her husband.
Starting with the truth that the woman is to be subject to the man in all things in that she came forth from the man, just as the Believer is to be subject to the Lord Jesus in that only by Him every Believer has passed from the death of sin into the the life of God’s kingdom. The Believer has life through Christ and is therefore subject to Him, the woman has life by man, and is therefore subject to him. For reason it self dictates that anything that is created by, or comes forth from another is lesser than that which it was created by, or came forth from. Now it exists that as the Lord Jesus is seen to be these things to the Church: lord, savior, guide, deliverer, teacher, redeemer or purchaser, provider, visionary, friend, partner, lover. In like manner, in regards to the man woman relationship (expressly husband-wife relationship) all these same attributes of character and service are also to be seen. The husband being the initiator, the wife being the responder. Christ being the initiator, the Believer being the responder. In short, Christ owns the Believer and meets the Believer’s needs, the Believer responds in love and gratitude seeking to fulfill the Lord’s purposes. In like manner the husband as lord over the wife owns her, and seeks to meet her needs, and she responds and seeks to fulfill his purposes. Obviously it has been Satan’s objective to corrupt the workings of these truths, but in the end he will not win. And every soul of man who aligns itself with these truths will be shown to have great reward at the appearing of the Lord Jesus.
God’s plan was a beautiful thing right from the beginning, however, Satan tempted the first woman Eve, and she being deceived gave her self to sin. The first man Adam was not deceived by the wicked one, he simply chose (with his eyes wide open) the woman instead of the Lord. ( 1 Timothy 2:14) Therefore sin entered the world and has from that time until this time been passed unto every soul of man upon the earth. Thus the Eternal God (not that any of this took Him by surprise, for He foreknew all of it) began from the every beginning to implement salvation for men, which would be found embodied in the act of His very self becoming a human person born of a virgin woman, who would live among men approximately 30 years and then conduct a ministry that would be ended in the giving of His life as the sacrificial payment for the sins of all men. Thus He would earn the title the Lamb of God Who Takes Away The Sins Of The World. This atonement for sin being available for every person who will turn from sin and place their faith in the salvation which God has provided through Christ.
The story of the bringing forth of the forgiveness of sin is filled with exceeding aspects of wonder and beauty, but it is not to be the final focus of this article today, but rather let us focus on the culmination of the the drama of Christ calling a bride unto Himself. Which is to be culminated at the end of the age.
This time is at hand.
The Lord Jesus while upon the earth spoke a very revealing parable, the which would be good for us to consider, from it we can gain basic and extremely important information. It is found in the book of Matthew 25:1-13, and it reads: Then the kingdom of heaven shall be liken to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight a cry was heard, “behold, the bridegroom is coming, go out to meet him!” Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, “Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out”. But he wise answered, saying, “No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.” And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying “Lord, Lord, open to us!” But he answered and said, “Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.” Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.
I will now give in brief terms my understand of the meaning of this parable. I do not claim perfect knowledge, and undoubtedly others will disagree with me to varying degrees. None the less I will speak as I see it.
Those that will be counted worthy to occupy the Kingdom of Heaven are likened unto virgins. For they, by the new birth, (John 3:1-11) which is equal to the regeneration of the Holy Spirit, (Titus 3:5) have in spirit become virgin before the Lord, being sanctified (set apart) in regards to their spirit, which has been made pure from the corruption of spirit found in the world, and abides in the salvation of Jesus. Undoubtedly all of these are wise in the sense that they have come to Jesus and have been washed from their sins in His atoning blood, for it is the very wisest decision that one can make. However, after making the decision to believe unto salvation it is necessary to continue to make the decision to seek the Lord and surrender one’s self to Him in discipleship, becoming conformed to Christ and to His purposes. (Romans 8:29) Half of this group in the end are considered wise, and the other half are considered foolish. (No doubt there is a certain reasoning for the use of the number ten, but I do not know it) All of the virgins had lamps. This speaks that they possessed the testimony of Jesus as their Savior, the testimony of being transferred from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. However, five of them had oil enough, and the other five did not have oil enough. The oil speaks of the Holy Spirit’s involvement in their lives to bring forth in their lives the true and complete expression of the living out of God’s commandments and His promises. In short, the foolish virgins are the picture of those who do not press on to “put on Christ” (Colossians 3:10) as the Holy Spirit would convict them to, they do not have “ears to hear” His voice as He works to bring them to full maturity. So five make it the habit of their life to respond to the Spirit’s voice and unctioning developing all godly attributes, growing up into the character of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the other five do not.
At Midnight the cry is heard that the bridegroom is coming. This bridegroom is Jesus. The “midnight hour” is when the Holy Spirit convicts the believer to put off foolish and wicked works in order to grow up in Christ and become fully an expression of Him in the world. It is also a point at the end of time when the cry of the Spirit shall be heard saying, (and is heard even now) “Jesus is coming again, therefore put off every foolish and sinful way and get ready to meet Him.” These expressions are summed up in scriptures like these: “Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection…..”, (Hebrews 6:1 NKJV) “Brethren I do not count myself to have appended; but one I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind….(Philippines 3: 13-15 NKJV) Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in Heaven is perfect. (Matthew 5 48 NKJV) Finally, brothers, goodbye, aim for perfection…(2 Corinthians 13:11 NIV) Him we preach, warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus. (Colossians 1:28 NKJV)
Five of the virgins rise to trim their lamp (their testimony) only to find out that they lack the depth of being able to comprehend and thus obey the Spirit’s voice and unction. We see this in the parable because it is said that their oil was running out, forcing the virgins to go to buy more to sustain their light (testimony). This speaks of the reality that to follow God unto full maturity is going to cost the Believer something. This process will never be completed simply by a Believer praying, “Lord, make me like You.” Yes, this is the right prayer, but every effort must be added to that prayer, and continued in, in order for this process to come to completion. Five of the virgins are not willing to invest time and life into this effort, and in the end are caught un-prepared by either death or the Lord’s coming.
The Bridegroom’s coming speaks that an appointed time is set for all things. Death has an appointed time, the Lord’s coming has an appointed time, the end of the world has an appointed time. Now, as we read this article, and as we go about life, as the Holy Spirit’s conviction is there dealing with us, now is the time to respond to the Spirit’s dealing and seek the Lord and put on Christ in all of our affairs. …Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts. (Hebrews 4:7 NKJV) ….behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is he day of salvation. (2Corinthians 6:2 NKJV)
…the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut, afterward the other virgins came also, saying “Lord, Lord, open to us!” But he answered and said, “assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.” (Mathew 25 10-12 NKJV) This speaks plainly that there will come a time when the invitation to be a part of the “bride hood” of the Lord Jesus will come to an end. Some having missed the opportunity will cry out to God begging to be considered, and the answer will be no. For to be chosen for this elite honor there must be a level of depth of relationship, of both knowing and being known of the Lord, and the five in the parable who were rejected from entrance did not know the Lord in the way that is required for this relationship and honor. Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wire has made herself ready.” (Revelations 19:7 NKJV) This verse very plainly speaks of each Believer’s responsibility to make himself ready. Oh yes, as in all expressions of grace it is by the empowering of the Holy Spirit, but it will never happen without the full cooperation of the Believer.
Are there any Scripture verses that encapsulate what a Believer by the Holy Spirit is to do, in order to be found acceptable to enter this eternal, intimate and powerful relationship with Jesus? I believe so. I suggest these: And the dragon was enraged with the woman, and he went to make war with the rest of her off-spring, who keep the commandments of God and have the testimony of Jesus Christ. (Revelations 12:17 NKJV) Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. (Revelations 14:12 NKJV) And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.” Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. (Revelation 22:12-14 NKJV)
The Lord, whose eyes search the motives and deeds of all men looks to and fro through the earth in every generation searching for those whose ways are pleasing to Himself. It is He who righteously will make the final judgment as to who is appropriate to be arrayed in the fine garments that this bride shall wear, and be honored from that point onward to have a place in this special relationship, but it is our part to make our selves ready, to grow up in Him in all things. The following are scriptures that denote the specialness of the calling of the Bride of Christ.
These who are found worthy shall …..be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.. (Revelation 19:8 NJKV) Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then, I , John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of Heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (Revelation 21:1-2 NKJV)…. and he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God. Having the glory of God…..(Revelations 21: 10& 11a NKJV) but I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the its temple. The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, (this statement proves that there is a whole population of people saved who are not chosen to be a part of the Bride of Christ) and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. Its gates shall not be shut at all by day. And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life. And He showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse, but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it, and His servants shall serve Him. They shall shall see His face, and His name shall be on their foreheads. There shall be no night there: they need no lamp nor light of the sun, for the Lord God gives them light. And they shall reign forever and ever. (Rev. 21:23—Rev. 22:5 NKJV)
These words are illustrative of the person and calling of the Bride. Quoting the Apostle Paul, (Philippians 3:14-15) I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this same mind….
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