“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.”
Several years ago we attended our niece’s outdoor wedding in Florida. The young man that she married is a paraplegic and confined to a wheelchair due to a tragic accident. Although he is a capable in many respects, one thing that he cannot do is stand up.
The custom at most weddings is that the attendees will stand as the bride begins her procession down the aisle. However, since this would block the grooms view of her as he sat in his wheelchair, she made the unusual request of the audience that they remain seated as she walked to meet her bridegroom.
This was important to her as she had made herself ready and she wanted him to see her in her beautiful dress and radiant smile, walking to join him for their vows to one another.
It was particularly moving moment for many of us as it demonstrated a committed focus for one another. This caused me to consider if I my lack of faith might obstruct Christ’s view of the Bride’s beauty when He returns.
The Church in Heavenly Beauty
In the Bible we are told that the church is the bride of Christ. She is composed of men, women and children who have received Christ as their Lord and Savior. Since the church began, most of its members are now absent from the body and present with the Lord. That is, they have died in Christ and are now awaiting to be clothed with new, resurrection bodies. Any believers who may be alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord will also receive new bodies with a heavenly beauty.
Yet beside all this readiness that the Lord Himself provides, there is a call to readiness of heart and mind that each believer is responsible for. We are called to “abide (dwell or continue) in Him so that when He shall appear we will have confidence and not be ashamed at His coming”. (1 John 2:28)
Luke 21:29-37 are the Lord’s Words of exhortation to His disciples that we should take to heart all that He has declared in order to make ourselves ready and not be overcome by the world system.
He uses the illustration of the fig tree ‘and all of the trees’ to tell us in very simple terms that just as we can tell that the heat of summer is near, with a harvest to follow, in the same way we can tell that God’s time of judgment on the earth is near. This time of intense judgment will be preceded by the church being taken out of the earth to meet her bridegroom. (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 5:9)
He has given us the signs but He has not given us any dates. In this way, He uses world events to shape our thinking and spur us on to Godly living. He has told us that there would be persecutions for His name’s sake. He has told us that there we would be wars, rumors of wars, earthquakes, pestilence and famines that He called ‘the beginning of sorrows’. These would be markers to indicate the approach of the time of judgment that will overtake the whole earth.
During this seven year tribulation period, before the Lord’s return to take His throne in Jerusalem, we are told of a marriage supper of the Lamb. It is to be a time of great celebration that the Bride of Christ, the church, is now complete and forever united to Christ Jesus.
A Point of Reckoning
Taken From Recent Headlines: “Iron dome intercepts missles over Tel Aviv”; “Rockets fired from Egypt Hit Israel”; “Hamas Targets Jerusalem”; Russia invades Ukraine; Iran is weeks away from becoming a nuclear power; Covid pandemic sees a resurgence, etc, etc
As we review the headlines of the last 2000 years we would see it as a series of calamitous events involving wars, rumors of wars, pestilences, earthquakes and famines. We see that the movement of the nations in the course of these wars have all directly or indirectly centered attention on the land of Palestine and the nation of Israel. Today’s headlines speak of the nations that are aligning themselves against Israel to effect her destruction.
This brings us to a point of reckoning, reassessment and, hopefully, recommitting of our energies in anticipation of the Lord’s return.
I am concerned that the Bride will not be ready in time…
The second coming of the Lord is as nearly uncelebrated as His first coming is celebrated. Even as Christmas celebrations return to their pagan winter solstice roots, we are directed by the Lord to turn our attention to the signs of His promise to return. The hope of His any moment (or imminent) return for the church has always been a motivation for getting right with God.
So it is that in His final instructions to His disciples before He offers Himself as God’s lamb for the sin of the world, He tells them:
“And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting (giddiness), and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and [so] that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth.”
What an insult it would be to a groom if he should have to remind his bride on their wedding day that she needs to get herself ready for the ceremony. Every bride should be eager for her wedding day. Not only should she be eager, but she should not be burdened by fatigue and a hangover headache from excessive partying. Neither should she be so burdened by anxiety and distractions in life that she cannot focus and be joyful about their union.
Likewise, a bride that is so worried about the marriage ceremony and pleasing her guests that she cannot concern herself with pleasing her bridegroom has lost her focus.
“But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that comes to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
As the Bride of Christ, believers are called to make herself ready in order to please her Lord when He returns. Do we really believe that He is coming at any moment? Have we made ourselves ready for that moment to stand in unmarred beauty for Him? Let’s be sure that that our bridegroom has no obstacles blocking the view of His Bride’s beauty.
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