THE BRIDE - THE IDENTITY OF THE BRIDAL GENERATION
Haavard Sand

I AM REVEALED
B. Childress
Apr 11 2011

Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb  (Revelation 21:9).

This is a prophetic word for our time.  The Bride is about to be revealed for the whole earth to see.  In First Corinthians
we read that a "woman is the glory of a man"  (I Corinthians 11:7).  We, as the Church, are that woman who is the glory
of man - Christ Jesus, and He is about to show forth that glory for all to see.  However before it occurs, the Church must
first come to the understanding of her identity as the Bride.  As she reaches that point, she will realize that she is at the
heart of the very reason of the created order.

In his book,
Destined for the Throne, Paul Billheimer writes:

    The universe, including this planet, was created for one purpose: to provide a suitable habitation for the human
    race.  The human race was created in the image and likeness of God for the one purpose: to provide an eternal
    companion for the Son.  After the fall and promise of redemption through the coming Messiah, the Messianic Race
    was born and nurtured in order to bring the Messiah.  And the Messiah came for one intent and only one: to give
    birth to His Church, thus to obtain His Bride.  The Church, then - the called-out body of redeemed mankind - turns
    out to be the central object, the goal, not only of mundane history but of all that God has been doing in all realms,
    from all eternity.

    ...as the Lord of history, God is controlling all of its events, not only on earth but in all realms, to serve His
    purpose of bringing to maturity and eventually to enthronement with His Son, not angels or archangels, but the
    Church, His chosen Bride.

These words from Billheimer are very strong, but are they true?  Can we, mere human beings, look into the heart of God
from before time began, to find out about the very reason for our existence?  I believe we can!

Even if what we see are only glimpses, I believe that these glimpses, I believe that these glimpses are enough to give us
an image of the Bride as the main reason of the created order.  I say so because from the beginning of human existence
He instituted marriage, which expresses the deepest form of relationship on earth.  No other relationship can sufficiently
mirror how intimately He wants that relationship with us to be other than marriage.

Let's revisit what was in the heart of God from eternity past.  First Corinthians chapter 2 says:

    We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of
    this age, who are coming to nothing.  No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and
    that God destined for our glory before time began.  None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had,
    they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.  However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no
    mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him" - but God has revealed it to us by His Spirit.  
    The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.  For who among men knows the thoughts of a man
    except the man's spirit within him?  In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.  
    We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has
    freely given us (I Corinthians 2:6-12).

    And in the Book of Romans it says:

    Now to Him who is able to establish you by my gospel and the proclamation of Jesus Christ, according to the
    revelation of the mystery hidden for long ages past (Romans 16:25).

In these two passages Paul is talking about a secret wisdom, from before time began; in Romans 16:25 he calls it a
mystery.  And this secret wisdom is so great that "no eyes has seen, nor ear has heard, no mind has conceived what
God has prepared for those who love Him" (I Corinthians 2:9).

But now, this secret wisdom and these mysteries, which touched even the deep things of the heart of God, have started
to be revealed to us through the Spirit "that we may understand what God has freely given us" (I Corinthians 2:12).  If
that is true, then the question arises: what are some of these mysteries and secrets that have been hidden in the heart
of God?

THE GREAT MYSTERY OF THE AGES

If we look at Ephesians chapter 3, we see that Paul talks about this "mystery" four times in this chapter.  And basically
Paul says that the mystery is that through the Gospel, the Gentiles are now included together with Israel, in the promises
of Christ (see Ephesians 3:6).

Paul than goes on to talk about marriage in Ephesians 5:22-33.  He says:

    "For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one
    flesh."  This is a profound mystery - but I am talking about Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:31-32).

The
King James Version of the Bible uses the word great instead of profound.  Paul has been talking about the mystery
in Chapter 3, but in chapter 5 he starts to talk about the great mystery.  And what is this great mystery that was not only
a mystery, but a great and profound one?  It is about marriage.

In Ephesians 5:31, Paul is quoting Genesis 2:24.  And in verse 32, he is saying that what you have thought was about
marriage between a man and a woman is really a prophetic declaration about how Christ would leave His father to be
united to His Bride, the Church - to become one with her.  This is the great mystery that was hidden from ages past, but
it has now been revealed to his servants, the prophets.

Even before the Fall, marriage was a prophetic picture pointing toward Christ and His Bride.  The Bride was already
prophesied; this is clear Pauline teaching.  The picture of marriage in Genesis 2:24 occurs before the prophetic picture
of Jesus in Genesis 3:15, which is usually the one we understand as the first prophetic word about Jesus.

    And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head,
    and you will strike his heel (Genesis 3:15).

This prophetic word speaks of how Jesus will crush the head of the snake.  But this came after the Fall.  However, from
the apostle Paul's mention on marriage in Ephesians 5:31-32, it implies that the first prophetic word about Jesus touches
the very deep things of God's heart - the plan that existed in His heart before time began.  The plan was that God would
give His Son a suitable helper with whom He could share His rule and reign of the universe.

Second Corinthians explains the principle and importance of being equally yoked in marriage (see II Corinthians 6:14).  
The Mosaic laws also deal with the importance of being equally yoked.  "Do not plow with an ox and a donkey yoked
together" (Deuteronomy 22:10).

When we are talking about equally yoked, we mean a sharing of two hearts with the same passion, purpose, destiny,
and dreams.  The whole story is indeed a prophetic story of Jesus and His Bride played out.  The Scripture makes it
clear that Jesus is the last Adam (see I Corinthians 15:45).  We can then presume that we the Church, as His Bride, are
the last Eve.  In Genesis, God gives man authority to rule the earth and to cultivate and take care of it (see Genesis 1:
28; 2:15).  This was the main training ground to rule and reign with Christ as an equally yoked Bride.  Jesus is called to
rule an everlasting Kingdom (see Isaiah 9:6-7).  He wants to do this together with us, His Bride.

In Genesis chapter 2, God declared over Adam, "It is not good for the man to be alone.  I will make a helper suitable for
him"  (Genesis 2:18).  The Lord brought all the animals to Adam to name them, "But for Adam no suitable helper was
found" (Genesis 2:20).  What did God do to give Adam a suitable helper who could be equally yoked to him?  God put
Adam into a deep sleep.  And then out from the man's side he took a rib, and made a woman (see Genesis 2:21-22).   
When Adam saw her he said, "This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called 'woman,' for she
was taken out of man" (Genesis 2:23).

Adam finds that Eve is a suitable helper for him that he can be equally yoked to because she was made in his image.  In
the same way, I believe God saw in eternity past that it was not good for His Son to be alone - not that Jesus was not
complete in His own right, but He wanted to have someone to share the overflow of His love.  So man was created in the
image of God, but that image was broken after the Fall.  Jesus died on the cross, and in Hebrew the word for death is
synonymous to "a deep sleep."  Blood and water spilled from His side that was pierced.  And out of His pierced side His
Bride came forth.

As Adam was physically altered after giving life to his bride, Jesus will forever have wounds on His hands, feet, and side.  
Following Genesis 2:23, where Adam declares over Eve that she is made in his image and likeness, comes, "For this
reason a man will leave his father..." (Genesis 2:24).

In Hebrews it says:

    By faith we understand that the world is created by the Word of God, and that what we can see, has its origin in
    the invisible (Hebrews 11:3, Norwegian 78 translation).

Marriage was not created in the garden, but it was a spiritual reality from ages past, describing the deepest form of
union between two equally yoked partners.  This unseen spiritual reality has its physical expression in the garden in the
lives of Adam and Eve, but its origin was in the invisible realm .  Its highest purpose was to be a prophetic image of how
at the end of the age there would be another wedding.  This time it would be between humanity - the purchased Bride -
and the Son of God.  So human history starts with a wedding and ends with a wedding (see Revelation 19:7-9).

THE BRIDAL THEME IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

Throughout Israel's history, the image of a bride is a main theme.  We see how God looks to Israel as His wife.  But she
turns away, again and again, from His invitation to intimacy and instead takes other lovers, in the form of idolatry.   God
used the life of the prophet Hosea with his wife as a picture to show the infidelity of His Bride, Israel.

    When the Lord  began to speak through Hosea, the Lord said to him, "Go, take to yourself an adulterous wife
    and children of unfaithfulness, because the land is guilty of the vilest adultery in departing from the Lord" (Hosea
    1:2).

But then in Hosea chapter 2, there is a great promise, which we believe is yet to be fulfilled.

    "In that day," declares the Lord, "you will call Me 'my husband'; you will no longer call Me 'my master'"          
    (Hosea 2:16).

"In that day" refers to the day of the Lord, which could also be the day of His wedding because the Lord's day is really
His wedding day.  In that day and the time prior to it, the Church will have come to the understanding of herself as the
Bride, calling Jesus her Husband.

In Ezekiel 16:7-14, we see another picture of Israel as the betrothed one of the Lord.  These verses describe how Israel
grew from being a child to becoming a mature bride.

"
I made you grow like a plant of the field.  You grew up and developed and became the most beautiful of jewels...Later I
passed by, and when I looked at you and saw that you were old enough for love, I spread the corner of My garment over
you and covered your nakedness.  I gave you My solemn oath and entered into covenant with you, declares the
Sovereign Lord, and you became Mine
" (Ezekiel 16:7-8).

The Message version of the Bible uses the words, "and entered the covenant of marriage with you" (Ezekiel 16:8 TM).  
Here, we see that the Lord has been waiting for her to mature and to come to the place where she is old enough for
love.  She needs to mature so that she can enter into a deeper realm of her relationship with God not just as a Father
but also as a Lover because children have no capacity for romantic love.  As children, we learn to know the father heart
of God.  That is fundamental; but as we grow up, God is longing to reveal to us His bridegroom heart.  We have to be
old enough to understand love.

As we are entering the end of the age, God is longing for His Church to reach maturity and to understand this truth.  
Ephesians chapter 4 talks about how the five-fold ministry gifts are given to the Body of Christ so that we may be built
up, reach unity, and become mature (see Ephesians 4:11-13).  As enter the bridal season, just before the wedding day,
I believe He will do the same as He did with Israel in the Old Covenant, when she responded to Him as God, the
Bridegroom.

    "So you were adorned with gold and silver; your clothes were of fine linen and costly fabric and embroidered
    cloth.  Your food was fine flour, honey and olive oil.  You became very beautiful and rose to be a queen.  Your
    fame spread to the nations on account of your beauty, because the splendor I had given you made your beauty
    perfect, declares the Sovereign Lord" (Ezekiel 16:13-14).

If the Lord could do this with His people in the Old Covenant, as they responded to His invitation to romantic love, how
could He not do that with His people, His Bride, as she becomes old enough and awakens to romantic love?  As that day
happens she will call the Lord, "my husband," according to the prophetic word from Hosea (see Hosea 2:16).  And the
world will stand in amazement as it sees the Church, the Bride, the coming queen of the universe, shining forth in all her
beauty.

In the middle of the Bible we have the Song of Solomon, which I believe is also the song of the Lamb mentioned in
Revelation 15:3.  This could also be the marriage song that will be sung at the wedding supper of the Lamb.  What is it
that makes this book so special?  Well, it is after all a love story.  It is a love story we all have become a part of.

If this is true, then looking at the natural, as a woman who is engaged to be married, what would be one of the most
romantic things your husband-to-be could do for you?  There are quite a few things he could do, but certainly one of the
most romantic things would be to write you a love song expressing his deepest feelings and emotions for you.  After
writing this love song, he could then sing it for you.

Isn't it true that this would touch your heart in a way that almost nothing else could do?  Am I right to say that of all the
letters you might receive from him, this is the one you would keep dearest to your heart, and every time you feel
discouraged you would take out that song and read it again?

The Song of Solomon, which is also called the Song of Songs, is a book whose name implies that there is no song
greater than this - the greatest of all love songs written.  Through the ages, lovers have always written love songs to
each other.  Today, we are bombarded with love songs from the music industry, and even if many of them are silly, they
depict the cry of the human heart to love and be loved in return.  If this is true in the natural, how much more has the
Lover of the ages also written a love song to His beloved to sing to her.  The Scripture says that we have a singing God
(see Zephaniah 3:17).

It is interesting to note that Jesus the Lamb was slain during Passover.  That is the time that the Song of Solomon is
sung in the temple.  Even if it is not on the exact day Jesus died, it is during Passover that it is sung in the temple.  It is
almost as if He died to the tune of His own love song - the song of the Lamb - as He hung there on the cross being slain
as the Lamb.  If that is not love, then what is love?  As He took His last breath, He said, "It is finished" (John 19:30).  As
He did that, He was thinking of His bride, because in Hebrew, finished can also mean "bride" as I have already
mentioned.

The Song of Solomon is like a Cinderella story.  It depicts the love story of Solomon, a king who fell in love with a
maidservant, a Shulamite.  And it reflects the ultimate Cinderella story, which we all have become a part of.  Isn't it
interesting how the Cinderella story is almost universally known?  It is there to point us toward the ultimate Cinderella
story, and our ultimate calling as the "Princess Bride" of the universe.  This is just a rough overview of the bridal
message.  I encourage you to start your own study.  The Bible characters Rebecca,
Esther, and Ruth are also modeling the Bride.

THE BRIDAL THEME IN THE NEW TESTAMENT

Looking at the New Testament, we can also see how this bridal theme unfolds from beginning to end.  John the Baptist
described himself as the friend of the Bridegroom (Jesus).  Though John is part of the Bride, as the friend of the
Bridegroom his task is to help prepare the Bride.  John says:

    "I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of Him."  The bride belongs to the bridegroom.  The friend who attends the
    bridegroom waits and listens for Him... (John 3:28-29).

Just as John is a friend of the Bridegroom preparing the Bride in his time, so God will raise up in this generation His
friends who will prepare His Bride.

The life and ministry of Jesus explicitly show the bridal theme.  First, we see it occur when He launched His ministry at
the wedding at Cana.  His first miracle was at a wedding.

When asked by His mother to perform a miracle, even though it was "not yet His time" He still did it (see John 2:4).  John
chapter two says, "This, the first of His miraculous signs, Jesus performed in Cana of Galilee.  He thus revealed His
glory, and His disciples put their faith in Him" (John 2:11).  It was at a wedding where they first saw His glory, and put
their faith in Him.  Do you think that this was a coincidence?

Looking at the Jewish wedding tradition, the man comes to the home of his coming bride and first pays the bridal price.  
Jesus did this not in silver or gold, but with His own precious blood.  Then in the Jewish tradition the bridegroom will go
back to his father's house to prepare a house for himself and his coming bride.  When his father tells him it is finished,
he will go back to his bride's home and take her.  In the meantime, the bride has been waiting for her bridegroom and
preparing her wedding dress, so that she will be ready when he arrives.  But before he leaves his bride - to go and build
the house for her - they first have the engagement meal or the banquet of wine.

The highlight of the evening is when the bridegroom pours wine into a glass and puts it on the table for all to see.  The
glass stands there waiting for the bride to come forth and drink from it.  The glass of wine represents the bridegroom
with all that he is.  And as she comes forth, takes the glass, and drinks the wine, she is actually saying, "I accept your
marriage proposal, and I accept you with all that you are - symbolized by this wine that I am now drinking."

In the same way, during the Last Supper - which was  Jesus' engagement meal with His Bride - He put forth a glass of
wine, saying, "This is My blood" (see Luke 22:20).  I could imagine Him thinking, "This glass of wine represents Me.  
When you drink it, you are actually saying, 'I accept You, with all that You are and all You have done for me.  I now
belong to You.'"

We have to understand that when Jesus said, "I am going away to prepare a place for you,"  He said it as a Bridegroom
to His coming Bride, fully aware of the Jewish wedding tradition (see John 14:2).  When He poured the wine in the glass
at the Last Supper, He did it as a bridegroom, fully aware of the engagement meal.

In Jesus' last public teaching He says, "The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his
son" (Matthew 22:2).  And in verse 4, He tells us how we should preach, "Tell those who have been invited that I have
prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready.  Come to the wedding
banquet" (Matthew 22:4).

This is what we can call wedding evangelism, "Come to the wedding banquet" (Matthew 22:4).  In Jesus' final private
teaching He talks about the endtimes.  (See Matthew chapter 24).  Then He continues in Matthew chapter 25 saying "at
that time," which means at the end of the age because that is what He was talking about throughout chapter 24.  Jesus
says, "At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the
bridegroom" (Matthew 25:1).  Jesus is saying during this time prior to His Second Coming, the focus of the kingdom
message will be the bridal message - the Bride preparing to meet her Bridegroom.

Looking at Paul's letters we also find the bridal paradigm.  Paul says very clearly in Second Corinthians, "I am jealous for
you with a godly jealousy.  I promised you to one husband, to Christ,  so that I might present you as a pure virgin to Him"
(II Corinthians 11:2).  In this verse, the Amplified Bible uses the word
betrothed instead of promised.

Paul Billheimer, in his book, Destined for the Throne, says:

If one wants to know the meaning and the purpose of history, he must look at the end, the final outcome, the net result.  
Since prophecy is history written in advance, we have history's final chapters in the Book of Revelation.  Turning to the
closing pages, what emerges as the finishing product of the ages?   It is one thing and one alone: the Eternal
Companion of the God-Man.  The final and ultimate outcome and goal of events from eternity to eternity, the finished
product of all the ages, is the spotless Bride of Christ, united with Him in wedded bliss at the Marriage Supper of the
Lamb.  And seated with her heavenly Bridegroom upon the throne of the universe - ruling and reigning with Him over an
ever increasing and expanding Kingdom.  He entered the stream of human history for this one purpose, to claim His
Beloved...

Creation has no other aim.  History has no other goal.  From before the foundation of the world until the dawn of the
eternal ages God has been working toward one grand event, one supreme end - the glorious wedding of His Son, the
Marriage Supper of the Lamb.

Finally, we arrive at the last chapter of the Bible where we find the Church now as the mature Bride in her bridal identity.  
Just before the wedding, she lifts her head toward Heaven, and in union with the Spirit mutters, "Come" (see Revelation
22:17).

Regarding Revelation 22:17, Mike Bickle shares the following:

    The Holy Spirit for the first time in history will emphasize the Church's spiritual identity as Jesus' Bride.  This
    Scripture does not prophecy the Spirit and the family say, "Come" nor does it say the Spirit and the army, nor the
    kingdom, nor the body, nor the temple and not the Spirit and the priesthood, but only the Spirit and the Bride.

The Scripture is clear that this will be the dominating revelation and the understanding in the Church, and it will happen
on this side of eternity, just prior to the Second Coming.

It may be difficult for some men to see themselves as a bride, but this is not a gender issue as we are also called sons of
God (see Galatians 3:26-28).  In the same way, we are all the Bride of Christ, which speaks of our position of intimacy
with the Lord.  As C.S. Lewis said, "God is the Masculine before which all of us are feminine.

Hopefully, by now you can see that what we have become part of is the ultimate Cinderella story, and the great news is
that it is not a fairy tale but a true story.  Let me now share with you a present-day Cinderella story - from Norway , my
home country.

A CINDERELLA STORY

Norway is one of the last countries that still has a monarchy.  When our coming king, crown prince Haakon Magnus, was
preparing to marry, the one he would choose would become the crown princess, the coming queen of Norway.  Many
hoped he would choose someone with "blue blood," someone from a royal line.  But to the amazement and surprise of
many, he chose an ordinary girl - a commoner.  She was also a single mother who had lived a wild party life (she later
confessed this on national television).  The eyes of the prince fell on her, and he saw something in her that the people
around didn't see.  They only saw a single mother who liked to party.  But he saw something more, and she captured his
heart.  Today, she has been transformed into a beautiful crown princess who is doing a good job as she prepares to be
the next queen of Norway.

Once I was thinking, what if someone had approached her as she walked the streets of Oslo after a night of partying,
and then asked her, "How are you living?  Don't you know that you are the future queen of Norway?"  How do you think
she would have reacted?  She would probably have laughed at him and said, "Do you really think the prince of Norway
would take interest in me or even look my way?  That is the most incredible thing I have ever heard!"

But then let's say that the person had the ability to go into the future, take some pictures, and show them to her.  These
would be pictures of the main street Karl Johan, decorated for the wedding, where the cars would pass on their way from
the castle to the church.  There would also be pictures of the grand banquet hall in the castle, with the wedding table
beautifully prepared, and all the delicious dishes ready to be served.  And lastly, pictures of the church in all its
splendor, where she in her wedding dress would enter.  Then the person would say, "Don't you see; it is you in the
pictures!  You are the princess bride walking down the aisle to be united in marriage with your prince."

If she understood and believed, how do you think she would react?  She would come to her senses, look at her life, and
say, "This is not a worthy way to live for the coming queen of Norway."  Then she would repent, leave the party scene,
and start to prepare for her royal destiny.

She never saw those pictures, and no one ever came and told her about her destiny.  But we have been given such
pictures - we have pictures of the street of gold and banquet hall in Heaven with a great wedding table.   We have the
pictures of the Bride dressed in her beautiful dress, ready to give her "yes" to her Prince at the altar.

The incredible thing is that we are in the pictures, and they are real.  And we are not just marrying the prince of an
earthly kingdom and becoming the queen of a nation.  No!  This is about marrying the Prince of the universe and
becoming His "Princess Bride" and queen.

When we realize the future that awaits us, should we not forsake everything that holds us back from embracing the fact
that we are soon to be wedded to our Bridegroom King?  We should say, "This is not the way to live for the coming
queen of the universe."  Then we should repent and start to prepare for our royal role and destiny.







Source:

BECOMING THE BRIDE OF CHRIST IN THE LAST DAYS, by Haavard  Sand, Copyright 2009, Destiny Image - Europe.
2010 - HIS GLORY REIGNS
LIFE IN JESUS-MINISTRIES