The church is called a bride in this context as Rev 19:7-9 details the Marriage supper of the Lamb where every Christian who has ever lived receives a new holy heavenly body (Mat 22:30), and the reality/concept of marriage changes but what it stands for and represents (union/communion) stays the same. For more on the bride subject see my post above on the “Bridal Paradigm.”
The Church will thrive in the context of the Great Tribulation
Rev 7:9-14 After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations.. …Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?” And I said to him, “Sir, you know.” So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”
(The Left Behind series awakened an interest in the End-Times, and I love that, but had the timing of the Rapture wrong.) This relatively new idea that “the rapture will come before any tribulation” is good-intentioned wishful thinking that will leave many devastated in the coming trouble. We must prepare the “ark of our hearts” to withstand the coming trouble to be wholeheartedly led by the Spirit and fully surrendered. The hour has come, to ask the Lord and hear from Him directly, what if it be true? What if the end-times is when the church overcomes the evil of the world and stands strong and powerful, before the rapture. Many of have an opinion or allegiance to their church’s stance or their favorite pastor’s view. We must hear God on this, and be open because just because we teach something, doesn’t make it true. It is clear to me that the Rapture is at the 7th Trumpet, when Jesus returns and then releases the bowls on the earth. The Rapture comes after the falling away from the church, (the greek there is apostacia, means falling away like apostasy), after the worldwide false unity tolerance prosperity Harlot religion, after the antichrist worldwide political leader beast. 2nd Thes 2:3 is clear: Let no man deceive you by any means: for that Day (of the Lord) shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed (antichrist).
Many are afraid of the end-time events, but the seal trumpets and bowls are just like the plagues and judgments that Moses released on Pharaoh. The bride, the end time Moses, will release these judgments, in unified prayer in the timing of the Spirit, on the End-time Pharaoh, the antichrist.
III. Bridegroom Revelation
Eph 4:11-13: And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers for the edifying of the body of Christ, until we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ!!
Now this verse puts forth the mission statement of every minister of the gospel, which is to do their part to bring the church to maturity before Jesus returns. To understand how the church will become fully spotless and unified is to understand a few prophesies in the bible. Many theologians don’t believe the bride will achieve this before Jesus returns or in reality. There are a few prophesies that will help their unbelief. 2 Cor 6:14 shows that God wants us to have an equally yoked spouse, do you think Jesus wouldn’t have one as well?One of the most obvious prophesies is where John saw into the future in Rev 22:17, seeing the glorious church, he said “the Spirit and the Bride say come.” He could have said church there. The church will see itself primarily as a bride. The bride in that verse is interceding for the return of Jesus, in total unity with the Holy Spirit.
The bride’s focus will be preparatory towards her eternal destiny as the bride of Christ as beginning in the marriage supper of the lamb “the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready”(Rev 19:7). In heaven we will not have the spouse we have now for, For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven (Matt 22:30). WOW
The Lord actually tells us how we will be made pure in spite of the falling away in Eph 5. This is a prophesy, and the clearest biblical instruction on marriage:
Eph 5:24-25: Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
Jesus selflessly nourishes and cherishes His bride through the washing of the water of the Word. Now the bride has to do her part in this, which is simply positioning herself regularly in the place where Jesus can do this with the Word and with the Spirit. We are washed and cleansed from the corruption of this world by encountering Jesus. Now this is a Holy and sanctified love.This nourishing and cherishing experience is a teaching movement accompanying the prayer movement. This ‘bridal paradigm’ or revelation of the Bridegroom is being used by God to woo the bride to wholeheartedness, and out of self-focus. The power of praying and singing the song is on my outline.
Many people think the Lord will snap his fingers and bam the church will be abandoned to Him and spotless and then the harvest will just come in. In reality the Lord is raising up prayer furnaces like IHOP-kc focused on the Bridegroom ps 27:4 beauty of the Lord and throne of the Father and they are praying 24 hours a day 7 days a week in 2 hour shifts, being raised up as powerful shepherds, and praying the release of the Kingdom coming, and the will of the Father being done on the earth as it is in heaven.We get the power by praying the Word and getting it alive in our hearts, let it set us on fire in passion for God, and having the Spirit of Christ dwell experiencing in our hearts. We will not experience Him without daily prayer and obedience.
Washing By the Word
This phrase is crucial Eph 4:24 ‘by the washing of the water of the Word.” That is what cleanses the Bride from the world. When we talk to the Lord about His Word, it is a supernatural thing that washes us. However, when one is a new believer the word is often hidden to you and dull. But it takes prayer to open it up, to get understanding and spiritual revelation, that things begin to click and for Him to speak to your heart.This new revelation of the Bridegroom who cherishes and nourishes our heart woos us to obey wholeheartedly and we don’t spend all our free time in recreation fighting boredom, we live abandoned to the will of the Father, like Jesus did, on the path to John 14:12 greater works.It is so wise to pray for your delight to be in the word of God, for your joy in be in His presence and for the Holy Spirit who lives in you to be your teacher and guide. This was my experience, I kept praying and crying out for my joy to be in the word and not the world and He answered it. Sometimes it takes baby steps, to wean yourself off of the world on onto the Word. But it is so worth it! See my post on How to Encounter God. (Essentially each Scripture can be prayed in one of two ways, slowly, ask Him for revelation on it, or for power to power to obey it, meditate on it and thank Him for it. Let the written word take you to the Spirit of the Living Word, Jesus.!)
We must dial down our lives to focus on ‘re-writing’ the code of our hearts, by continually singing and praying Scripture, this is the premier way to sustain being on fire for God, we must also refuse actvities which diminish this reality in our hearts.To stand before God without spot or blemish means to have complete purity in mind, soul and deed, and be filled with very the love of God. We will do this by making ourselves ready, by being transformed in the inner-man by fasting and prayer on the Word of God (Rev 3:18). He is beyond zealous to establish us in this way (Isa 62:1) and is raising up true preachers and teachers to call us to this lifestyle that we would corporately enter in to fullness, complete Christ-likeness (Eph 4:12-13).
Many preach holiness and are trying to do it in the flesh. We have to have self-control as a fruit of the Spirit, not as gritting our teeth, doing it in the flesh as is popular and is our nature. Joyfully we advocate pursuing God, not commanding how much T.V. is bad, but joyfully saying ‘hey there is a better way, don’t be like Esau selling your inheritance for the flesh which doesn’t satisfy.’ Happy holiness, is the new movement, when we actually enjoy God more than the worldly things, and joyfully lay things down, not the ‘cranky holiness’ that is popular today commanding people to religious legalism by finger pointing. There is a harsh bad spirit on many in the church, that actually keeps them from operating in the ministry of the Spirit, the bridal paradigm fixes this edge. David Sliker has said “The word of the Lord for the hour is “detachment”. It’s not the time to be enslaved to your stuff, or to serve your lifestyle. Help us to not be mastered by our possessions, Lord!”
It is possible to be protected from tribulation..Zeph 2:3 Seek all of you the Lord, all you meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be all of you shall be hidden (protected) in the day of the Lord’s anger (end-times).“But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.”(Luk 21:36)
It will be so amazing to see the church in the day He returns. He is going to return to a wholehearted church. There will be no compromise in that day. The book of Revelation is God’s step by step plan to bring the church to glory on full dependence on Him. The rapture will happen after the destruction and disaster because those things aren’t just to punish the wicked, hell is for that, those things are trials that will try the church and bring her to do miraculous things through God. The false harlot religion (Rev 17-18) followed by the anti-christ world leader (Rev 13) followed by the Judgments (Rev 5,6,8,9) will drive away all cowardly and traitorous. We won’t be able to stand on our own, but we can stand in His strength. His grace is supernatural power that enables us to do miracles like Moses did in the face of Pharaoh (who was a type of the Antichrist).
We will have to stay alert and responsive to His Spirit in us, but we shouldn’t wait til then, but even now we should cultivate our skills in hearing God and responding, for all believers can hear His voice (John 10:10).The events of the end-times will cause many in the church to fall away from the faith, to the harlot religion or offense at God, or into the rising widespread sin. Many more in the church will die and go on to be with the Lord from the destruction from the judgments. But many will hear God and be spared, do greater works and miracles, there will be so many miracles, obviously in these times miracles will be very needed. (Mic 7:15).
Psa 32:6 For this cause everyone who is godly shall pray to You In a time when You may be found; Surely in a flood of great waters They shall not come near him. Asking the Lord to reveal confirmation of how serious to take this is important. The Word says be anxious for nothing, and to lay our anxieties on Him. Apathy is a wrong attitude and on the other hand building a bomb shelter or something is an over-reaction. We can’t do anything to prepare for the end-times ourselves. We need God! And the is the real message here, cultivating a relationship with God so that we are in tune with His voice and leadership in our lives through fasting and prayer on the Word. Resource on fasting Part 4 Maturity He wants to bring us to the place of such love and passion for Him and we are fully mature. His refining by adverse circumstances (of the end-time events of Revelations) through Satan’s rage, man’s sin and ‘God’s zeal to discipline us for our good’ (Heb. 12:5-11) will take away the comfort which has kept us falsely thinking we’re ‘rich and in need of nothing’ when we’re truthfully spiritually ‘poor and naked.’ (Rev 3:17-18)
These beauty preparations (Est 2:9) will involve the grace of God being given to us like never before.I believe that the last generation will have to be refined so much because it will have so much more of God to ‘walk’ in (Luk 12:48) when the Outpouring of the Spirit comes, so much of His heavenly kingdom will manifest on earth. So there will be a continual experience of friendship and abiding in His presence like never before. His prophetic leadership will be abundant and precise to lead us to timely safety, provision and ministry (Isa 30:21), though the Word says many Christians will become martyrs. (Rev 7:14-17,15:2, 20:4)We will also see the release of the Isa 33:17 beauty of God (as expressed in Rev 4 and 5 and Song of Solomon etc) which will captivate and equip many (through devotional meditation and fasting see Mat 9:15) to live completely abandoned and able to endure anything for love. And so the same love Jesus had for us as He laid down His life at the cross for us we will also have (Col 1:24, Phi 3:10) so that we can be an equally-yoked bride to Him at the end of the age (like Paul said in 2 Cor 6:14. Jesus wouldn’t ask us to seek a equally-yoked bride if He wasn’t going to have one Himself.)
So you see there is going to be much grace given by God to get us where we need to be at the end of the age, we can’t look, as Moses did, to our own inadequacy, which made the Lord angry (Exo 4:14), but to His adequacy to equip and lead the Bride to the fullness of what God will give the hungry heart in pursuit of Him.Part 5 Forerunners Remember that Isa 61 voice of one preparing the way for the Lord? It applies to His 2nd Coming as well, the intial fulfillment was John the Baptist, and the one Voice now this time is a unified prophetic Church. Again I can’t downplay the role of messengers at the end of the age which will call the church to gaze on the beauty of God (Psa 27:4) in prayer and Zech 8:19 joyful fasting. The Lord created the body so that His spiritual strength is perfected in our physical weakness (2 Cor 12:9). This is the way for a spiritually bankrupt church to buy Rev 3:19 ‘gold’ and that it would be refined in the fire of the end of the age.It is key that we buy it now and not later, in some kind of crash course before His return like the foolish virgins will in that hour (Matt 25:9-10). For those who hear the messengers call to buy now beforehand there is a progressive release of the things of God which will more than contend with the temptations of media and sin (1 cor 2:7-10).
The Lord is calling all of us to pursue Him that He would show us the lifestyle of the Kingdom is spiritually satisfying and eternally wise. That if we would build our lives there we would encounter Him and get in unity with Him that we could be transformed and brought to fullness. I’m actually suggesting we dial down the busyness our of lives and begin to build it on the rock of prayer and communion with God. The American mindset of being busy as the only noble pursuit and view of prayer as a non-essential is being torn down by the prophetic all of the hour. Rev 3:16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. Though it will hurt his heart to do this, He is just and some will be allowed to choose their own selfish desires over being His bride. 2Co 5:15 and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.
They will be given over to the deception of the day because the love of truth was not in them (2nd Thes 2:10). But just by staying in relationship with God, keeping quick repentance and renewing your mind with truth you can stand strong and prepare.The Spirit and the Bride say Come (Rev 22:17) suggests that the church will have the revelation of intercession and also a bridal identity. It could have said the Spirit and the Church there. We will be a spotless bride and He bring us there by cleansing us from our culture and fallen humanity through His Word (Eph 5:26) through Holy Spirit fellowship with Him. He is releasing the revelation of the church as a Bride so that we feed our hearts on His holy love. Eph 5:29 suggests we must start to see ourselves as cherished by Jesus and see His love as Song of Solomon says “better than the wine (or permissible pleasure) of this world (Sos 1:2). For more see my notes on the Church as a Bride above.
We must feed on portions of the Word that reveal His tender emotions for us, like the Song of Songs, and John 14-16 to sustain our hearts in perseverance. You can begin this guiding interpretation/prayer guide of Song of Songs here.We prepare now for what’s coming by getting closer to Him.The Bride saying ‘Come” also suggests the prayer movement will be in full force, as the church will also have a revelation of our end-time calling to intercession, Please read “the Anna anointing” and pray about supporting an intercessory missionary, there’s a donate link on the right column.please read the ‘how to live this lifestyle of making oneself ready” in the second part of this post, the Pure and Spotless Bride Made Ready III which is here.