There’s a great outpouring of power the Bible prophesies in the generation the Lord returns; tremendous power and a tremendous harvest.
It’s a strong biblical hope. The greatest hour of the Church is yet ahead of us, beyond the book of Acts. The greatest difficulty in history is yet ahead of us as well: It’s called “the Great Tribulation.” The Church will be here during the Great Tribulation as God’s messengers and as God’s ambassadors, releasing God’s power to the nations.
The False Doctrine of the Pretribulation Rapture
This view, is sincere; it’s very sincere, but dangerous and damaging. One of the most significant deceptions today in the Body of Christ is the pre-tribulation rapture: the idea that we’re going to be gone any minute, and out of here before things become troublesome.
There are many who teach that. It’s sincere; it’s absolutely non-biblical. It’s more than non-biblical, it’s a significant deception. Many of the people who teach it are teaching it because they grew up with it in what their denomination taught them. They’ve heard it since they were five years old, and they just go with it; they’ve never thought any differently.
I want to say clearly, and I want to say nicely: It is clearly not a biblical doctrine. The rapture is, but not the pretribulation rapture. The Church will be here, and it will be the Church’s greatest hour. We will be operating in power in the nations. The greatest revival in history is yet ahead of us.
The Church in the Wilderness of the EndTime Events
It’s likened to Moses, being in the wilderness. The Lord said to Moses, “OK, I’m going to go shake up the kingdom of Egypt.” Moses said, “Oh, I don’t want to go. Lord, would You take me home now?” But Moses was trained to go shake up the kingdom of Egypt and Pharaoh, to release the plagues and judgments and deliver the people.
The Church is in the Moses position, in the Great Tribulation, of releasing the judgments of God. The judgments of God in the book of Revelation are not judgments on the Church; they are judgments released through the Church on the Antichrist system.
The judgments of the book of Revelation are being released by the prayer movement. The prayer movement isn’t coming under them, any more than Moses came under the judgments when he stretched forth his rod. It’s critical now that the prayer movement would be matured. We will stops and start the judgments. Someone says, “Does prayer stop judgment, or start it?” The answer is both. Moses stretched forth his rod and the ten plagues of Egypt happened. He stretched forth his rod and prayed and they stopped. They stopped and started at his word, under the Father’s authority. He was a picture of the end-time Church in the greatest hour of history.
The reason the Church doesn’t think much or care much about the hundred chapters the bible contains about the end-times is that they think they’re going to be gone. It’s a huge tragedy, the state of the Church worldwide being nearly illiterate about end-time prophecy—almost completely illiterate. It doesn’t matter to them because they think they’re going to be gone.
The Church is Not Preparing for its Greatest Conflict
The second reason it’s such an important, scary deception, is that the Church isn’t preparing for its greatest conflict. It’s like the guy who’s getting ready to go to war when he’s in boot camp. He’s doing drills and exercising, training his body and their mind, and he’s flowing together. He’s going to war. Most of the Church is in vacation mode, and the greatest conflict in history is around the corner. The Church is addicted to entertainment and recreation and comfort. The greatest trouble in history, and the greatest revival, is around the corner. But they think they’re going to be gone. There are horrible, horrible consequences to the people’s hearts when they believe they’re going to be gone.
The only way we’ll make sense of what’s going on in the generation the Lord returns, with all the potentially upsetting and offensive events happening, is with a bridal paradigm. The kingdom of God is likened to people who encounter Jesus as a bridegroom. We refer much, in our IHOP—KC world here, to what we call the “bridal paradigm.” You can use any term you want: “The bridal paradigm of the kingdom.” We say that all the time, our teachers in our Bible school, talking about, “Well, the bridal paradigm of the kingdom says…” or, “Because of that…” and then they’ll teach their point.
The word paradigm means perspective or point-of-view. So, when we talk about the bridal paradigm, we’re talking about the bridal perspective of the kingdom of God. We are to see the kingdom—I’m talking about the end-time Church as the we—we are to see the kingdom worldwide, the Body of Christ in all the nations, through the eyes of a wholehearted bride with devoted love.
The Bridal Paradigm View of the End-Times
So only the Bridegroom reality that is going to prepare the Church. It’s lovesick people who will not draw back in fear. It’s people who are experiencing the reward on the inside, even if they end up in a prison on the outside. Their hearts are alive. They are experiencing the Holy Spirit. Paul, in Acts 16, is in prison. They’ve got his body in prison; he’s singing and worshipping, he and Silas. They are lovesick. “Oh, we love You, God! We’re not mad, we’re not saying, ‘How did we end up in prison?’ We love You; You are our all.”
The Call to Active Intimacy with God
The Bridegroom message is the call to active intimacy with God. This is one of my favorite passages here. 1 Corinthians 2: “The Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God’s heart.”
Why does the Holy Spirit search the deep things of God’s heart? So that you and I could experience them; to know, in the New Testament language. Often, the phrase to know means to experience, is the idea. The Holy Spirit discerns the deep things of the Father’s heart to tell you and me about the deep things of His heart.
I cannot think of anything more valuable than this, than the Holy Spirit, and this is a ministry the Holy Spirit will have for us forever. A million years from now, He will still be doing this in your life. He will still be telling you what is going on in the deep places of the Father’s heart.
The Call to Experience the Pulse of God’s Heart
The bridal message speaks of God’s invitation to experience this. When we talk about the bridal paradigm and the bridal message, it’s experiencing the deep things of His emotions. Look at Ephesians 3: the Holy Spirit prayer “that you would be able to comprehend… the width and length and depth and height” —to be able to experience God’s affections and emotions (Eph. 3:18).
God wants us to comprehend and experience His affections; His burnings emotions, His desire for us. When we feel a little of His desires, it changes the way we approach prayer. It changes the way we approach perseverance and difficulty. Many things are different when we have a little understanding and a little experience of His emotions; when we comprehend and experience them.
Men and Women as the Bride of Christ
In the same way that women are sons of God, so men are the Bride of Christ. It’s bigger than gender. It’s not talking about being male and female, it’s a position of privilege; it’s a position in our inheritance. It’s a holy relationship with God wherin we experience the affection of God through the Holy Spirit in a Holy way in praying the prayers of Song of Solomon, such as Draw me away, and Let me hear Your voice!
Most women understand the message of the sons of God and power. They don’t struggle with being sons of God, because they don’t see it as a call to be less feminine. They see it as a call to experience God’s power, His throne. The sons inherit the throne. However, men really struggle with the “Bride of Christ” message. They automatically conclude, in a wrong way, that it’s a call to be less masculine.
Encountering the Bridegroom God
The Song of Solomon is where we base a lot of our theology though its backed it all up within the confines of Scripture. The natural interpretation about love between man and wife is valid, but Paul says marriage is given to give us a picture of Christ and believers. In heaven we will no longer be married (Matt 22:30).
There are many, many passages which compare the relationship between God and His people to a marriage. “Your Maker is your Husband,” He says. (Isaiah 54:5) “I am married to you.” (Jeremiah 3:14) “I will betroth you to Me forever.” (Hosea 2:19)
The kingdom of the heavens has become like a king who made a wedding feast (Mat 22:2). see also Matthew 25, Matthew 9:13.
For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin. (2 Cor 11:2)
25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her. 31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. (Eph 5). [For this cause shall a man(Jesus) leave his father(God) and mother(natural Israel), and shall be joined unto his wife(Bride), and they two shall be one flesh.]
This mystery is obviously based around the concept that marriage is supposed to testify to our hearts of Christ the similar love of Christ and the church. This love relationship is completely Holy and within the holy boundrylines of Scripture. The Kisses of the Word (Son 1:1) are spiritual embraces by the Holy Spirit, and the revelation of God’s love as revealed through the Word, Scripture.
Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready. (Rev. 19:7)
There is no marriage in heaven, from the wedding supper on we are married to Jesus (Gal 3:28).
The language of Jesus as Bridegroom and the believer as Bride is all over the bible as that is who we from the marriage supper on, His bride.
The Spirit and the Bride say return! (Rev 22:17): Through this prophesy we see that the church at the end of the age will have a bridal identity. The Lord is currently beginning to really highlight this reality to the church!
Losing Perspective on Blessing
We can lose perspective when we’re more focused on our secondary blessings than we are on the primary encounter with the Lord. We can lose our way. We lose the oil of intimacy and our heart gets wounded; we get wounded and we get burnt out.
Some of our wounds today and some of our disappointments are signposts that our secondary rewards have become first place in our life. Many believers are living with wounds and disappointments in their relationship with God. One of the reasons they’re so wounded and disappointed— and they call it burnt out; there’s bitterness; there are strands of bitterness—is because the thing they wanted most was for the circumstances to be blessed and to work right.
God wanted the thing that they would want most to be encountering Him. Their secondary promises from God about the ministry working, the business working, the relationship working, that’s what they wanted most. When we live that way, our hearts are going to get bruised, really badly, we need a bridal paradigm.