THE GREEK SCRIPTURES ON THE BRIDE
(James Through Revelation)
THE CIRCUMCISION WRITINGS
The epistle, of James is so undeniably addressed to the twelve
tribes in the dispersion that it seems difficult to imagine how any Gentile who only reads
it, to say nothing of studying it, could pilfer its passages to himself, especially when
he must do so at a loss. Nearly every Bible expounder has encountered and acknowledged
this difficulty; and they have met it in various ways. Luther, still saturated with the
spiritual Israel theory, discarded the book altogether, calling it an epistle
of straw. It was too hard to fit into his personal system of thinking: therefore he simply
dropped it over the backyard fence into the ash can. That was one way of disposing of it,
but not a very helpful way. Moody did almost the same thing. But leave it where it belongs
and it is thoroughly understandable and conflicts with nothing. Good, helpful, noble, and
instructive things it has which are not dispensational, but much of it is dispensational
and of such a character as to be irreconcilable with the prison epistles or even with the
pre-prison epistles of Paul. Works are certainly involved in the justification which James
speaks of. They are not involved in that taught by Paul. Different classes and different
times is the answer.
The tone of this epistle is very similar to that of the
Gospels. Rich men are scorned and social partiality is condemned but in the synagogue
(James 2:2rendered assembly in the A. V.), not in the ecclesia.
James speaks of the salvation of the soul (James
1:21; 5:20) as does also Peter (1 Peter 1:9) and Hebrews (ch.10:39). This is an expression
foreign to the prison epistles of Paul. The soul is the seat of and capacity for
sensation, and we have no grounds for expecting that faithfulness on our part will work
for comfort and joy on the earth, as the Jews had grounds for expecting. The Millennial
kingdom will bring pleasing and happifying sensations of the best and noblest kind to
believers. But we can not expect soulish advantages now. In fact they are often, one might
say usually, misleading. Love of homeland, love of home, love of family, love of wife and
children, love of friends, love of food and drink, love of pets, the concord of sweet
sounds, the charm of grand scenes, are all God-given powers but they are all soulish and
should not be mistaken for spiritual. They often blur the spiritual vision and dull the
The ground of James is certainly different from that of the
prison epistles: it is even pointedly different from that of the pre-prison epistles of
Paul. There is no harmony as respects faith and works between James on the one hand and
Romans and Galatians on the other. But while there is no harmony, there is also no discord
unless they are played together. Play them where they belongJames in the
apostatizing days of the national decline in the first century and in the worse
apostatizing days just preceding the establishment of the kingdom and all is clear.
Throughout the whole letter the sky is heavy with judgment, and merciless at that (James
We have not only mercy but grace. Mercy is leniency when there
is just ground for expecting harshness. Grace is bounty when there is no just ground for
There is an evident allusion to the figure of bridal and
marital relations in James 4:4 when he calls the Jews adulterers and adulteresses,
explaining that he means by adultery friendship with the world. The most of
the Jews then and now are not only in but of the world, the
devil-dominated world. Therefore invective is heaped high with diatribe in chapters 4 and
Endurance is a condition of salvation in those trying times
(James 5:11), as was also the case with the initial ministry of the twelve and as will be
the case in the end-time, the unparalleled tribulation of Jacob (Matt.24:13).
Take it all in all and the book of James resolves itself into
one question: Do we believe that he knew to whom he was writing when he addressed his
letter to the twelve tribes in the dispersion, or do we think that we know better than he
and distort it into covering Gentiles for whose direction it was never intended?
PETER TO FIRE-TRIED JEWS
Of the three prominent writers of the Greek Scriptures whose
specific ministry is limited to the Jews, Peter wrote principally for the suffering
believing remnant (to the expatriates of the dispersion 1 Peter 1:1), John to the
unscathed believing remnant, and James mostly to the apostate mass, as a witness against
We would expect, therefore, to find some difference in the tone
of these epistles. In the past, when judgment came down on the adulterous nation, one of
them was taken in judgment and the other left to go through unhurt. So it will be in the
end-timethe end of this age, but past the end of this dispensation. Some of the
Jewish believers, who will be legion after the body-church is gone, will suffer great
tribulation where they are, in every nation and kindred and people and tongue (Rev.7:9).
Others, a representative number from each tribe, will go through the tribulation
unscathed. To the fiery-trial saints of that time Peters tender words will come with
peculiar comfort. They will learn how deeply He suffered, He whom not having seen they
will love, in whom, though then they will see Him not, yet believing, they will
rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory, being requited with the end of their
In 1 Peter 1:17 judgment is according to works. This is the
judgment which vindicates the believing remnant, condemns the apostate mass, and punishes
the scornful nations for their treatment of the Jew. Judgment in accord with works is
frequent in the Jewish parts of the Greek Scriptures (Matt.5:16; John 15:24; Rev.18:6;
20:12,13; 22:12), but is referred to only in a negative way in the prison epistles of Paul
(Eph.2:9) and as relating to those who were outside the pale of present grace, an apostate
Jew (2 Tim.4:14).
Not that good works are anywhere discouraged; far from it
(Eph.2:10; Phil.2:12; 2 Tim.2:21; 3:17; 4:5). It is only that good works are the fruitage
of grace and not the root of it and that, during this dispensation, they are not the basis
of our judgment as to salvation but only as to our service.
In Peter, as in all the Jewish writings, we find the idea of regeneration
(1 Peter 1:23); the same thing that our Lord had taught to Nicodemus (John 3:3-8) and
involving the same period of time as the reign of the twelve apostles (Matt.19:28). The
word is never used in the prison epistles, nor is the thought there. We are, of the new
creation, not of the regeneration.
First Peter 2:5 mentions the privileges which were originally
to be (Ex.19:6) and still are to be given to the Jewish bride. None of these things apply
to us. We are not a generation. We are not a priesthood. We are
not a nation or people in any sense (1 Peter 2:9). We are
individual believers scattered here and there, each joined unto the Head and having a
unity of spirit because of our common unity with Him who gives us of His spirit. But the
privileges of priesthood and kingship over the earth are given to a nation
bringing forth the fruit thereof (Matt.21:33-46; Psa.118:22,23).
Let it be noted particularly that Peter, a Jewish apostle,
writing to those believing Jews who had been expatriated, or driven from their own land by
the persecutions arising at the time of the death of Stephen, and who had settled for
refuge in parts of what we now call Asia Minor, says to them that they, and not
the Gentiles, are the ones in whom the prophecy of Hosea (1:9-11; 2:23) is fulfilled. The
Jewish people were once estranged and divorced. Now the Lord has come to them and invited
them to return. The people as a whole rejected Him but to as many as received Him to them
gave He power to become the sons of God. They were not His people, but are now the people
of God. That Gentiles are in no sense involved in this is shown by the two following
verses which speak of the Jewish believers as sojourners and expatriates among the
Gentiles (1 Peter 2:11,12).
Peter speaks of following in the steps of Christ, having in
mind the only steps he knew anything about, His steps on earth. Only Jews could do that;
for our Lord on earth lived and dwelt and worshiped as a Jew. The things testified to by
the twelve, of whom Peter was chief, practically ended with our Lords ascension. The
special manifestations at pentecost and other times were but proofs that our Lord lived.
One book has been written with a circulation of more than 36
million copies, based wholly on a misconception of this text about walking in His
steps. Had the book honored Gods Word by a right division of it the sale would
probably not have exceeded 16,000. As it is, it flatters the flesh by implying an
impossibility, by assuming a Christian community and state, neither of which exists. We
are to follow Christ, but in the particular way prescribed for us. Be ye
followers of me even as I also am of Christ (1 Cor.11:1; 4:16; 1 Thess.1:6;
2 Thess. 3:7,9).
The Masters spirit is the same in all dispensations, the
spirit of complete submission to the Fathers will.
The basic devotional elements of all classes of believers are
the same at all times, but more than that we can not rightly say. When we go as far as
trying to find out what the Lord would have us do now by what He did when on earth, having
for our talisman What would Jesus do? we are sure to go wrong. The question we
should ask is not What would Jesus do? and judge that by what He did, but,
What has the Lord said for us to do now? What dispensational instructions has He left for
our present direction? Such instructions will not be found in Peter, precious and sweet
though much of his writings are; for he and John and James bound it on earth that they
should go to the circumcision, to the Jews (Gal. 2:9). Being bound on earth it was bound
in heaven (Matt.18:18, 19).
In Peter we are reminded that in the Bible no one
except Jewish believers are ever called Christians (1 Peter 4:16). Our habits of thought
and expression are so obtuse that we rarely think or speak of Christians as ever being
In Peter we meet again the Jewish figure of the Shepherd (1
Peter 5:2-4), not used in connection with the body church. The Greek in 1 Peter 5:2 is
flocklet in gracious remembrance of Peters Masters words of cheer
to the little flock, which was certainly Jewish.
Second Peter 1:16-18 refers to the eyewitnesses of the glory of
the kingdom as it had been foreshown on the mount when our Lord was installed as the great
High Priest, receiving from God his investiture of honor and glory, the same
words as used in the Greek Old Testament to describe the high priests vestments of
glory and beauty. In that miniature representation of kingdom honor and glory
there were Peter, James, John, the Lord, Moses, Elias, and the Father. Of these seven our
Lord was the central or mediatory figure, as He will be in the kingdom itself.
Second Peter 3:2 calls attention to the declarations made long
before Peters writing by the prophets of old and, more latterly, by himself and the
others of the twelve apostles. The things referred to here could not have been the
revelation concerning the body-church, because that was not known in past ages and
generations (Col.1:26). The things referred to are those which have to do with the
promise of His presence (2 Pet. 3:4). The prophets of old had spoken
of that presence and had invariably associated it with judgment. The very word
presence, parousia, is never used by Paul in his prison epistles, as
applied to Christ. It is used twice in Philippians, but refers to Pauls own personal
presence among the brethren at Philippi. The parousia is not a specific hope of
the body-church, since it is related to the earth. We are interested in everything that
God has thought worth while to do or to make or to perform; but being interested and being
directly involved are different things. O Lord . . . mine enemies . . . shall fall
and perish at thy presence (Psa.9:1-3). That is the key to the parousia
of the Lord (cf Psa.68:2; 97:5; 114:7; Isa.64:1-3; Jer.4:26; Nahum 1:5).
JOHN TO THE UNSCATHED REMNANT
John had his ministry confessedly to the circumcision (Gal.
2:9). His first epistle bears testimony of things concerning which he had personal
acquaintance. Those things were witnessed about our Lords earthly life and
teachings, about repentance, baptism, and works. He does not mention grace. He speaks of
forgiveness of sins, or pardon, rather than of justification (1 John 1:9).
In 1 John 2:2 propitiation is shown to extend to the whole
world, whereas under the Law it had been limited to Israel. But propitiation is a negative
satisfaction. Necessary though it is, it is yet lower than the grace that provides and
secures for us a celestial allotment.
An anointing is spoken of by John (1 John 2:20,27). No such
thing is mentioned in the prison epistles, and only once in the pre-prison epistles of
Paul (2 Cor.1:21).
Begetting and new birth are frequently mentioned in Johns
letters with the same sense as that of our Lord in Johns Gospel (1 John 3:9; 5:1;
John speaks of the day of judgment (1 John 4:17),
which we do not enter, having been called in a day of salvation.
Second John is a private communication, not so much as an
apostle as in the capacity of an elder. Doctrine is made a test of fellowship (v.10)
because the miraculous gifts of knowledge and discernment were still with them (1 John
2:27; 4:1); and, divergence of view meant a departing from the teachings of the spirit.
Doctrine is not now a test of fellowship, but rather cleanness of motive (2 Tim.2:22).
Third John identifies itself as being to a believing Jew by
referring to the faithfulness of other believers who had taken nothing of the Gentiles
JUDES WARNINGS OF JUDGMENTS
Jude, the brother of our Lord, deals, like 2 Peter, with the
coming of the Lord in judgment upon the ungodly He was not an apostle (v.17), but we may
safely assume that he had the spirit of prophecy, as the gift was quite common among
pentecostal believers. Jude 5 reminds us that, as most of the original bridal nation
entered not into the land because of unbelief, only a remnant will enter the kingdom.
Cain, like all religionists, put himself to no little effort to
earn Gods favor, but he was too proud to receive it as a gift.
This same spirit was the occasion for the divorcing of Israel and will figure largely in
determining in the end-time who of the Jewish-born will be worthy of the kingdom.
Worthiness to be a bride does not mean worthiness for all that is given in and through
Christ. Worthiness to be a bride consists not in perfection but in singleness of heart
toward the espoused.
THE REVELATION A JEWISH BOOK
The book of Revelation, the Apocalypse, or the Unveiling,
starts off to a scattered Israel, to the seven lampstands, instead of to the one lampstand
with seven branches. But though scattered among the nations, in the cities of the then
religious world, the Lord loves them and walks among them, tenderly watching over and
caring for them ever though their temple and ritual are gone.
Here we meet with almost every expression used by the prophets
of old or by our Lord respecting Israel, the faithfulness of her believing remnant and the
perfidy of her unbelieving mass. We read about kings and priests (Rev.1:6) as
in Exodus 19:4-6; we read about the Lord coming with clouds (Rev.1:7) as in Daniel 7:13
and Matthew 16:27;24:30; we read about the Messiah being first pierced, then looked to
with tear-blurred fervor (Rev.1:7), as in Zechariah 12:10 and John 19:37, and about the
tribes of the land mourning (Luke 23:28); we read about the sharp sword (Rev.1:16), as in
Isaiah 49:2 and Hebrews 4:12; we read about the Is-ing-Was-ing-Com-ing (Rev.1:4,8), which
is merely the Greek translation of the Hebrew Yahweh, God in His covenant capacity of
Husband over Israel; we read about first love, or the love of espousals, as in
Hosea 11:1; Jeremiah 2:2; Ezekiel 16:8-10.
There is the letter to the congregation of believers in Smyrna
saying that some confess themselves to be Jews and are not. Did any but a
Hebrew-born ever confess himself to be a Jew? Some Gentile believers mistakenly confess
themselves to be Israelites, but certainly not Jews. But some of the bride is there that
shall not be hurt of the second death. These are of the same who live and reign with
Christ the thousand years and on whom the second death hath no power (Rev. 20:6).
The letter to Pergamos alludes to the land, the
married land, where by means of a white stone the land is reallotted. It is the land to
which the bride is to be taken, just as was done back there in wilderness times.
The last four letters draw figures from the experiences of
Israel in the land: the first two to the ten tribes and the last two to Judah and
Benjamin. Jezebel is brought in the letter to the angel of the church at Thyatira, as
representative of the vile state religion where the pure theocracy ought to be. The
overcomers are given authority over the nations, over the Gentiles, which is a distinctly
Jewish promise (Psa.2:8; Jer.51:20; Dan.2:44).
Some of these cities never had and never have had a
congregation of body believers, but all of them have had Jewish congregations. That fact
must be borne in mind.
To the angel of the church in Sardis is written about the book
of life, in allusion to the immense record book kept in the temple, wherein was registered
the lineage of every Israelite (Deut.29:18-20). So there is a book of age-lasting life for
those who do not worship the beast. This same record is used as evidence at the
great-white-throne judgment. Those whose names are found in there may enter into the new
Jerusalem. This is the bride. It is not the body; for our life is hid with Christ in God,
and is not dependent on our deedsthank God for that!
As has been shown in the early part of this examination, both
Israel and Judah were separately plead with and separately divorced by the Lord. But the
separation dissolves with the passage of time, so that when our Lord comes to woo them
back all twelve tribes are clustered in point of worship in Jerusalem.
Of such as dwelt in Philadelphia are the 144,000 (Rev.7:4), let
into the temple by the key of David and kept there unscathed during the great hour of
trial, sealed with the name of their God and miraculously preserved throughout
Jacobs great tribulation. Only those who refuse the sign of the beast will live and
reign with Christ the thousand years (Rev.20:4). We have no promise of such
joint-heirship. Our destiny, activities, and reign are all in the celestial realm. We are
all gone before either the beast or his sign appear. When the war is on between the beast
and the Lamb there will be no doubt about it. No recourse to the vagaries of human
sophistry will be necessary to establish the fact.
Then Laodicea! Yet not to the city is the letter addressed, but
to its angel or messenger. This is not a period or stretch of time, but a group of Jewish
believers coexistent with the other six. There is no need to philosophize about it, no
need to guess. Deduction is dangerous, while induction is fatal to truth. The great
apostasy of Israel is the background here, but the seating of the bride on the throne with
Christ, priests and kings with Him, is the foreground.
Yet would God designate the same class by the figure of sons,
firstborn, on the one hand, and as the bride on the other? To this the answer is that it
is not a question of what we think God would or ought to do: the question is, What has He
done? He does the same thing in the later times as He had done under the old
covenant. There Israel as a people was called His son, and individuals His sons,
but as a nation she was the bride, as a kingdom the wife. And since the
national headquarters were in Jerusalem, for both kings and priests, the city itself is as
the bride, especially in this book of Revelation. This point is emphasized in contrast, by
the introduction of Babylon, the great city, as the faithless pseudo-queen, the false
consort, the work and rendezvous of all the apostate Jews, who try to rule the world, to
fulfill the Messianic promises without the Messiah.
Chapter four deals with the establishment of the kingdom of
Christ and His saints over the whole earth, as in Daniel 7:14-18.
Revelation 5 brings us to the scroll, the writing of
divorcement (same word as in Matt.19:7 and Mark 10:4), and the deed to the land, such as
was given Jeremiah before the fall of Jerusalem and preserved in an earthen jar as
testimony of the Lords purpose to restore the land and city (Jer.32,33). The prayers
of the saints, the same saints who shall judge the world (1 Cor.6:2), but not the
we who shall judge angels (1 Cor.6:3), come up as precious odors, being the
prayer Thy kingdom come, a Jewish prayer given to Jews and of prime interest
to those who shall be made kings and priests (Rev.5:10). Our own particular
prayers are in Ephesians 1:15-23 and 3:14-21.
The 144,000 and the great multitude have already been touched
upon. Suffice it only to say that the great tribulation is upon Israel. It is a terrific
anti-Semitic movement. It is upon the people of Daniel, who certainly was a Jew
(Dan.12:1). It has not the slightest reference to the great war in Europe, being entirely
after the body-church is gone from the earth.
The temple or religious section of the book begins with chapter
11:19, showing first the dealings with and rewards of the believing remnant, the bride,
thereupon the judgments of and upon the unbelieving massthe former things centered
in Jerusalem, the latter in Babylon. Chapter 12 is a picture of the bride, or the living
nucleus of it, in the agony of the three and a half years just preceding the establishment
of the kingdom. Do not confuse the various classes of Jews at that time. They are as
A. This believing remnant, having asylum in the mountain
fastnesses near Jerusalem and miraculously sustained there for 1260 days, in spite of the
cumulative and concentrated fury of the devil. These are evidently unusually devout Jews,
who shall have returned to Palestine out of faith in the ancient promises, possibly
engendered in devoutness or at least stirred up by the preaching of the Two Witnesses.
B. From among this group, but before it escapes from the city
into the wild places (in obedience to Luke 21:21) (Rev.12:5,6), is taken the
representative group of the 144,000, 12,000 out of each of the twelve tribes, for the
special manifestation of divine power, much as 1,000 had been taken out of each of the
tribes (Num.31:4-9) to go against Midian. These 144,000 are not in the wilderness with the
mother group but are safely kept in the temple on Mount Zion In Jerusalem.
Thither they have been snatched away, not up, exactly as the spirit of
the Lord snatched Philip away (Acts 8:39) when he was miraculously conveyed to the
vicinity of Azotus. They are snatched away to God and to His throne, which will be, as of
old, in the most holy of the temple; but they are not snatched away to heaven.
C. There is the rest of her seed, the remainder of
living believing Jews, perhaps less devout, or, at all events, for some reason not
returned to the holy land but still scattered among all the nations, peoples, kindreds,
and tongues of the earth, some of them being even in the city of Babylon. This is the
great multitude upon whom the brunt of the physical suffering of the tribulation falls.
D. There will be the unbelieving mass, the apostate, money- and
power-loving Jews, whose false Messianic kingdom, whose world empire of finance will be
centered in the vastly expanded and modernized city of Babylon along the Euphrates River
in Mesopotamia. With the divine destruction of that city in a manner similar to that of
Sodom of old, these Jews drop out of consideration as Jews, taking their place with the
wicked dead, with the unjust, with those who have done
evil, and will be dealt with at the judgment of the great white throne after the end
of the Millennial reign of Christ.
E. The unswervingly faithful and living among the first three
of those groups, all those who will have steadfastly refused the mark of the beast, will
be augmented almost immediately (i.e., 75 days, see Dan.12:7-13) upon the termination of
the three and a half years of special trial by the resurrection of those believing ones
who shall have died prior to that Lords return described in Revelation 19. Some of
these will have died in the great tribulation itself and others during preceding centuries
and millenniums. Apparently the number of the dead thus raised in the former or first
resurrection (Rev. 20:4,6) will greatly exceed those who live through the trouble, so much
so that the living and reigning class as a whole is identified with the
resurrection rather than with those who are kept through the tribulation unharmed.
Chapter 13 portrays the particulars of the trial through which
believers pass during those terrible forty and two months. Here is the supreme test for
believing Jewsthe only saints ever referred to by any Hebrew prophet or
Jew-serving apostlethe test to demonstrate their faithfulness to their promised Lord
and Husband (Rev.13:10).
Chapter 15 speaks of the song of Moses and the Lamb (Rev.15:3).
Moses was certainly Jewish, and the Lamb is a distinctly Jewish appellation,
never used in the Pauline epistles. It is forceful to the Jewish mind because of its
allusion to the lamb of the daily morning and evening sacrifices in the court of the
temple. The song of Moses is not the song of Moses and the children of
Israel on the destruction of Pharaoh and his charioteers in the Red Sea, but it is
the song of Moses in Deuteronomy 32:1-43, wherein Gods dealings with Israel
back in her bridal days are rehearsed.
Babylon is not only the false woman in the end-time, in
contrast with the true (ch.12) (both of which are Jewish), but she is the mother
of the harlots and abominations of the earth. She is the mother of prostitutes;
while the other woman, the faithful of Jerusalem, is the mother of a virgin male-son
class, not defiled with women. Having seen what spiritual adultery and harlotry are, that
they are spiritual union with and personal trust in someone or something else as God
beside the True One, we will be on the alert to appreciate how grave is the charge that
the city of Babylon is the mother of, the one who gave birth to and has nurtured all such
harlotry in the whole earth.
But this is true; for Babylon was founded by Nimrod a Cushite
power-mad rebel against the true God and the scorner of all those hopes which rest solely
on the goodness of God. He started the self-help-to-perfection movement after the flood,
giving it a tremendous impetus. He took up and capitalized both phases of Satans
original lie. Like his prototype, Cain, he found the accursed earth too hard to work in
and sought to avoid the thorns and thistles by building a city and a religious and
The tilling of the soil was Gods original employment for
man, both in and out of Eden. It was Gods purpose for the Israelites. They were to
have but one city, and that was divinely ordered and guarded. And just in proportion as
the people of Israel fretted over their allotment and sought the avenues of trade and
commerce did they lose spirit. They had been promised blessing in basket and store (and
Gods blessing carried with it more than a mere augmenting of the crops) but were not
promised blessing in commerce. God has given them over to their desire but sent leanness
into their souls.
In contradistinction to this desire for cities of human
building, and for the relative escape from toil and sweat of face, is the conduct of
Abraham and all Israelites indeed who have looked and longed for that city whose builder
and maker is God.
So, then, Babylon, the city of the Chaldees, was and is the
mother of all systematic belittling of God in His own earth. The great city shall be piled
with the wealth of men who shall all toil to pay interest on the bonds held by that great
ring of international Jewish financiers. The present power in Russia is an abortive effort
to bring about such a situation before the time. The real objection to it is not its
Soviet form (if that suits the Russians let them have it), not to the fact that it is
bolshevistic, or dependent upon the majority. The objection to it lies in the
fact that it is not particularly a government of Russia at all but aims directly at world
domination, being domiciled in Russia merely because the local conditions there made a
start easier than elsewhere.
The great city of Babylon with mans amassed wealth, being
the peak of mans proud achievement, shall be utterly destroyed, never to be rebuilt.
The voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in
her (Rev.18:23). This refers not to the voice of the Lord as the Bridegroom of
Israel, but to ordinary human relationships (see by contrast Jer.33:11).
Revelation 19:7 gives us a bit of insight into the bridal
developments. The time is just prior to the Lords actual overthrow of Satan. The
Sinaitic manuscript reads bride where the common version reads
wife, and with evident propriety, since the description is of the preparation
preceding the marriage. The bride makes herself ready, not by any character
development that makes her, if not quite, still, nearly perfect. She
makes herself ready by definitely and fervidly eschewing the course of faithless Israel of
old. She makes herself ready by having eyes not for worldly powers but only for her
rightful Lord. It is not character development in any current usage of that word. It is no
more character development than it was land development when the farmer left the
unresponsive and hopelessly stony New England hills for the fertile soil of the prairies
of Illinois. It is simply different ground.
The wedding implied in Revelation 19:7,8 is seen from another
angle in Matthew 25:1-13, where it is made plain that there are others besides the bride
in the kingdom; there are the accompanying virgins, with more or less of alertness. The
great multitude, though Jewish, and, like the seven thousand in the time of Elijah, not
having bowed the knee to Baal, are not of the supremely honored company, the banquet of
whose wedding lasts throughout the millennium (Isa.25:6).
The priestly work will terminate with the thousand years, for
there is no temple in the new Jerusalem (Rev.21:22), but the reigning continues (Rev.22:5;
Dan.7:27). It is after the ending of the Millennium, after the judgment of the great white
throne, that the new Jerusalem, not the Millennial city, but the heaven-built and
heaven-sent city, takes its place in the new and sealess earth as its luminary capital,
glorious with all the brightness of God. She is, we are told, adorned as a bride for her
husband (Rev.21:2). And after the city has settled to place she is described as the bride
the Lambs wife. That is, the marriage is fully consummated. Is it the same
marriage as that mentioned in ch.19:7? Yes: but not the same end of it; for they are
separated by a little more than a thousand years. Is she the same bride? The
identification seems to mark her as the same. In any case, she is limited to the twelve
tribes. She is stamped with the tribal number, twelve, and with the earthly number, four.
It is the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel (Rev.21:12) which are
involved; no Gentiles; no hypothetical substitute for Israel, but Israel itself. To rivet
it down still tighter onto Israel, the twelve apostles of the Lamb
(Rev.21:14), not of Christ Jesus, are named in the twelve foundations.
This is as far, in point of time, as revelation takes us on the
bride. Revelation 22:6 drops back in time to the period when the admonitions will apply,
to the period just preceding the Millennium; for during the Millennium, and ever after,
the nation of Israel will be indefectible.
The Millennium does not effect the divine purpose for the
reconciliation of all (Col.1:20); though it does effect Gods purpose for the
Millennium. His purpose for that time is to show that perfect law and perfect government
will not change the hearts of men. As soon as the restraints are taken off a great
rebellion ensues. Even during the Millennium there are executions every day: and dead
enemies are not reconciled friends. Righteousness reigns during the Millennium,
but righteousness dwells (2 Peter 3:13) in the new heavens and earth,
constituting the fundament of that long and success-laden world after the Millennium and
before the consummation, when all rule, and authority, and power is put down as being no
longer necessaryas tutors, guardians, and governors are no longer necessary when a
child has come of age.
So the time when the spirit and the bride are
saying, Come, naturally precedes and does not follow the Millennium.
HEAVENS-AS-BRASS TIME FOR ISRAEL
OUR CELESTIAL REIGN
Revelation is the last of the Jewish epistles, and in them only
is found the bride. One might know them by heart and know nothing of the celestial
allotment which is in store for the church, the body of Christ. The narrative proceeds
without interruption through the Hebrew Scriptures, through the Gospels, through Acts, and
through the other Jewish writings in the Greek language, commonly called the New
Testament. Nothing in them reveals any intervening dispensation, such as we live in now.
We should be quite without understanding of this long period of heavens silence were
it not for the writings of Paul, the apostle of Christ Jesus, but not one of the twelve.
To put him in the twelve is not only to do violence to the Scriptures themselves; it is to
lower him and constrict his ministry to the twelve tribes or to such proselyting work
among the nations as would quite exclude us in our present standing.
Fredrik Homer Robison
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