Preparing for the Wedding Day, Part 2
We saw last month that God betrothed Israel at Mt. Sinai, but we never do see that the church (as we know the church today) is the bride of Messiah. So we want to take a closer look at the question: if we are not the bride then what are we in relationship to Messiah and to Israel? Let's take a closer look at this and I want you to remember that this is all spiritual in nature, metaphorically speaking, for we know that God and Yeshua would not have a bride physically, in human terms. I want you to follow along with me as I go, for at the end I think you will see an interesting concept.
And the Two Shall Become One
Yeshua tells us in John 10:30, "I and the Father are one." God is all about oneness. We see this concept every week when we light the Sabbath candles. We start with two candles and then when the Sabbath ends, the two candles become one candle, a candle that is intertwined with the other. We see this ceremony at weddings also when the bride and groom each have a candle and they both light one candle together to show that now they are one. This oneness is revealed in the Scriptures.
Matthew 19:5 and Ephesians 5:31 tell us, "For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother; and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh." We must hear this recited over and over again from one wedding to another. It is an important concept that we are going to take a look at and continue to build our foundation upon. In John 10:16 (Yeshua's "I am the good shepherd" discourse), He says, "And I have other sheep, which are not of this fold; I must bring them also, and they shall hear My voice; and they shall become one flock with one shepherd." Yeshua here is speaking to Jewish people about another flock; this flock is the Gentiles who will come into the fold and the two will become one flock. So what does this have to do with the bride? Let's continue on.
Ephesians 4:4 says, "There is one body and one Spirit, just as also you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all who is over all and through all in all." 1 Corinthians 12:12 and 27 tell us, "For even as the body is one and yet has many members, and all the members of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Messiah... Now you are Messiah's body, and individually members of it." We see here that the believers in Yeshua form His body here on earth. So does that make us the bridegroom? Maybe! Let's continue.
If we are the bridegroom and Israel is the bride, then we must be one like a husband and wife are one flesh. Does the Bible tell us this? Romans 11:17 tells us, "But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partakers with them of the rich root of the olive tree . . . ." So we have been grafted into Israel because of the work of Messiah and now we are one with Israel, but Paul warns us not to be arrogant; again, the church has not replaced Israel. Paul makes it clear that "we do not support the root but the root supports us" (verse 18).
The Bride, Israel, and the New Jerusalem
We see how we are one with Israel, but what about those Scriptures in part one that talked about a kingdom of priests and the Land and the New Jerusalem as being likened to a bride? Isaiah tells us in chapter 49:18, speaking about Zion, "Lift up your eyes and look around; all of them (Israel's enemies) gather together, they come to you. 'As I live,' declares the Lord, 'you shall surely put on all of them as jewels, and bind them on as a bride.'" Again in Isaiah 62:4-5 it says, "It will no longer be said to you, ‘Forsaken' nor to your land will it any longer be said, 'Desolate,' but you will be called ‘My delight is in her,' and your land ‘Married,' for the Lord delights in you, and to Him your land will be married. For as a young man marries a virgin, so your sons will marry you; and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so your God rejoices over you."
Last month we looked at Revelation 21:2-3: "And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God made ready as a bride adorned for her husband." Verse 9 goes on, "And one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues, came and spoke with me, saying, ‘Come here, I shall show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.' And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God." Verse 22: "And I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God, the Almighty, and the Lamb, are its temple." So now we see the holy city, the new Jerusalem, as the bride of the Lamb. Will the real bride please stand up?
Well, I think that Scriptures do not contradict each other. Let's look at Ephesians 2:20: "You have been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Messiah Yeshua Himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are being fitted together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit." 1 Peter 2:5: "You also as living stones are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Yeshua the Messiah."
We must remember that this is all speaking in a spiritual manner. So we see that here on earth the believers in Yeshua (Jesus) are the body of Messiah, which makes us the bridegroom and so we must marry Israel, the bride, so that the two can become one; as God is one but we speak of three, so it is with us. We have Israel the bride, we have believers as the body of the bridegroom, and we see that we are being built up as a spiritual house for spiritual sacrifices. The spiritual house is the temple, and yet God Himself will be the temple and we, who are joined to Israel, will be the royal priesthood who will serve Him. We must remember that Yeshua is in the Father and we are in Yeshua, and that makes everything one. Bride, Groom, holy city, and temple are all one in God.
So now what we need to really concern ourselves with is preparing for the wedding day, for "blessed is he who is invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb," and that is what we will look at next month.