The Church: The Waiting Bride
"Death is the debt we all must pay." Euripides
"The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord." (Romans 6:23)
The Apostle Paul said: "For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in his own turn: Christ, the first fruits; then, when He comes, those who belong to Him. Then the end will come, when He (Christ) hands over the Kingdom to God the Father after He has destroyed all dominion, authority and power." (1 Corinthians 15:22-24)
Scripture likens the relationship of the Church on earth to a bride waiting for her husband.
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At the time of Jesus, Jewish culture required that the engaged husband prepare a dwelling for his intended bride. This dwelling was usually an attachment to the bridegroom’s father’s house. Jesus in saying goodbye to His disciples said in John 14:2 "In my Father's house are many rooms ... I am going to prepare a place for you." (Just as an engaged man might say to his intended bride.) Jesus goes on to say in verse 3: "I will come back and take you to be with Me that you may be where I am."
What words of comfort and assurance for those early disciples. Yet, it fills us with anticipation even today.
The angels in Acts 1: 11 said ..."this same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen Him go into Heaven."
The Church around the world is made up of men and women who have put their faith and trust in their Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Scripture says that Jesus has bought us with a great price. That price was payment for the debt of our sins. Scripture likens this to a ransom or redemption from bondage. It also seems to refer to the bride price demanded by the bride’s family. Either way, we see Jesus as the one who pays the debt.
One might ask the question, “what are we waiting for?” We are waiting for Jesus to come back and claim us as His bride. We are waiting for our garments to be made pure. Paul says in Eph 5:25-27: "just as Jesus loved the Church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the Word and to present her (Church) to Himself as a radiant Church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemishes, but holy and blameless."
While we wait, what are we to look for before He comes again? From a plain, literal reading of all Scripture, we can say that we will see several things happen before Christ’s return.
- The gospel will be shared around the world prior to His coming. Matt 24:14
- The world will experience a great intensification of tribulation. Matt 24:21
- The anti-Christ and his forces will be trying to control and to subjugate the earth. 1 John 2:18
- Intensification of natural disasters and wars that will ravish the earth. Matt 24:6-7
- Jesus will return to establish His earthy kingdom. After a period of what the Scriptures call the Millennium (1000 years) all nature will once more be subject to Satan's desire to usurp the reign of Christ. Rev 20:2-8
- Jesus will appear to all, defeat and destroy all vestiges of rebellion against Him. Rev 20:9-10
- Christ will then judge all human beings after which the final and everlasting kingdom of God will begin on this earth. Scripture calls this the new heavens and the new earth. Righteousness will pervade this final and lasting kingdom. Rev 20:11ff
- We will all be received by the Bridegroom and will feast at the Marriage banquet table of our Lord and King. Rev 19:1-9
Until then, we must be vigilant and expectant. Sorry Euripides, "Death" is not the debt we owe any longer. For Christians, this debt has been paid by the One who loves us and is coming for us to claim us as His Bride.
Till then, we are His Church, His Bride ... waiting for a glorious day. Even so, come Lord Jesus.