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The Bride Makes Herself Ready

Do you know that the Church, the Bride of Christ is required to prepare herself for the coming Glory of God?

We are in the time that God’s glory will manifest in the earth, the Great and Terrible Day (Joel 2:11) and contrary to common thought, we cannot step into God’s glory unprepared. We, as the Bride of Christ, must be prepared, just as John wrote in the Book of Revelation “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” (Revelation 19:7). It is a dangerous doctrine to believe that we can enter into the glory without preparation; not only will that belief leave us unready, but we will perish under the weight of the glory.  The pattern throughout scripture shows us that those who were prepared entered in, and those that were not prepared were shut out. Understanding the pattern of scripture and the Early Church teachings is paramount, so we can be ready for the coming glory. 

The Bible prophesies the Glory of God will be shown in the earth at the end of the age, the time we are in now. Isaiah prophesied about the future glory of Israel (Israel representing the Church, see Romans 9:6-8), he states: “Arise, shine; For your light has come! And the glory of the LORD is risen upon you. For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, And deep darkness the people; But the LORD will arise over you, And His glory will be seen upon you.” (Isaiah 60:1-2). The Apostle Paul taught that the future glory of God was coming back in a people. To the Church in Rome he wrote: “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.” (Romans 8:18-19) 

Third-Century Early Church Father, Cyprian wrote: “Who, then, does not with all his powers labour to attain to such a glory that he may become the friend of God, that he may at once rejoice with Christ, that after earthly tortures and punishments he may receive divine rewards?” (1). Cyprian confirms what the Apostle Paul said above, that the glory of God is going to be revealed in a people, and that it requires our labour, through trials and tribulations to attain it. God’s Glory is not just a free gift, it requires toil on our part, but the ecstasy that we will experience once we have attained it will be unspeakable. Just as a woman in childbirth experiences such joy once her baby is born and all the difficulty of labour has passed. 

Paul also wrote: “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18). The Glory of God is being revealed through His Sons at the end of the age, which is the manifestation of the fullness of God in us, just as the Apostle Paul stated: “To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27)   

For the glory to manifest through us, we first have to be aware of the times and the seasons and understand that preparation is necessary. God works in patterns, just as it is written “That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9). Through the pattern of the High Priesthood in the Old Testament, we can begin to understand the coming Glory of God and the preparation that is required. 

The Holy of Holies is where the glory of God dwelt in the Tabernacle (Exodus 40:34; Leviticus 16:2). In the Book of Leviticus the Lord outlines the requirement of the High Priest in order to enter the Holy of Holies, once per year on the Day of Atonement.

“And the LORD said to Moses: “Tell Aaron your brother not to come at just any time into the Holy Place inside the veil, before the mercy seat which is on the ark, lest he die; for I will appear in the cloud above the mercy seat. “Thus Aaron shall come into the Holy Place: with the blood of a young bull as a sin offering, and of a ram as a burnt offering.
He shall put the holy linen tunic and the linen trousers on his body; he shall be girded with a linen sash, and with the linen turban he shall be attired. These are holy garments. Therefore he shall wash his body in water, and put them on. (Leviticus 16:2-4)

Not only was the High Priest required to clothe himself in fine linen, he was also required to bring an offering- preparation was required. Peter calls the Church “a royal priesthood” (1 Peter 2:9) and Paul calls Jesus “our great High Priest” (Hebrews 4:14), “the first fruit of many brethren” (Romans 8:29). Thus showing us that the understanding of the High Priestly garments was not just limited to the Old Testament, it is relevant to us today. God told Moses when He instructed him to make the tabernacle that it was a pattern: “According to all that I show you, that is, the pattern of the tabernacle and the pattern of all its furnishings, just so you shall make it.” (Exodus 25:9) and Paul said regarding the Tabernacle: “For if He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who offer the gifts according to the law; who serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely instructed when he was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, “SEE THAT YOU MAKE ALL THINGS ACCORDING TO THE PATTERN SHOWN YOU ON THE MOUNTAIN.” (Hebrews 8:4-5) The High Priesthood in the Old Testament parallels directly with the Church in the New Testament and it is imperative we have this foundational understanding, so we can grasp the prophetic picture for ourselves. 

In the Book of Revelation, John writes regarding the second coming of Christ: “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” (Revelation 19:7). The Bride that is being referred to is the Church (see Ephesians 5:27; 2 Corinthians 11:2) and the Lamb is Christ (see John 1:29). The scripture tells us the Bride has made herself ready, so clearly there is a prior preparation of the Church, before the second coming. John goes on to write: “And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.” (Revelation 19:8)

In Hebrew, the word for righteous means one who walks a straight path (2), to prove oneself innocent (3). It comes from the Hebrew word “day” which means “a sufficient amount of something: enough materials to build the Tabernacle (Exo 36:7); a sufficient amount for someone, e.g., enough honey for energy (Pro 25:16); sufficient animals for a sacrifice (Lev 5:7)”. (4) The righteous acts spoken of in Revelation are the saints paying off our spiritual debt through good works.  We can see clearly here there is a preparation required on our part, to enter into the glory of God.  

For further evidence of the necessity of the Church to prepare, let us take a look at one of Jesus’s parables in the New Testament:

“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’” (Matthew 25:1-12)

In Temple theology, the Bridal Chamber is also known as the Holy of Holies, and the virgins in this parable refer to people within the Church, (otherwise why would they be calling Him “Lord, Lord”?). The virgins were preparing themselves to enter thus becoming the Bride of Christ.  Again, the Bride is symbolic of the Church. Note that they were all aware of the time and aware they needed to get ready for the marriage to occur. The marriage is the Church becoming one with Christ in the Glory. Those who prepared their lamps with enough oil, or revelation of the mysteries of Christ (oil is symbolic of the Holy Spirit- Acts 10:38 and the Holy Spirit teaches the mysteries of Christ- 1 Corinthians 2:10) were able to enter the marriage chamber, and those that did not get prepared in time were shut out. This is a very humbling parable referring to the time we are in now.

Third-fourth Century Early Church Father, Methodius wrote: 

In the first day of the resurrection I am examined whether I bring these things which are commanded, whether I am adorned with virtuous works, whether I am overshadowed by the boughs of chastity. For account the resurrection to be the erection of the tabernacle. Account that the things which are taken for the putting together of the tabernacle are the works of righteousness. I take, therefore, on the first day the things which are set down, that is, on the day in which I stand to be judged, whether I have adorned my tabernacle with the things commanded; if those things are found on that day which here in time we are commanded to prepare, and there to offer to God. (5)

The resurrection, spoken of in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 20:6) is the Day of the Lord, the Glory of God manifesting in the earth. Methodius articulates that we will all be examined whether we have built up our spiritual tabernacle, just as Paul said: “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Corinthians 3:16) and Peter: “You also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:5). Our spiritual Tabernacle is built up through our understanding of the revelation and works of righteousness, or good works, as we discussed above.

The Word of God and the writings of the Early Church clearly show us that without prior preparation, we will not be made ready to enter into the glory of God. No one can enter into the Kingdom as-is. It is a sobering thought that the wise and the foolish virgins are in the Church; within the Body of Christ some are preparing themselves for the second coming, whilst others are asleep. It is time the Bride of Christ awakens and makes herself ready. It is time to buy the oil. 

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1.     Cyprian, The Treatises of Cyprian, Treatise 11, On the Exhortation to Martyrdom, Ch 13 (emphasis added)

2.   Ancient Hebrew Lexicon of the Bible: ‘righteous’ (H6663) 

3.   Complete Word Study Dictionary: ‘righteous’  (H6663) 

4.   Complete Word Study Dictionary: ‘sufficient’ (H1767) 

5.     Methodius, Ten Virgins, Part 4, Discourse IX, Chap. III (emphasis added)

All scripture references from The Holy Bible: New King James Version: NKJV. Thomas Nelson, 2010. (Emphasis added throughout).