THE FIRSTFRUITS OF THE BRIDE

(Trumpet Ministries, Inc. / Word of Righteousness)

THE FIRSTFRUITS OF THE BRIDE Copyright Š 2006 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved

The Christian Church is the Bride of the Lamb. The Bride of the Lamb is the Body of Christ, the Israel of God. Before the entire Bride has been made ready for her descent to the new earth as the new Jerusalem, a firstfruits of the Bride will make herself ready. It is the firstfruits of the Bride who will rise to meet the Lord in the air at the beginning of the thousand-year Kingdom Age, often referred to as the Millennium.

THE FIRSTFRUITS OF THE BRIDE

The whole Bride of the Lamb, the eternal Israel of God, includes all the elect whether Jewish or Gentile by birth. The Bride, the Church, is portrayed as follows: 

And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (Revelation 2:2)

That the holy city is the Bride of the Lamb is revealed in the following passage: 

And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, (Revelation 21:9,10)

"I will shew thee the bride. . . and shewed me that great city."

The Bride has been made ready for her Husband, the Lord Jesus Christ. This is the marriage of the Lamb and it takes place after the thousand-year Kingdom Age, after the white-throne judgment.

The white-throne judgment is an important aspect of the Judgment Seat of Christ.

And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works. (Revelation 20:11,12)

Christ is the One, and God in Him, from whose face the earth and the heaven will flee away. 

For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: (John 5:22)

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (II Corinthians 5:10)

The Bride, the Lamb’s Wife, the glorified Christian Church, the eternal Israel of God, does not descend from Heaven to the new earth until first the old earth and heaven have passed away and a new sky and earth have been spoken into existence.

But there is another marriage of the Lamb! 

Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. (Revelation 19:7)

The verse above is describing an event that takes place before the thousand-year Kingdom Age, before the white-throne judgment.

How can this be?

Compare: 

And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (Revelation 21:2)

The above occurs after the white-throne judgment and the earth and the heaven flee from the face of Christ, after the thousand-year Kingdom Age.

However, the marriage of Revelation 19:7 takes place at the next coming of the Lord, that is, at the time of the Battle of Armageddon, at the beginning of the thousand-year Kingdom Age. These already have been before the Judgment Seat and so they will not appear there at the time of the white-throne event. 

Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. (Revelation 19:7)

How can there be two marriages of the Lamb?

The answer is, there is a church within the Church. There is a bride within the Bride of the Lamb. 

My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her. The daughters saw her, and blessed her; yea, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her. (Song of Solomon 6:9)

There is one who is the "only one of her mother."

There is one who is terrible as an army with banners and eternally fruitful. 

I am a wall, and my breasts like towers: then was I in his eyes as one that found favour. (Solomon 8:10)

Notice the difference in the two marriages.

In the case of the marriage of Revelation 21:2, that which involves the entire Church (including the firstfruits of the Church), this splendid creature descends from Heaven to the earth as the Kingdom of God. The throne of God and of the Lamb are in her. All the saved nations of the earth walk by her light. This is the new Jerusalem, the city from which God in Christ in the saints governs the creation.

The foundations of her wall, her defense against sin, are embellished with the most costly jewels. The Holy Spirit is within her as the River of Life. The Tree of Life is available for all the saved so they may receive healing and eternal life.

The names of the sons of Jacob are engraved on her twelve gates. The names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb are inscribed for eternity in the foundations of her jasper wall.

She is glorious beyond comprehension reaching 1400 miles into the sky, resting on a new earth that will have to be many millions of miles in diameter in order to support such a structure.

This is the glorified Christian Church, the Wife of the Lamb, the heir of all the works of God and of God Himself.

But then we see another marriage.

This bride does not descend from Heaven. She is not a city. No mention is made of precious stones. She is not at this time a radiantly beautiful light of Divine holiness by which the nations of the earth can understand truth.

Who is this first bride? 

Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. (Revelation 19:7,8)

By this time the reader may be protesting that God would never divide His Church into a Most Holy and then a Holy Wife.

Consider the Tabernacle of the Congregation. The Tabernacle of the Congregation is a symbolic portrayal of the Kingdom of God, the new heaven and earth reign of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Courtyard of the Tabernacle represents the saved nations of the earth.

The Tabernacle building itself speaks of the Church, the Wife of the Lamb. The Tabernacle building is divided into the Holy and the Most Holy. The Holy Place speaks of the "sisters," of the eighth chapter of the Song of Solomon. The Most Holy Place signifies the firstfruits of the Bride.

Every member of the saved nations, every member of the Holy Place, and every member of the Most Holy Place will have within him or her a portion of Christ. Thus there shall be thirtyfold, sixtyfold, and one hundredfold.

There are major types in the Old Testament that indicate the division of Israel. For example, the story of Gideon. The story of Gideon and his three hundred well may be the strongest of the Old Testament types referring to the coming of the Lord. Notice that the victory over the enemy came at the hands of a very small number of Israelites. The three hundred gained the victory and then the remainder of Israel joined in.

Another very powerful type of the division of the Church is found in the separation of the Ark of the Covenant from the Tabernacle of the Congregation. All through the rule of David the Ark was kept in a tent in Zion in Jerusalem while the Tabernacle and the remaining six furnishings were located at the high place in Gibeon—a city outside of Jerusalem.

Then there is the period of time when David governed only Judah, prior to his rule over all Israel.

Then we have the three superior mighty men, then the thirty, then the remainder of the warriors of Israel.

We see the multitude, the seventy, the twelve, and then the three who were permitted to witness the scene on the Mount of Transfiguration.

There are lesser types, such as the two spies (witnesses) who preceded Israel into Canaan.

We would have to turn away from the types of Scripture if we were to maintain there is no scriptural basis for the concept of a firstfruits of the Church gaining the victory in advance of the balance of the Church.

To those who would say we are promoting "elitism" we would respond by stating that the Kingdom of God is not a democracy. Indeed there are elite in the Kingdom, there are greatest and least in the Kingdom. In fact, there will be those who sit at Christ’s right hand and left hand when He appears in His Kingdom.

We are not, however, encouraging little groups of believer who prophesy marvels to one another and spend the remainder of their time criticizing the large assemblies. God’s elite are found in many places, including the large churches.

Then we have the following: 

Thou hast a few names even in Sardis which have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with me in white: for they are worthy. (Revelation 3:4)

What are we to say about this verse? How about the remainder of the believers in Sardis? Are they doomed to the Lake of Fire? Are they of God’s elect? Shall they be ministered to throughout the thousand-year Kingdom Age until they are ready to be part of the holy Jerusalem? Is the purpose of the thousand years to perfect the Body of Christ? 

And he said unto them, Go ye, and tell that fox, Behold, I cast out devils, and I do cures to day and to morrow, and the third day I shall be perfected. (Luke 13:32)

"I shall be perfected."

Compare: 

After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight. (Hosea 6:2)

Are there levels of maturity in the Bride? 

We have a little sister, and she hath no breasts: what shall we do for our sister in the day when she shall be spoken for? If she be a wall, we will build upon her a palace of silver: and if she be a door, we will inclose her with boards of cedar. (Song of Solomon 8:8,9)

The great difference between the two brides is that the first bride has made herself ready while the second bride must be made ready by others. 

Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. (Revelation 19:7)

"Hath made herself ready." 

And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. (Revelation 21:2)

"Prepared as a bride adorned for her husband." She did not prepare herself, she was prepared by others. Notice in Song of Solomon 8:8,9 above: "What shall we do"; "we will build"; "we will enclose." Our point of view is that the stronger saints will help prepare the weaker in the ages to come.

There are those today, as there have been throughout the centuries of the Christian Era, who are making themselves ready. They are washing their robes and making them white in the blood of the Lamb.

Every time the Spirit of judgment reveals a sin or rebellion in them they take that darkness to the Lord. The blood of the Lamb forgives the sin and cleanses them from all unrighteousness.

The key expression is as follows: 

And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness [righteous deeds] of saints. (Revelation 19:8)

The fine linen in which the first bride is clothed is that of her own righteous works—righteous works that she has performed because of the Life of the body and blood of the Lamb dwelling in her and by which she lives and moves and has her being.

We see no such comment concerning the second bride.

The washing of the robes of the firstfruits of the Bride is going on today and will increase as we approach the great tribulation. The purpose of the great tribulation is to separate the firstfruits of the Church from Babylon (man-centered religion) and to help her purify herself from all worldliness, lust, and self-seeking. 

And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of [the] great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. (Revelation 7:14)

Compare: 

When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning. (Isaiah 4:4)

And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God. (Zechariah 13:9)

The first marriage is followed by war and the first resurrection of the dead.

The second marriage is followed by the eternal reign of the Kingdom of God over the new earth.

Notice that there is no judgment associated with the first bride or the first resurrection. This is because the first bride has made herself ready by washing her robes in the blood of the Lamb. Her judgment has been completed during her discipleship. The Lake of Fire has no authority over her because the sin has been removed from her.

The first bride is a person of war. She has learned war as she has engaged in the process of overcoming the devil by the blood of the Lamb, by the word of her testimony that God is true, and by loving not her life to the point of death. The holy angels have been able to cast the devil from the heavens to the earth because of her willingness to obtain total victory through the Lord Jesus.

Thus the first bride is Mahanaim, that is, the dance of a double camp—the camp of the saints and the camp of the warrior angels. 

Return, return, O Shulamite; return, return, that we may look upon thee. What will ye see in the Shulamite? as it were the company of two armies. (Solomon 6:13)

As soon as the marriage of the firstfruits takes place, many nations will be called to partake of the Presence of the Lamb in His firstfruits. 

And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God. (Revelation 19:9)

And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. (Isaiah 60:3)

As soon as the marriage of the firstfruits takes place, the army of the Lord appears, ready to assume the government of the earth. 

And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. (Revelation 19:11)

And I looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty and four thousand, having his Father’s name written in their foreheads. (Revelation 14:1)

And saviours shall come up on mount Zion to judge the mount of Esau; and the kingdom shall be the Lord’s. (Obadiah 1:21)

Indeed, the Lord and His mighty men, His Bride within the Bride, will destroy all the works of the flesh, thus preparing the way for the new heaven and earth reign of Christ.

As soon as the marriage of the firstfruits takes place, the first resurrection will occur. Let us consider for a moment the first resurrection of the dead, for only the firstfruits will participate in this early resurrection. 

And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:4-6)

This is the resurrection of the firstfruits of the Bride. It will take place at the beginning of the thousand-year Kingdom Age. It will occur at the next coming of the Lord from Heaven.

It is a privilege, an honor to participate in the first resurrection. There is no judgment associated with this resurrection because the participants already have passed through the Judgment Seat of Christ while yet alive on the earth.

Notice how the Apostle Paul addressed the first resurrection, the "out-resurrection" as he termed it. 

That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death; If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection [out-resurrection] of the dead. (Philippians 3:10,11)

"If by any means I might attain unto the out-resurrection of the dead."

Consider that all people will be raised from the dead whether or not they attain to anything. 

Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming, in the which all that are in the graves shall hear his voice, And shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation. (John 5:28,29)

"All . . . shall come forth."

Since the Apostle Paul spoke of attaining to the out-resurrection he obviously was speaking of a special, advance resurrection.

Here is one of the points of this short paper. If you desire to rise to meet the Lord in the air when He appears you will have to live as a victorious saint. The second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation are very clear that the rewards we normally associate with salvation are the exclusive property of those who live victoriously in the Lord Jesus.

The thrones in the air above us are currently occupied by the wicked lords of darkness. In the near future Satan and his lords will be hurled down from the thrones. The casting down of Satan will be performed at the hand of Michael and his angels. Michael and his angels will be empowered by the Father as soon as the firstfruits of the Bride overcome the ancient dragon, the accuser of the brothers.

The purpose of the first resurrection from the dead is to install the Lord’s victors on the thrones formerly occupied by Satan, the thrones in the air that govern life on the earth. This is why the firstfruits of the Bride will meet the Lord in the air at His appearing and His Kingdom.

The Kingdom of God is not a fairy kingdom that suddenly will appear and the lukewarm believers of today all will don crowns and be given a dainty scepter to wield. The Kingdom of God is flesh and bone and will come to earth in the thunderous fury and savagery of the Lord God of the flood of Noah. Do not think for one moment that God is pleased with the demonic carnage that is taking place in the United States of America and other nations. The blood caused by Divine judgment will run for two hundred miles to the depth of a horse’s bridle.

Only the warlike remnant, those who today are hearing and obeying the voice of Christ, will be ready to return with him on war stallions and crush all resistance with the rod of iron.

It is not true that all believers will rise to meet Him in the air, in the place where the thrones of glory are located. Only the called, chosen, and faithful, the blessed and holy, will participate in the first resurrection of the dead.

If Paul after many years of writing epistles and planting churches was still seeking to attain to the out-resurrection, what must be true of us in this age of self-love and self-centeredness? 

Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6)

These are the Lord’s mighty men—the holy priests of the Lord who will govern before the Lord Jesus receives His full Kingdom, just as David governed Judah before all Israel came under his scepter.

You can be a member of the "only one of her mother." Believe that the Lord Jesus can enable you to live as a victorious saint. Turn away from the world and seek the Lord. The days grow short. The greatest revival of all time is at the doors. During this revival a number of believers will see beyond the abundance of spiritual activity and will wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb.

When the slain Lamb appears in the heavens it is the eagles, the ones who live by the body and blood of the Lamb, who will be joined together with Him in the sky.

You can be a member of the firstfruits of the Church. The power and grace are God’s. The decision is yours.