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The Daily Word of Righteousness
Two Appearances of the Bride
Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. (Revelation 19:7—NIV)
I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. (Revelation 21:2—NIV)
There are two appearances of the Bride of the Lamb. This fact has great significance, practical consequences that all Christians should consider. It is our firm conviction that not all believers will be raised from the dead and appear with Jesus Christ at His return from Heaven.
"His bride has made herself ready."
"Prepared as a bride."
Here are two appearances of the Bride. In the first the bride has made herself ready. In the second the bride is beautifully dressed. That she has dressed herself is not emphasized so we think she may have been dressed by others, as often is the case in royal weddings.
The two appearances are separated by the thousand-year Kingdom Age.
If we are correct, the fact that in the first appearance of the Bride she makes herself ready, and in the second appearance she has been beautifully dressed with the help of others is of great significance and practical importance to believers.
We notice also in the first appearance, the one that will take place when the Lord returns from Heaven, that after she is dressed in fine linen the Bride is seen on the white horses of war riding behind Him whose name is Faithful and True.
In the second appearance, the one occurring after the final resurrection from the dead and the judgment of the world, the Bride has become the new Jerusalem, the eternal Tabernacle of God that will descend through the new sky and come to rest on a high mountain of the new earth. Her role then will not be to wage war but to wipe away the tears of saved mankind, the inhabitants of the new earth.
We would suggest that those who appear with the Lord at the beginning of the Kingdom Age, that is, those who have participated in the first resurrection, are a firstfruits of the Bride, a Gideon's army especially trained in warfare. They are as David's mighty men who will return from the wilderness with the Lord Jesus and govern a portion of Israel, just as David governed Judah for several years before he was made king over all Israel.
The new Jerusalem that descends through the new sky after the Kingdom Age has been concluded composes the entire Church, the Wife of the Lamb, the Body of Christ—all of God's elect from every covenant, every period of history.
We would suggest further that one of the main purposes, if not the main purpose of the thousand years, is to perfect the balance of the Church that had not been ready to be married to Jesus at the time of His initial return from Heaven.
Those who appear at the beginning of the thousand-year Kingdom Age have dressed themselves, they have prepared themselves for marriage to the Lord. They have dressed themselves in their own righteous conduct, a righteous conduct proceeding from the forming of Christ in them, not from the efforts of their fallen nature.
To be continued.