Today I want to develop some deeper truths about the Bride, which I believe will help us to better understand the days in which we are living and the great peril the Bride faces. In these times with continual bombardment from media reports about this crisis or that disaster, whether at home or abroad, we are painfully aware of being in the middle of a great, possibly unprecedented battle that is raging, not just in the natural realm but in the spiritual realm too. Many will see this from a Kingdom perspective, but very few will see this battle in a bridal context, but it is here I believe we must go, into the bridal paradigm, to discern the ultimate intention and masterly cunning of the deceiver.
In Ps 128:3 the Bible describes a wife as a fruitful vine, this reveals a beautiful truth about her – she is blessed to be very fertile. The Bride has a womb, and she is able to conceive and be a mother. The Bible gives many examples of this principle, even the first Bride Eve, received her name because she was “the mother of all the living”. Although, actually, we discover upon further study that Eve was not her first name but her second. If you recall the account in Genesis 2, God placed Adam in the garden of Eden to take of it and said, “It is not good for man to be alone, but I will make a comparable helper for him”. But then after Adam had named all the animals “no such comparable helper was found”. This is interesting because in Genesis 1:27 we read, “God made man in his own image, male and female he created them both” but in Genesis 2 Adam was alone, so the question naturally arises where was Eve? Well of course we know the comparable helper for Adam could only come from within Adam, so the Lord put him into a deep sleep, opened up his side and took out a rib from which he made Adam’s helper. We would naturally conclude this was Eve, but actually that’s not quite how it was. When Adam awoke from his deep sleep, he opened his eyes and beheld the most beautiful gift from God right before him. She was like none of the animals he knew, and like nothing else he had seen in all creation, there was nothing else with which she could be compared to, except of course for Adam himself, who said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; Gen 2:23 then Adam called her “Woman, because she was taken out of man.”
The name Adam gave his wife was one that connected her as coming out from him, there was no other identity needed! Her name was “Woman” because she was from her husband, and her name gave her the identity as being his, you could say she was called by his name. So, on what basis was Adam’s wife called Eve? It was not until after the Fall, after the eating of forbidden fruit in Gen 3:20 that we read, “Adam called his wife’s name Eve, because she was the mother of all living.” Her first name was about who she was, her identity, her bridal position as coming out from her husband, and therefore she had her husband’s name. But her second name wasn’t about her identity as a wife but about her fertility as a mother. Eve had a womb, she was fertile, she was able to bring forth life. The point I’m making is that like Eve, the Bride has a womb, she is able to conceive, she is fertile. Furthermore, Adam’s offspring could only come through Eve, it was through her the mandate “Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it” Gen 1:28 could be fulfilled. So here is our first principle:
1. It is only through the Bride that the promise to the Bridegroom is fulfilled.
Now why is this important, and what has it to do with spiritual warfare? Well, we’ll come to that in a moment, but first let’s look at another example of this principle in action with the story of Abram and Sarai. In Genesis 12, God promised Abram that he would become a great nation and in Genesis 15 that his offspring would be as numerable as the stars in the night sky. But there was a problem, both Abram and Sarai were getting on in years and Sarai was barren (Gen 11:30). So they tried to fulfil the promise given to Abram through Hagar, but Hagar was not the Bride which caused so much trouble, then later the Lord reaffirms His promise to Abraham but this time underlines the principle: it is only through the Bride that the promise to the Bridegroom is fulfilled. Gen 17:15,16 reads “Then God said to Abraham, “As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai (Princess), but Sarah (Noble Woman) shall be her name. And I will bless her and also give you a son by her; then I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of peoples shall be from her.“
Now if the promise to the man is to be fulfilled through the woman, then it requires that she is fertile, and so Sarah conceived in her old age and gave birth to Isaac, with whom the covenant was also made (Gen 26:1-5). Now here’s the second principle I want to point out:
2. The Bridegroom speaks prophetically over his Bride to be fruitful.
Did you notice God’s instruction to Abraham? He said, “you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah”. Abraham was to call his wife with a name that bestowed upon her the blessing of a fruitful womb. She was to be a mother, and therefore she would have a new name. The promise made to Abraham for many descendants, enabled him to speak prophetically over Sarah to be fruitful, because of the first principle: it is only through the Bride that the promise to the Bridegroom is fulfilled. We also see this principle at work with Adam and Eve. I mentioned earlier Adam calls his wife Eve as the mother of all living which is found in Genesis 3:20, but what you may not have realised is that it’s not until the next chapter, in Genesis 4, that Eve actually became a mother when Cain and Abel were born. When Adam called his wife Eve it was prophetic. He spoke words over her with the power to activate and release her to be the fruitful woman that God had created her to be. So putting these two principles together, we can say:
It is only through the Bride that the promise to the Bridegroom is fulfilled, therefore the Bridegroom speaks prophetically over his Bride to be fruitful.
In the same way that Adam called his wife’s name Eve, and Abraham called his wife’s name Sarah, the Lord has called his wife by a new name. Wow, what an amazing thought that is: the wife of the Lamb has a new name. Her husband has spoken prophetically over her to be fruitful, because it is through her that His glory will be made manifest (John 17:22, Eph 3:21). It is through her that His Kingdom will be consummated upon the earth (Rev 19:6-9). That’s why I suggest the underlying target of Satan’s assault is the Bride, and why we need to understand Spiritual Warfare from a Bridal perspective. Everything rests with her. She is the one prophesied over by the Lord to be fruitful, she is the one betrothed, she is the one who will reign forever alongside her Bridegroom and therefore she is the target of Satan’s cunning. He isn’t satisfied with being the prince of the power of the air (Eph 2:2), or the ruler of this world (John 14:30), not until he’s defiled the Bride, corrupted her and led her astray through deception. Here is the third principle:
3. If Satan can deceive the Bride, he can detain her preparation, and if he can detain her preparation, he can prolong his reign.
Satan’s demise comes after the wedding of the Lamb, not before. Rev 19 and 20 is quite clear on this. Rev 19:7 reads “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.” It is after this in Rev 19:11-21 we see the triumphant return of Jesus with the armies of heaven during which the beast and the false prophet are cast alive into the lake of fire. Then Satan’s demise finally comes in Rev 20:1-3, just before the millennial reign, when he will be bound by a great chain and thrown into the bottomless pit for a thousand years where he will no longer be able to deceive the nations, which implies he will continue to deceive until this time. This then leads to our fourth principle:
4. The target of Satan’s assault is the Bride, he will come against her with deception.
From the very beginning Satan has sought to deceive the Bride, she is his target and obsession.
Paul writes in 1 Timothy 2:14 And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. Paul writes similarly to the church in 2 Cor 11:2,3 I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
When Paul writes “deceived by the serpent’s cunning”, he uses the word eks-ä-pä-tä’-o (G1537) meaning to beguile, or to seduce wholly. Listen carefully: Satan can seduce and beguile the bride. The dictionary defines beguile as “to charm or enchant someone often in a deceptive way”. How is the bride able to be beguiled? Paul writes “by the serpent’s cunning”. This word cunning pä-nür-ge’-ä (G3834), means craftiness or cunning, but it also means a false wisdom, a wisdom that is “superficially plausible but wrong, seemingly correct but not, misleading in appearance”. Wow, that’s a lot to take in, but in short, what I’m saying is that Satan’s assault is to deceive the Bride through his craftiness and cunning. He will try to seduce her, to charm her and beguile her, to deceive her with thoughts that seem plausible but are wrong, to seduce her with alternative wisdom that is not correct, so that he can “lead her astray from her sincere and pure devotion to Christ”. (2 Cor 11:3)
Being aware of deception is nothing new. We are familiar with various warnings in the Bible about deceptions in the last days. We know “many false prophets shall arise and deceive many” Matt 24:11 and “a time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. – 2Ti 4:3,4. But what I’ve realised during these last twelve months is another element at work to increase the difficulty of discerning those deceptions.
Recently I was reading Luke’s account of the end times when the word “commotions” leapt off the page at me. Luke 21:9 “But when you hear of wars and commotions, do not be terrified; for these things must come to pass first, but the end will not come immediately.” Matthew puts it: “wars and rumours of wars”, but Luke writes: “wars and commotions”. Other translations might say uprising, disturbances, rebellion or tumult. The original Greek meaning is instability, disorder, commotion, confusion, disarray and tumult. To me that’s a really good description of how the world is right now. Commotions, uprisings, disturbances and so on. Whether that’s the current coronavirus pandemic, recent American elections, or any other escalation of commotion, like a tumult of voices, it can spread confusion, instability, disarray and disorder. This is a master tactic of Satan to obfuscate the truth and muddle perceptions. This onslaught of commotion provides the perfect opportunity to deceive the Bride with a barrage of spurious wisdom and seduction. How do you know if the Bride has been seduced? Anything that takes her gaze away from her Groom is a tell-tale sign she has been enticed, as Paul writes “led astray from her sincere and pure devotion to Christ.” We need to “be wise as serpents” yes, but also “be innocent as doves” (Matt 10:16)
Okay, I want to develop this teaching a bit further, and add how Satan not only wants to deceive the Bride but will stop at nothing to make her his own for he has set his unlawful desire upon her. Let’s turn to Genesis 34 where we will find the story of Shechem and Dinah.
1 Now Dinah, the daughter Leah had borne to Jacob, went out to visit the women of the land. 2 When Shechem son of Hamor the Hivite, “the prince of the land” (ESV), saw her, he took her and raped her. 3 His heart was drawn to Dinah daughter of Jacob; he loved the young woman and spoke tenderly to her.
Like many of the women in the Bible, they can provide insights into the Bridal paradigm. In this case our example is Jacob’s daughter Dinah. And when Shechem saw her he took her unlawfully. Who might the prince of the land represent in this passage? Let’s continue:
4 And Shechem said to his father Hamor, “Get me this girl as my wife.” 5 When Jacob heard that his daughter Dinah had been defiled, his sons were in the fields with his livestock; so he did nothing about it until they came home. 6 Then Shechem’s father Hamor went out to talk with Jacob. 7 Meanwhile, Jacob’s sons had come in from the fields as soon as they heard what had happened. They were shocked and furious, because Shechem had done an outrageous thing in Israel by sleeping with Jacob’s daughter–a thing that should not be done. 8 But Hamor said to them, “My son Shechem has his heart set on your daughter. Please give her to him as his wife.
Shechem had his heart set on Dinah, which led to some very insightful negotiations and propositions. Listen carefully to the attractive offer now made to Dinah’s brothers and father, (in our story these represent the guardians of the Bride):
9 Intermarry with us; give us your daughters and take our daughters for yourselves. 10 You can settle among us; the land is open to you. Live in it, trade in it, and acquire property in it.” So much that could be said here, but let’s keep moving on and move to the real punchline, the price that Shechem was willing to pay:
11 Then Shechem said to Dinah’s father and brothers, “Let me find favor in your eyes, and I will give you whatever you ask. 12 Make the price for the bride and the gift I am to bring as great as you like, and I’ll pay whatever you ask me. Only give me the young woman as my wife.”
There you have it, there is no limit on the price the prince on the land is willing to pay for the bride. Name your price, as great as you like, and I’ll pay it. This is our fifth principle:
5. Satan will pay any price for the Bride.
But do you know something – hallelujah – the Bride is not for sale! She has already been purchased by the blood of her Kinsman Redeemer, washed, and made holy, she is getting dressed in garments of white and gold, adorned in holiness and humility, and fragrant with myrrh. But until her glorification and consummation she is still vulnerable, she needs the protection of her guardians, those entrusted by God to care of her, those gifted by the Bridegroom into the fivefold offices of the church (Eph 4:11), never to be traded, or negotiated for, but to be nurtured and loved until the day of her wedding. But O how the deceiver, the prince of the land, has come knocking, give me the Bride, just name your price!
That reminds me of the time Jesus was led into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. On that occasion, the prince of the land was also willing to pay a very great price and he offered Jesus all the Kingdoms of the world in exchange for His worship. Did you know that the Bride will face the same temptations as her Bridegroom? Jesus was taken to a very high and great mountain. In this place, He could see all the kingdoms of the world and their splendour (Matt 4:8). So also, we are at times lifted to be a place where we can see far, a vision of great distance. And the opportunity is presented to us, that we can have that which we see. It is being offered to us by one whose it is to give. But beware! When the Bride is offered the kingdoms of this world, it will be a test of her devotion and loyalty to her beloved. O how beguiling it is, such lofty grandeur, behold the kingdoms of this world on offer. This is a primary battlefront right now, as our enemy contends for the Bride. Yes, of course we should be Kingdom minded and committed, but it is the Kingdom of God that we are told to seek first and His righteousness (Matt 6:33), not the Kingdoms of this world. We must be very clear on this point.
Let’s see what Daniel can teach us Dan 4:30-32 The king spoke saying, “Is this not great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honour of my majesty? While the word was still in the king’s mouth, a voice fell from heaven: “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you! And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.” Nebuchadnezzar was proud and made great boasts of his accomplishments, so it was decreed he would be humbled until …. Until he recognised it was the Most High who rules over the kingdom of men. Despite all our forms of government, whether democracy or monarchy, dictatorship or republic, theocracy, or oligarchy, Daniel teaches us that it is the “Most High who rules in the kingdom of men, but He gives it to whomever He chooses.” At this time, Father has given the kingdoms to man, but concerning that glorious day to come, here is what Rev 11:15 says Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” On that day, the Father’s choice will be to give His Son the Kingdoms of the world. Daniel prophesies, “I was watching in the night visions, and behold, One like the Son of Man, coming with the clouds of heaven! He came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought Him near before Him. Then to Him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and His kingdom the one which shall not be destroyed.” Dan 7:13,14
Yes, the Lord Most High is Sovereign, but during this time of mortal church history, the kingdoms and nations have not yet been given to His Son, which brings me to my final principle:
6. The Bride will be prepared by going through the wilderness and facing the same temptations as her Bridegroom.
If this is true it means Satan will test her knowledge and appetite for the Word of God, it means he will try to take her to the heights of religious and political power to prove herself, and it means she too will be offered the kingdoms of this world ahead of time. In all these things it is a test of the heart and identity. That is the nature of the spiritual battle from a bridal perspective. Just like Satan tempted Jesus “If you are the Son of God, then do this”, do we also hear those words today “If you are the Bride then do this”. The Bride need not concern herself with such notions of prominence, ascendancy or power, her delight is the Lord, she longs for intimacy with her Groom, she feeds upon every Word that comes from His mouth. She knows she is hidden in Christ, and there she must stay, never straying from His cover or beyond His footsteps. She loves the wilderness, for there she sees the stars the brightest, there she hears His voice the clearest, there she is alone with Jesus the One who has ravished her heart, as she his. There she sings her Bridal song “I am my Beloved’s and His desire is towards me”. (SOS 7:10)