Glorious Bride Part 5
Dear beloved and sanctified Bride of our Lord Jesus Christ, may you know His peace, mercy and joy increasingly more and more, as we see His glorious day approaching.
Today we continue our series on the Glorious Bride, with part five, which I’ve titled “The Unfaithful Wife”. As a quick reminder, we began this series by looking at the Glorious Woman in heaven as seen by John in Rev 12:1. One principle that we established was that of dual realities: or to say that in some cases there is an outworking upon the earth of a primary reality of something which is Heaven, the examples we looked at were the tabernacle plans as given to Moses Heb 8:5 being a copy or shadow of the temple in heaven. Or that of Jerusalem, in which Paul describes as above in Heaven, and the mother of us all Gal 4:26, and of course the geographical physical Jerusalem in Israel which is also called the city of the Great King. Ps 48:2. So, in the same manner I suggested that the Glorious Woman in Rev 12:1 is also a primary reality in Heaven, a sign of which is depicted by the stars and celestial bodies, of which the secondary reality is being formed, developed and fashioned upon the earth. Though she is visible, she is not yet fully revealed, for that time has yet to come, although she has been seen by those who knew how to look. And this is what we have been doing in this series: looking for the Glorious Woman in the Biblical account of human history and in particular as seen in the formation and development of the people Israel.
Last time, we arrived in our story at Mount Sinai, where a marriage contract or “Ketubah” had been written out between Father God and Israel and the Covenant entered into. This was the first stage of the marriage, known as the betrothal (or “kiddushin”), and is binding, requiring a divorce (or “get”) to separate, it also renders the betrothed as Husband and Wife. Part of the responsibility of the Husband was to provide a place for the wife to live, where together they could have a home, and enjoy their marriage relationship. And where was that home? It was in the land occupied by the Canaanites which the Lord had promised Abraham centuries earlier Gen 12:7. But more specifically the marriage home was represented by the city Jerusalem. Jerusalem was the place chosen by God where He and Israel would live together. As a city, Jerusalem (or Zion), was the place that God had chosen for His dwelling place upon the earth, forever.
For the LORD has chosen Zion; He has desired it for His dwelling place: “This is My resting place forever; Here I will dwell, for I have desired it…” Ps 132:13,14
And Jerusalem is also the place the Lord has promised He will return back to:
“Thus says the LORD, ‘I will return to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem Then Jerusalem will be called the City of Truth, and the mountain of the LORD of hosts will be called the Holy Mountain.’ Zechariah 8:3
Now here is a difficult but important point for us to understand: that Jerusalem is not only a city, but Jerusalem also represents the Bride herself. She is both a City and a Bride. Rev 21:2 There is a “dual reality” about Jerusalem, in which both are true, and neither invalidate the other. Look at what Ezekiel writes in chapter 16 describing the Lord’s heart with Jerusalem:
“When I passed by you again and looked upon you, indeed your time was the time of love; so I spread My wing over you and covered your nakedness. Yes, I swore an oath to you and entered into a covenant with you, and you became Mine,” says the Lord GOD. Ezekiel 16:8
Ezekiel writes powerfully about the marriage, and the relationship between the Lord and Jerusalem. Ezekiel sees how the Lord knew Jerusalem from birth to maturity, and though she was despised and neglected, how He loved and waited for her. She was to be His Bride, and He was willing to give Himself completely to her in a marriage covenant. There was nothing Father God would not do for her and longed for her heart to be as full of love for Him as His was for her. This wasn’t about need, for our Father needs nothing, He is all sufficient and complete in perfect existence within the God-Head, yet His love is inclusive and full of expression. He was zealous over Jerusalem, and bestowed riches and prosperity upon her. He adorned her with gold, silver and fine linen, silk and embroidered cloth. He provided for her every need. She was like a choice vine, planted on a fruitful hill Isa 5:1,2.
But tragically, the marriage was not a happy one. And despite repeated appeals from the many prophets, whom the Lord sent to warn them, Jerusalem and Israel persisted in her idolatry of other gods and harlotry with other nations.
“You are an adulterous wife, who takes strangers instead of her husband.” Ezekiel 16:32
And what of the Vine, where is the Vine now in our story?
And now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will remove its hedge, and it shall be devoured; I will break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down. I will make it a waste; it shall not be pruned or hoed, and briers and thorns shall grow up; I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. Isaiah 5:5,6
The Bible records the tragedy that unfolded. How the Israelite nation divided into two Kingdoms, and despite many warnings from the prophets, the Northern Kingdom did not repent and were eventually taken by the Assyrians into captivity where they largely disappeared out of human view, then even the Southern Kingdom of Judah was finally taken captive by the Babylonians and Jerusalem destroyed. But upon the return of the exiles 70 years later and the rebuilding of the temple and the city that followed, it was clear that things were not the same as they were before, and expected that one day a Messiah would come, the “Consolation of Israel” in whom all her hopes were placed for the restoration of the Kingdom and freedom from her oppressors.
Four hundred years would pass, then far far away not in Jerusalem but many miles to the east, a band of magi caught the next glimpse of the Glorious Woman in Rev 12, depicted by the stars in the night sky. For they had knowledge of the stars and how to interpret the signs written by God in the heavens. And what they saw was the “star” of one born “king of the Jews” or as John sees in Rev 12:2 “She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth.”
Our foundation for the Glorious Bride is now set. The question that we are left with is, how is it possible for God and Man to be made one as in a marriage relationship? What is it that must take place to turn tragedy into joy, and sorrow into dancing? We will answer these questions beginning next time.