The Bride will be prepared in the wilderness. It is here that we are able to make our final wedding preparations. The wilderness is not a place of suffering or misery or self-pity, but it is the place of romance. It is the place where we are separated out from the crowds into solitude so that we can be alone with Him. It is the place of intimacy. In a very real sense, the Lord is leading His Bride into the wilderness today, into a place where the stars shine more brightly and the waters from the ravine is pure. O that we might find the well in the desert and know its Source who is Christ. O that we may cherish this most holy and secret place. The Bride loves the desert. She sings in the desert, she turns the Valley of Baca into refreshing springs (Ps 84:6) But this wilderness is not only a metaphor, for the remnant of Israel it will be a very real and literal place.
Hos 2:14-16 NKJV – 14 “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, Will bring her into the wilderness, And speak comfort to her. 15 I will give her her vineyards from there, And the Valley of Achor as a door of hope; She shall sing there, As in the days of her youth, As in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt. 16 “And it shall be, in that day,” Says the LORD, “[That] you will call Me ‘My Husband,’ And no longer call Me ‘My Master,’
Did you know that the wilderness is the place of betrothal? This is how it was for Israel on the first Exodus when Moses led the nation into the wilderness and came to Mount Sinai. Hosea goes on to write in verse 19 “I will betroth you to Me forever”. Once the Bride has been purified in the wilderness, she will return home on a highway of Holiness. Here’s what Isaiah wrote about this coming great moment.
Isa 35:4-10 NKJV – 4 Say to those [who are] fearful-hearted, “Be strong, do not fear! Behold, your God will come [with] vengeance, [With] the recompense of God; He will come and save you.” 5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6 Then the lame shall leap like a deer, And the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, And streams in the desert. 7 The parched ground shall become a pool, And the thirsty land springs of water; In the habitation of jackals, where each lay, [There shall be] grass with reeds and rushes. 8 A highway shall be there, and a road, And it shall be called the Highway of Holiness. The unclean shall not pass over it, But it [shall be] for others. Whoever walks the road, although a fool, Shall not go astray. 9 No lion shall be there, Nor shall [any] ravenous beast go up on it; It shall not be found there. But the redeemed shall walk [there], 10 And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, And come to Zion with singing, With everlasting joy on their heads. They shall obtain joy and gladness, And sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
Hallelujah. Praise God. I believe this passage in Isaiah is another clear reference to the time of the Second Exodus as we have been learning, when the Lord will come to deliver His people by leading them out into the wilderness. Isaiah begins in this passage with a word of encouragement, saying to those who are afraid, he says, ‘Be Strong and do not fear, because your God will come’ and when He comes He will come with vengeance. This is a reference to the Day of the Lord, when the wrath of the Lamb shall come, and the seven bowls will be poured out. On that Day the Lord will come and He will save His people. We know this will be when Jerusalem is surrounded by the nations of the world. Isaiah foresees a time when blind eyes and deaf ears are opened, but then we are transported away from Jerusalem into the wilderness where Isaiah describes how waters shall burst forth like streams in the desert, where the parched ground shall become a pool. Isaiah has taken us to see this wilderness location where the redeemed shall be gathered, and he sees that there in this wilderness place there shall be a highway there, which shall be called the Highway of Holiness, it will be safe passage upon which the ransomed of the Lord shall return. To where will they return? It will be to Zion with singing and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads. Gladness and joy shall be theirs, and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.
Jer 31:12,13 They shall come and sing aloud on the height of Zion, and they shall be radiant over the goodness of the LORD, over the grain, the wine, and the oil, and over the young of the flock and the herd; their life shall be like a watered garden, and they shall languish no more. 13 Then shall the young women rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old shall be merry. I will turn their mourning into joy; I will comfort them, and give them gladness for sorrow.
After all of Jerusalem’s troubles, Jacob’s trouble, the great tribulation and the persecution of the nations, God shall redeem His people and they shall sing and rejoice and dance once more in the Bride Bridegroom relationship. For God will restore them into the covenant of a marriage relationship with His people. This completes the Second Exodus of Israel’s escape from her enemies surrounding Jerusalem, into the wilderness to be prepared as the wife who has made herself ready. Remember all this time, the Bride has been both in Heaven and upon the Earth. The objective has always been to bring the two together, to complete the Bride and to prepare her for her wedding day. That has always necessitated the salvation of Israel. Unless you believe that the gentile church is raptured prematurely and married whilst Israel is still in great tribulation upon the earth, then there must be a time to bring convergence and unification of the two into One New Man, because there is only one bride. Now that we have journeyed with Israel through her deliverance, redemption, preparation and return to Zion with singing, I will finish this series with one remaining question: If the Wedding of the Lamb takes place in Heaven, how do those returning back to Israel, back to Zion, enter into Heaven for the wedding? Since the rapture or the gathering up into the clouds when the Lord comes as the Son of Man has already happened, does that mean that there is another rapture now for returning Israel? Or is there some other way in which Israel shall be admitted? Well, that will be where we continue next time as I begin a new series and take a look at Revelation 14 and the mysterious 144,000. May the Lord bless you richly.