“(12) Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; (13) but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.”– 1 Peter 4:12-13 NKJV
Since scripture repeatedly warns us about the trials and tribulations which are to come, and especially so as the Day of the Lord draws ever closer, it should come as no surprise that despite the eternal victory of the Cross, the authority of the believer and as we have seen in the previous Quick Bite series “The Bride Has Come of Age” the accession of the Bride to royal position, that hardships and persecution still await us. It is not a message many readily accept, preferring instead the grandeur of an alternate and spurious exegesis which distort the Word of God to a far more palatable consideration, one that elevates either the individual believer to a pre-resurrection glorification (and in some cases escaping death altogether), or the church to a re-incarnation of the Lord Himself in a way that negates the need of His return at all, since as they teach, it will be through the church the anti-Christ will be overthrown, and the Kingdoms of this world subdued. How did we arrive at such error when scripture makes it abundantly clear otherwise? Later in this series, I will expand a little more about these heresies, but for now it behoves me to attest to this important and foundational truth: things will get worse before the Lord’s Second Coming which will be as the angels at His ascension declared “Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.” – Acts 1:11 NKJV Jesus will return in the same manner, that is in His glorified physical body. Here’s what Jesus Himself taught us:
“Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what [will be] the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?” And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. “For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. “And you will hear of wars and rumours of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all [these things] must come to pass, but the end is not yet. “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. “All these [are] the beginning of sorrows. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. “And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. “Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. “And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. “But he who endures to the end shall be saved. “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” – Matthew 24:3-14 NKJV
No matter what exegetical wrangling or attempt to reframe the Olivet discourse, we simply cannot alter one iota of what scripture so adamantly teaches that things will get worse before the Lord’s bodily return. Hope is misplaced if it relies upon a triumphant church before the Second Coming, as Paul writes “looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Saviour Jesus Christ,” – Titus 2:13 NKJV or “If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” – 1 Corinthians 15:19 NKJV. Now it is certainly not my intention to preach “doom and gloom”, far be it, for there is hope now and joy now, there is strength now and a victorious position now, indeed there is much to celebrate not only in the glories to come, but in the favour that awaits us right now. Prayer remains most effective, and the Bride has come of age, meaning she has crossed a legal threshold granting her full rights directly as a Bride, rather than vicariously through a guardian. But it is necessary from the onset of this new series on the Warrior Bride (and spiritual warfare), to provide the context into which all our teaching and prophetic principles must align. This prophetic timeline of the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24,25, Luke 21 and Mark 13) provides a backbone for all other subsequent teaching, revelation and prophecy. You see, there is an important distinction between the warfare of the Bride and the warfare of the church. That might sound strange since I make no distinction between the Bride and the church, but it is a matter of the heart and the maturity of love to which I refer. The Bride has been in the wilderness, and she knows without a shadow of doubt to whom she belongs, and her sole desire is for her beloved to come for her.
She isn’t fighting for vineyards or territory, even though the offer is given for half the Kingdom, the fire of true love cannot be appeased by anything other than being together in love’s embrace and union.
This is how Song of Songs finishes in chapter 8, which foreshadows Revelation 22:17 “the Spirit and the Bride say Come”. It’s so beautiful, listen to these last couple of verses.
“(The Beloved) You who dwell in the gardens, The companions listen for your voice–Let me hear it!” – Song of Songs 8:13 NKJV
Here, a window into the Lord’s heart, it reveals His longing to hear His Bride’s voice. Then the final verse in this love poem, gives her response.
“(The Shulamite) Make haste, my beloved, And be like a gazelle Or a young stag On the mountains of spices.” – Song of Songs 8:14 NKJV
So beautiful, so enchanting, here the portrayal of love awakened in all its simplicity, “make haste my beloved”. This is the cry of the Bride, “Come”. But not in some love-sick, rose-coloured glasses way, that reduces her to a state of passivity, but a ferocity of love that will not be satisfied with anything other than love’s reward or traded for the allure of anything in this life.
“Many waters cannot quench love, Nor can the floods drown it. If a man would give for love All the wealth of his house, It would be utterly despised” – Song of Songs 8:7 NKJV
The Bride is fighting for all those she can advocate for, she is fighting for love, and she is fighting for Her Bridegroom’s return. The Bride embraces the fellowship of sharing in her Beloved’s suffering, because it provides the veil through which she is invited to love Him at depths unknown. Well that’s the beginning of this series on the Warrior Bride. But it’s important to lay this marker and context down, understanding yes the end is drawing near, but there is a battle that only the Bride can engage in that prepares the way for the return of her beloved King.