And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. Revelation 21:2
God's display of redemption in creation takes my breath away on the regular. The bride of Christ (his church) reflects his glory as she gazes at him, just as the moon reflects the light of the sun.
God designed marriage as a symbol of the covenant between Christ and his followers: "She is His glory, just as a woman is the glory of the man." (1 Corinthians 11:7)
God says, "For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ." (2 Cor. 11:2) The bride is called to "make herself ready" in "fine white linen", representing holiness and righteous works. (Rev 19, Eph. 5, Rev. 21 and on.)
God gave us a specific picture of marriage to help us understand, celebrate, and anticipate our heavenly union with him. It's a commitment meant to reflect God's covenant with his faithful people. A wife submits to her husband as a symbol of the saints' submission to the Lord. The husband sacrifices for his wife, as the bridegroom, Jesus did for his bride, out of love for her.
The Hebrew word for knowing God in the Bible is, "yada". It's synonymous with intercourse. As in, "Adam knew Eve" and how God said of Abraham, "I knew Him" (Gen. 4, Gen. 18). God's sexual design symbolizes the ecstatic union of God with his people, when we meet him face to face, in glory, at the catching away of the saints for the marriage supper of the Lamb, before his wrath is unleashed on the unrepentant world.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. Ephesians 5: 25 - 27⠀⠀⠀⠀
In ancient Jewish wedding tradition, the groom whisks his bride away to get married and then brings her to his room for seven days, at a time that she doesn't expect. So, the bride waits, ready at all times, just like we are commanded to prepare and watch for the return of King Jesus. We are told to be like the "wise virgins", and buy oil for our lamps. We are warned against procrastinating, like with the "foolish virgins" did, who were not allowed to enter (Matthew 25).
Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come on the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth. Revelation 3:10
At the end of the tribulation, the saints who have not been martyred will see the return of the Lord. This is when the "rapture" will occur:
Immediately after the distress of those days
“‘the sun will be darkened,
and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.
’Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other. Matthew 24: 29-31
In my brief rapture dream, it was a normal day in summer. I was in a rural meadow on a hill. I could see some city buildings below me. There were few people around. I looked up and saw, in the blue sky, an enormous, waxing crescent moon. It was just beginning to wax, and it was glittering. No one was looking. It was dazzling like giant diamonds and was the most stunning thing I have ever seen.
Awestruck, I immediately hollered, "Oh my!! Oh my gosh! The wedding!!! The wedding!!" Suddenly, I was sucked up into the air by what felt like a vacuum. I looked down at the earth disappearing below me, then I remembered Lot's wife and turned to the bright blue sky that seemed to extend to infinity beyond me. I cried into the blue, "Jesus! I'm coming!" I was so excited that I was about to be in his arms. The sensation was vivid. It was all power and glory, yet I felt embraced by his gentleness at the same time. I've never encountered such pure peace and joy before. I never wanted it to end.
Then one of the elders addressed me, saying, “Who are these, clothed in white robes, and from where have they come?”
I said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
Revelation 7. 13 to 14
I believe that the staggeringly beautiful, glittering white, waxing crescent moon means that the bride of Christ is walking down the aisle in this generation. I believe that it also represents those who will come through the tribulation with a witness of martyrdom.
This gorgeous, sparkling moon is just a glimpse of how Christ will see his spotless bride, having come through the purification of tribulation. A new moon signals the beginning of the Feast of Trumpets, according to the Jewish calendar. I was amazed to learn, after this dream, upon sharing it with a fellow believer, that this feast foreshadows the rapture. What a confirmation. David, in Psalm 81:3 writes of it, "Sound the ram’s horn at the New Moon, and when the moon is full, on the day of our festival."
This feast, according to tradition, begins with a shout, just like I was shouting in my dream, at the glimpse of the new moon. And, like the customary shouting of the groomsmen in ancient Jewish weddings, who announce through the streets that the bridegroom is coming to get his bride. And, just as the archangel will shout:
Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed -- in an instant, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed." When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” 1 Cor 15:52
I had this dream in spring, but in the dream, according to the wildflowers on the hill, the fields, the warm weather, and my shorts and tank-top, it seemed that it was about September. It felt like that time of year when you haven't put your summer clothes away, yet school has started. That is also when the Feast of Trumpets occurs in the calendar feasts of Israel.
When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near. So also,when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near. Truly I tell you, this generation will not pass away until all these things have happened. Luke 21:31
God's word promises that he will harvest his people in summer. Summer is when the fig tree buds in the Matthew 24 prophecy. This fig tree, Israel, set forth its leaves when it became a nation in 1948. Biblical prophecies like these are being fulfilled at a rapid rate, such as the prophesied countries that are fighting against and uniting with Israel, and the new world order that will be soon brought about about by the pandemic and wars.
The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.
Look, I tell you, lift up your eyes, and see that the fields are white for harvest. John 4:35
No matter what we've done or how we may stumble, Jesus has already washed us clean with his blood at the cross if we have trusted in Him. But, we don't have permission to use this as an excuse to mess around or take a nap, because he says he will come like a thief in the night. He demands that we are fully sold out to him.
Jesus is very clear in the Bible about what he expects from those who are saved. We will never regret giving 100% of ourselves to Christ. But if we don't, we will regret it for eternity.
Then there shall be two men in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken, and one will be left. Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. Matthew 24: 40-42
We are told to always keep the oil in our lamps lit for the bridegroom, who will return suddenly for a bride who is faithfully waiting for him. (Matt 25) This means waiting, watching, and keeping our focus on him.
Turn always towards Christ and away from what displeases him. As in my dream, where I was upon the hill, with the city buildings below, the bride must come all the way out of the world. She has to disentangle herself from its enchantments. We are to flee to the mountain, where our help comes from.
Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you. For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. 1. John 2:15 - 16
God says that those who love him keep his commandments. If we are saved by grace, through faith, we strive to live righteously through the power of the Holy Spirit. A heart that has been truly moved by the sacrifice of Jesus, lives a life of sacrifice and obedience to him, out of gratitude for our salvation.
And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit. 2 Cor 3:18
A saved heart grieves sin. If you're not grieved about your sin or are being convicted of lukewarmness, ask God to help you with your heart. "Repent" simply means to turn to Christ. Repentance (turning from sin) is an inherent part of genuine belief in Him. Of love for him.
We may stumble until we go to glory, but we can walk tall with the resilience of the cross. We have a defender in Christ, before the Father, if we believe what he accomplished at calvary. His sacrifice exonerates us from our sin. When we know God's love for us, we willingly sacrifice our lives to honor and serve him. He is a rewarder of those who seek him diligently. He lifts the veil when we seek him, earnestly. (Heb 11:6)
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God." (Matthew 5)
Holiness is how we exhibit faithfulness. But, we aren't saved by it. We are saved for it. To invite the dying word into the same grace and into the forgiveness that we have been given, undeserved.
There is a mysterious joy that comes from keeping the bridegroom, Jesus, in sharp focus. The peace of knowing that we are redeemed, sealed, victorious and eternal, by his blood, lines every hard circumstance with joy.
But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. Matthew, 24:13 - 14
The wedding processional is not without the refiner's fire. But, his grace makes every ugly trial a beauty treatment in the spirit, if we've trusted in him. Rejoice always. In the kingdom of heaven, death has no victory or sting. Here, sin and darkness have no power over us. Those that know this are the ones that glow in the dark. And when night comes, we will even more brightly reflect the Son.
White blooms are most luminescent in the evening. They are the last thing to reflect any remaining sunlight. As the world around them darkens, they keep singing through the night. Persevering. There's a tenacity in the lily that even the darkness can't extinguish. And we, who are His, are worth far more to Him who is faithful.
Night is coming. Endure till the end. We are almost home.
Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints. And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God." Revelation 19: 7 -9
Feast of Trumpets and the New Moon: