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Going to the Chapel
In Defense of the Faith
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Wendy Wippel

Colossians tells us that the Jewish festivals “are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ.” (Colossians 2:16 NIV)  We all understand this principle as key to understanding the Old Testament, but it may be key to understanding Revelation as well…

There are a lot types in the Bible, both Old Testament and New (a type being a kind of prophecy-by analogy).  The most widely recognized one is, probably, is the Jewish feast of the Passover.  The symbolism there is unmistakable: the sacrifice is slain and the blood of the sacrifice is applied to the top of the doorway.  Whoever is covered by the blood is spared from judgment, whoever is not discovers that truly, the soul that sins shall die.

The partakers of the first Passover understood the symbolism: the Messiah promised to Eve (and later recorded by Isaiah: by His stripes we are healed…) would Himself be a sacrifice slain for their sins.

He Himself would be their ultimate Passover Lamb.

And that’s just how John introduces Him to his Jewish brethren: "Behold, the lamb of God, that takes away the sin of the whole world."  The whole world.  He doesn’t just take away the sin of one person, one time, but the sin of the whole world, once, for all time.  By one sacrifice He has made perfect those who are being made holy.

The next time we see Jesus specifically described as the Lamb is in Revelation, where He appears in the throne room of God as the “Lamb that was slain”.  And Paul tells us in Hebrews;

“But this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down at the right hand of God, from that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.” (Hebrews 10:12-13 NIV)

That's where He is now.

Intriguingly, we have the testimony of two witnesses from Scripture that lay out a rudimentary timeline for us and make it clear that one important event precedes that final confrontation between good and evil.  The final battle wherein Jesus puts His enemies under His feet.

Jesus has one other promise to fulfill before he goes to battle, and He Himself told us what comes next: 

"I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also."  (John 14:2-3)

Those words are part of what was the customary betrothal vows of the time   The betrothal was a covenant, with obligations on both sides.  The groom promised to provide a home and other physical needs to the bride, and the bride promised to remain pure, to prepare otherwise, and to wait for his arrival.  Breaking the engagement was as serious as a divorce. 

II Corinthians 11:2 says that we are betrothed to Christ.

Jesus has, as He promised His betrothed, has to return to get us.

There is a passage of scripture, actually, that describes the wedding of the Messiah.  Psalm 45.  The Wedding of the King:

“A wedding song.  My heart is stirred by a noble theme as I recite my verses for the king; my tongue is the pen of a skillful writer.  2 You are the most excellent of men and your lips have been anointed with grace, since God has blessed you forever. 3 Gird your sword on your side, you mighty one; clothe yourself with splendor and majesty.4 In your majesty ride forth victoriously in the cause of truth, humility and justice;  let your right hand achieve awesome deeds. 5 Let your sharp arrows pierce the hearts of the king’s enemies;  let the nations fall beneath your feet." (Psalm 45 NIV)

What kind of wedding is this?  It’s talking about war!

The Groom is made clear in the next verse: 

6 Your throne, O God,[c] will last forever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.

Hopefully you remember this verse from Genesis 49.  It’s Jacob’s prophecy over Judah, predicting the Messiah from Judah’s line.  It’s a signature verse of the coming Messiah.

And just as Paul predicted, He’s coming to put His enemies under His feet. (verse 5)

This is a wartime wedding, and as true of so many other war brides, the groom is tying the knot before he returns to the front.

There’s a sequence here, and it’s important.  Jesus is in heaven, waiting for His Father’s signal, but someday our very own Prince Charming is coming to get us.  He will come and, as promised, take us to where He is now.  In heaven.

There we’ll have the marriage of the Lamb (Revelation 19). 

Psalm 45 describes the Messiah, the Groom, as leaving the wedding feast with a sword on His side, ready to put His enemies under His feet. 

Funny.  We see the exact same thing  in Revelation 19: “the marriage of the lamb has come" (Rev 19:7 NASB), then the ultimate picture of the Kinsman –Redeemer , the Warrior King come to rescue His people:   

"Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war. 12 His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had[e] a name written that no one knew except Himself. 13 He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. 14 And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean,[f] followed Him on white horses. 15 Now out of His mouth goes a sharp[g] sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. 16 And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS." (Revelation 19:11-16)

Let’s review:

  • We get betrothed.
  • Jesus comes to get us, as promised,  and takes the church back where He is.
  • The Lamb and His bride are married.
  • The Lamb that was slain assumes His role as the commander of God’s armies, the Lord of Hosts, (used of Jesus more than 100 times)
  • The Lamb leaves the wedding feast, sword strapped to His side, and comes to earth to put His enemies under his feet. 

Doesn’t that pretty much prove a pre-trib rapture?

I’m just saying…..

About Wendy Wippel

Last week: Running on Empty

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