The Bible is an Eastern Book written by Eastern people, so in order for us to comprehend its shadows and types as they portray prophecy, we must familiarize ourselves with the oriental customs on which the types have been established before we can expect to accurately picture the antitype being fulfilled in our faith.
Now this-evening I am going to ask you to read many Scriptures with me - not to be tedious, but with such a small congregation, we can afford the luxury of taking our time and experiencing the consistency of the Word. Please turn to Genesis 24 and we'll read all sixty-seven verses.
Abraham sent his servant, Eliezer, to choose a wife for Isaac. He was instructed to go to the land of Mesopotamia, which is Babylon, whence God had called him, and to seek a wife from among Abraham's kinfolk.
Now Eliezer was a type of Brother Branham who was instructed by God to find an end-time Bride for Christ. God specifically instructed him not to go out into the world of abject heathendom but to seek Her in Spiritual Babylon, whence God had called His servant, from among his own kin, or denominational cousins (Revelation 18:4). And did you notice God sent His angel before Eliezer, as He sent His angel before Brother Branham.
Eliezer arranged a contract with Rebekah's brother, Laban and with her mother, Milcah (Genesis 24:55). The Catholic church is called the mother church and her priests are called brother.
The family is the social unit. Of the three great events in family life: birth, marriage and death - marriage was regarded by the ancient Hebrews as the most important.
When marriage was being arranged in Israel, the parents generally took all decisions. If the bride should prove unsatisfactory to her husband or with her mother-in-law, she would likely be returned, discredited, engendering a feeling of injustice on one side affecting the whole circle of relatives and possibly the whole community. Therefore the selection of a wife or the arrangement of all contractual and financial matters connected with it were decided upon by the parents or guardians involved. Neither the girl nor, often, the youth was consulted. Two men, say you and I may be really good buddies, and when we marry, we may agree that my first son and your first daughter, or the other way around should marry. Well, that's that. In the old days, the yardstick was character, NOT looks. The high regard in which the two families held each other and preserving our common Christian principles was paramount. Were we noble or wealthy we would want to see the dynasty prosper and be preserved, not squandered on a beautiful female of indifferent station.
Those were the days when 'family' meant something, the days when men and women respected dignity, understood shame and standards. When 'age' did not indicate one was 'superseded' or 'past his use-by date' because of an increase of knowledge and technological advance, but entitled them to respect for their standards and accomplishments in life, and because of their experience and wisdom. Those were the days before self importance and instant gratification.
The old ways seem to me far wiser, more civilized, and likely to produce and maintain a superior culture than the anarchy to which Western culture has degenerated in today's jungle-mating game.
If we are Christ's Bride, we were foreknown from the foundation of the world, and chosen by the Father Who is drawing us to Christ. John 6:44, 'No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day'.
An unmarried woman was under her father's authority. Rebekah's brother, Laban, had authority over her and spoke as Bethuel, her father, because he was dead (Genesis 24:50). Rebekah's consent was asked only afterwards, and only because her father was dead.
If a youth's father had not already contracted marriage, the father might guide his son's choice, as for example, when Isaac sent Jacob to marry one of his cousins. You'll recall that Jacob actually married the two daughters of his mother's brother, Laban (Genesis 28:1-5).
Once the proposal of marriage had been put to the girl's father, and her price agreed, the bridegroom and his bride would then seal the covenant by drinking a CUP OF WINE.
Luke 22:42, 'Father, if thou be willing, remove this CUP from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done'.
You see, Christ had ALREADY drunk from the cup with His espoused Bride in the last supper, sealing the betrothal or marriage Covenant, earlier in the evening. Judas had already betrayed his Lord, and was leading the soldiers to arrest Jesus. Jesus was a man, like you and I, only virgin born and without sin. He was subject to the same emotions as you and I, and to physical pain. I should think His anguish, and physical sensibilities, might have been more acute than our own because He was absolutely sinless. And He was God manifest. In asking that the cup be removed, He is not seeking to avoid the marriage contract. He could have written a letter of divorcement. No, but in terror of the ordeal He is pleading if there can be some other way, some alternative price. But He overcame His own self and resolved to do His Father's Will. To purchase the unworthy 'Girl' His father had chosen from the foundation of the world.
What precious love. And as soon as our wives start to lose their girlish looks, we want to trade them in. Shame!
Matthew 26:26-29, 'And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, "Take, eat; this is my body".
And He took the CUP and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink ye all of it; For this is My blood of the New Testament, which is shed for MANY (not just Israel, now, but many nations) for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom'.
This CUP signified the potential ONENESS, or agreement of Jesus with His betrothed, and a PRICE paid (or agreed to be paid). It sealed a BINDING CONTRACT, called the New Testament and the future Church was a purchased possession just like the natural bride. We should not drink the CUP of the Lord's Supper until we have the Token or EVIDENCE of the Contract.
Grape juice sours. The Lord's Supper consists of unleavened bread and wine prepared by holy hands. Wine has a spirit, it stimulates the human spirit as the Holy Spirit or revelation of the Word stimulates our soul. Wine, like true love, improves with the passage of time. And time was to pass while the Bridegroom went away to prepare a place for us, so Jesus said, "I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you at the Wedding Supper in the Sky".
The CONTRACT agreed, the suitor, on becoming the husband, assumed definite legal obligations towards his wife. You will recall we discovered that God expects us to honor our word. He requires us to be careful how we speak because we are bound to honor our commitments. We also learned that Christians should not speak of an engagement to marry as the world speaks of the custom, because when a man proposes marriage and the girl says, 'Yes'; they are married from that moment on. And if either party breaks the engagement and marries another (without a Scriptural reason), they are committing adultery (Deuteronomy 22:23; Matthew 5:32; We Have Seen His Star, 11:66; COD 1037:197; Q342).
I guess the laws are still on the Statute Books, but would not be active today, because fornication, adultery, sexual promiscuity and divorce have become the social norm, along with homosexuality drugs, and alcohol abuse. As Brother Branham said, civilization (as we know it), is of the Devil. When I was young, there was a law known as 'breach of promise'. If a man or a woman promised to marry someone and broke their engagement without good cause, they could be gaoled and fined in the courts. It was known as 'jilting'. So you see, although our laws have become diluted, it is still possible to see how the English Common Law was originally rooted in the laws of God's Bible. God does not forget His laws; He has bound Himself under CONTRACT, and requires man to fulfill his part.
Isaiah 55:1-3, 'Ho, every one that thirsts, come ye to the waters, and he that has NO money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk WITHOUT money and WITHOUT price. [What price eternal Life? Or what price a kinsman redeemer? Salvation is FREE, but it was not cheap].
Why do you spend money for that which is not bread? [Jesus is that bread from heaven] and labour for that which satisfies not? [He said to the little prostitute at the well, "whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst - Sell what you have, and built a treasure in the heavens that fails not, where no thief approaches, neither moth corrupts"]. Hearken diligently unto me, and eat that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.
Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an EVERLASTING COVENANT with you, even the sure mercies of David'. This prophecy speaks of eternal Life and the new birth through the new CONTRACT in Christ's blood.
God was replacing the old system of laws with a new system quoting Jeremiah 31:31-32. This new covenant has to do with the Messiah's coming and had to be signed in blood as when Abraham divided the animals when he received the covenant from God. Moses too sealed his covenant in blood.
Messiah came like a sacrificial animal and gave His blood to seal the new covenant. Isaiah said the Messiah would come as a lamb to the slaughter. John the Baptist called Him; "the Lamb of God which takes away the sins of the world" (John 1:29).
Under the Old Testament Israel was the bride of Jehovah (Hosea 1 and 2). But that Covenant (or contract) under the Law was CONDITIONAL upon their obedience. Hence God put Israel away in divorcement.
Jeremiah 31:31-34, "The day will come when I will make a new covenant with the House of Israel and with the House of Judah: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which My covenant they BRAKE, although I was an HUSBAND to them, says the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; AFTER those days, says the LORD, I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, "Know the LORD": for they shall all know Me, from the least of them unto the greatest, says the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more".
Israel REJECTED this Covenant, and God has turned from them to take out of the Gentiles a people for His Name, a Bride for His Son. Soon He will turn the hearts of 144,000 Israelites back to Him and they'll come under this Covenant.
The New Testament, OUR Covenant or MARRIAGE CONTRACT, is UN-conditional:-
Mark 14:23-24, 'And He took the cup, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them: and they all drank of it. And He said unto them, "This is My BLOOD of the New Testament, which is shed for many".'
Without shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. God signed this contract in His Own Blood, showing that the perfect Life of our Kinsman Redeemer has been substituted for our life, paying sin's penalty - able to remit our sins. Something the blood of Abel's sacrifice could not do.
Exodus, 24:8, 'And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the BLOOD of the COVENANT, which the LORD has made with you concerning all these words'.
Ephesians 4:30, 'Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby you are SEALED UNTO THE DAY OF REDEMPTION'. That's the 'everlasting Covenant' to which Isaiah and Jeremiah looked. The UNCONDITIONAL marriage CONTRACT of grace with NO provision for divorcement (Malachi 2:14-16; Matthew 19:6).
The MOHAR or bride price is a compensation given to the father whereby the future husband acquires a right over the woman. As the unmarried woman was under the authority of her father, so as a married woman she comes under the authority of her husband.
The bride's father enjoyed the use of the mohar, though not its possession. It reverted to his daughter on succession, or if her husband's death reduced her to penury. You'll recall the story of Jacob's two wives. How he served Laban seven years to meet the bride price for Rachel but was cheated when Leah was substituted so he worked seven more years for Rachel. Although Jacob had worked hard and faithfully for his father-in-law, he continually defrauded him. Then God spoke to Jacob and told him it was time to return to the Promised Land and He would prosper him. And God caused Laban's cattle to bring forth speckled and spotted cattle, brown sheep, and spotted goats which would be Jacob's pay. Jacob told his wives what God had said, 'And Rachel and Leah answered and said unto him, "Is there yet any portion or inheritance for us in our father's house? Are we not counted of him strangers? for he has SOLD us, and has quite DEVOURED also OUR money. For all the riches which God has taken from our father, that is OURS, and our children's: now then, whatsoever God has said unto thee, do".' So you see, the Mohar was not the possession of the father but a trust.
The presents offered to Rebekah and her family were a reward for their accepting the proposal of marriage and NOT the mohar. 'And the servant brought forth jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment, and gave them to Rebekah: he gave also to her brother and to her mother precious things' (Genesis 24:53).
The bride's FATHER normally executed the marriage deed which was a bill of sale. 'God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life' (John 3:16). Our Bridegroom paid our Bride Price by His Own blood. 'Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is IN you, which ye have of God, AND YE ARE NOT YOUR OWN? For you are BOUGHT WITH A PRICE: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are GOD'S' (I Corinthians 6:19-20; Isaiah 55:1).
The contract, cup and mohar are the bride's security, guaranteeing the return of the Bridegroom.
John 14:18-21, 26-27, 'I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you. Yet a little while, and the world sees Me no more; but ye see Me: because I live, ye shall live also. At that day ye shall know that I am in My Father, and ye in Me, and I in you. He that has My commandments, and keeps them, he it is that loves Me: and he that loves Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him ... But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My Name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid'.
Our consolation and the EVIDENCE of the CONTRACT is the eternal security of a new birth and the Token on display. Brother Branham said, 'The Token is not the Token unless It is on display'. If you claimed to have a wife but nobody ever saw or heard from her, it would be reasonable to suspect you were not really married because there was no evidence of the married life. And if the evidence of Christ's Life is not apparent in me then you would be justified in believing I was not truly married to Him, or born-again.
Do you remember the parable of the woman who had ten pieces of silver? I believe those ten pieces of silver represented or were the EVIDENCE of her virtue, worn from a wedding band or chain upon her head, signifying she was betrothed. The women did not wear a wedding ring on their finger in those days. One piece was missing. She cleaned house and searched with a fine tooth comb until she recovered her token, symbolizing how we must sanctify and seek our own salvation with fear and trembling, until the EVIDENCE of the virtuous Life of Jesus Christ, the Token, is on display in us.
The CUP is to bring the contract and its price (mohar) to remembrance.
I Corinthians 11:25, 'After the same manner also He took the CUP, when He had supped, saying, "This CUP is the New Testament or CONTRACT in My blood: this do ye, as often as ye drink it in REMEMBRANCE of Me'.
The MOHAR was Christ's Own Blood. Revelation 1:5, 'Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth. Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His OWN Blood'.
The formalities of the transaction being complete, the groom would then make a speech to the bride. I might be something in this order:
'And when they saw Him, they worshipped Him: but some DOUBTED. (This is Christ's espoused Bride - the CUP had been drunk, the CONTRACT agreed, and their MOHAR paid - 'but some doubted').
And Jesus came and spoke unto them, saying, "All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. BECAUSE of this, Go ye, and teach ALL of ADAM'S race, baptizing them in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost (which is Lord Jesus Christ): Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: (PREPARE yourselves to be My Wife) and, lo, I am WITH you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen" (Matthew 28:18-20). (The consolation).
This speech is also recorded and is worthy of comparison in Mark 16:14- 20, Luke 24:46-51 and in Acts 1:7-8, 'And He said unto them, "It is not for you to know the TIMES or the SEASONS, which the Father has put in His Own power.
But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and you shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth".'
He would then return to his father's house to build a bridal chamber for the consummation of their union.
'Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in Me. IN MY FATHER'S HOUSE ARE MANY MANSIONS: if it were not so, I would have told you. I GO TO PREPARE A PLACE FOR YOU. (A Bridal chamber). And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. And whither I go ye know, and the way ye know' (John 14:1-4).
Proposing to the girl's father, drawing the marriage contract, and paying the mohar constituted merely the betrothal. An 'option', preventing the maid from marrying anyone else. An EVIDENCE or token of a price paid, a deposit.
The usual length of a betrothal was one year. During this time she was considered married to her new baal (or master), and infidelity was adultery and punishable by death (Revelations 16-19). She could not be freed without a formal writ of divorcement, and if the husband dies, she automatically became betrothed to his oldest brother.
Brother Branham taught us that an engagement is a marriage and rests upon the mutual commitment of the couple. Hence the 'breach of promise' in event of default by either party.
She may not, however, live with her husband until he had carried her away to his father's house, thus completing and consummating the union.
The groom would have to construct and provision the marriage chamber, for he and his bride would remain therein seven days. He could not return to claim her until his father approved the chamber and declared the time was right.
'When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, "Lord, wilt thou at THIS TIME restore again the kingdom to Israel"?
And He said unto them, "It is not for you to know the TIMES or the SEASONS, which the FATHER has put in his OWN power"' (Acts 1:6-7).
So if anyone asked him when he would be married, he would reply, 'Of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but My Father only' (Matthew 24:36).
Thus assured, the bride knew she was loved and was content to be separated from the world and the things of the world and to wait as long as was necessary. She would be very busy, about her responsibility to make herself ready to please him. She used this time to prepare herself for her bridegroom and for the responsibilities of married life. A type of our sanctification.
She was no longer her own but had been bought with a price, set apart, and consecrated. Isaiah 61:10, 'I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels'.
When she went out in public, in order to discourage others from intimate contact, and as a sign she was betrothed, she now veiled her face - even from the bridegroom. As when Rebekah saw Isaac for the first time, 'she said unto the servant, "What man is this that walks in the field to meet us?" And the servant said, "It is my master: therefore she took a VAIL, and COVERED herself"' (Genesis 24:65). More on this.
The bride waited in her father's house, and stayed home at night - not knowing what time the bridegroom would come. Tradition was that the groom should come at night, at an hour when he was LEAST expected and 'steal' her away from her family. 'Remember therefore how thou hats received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore thou shalt not WATCH, I will come on thee as a THIEF, and THOU SHALT NOT KNOW WHAT HOUR I WILL COME UPON THEE' (Revelation 3:3; 16:15).
She was to be waiting with the other virgins - her bridesmaids and companions - who would all have oil in their lamps in case the groom should choose to come late in the night.
Matthew 25:1-13, 'Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, "Behold, the bridegroom, come out to meet him". Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, "Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out". But the wise answered, saying, "Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves". And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. (The door to the Bridal chamber was shut). And within the Father's House were the relatives and invited guests - the friends of the groom.
Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, "Lord, Lord, open to us". But he answered and said, "Verily I say unto you, I know you not".
(The bride and bridegroom are already consummating their union in the bridal chamber). Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour when the Son of man comes'.
The bridal procession was originally the actual transference of the bride to the bridal apartment or canopy in the house of the bridegroom's father. The bridegroom, wearing a diadem (Revelation 4:10), and accompanied by his friends, (the Old Testament saints), with tambourines and a band, proceeded to the bride's house. When they were within earshot they would SHOUT, 'Behold, the Bridegroom! Come out to meet him'.
How close we are! We've heard the shout of Matthew 25:6, which is I Thessalonians 4:16 and Revelation 18:4, and we have trimmed our revelation.
Brother Branham said, 'There are some that have got their names written on the Lamb's Book of Life, and when those Seals are thrown open there, they see their name there, and the Holy Spirit speaks to them; they come' (Seals 224:6; 473:3).
We've heard our name - recognized our part of the Word in the 'shout' of the best man, Brother Branham, 'Behold the Bridegroom! Come out of Babylon and unite with the Spirit'.
That was our marriage. In other ages when Christ was a mediator, it was, 'Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that hears My word, and believes on Him that sent Me, has eternal Life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto Life. Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the spiritually dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God, (or Mediator during the Church Ages): and they that hear shall live. For as the Father has Life in Himself; so has He given to the Son to have Life in Himself'.
The bride's father and mother would look aside while the bride and her friends were spirited away. 'Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. But of the TIMES and the SEASONS, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a THIEF in the night. For when they shall say, "Peace and safety"; then sudden destruction comes upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. But you, brethren, are NOT in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a THIEF' (I Thessalonians 4:17; 5:1-4; Revelation 3:3; 16:15).
There would be much rejoicing as the noisy party journeyed through the streets. And soon the Trumpet of God shall sound "rejoice".
The bride was richly dressed and adorned with jewels but NOBODY would recognize her because she wore a veil which she took off only in the bridal chamber. This explains why Rebekah veiled herself on seeing Isaac, her betrothed, and how Laban was able to substitute Leah for Rachel at Jacob's first marriage.
Escorted by her companions, the bride was conducted to the home of the bridegroom. This was the bringing home of an ALREADY ACCREDITED Bride to her covenanted husband. There was no formal religious ceremony connected with the Hebrew marriage as with us. The marriage was consummated by entrance into the nuptial chamber in which stood the bridal bed with a canopy (being originally the wife's tent). The bride and groom would go into the bridal chamber while the wedding party waited outside. That's where Jesus takes us.
In the Message, 'The Rapture', Brother Branham read Psalm 27:1-5, 'The LORD is my Light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? the LORD is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
When the wicked, even mine enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though an host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear: though war should rise against me, in this will I be confident.
One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in His temple. For in the time of trouble (the great tribulation) He shall hide me in His pavilion: (the marriage chamber) in the secret of His tabernacle shall He hide me; He shall set me up upon a rock'.
Describing the 'little wooden room' he saw in the 'tent vision', Brother Branham said God told him, 'I'll meet you in there ... this will not be a public show'. Certainly not, it's the bridal bed!
Everyone would wait until the Bridegroom would tell a trusted friend through the CLOSED door (Matthew 25:10), that the marriage was consummated. UNDER THE TENT in the LITTLE WOODEN ROOM. Two groomsmen were chosen, one from the Brides' family, another from the husband's - a type of Elijah and Moses - two witnesses whose duty is to introduce the Bride and Groom to Israel.
In John 3:29, the Pharisees asked John the Baptist if he were the Messiah. But John set them straight: "He that has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom's voice; this my joy therefore is fulfilled".
The Jews missed the Marriage. When the bridegroom's voice is heard, the marriage is consummated. That's what Israel's elect 144,000 will hear through the Message of the two witnesses. "Every one that is of the truth hears My voice" (John 18:37)
Revelation 19:7-8, 'Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints'.
The "wedding day" was the day when the Bride was taken home to her husband's house. The word "marriage" in the New Testament, always means the "festivities" which were sometimes a considerable period after the actual covenant or bond of marriage. Here, the "friends of the Groom" (Mark 2:19; John 3:29) rejoice, for the marriage is consummated.
When the marriage was publicly celebrated, the bride removed her veil and placed it over the groom's shoulders, signifying she is under his dominion - that she has transferred her rights to him who is the head and also bears the responsibility and the care and that he and he alone; no other man, no other power, has any rights over, or responsibility for her (Isaiah 9:6-7).
Because the mystery of the seven thunders is revealed to us, we can recognize the Bride of each generation. Soon there will be a grand Wedding Supper at the Home of our Bridegroom's Father, in the sky. The Marriage will be consummated for the seven days of Daniel's seventieth week. The Bride reappears without her veil, and the friends of the Groom (the Old Testament saints) recognize Her. Israel recognize her by faith when the veil is lifted to them by their parousia in the second half of Daniel's seventieth week. Their joy anoints the Most Holy, which is Christ and His Bride.
Jesus HAS returned as a thief. The world doesn't recognize Him, because He has come in WORD Form. They know only their creeds. The true Bride is therefore veiled from view because they cannot recognize the Bridegroom. Through the invisible union we are one.
Soon the seventh Trumpet will sound for the first resurrection. Los Angeles will fall beneath the sea. Sinners will be cast into outer darkness. 'And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the Voice of the Bridegroom and of the Bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived' (Revelation 18:23). There'll be shouting and rejoicing among the saints as they rise to be greeted by brethren from previous Ages. Can you imagine the joy of our ANTICIPATION as we manifest the Sons of God, KNOWING that we shall be CHANGED and rise WITH them to meet the Lord in the air.
When that Trumpet sounds to call Israel to the Feast of Trumpets, the LAST member has been baptized into the Body of Christ, and the Pentecostal Harvest is fulfilled. I Thessalonians 4:16, 'For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first'. He does ALL three things as He descends. The 'rapture' is a PROCESS of shout, voice, and trump.
Revelation 19:7-9, "Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousnesses of saints. And he said to me, 'Write, Blessed are they who are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb'. And he said, 'These are the true sayings of God'."
Her adornment is simple, pure and beautiful. Linen denotes the most precious of plain, unostentatious, yet elegant material representation of righteousness. This is the righteousnesses of saints, not Christ's imputed righteousness. The Bride is adorned in the beauty of THUS SAYS THE LORD manifest in the Token that was displayed in her life. The friends of the Groom will not know her by the flesh but by the reflection of Christ in her.
This is the Holy Spirit wedding garment that was missing from the guest in Matthew 22:11. It is the robe of glory given to the Bride after she has been rewarded at the Judgment Seat of Christ, when all of her false and presumptuous works will have been consumed by the holy Fire of God.
In the wedding chamber, the Bride will be naked and exposed to the eyes of her Husband. Spirtually, not physically, at the Judgment Seat of Christ. He will know the thoughts and intents of her heart (Hebrews 4:12-13).
I Corinthians 4:5, "Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God".
Romans 2:16, "In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to Paul's gospel".
She entered the nuptial chamber a virgin Bride, she reappears for the marriage supper a righteous wife (Revelation 19:9).
At the bema or Judgment seat of Christ, the veil is removed and the work of every member of the Bride will be made manifest as She is commended by Her Lord and introduced to His friends, the Old Testament saints. 'Behold, I come quickly; and My reward is with Me, to give every man according as his work shall be' (Revelation 22:12).
"we shall be face to face ... then we shall know as we are known. Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he has built thereupon, he shall receive a reward.
If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are ... Therefore let no man glory in men. For ALL things are YOURS; Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; ALL are yours; And ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's" (I Corinthians 3:12-23).
The righteousnesses of the saints will be their righteous acts and works that will come out of the "fiery trial" of the Judgment of Reward, and be found to praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Christ. These make up the beautiful wedding garments in which the saints shall be clothed - their own works by the Token on display. Then we'll really be "written epistles, known and read of all men" (II Corinthians 3:2).
Brother Branham said, "Our thoughts speak louder in heaven than our voices do on earth". Our words and actions are our thoughts expressed. That's why Peter instructs us to be adorned in the Token or "hidden Man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, not the outward show of fancy hair-do's, gold, jewellery and fashionable clothes" (I Peter 3:3-5). Because we are Christ's jewels, and from the Bema Judgment we will outshine the stars of heaven.
What a contrast the spotless white, and hue of the righteousnesses of saints will be to the purple and scarlet clad jewel-bedecked harlot wife of Satan. The Bride reflects the glory of her Husband. That's why "Jesus is presenting to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing: but holy and without blemish" (Ephesians 5:27).
Revelation 19:9, "And he said to me, 'Write, Blessed are they who are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb'. And he said, 'These are the true sayings of God'."
The Bride is clothed in the glory of THUS says THE LORD manifest in her own righteous life, by grace through faith. Her glory is of He who loved her and purchased her by His Own blood. Its a blessed thing for the friends of the Groom to be invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb in the sky and to witness the appearing of the Groom with His Wife after the consummation of their marriage.
Revelation 19:10, "And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, 'See you do it not: I am your fellowservant, and of your brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy'."
Some Message-believers were so carried away with God's grace in sending THUS says THE LORD to clothe Christ's end-time Bride that they sought to worship Brother Branham as the Pharisees were prepared to worship John the Baptist.
Brethren, nothing shall be hid after the midst of the week. 'Behold, He comes with clouds (the Shekinah); and every eye shall see Him (that's the Bride), and they also which pierced Him (Israel's elect 144,000 when the veil is removed in their parousia, they will mourn their Atonement): and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him" (the classes of the 'saved' who recognize the hour - Revelation 1:7). The LOST will NOT repent, but will 'hide themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains' (Revelation 6:15-17; 9:20-21)
In Revelation 19:7-8, She is no longer a Bride, but a Wife. When Israel recognize Messiah, they recognize the TRUE Church, because the marriage is consummated and the Bride unveiled - first as the mighty army of God.
'Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the Bridegroom go forth of his CHAMBER, and the Bride out of her CLOSET. (The Marriage has been CONSUMMATED). Let the priests, the ministers of the LORD, weep between the porch and the altar, and let them say, "Spare thy people, O LORD, and give not Thine heritage to reproach, that the heathen should rule over them: wherefore should they say among the people, 'Where is their God'?" THEN will the LORD be jealous for His Land, and pity His people' (Joel 2:15-18).
'And I saw heaven opened, (the revelation coming to Israel) and behold a white horse; and He that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness does he judge and make war. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns; and He had a Name written, that no man knew, but he who had the revelation. And He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and His Name is called The Word of God.
And the armies which were in heaven followed Him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. (That's the Bride). And out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations: and He shall rule them with a rod of iron: and He treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His vesture and on His thigh a Name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS'.
Israel sees Him first as the General their forefathers had anticipated, returning with His Wife. The next picture of Her is as 'the Bride, the Lamb's wife... the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a Bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, 'Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.
And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away'. And He that sat upon the throne said, 'Behold, I make all things new' " (Revelation 21:2-9).