The Old Testament is an Eastern Book written for Eastern people, so in order for us to comprehend its prophetic shadows and types by divine revelation we must familiarize ourselves with the oriental customs on which they were established.
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 God's Word. Please turn to Genesis 24 and read all sixty-seven verses.
Abraham sent his servant, Eliezer, to choose a wife for his promised son Isaac. He was instructed to go to the land of Mesopotamia, which is Babylon whence God called him, and to seek a wife from among Abraham's kinfolk. Likewise "Jesus sent forth the twelve, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter into any city of the Samaritans: but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matthew 10:5-6).
Eliezer types Brother Branham whom God instructed to find an end-time Bride for Christ. He specifically told him not to seek in unbelieving heathendom but from among his misguided kinsmen in "Mystery, Babylon the Great, mother of harlots and abominations of the earth": a universal assemblage of Catholics at the core; grouped with them Protestant denominations, sects and churches; grouped around them believing Jews, believing Muslims, believing Hindus, believing Buddhists. And that would be a universal religious assembly that could have a powerful dynamic kick in civilization and in solving the problems of men and women today (Uri Dowbenko, Bushwhacked: Inside Stories of True Conspiracy, ISBN 0971004218, p. 213; Revelation 18:4). The family is the social unit. The Judaeo-Catholic church is called the "mother" church and her priests are called "father" and "brother." Of the three great events in family life: birth, marriage and death—the ancient Hebrews regarded marriage as the most important. Eliezer arranged a contract with Rebekah's brother Laban, and with her mother Milcah (Genesis 24:55). And God sent His angel before Eliezer, even as He sent His angel before Brother Branham.
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 and the arrangement of all contractual and financial matters connected with it were decided upon by the parents or guardians. Neither the girl nor, often, the youth was consulted. Two men, say you and I, may be close friends, and when we marry, we might agree that my first son and your first daughter, or the other way around should marry. That settled the young children were married then but would not consummate their union until they were of age. In the old days, the yardstick was character, NOT outward looks. The esteem with which the families held each other and the preservation of 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 "knowledge had increased" bringing technological advancements; moreover it entitled them to respect for their standards and accomplishments in life, and for the wisdom of their experience. Those were the days before self-importance and instant gratification. The old ways seem to me far wiser, more civilized, and more certain 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 back to Himself. 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 deceased father (Genesis 24:50). Rebekah's consent was asked only afterwards, and then 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 Laban, his mother's brother (Genesis 28:1-5).
Once the proposal of marriage had been put to the girl's father and her price agreed, the groom and his bride would then seal the covenant by drinking a CUP OF WINE.
Luke 22:42, "Father, if You are willing, remove this CUP from Me: nevertheless not My will, but Thine, be done." Jesus had already drunk from the CUP with His espoused Bride at 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 Him. Jesus was a man like you and I, only virgin born and without sin. He was subject to the same emotions as us, 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 was not seeking to avoid the marriage contract. He could have written a letter of divorcement. But in terror of the ordeal He was pleading, "Is there some other way to meet sin's price?" But He overcame His own self and resolved to do His Father's will and purchase the unworthy woman His Father had chosen from the foundation of the world. Such precious love!
Matthew 26:26-29, "And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and broke 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 all of it; for this is My Blood of the New Testament, which is shed for many [nations of Adam's race] 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 follows the type where Eliezer declined to eat until he had explained his errand, told how the Lord had answered his prayer, then CONTRACTED the marriage bond (Genesis 24:33-58).
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 signifying that, like a natural bride, the future Church was His purchased possession. One should not drink the cup of the Lord's Supper [typing the (sexual) consummation of marriage] until he has the Token or EVIDENCE of the Contract.
The Lord's Supper consists of unleavened bread and wine prepared by holy hands. Grape juice sours. 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 honour our word. He requires us to be careful how we speak because we are bound to honour our commitments. 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. 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).
There was a law known as "breach of promise" whereby a man or a woman promised in marriage who broke their pledge without good cause could be gaoled and fined in the courts. This was called "jilting." The law doubtless remains but is inactive because (as in the days of Noah and Lot), fornication, adultery, sexual promiscuity and no-fault divorce have become the social norm, along with same-sex marriage, homosexuality, drug and alcohol abuse. The Prophet said, civilization as we know it is of the Devil. But although our laws have become diluted it is still possible to see how English Common Law was originally in the Bible. God does not forget His Word; He has bound Himself under CONTRACT and requires us to honour our word.
Isaiah 55:1-3, "Ho, every one that thirsts, come to the waters, and he who has no money come, buy, and eat. 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 is not cheap].
"Why do you spend money for that which is not bread? and labour for that which satisfies not? [Jesus is that bread from heaven]. He told the prostitute at the well, "whosoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst—sell what you have, and build 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 abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me: hear, and your soul will live; and I will make an EVERLASTING COVENANT with you, even the sure mercies of David." This prophecy speaks of eternal Life and 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 Messiah's coming and had to be signed in Blood as 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 – 2). But that Covenant or contract under the Law was CONDITIONAL upon obedience. Hence God put Israel away.
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; My Covenant which they BROKE, although I was a 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 that Covenant and God 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 will come under this New Covenant—not as bride but as servants attending on His Bride.
The New Testament, our Covenant or MARRIAGE CONTRACT, is UN-conditional:
Mark 14:23-24, "Jesus took the cup, and when He had given thanks, He gave it to them: and they all drank from 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 Isaiah and Jeremiah sought. 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, the 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 as 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 also gave precious things to her brother and to her mother" (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. "Don't you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is IN you, which you have of God, AND YOU 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 you see Me: because I live, you shall live also. At that day you shall know that I am in My Father, and you 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 to 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: do this as often as you 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 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 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 in which to CONSUMMATE the marriage. Like "the little wooden room" in Brother Branham's Tent Vision]. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And whither I go you know, and the way you 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 [we have emphasised as the last year before the end of the Christian dispensation]. Brother Branham said, "Oh, brother, give me a church full of the Holy Ghost. God will do in one year what all theology's failed to do in two thousand years. You wait till the anointing of the church really strikes home to that faithful the little remnant. After the doors of the Gentiles is closed, oh, God will anoint a church then. "He who's filthy, let him be filthy still. He who's righteous let him be righteous still, and he who's holy let him be holy still." And God will anoint the church with the power of God, and things will be taken place. Not only that then, but He's doing it now. 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 an engagement is a marriage that rests on the mutual commitment of the couple. Hence the "breach of promise" or divorce in the event of a default by either party as illustrated on this diagram by the gap between the Seven Church Ages of PART-Word and The Revelation of the Seven Seals after the Laodicean Church Age ended in apostasy. Brother Branham stood in the breach marked HOLY GHOST and revealed the mystery of the Seven Seals which "finished the mystery of God" and brought Christ back to earth in W_O_R_D form with divine vindication. This fulfilled our Lord's audible pronouncement spoken over the Ohio River in 1933, "As John the Baptist foreran My first Coming, your Message will introduce My second Coming." It also fulfilled Paul's prophecy, "When that which is complete has come [Christ the fullness of the Word], PART-Word [and Christ's mediation for ignorance of the fulness] shall be done away" (I Corinthians 13:10). The "rapture" is a HOLY GHOST revelation; one can only cross the Breach into "Christ the Chief Corner Stone" or Caagsone by a clear revelation of this end-time Message].
She may not live with her husband until he had carried her away to his father's house, thus completing and CONSUMMATING the union. The bridegroom would have to construct and provision the marriage chamber, where he and his bride would remain secluded for the seven days of Daniel's Seventieth Week. 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, will You at THIS TIME restore the kingdom to Israel? And He answered, It is not for you to know the TIMES or the SEASONS [of the seven Gentile Church Ages], 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 in 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 asked 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). 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 you have received and heard, and hold fast, and repent. If therefore you shall not WATCH, I will come on you as a THIEF, and YOU SHALL NOT KNOW WHAT HOUR I WILL COME UPON YOU" (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 [throughout the Gentile dispensation], 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 to the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there is not enough for us and you: you go 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 [to the bridal chamber] was shut." Within the Father's House were the relatives and invited guests—the friends of the groom.
"Afterward the other [foolish] virgins came, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. [But the Bride and Bridegroom were consummating their union in the bridal chamber [as Isaac brought Rebekah into his late mother Sarah's tent, and he knew her and loved her, and she became his wife (Genesis 24:64–67)] so Christ answered the foolish virgins and said, I do not know you [as my CONSUMMATED wife. In the Living Bible Jesus says, "Go away, it's too late"]. 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 are we? We've heard the "shout" of Matthew 25:6, I Thessalonians 4:16 and Revelation 18:4, and trimmed our revelation.
Brother Branham said, "There are some whose names are written on the Lamb's Book of Life, and when those Seals are thrown open, they hear their name called as the Holy Spirit unfolds the Light to their hearts, and they come" (The Revelation of the Seven Seals, p. 224:6; 473:3).
You heard your name called and recognized your place in the Word in the "shout" of the best man, Brother Branham, "Behold the Bridegroom! Come out of Babylon and be filled with the Spirit." That was your marriage.
Throughout the Church Ages when Christ was in the Office Son of God, 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]: 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, you have no need that I write. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord 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. Soon the Seventh Trumpet of God will 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 foolish virgins], 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. The bride and groom would go into the bridal chamber [where Jesus takes us] while the wedding party waited outside.
In his 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 my enemies and my foes, came upon me to eat up my flesh, they stumbled and fell. Though a 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 of Daniel's Seventieth Week] 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 is the bridal chamber!
Everyone would wait until the Bridegroom would tell a trusted friend through the CLOSED door (Matthew 25:10), that the marriage has been 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. 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 Israelites miss the marriage which will be CONSUMMATED and the seven-year wedding feast fulfilled when their elect 144,000 recognize the voice of their long martyred 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 in the sky at the Home of our Bridegroom's Father. The Marriage will be consummated the seven days of Daniel's seventieth week. Thereafter "Every eye shall see Him [including the Israelites who pierced Him," and when they see Him they shall see YOU who with Him (Revelation 1:7; 19:11-18). Israel will recognize the (Gk.) parousia Coming with His Bride of all Ages in the end of the week when faith lifts her vail from their eyes, then Israel joy will anoint the Most Holy Place, which is her king and His Queen, Christ and His Bride.
Jesus HAS returned as a thief. The world doesn't recognize Him, because He has come in WORD Form contrary to their creeds. Through the invisible union we are one with the Bridegroom, and because they cannot recognize the Bridegroom we are veiled from the world.
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 there no more; and the Voice of the Bridegroom and of the Bride shall be heard there no more: for their merchants were the great men of the earth and by her sorceries all nations were deceived" (Revelation 18:23). There'll be shouting and rejoicing among the saints as they rise to be greeted by their 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 elect will be sealed into Christ and the Pentecostal Harvest 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: the dead in Christ will rise first." He does ALL three things as He descends. The 'rapture' is the threefold PROCESS of a 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 to pass, and His wife has made herself ready [to CONSUMMATE the marriage by glorification for the Marriage Supper]. 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 Brother Branham 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 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 wedding garment of the Holy Spirit that was missing from the guest in Matthew 22:11. It is the robe of glory worn by the Bride 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. At the Judgment Seat 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 is burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. Don't you know that you 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 you 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 you are Christ's; and Christ is God's" (I Corinthians 3:12-23).
The righteousnesses of the saints are their righteous acts and works that will come out of the "fiery trial" of the Judgment of Reward, and be found to praise and honour 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 Brother Branham said to John [who represents the members of Christ's end-time Bride], 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 SAITH THE LORD manifest in her righteous life, by grace through faith. Her glory is of He who loved her and purchased her by His Own blood. It's a blessed thing for the friends of the Groom to be invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb in the sky and witness the appearing of the Groom with His Wife after the CONSUMMATION of their marriage.
Revelation 19:10, "And I fell at Brother Branham's feet to worship him. And he said, Don't do that: I am your fellow servant, 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 SAITH 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 (John 1:19-28).
After the midst of the week nothing shall be hid. "Behold, He comes with clouds [the Shekinah]; and every eye shall see Him, and also they who pierced Him [Israel's elect 144,000 will mourn their Atonement when the veil is removed by faith]: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him." The LOST will NOT repent, but "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 will also recognize the TRUE Church; 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 from his CHAMBER, and the Bride from her CLOSET. [The Marriage is 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, [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 is of "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). bb950526.htm
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