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Lowell Brueckner

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The Bridegroom


This is a chapter taken from the book "The Christ of the Apocalypse".



   Suppose we were attending a wedding ceremony and heard the preacher ask the bride to make this statement: “Repeat after me, I take this man to be my bread winner and to do odd jobs around the house.” Then, he would turn to the groom for the following resolution: “I take this woman as my personal cook and maid.” It is a ludicrous supposition, I know, but not really any more absurd than what we might overhear at a church altar after a ‘revival’ meeting. A seeker is asked to repeat the prayer, “I receive Christ into my life as my personal Savior.” A marriage based on such a limited commitment would be headed for serious complications.
   Christ is not a commodity to be divided up into parts that we receive or reject, according to our needs or whims. He is a complete personality and when he is invited to be Savior, he must also be Lord. A total involvement with Christ is difficult only because we are loath to give up our independence.
   Jesus Christ is the joy of heaven and everything there is vitally connected to him. He is a sweet aroma in the throne room of God. Heaven would not be heaven without him.  A revelation of heaven is a revelation of Christ. He is the most pleasant of all companions, and the most winsome of character. It is his infinite goodness and wisdom in all his dealings with us, which makes our reservations so sinful.
   May we obey the mandate of John the Baptist, “Behold the Lamb of God!” John’s eyes saw beyond his own ministry, though it was the mightiest from the beginning of time up until his day. His preaching of repentance and his baptisms were not the ultimate goal. Somehow in John’s wilderness wanderings, he caught a glimpse of the heavenly Bridegroom and all his desire turned to him. He was not dismayed, as his disciples were, that “all are coming to him” (John 3:26). On the contrary, his work was brought to fruition by the realization that “He who has the bride is the bridegroom” (vs. 29). John needed no greater testimony to the success of his ministry. His crowds dwindled, while Jesus’ increased and John joyfully slipped into obscurity—a true friend of the Bridegroom.
   As Paul meditated in the Arabian desert, he lost sight of the temporal and caught a glimpse of a mystery hidden since the foundation of the world. It made him forget his ambition to become a ruler of the Jews and turned him zealously towards the purpose for which God had arrested him on the road to Damascus. The beauty of Christ excelled and all else was blotted out. No amount of persecution or peril could keep Paul from fulfilling his heart’s passion. Love constrained him. He had a vision of an eternal marriage and his one goal was to espouse Gentile hearers to one Husband (2 Cor. 11:2). What a need to follow the selfless example of these two spiritual giants!
    The best concept that we can hold of God and of that which concerns him is not of a kingdom or an army, but that of a family. All those within it are born of God and think of each other as brothers and sisters. Jesus taught his disciples to pray to a heavenly Father. He himself is the beloved Son of God and the Father is preparing a bride for him. In the nineteenth chapter of Revelation, we read of a wedding about to take place called the Marriage of the Lamb. All history points to this great event. For this purpose, God created man in his image and likeness. For this reason, he called Abraham out of heathendom and formed a nation from his descendants. Christ was born into that nation and suffered the agonies of the cross, because of the joy to which he looked forward: “That He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and blameless.” (Eph. 5:27)
   The love of Christ for each member of his church surpasses all kinds of physical or earthly love. It is totally pure. The Old Testament coincides with the New Testament in depicting that love relationship. The Song of Solomon, for instance, is a love story portraying a spiritual courtship between a shepherd and a woman, who considers herself a very unlikely object of his affections. Luke writes of an unworthy, sinner woman, who came to Jesus at the house of Simon the Pharisee. She knelt behind Jesus at his feet, washed them with her tears and dried them with her hair. She anointed them with perfume. Jesus said, “Her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much”  (Luke 7:36-50). Here are models given to us, that we might know the nature of the blessed association into which we have come.                    
    Psalm 45 joins beautifully with Revelation 19. I wonder if it will be sung at the great wedding celebration: “My heart overflows with a good theme; I address my verses to the King….Thou art fairer than the sons of men; Grace is poured upon Thy lips; therefore God has blessed Thee forever….Thy God has anointed Thee with the oil of joy above Thy fellows. All Thy garments are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia.” The song then addresses the bride: “Listen, O daughter, give attention and incline your ear; forget your people and your father’s house; then the King will desire your beauty; because He is your Lord, bow down to Him.” This is the motivation behind total consecration. It springs from a fountain of love and its one goal is to please the object of its love.
   A worthy wife for the Lamb of God, the bride, birthed in the book of Acts, will reach maturity and make herself ready for a glorious marriage. Every earthly bride is only a shadow of her; every wedding only an illustration of this matchless event. Earthly matrimony is holy, above all other reasons, because it points to a heavenly union. “For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.” (Eph. 5:31-32)


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