Our Redemption Draweth Nigh
A Biblical Essay On:
God’s Last Days Relationship
With Those of Noah-like Faith
Our Redemption Draweth Nigh
by Eloise M. Gardenier
12. THE BRIDE
“So the last shall be first, and first last! for many be called, but few chosen.” Matt. 20:16
“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
Well now, one might ask: “How do I become another Noah?” How can I be a part of “that number?”…the “Bride of Christ?!” The requirements are scattered throughout the entire Word of God. Unfortunately very little is said about this in the professing church today. In fact few make any mention of these things at all, for they require, even demand, a desire for true holiness and righteousness, and that is a very unpopular subject. There are many counterfeits, but true holiness is avoided like the plague, for it means dying to oneself and finding out what God requires. I am going to dare here to list the Scriptures I believe the Lord has shown me to help identify those who are the “Bride of Christ”, those who are the “called out ones”, for we are commanded to “come out from among them, be separate and touch not the unclean thing”. I will also cite some of the characteristics that make them the chosen, or in that special marriage party. We will introduce, or set the stage for this segment by reviewing the questions most on the minds of Jesus’ closest circle of friends. In Matthew 24 we find this account….”And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and the end of the world? (age) And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saving I am Christ: and shall deceive many.” Another account of the same happening is in Mark 13:5-6….Jesus is recorded as having said; “…Take heed lest any man deceive you: For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ: and shall deceive many.” Then in Luke 21 we also find; “…For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.” This urging by Jesus, certainly gives a strong indication of the present nearness of that time Jesus’ friends wanted to know about. The mails, air waves, concert halls, parks and meeting places of cults whisper secrets of messiah’s, while rumors are flying and christs or those who can become christ or some sort of saviour seduce the masses as well as those who say they are His head spokesman in His absence. May the reader be warned!
Jesus exhorts us on several occasions to make certain we are admonished concerning the seriousness of having any fellowship with false religion or idolatry. Paul in II Corinthians 6:14-17 warns; “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. (WHEREFORE COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM, AND BE YE SEPARATE, saith the Lord, and TOUCH NOT THE UNCLEAN THING; and I will receive you.”)
Not only are we warned by Paul as he wrote to the Corinthians, but also in Revelation the 18th chapter, where we see the exposure and fall of Babylon the great.
As the people in Noah’s time were warned 120 years, through his preaching, so we have been warned too, continuously, since the flood, throughout the ensuing millennia, to reject idolatry.
In Leviticus God warns; “Turn ye not unto idols, nor make to yourselves molten gods: I AM the Lord your God.” And of course we all know that the second commandment agrees: “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of ANY THING that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:” Exo. 20:4 Then in John’s first epistle he concludes with this; “And we know that the Son of God is come and hath given us an understanding, that we may know Him that is true, and we are in Him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. Little children, KEEP YOURSELVES FROM IDOLS. AMEN.” I John 5:20-21
Appropriate and sufficient food is a must, these and many more things are the responsibility of the bride, if she hopes to make the wedding meet the accepted symbolism. Most of the things one might think of that a bride is responsible for in a worldly wedding have parallels in the spiritual realm, as we prepare to become a part of the bride of Christ. So it isn’t surprising that Jesus insists that we take care to hear his voice as we prepare for that day of days. (There is a very edifying story in a Book called “An Israeli Love Story” by Zola Levitt, about an old Jewish wedding custom which has great symbolic meaning.) Here is a sampling of what Jesus did say on this subject; “Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.” Matt.24:44 In Luke 21:34-36 He instructs the believers in this way; “And take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life, and so that day come upon you unawares. For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth. Watch ye therefore, and pray always, that ye may be worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the Son of man.” Then one of the last few warnings by Jesus is Revelation 16:15; “Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.” We are told that the white garments of the bride of Christ is the righteousness of the saints, and the righteousness of the saints, is being covered by the righteousness of Christ, when we receive Him into our hearts.
Jesus also tells us HOW He will come when the time arrives for Him to snatch up His bride and carry her away to the wedding. He has let us know that He will come with SPEED when He does come. “Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” Rev. 3:11 In I Thessalonians 5:2 and 4 Paul reminds us; “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.” Although He expects us to be ready, Jesus did warn us that; “NO MAN KNOWETH THE DAY NOR THE HOUR, ONLY THE FATHER!” when He, Jesus, will be given the signal from His Father to catch His bride away. We are told that not even the angels of heaven know when this day will be, so how could we?
In chapters 24 of Matthew and 17 of Luke Jesus cautions us concerning the LAST DAYS, He likens those days unto the days of Noah as we have established. In Luke 17 He also reminds us of Lot and Sodom’s destruction in comparison with the days just before His return. He says; “But the same day that Lot went out of Sodom it rained fire and brimstone from heaven, and destroyed them all. Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed”
Jesus instructs us in what we must do to be “in that number”, and get our rewards at the very end. When He had His servant John Write to the Philadelphia Church, one of the two main churches of the END in Revelation, He tells them because they have, “kept the word of His patience and not denied His name”, He will “keep them from the hour of temptation that is coming upon all the world, to try them that dwell there”. Even though the members of this company have only a little strength, (“for thou hast a little strength”), (power or recognition in the world), because they have done what He has required He even goes so far as to say; “Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews (believers) and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.”
What will determine our being found worthy of this great escape…well in chapter 14 of Revelation we find this group after their flight to safety, and now in the presence of their Lord, and we read this;
Now let us take this passage word by word or phrase by phrase and we will see that it tells us pretty clearly who these people are and how they came to be a part of that group or company. We will start with the whole of verse one. First we see Jesus, the Lamb of God! Where is He? He is standing on the heavenly mount Sion. Next we are told that there is a group with Him and that their number is 144,000. We also see that they have Jesus’ Father’s name written in their foreheads. I would like to point out here this scene is shown right after we are warned of the mark of the beast, (Antichrist) and that no one will be able to buy without it, and the number of the beast is given (666). It is my opinion that these events are given in Revelation in this order to show that while that joyous reunion is taking place in heaven, the earth is under siege by the kingdom of the Antichrist and False Prophet. During the Great Tribulation or “Jacob’s’ Trouble” his mark is required on the hands or foreheads of those who concede to the Antichrist, in order to buy or sell, while those 144,000 in heaven are sealed with the Father’s name on their foreheads.
Let’s go back to verse 1 of Rev. 14 and I Peter 3:20. Because of his righteousness Noah was God’s elect and God saved eight, we are told in I Peter 3:20; “…When once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the Ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.” Eight is God’s number for a “new beginning”, the flood ushered in a new beginning. I believe this group of 144,000 will also be an ensign for a “new beginning”, the signal that Christ’s kingdom on earth is about to begin. I mentioned earlier that I felt the 8 saved from the flood were a sampling of those who would be found worthy to escape “those things that are coming on the earth”, those who will be “caught up” before the GREAT TRIBULATION gets into full swing.
Another opinion I hold is that those who will be saved will belong to many different companies who will have had walks of different depths. It seems the company one becomes a part of, would depend on the depth of his walk, and his rewards would also depend on that. If you divide 144 by 8 (the number saved by the flood) you get 18. In the book “Numbers in the Scriptures”
All of this says to me that these singers have had an experience that no other group has had, and it is this, which gives them the ability or right to sing this song that no others are able to sing. Whoever they prove to be, I do think their number is designed to tell us something. I believe the 144,000 are connected with the 8 that were saved from the flood. Perhaps Enoch and Elijah will be among those singing that “new song” too. Remember Jesus encourages us to “Watch ye therefore, and pray always that you may be accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass….”. I am persuaded these will be the first of a new series over and above perfect completion of 7, a new beginning, “made fat” superabundant, and in perfect divine order. Verse 2 confirms and makes even clearer that this pageant is taking place in heaven, and we hear that the voice of God is there, for His voice is described many times throughout the Scriptures as thunder; and it also seems that heavenly beings may be harping.
Now I believe verse three confirms what I have just said about those 144,000 singing that “NEW SONG” and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand. The reason seems to be because they were “redeemed from the earth.” Since this tells us why they are the only ones able to sing this “new song”, let’s see exactly what that means. Using Strong’s concordance I found that the Greek word used for redeemed here was used only 3 times in the bible, in this passage, Revelation 14:3, then in the next verse 4, and in Rev. 5:9 (I believe this to be the same group, for they also are shown singing a “new song”.) The concordance led us to this; agoradzo… to go to market, i.e. (by impl.) to purchase; specifically to redeem: -buy, redeem. Then it refers you to another number which is agorah (to gather; prob akin to 1453) prop. the town-square (as a place of public resort); by impl. a market or thoroughfare: market (-place) street. Then going on to 1453 we see this; to awaken i.e. rouse (lit. from sleep, from sitting or lying, from disease, from death; or fig. from obscurity, inactivity, ruins, nonexistence) :-awake, lift (up), rise (again, up), rear up, (a-) rise (again, up), stand, take up.
So let us see what we have here. This Greek word used for redeemed is used sparingly and has many implications, just this one word tells us a great deal about this group of 144,000. First we see that they have been purchased, bought, redeemed. Where from? They have been gathered out of the market place, town square, public resort, the street. How has this been done? They have been awakened, roused from sleep, from sitting or lying. (Matt. 24 and Luke 17–grinding, on housetop, sleeping in one bed). They are saved from disease, from DEATH: also from obscurity, (being unknown) inactivity, (no works, just waiting) ruins (tribulation of the world) non-existence (eternal damnation): How are they saved? … awakened, lifted (up), raised up, reared up, caused to arise up, stand and to be taken up. I must confess that these things I found, make what I believe by the Spirit, much clearer than I had hoped to find. Now I am much more convinced than ever before that these are those of the firstfruits, the “raptured” bride of Christ.
Revelation 14 Verse number 4 is packed, beginning with; “These were they which were not defiled with women”. I believe this is speaking of spiritual purity…those not having had relations with false religions, such as the “Scarlet Woman”…The MOTHER OF HARLOTS or any other spiritual harlot once they have been purified by the blood of the Lamb. Once they have experienced the new birth, the new life in Christ, when the truth has been revealed to them, they have remained faithful and chaste spiritually, for we have not been truly alive until this time. The verse goes on to say “for they are virgins“. That, I think, speaks for itself. The concordance gives this meaning of that particular Greek word; “a maiden; by implication an unmarried daughter:-virgin”. So they have remained true to their betrothal to Jesus, they have remained faithful since their new life and commitment to Him, they have waited for their marriage to Him, as a part of His bride. They have given up religion for their relationship with Jesus! They have not “known” any other spiritual lover since giving themselves to Him.
These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth, just as a wife in the flesh lives with her husband, and ideally shares everything about his life. “These were redeemed from among men.” Here we have the same word used for redeemed as in verse 3, they have been purchased from, and gathered out of the market place or town where they live, from the commercial world. They have been awakened from wherever they might be. Saved from all the ills of the flesh and the world, they have been awakened, caused to arise, (raptured), lifted (up).
So they have been redeemed from AMONG men. I do believe that “from among MEN” signifies that they were redeemed from the living men rather than from among the dead bodies.
The Scriptures tell us “many are called but few are chosen”, and this by Jesus in Matthew 7:13-14; “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because straight is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Yes, I believe that number will be small in comparison to all the men that have lived. I do also believe that the Lord has given us some clues in the Scriptures as to the number of those who will be fulfillments of I Thessalonians 4:17, the ones who will be alive and remain, who will be “caught up” together with the saints having died belonging to Christ, yes, caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. When He comes for His bride I believe it is very possible that the number caught up without seeing death could be 144,000. Satan has done his best to discredit that number with such false teachings and half truths as are carried from door to door by the followers of Charles T. Russell, the founder of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. As opposed to their teachings we know that the number isn’t filled yet, and won’t be until the “TRUMPET CALL TO COME UP HITHER”, and that OPEN DOOR in HEAVEN is closed. Until then, as was the door to Noah’s Ark, it will be open so whosoever will, may come, God Himself will close the door in heaven, and no one else may enter at that time. I present these qualifications and possibilities, believing the Holy Spirit has put them together for me and given me the understanding.
God has promised us if we meet the conditions and qualifications for “brideship” He will do for us as He did for Noah. He will keep us from “the hour of temptation” which “shall come upon all the world.” There are so many promises I can’t begin to cover all of them here, so I will attempt to give a good sampling. In Rev. 3:9 this promise for being faithful to him in spite of their weakness, and not denying his name was given to the Philadelphia church, as we quoted earlier. He tells us that he will make those of the synagogue of Satan, to come and worship at their feet. Then in verse 10 there is his promise to keep us from the time of God’s judgment of the earth and its inhabitants. In verse 11 the promise of a crown is given; “Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” Verse 12 is a pledge that to all that overcometh, He will make a pillar in the temple of His God, and that they shall go no more out; and He will write upon them the name of His God, and the name of the city of God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from God; and that He will write upon them His new name. In Revelation 19:6-9 we are told of the celebration to put all other parties to shame. “And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings,saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath 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 the saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.. And he saith unto me, These are the true saying’s of God”. Then in 11-14 we have the wonderful promise that those who have met the conditions will return with the victorious Christ, to rule the world.
In chapter 20:6 we find this; “Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” AMEN!
13. THE ARK OF GOD!
In Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21, Jesus himself tells us what signs to watch for and how we will know the end is near. With the help of the Holy Ghost those signs become quite clear. God as always is speaking through His prophets, in this day as well as in the past. (see Amos 3:7) They are telling us that “our redemption draws nigh”! But just as it was in the days of Noah…So it is again! “They are eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage until the day”, when the door will be closed. Matthew 24:39 tells us; “And they knew not until the flood came, and took them all away: so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” I believe the Lord has shown me that the flood this time will be “the world”. After the bride of Christ is “caught up”, or enters into the “Ark of God” (where God dwells), the people will be carried away by the flood of evil or Satanic works, through the two Babylonian systems: commercial and religious Babylon, the works of the Antichrist and the False Prophet.
I Samuel 3:3 “…where the Ark of God was,…” I also found this to be an edifying tie; In Genesis 7:17 it says; “…and it was lifted up above the earth.” speaking of Noah’s Ark. The Ark of the covenant was transported by being carried only by those designated, being born up by them, lifted up if you will. “And Joshua spake unto the priests, saying, Take up the Ark of the covenant, and pass over before the people. And they TOOK UP the ARK OF THE COVENANT, and went before the people.” After the bride of Christ has been “lifted up”, “caught up”, in Revelation 11 we have a description of God’s wrath being rained out upon the earth, as in Noah’s time. The stubbornness of man comes to it’s fullness on the earth, while the first of the rewards begin to be handed out in heaven to God’s servants, prophets and saints. Then in verse 19 we see again the Ark of God; “And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in His temple the Ark of His testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.” So we have two things always consistent where there is an Ark, on the earth, something is lifted up and God is present or dwells there. Judgment is also going on somewhere “THE FLOOD”, an earthquake, hail etc.etc..
The Ark of the covenant disappeared somewhere along the way, but everything I have been able to find out about it is very vague. There have been rumours about where it might be, and one of those places is in Ethiopia, some have thought that Haile Selassie was it’s last known Guardian. I would be surprised if the real one turns up again. We know it certainly will not unless God ordains it, and it fits into His plans just prior to the return of the messiah.
JESUS THE NEW COVENANT
As we go on to Hebrews 12:22-24 we read; “But ye are come unto the mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus THE MEDIATOR OF THE NEW COVENANT, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.” So Jesus replaced or as He said fulfilled the law, He was in fact the promised Messiah, the NEW COVENANT, (The Law being the old covenant) and through His sacrifice on the cross we all have access to God and His throne as long as we are covered by the blood of the Lamb of God…Jesus!
We also find this in Heb. 8:6-8; “But now He obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also He is the MEDIATOR of a BETTER COVENANT, which was established upon better promises. For if the first COVENANT had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second. For finding fault with them, He saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a NEW COVENANT with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah;” So Hebrews confirms for us that the OLD COVENANT, which was of the LAW, and the use of the ARK OF THE COVENANT as a meeting place with God, was replaced by the “NEW COVENANT” ….JESUS, who is our means of contact with, or furnishes us our access to personal fellowship with the Living God.
Then the final appearance of the ARK OF GOD is here in Revelation after the “Catching Up” of the “Bride”. “And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in His temple the ARK OF HIS TESTAMENT: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail”. To me this whole connection between the ARK, the BOW, COVENANT, WHERE GOD DWELLS, AND JESUS as the way to salvation shows the loving mercy of God and His perfect plan which He has had, and has been working out, to save men and have fellowship with them for nearly 7,000 years.
In II Thessalonians 1:7-9 Paul admonishes and encourages us in this way; “And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels (messengers), in flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power.”
There is a way, to not only escape being swept away by the flood, for all eternity, but to be under the protection of the “Ark of God”, where He dwells, and that isn’t all, those who are, can receive the greatest honour a man or woman ever has had bestowed upon them. That honour is to be a part of the “Bride of Christ”, to be among those chosen to be “in that Number”. I think this writing has pretty much spelled out how one may attain this honour! Let us review some of those things. First we must give up insisting on our own righteousness and do it God’s way. This means receiving the righteousness He has provided through His Son Jesus,… TOTAL SURRENDER to the Holy Ghost and that means DEATH! Death to ourselves, our own ways and ideas. We must search the Scriptures for God’s requirements. We have to be willing to DIE now and get our rewards later….not LIVE (it up) NOW and PAY LATER. We must give up all idols, we must find out what our own idols are. Are they money, stuff, fame, our mate, our children, the human mind, our own cleverness, or just our own physical life? We must be delivered from the things of this world, while living in it until His call.
We must believe we are only sojourners. Jesus has to be our FIRST LOVE. To be a part of his “Bride” requires wanting to be,…more than anything else in our lives. If these things are true, then we can have that blessed hope of spending “FOREVER” in His presence.
Going back to Revelation 3:12 the Lord shows us the epitomy, the ultimate reward, the beautiful coming together of our relationship with Him, if we are truly His and keep ourselves unspotted by the world, once we know the truth, true spiritual virgins and wise, as did the five in Matthew twenty-five. Theywere redeemed from the world, the earth and from among men. Here is a promise to be with our God and His Christ for all of eternity. “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.” HALLELUJAH!!!
I believe this verse from Isaiah is a preview of the time coming when the redeemed church of Jesus Christ and the gathered and redeemed Jewish people, “the apple of God’s eye” shall be worshiping their Messiah together.
STAR OF DAVID
One night many years ago, God awakened me in the middle of the night. He asked me; “Do you know the Star of David?” I said; “Yes Lord.” He said; “Did you ever notice that it is made up of two triangles?” I had to answer that I hadn’t noticed that. He went on to say that one triangle represented the church and the other the Jews, and that the 3 points of the triangles stood for the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. He said that it represented a time when both groups would truly be under the trinity and that the center or core that the two triangles formed symbolized the Godhead. Ever since that night I have looked forward to the time with great anticipation. Not long after that night I had a dream in which I looked at the palm of my right hand and it had a tattoo of the Star of David in it. A very fascinating thing about all this is; My best friend for the past 30 years is a Jew and at least 25 years ago in South Bend, Indiana, she and I joked about starting a new “religion”. We, always in jest, said we would call it (since I was an Anglican at the time) Anglo-Judiaism, or Judao-Anglicanism. Little did we know then God had already planned long, long ago that one day the two groups would worship their Messiah together in Spirit and in truth. Praise the Lord! I know it has been the Father Himself who has kept our relationship together for us, as an acting out of His future plans. I Corinthians 15:28 encourages me in that Hope. “And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also Himself be subject unto Him that put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.”
When this comes to pass then all of God’s COVENANTS with man will have been made complete from Noah in Genesis to John in Revelation where we are promised that He will wipe away all tears from our eyes; and that there will be no more death, sorrow, crying, nor pain, for the former things are passed away. Those who have been partakers of God’s COVENANTS will dwell in the New Jerusalem with their God and His Christ. The gardens of Eden and Gethsemane will have been redeemed, and redeemed man will have access to the “tree of life”, even ETERNAL LIFE! AMEN.
“…EVEN SO, COME, LORD JESUS!” Rev. 22:20