Sunday, May 01, 2011

Suffering and the Kingdom (10) - Bride come First

The Bride of Christ is persecuted for resisting state control. The opening of the first Four Seals releases a time of terrible trouble on earth, leading the people of the world to look to their governments to rescue them. This will produce a huge increase in state power and open the way for the Terrible Beast, the ultimate form of state control. The Bride will speak prophetically and warn of the futility of trusting in human government, but the truth will be rewarded with persecution.

Persecution will transform the church. Christian political and administrative structures will be torn down and destroyed by hostile political forces. Churches that depend on professional leadership, well-managed organisation, big meetings and church buildings will be easily to shut down, so Christians that depend on them will struggle to survive.

Christians will be stripped of their attachments to the world and the religious systems they have relied will be ripped away. Communities defined by love and strong relationships will emerge in their place, as Christians will be forced into deeper relationships with each other in order to survive. The Holy Spirit will flood these communities with love and power, while teaching them to do the will of Jesus. As they take up the cross and following Jesus, they will begin to love one another, as Jesus loved us (John 13:34).

God cannot bring in the Times of Distress until the Bride of Christ has made herself ready. When she has prepared, she tells Jesus bring in a new season.

The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come" (Rev 22:17)!
The Greek word “Come” is “erchomai” and not “Parousia” The former refers to the a coming in judgment against evil, whereas the latter refers to coming in judgment against to Beast to bring in the Time of Distress. When the Bride is ready, the Holy Spirit tells Jesus to bring in the season in which the world system will be destroyed opening the way for the Kingdom of God to come. When the Bride is ready, she says “Come”, because she is ready and willing to go through the Times of Distress to get to the Fulfilment of the Kingdom.

When the Bride is prepared, Jesus open the seals and release the events described in the Book of Revelation. The Bride enables him to fulfil his plans, because she gives the Holy Spirit freedom to do his work on earth, even if it means pain for his people. She follows Jesus in suffering, because she knows how he defeated evil.
  • He gave up his place in glory, he emptied himself to became a man.
  • He allowed himself to be killed on the cross.
The Holy Spirit can use the Bride to defeat the powers of evil, because she is willing to follow his example.
They overcame the dragon
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
as to shrink from death (Rev 12:11-12)!
Jesus needs a church that is willing to suffer to the point of death without pleading to be rescued. The Bride of Christ frees the Holy Spirit to destroy the principalities and powers by suffering in the face of persecution.

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