Are The 144,000 — The Bride of Christ?


"In them He has set a tabernacle for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoices like a strong man to run its race" (Psalm 19:6).


Specific purpose statement: this article is an attempt to explain the mystery concerning Christ and the church.   The topics being discussed include: the 144,000, the Bride of Christ, the marriage of the Lamb, and the wedding guests.   The material was originally published here, on cryaloud.com, in August, 1997.   This perspective makes sense.   But, please take this as more discussion, than gospel.   As Paul wrote:


"To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ ..." (Ephesians 3:8-9 NKJV)


The Psalmist, King David, personifies the sun and the heavenly creation as foretelling a future event, in which the servants of God are cleansed and prepared for a marriage. This marriage is linked with redemption. Psalm 19 marvellously captures the whole process of salvation and the marriage of the Lamb, in a single song. Yet, there is much to be understood about the event, the people involved, and the purpose of this marriage. Can God marry mortals? The Old Testament metaphorizes the relationship between God and the nation of Israel as a marriage. But, can God really have a lasting relationship with flesh? Hardly.

The relationship between Christ and the Church is also labelled in terms of a marriage: " 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.' This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church." (Ephesians 5:31,32).

Notice it is a mystery. Are we meant to understand all the ramifications of this mysterious analogy between Christ and the church?

Notice the relationship is actually a betrothal. The marriage has not yet taken place: 'For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ' (II Corinthians 11:2). The espousal is for the present, the marriage is later.

Let's look at who the parties are to the marriage, and we can get a better grasp of where we are going with the understanding of this concept. Christ is clearly seen as the groom. But who is the bride? Who are the wedding guests?



The 144,000 and The Marriage of the Lamb


Here is a short Bible Study of Revelation 14: 1-6, to clarify one of the parties to the marriage:

Point Number One

This section of scripture deals with a marriage.

Revelation 14:1-2 'Then I looked, and behold, a Lamb standing on Mount Zion, and with Him one hundred and forty-four thousand, having His Father's name written on their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, like the voice of many waters, and like the voice of loud thunder. And I heard the sound of harpists playing their harps.

Note the term: 'having His Father's name'. This is a reference to a marriage. See Isaiah 4:1: 'And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, "We will eat our own food and wear our own apparel; only let us be called by your name, to take away our reproach."' Isaiah prophesies of a time when women will outnumber the men by a ratio of seven to one, because of horrific wars and devastation. Isaiah refers to a time when it is difficult for women to survive economically and socially, as single individuals. Revelation 14:1 also pictures a group of people married to the Lamb.


Point Number Two

This a unique group of people. No one else has the role given to them by God. They are 'saved' or redeemed. This is in the Kingdom of God, in the future.

Revelation 14:3 'They sang as it were a new song before the throne, before the four living creatures, and the elders; and no one could learn that song except the hundred and forty-four thousand who were redeemed from the earth.'

Notice the song is new. This is a one-time-only event. In the Old Testament songs were given to teach and prophesy of things to come. This song will identify in an anthem the people and their role. We do the same today with national anthems and school songs. There are only 144,000 in the group to become the Bride of Christ !!! The whole church is not the bride. The church is only espoused. Many are called, few are chosen to be the bride. This does not leave all the rest out of salvation. It only establishes the role of the 144,000 as the Bride of Christ, in the Kingdom of God.


Point Number Three

There is a link to the Book of Ruth in this section of scripture. The 144,000 are also linked to the Festival of Weeks (Pentecost) and are firstfruits in the Kingdom of God.

Revelation 14:4 "These are the ones who were not defiled with women, for they are virgins. These are the ones who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being firstfruits to God and to the Lamb."

The link to the story of Ruth is in the words 'who follow the Lamb wherever He goes'. Take a look at Ruth 1:16: '"Entreat me not to leave you, Or to turn back from following after you; for wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you lodge, I will lodge; your people (are) my people, and your God, (is) my God."' The young Israelitish widow, knew Her God, and the purpose of marrying within her own national heritage. She was used to typify the Bride of Christ. (Read the article: The Plain Truth About Ruth, to clarify her nationality is Israelite.) This is a story of marriage and enriches the meaning of the Day of Pentecost. Revelation 14:1-5 and the Book of Ruth are dealing with the same prophetic marriage.


Point Number Four

These are the ones prepared and acceptable to God, who are pure in God's sight.

Revelation 14:5 'And in their mouth was found no deceit, for they are without fault before the throne of God.'

Look at Revelation 21:9-27; Revelation 22:17 and compare with the Revelation 14:1-5. This is the same group of people and we see their role in the Kingdom of God. Notice the mansion and the rooms for the 144,000; the city with twelve gates, with the names of the twelve tribes. If you study into a Jewish wedding you will see the parallel, with the room built by the father of the groom, for the groom and bride to stay in for one week, consummating the marriage. This matches the Feast of Tabernacles of seven days in duration, with spiritual meaning for Christ and the Kingdom of God.

Read Revelation 7:1-8. This shows that the 144,000 can only be Israelites of pure racial strain. This is a matter of race. They also have to be pure in Spirit that is a matter of grace. God does not change. He forbade inter-racial marriage in Old Testament times, and He says the same for us in New Testament times.


The Wedding Guests

'"Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding." So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests . But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment' (Matthew 22:9-11).

There is another group to be at the wedding of the Lamb. These are guests at the wedding feast. They are the great multitude' of Revelation 7:9. In the New King James Version, the words "After this"', preface verse 9, indicating correctly that what follows refers to a separate group of people than the 144,000 of verses 1-8 of Revelation 7.

This group includes the servants of God from before the Flood; those righteous men after the Flood to Abraham; and the few Israelites given the Spirit of God before the Day of Pentecost, 31 A.D. The rest of the New Testament Church, including a percentage of them Gentiles, are a part of this great multitude. That shows you what importance God places on the Bride of Christ, when He lumps the patriarchs, the apostles, and all the rest, into one large group and separates them from the Bride of Christ !!!


Conclusion

You have learned that the 144,000 of both Revelation chapters 7 and 14 could be the Bride of Christ, reflecting the message behind the Book of Ruth. For sure, the 144,000 can only be Israelites, of pure racial strain. The rest are the guests at the Marriage of the Lamb — Gentiles and Israelites, who have also been resurrected into the Kingdom of God, at "the last trump." They are not flesh! They are Spirit beings, having the gift of eternal life.

The Bride of Christ, Part II, will cover what is the purpose and the role of the Bride of Christ in more detail. The basis of this is found in the Book of Esther, and the Book of Revelation. Esther was amongst a group of women in "the custody of Shaashgaz, the king's eunuch who kept the concubines" (Esther 2:14). Esther and this group of women could considered "betrothed" to King Ahasuerus. Many were called, only Esther was chosen to be the king's wife.

Remember, Enoch, Noah, Abraham and Sarah are not Israelites. They cannot be in the group of Israelites known as the 144,000. They will be a part of the millennial government of God, as will all the patriarchs and the others. These patriarchs and the Church, will be a part of the 'line function' (ie. the chain of command): the working government and ecclesiastical functions of the Kingdom of God.

The Bride of Christ has a different duty entirely. It has more of a 'staff function' like a personnel department has in a corporation. Remember, there will be Christ, the Bride, and the Children of God, in the millennial Kingdom of God (those Spirit beings born into the Kingdom at the return of Christ). They will rule over and teach mankind the Way of God for 1,000 years.

Here is a point that I have never seen mentioned in this context. With all the frustrations to Christianity coming from the Gay/Lesbian agenda, and gay marriage, the question comes to mind: Will the 144,000 be comprised of only Godly women? No men. Am I the only one posing this question? In this day and age, I believe it is fair to ask, considering the present on-going battle to preserve the traditional Christian marriage in our society, in western nations. Women bring balance to the male mind, in a marriage. Jesus came as a man. God the Father, is a father figure.

So ... Solomon was a type of Christ and had many wives. In one sense, King Solomon failed in his obligation to God, as he did not marry his wives in one ceremony, as one bride. But, Solomon was not a spiritual example. He sinned, as do all men. The marriage of the Lamb takes place as a single event. One husband. One bride. So ponder this brief, and see if you can prove it right or wrong, or maybe so.

But then. We may have to wait for the second coming of the Messiah, and the Kingdom of God, for the definative answer to this delemma.

We are left with one big hint ...




Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, "Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb's wife."   And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God. Her light was like a most precious stone, like a jasper stone, clear as crystal.   Also she had a great and high wall with twelve gates, and twelve angels at the gates, and names written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel:   three gates on the east, three gates on the north, three gates on the south, and three gates on the west.   Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
(Revelation 21:9-14 NKJV)




Simply put   ...   nowhere in scripture can you find the quote: "the Church is the Bride of Christ".



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