This paper is not intended to identify who the Bride of Christ is; that is another study, and neither is it my intention to unpack the Biblical ideals of marriage. This study is intended to explore the character and nature of the Bride of Christ and the condition of her heart as she prepares to meet her Bridegroom.
In this study we will look at her procession and consecration through the pattern of the Tabernacle, and how she learns through her change, to become an acceptable and sweet aroma to her God. As she stands outside the door of her soon to be house, she has gone through the trials of the age. Having been chosen since before the foundation of the world, and been marked by the blood of Christ, she now comes to the final stage. She has been washed, purified and perfected and now wears the wedding gown of righteousness. She is about to become One with her Bridegroom. Placing herself upon the worship altar, she is the culmination of the praises of God through the ages. She is the unification of the glorious illumination of every lamp that has been set alight by the saints of Christ.
As we endeavour to look into the heart of the Bride we will discover mystery as we are allowed a glimpse into the intimacy between the divine couple.
The age is drawing to an end, and we can hasten the glorious return of the Bridegroom and the heavenly feast of the marriage supper. Together with our own consecration, we reflect her heart upon the worship altar and can prepare the Bride for His return.
The Pattern of the Tabernacle
The raw beauty of the Tabernacle commanded by YHVH to Moses, reflects a simplicity that is so often overlooked. We have all seen the plans and the designs of artists over the years of what this simple structure looked like at its inception. This construction was made from cloth and skins, elaborately embroidered curtains, beaten gold and other metals. It was a building that no one had ever seen before and its detail could only have been seen by the eyes of Moses and those chosen to be part of its construction. Of course dimensions and materials, furnishings and craftsmanship are written in the scriptures for us. Moses is given the details on Mount Sinai to relay to the chief craftsmen Bezalel and Oholiab. But it is only through our imagination that we can perceive its simplistic grandeur.
Let us read the initial instructions in Exodus 25.
Exodus 25 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, 2 “Tell the children of Israel to take an offering for Me. From every man whose heart moves him [to give willingly] you shall take My offering. 3 This is the offering you are to receive from them: gold, silver, and bronze, 4 blue, purple, and scarlet fabric, fine twisted linen, goats’ hair, 5 rams’ skins dyed red, porpoise skins, acacia wood, 6 [olive] oil for lighting, balsam for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, 7 onyx stones and setting stones for the [priest’s] ephod and for the breastpiece. 8 Have them build a sanctuary for Me, so that I may dwell among them. 9 You shall construct it in accordance with everything that I am going to show you, as the pattern of the Tabernacle and the pattern of all its furniture. AMP
What is the first thing we read? We read that offerings and all the substance of the building of the Tabernacles must be given as a response of the heart.
Some teachers teach that the Tabernacle is a shadow picture of the Bride, but what I believe YHVH is showing is a little more delicate and profound. It is the pattern of restoration. This restoration is the return of His beloved back to the garden and onward into His dwelling. The word Shekinah is often used synonymously with the glory cloud of God, but it also means ‘dwelling’. The manifestation of the Shekinah means that YHVH is dwelling with His people, and not only that; He is making a sacred space among them. The sacred space is called the Holy of Holies. The High Priest stands symbolically as YHVH’s Bride. He approaches YHVH once a year on the day of atonement.
Hebrews 9: 6 Now when these things have been prepared in this way, the priests continually enter the outer [or first section of the] Tabernacle [that is, the Holy Place] performing [their ritual acts of] the divine worship, 7 but into the second [inner Tabernacle, the Holy of Holies], only the high priest enters [and then only] once a year, and never without [bringing a sacrifice of] blood, which he offers [as a substitutionary atonement] for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance. 8 By this the Holy Spirit signifies that the way into the Holy Place [the true Holy of Holies and the presence of God] has not yet been disclosed as long as the first or outer Tabernacle is still standing [that is, as long as the Levitical system of worship remains a recognised institution], 9 for this [first or outer Tabernacle] is a symbol [that is, an archetype or paradigm] for the present time.
In this passage, we see that the priests can only enter into the Holy Place, and that it is the role of the High Priest to present himself to YHVH, only when the sacrifice of atonement has been made. We also see that priests are performing acts of divine worship.
When YHVH establishes the new heaven and earth, the old Tabernacle will be replaced. There will be no need for the sacrifice of animals or for the atonement offering.
The Bride will have been cleansed and now abides in the Holy of Holies, the house of her husband. Now part of this Royal Priesthood, the King and His Queen are served in divine worship by all the saved saints and the angels. Melchizedek is the order of this Royal Priesthood. The name ‘Melchizedek means ‘King of Righteousness’. However, it is made up of two words. The word ‘Melek’ is the first part of this name, which means King and it is also the noun for ‘Salt’. Let us read this passage to understand this.
Exodus 30: 22 Then the LORD said to Moses, 23 “Take the finest spices: 500 shekels of liquid myrrh, half that amount (250 shekels) of fragrant cinnamon, 250 shekels of fragrant cane, 24 500 shekels of cassiak —all according to the sanctuary shekel—and a hin of olive oil. 25 Prepare from these a sacred anointing oil, a fragrant blend, the work of a perfumer; it will be a sacred anointing oil.
26 Use this oil to anoint the Tent of Meeting, the ark of the Testimony, 27 the table and all its utensils, the lampstand and its utensils, the altar of incense, 28 the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, and the basin with its stand. 29 You are to consecrate them so that they will be most holy. Whatever touches them shall be holy. 30 Anoint Aaron and his sons and consecrate them to serve Me as priests.
31 And you are to tell the Israelites, ‘This will be My sacred anointing oil for the generations to come. 32 It must not be used to anoint an ordinary man, and you must not make anything like it with the same formula. It is holy, and it must be holy to you. 33 Anyone who mixes perfume like it or puts it on an outsider shall be cut off from his people.’ ”
34 The LORD also said to Moses, “Take fragrant spices—gum resin, onycha, galbanum, and pure frankincense—in equal measures, 35 and make a fragrant blend of incense, the work of a perfumer, seasoned with salt, pure and holy. 36 Grind some of it into fine powder and place it in front of the Testimonym in the Tent of Meeting, where I will meet with you. It shall be most holy to you. 37 You are never to use this formula to make incense for yourselves; you shall regard it as holy to the LORD. 38 Anyone who makes something like it to enjoy its fragrance shall be cut off from his people.”
This aromatic fragrance is a set apart preparation and must only be used for the altar of incense. It can never be used for anything else. Its misuse comes with dire consequences. The separation of this fragrance tells us immediately that this is symbolic of the Bride. She is set apart and must never be given to anyone else.
Salt is not only a preserver but was a sign when making a covenant of loyalty and friendship. Yeshua in Matthew 5 referred to the people as salt. Why? Because they were people of the covenant, and as such their influence upon the world should be impactive. They were preserved because the word of God was life and it was something that should be shared with everyone.
We read in Psalm 19 the life giving properties of God’s word.
7. The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;
8 The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart; The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes;
9 The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring forever; The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether.
10 More to be desired are they than gold, Yea, than much fine gold; Sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
11 Moreover by them Your servant is warned, And in keeping them there is great reward.
If we are to be as salt then we transcend the natural order. The Melek, is the highest rank above all beings and represents the alpha. The word ‘zedek’, means ‘just’, or ‘righteous’.
Suddenly we see that the Bride of her Messiah can only stand with Him, when she has passed the test of being refined in righteousness. She is as His equal. Together, they make up this order and are now ‘One’. She has become a new creation.
Returning to the Tabernacle model, we actually see the pattern of a path which represents the salvation of the Bride. This salvation includes her repentance and subsequent forgiveness. In addition, the route opened up for her redemption lies ahead.
The way to her husband is through sacrifice and cleansing.
Looking at the Tabernacle outline and despite the ornate furnishings, YHVH chooses to live among His people in a simple tent. It is unlike the great palaces of Egypt. His temple is not grand like those of other pagan cultures. He lives alongside His people and though He is their God and King, the simplicity of His earthly dwelling ranks among the tents of those He has chosen. He does not live in opulence, and His dwelling reflects the generous giving of the people. YHVH takes what the best of human hands can make. But it is not just about what we can do, it’s about the condition of the heart that offers what we have made. We see in its final building, that YHVH found it pleasing and thus inhabited the Tabernacle.
As we look closely we see that the Tabernacle was not very big at all. The entrance is 30 feet across. Just think of the people waiting at this entrance to have their offerings of livestock, taken by the priests. The Altar, must burn what is acceptable and the animals must be without blemish. Next we journey to the Laver bowl. It was made from the copper mirrors given by the women. Copper was used as a purifying and sterilising agent. Here, at the bowl, the priests would cleanse themselves. Only after cleansing, could the priests enter the Holy Place to service the lamp, the altar of incense, and replenish the showbread.
As the Bride makes her way through to the Holy of Holies, and having been cleansed, we see that YHVH sees her light is shining for Him and her fragrance pervades the Holy place. We must remember that she can only get this far if her offering of worship is accepted.
If we think prophetically, we conclude that all things have been completed. This means therefore that the marriage of the Lamb and the Wedding supper has already taken place.
But at this present time we are living in the fore-shadow of events.
Hebrews 8:1 tells us:
Now the main point of what we have to say is this: we have such a High Priest
[the Christ] who is seated [in the place of honor] at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty (God) in heaven, 2 a Minister (Officiating Priest) in the holy places and in the true Tabernacle, which is erected not by man, but by the Lord. 3 For every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices; so it is essential for this One also to have something to offer. 4 Now if He were [still living] on earth, He would not be a priest at all, for there are priests who offer the gifts [to God] in accordance with the Law. 5 They serve as a pattern and foreshadowing of [what has its true existence and reality in] the heavenly things (sanctuary).
Having established some kind of pattern for us to view, we must also understand that the fore-shadow falls under the rule of law and ritual. These serve, as Paul tells us, as shadow pictures of a heavenly dwelling.
The better way is that what is built is built through the writing of His covenant upon the hearts and minds of the people. YHVH found that the problem was not the covenant He made, but the hearts of the people. Thus we, through the refining process, will enter into the promise by a much better process if our hearts are pure.
Heb 8:10 “For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel After those days, says the Lord: I will imprint My laws upon their minds [even upon their innermost thoughts and understanding], And engrave them upon their hearts [effecting their regeneration]. And I will be their God, And they shall be My people.
David, Israel’s first and true King, reflected the heart, that desired to worship YHVH. He was appointed the honour of presenting the plans of the first temple to His son Solomon.
1 Chronicles 28:4-12
4 However, the Lord, the God of Israel, chose me from all in my father’s house to be king over Israel forever. For He has chosen Judah to be the leader; and in the house (tribe) of Judah he chose the house of my father; and among the sons of my father He was pleased to make me king over all Israel. 5 Of all my sons (for the Lord has given me many sons) He has chosen my son Solomon to sit on the throne of the kingdom of the Lord over Israel. 6 He said to me, ‘Solomon your son shall build My house and My courts; for I have chosen him to be a son to Me, and I will be a father to him. 7 I will establish his kingdom forever if he loyally and continually obeys My commandments and My ordinances, as is done today.’ 8 Now therefore, in the sight of all Israel, the assembly of the Lord, and in the hearing of our God, observe and seek after all the commandments of the Lord your God so that you may possess the good land and leave it as an inheritance to your sons after you forever.
9 “As for you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father [have personal knowledge of Him, be acquainted with, and understand Him; appreciate, heed, and cherish Him] and serve Him with a blameless heart and a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts and minds, and understands every intent and inclination of the thoughts. If you seek Him [inquiring for and of Him and requiring Him as your first and vital necessity] He will let you find Him; but if you abandon (turn away from) Him, He will reject you forever. 10 Consider this carefully, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary. Be courageous and strong and do it.”
11 Then David gave to his son Solomon the plan for the porch of the temple, its buildings, its treasuries, its upper chambers, its inner rooms, and for the place for the [ark and its] mercy seat; 12 and the plan of all that he had in mind, for the courts of the house of the Lord, and for all the surrounding rooms, for the storerooms of the house of God and for the storerooms for the dedicated gifts and offerings;..
As David passes on the design for the House of YHVH to his son, He emphasises that Solomon’s mind must be willing and his heart blameless.
David’s heart reflected the heart of the Father. 1 Samuel 13:14. We often think that David chased or ran after God’s heart, but God is saying that David’s heart was like His. David’s desire was to honour YHVH with the sound of string and wind instruments. He admonished worshippers to make music to the Lord, and to play the instruments he had designed. We forget that this great king of Israel was also a musician and a poet. He wrote into the psalms his deepest feelings — those that emanated from his very depths. Psalm 130:1
1.Out of the depths
I cry to You, O LORD!
2 O Lord, hear my voice;
let Your ears be attentive to my plea for mercy.
3 If You, O LORD, kept track of iniquities,
then who, O Lord, could stand?
4 But with You there is forgiveness,
so that You may be feared.
Look how he ties in the forgiveness of the Lord into this heartfelt cry. The heart of the Bride, sings to her beloved from the very depths of her soul.
Luke 6 say’s v45 The upright (honourable, intrinsically good) man out of the good treasure [stored] in his heart produces what is upright (honourable and intrinsically good), and the evil man out of the evil storehouse brings forth that which is depraved (wicked and intrinsically evil); for out of the abundance (overflow) of the heart his mouth speaks. AMP
Let us lay this passage aside another well known passage in Ephesians.
5:11 Have no fellowship with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that is illuminated becomes a light itself. 14 So it is said:
“Wake up, O sleeper,
rise up from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
15 Pay careful attention, then, to how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 redeeming the time, because the days are evil. 17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. 18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to reckless indiscretion. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.
19 Speak to one another with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your hearts to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The worship and praise of YHVH breaks forth as the heart is filled. His adoration proceeds. The voice issues forth from a wilful decision to speak. Passing through a sound box, this larynx is both a wind and a string instrument to the Lord. The vocal cords vibrate as air passes over them, and as the heart prepares the melody, the voice responds.
So we see, how important Ephesians 5:19 is. YHVH wants to hear the song that issues from the abundance of the heart. David’s heart, issued forth the abundance of what he felt for the Lord, so much so that he has filled our lives with his songs.
Building the Altar : The Wedding Feast
Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: 2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. 3 He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come.
4 “Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’
5 “But they paid no attention and went off—one to his field, another to his business. 6 The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. 7 The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.
8 “Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. 9 So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ 10 So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests.
11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12 He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless.
13 “Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
14 “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
In this parable we see a clear image of the preparation of this auspicious event. The invitations are sent out, beyond those who are called to attend initially, and then we read that some of the messengers were killed. However, the invitations make us aware that the wedding feast is yet to take place. We realise that only a select few are invited to the feast, but sadly they find all the excuses not to attend. Now the invitation must go far and wide and finally, we come to the feast itself where we see a man who tries to enter and who is in unsuitable apparel.
The scenario is a reference to the house of Israel who rejects the Messiah, and thus is disqualified from attending His wedding.
Luke’s account of the parable tells us that the invitation goes out to a specific group 14:21 “The servant came back and reported this to his master. Then the owner of the house became angry and ordered his servant, ‘Go out quickly into the streets and alleys of the town and bring in the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame.’”
This is a direct reference to the scattered house of Israel who have become estranged from YHVH’s house because they neglected His word. We also see that this aspect of the calling is the call to repent and return to YHVH. The way is clear, it is through Messiah Yeshua to whose wedding we are all invited, if and only if we have prepared.
The man who is thrown out is however, rejected because he has become too familiar and disregards the protocol of entrance. What strikes me is that the man is addressed as friend.
In the Greek we find that the word ‘hetaíros’ Strong’s 2083 is used. It means a companion (normally an imposter), posing to be a comrade but in reality has only his own interests in mind.