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Volume 13 - Page 123 of 159 Index | Zoom | |
"Thou shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more. For thy Maker
is thy husband . . . . . for the Lord hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in
spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God" (Isa. 54: 4-6).
The day of Israel's return to the Lord is likened to the day when they came up out of
Egypt, which likeness is often referred to when speaking of the end. So Hos. 2: 15-20
"She shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up
out of the land of Egypt. And it shall be at that day, saith the Lord, that thou shalt call
Me `My husband' . . . . . and I will betroth thee unto Me for the age, yea I will betroth
thee unto Me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving kindness and in mercies. I
will even betroth thee unto Me in faithfulness."
This wife who had been repudiated (Hos. 2: 2) is said to be "betrothed" upon her
return, so Isa. 62: 5 uses the figure:--
"As a young man marrieth a virgin . . . . . and as a bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride,
so shall thy God rejoice over thee."
This is followed in Isa. 63: with the prophecy of the coming of the Lord in
vengeance, "their blood shall be sprinkled upon My garments", being parallel with the
passage in Rev. 19:, "He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood"; the "garments
like him that treadeth the wine fat" being parallel with "He treadeth the winepress of the
fierceness of the wrath of Almighty God" (Rev. 19: 15).
The close association which is made by Isa. 62: and 63: between the marriage of
Israel and the treading of the winepress of the wrath of God enables us to see with the
same sequence in Rev. 19: that we have there the fulfillment of these earlier prophecies
of restoration. For a thousand years the marriage, here celebrated, shall last. Whether it
be true to say that it is then done away, and that the Holy City which descends out of
heaven called "The Bride" is something quite different, we will consider in its place. Of
the Lamb's wife it is said that she had "made herself ready"; in chapter 21: the word
appears again in the expression, "prepared as a bride adorned for her husband".
Some see a distinction here between the standing of the Church and of Israel, as the
Church can by no means be said to make itself "ready". It is very likely that the question
of grace and works has nothing to do with the passage, and that it simply refers to the
adornment of the bride which was so customary in Bible lands. In the verse following,
however, there is a reference to "works":--
"And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and shining; for
fine linen is the righteous award of the saints" (Rev. 19: 8).
There appears to be a need for careful distinction in connection with those who make
up the marriage celebration of that day. The Wife cannot be "All Israel" because Israel
has also to supply "the friend of the bridegroom", "the virgins her companions", those
"bidden to the marriage of the King's Son", and those set forth under the figure of "the
wise and foolish virgins". This being so, it appears that a portion of Israel are chosen as