The Berean Expositor
Volume 54 - Page 47 of 210
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3: 28 - 4: 24.
pp. 25 - 31
To express his joy, the Baptist used the figure of a wedding, in which he was in the
place of "the friend of the bridegroom" or as we should say, "the best man". It is
noteworthy that Scripture does not mix its metaphors like men do. John the Apostle is
the only N.T. writer that uses the word "bride"; once in his Gospel, and three times in the
Revelation (21: 2, 9; 22: 17). The terms "bride" and "wife" when used figuratively
are always connected with Israel. Israel, as the chosen nation, were the wife of Jehovah,
when they entered into covenant relationship with God at Sinai. God refers to the time
when He:
"took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which My covenant they
brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord" (Jer. 31: 32).
Israel was charged by God for her unfaithfulness, yet He pleads with her to come back
and be restored (Jer. 3: 1, 20-22). This restoration is the theme of Isaiah's prophecies
(Isa. 62: 4). Charles H. Welch points out that the restoration of a divorced woman and
the betrothal and marriage of "the chaste virgin" spoken of by Paul in II Cor. 11: 2,
which John speaks of as the "bride", must not be confused. Israel, the restored nation, is
the restored wife, but a faithful remnant of Israel with some believing Gentile constitute
the bride of the Lamb. There is also another company who are invited to the marriage of
the Lamb. They represent guests and cannot be the Bride. They also are primarily taken
from Israel (Matt. 22: 3) but they rejected God's invitation, so the invitation was
widened by Him (verse 10) to include Gentiles (from the illustration used). In the Acts
period the company was enlarged because the door was opened to the Gentiles to join
with saved Jews, and then there was the possibility of becoming a partaker of the
heavenly calling connected with the New Jerusalem, seen as the Bride of the Lamb
(Revelation 19: 9; 21: 1-3).
The heavenly city finally comes down to the new earth (Rev. 21: 2, 10, 23, 24). This
company represents the election of grace of Rom. 11: 5.  It is not possible to go into
more detail as such a discussion is getting away from our context in John's Gospel. We
should not be dismayed as we read of the greatness of God's kingdom purposes, but
nothing can be gained by ignoring divine distinctions and confusing the various strands
of the great plan of the ages. Those who have Charles H. Welch's book Life Through His
Name are directed to pages 120-124 where this is dealt with from the Scriptures in more
Just as in verses 16-21 we have the comments of the Evangelist on the words of
Christ, so here in verses 31-36 John meditates on the words of the Baptist. The Word
Who "comes from above" and is "above all" must grow greater, while all others must
grow less (verses 30, 31) and to Him was given the Holy Spirit without measure. Other
messengers from God had received the measure of the Spirit that was necessary each one