A scriptural rationale for the claim that the Bride of Christ is the central theme of Scripture and the focus of all natural history.

The Message of the Bride of Christ


A scriptural rationale for the belief that the Bride is 1) the Central theme of Scripture and 2) the focus and culmination of all natural history





We are in what is the most exciting dispensation of church history since the first Pentecost but the tragedy is that so many 'saints' simply don't know it. Pentecost ushered in the First Reformation which took the Old Testament Church from being a Body of believers, to being the New Testament Church – The Body of Christ. But by the end of the first five hundred years of Her existence the Church had become a political institution and the fivefold ministry of the risen Lord Jesus had been withdraw from the Church.

However, after the next 1000 year reign of darkness know in Europe as the  Dark Ages, a Roman Catholic priest, called Martin Luther from Germany, understood that “the just shall live by faith” and the Second Reformation was born.

It took another 500 year to bring restoration but by the year 2007, after many 'refreshings, revivals, spiritual movements,' the fivefold ministry of the risen Jesus had been restored to the church and we entered a new dispensation. The year 2008 was known as 'the year of new beginnings' and signalled a spiritual movement called the 'Day of the Saints' that has, as some suggest, ushered in the Third and Final Reformation of the Church. This reformation will complete the number and maturity of the Church as His precious Bride and release Him from heaven to take us for the wedding and return together gloriously equipped in bridal union with Him to reign on planet earth.....“Then the kingdoms of this earth will become the kingdoms of our God and His Christ”.

Acts 3 v 21 tells us that Jesus is being held in Heaven until all things have been restored.....“Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God has spoken by His mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began”. God is into the restoration business, and we have a destiny to fulfil in that restoration programme. We need to know our destiny but before we can do that we need to know our identity.

Yet many today still don't understand who they are as the Church of Jesus Christ and that severely affects the fulfilment of their individual and corporate destiny.




Introduction: The importance of Identity …...............Jn 13 v 1 – 5


“It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for Him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved His own who were in the world He now showed the full extent of His love.

The evening meal was being served. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under His power and that He had come from the God and was returning to God, so He got up from the meal, took off His outer clothing and wrapped a towel around His waist….and began to wash their feet”…

Notice that Jesus knew....

a) Who He was

b) Where He had come from

c) Where He was going

In the light of this understanding He……..took a towel.

Note well this point that the knowledge and assurance of His own identity produced security and servant-hood.

We too need to know who we are in order to fulfil our personal destiny! We too need to be clear as to who we are in Christ.

We know that we have been adopted into the family of God. As such we are His ‘sons and daughters’, being made to reflect the image of His Son, have His DNA… We are 'spirit beings'. We are no longer just human beings. We are of a new species. We are ’spirit beings' in a body not human beings with a spirit.

There is a commonality of our new nature with that of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit'

Since the reformation which began when Martin Luther, a discontent Roman Catholic priest saw the 'truth' that “the just shall live by faith”, a great restorational truth was revealed to the Church and the protestant movement began. That was in the 1500's.  But today we are in a new season and the Spirit of God is sharing new 'restorational truths' that will prepare us for our destiny. Today as the final prophesies regarding the end times are fast being fulfilled, the Father is revealing a new emphasis regarding our identity and is positioning us differently as a consequence. How you see yourself changes all you do and directs your whole focus towards your destiny!

The Season of the Bride!

As we saw last session, God moves in times and seasons and in dispensations and movements.       I believe that as well as entering a new season called The season of the Saints we have also moved into a new season of understanding that as saints who attain maturity and unity, we will discover our true identity. Today’s message is about our Identity and destiny. It the message of the Bride and is not just another message among many. I believe it is a message that comes from the throne of God itself. It is a passionate plea, I believe, from the Spirit of God to us, the Body of Christ, to understand who we really are and what we were created for. It is a reminder of how He sees us and how He relates to us. We are His precious Bride!

And.......I believe that the Bride is the Central theme of the whole of scripture and what natural history is all about, the ultimate purpose of all creation.

To understand this will alter the direction and focus of our lives and ministry. It will become the foundation stone of all we live for, the spring board of all activity, the very purpose of our being.

Much of what I understand today has been revealed to me as I have sought Him in the early hours of the morning and as I have observed the Church in the various nations that I have visited since 2003. My personal journey is therefore important to this message.

Personal Testimony

I trained to become a school teacher and followed that career for 37 years, but the ‘call’ on my life to be a missionary or ‘sent one’ came when I was a young teacher of 23 years of age, when two intercessors whom I'd asked to seek the Lord about our forthcoming marriage, prophesied that 'One day the Lord will call you out to an international ministry'. However I knew that this would not happen until the end of my teaching career when I would be around 59/60.

In 2003 God called me out of teaching at the age of 59 and told me to... “Leave school, sell your house and car. I’m sending you to Africa”. Immediately I received invitations to preach at a number of Crusades in Kenya and Malawi.

As I prepared for these missions three things happened.

Firstly I became aware that I was concerned with a number of issues:

a) the place of prayer

b) the need for righteousness in our personal lives and in the Church generally.

c) the need for a personal anointing of power for preaching and for miracles. 

Yet I knew these were only aspects of something else. They were facets of the diamond but were not the diamond itself

“What is the diamond?” I cried out. “What’s it all about Lord?”

The answer I got, set my heart and my life in a completely new direction.    

“ It’s for My Bride. To get My Bride ready. To get Her dressed!” was His reply. It shocked me! I had never thought of the Bride before.

“Tell me more!” I shouted out and a voice from heaven cried..“Read Psalm 45”

I eagerly turned to it and was amazed to read written under the title Psalm 45 the words...'A Song of the Bride'. It was about the Bride! I didn't know this. It shocked  me.

Looking at Psalm 45 v 1-13 you see that the first 8 verses are about the majesty of the Bridegroom King. Then verses 9- 13 begins to describe the Bride Herself.

Verse 13 describes the Bride being dressed in ….'clothes embroidered with gold'.

I asked the Lord what these clothes embroidered with gold were?” and  He answered....“Read Revelations 19 v 7”

“For the wedding of the lamb has come and His Bride has made herself ready, in fine linen, bright and clean”. (These are the righteous and mighty acts of the saints)

These righteous and mighty acts were items of Her clothing and they were two of the issues that I had become concerned about as I prepared for the mission trips. I now understood.

When the church is 1) doing the mighty acts of the holy Spirit....the miracles and moving in the power of the Holy Spirit gifts and 2) Walking in righteousness then She is getting dressed


Some time later and several missions later the second thing happened. I got up early to pray one morning and immediately He shouted from Heaven

 “The Spirit and the Bride says ‘Come!’ ”

Then the Lord spoke into my spirit…“The Spirit has always been saying ‘Come!’ but the Bride is not saying ‘Come!’ . She doesn’t know She is a Bride”

Some few months later He cried out to me….. “The trouble is...My Church has an identity crisis. She doesn’t know who She is!”

As I pondered on this revelation I began to see how significant was the lack of understanding. If the Church doesn't fully understand who she is then she is unable to fulfil her destiny. This is so important regarding understanding Her relationship with Her Bridegroom King and Her eternal future. Her ignorance means that she not getting prepared for Her wedding. She does not know what the wedding clothes are and even if she does, is not ‘trying them on' to see if they fit well, in order to become comfortable in them.

Note: When you know you are getting married you tend to become obsessional

The third thing that happened to me was that I began to realise that the Bride was indeed the central theme of scripture, of natural history and the ultimate purpose of creation. This came about in a number of ways.

I was reflecting on the oddity of God choosing the Jews from all other nations…As the saying goes....'How odd of God to choose the Jews’ However, God created or formed the Jews from the seed of Abraham. He did not chose them from nations or races that already existed. So, I asked Him why.

He responded by asking me the same question. I replied by given the answer I had gleaned from theology school, Christian books I had read and sermons heard. This was my answer.....

Because You are a God of love and love is creative and has to give and so must have an object of its love. You needed to create the Jews as your people so that you could lavish your love upon them.

“ How dare you!” was God's response. “I NEED NOTHING! The relationship of love between Myself, My Son and the Holy Spirit is perfect. We need nothing else. We are complete! Nothing I do is out of NEED but is out of GRACE! I created the Jews so that they and the adopted gentiles whom I called, would be formed firstly into a family, my family, with whom and in whom I could live on earth. Then, out of this company of people of every tribe and every race I could give a love gift of a Bride to My Son. It has always been My desire to give My son a Bride.”........

Now these were the revelations that I have received over the months and years since I began this journey of discovery about the Bride. They have come as I have been listening to the Lord each morning early.  BUT do they agree with scripture? What does the Bible have to say? If these revelations are in conflict with scripture then they are wrong!

So..... let's look at these statements in the light of Scripture.

1)      the Bride is the central theme of scripture

2)      the central theme of natural history

3)      the purpose and focus of creation and the new creation.

The preparation of a Bride for Jesus is a major part of God’s ultimate purpose for His creation and for planet earth, which is to provide a 1) a home for Himself and His Son on planet earth 2) ultimately a family and a 'body' for Himself within whom He may dwell in this Church Age and from whom He would create 3) a Bride for His Son as His eternal companion to reign with Him forever.


Scriptural basis

1) A home for Himself on earth.

God has always desired to live on earth with man

Genesis 3 v 8 tells is that ' God walked in the garden in the cool of the evening' . This was God's original intention to create a dwelling place on planet earth with His creation but because of rebellion and sin God had to withdraw.

Exodus 3 v 8 tells us that God had seen the suffering of His people when they were slaves in Egypt, had….”heard their cries and felt their pain and had come down to deliver them”.

Exodus 34 tells us how during Moses leadership he was invited to meet with God 'on the Mountain' and speak to him face to face. God presenced himself on the earth.

Exodus 26 records how Moses was instructed by the Lord to build a tabernacle for God to dwell in. Moses regularly experienced the glory of the presence of God there and God spoke with him face to face.

In 2 Sam 7 David was told that although he had wanted to build a more permanent structure for God could dwell in Jerusalem, the place he had erected there would have to suffice, since his son Solomon was the one chosen to build the temple. 

In Ex 30 v 34 when Moses dedicated the tabernacle and Solomon, the temple, in 2 Chron 5 neither Moses nor Solomon's priests could enter the buildings because the glory smoke and the presence of the Lord was so thick. God inhabited both the tabernacle and the temple as long as the people kept the covenant. He was dwelling on earth in the midst.

However sin prevailed and God withdrew again and again. But the Lord God had a greater plan, a plan which the prophets had announced in advance that He had purposed.

In Ezekiel 36 v 26 God declares that one day He would create a Temple made of flesh, a people, with hearts that were … 'not made of stone but of flesh'. 'He would take out the heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh and write His laws upon their hearts and cause them to walk in His ways'.

So when Jesus came as the Saviour and died on the cross, the church, His Body on earth, was created. The born again believer is a temple of the Holy Spirit , the dwelling place of the Lord. The mystery of the gospel is, according to Colossians 1 v 26 and 27...'Christ in you the hope of glory' and so collectively the Church is His dwelling place once again on planet earth....the living temple.

And finally after the rapture, the millennium reign and the creation of the new heaven and the new earth, the dwelling place of God will be on earth for ever.

Rev 21 v 1- 3

“Then I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a Bride beautifully dressed for Her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling place of God is with men and He will live with them. They will be His people and God Himself will be with them and be their God”

2)     A family for Himself and a 'body' for Himself.’

In the Old Testament God said that “I shall be a Father to them”.

In Jn 1 v12 the scripture tells us that....”Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God”

We are His children and He is our Father and He therefore has a family.

Also scripture tells us in 1 Cor 6 v 19....'Know you not that your bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit'. We are therefore a temple or 'body' for Him to dwell in, both corporately and individually. 

3) A Bride for His Son.

Eph 5 v 31 tells us the relationship between Christ and His Church was to be like a marriage. Therefore the Church was to be like a Bride to the Son. One day they would get married.

Rev 19 v 7-9 looks to the time when......‘the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made Herself ready’

Rev 21 v 9-10 refers to Jerusalem as the Bride.....‘I will show you the Bride, the Lamb’s wife. And He carried me away in the Spirit and showed me the great city, Jerusalem, descending out of heaven’

Scripture looks to the time when we can reign eternally as His Bride:

Rev 3 v 21 …..‘To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with me on My throne’

Rev 5 v 10 …...‘And have made us kings and priests to our God; and we shall reign with Him on the earth’ 

Notice that this is reigning on planet earth not heaven!

So is the Bride the central theme of history and scripture?

The whole of scripture can be viewed from the standpoint of the Bride and of a marriage relationship.

Let us take a journey through scripture.

We start in Genesis 1 v 20b – 24 with a bride and a marriage

“ But for Adam no suitable helper was found. So the Lord caused Adam to fall into a deep sleep and while He was sleeping He took one of the man’s ribs and clothed it with flesh. Then the Lord made the women from the rib he had taken out of the man and he brought her to him. The man said…’This is my bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh. She shall be called women because she was taken from me’. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his wife (cleave to) and they shall become one….”

But the Church, the Bride of Christ, was also created out of the rib of the second Adam, Jesus, when the spear was thrust into His side at the cross and blood and water flowed out. The Church was born on the cross… not at Pentecost. She was empowered at Pentecost.

Blood speaks of forgiveness and atonement. Water speaks of cleansing, refreshing, the Holy spirit and the ‘Water of the Word’. The two elements are present in salvation as it says in Heb 10 v 19 and 20 ….”having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way which he concentrated for us, through the veil that is His flesh ….. let us draw near with faith having our hearts sprinkled (as the priest sprinkled the blood over the sacrifice) from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in the pure water

The Bride (the second Eve)  was born out of the rib of Jesus (the second Adam). She was spiritually speaking flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone just as the first Eve was flesh of the first Adam’s flesh (body).

However just as Eve was formed and became a separate being and then had to 'cleave back' to Adam in order for the two to become one, so the Church has been formed but has become separated from and often independent of Him. We need to b4ecome 'One' according to Jn 17 v 21 and 23....” That they may become one even as we are one. I in You and You in Me and We in them”.

Let this be that generation of believers who will ‘cleave’ back to Jesus in a deeper intimacy and to one another and truly become ‘ONE’.

The New Testament scripture is full of references to the Bride.

It's interesting that in Matthew's Gospel Jesus begins his ministry to the apostles by revealing Himself as the Bridegroom God

Matt 9 v 15…’Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them. The time will come when the bridegroom will  be taken away”

And Matthew ends his gospel account by calling the apostles to cultivate intimacy with Him as the Bridegroom God and readiness, when He recounts the story of the ten virgins in Matt 25

In John's Gospel the ministry of Jesus begins with the wedding at Cana (John chp 2) and, before His arrest in Gethsemane, ends in Jn 14 v 2 – 3 with the wedding betrothal supper that He Has with His disciples and which is known as the Last Supper

“Do not let your heart be troubled. Trust in God. In My Father’s house are many rooms (enough room for everyone). If it were not so I would have told you. I am going to prepare a place for you and if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that where I am you may be also”

This is a fascinating event. It was an engagement party! You see in Jewish weddings the betrothal ceremony or engagement party is the essential place of commitment. The ratification and celebration is the wedding feast which takes place later when the home has been prepared and the 'consummation' is when they enter their prepared house and then the marriage bed of intimacy.

At the betrothal or engagement meal they share the cup together and the bridegroom speaks words of promise and commitment. He says... “I must go away to prepare a place for you but if I go, I will come again to take you to be where I am”… etc etc  Isn't this what Jesus said to His disciples during the Last Supper?

The house the bridegroom was to build was usually adjacent the father's property or on the roof or an extension to it. Only the father new when it was complete enough and ready for his son to bring the bride. Remember Jesus words about His return....” Only the Father knows the hour ...not even the Son”.

St Paul certainly understood the bridal identity of the Church that he was called to serve. His heart desire was to present Her to the Lord as a pure virgin Bride

2 Cor 11 v 2 says “I am jealous for you with a Godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to Him”

So important was this to him that he compared the relationship between husband and wife as that of Christ and His Church.

So.....we began in Genesis and we end in Revelation with the marriage feast of the Lamb Rev 19 v 7

‘The marriage of the Lamb has come and His wife has made Herself ready…He said to me “Write: Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb”

This marks the end of our Natural History as we know it.

At this point we are ‘raptured’ for the wedding, perfected and sanctified without any sin principle in us, and so are able to co-partner with Him as joint heirs and equal partners.

And so begins a new dispensation....the millennium reign


Before we look at the implications of this revelation let us look a little more at Jesus' heart cry for the unity of His people as found in John 17 v 21 and 23

This is so important because in our identity as the Bride there is no room for disunity. In fact without unity there can be no Bride for the Bride is a corporate concept.

This prayer was no passing comment, no impassioned request. It was prayed in the garden when Jesus was agonising in prayer. “Take this cup from me” He cried. “Never the less, Your will be done. Not mine”. In the same grip of emotion knowing that without understanding and experiencing that ‘unity’ there could be no Bride, He interceded for unity. It was a cry of agony from the heart ..... “Father I pray that they may be one”

Notice this was not just a prayer for unity but went beyond that to a prayer for ‘Oneness’…..the same word as used in Genesis 1...‘to cleave to’. To become one! This oneness was to be a reflection of the same Oneness in the Godhead. As the Father , Son, and Holy Spirit are ‘One’ so we are to be ‘One’ with each other.

Unity is not an option. It is an essential!

If our relationship with Christ is to be a reflection of the marriage union and if this union is a corporate experience and not merely individual, then we must seek that unity with one another at all costs. Remember Jesus only has one Bride . He doesn't have harem.

Unity is not friendship. It is not fellowship. It is not merely our involvement in corporate activities by the churches in our area. That is ‘Project Unity’. It lasts only as long as the project.

It is “dwelling together or living together” of Ps 133 v 1. It is remaining, abiding, rubbing shoulders with in the attempt to share in carrying the load…maybe in even carrying the load instead of the other. It is being that close that you are able to be “your brother’s keeper”.

Pastors …Do you know the personal needs or hopes of the other Pastor’s in your area where you live? Marriage difficulties, rent arrears, children’s education challenges, dreams, hope and expectations, disappointments, failures, strengths that you could benefit from in the Body of Christ … and weaknesses that you need to cover? How can we expect our congregations to “lay down their lives for one another” if first we don’t lay down ours.

The problem is that the saints are often ahead of us. If there is a inter-church prayer meeting then the saints are there ahead of us but the leaders …….?

Unity is the place of blessing Psalm 133 ….”Where brethren dwell together in unity, there the Lord commands the blessing”.

What ‘blessing’ might there be if the leaders of the churches in any town, city or region truly came together in unity, in repentance for the independent, jealous, critical or unloving spirit that so often divides, and began to pray together for each other and corporately seek the face of the Lord…..together that He might bless their territory for which they have a corporate responsibility and accountability to Christ, our Head. The Church might then discover how to take the whole territory where the live for Christ.

There is a huge difference between ‘a leader’ and the concept of ‘leadership’.

I learnt that there was a big difference in God’s mind between the two. The Lord began to share with me that He has a geographical mindset.  He sees Church as identified in terms of organisation by its geographical location whether that be a home or house, street, village, town. city, region/province or nation. He recognises the Church of Douala or Lagos, the church of Cameroon or Nigeria etc. He doesn’t identify it by its denomination, its doctrine, its administrational systems….but by where it is located…..by the territory that it is held responsible for.

After listening for some months to the Lord as He began to show me His view of Church leadership I was surprised when He asked me to write those things down in a letter which He wanted me then to send out to others in my region.  I wrote it all down and asked Him who I was to send it to. “Send it to the Leadership of My Church in your region”.

I thought long and hard but simply couldn’t find who to address the letters to. You see, I could find leaders of the various churches but not the ‘leadership’ of the Church in my region. There simply was no ‘body’ or organisation that represented the corporate Church in my region…..so there was no leadership team and I could not send it.

All right” the Lord said, “Then send it to the leadership of My Church in your nearest town or city”. But I still could not find it.

I realised that there was a difference in God’s mind between being a leader and being part of the  leadership of the Church in any Town, City or Region/Province.

I asked Him to define the difference for me and to make the definition of ‘Leadership’ simple and economic in words. What was the difference between being a leader and being part of the leadership of any regional Church? This is what He said.

“Leaders move or transition from being a ‘ leader’ into ‘leadership’ when they accept their corporate responsibility for the territory In have given them”.

I asked the Lord…”In the light of this revelation what is part of the blessing for the leadership as promised in Ps 133?”

He said….” When the leaders come together in unity, taking corporate responsibility, together, for their area, then part of My blessing for these end days is revelation of My strategy to take their territory”.

Unity of the Body is essential for success, for victory and for blessing. It is also imperative for the maturing and preparation of His precious Bride.

Finally: It is important that we understand in terms of the 'times and seasons' what the days will be like that precedes that moment in natural history when the Bride will have “made herself ready”.

It will be a time

1) Marked by a deep unity between the Spirit and the Bride.

“The Spirit and the Bride say ‘Come!’ Rev 22 v 17

Both will be crying the same cry! But we are not there yet! The Church of Jesus worldwide still needs to hear this message of the Bride and to respond to it. Notice that John doesn’t say “The Spirit and the Family, or the Spirit and the Body, says ‘Come! but the Spirit and the Bride say 'Come!'”

2) It will be marked by it being the most sinful generation and emotionally broken generation in history (Dan 8v 23, Matt 24 v 10-24, I Tim 4 v 1-3 and 2 Tim 3 v 1-5)

“In the latter time…..when the transgressors have reached their fullness”…

Dan 8 v 23

3)      It will be marked by the Holy Spirit’s emphasis on Jesus as the Bridegroom King and Bridegroom God as never before.

This revelation has been strategically reserved for the last generation to empower the church to overcome the most awful lawless, fearful, demonic and sexually perverted generation in history.

Does that sound as if I’ve just read last week’s World News Report?



I want to finish by referring to Song of Songs 1 v 1 “Kiss me with the kisses of Your mouth”

The significance of the verse.......Intimacy…..A call to intimacy…to Bridal love!

No-one invites a kiss on the mouth unless they are desiring to arouse deep feelings of intimacy. This book Song of Songs is a prophetic book for today. It is the song of the Bride and Bridegroom....the Church and King Jesus

This is the cry of the Holy Spirit to us today....”.Come! See the Bridegroom. You are His Bride and He is your lover”

So.....Let us be those:

Who know their identity  

Who know their eternal destiny

Who know their destination

Who desire to love Him, the Bridegroom King….. intensely,

Who are preparing themselves as a virgin Bride and who are getting dressed for the wedding by.....

’keeping themselves unspotted by the world, are putting on the robes of righteousness, the garments of salvation, thanksgiving and of praise, and are protected by the armour of God and are walking in humility.


Dr Howard Barnes

Co director of Time Out Mission Intn'l


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