The concept of a Bride Company runs through the Old Testament, but it is not until after our Lord’s resurrection that we find clearer information, mainly from the writings of the Apostle Paul.
For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. ‘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 5:29-32.
What is this “great mystery”? It is certainly not the institution of marriage, which has been observed from the very beginning. Paul says the mystery concerns the Lord Himself. Therefore he speaks about the Lord “leaving His Father and Mother” in heaven and seeking His Bride. Therefore during the last 2,000 years the Bride Company has been gradually forming.
The conclusion of this process, the calling of the Bride, is found in Revelation. “Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!’ ” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.” Rev.19:7-9
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.” Rev.21:9 John was then shown the Heavenly Jerusalem. This is why Paul referred to “the Jerusalem above” as our Mother. Gal.4:26
And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” Rev 22:17. The Holy Spirit and the Bride call for the return of the Lord. This can only take place when the Father has completed the calling of the Bride Company, and it explains why Jesus had no idea of the time when this would occur. Many have tried to fix a date, based on chronology and numerics, but it has nothing to do with such things. It depends entirely on the moment the Bride is complete. Then the Lord Jesus will return. We may sense the nearness of this great event, but can never know the date. No wonder we are told to “watch, wait, and pray” so as to be ready for the Day.
For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. Romans 11:25
And that leads us to two important conclusions.