Search for the Bride
By Arlen L. Chitwood
Then Rebekah lifted her eyes, and when she saw Isaac she dismounted from her camel;
for she had said to the servant, “Who is this man walking in the field to meet us?” The servant said, “It is my master.” So she took a veil and covered herself.
And the servant told Isaac all the things that he had done.
Then Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent; and he took Rebekah and she became his wife, and he loved her. So Isaac was comforted after his mother's death. (Genesis 24:64-67).
Near the end of the account of Abraham’s servant procuring a bride for Isaac in Genesis chapter twenty-four, the servant removed the bride from Mesopotamia, and Isaac met his bride at a place between her home and his father’s home. The bride, upon meeting Isaac, covered herself with a veil; and the servant, bringing the bride forth, related to Isaac all the things that had been accomplished on his mission. Isaac then took Rebekah to his father’s home, and there she became his wife (Genesis 24:61-67).
These events in the type point to that future day at the end of the dispensation when the Son comes forth and the Spirit removes the bride from the earth. The bride, upon meeting the Son, will cover herself with that typified by the veil in the Genesis account — the wedding garment; and the Spirit will relate to the Son all the things that had been accomplished throughout the dispensation. The Son will then take the bride to His Father’s home, where she will become His wife (1 Thessalonians 4:13ff).
Genesis chapter twenty-four centers attention on the actual search for the bride throughout the dispensation. Events surrounding the removal of the bride, along with subsequent events extending into the Messianic Era, are dealt with only very briefly in this chapter. And, to see details surrounding these events as they pertain to Christ and Christians — that occur between the removal of the Church and the Messianic Kingdom — one must look to other types, along with the antitype.
And, if a person were dealing with a type that had to do mainly with the things occurring following the removal of the bride, exactly the same thing would be in view if that person wanted to know details surrounding events preceding the removal of the bride. That person would have to go to other types, types that dealt with the subject. He would have to go to types such as the one in Genesis chapter twenty-four.
Accordingly, all events surrounding the procurement of the bride, the removal of the bride, and that which follows the removal of the bride are not dealt with in any one type. Rather, different types deal with different facets of the overall scope of the matter, with each type emphasizing a particular facet of biblical truth.
Thus, to see the complete picture, exactly as God has revealed it in His Word, two things must be done: 1) all of the types on a particular subject must be studied in the light of one another, and 2) the antitype must be studied in the light of all these different types.
All of the checks and balances that God has set forth in His Word must be run. Only through this means can man see, in a completely correct manner, that which God has revealed in His Word.
Another Type, The Antitype
In the preceding respect, note another type dealing with the bride going forth to meet the Bridegroom, with the emphasis placed at a different point. Chapters three and four in the book of Ruth — exactly as the latter part of Genesis chapter twenty-four — form a type of a prepared bride going forth to meet the Bridegroom, along with events that follow. And the antitype of that seen in both sections of Scripture can be seen in the first twenty chapters of the book of Revelation.
Events in Genesis chapter twenty-four and Ruth chapters three and four and events in Revelation chapters one through twenty parallel one another. The former two accounts form two different types of the same thing, with the emphasis placed at different points in each; and the latter account forms the antitype, covering that seen in both of the types. And these sections of three different books must be studied in the light of one another, along with sections in other books that deal with the subject as well.
But remaining more particularly with the book of Ruth and comparing it with the book of Revelation, note what one finds:
Ruth chapter three has to do with Ruth properly preparing herself for meeting Boaz on his threshing floor, with a redemption of the inheritance in view, which also involves Boaz taking Ruth as his wife. And Ruth chapter four has to do with Boaz’s redemption of this forfeited inheritance, Ruth becoming Boaz’s wife, and a kingly lineage resulting from this union — David’s lineage (King David was the great grandson of Boaz and Ruth, as revealed at the close of Ruth chapter four).
Revelation chapters one through twenty have to do with exactly the same thing, in the antitype. These chapters have to do with Christians going forth to meet Christ on His threshing floor (at the judgment seat [cf. Matthew 3:11, 12]), with a redemption of the inheritance in view, which will also involve Christ taking the bride as His wife. And this will be followed by Christ’s return to the earth, the destruction of Gentile world power, the binding of Satan, and Christ’s reign over the earth (as the greater Son of David) with His wife.
Some Christians in that day will be prepared for these events, but others will not be prepared. Some will be allowed to clothe themselves in wedding garments, which they will possess; but others will not be allowed to do so. They will be unable to clothe themselves in this manner, for they will not possess wedding garments.
And the actions of Christ relative to three things will be reserved for Christians possessing wedding garments: 1) the redemption of the inheritance, 2) the bride becoming His wife, and 3) the regality that will follow. Christians lacking wedding garments will have no part in these things.
(Note that the book of Ruth, in chapters two through four, deals with only one part of this overall type. This book, in these chapters, deals only with the faithful, with those possessing wedding garments.
For the other part of the overall type, attention will have to be directed to the first part of the book [chapter 1], where Orpah, a member of the family [as Ruth], turned back. And, resultingly, Orpah is not seen in subsequent activities surrounding the bride.
Or, one can turn to other types dealing with the subject to see the dual aspect of the matter [e.g., the account dealing with Lot and his wife, with Abraham also seen in the type; or the account dealing with the Israelites under Moses at Kadesh-Barnea forms the most exhaustive of any of the types in this respect].)
In the book of Ruth, because of Ruth’s action, Boaz is required to not only redeem a forfeited inheritance but to also take Ruth as his wife. Ruth properly prepared herself, appeared before Boaz on his threshing floor, and called his attention to the matter (Ruth 3:1-12). Then Boaz acted in complete accord with that which the Jewish people followed within the Mosaic economy (Ruth 3:13; 4:1-10).
In the book of Revelation, exactly the same thing is seen in relation to Christ (typified by Boaz) and Christians (typified by Ruth). A properly prepared bride will be present on Christ’s threshing floor, at His judgment seat (Revelation 1-4). And, on the basis of that which is revealed in the type, the Son will act in complete accord with the manner in which Boaz acted (Revelation 5-18).
Certain things have been promised to the bride (e.g., the overcomer’s promises in Revelation 2, 3); and the Son, of necessity, will act in a manner that will bring this to pass. The Son will not only act to redeem a forfeited inheritance but He will, at the same time, through this redemptive process, take the bride as His wife as well (exactly as seen in the type in Ruth chapter four).
And this is all anticipated in Revelation chapter four through the action of the twenty-four elders casting their crowns before God’s throne. Regality is in view through a casting of these crowns before the throne, and that is what is in view through the redemption of the inheritance as well (Ruth 4; Revelation 5-20).
Christ’s bride will have previously been revealed (Revelation 1-3). And these crowns will be cast before God’s throne, with a view to the bride wearing these crowns, as the bride exercises power and authority with Christ — the King, with His consort queen — over the inheritance about to be redeemed.
(For further information on Revelation chapters one through four, refer to chapter 13 in this book. Also, for further information on the book of Ruth, refer to the author’s book, MYSTERIES OF THE KINGDOM, chapter 8.)
One Worthy to Redeem
Christ redeeming the inheritance and taking the bride as His wife, in the antitype of Boaz’s actions in Ruth chapter four, forms the central part of the book of Revelation. Fourteen chapters of the book are given over to the subject surrounding Christ redeeming the inheritance and taking the bride as His wife (chapters 5-18). And the first part of chapter nineteen is given over to hallelujahs that will sound forth in heaven after this has been accomplished, along with the festivities surrounding the marriage of the Lamb (vv. 1-10).
Chapter five is taken up with the search for and a revelation of the One worthy to perform this task. And chapters six through eighteen are taken up with this redemptive work being carried out, with the previously revealed bride becoming Christ’s wife through this redemptive process.
And that set forth in the book of Revelation, leading into and including these chapters, must follow the type set forth in the book of Ruth in exact detail.
In the type there is a bride, revealed in Boaz’s presence on the threshing floor; and in the antitype there is a bride as well, revealed in exactly the same manner as seen in the type — revealed in Christ’s presence on His threshing floor, at His judgment seat.
Then the redemption of the inheritance comes into view. In the type, the bride, by her presence and actions on Boaz’s threshing floor — uncovering Boaz’s feet and lying down at his feet, requesting that he cover her with the same garment that had been covering his feet — showed that she required Boaz to not only redeem the inheritance (as a near-kinsman) but to take her as his wife as well.
A married Israelite male would cover his wife in this manner; and, since both an inheritance and widowhood were in view, Boaz would know exactly what Ruth was requesting through this act (cf. Deuteronomy 27:20; Ezekiel 16:8).
And this overall thought must be carried over into the antitype, that time when Christ’s bride will be revealed at His judgment seat. If for no other reason than her presence in the antitype of Ruth, the bride will require of Christ exactly the same thing that Ruth required of Boaz. And Christ, acting in complete accord with the manner in which Boaz acted, will do exactly the same thing that Boaz did in the type. He will not only redeem the inheritance but will take the bride as His wife.
And the whole of the matter is with a view to regality. King David is in view in the type, and the greater Son of David is in view in the antitype.
This is what Ruth chapters three and four are about, and this is what the first twenty chapters of the book of Revelation are about. The same One at the threshing floor/judgment seat — Boaz in the type, Christ in the antitype — is the One Who performs the subsequent redemptive work and takes the revealed bride as His wife.
In the book of Revelation, following the bride being revealed at the judgment seat (chapters 1-3) and the twenty-four elders casting their crowns before God’s throne because of the bride being made known (chapter 4), attention is turned immediately to the redemption of the inheritance (through which also the marriage will occur). And a search is conducted for One worthy to perform this redemptive work.
In the account set forth in the book of Revelation, which deals strictly with events following the judgment seat, only one person is in view, for only one person could possibly come into view. When the search was conducted, only one person, “in heaven,” “in earth,” or “under the earth” was found worthy to even look upon the seven-sealed scroll containing the redemptive terms of the inheritance, much less to loose the seals, redeeming the inheritance.
And that person is the One seen occupying the position of the antitype of Boaz — the One previously seen at the threshing floor/judgment seat, the One having a connection with regality (identified in the text as “the Lion of the tribe of Judah”).
And, as well, this individual is the One for Whom the Spirit had previously procured a bride (taking an entire dispensation to do so). The One redeeming the inheritance, through this redemptive process, takes the procured bride as His wife.
Thus, only one person could possibly be looked upon as holding the qualifications to perform this work; and this work is the immediate and next order of business following the revelation of the bride and the relinquishment of crowns, seen in Revelation 1-4. A redemption of an inheritance relative to Christ and His bride is the central reason for the judgments seen in Revelation 6-18, though Israel will be brought to the place of repentance through these same judgments as well, fulfilling Daniel’s Seventieth Week during this same time.
Redemption of the Inheritance
Simply stated, the seven-sealed scroll contains the redemptive terms of the forfeited inheritance, which has to do with judgments enacted and brought to pass, beginning in Revelation 6:1ff. In this respect, Christ’s redemptive work relative to the forfeited inheritance has to do with judgment upon the earth-dwellers and will begin to occur with the breaking of the first seal of the scroll.
(The domain over which Christ and His wife will reign during the Messianic Era has to be redeemed. The first man, the first Adam, forfeited his right to rule this domain; and Satan continued in power. The second Man, the last Adam, will redeem the right for man to rule this domain through wresting control of the domain from Satan.
And this will be done through a series of judgments, which will become so severe that “unless those days were shortened, no flesh would be saved” [Matthew 24:22]. These judgments will bring the world into such a state that Christ, at the time of His return, can quickly and suddenly bring an end to the Times of the Gentiles, Man’s Day, and Satan’s reign [as Satan rules during Man’s Day through the Gentile nations (Daniel 10:13-20)].)
All of the judgments associated with the redemption of the inheritance, contained within the seven-sealed scroll, are brought to pass in Revelation chapters six through sixteen. The trumpet judgments are contained within the seventh seal, and the vial judgments are contained within the seventh trumpet, which is contained within the seventh seal (cf. Revelation 8:1-6; 10:7; 11:15-19; 15:1ff [chapters 12-14 are transitional, and, within the sequence of judgmental events contained within the seals, trumpets, and vials, chapter fifteen picks up where chapter eleven leaves off, detailing that contained within the seventh trumpet — the seven vials, poured out in chapter 16]).
Thus, the terms surrounding the redemption of the forfeited inheritance can all be seen within the seven-sealed scroll. This is why there was such an intense search to find One worthy to break the seals of this scroll, with this scroll alone in view (5:1-4). All attention was concentrated on this scroll alone, for all of the judgments about to occur were contained within the scope of that revealed through the breaking of the seals on the scroll (all the judgments seen within the breaking of the seven seals, the blowing of the seven trumpets, and the pouring out of the seven vials).
Apart from the seals of the scroll being broken, the inheritance could not be redeemed. And apart from the inheritance being redeemed, Christ’s bride could not become His wife, nor could Christ and His wife have a domain to rule over. In short, the goal toward which the whole of Scripture had been moving since man’s creation could not be realized apart from these seals being broken.
The fact that all of the judgments associated with the redemption of the inheritance occur within the scope of the seven seals is why judgments that will occur very near the end of the Tribulation can be seen when the sixth seal is broken (6:12-17; cf. 16:17-21). All the remainder of these judgments (those within the seven trumpets and the seven vials) are seen within the seal about to be broken, which may explain why there will be “silence in heaven about the space of half an hour” when this seventh seal is broken (possibly a silence due to awe when the judgments about to occur are made known [8:1ff] — judgments contained in the seven trumpets and seven vials).
And this is why the kingdom of this world can be proclaimed to have become that of our Lord and His Christ following the blowing of the seventh trumpet (11:15-19), though the seven vials of wrath will have yet to be poured out at this point in the sequence of events (chapters 15, 16). The seventh trumpet will include these vials. Accordingly, when the seventh trumpet is blown, conditions surrounding the end of the judgments can be seen, as depicted in both chapters eleven and sixteen (cf. 11:15-19; 16:17-21).
1) During a Particular Period
This future seven-year period in which God will complete His dealings with Israel during Man’s Day begins through a revealed event. This period begins by the ratifying of a covenant between the man of sin (Antichrist) and “many” in Israel (Daniel 9:27). This event will mark the start of God’s time-clock relative to the fulfillment of the Seventieth Week in Daniel’s prophecy; and once the prophecy begins to be fulfilled in this manner, time will run uninterrupted for seven years, 2,520 days. Then, that prophesied relative to Israel and the kingdom in relation to the prophecy can be brought to pass (v. 24).
However, this future seven-year period, along with being the time when God will complete His dealings with Israel during Man’s Day, is also the time during which Christ will redeem the inheritance through breaking the seals of the seven-sealed scroll. And insofar as the redemptive aspect of this inheritance is concerned, this has to do centrally with Christians (though Christians will not be present on earth during this time). This redemption has to do with the domain over which Christ and His consort queen will rule during the Messianic Era; and, through the process of redeeming the inheritance, the bride will become the wife of the One carrying out this redemptive act.
Though Christians are in view first and foremost in that seen by Christ breaking the seals of the scroll in Revelation 6:1ff (remaining within the chronology of the book, continuing from that revealed in chapters 1-5), Israel will also be in view. These events will occur during a time in which Christ is not only redeeming the inheritance but a time in which God is completing His dealings with Israel during Man’s Day. Not only will Israel be brought to the place of repentance through these judgments, but numerous things seen throughout chapters six through eighteen have to do directly with Israel.
Then, beyond that, in another respect, Israel would be included within the redemption of the inheritance. During the Messianic Era, Israel (a restored, converted nation in that day) will be placed back in the land covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Israel will be placed in this land within a theocracy, at the head of the nations; and Christ, along with ruling from His Own throne in the heavenly Jerusalem, will rule from David’s throne in the earthly Jerusalem. He will have a dual reign in this respect over the domain that He will have previously redeemed.
(Note that the breaking of the first seal — when Antichrist goes forth “conquering, and to conquer” — undoubtedly refers to events that begin with the ratifying of the covenant in Daniel 9:27, though including far more than this one event. The Tribulation begins with this event; and, if matters are not viewed along these lines, the book of Revelation would really have no actual beginning point for the Tribulation per se — something that would seem rather strange in a book of this nature, a book that deals extensively with this seven-year period.)
Thus, events in Revelation chapters six through eighteen are to be viewed in a dual respect — relative to Christ and His bride, and also relative to God and Israel.
Relative to a continuation from Revelation chapters one through five and the way matters in heaven are brought to a conclusion in Revelation 19:1-10, they are to be viewed as having to do mainly with Christ and His bride. The bride is revealed at Christ’s judgment seat (chapters 1-3), the twenty-four elders cast crowns before God’s throne because the bride has been revealed (chapter 4), the search is made for one worthy to break the seals of the scroll in order to redeem the inheritance (chapter 5), the inheritance is redeemed and the bride becomes the Redeemer’s (the Lamb’s) wife (chapters 6-18), and festivities surrounding the marriage of the lamb occur (chapter 19a). And this will all be with a view to regality (chapters 19b, 20a).
But, in relation to God and Israel, the chapters are to be viewed as completing the fulfillment of Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy. And a redeemed inheritance, a wife, and regality are also in view relative to Israel. Israel will be restored to her own land and placed at the head of the nations, as the restored wife of Jehovah. And Israel, occupying this position, will rule within a theocracy over the nations from this earthly land.
2) Judgments, Events Throughout the Period
There are two major parts to Revelation chapters six through eighteen. There are Scriptures dealing directly with judgments seen in connection with the breaking of the seals, the blowing of the trumpets, and the pouring out of the vials; and there are Scriptures that relate to events occurring throughout the time when these judgments occur — events that may or may not be directly connected with the judgments (some are, others are not). And several things must be kept in mind about these two major parts of the book, else the book cannot be properly understood.
The judgments, though chronological in nature, should not be thought of in the sense of the things seen in any one judgment having to be completed before the things seen in the next judgment can begin. This is not the picture at all. Rather, many of the things seen in these judgments will overlap one another and be occurring at the same time, though the beginning point for events in each judgment will be different.
For example, that seen when the first seal is broken — a rider on a white horse (which could only be the man of sin) going forth “conquering, and to conquer” — would really continue throughout the whole of the Tribulation. Events that begin to occur when this seal is broken will continue to occur throughout the time when events occur through the breaking of the other six seals of the scroll.
The breaking of the second seal — that will result in peace being taken from the earth — apparently occurs about the middle of the Tribulation, when the man of sin breaks his covenant with Israel; and, if this is the correct time for the beginning of this judgment, all other judgments connected with the breaking of the seals, the blowing of the trumpets, or the pouring out of the vials would occur during the last half of the Tribulation. And as the seals continue to be broken, the trumpets are blown, and the vials are poured out — there can only be numerous judgments occurring at the same time.
Near the end of the Tribulation, when the vials of wrath are poured out (and these vials may be poured out in rapid succession, with the judgments overlapping one another), trouble on the earth (resulting from these judgments) can only intensify to unprecedented proportions — a time of trouble will ensue such as has never before existed in man’s history, or will ever exist again (Matthew 24:21). And because of this, with the actions of the man of sin from the breaking of the first seal directly involved, God will have to shorten those days in order to preserve life on the earth (Matthew 24:22).
Thus, there is a chronology seen in these judgments as they are outlined in the book of Revelation and as they come to pass during the Tribulation. Events set apart from these judgments though — covering seven chapters in this section of the book (chapters 7, 11-14, 17, 18) — are a different matter. There is a chronology seen in the events themselves in each chapter, but that is as far as the chronology can be taken. The different events should not be understood as occurring at the particular points in which they appear in the book in relation to the breaking of the seals, the blowing of the trumpets, or the pouring out of the vials.
For example, that seen in chapter seven should not be understood as occurring between the breaking of the sixth and seventh seals (6:12; 8:1). Scripture throughout chapters six through eighteen bring the reader to certain points in the judgments. Then events are introduced at different places in this section that begin to occur during the time of the judgments that have already been introduced (judgments that have already occurred and possibly continue to occur). And these events, in each instance, not only carry the reader back in time (to some point during the judgments that have already been revealed) but forward in time as well (to the end of the Tribulation).
All of this is in perfect keeping with the way numerous parts of Scripture are structured. Scripture will often provide a complete sequence of events, followed by commentary on things that will occur during the previously revealed sequence of events. And, in the book of Revelation, this structure has to do with judgments befalling the earth-dwellers, followed by commentary.
(The whole of Scripture is actually structured in this manner. Genesis 1:1-2:3 provides a complete sequence of events, covering the whole panorama of the 6,000 years of Man’s Day and the 1,000 years of the Lord’s Day. And the remainder of Scripture is simply commentary on this previously revealed sequence of events, providing all of the necessary details that God would have man to know [ref. the author’s book, THE STUDY OF SCRIPTURE, chapters 1-4].
Revelation chapter twelve would be a classic example of a section of Scripture structured in this manner. The first six verses provide a complete sequence of events. Then vv. 7-17 form a commentary, providing details on the things revealed in the first six verses.)
Chapters seven, eleven through fourteen, and seventeen and eighteen have to do with different events and the appearance of different individuals or groups of individuals during that time when the things seen through the breaking of the seven seals, the blowing of the seven trumpets, and the pouring of the seven vials come to pass.
Chapters seven and fourteen contain things about the ministry of the 144,000 Jewish evangels who will proclaim “the gospel of the kingdom” to the ends of the earth during the last half of the Tribulation (cf. Matthew 24:14); chapter eleven relates things about the ministry of the two witnesses who will testify in the streets of Jerusalem during the first half of the Tribulation; chapter twelve relates numerous events that have to do mainly with Israel and Satan, which begin to occur near the middle of the Tribulation and continue throughout the last half; chapter thirteen relates events surrounding the rise of the man of sin and his false prophet, beginning in the middle of the Tribulation and continuing throughout the last half; and chapters seventeen and eighteen cover the history of Babylon throughout the whole of the Tribulation, with both religious and political aspects seen.
Chapters containing these events might be thought of as sections of the book forming “asides” in relation to the judgments coming to pass through the breaking of the seals, the blowing of the trumpets and the pouring out of the vials. And putting all of the judgments and all of the asides together (this section of the book is almost equally divided between the length of each), this book presents a complete word-picture, as God would have man see it, of His dealings with man on the earth during the last seven years of Man’s Day.
And the outcome of the matter is with a view to that introduced in Revelation chapters one through four or the fulfillment of that seen in Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27 — both the bride of Christ and the restored wife of Jehovah exercising regality during the Messianic Era.