Jesus, the Bridegroom King
Adapted from chapter 6 of Harp & Bowl Handbook, by Mike Bickle.
Revelation 22:17 is one of the most informative and significant biblical prophecies, describing the end-time church as being in unity with what the Spirit is saying and doing in the generation of the Lord’s return.
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. (Revelation 22:17)
“I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20)
This prophecy describes the Church in deep unity with the Holy Spirit, saying and doing what the Holy Spirit is saying and doing. What is the Spirit saying? He is speaking to believers about their identity as a Bride. What is the Spirit doing? He is interceding for Jesus to come to His Church in power, and He is calling thirsty people to come to Jesus as the Bridegroom God. John depicts the Church calling out in both these ways.
In this prophecy, John describes the highest function of the Church in four ways:
1. Empowered by the Spirit
2. Engaged in intercession
3. Established in her bridal identity
4. Effective in the harvest
In the end times, for the first time in history, the Spirit will universally emphasize the Church’s identity as Jesus’ Bride. It is not the Spirit and the family who will say, “Come,” nor the Spirit and the army, kingdom, body, temple, or priesthood, though we will rejoice in those aspects of our identity forever. Rather, it is the Spirit resting on the Church as a Bride. For the first time in history, the Church worldwide will be in dynamic unity with the Spirit. Therefore, the Spirit will be resting on and moving through the Church in great power.
The Bridegroom message is focused on Jesus’ emotions for us, His beauty, His commitments to us (to share His heart, home, throne, secrets, and beauty), and our response of wholehearted love (obedience) that moves Him. It begins with experiencing Jesus’ affections and His desire for us. Jesus delights in us and enjoys us; He values our work and partners with us in it; He cares about our welfare and is committed to our eternal success.
Jesus is the Bridegroom King. He is the King with power and the Bridegroom with desire. Many are accustomed to Jesus the King, who has power to rule over us, but they are not so familiar with Jesus the Bridegroom, who desires to relate to us with overflowing love. Jesus is looking for relationship, not just a workforce. (Note: In no sense are there any sensual overtones in understanding Jesus as our Bridegroom.)
The Bridegroom message is a call to intimacy with God, to experience the deep things of His heart—His emotions, desires, and affections for us and His thoughts about us.
As sons of God, we are positioned to experience God’s throne as heirs of His power and authority (cf. Romans 8:17; Revelation 3:21). As Jesus’ Bride, we are positioned to experience God’s heart (emotions, affections, etc.). Just as women are the sons of God, so men are the Bride of Christ. Both describe our unique position of privilege before God, rather than pointing to something that is intrinsically male or female. Most Christian women do not struggle with the idea of being sons of God, because they do not see it as a call to be less feminine. Men often struggle with being the Bride of Christ, because they wrongly conclude that it is a call to be less masculine.
Experiencing the reality of being the Bride of Christ does not undermine a man’s masculinity; rather it strengthens and establishes his manhood. When we come to understand Jesus as a passionate Bridegroom, we will soon see ourselves as His cherished Bride. Intimacy causes our hearts to be lovesick for Jesus—set on fire, enraptured, overcome by His love.
Want a practical guide to prayer and worship that can be used by individuals, groups, and churches? Mike Bickle shares insights gleaned from more than 20 years of 24/7 prayer with worship in the Harp & Bowl Handbook. Available now from Forerunner Publishing.