Before Jesus Christ returns to earth for his bride, “friends of the Bridegroom” will announce his arrival (John 3:29).* They will cry to a sleeping church, “Behold, the Bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!” (Matthew 25:6) These friends will cry in the wilderness, “Prepare the way of the Lord. Make his paths straight. Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!” (3:2-3)
John the Baptist was the first “friend” (John 3:29). He came in the spirit and power of Elijah. In the last days, before “the great and dreadful day of the Lord,” prophets will come again in Elijah’s spirit and power (Malachi 4:5). They are “friends of the Bridegroom” – awakeners.
Why must the church be wakened in these last days? She has fallen asleep, oblivious to the “signs of the times” (Matthew 16:3). Yes, Jesus has delayed his coming for 2000 long years. In the meantime, some members of the church have compromised their spiritual virginity. They have let “the uncircumcised and the unclean” enter their midst (Isaiah 52:1). Some have also removed their beautiful wedding garments and sat in the dust, captive to sin (52:1-2).
According to Jesus’ parable, all ten virgins slept (Matthew 25:5). All were then wakened by the cry of the Bridegroom’s return (25:6). However, only the wise virgins brought enough oil for their lamps (25:4). The Holy Spirit’s fire on the altars of their hearts never went out (Leviticus 6:13). The foolish virgins ran out of oil and returned to the city to buy more (Matthew 25:8). They forsook the coming Bridegroom and walked away from the impending wedding.
Spiritual slumber isn’t a sin, but now is the time to wake up. God does nothing without revealing it to his servants the prophets, i.e. friends of the Bridegroom (Amos 3:7). He is waking them early to tell the church that Jesus is coming soon. Soon the visible church will witness a split. Those with the Spirit’s fire will see the Bridegroom. Those without it will walk away.
If we want to enjoy the marriage supper of the Lamb, then we must wake up and repent (Revelation 19:9). We must stoke the Spirit’s fire on the altars of our hearts. Coram deo must be our cry – “living in the presence of God, under the authority of God, and to the glory of God” (R. C. Sproul). As a “chaste virgin” betrothed to “one husband,” the church must have one altar and worship one God (2 Corinthians 11:2). She must stop fornicating with the world. Jesus is coming for a pure, holy bride. Let us be ready to meet him.
* All Scriptures are NKJV, unless otherwise noted.