Chapter 13: Godly Women in John’s Writings

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by James R. Baker, Scotland

 

INTRODUCTION

THE CARE AND TACT OF A GODLY WOMAN

THE CONVERSION AND TESTIMONY OF A GODLY WOMAN

THE CONSECRATION AND TESTING OF TWO GODLY WOMEN

THE COMPANY AND TRIALS OF GODLY WOMEN

THE CONTINUANCE AND TRUTH OF A GODLY WOMAN

THE CORRUPTION OF AN UNGODLY WOMAN

A WOMAN CLOTHED WITH THE SUN

A WOMAN OF REMARKABLE CONTEMPT

THE CHRIST-LIKE WOMAN, THE BRIDE OF THE LAMB


INTRODUCTION

The present chapter is committed to the consideration of godly women in the apostle John’s writings within the New Testament namely, the Gospel of John, 2John and the Revelation.

THE CARE AND TACT OF A GODLY WOMAN

It is not without significance that the first of such women noted by John is none other than Mary the mother of Jesus. Chapter 8 of this book has considered her in detail and so this section of this chapter is brief. Since her ‘Magnificat’ in Luke chapter 1 is looked upon as a song, we can say that in all the records of her life, this tender lady is recorded as speaking only five times. Two of the five instances are to Gabriel, twice to Jesus Himself and once to the servants at the wedding in Cana of Galilee. Our first consideration is particularly focused on the incident at Cana, recorded only in John chapter 2. As noted above, Mary the mother of Jesus was not noted for prolific speaking but when she did speak, it demands our attention. At the wedding, her words to Jesus were brief and very carefully expressed in stating the need without asking for help. This was not the language of coercion but rather that of stating a need, "They have no wine" v.3. She knew He had the power and was capable to use it in the circumstance. The final words of Mary were addressed to the servants, "Whatsoever He saith unto you, do it" v.5. Much advice has been left on record in the Word of God concerning various problems and difficulties in life; if more attention was given to these wise words from Mary, many more would seek the mind of the Lord and having done so, would "do it".

THE CONVERSION AND TESTIMONY OF A GODLY WOMAN

The Gospel of John is the last of the four to be written and the writer was old by the time that it was circulated. It is also interesting that so much of the content of this Gospel is unique. As in chapters two and three, so in chapter four, there is an incident recorded that is not documented elsewhere. No doubt, the disciples were surprised at the sudden move from Judæa into Galilee but John makes the reason clear in v.1. "When therefore the Lord knew how the Pharisees had heard that Jesus made and baptised more disciples than John"; Jesus was not interested in comparisons between Himself and others, and knew that His pathway of service was toward Galilee at that particular time.

He also knew that He must go through Samaria. None of the ways for Him was by coincidence; it was always by Divine choice. Samaria lay between Judæa and Galilee and there was another route from Judæa to Galilee which some took for the reason stated in v.9, but the Lord’s great desire to bless this sin-laden woman overcame every obstacle and the prejudicial hatred harboured by Israelites against the Samaritans. The Saviour had come to meet her overwhelming need and channel her affections in another direction. We can well understand why the Lord should be wearied as this was "the sixth hour of the day," and while John primarily presents His Deity, he frequently focuses on His perfect manhood.

In chapter 3 the conversation was with a deeply religious man at night, but here it was with a disreputable woman during the day. In the case of Nicodemus the topic of conversation was the new birth but with the woman it was regarding worship. The question might arise as to why the Lord of glory asked for a drink from this sad, Samaritan woman? He was obviously thirsty but the more significant reason was His longing to quench her spiritual thirst and satisfy her with living water.

It is of particular interest in this chapter to see how the Lord Jesus deals with this woman and the wonderful result of her eventual acknowledgement of Him as the Christ. He knew her and the moral path of life that she had pursued. She had been married to five men, but of the sixth, the omniscient Lord said, "… he whom thou now hast is not thy husband". At some stage in her life there had been a moral breakdown. His answer was calculated to reach her conscience, "Go, call thy husband" v.16. He was speaking to her of spiritual things and would have her know that impurity and piety can never coexist. In other words, no one who is wrong with his fellows can be right with God. The woman’s answer was an attempt to evade this thrust at her conscience v.17, but there was no escape from Him; He knew all, vv.17,18. Then she tried to evade the moral issue by introducing religion and worship but Christ knew the answer to that also. The background to this part of the conversation is from 2Kgs.17.33-41, where we find the true nature of the Samaritans which was the fact that they feared the Lord but worshipped their own gods. Her final attempt was relative to the coming of Messiah, which resulted in the Lord uttering those blessed words, "I am He".

The woman’s increasing appreciation of Christ is wonderful to behold. In v.9 she speaks of Him as a Jew; then as Sir, vv.11,15, (sometimes translated as ‘Lord’); as aprophet, v.19, and finally as the Christ, v.29. Her final testimony is unambiguous, "Is not this the Christ?", and soon after there were many Samaritans who also were converted through the bright testimony of this "godly woman", v.39. The whole episode was crowned by the conversion of many others who saw and heard the words of Jesus and said, "Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard Him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world".

THE CONSECRATION AND TESTING OF TWO GODLY WOMEN

It is important to note that in the Gospel of John the miracles are described as signs. The first was at Cana of Galilee and it brought joy and blessing, but this is the last sign He works in John’s Gospel, and it is over the last enemy, death, 1Cor.15.26. These lessons are to be learned by both Mary and her sister Martha. Here it is death as Christ met it at Calvary. He "abolished death and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel" 2Tim.1.10. He will bring this victory into effect when all are raised, albeit not at the same time.

It is in these circumstances, when Mary and Martha are learning and feeling the chill of death, that they may also experience the love, v.5, sympathy, v.35, and power of Christ, v.44. The affections of these two sisters are being transferred from natural things to Christ. It is death to nature. In chapter 11 Lazarus is all to them but in chapter 12 Christ means everything to them. In chapter 11 the emphasis is on what He did for them in raising their brother but in chapter 12 it is what they did for Him; "there they made Him a supper" v.2. So Mary anoints His feet for His burial. Mary is here seen moving in the understanding of His resurrection and she, like Abraham in Genesis chapter 22, knew that if He went into death He would come out of it again. Her spiritually intelligent apprehension of this blessed fact meant that she was not found at the sepulchre with the rest of the women.

The two sisters expressed their deep disappointment that Jesus had not arrived in time to prevent their brother dying, but He wanted to teach them that it demonstrated far greater power to raise a person out of death than to prevent him from going into it. This clearly revealed that He was the Resurrection and the Life, and demonstrated this great fact in raising their brother from the dead. It should be noted that in the presence of this death He groaned, was troubled, and wept. His pity, sympathy, love and grief expressed themselves in groans and tears. He genuinely sorrowed with those two women who were His friends and no doubt He looked beyond what was local that day, to the universality of death as the result of sin, and His own approaching passion.

It is interesting to compare Martha’s two utterances, vv. 27 and 39, which indicate how easily we often contradict ourselves. But it is good to compare v.40 with v.4 and note the consistency of the Lord’s promise. Some of those present were commanded to take away the stone for He will not do for us what we can do for ourselves. They could not raise the dead; He performed that amazing miracle. He will work mightily on our behalf if only we will remove the stones; if they are too heavy and therefore impossible for us to move, as in the case of the woman at His own grave, He will send an angel to remove it. Jesus cried with a loud voice, "Lazarus, come forth". Then His words as recorded in Jn.5.25 were fulfilled, "… the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live." Lazarus was not only raised to life but was liberated: "Loose him and let him go."

The Lord had raised Jairus’ daughter in her home; He had raised the widow of Nain’s son on the way to the grave; now He raises Lazarus of whom Martha had said, "Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days". These different cases reveal His progressive power in resurrection. Martha and Mary had limited His mighty power, knowing full well that He could have prevented their brother from dying but now they witnessed that He could go further than that: He could bring Lazarus out of death after having been in it for four days. Up to this point He had been ministering to the sick, blind and impotent, preventing men from dying, but here He showed that He could raise from the dead.

In chapter 11 He wept with them, but in chapter 12 He shared in their joy. In Enoch we see the power of God in translation as God sets aside the power of death and takes him to heaven without dying, Heb.11.15; Gen.5.24. Then in Abraham we see the power of God in generation, Gen.17.2-4; Rom.4.19,20. Abraham’s body and Sarah’s womb being both dead, yet God brings life out of death; Abraham "was strong in faith, giving glory to God". We see also the power of God in resurrection in Genesis chapter 22 when Abraham offered up Isaac; he accounted that God could raise him up even from the dead, and He did so but only in figure. But when we come to John chapter 11 we have the power of God demonstrated in resurrection in raising Lazarus from the grave.

It was in the house at Bethany, the house of Simon the leper, that they made a special supper for the Lord Jesus. This supper was a clear evidence of their affection, and appreciation that He was identified as the great Healer, and not only that, but the only One on earth Who could give life in such circumstances as they had witnessed. Nonetheless, it was in that same house that He was designated for slaughter and His body anointed for burial, Mk.14.8. It was from here that Judas went to the chief priests and "covenanted … for thirty pieces of silver" Matt.26.6-14; Mk.14.8. At Bethany (the house of affliction) He was gathered with His own, the fruit of His sufferings, figuratively on resurrection ground. Service, worship and communion are represented in Martha, Mary and Lazarus respectively. As the hatred of His enemies increased, so did Mary’s affection. Judas condemned but the Lord justified her act. Judas might call her sacrificial devotion "this waste", but faith and love do not consider anything waste that is given to the Lord Jesus Christ, and so Mary lavishes her affection upon the One Who was about to lay down His life for her, and not for her only but for a world in all its sin and failure to meet the standards of a holy God. She had grasped the Divine purpose and anointed Him in view of His death. He fully appreciated what she had so selflessly done. The Good Shepherd is on His way to die for the sheep. We see Him here protecting His sheep from the wolf in sheep’s clothing, Judas. "Let her alone" He said, "against the day of My burying hath she kept this." The fragrance fills and remains in the house.

THE COMPANY AND TRIALS OF GODLY WOMEN

The seven utterances of our Lord Jesus Christ on the cross reveal the perfection of His words and deeds right up to the moment that He bowed His head and dismissed His spirit. The third, fifth and sixth are recorded in John chapter 19.

  1. A word of forgiveness for His enemies - "Father forgive them" Lk.23.34.

  2. A word of salvation to the dying thief - "Today shalt thou be with Me" Lk.23.43.

  3. A word of affection to and for His Mother - "Woman, behold thy son" Jn.19.26.

  4. A word of anguish to God, "My God, My God why hast Thou forsaken Me" - Matt.27.46.

  5. A word of suffering to the onlookers - "I thirst" Jn.19.28.

  6. A word of victory to His people - "It is finished" Jn.19.30.

  7. A word of contentment to His Father - "Into Thy hands I commend My spirit" Lk.23.46.

From 19.25 it is clear that the fortitude of Mary the mother of the Lord Jesus was outstanding as she stood by the cross and witnessed the sufferings of her firstborn Son. There is not a word that fell from her lips recorded by any one of the writers of the four Gospels. She was experiencing the truth of prophecy recorded in Lk.2.35, "(yea, a sword shall pierce through thy own soul also,) that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed". The sword was piercing her soul. How freshly the word would come to her, although uttered more than thirty years before that day. Truly it is living and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, Heb.4.12. Even in the midst of such indescribable suffering, the Saviour manifested the human perfection that shone out in His tender compassion and care for His mother to the end.

In the present day when there is much movement of families, sometimes meaning various members are far from each other, it is good to maintain frequent contact and show loving care for those who have cared for us from early days. This principle is clearly promoted in the Word of God. In the New Testament epistles there is more than one passage that deals with such matters. Many in the present world have little care for those they have known, but the believer should remember the words of Paul in 1Tim.5.8, "But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel". Such is the spirit in the heart of the Son of God and that within moments of His death at Calvary. Our blessed Lord is the provider for His people. He unites those who love Him and those He loves.

Whilst He particularly spoke to His mother, two other women were there also and no doubt had witnessed all that had taken place. Some suggest there were four women in total, but the present author prefers to think there were three. (Further and more detailed information can be obtained from "A New and Concise Bible Dictionary" by G. Morrish, published by C. A. Hammond Trust Bible Depot, London). The next Mary is spoken of as the sister of Jesus’ mother and is also described as the wife of Cleophas. This name for her occurs but once in Jn.19.21. The third was Mary Magdalene who is first mentioned by Luke as "one out of whom went seven devils". She loved much because she was forgiven much and proved her love by cleaving to Him when He was rejected. Here she becomes a witness of His death and later of His resurrection.

These beheld the last details of the crucifixion as He called "I thirst" and then received vinegar and cried "It is finished". This was a victorious and triumphant cry that would have pierced the whole universe and it preceded the act of bowing His head. This indicated that His Head had been erect up to this point. The order within v.30 is most significant; that after He had received the vinegar and cried in victory, He then bowed His head. The term used indicates that He intentionally placed His head and then He dismissed His spirit. This is the reverse of normal human death which usually takes place with the spirit leaving the body first, and then the head bowing by gravity.

W. E. Vine1 confirms this as follows, "klino, to incline, to bow down, is used of the women who in their fright bowed their faces to the earth at the Lord’s empty tomb" Lk.24.5. He also applies the use of "klino" to the act of the Lord on the cross immediately before giving up His Spirit: "What is indicated in the statement "He bowed His head" is not the helpless dropping of the head after death, but the deliberate putting of His head into a position of rest, Jn.19.30. The verb is deeply significant here. The Lord reversed the natural order."

1Vine, W.E. "Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words". World Bible Publishers, Iowa, 1991.

The next scene where godly women are seen is in chapter 20. The people prepared for this new revelation of the Lord are Mary Magdalene, Peter and John, and the signs by which they are prepared are the open sepulchre, the empty sepulchre and the folded grave clothes. The first evidence of the Lord’s resurrection was given to one whose deep love for Him brought her to the tomb before sunrise, v.1. When Mary reported what she had seen, Peter and John ran to see for themselves. Although John arrived first at the tomb, He did not go in but Peter went in and then was joined by John and together they witnessed that great sight. John saw and believed, v.8. In Lk.24.27 He revealed Himself to them from the Scriptures.

Then there were the grave clothes, vv. 6,7. When Lazarus came out of his tomb in chapter 11 he was still wearing his grave clothes but in the resurrection of Christ not a thread came out of the tomb with Him. It has been said that resurrection is a new point of departure. Christ is seen and known in a new way (not after the flesh) but in spirit on high.

In vv.11-17 we see Mary Magdalene as she stands weeping. It was affection that called Him to her. Where there is the slightest evidence of affection, the Lord will always be at hand. "Mary", He knew her by name. We read, "He calleth His own sheep by name" Jn.10.3. Here they had been scattered and the Shepherd had been smitten. He is renewing His acquaintance with them on resurrection ground and in a hitherto unknown way. This is individual and personal; Mary can only know Him now by revelation. This is confirmed by Paul, "henceforth now know we no man after the flesh" 2Cor.5.16. It is knowing Him outside of sight and sense. Mary seems to be the first person with whom He establishes relationship on this new ground; "touch me not" v.17. She wanted to renew acquaintance on the old terms, but it must now be spiritual. In vv.17,18 we see that Mary has assimilated these matters in her mind and heart and communicates them to the disciples, and from them these truths are found in many parts of the New Testament.

THE CONTINUANCE AND TRUTH OF A GODLY WOMAN

It is a particular pleasure to continue this chapter by considering some features of the godly sister who is the recipient of 2John. She was living in fellowship with God and in harmony with her fellow-saints. This is a personal letter written by John to encourage this sister in her Christian life and warn her of dangers that can arise and hinder the most spiritual believer. It can be structured as follows:

A Lady and Her Children – vv.1-4

Some feel that the word "lady" is used to denote the local assembly, but there is no foundation from within the letter, nor is there any external parallel elsewhere. A further point to bear in mind is that this lady had a sister, see v.13, who, to be consistent, would have to represent another local assembly. Also we find in the next epistle that where the local assembly is in view, it is spoken of as "the church" three times, vv.6,9,10. It is therefore much more accurate to regard the person addressed as a "lady".

This then brings us to a consideration of the importance of truth and love in the Christian home, as well as the particular responsibility of the mother within the home. It seems that she and her family not only adhered to the truth but practised it in the spirit of love. Such behaviour had been observed by John the apostle as well as many others who knew them. It should also be observed that truth and love were not just something to speak about but were practised in daily life and the results of this were seen by others.

Thus truth can be known v.1, and can dwell in us, v.2, and can remain in us, v.2. It also requires grace and mercy that emanate from fellowship with God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of the Father.

Love and its True Character - vv.5,6

The ministry of love is particularly dear to the apostle John. He was the disciple whom Jesus loved. This does not mean that Jesus did not love the other disciples but rather it is that John lived in the constant enjoyment of the Lord’s love for him. This is expressed in the various writings of John, and in the present letter to the elect lady. She was to obey the commandment which was spoken by the Lord Jesus first in Jn.13.34, repeated in 1Jn.2.7-10, and again in 1Jn.3.11,23, with references in various parts of the remainder of the epistle.

Lies Regarding the True Messiah - vv. 7-13

It is interesting to note that although the apostle John was keen to promote the great subject of love for the people of God, yet he was careful to protect them from the dangers of wrong doctrine, particularly in respect of the person of the Son of God. He was aware of the dangers of many who were entering, not only into the world, but also into the homes of believers with a view to deceive with wrong doctrine regarding the true Christ, the Messiah. The apostle knew that these deceivers were men who wanted to teach that Christ Jesus did not come in human flesh. Already the apostle John had written in his first epistle, "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world" 1Jn.4.1-3. The references above emphasise the great need of doctrine to be sound concerning the person of Christ. In this small epistle there is both advice and help of great importance for all who read it. Also there are warnings to keep the believer from spiritual danger. John is keen to help the saints to receive a full reward, and the outcome of some aspects of his ministry is to be a full reward. Obedience to it will keep the reader on the path to abide in the doctrine of Christ.

Another blessing to every householder will be theirs if the house is kept morally clean. Our homes are the subject of much advice in God’s Word and this small letter makes a hearty contribution to the life and testimony of the recipient.

THE CORRUPTION OF AN UNGODLY WOMAN

There are four women described in the book of Revelation and each of them is presented in a remarkable context. The first is found in the New Testament assembly that gathered at Thyatira. This was one of the seven churches in Asia that had received a letter from the Lord Jesus Christ Himself, via the apostle John.

It is clear from the early part of the letter to Thyatira that in certain aspects the assembly was pleasing to God, and the evidence of this is made clear; however, there is also a clear statement of denunciation. This is in respect of the fact that the assembly was tolerating, not only the presence of a woman who was disobedient, but also allowing her to take public part in the gatherings, and even further to commit fornication and idolatry. This was corruption indeed.

It should be carefully noted that these grave conditions were described to the assembly by our Lord Jesus, the Son of God. How solemn to remember that each assembly is under the scrutiny of the One Who "hath His eyes like unto a flame of fire". This woman is named as Jezebel and clearly was of the same wicked character as her Old Testament counterpart. It is important to note also that the Son of God Himself had already given this woman the opportunity to repent, but there was no repentance, v.21. These facts intimate the importance of the moral aspect of the life of each person in fellowship in the local assembly, both men and women. A full consideration of the Corinthian epistles will give precise information and guidance to those in responsibility as to the attitude of the assembly regarding these matters.

A WOMAN CLOTHED WITH THE SUN

The woman spoken of in Revelation chapter 12 is the first of a number of signs that are indicative of various ‘actors’ who will appear within the days of tribulation. Many commentators have identified her as representing Israel and this has much to commend it as being the correct interpretation.

It is significant to note in this context that "the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in His temple the ark of His testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail" 11.19. These were accompanying evidences of Divine power, each revealing and emphasising the appearing of the woman who has been shown and described as a radiant, expectant mother. In Bible history, Israel has often been seen under the role of a woman. This can be found in passages such as Isaiah chapter 54, Jeremiah chapter 31, Ezekiel chapter 16 and Hosea chapter 2. Thus, the nation of Israel is seen in this picture travailing in birth and awaiting delivery of her child. Frequently in Scripture, the nation of Israel is pictured in the tribulation time as going through great trial and affliction. Though, historically, the nation gave birth to Christ through Mary, the implication of v.2 is that the references are to the sufferings of Israel as a nation rather than to the historic birth of Christ. In general, it may refer to the sufferings of the nation over its entire troublesome history. If strictly interpreted, it may signify the travail of Israel at the time of the first coming of Christ.

The woman, Israel, is said to bring forth a man-child who is destined to rule all nations, but who for the time being is caught up to God to the throne. Though expositors have broadly agreed that the woman is Israel, many have disagreed about the identity of the man-child. Nevertheless, there are good grounds to retain the view that the true interpretation identifies him as the person of Jesus Christ and none other. The catching up of the man-child to God is a portrayal of the ascension of Christ. This same person who in the vision is caught up, is the One Who is destined to rule all nations with a rod of iron, Ps.2.9.

Some further points are required concerning the woman Israel. She flees from the awful scene of the sudden bringing forth of the man-child, Christ. Here Satan is seen to be foiled from injuring the Child and immediately acts to destroy the woman Israel who has fled into the wilderness to a place prepared of God. Here we learn that Israel will be preserved in the darkest days of tribulation. The whole period of a thousand two hundred and threescore days are seen to be a time when the protection of God will guard and feed His earthly people.

The great, red dragon in this context is another of the signs and represents the great enemy, the Devil. Here, after he is thwarted from devouring the man-child, and has lost the war with Michael and his angels, he is cast out into the earth. After his descent to the earth his object of wrath is the woman Israel. The persecution of Israel from Satan and his angels will be bitter in the extreme, but there will be two responses. Many from Israel will worship the beast, but the true nation will refuse his claims despite the miraculous powers of the false prophet. God in that day will provide a place in the wilderness into which the woman Israel will flee: this is synonymous with v.6. The story of the woman Israel concludes with the attack against the remnant of her seed that keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

A WOMAN OF REMARKABLE CONTEMPT

This is the third woman in the Revelation and she is known as "the great whore that sitteth upon many waters". One of the seven angels which had the seven vials, brought John to a place where he could view her and he was carried by the Spirit to see her. The view was remarkable and awesome to behold, and was of a woman "upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy … and upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth" Rev.17.3,5. Here John is invited to view "the great whore" and in chapter 21 he has a similar invitation to view "the Bride, the Lamb’s wife". The comparisons are again remarkable but will be dealt with later.

Two aspects of Babylon are presented in chapters 17 and 18; the first is from the ecclesiastical, and in chapter 18 the political. Many are satisfied that by this time, the seven bowls are already poured out and these chapters are in the main devoted to the final destruction of Babylon in all its forms.

The picture of the woman as completely evil denotes spiritual adultery as being characteristic of those who seem to be joined to God but are untrue to Jehovah God, the only true God. The alliance of apostate religion with the political powers of the world during this future period will not only debauch the true spirit and character of what is for God’s pleasure but will compromise true testimony in every way. False religion is always the worst enemy of the true, and the moral wickedness involved in the union imposes a drunkenness as far as spiritual things are concerned.

The angelic invitation to John is to see the judgment of the great whore. Of this Rev.17.16-18 has said "And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil His will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled. And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth." Of this John F. Walvoord2 has said, "Verse 16 reveals a most remarkable development in the vision which is also the climax and purpose of the preceding description. Here the ten horns, previously seen as ten kings, destroy the woman riding the beast in a most graphic action … the destruction of the harlot reduces all her pomp and gorgeous robes to naught. She is stripped of all of them, her flesh is eaten, and she is burned with fire. These graphic words clearly picture the downfall of the apostate world church of the future."

2Walvoord, John F. "The Revelation of Jesus Christ". The Moody Bible Institute of Chicago. 1966.

THE CHRIST-LIKE WOMAN, THE BRIDE OF THE LAMB

It has already been stated that there is an outstanding comparison between the evil woman of Revelation chapters 17 and 18 and the purity of the Bride of the Lamb. Of this J. Allen3 has noted, "The symbolic terms ‘whore’ and ‘bride’ describe two companies of people; the whore is the product of satanic action on earth and is doomed; the Bride is the result of redemption by the Lamb and is destined for eternal glory. The whore has her home in Babylon; the Bride has her home in the Holy Jerusalem." The Bride of the Lamb is a wonderful, called-out people who were in the mind and purpose of God before the foundation of the world. It has been already stated that Israel is regarded as the wife of Jehovah but the Church is the Bride of the Lamb.

3Allen, J. "Revelation – What the Bible Teaches", John Ritchie Ltd, Kilmarnock, 1997

In Revelation chapter 19 we read, "Let us be glad and rejoice and give honour to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God." How good it is in the present day for saints to enjoy the great prospect of eternal relationship with the One Who bore our sins at Calvary and is now in heaven at God’s right hand. So often we have attended a marriage ceremony and the following festivity; but all will fade before the joy and blessedness of the marriage of the Church to our blessed Saviour, and the glory of the marriage supper, which we believe will be coincidental to the millennial period of 1000 years. There will be all the saints of the present dispensation and also Old Testament saints. We remember the words of the Lord Jesus Who said, "ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God" Lk.13.28.

The view given to John of the new heaven and a new earth was accompanied with the view of the holy city, also the new Jerusalem and the remarkable conditions that will eternally exist and the angelic conversation regarding the "Bride, the Lamb’s wife". Again it was a view to help John to appreciate the glory of such conditions, 21.1-27.

In closing it is appropriate and honouring to join with the Holy Spirit and the Bride to say, "Even so, Come, Lord Jesus" Rev.22.20.