Reply To: The Bridegroom, the Bride, the New Jarusalem, and the 10 Virgins

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The Lost Sheep….. and the idea of the Bride?

When I was a child and I would hear the Parable of the Lost Sheep there was a part of that story that I had trouble with. There was a part of what Jesus said that always puzzled me, and the explanation given to me by adults did not settle the issue in my mind. That is until I read Christ Object Lessons and read what one could say is, the bigger picture. Then what Jesus said in that parable suddenly made perfect sense. Yes, it also started to help me understand what we are looking into concerning the Bride, the New Jerusalem and the 10 virgins.

So what was the problem with the Lost Sheep Parable and how does that apply to what we are looking into regarding the Bride, the New Jerusalem and the 10 Virgins and what seems to have been or is being missed about what we are looking into. After all everyone knows that the lost sheep represents the lost sinner…

Jeremiah 50:6 My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away [on] the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their restingplace.

Matthew 10:5 These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into [any] city of the Samaritans enter ye not:
10:6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
10:7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
(10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.)

15:24 But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.

And now to the Parable of the Lost Sheep.
Luke 15:3 And he spake this parable unto them, saying,
15:4 What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it?
15:5 And when he hath found [it], he layeth [it] on his shoulders, rejoicing.
15:6 And when he cometh home, he calleth together [his] friends and neighbours, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.
15:7 I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.

Considering what is said in Jeremiah and Matthew it would seem to be very clear as to who the lost sheep represents; the lost sheep of the House of Israel, and by extension, after Israels rejection, all of Humanity. But Jesus said that He spoke the truth through parables for a reason; to the disciples the Truth was spoken plainly, if/when they asked and were ready to hear the truth. It is what Jesus said that was done to the 99 other sheep, in the parable, that always puzzled me. They were left in the wilderness. While the shepherd went to look for the one lost sheep the 99 were left in the wilderness?

When I was young, 4-12 years old, and I would hear the story of the Lost Sheep, I would ask, what did he do with the 99 other sheep? Why did he leave them in the wilderness? I can still recall the answer I was given the first time I asked that question. I also realized years later why Jesus said unless we become as little children. Children usually don’t jump to conclusions or make assumptions, they take things as they are said. What the Sabbath School teacher told me when I was 4, what I have heard from most adults ever sense that first time has been close to the same answer. “Well of course the Shepard put them in the sheep pen before he went looking for the lost sheep.” or “He left the other 99 sheep with the other sheep herders that were with him.” But that is not what Jesus said or implied. He clearly stated he left them in the wilderness. So, what was Jesus in a parable, trying to help us understand, that would be a much bigger picture of reality?

The answer is tucked away in Christ Object Lessons chapter 19, p190-91; The rabbis understood Christ’s parable as applying to the publicans and sinners; but it has also a wider meaning. By the lost sheep Christ represents not only the individual sinner but the one world that has apostatized and has been ruined by sin. This world is but an atom in the vast dominions over which God presides, yet this little fallen world–the one lost sheep–is more precious in His sight than are the ninety and nine that went not astray from the fold. Christ, the loved Commander in the heavenly courts, stooped from His high estate, laid aside the glory that He had with the Father, in order to save the one lost world. For this He left the sinless worlds on high, the ninety and nine that loved Him, and came to this earth, to be “wounded for our transgressions” and “bruised for our iniquities.” (Isaiah 53:5.) God gave Himself in His Son that He might have the joy of receiving back the sheep that was lost.

“Joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance.” Of course in COL these words follow the above sentence; “You Pharisees, said Christ, regard yourselves as the favorites of heaven. You think yourselves secure in your own righteousness. Know, then, that if you need no repentance, My mission is not to you.”
{also found in PERIODICALS; GCB – The General Conference Bulletin; December 1, 1895; Seeking the Lost; p638.4: YI – The Youth’s Instructor; October 17th; 1895; Humanity the Lost Pearl (conclusion) 2nd paragraph

The Pharisees didn’t think that they needed repentance, but we know that all of Earth need to repent, because all humans are by nature sinners and therefore lost. So who else, really, needs no repentance, because they have never sinned? The answer really is a simple one; all of the other worlds that God has created life on(“This world is but an atom in the vast dominions over which God presides,”). And that is the bigger picture that the parable of the Lost Sheep reveals to us. That is what we are told in COL, “this little fallen world–the one lost sheep–”, but why did Jesus say that the, other worlds, were left in the wilderness? It wasn’t the lost sheep, ‘the sinner’ or ‘this lost world’, that had wondered off into the wilderness, it was the 99 (the righteous, or unfallen worlds) that were left in the wilderness. Why would Jesus give that kind of idea/meaning? This is not the only place that the term wilderness is used that should have caused people to pause for at least a moment and puzzle over what was said.

The great disappointment of 1844 was caused by one simple misunderstanding of what the real meaning of the term, Sanctuary, meant or was referring to. A misunderstanding that was based entirely on mans concept or interpretation of, what was, the Sanctuary. It had nothing to do with what the Bible clearly states regarding the identity of the Sanctuary to be cleansed. Like wise, the Bible is very clear as to who or what the Bride is; likewise so is the Great Controversy. It is man’s insistence to apply a meaning/interpretation to the metaphor Bride that has, like the 1844 misunderstanding, kept us from understanding the true importance of certain events.

Here now are the terms/ideas used or given regarding the Bride, the New Jerusalem and the 10 Virgins. Here is what both the Bible and the Great Controversy have to say.
Bride and New Jerusalem go hand in hand, one is the metaphor, the other is the REALITY.

Revelation 3:12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, [which is] new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and [I will write upon him] my new name.
21:2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
21:9 And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.
21:10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,
21:11 Having the glory of God: and her light [was] like unto a stone most precious, even like a jasper stone, clear as crystal;
22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come.

Great Controversy (1888) p426.2
The holy city, the New Jerusalem, which is the capital and representative of the kingdom, is called “the bride, the Lamb’s wife.”

Said the angel to John, “Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” “He carried me away in the spirit,” says the prophet, “and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of Heaven from God.” [Revelation 21:9, 10.] Clearly, then, the bride represents the holy city, and the virgins that go out to meet the bridegroom are a symbol of the church.

Rev. 3:12 “the name of the city of my God, [which is] new Jerusalem”
“which cometh down out of heaven”
“from my God”
Rev. 21:2 “the holy city, new Jerusalem”
“coming down from God out of heaven”
“prepared as a bride adorned”
:9 “I will show thee the bride”
“the Lamb’s wife”
:10 “showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem”
“descending out of heaven from God”
:11 “Having the glory of God”
“and her light [was] like unto a stone most precious”
Rev. 22:17 “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come”
“And let him that heareth say, Come”

Clearly from all of these verses “Bride” and “Lambs Wife” is the metaphor/symbol used to describe one thing and one thing only: the New Jerusalem. The phrase “prepared as a bride adorned” is a description of how the New Jerusalem LOOKS. The New Jerusalem, the Holy city, has been made ready, adorned, prepared for a special event. The question should be, “what is that special event?”, because we, the faithful virgins are NOWHERE to be seen at the location of and/or at the event that the Holy City has been made ready for. However we are given clear statements by Sister White in the Great Controversy that SHOULD HAVE made things very clear on all of this. And Yes, there is a lot more information elsewhere in the Bible and Sister Whites writings to confirm what I am saying.

Great Controversy 1888, p426.2
“The holy city, the New Jerusalem” (the reality)
“which is the capital and representative of the kingdom” (Capital/reality of the Kingdom in/of Heaven)
“is called “the bride, the Lamb’s wife.”” (the metaphor/symbol) just as Lamb is a metaphor/symbol

“Clearly, then, the bride represents the holy city” (bride/metaphor represents the holy city/reality)
Let me state again, what the Holy Spirit, has revealed to us through Sister White.
“CLEARLY, then, (in short there can be no mistake or misunderstanding) the bride (which is the metaphor/symbol) REPRESENTS (is the term used to describe or in place of the reality) the HOLY CITY. (CLEARLY the Holy City is the REALITY and has NOTHING to do with the church on Earth)

But Sister White did not stop “clarifying” things for us at that point.

“the virgins that go out to meet the bridegroom” (metaphors/symbols used, in place of, their realities)
“are a symbol of the church” (they are the metaphor/symbol for the reality: church is the reality)

But Sister White does not stop there, she again states things in a very clear manner.

“In the Revelation the people of God are said to be the guests at the marriage supper. [Revelation 19:9.]” guest is the metaphor/symbol used for the church which is the reality. ALSO, the term marriage supper is the metaphor/symbol for the reality. So, WHAT IS the real event?

This next statement should have caused, and should cause every 7th-Day Adventist to ask Sister White just what was it that she was really saying? What were and still is, the main body of 7th-Day Adventist missing or misunderstanding about the whole church/bride, wedding, wedding supper concept that DOES NOT agree with or fit what the Bible and Sister white have set before us?

“If guests, they cannot be represented also as the bride.” “cannot be represented also as” In other words, if we are one of these two, we CANNOT also be the other. And NO, we do not go from being one to being the other, and then go back to what we were to start with, i.e. the guest. The statement is very clear, ‘if we are represented as the guest, we cannot also be represent later or in between as the bride.” We are and can only be one of these two metaphors/symbols period. If we are the one, we cannot be the other; and the New Jerusalem has clearly been shown, by both the Bible and Sister White, to be what the term, the bride, represents.(it is the metaphor/symbol for)

If anyone who reads this takes the time to look up p426-427 in the Great controversy you will see that Sister White had both the word guest and the word bride italicized. Why was she trying to draw our attention to those two words? Also I think it important that everyone should notice that 3 times in one paragraph she clearly states that the New Jerusalem, the Capital of Gods Government, that has been prepared, adorned for some very special event is referred to, by metaphor/symbolism, as the bride. The New Jerusalem is the reality, it does not represent the bride or the church. As the Capitol of God’s Government it stands for or represents that Government to all of the Universe

Next I will be looking at what the Bible and Sister White, both say that the wedding is the metaphor/symbol of; and what the wedding supper really is. And YES, at some point I will come back to the “99 righteous, the unfallen Worlds that were ‘left in the wilderness’”

The following statements are found in Sister Whites writings.
The inhabitants of all other worlds are loyal and true to God; but he will not permit this one lost sheep to perish. The God of heaven is not unmindful of the world and its concerns. Jesus in heaven, one with God, the loved Commander in the heavenly courts, had stooped from his high estate, laid aside the glory that he had with the Father, in order to save the one lost world. For this he left the sinless worlds on high, the ninety and nine that loved him, and came to this earth, to be “wounded for our transgressions,” and “bruised, for our iniquities.”

Christ by His human relationship to men drew them close to God. He clothed His divine nature with the garb of humanity, and demonstrated before the heavenly universe, before the unfallen worlds, how much God loves the children of men.