The beautiful truth of the coming wedding of the Lord to His Church is laced through the Scriptures like a golden thread. The history of man begins with a wedding, as the Lord made Eve from Adam's rib, and they became husband and wife. Likewise, man's history, as we know it, will end with a wedding, according to the Scriptures. At the end of the Book of Revelation, we see the Holy City, the Bride, the Lamb's wife, and a great banquet prepared in celebration of the wedding of the Lamb.
Further accentuating the fact that the marriage of the Lamb is on God's mind, Jesus' ministry begins at a wedding. He and his disciples were invited to a wedding in Cana of Galilee. There He performed His first miracle by turning water into wine. No doubt, Jesus rejoiced, not only at the beauty of two people pledging their lives together, but also at the symbolism displayed in the very institution of marriage: the coming wedding of the Son of God and His Church.
According to John, Jesus and His disciples left that glorious, prophetic event, and went up to Jerusalem, to the temple. One must understand that, even as marriage holds a prophetic significance, the temple is also displays prophetic symbolism. The temple, and, in its day, the tabernacle, were an allegory of "the House of God, which is the Church of the Living God, the pillar and ground of the truth" (1 Tim. 3:15). So, as Jesus is coming from an event that points the spiritual heart to the blessed time of the marriage of Christ and the Church, Jesus came to the temple, the place that symbolized the very object of His love: the Church, for which He would pay the ultimate price (Matt. 13:44-46; Eph. 5:25-27).
As He entered the earthly expression of His "dove, [His] undefiled," He "found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money sitting: And when he had made a scourge of small cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables; And said unto them that sold doves, 'Take these things hence; make not my Father's house an house of merchandise.' And his disciples remembered that it was written, 'The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up'" (John 2:14-17).
What a contrast! In one instance, a bridegroom and his bride were gazing lovingly into each other's eyes, embarking on a life of unity, in the other, that which symbolized His own bride was overrun by unsavory fellows, making a mockery of the place which God chose "to put His name there."
Various times in the Scriptures, we are told that God chooses a place to "put His name there," again revealing the symbolism echoed in marriage. A wonderful expression of what marriage represents is that the wife takes the name of her husband. This is the ultimate, public display of their unity. The Scriptures show that the same thing will be true at the wedding of the Lamb. Consider two very similar, yet very different, passages in Jeremiah. In Jeremiah 23:5-6, the Scripture says, "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely: and this is his name whereby he shall be called, THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS." However, in Jeremiah 33:15-16, He says, "In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land. In those days shall Judah be saved, and Jerusalem shall dwell safely: and this is the name wherewith she shall be called, The Lord our righteousness."
As you can see, while the passages are nearly identical, one tells us HIS name, the other gives us HER name. As is also readily apparent, they have the same name! This is because she has become His wife, and He has put His name there! Hallelujah!
So, Jesus came into the temple, and sees it being used for commercial purposes. The act of using a woman to make money is called whoredom, and Jesus was not about to stand idly by and let them make a whore out of the House of God. This is the same thing that the "great whore" of Revelation chapters 17 and 18 did, as it is written in Rev. 18:3, "For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies."
So Jesus made a scourge and drove out the merchants, and turned over their tables, and proclaimed, "Make not my Father's house an house of merchandise!" The disciples knew immediately what had just happened, for they had seen the work of the zeal of the house of the Lord!
Jesus is our great example. Where, then, is that zeal today? Where are the people of God willing to build it, like David and Solomon, and Ezra and Nehemiah, and like Jesus and Paul? Where are those who desire to supply the necessary material to insure its construction? Where are the men and women, who, like the Israelites of old, would defend God's house with every ounce of their strength?
No, friends, I am not talking about the anticipated "third temple" that is supposedly going to be built in modern Jerusalem. Nor am I suggesting that the saints of the Lord take up arms to literally fight. I am talking about the House of God, which is the Church of the Living God, the pillar and ground of the truth, the Bride, the Lamb's Wife, the Holy City. I am talking about a group of saints, fitly framed together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. A group which must come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, becoming a glorious church without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing. Where are the children of God who are zealous for HER?
This is not about growing the local church. There are plenty of people out there trying to enlarge their congregations. Nor is it necessarily about getting more souls saved. We are commissioned by God to teach all nations of the good news of the kingdom, and many people are diligent to perform this work. But that is not the end, that is the means, whereby there will be material to build God's house! You see, this is about us saved folks coming together like stones and boards, and forming the House of God!
When Moses, the servant of the Lord, told the people of God that material was needed to build the tabernacle, they brought their gold, silver, brass, animal skins, fine linen, dyed cloth, and precious stones. Furthermore, they offered their skills to the work, be it carving, sewing, etc. In fact, they brought so much that Moses had to tell them to stop. (When have you ever been in a church where the pastor told the people to stop giving offerings?)
The house of God today requires enormous resources, and while financial resources are required for certain things, the material the house of God is in the most need of now is men and women, saved by grace, sanctified, and filled with the Holy Spirit. It needs apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. It needs bishops and deacons. It needs people who have received a love of the truth, and who are completely dedicated to the Lord.
This is a clarion call to you today, brothers and sisters, "Be zealous, and repent," that you no more follow in the path of the church at Laodicea, but that you set your heart to the work of the House of the Lord.
There are two pivotal events in the history of man: the first happened with the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior. The second is arguably the most joyous event that the world will ever know. It is because of the first event that we can now put all of our energies into seeing the second one brought to fruition. On that day, we will cry out with all the saints of all time, "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" (Rev. 19:7).
Come with me, friends, and see my zeal for the Lord.