Wedding preparations of a church
The service was about Adam and Eve, about Jesus Christ and the bridal congregation, and about the marriage feast in heaven. “This marriage is kind of complicated,” the Chief Apostle remarked during the service and began to explain.
More than 8,200 people had gathered outside at a sports ground for a divine service with Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider in Mazabuka in Zambia. He based his sermon on 2 Corinthians 11: 2: “For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.”
The proper context
In our Bible text, Paul describes the mission of the Apostles in a wonderful way, the Chief Apostle said. “He says that His mission is to prepare the bride for the great marriage feast with Jesus Christ.” This image of a wedding is often used in the Bible: Jesus is the bridegroom, whereas the bride consists of the chosen ones who will have eternal fellowship with Him once Christ and His own are united.
“This marriage is a little complicated because each one has his own idea of what a marriage consists of,” the Chief Apostle said. The marriage in heaven should therefore not be interpreted in the context of the culture and tradition we are familiar with, but in the context of the story of creation.
The original couple
God created Adam from the dust of the earth and Eve from Adam’s rib (Genesis 2: 7, 21–22). “This does not mean that Eve was a by-product,” the Chief Apostle pointed out. “God did this on purpose. He wanted to make it clear that both were created in the image of God.” Adam and Eve belonged together. “It is the same flesh, the same bones. The one cannot exist without the other,” the Chief Apostle explained. “And when Adam saw Eve he immediately knew: this is ‘bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh’; we belong together.” And the Bible says: “They shall become one flesh.”
The new couple
The Chief Apostle went on to explain that Jesus is the new Adam: Jesus is exactly as God had willed man to be—in every respect. The new Eve, he said, are the believers, the church that was created by God. “When Jesus Christ returns He wants to see somebody of whom He can say: ‘This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.’ This is My nature, My life. That’s exactly how I am.”
That means that human beings, the bride, have become more and more like God and correspond more to His will. “God creates a new Eve: the church, the believers. They have become a new creation in Christ because they have received the life of Christ through the gift of the Holy Spirit,” explained the Chief Apostle. And when Jesus returns He will take His bride unto Himself.
The Apostles’ preparatory work
The bride has to be ready to receive the bridegroom upon His return. And that is the mission of the Apostles. They are preparing the bride for her wedding by
- strengthening her faith and her trust through the sermon
- making her love for God and her brothers and sisters greater
- teaching her to keep God’s commandments
- proclaiming the forgiveness of sins
- teaching her how she can find divine grace
- strengthening fellowship in Holy Communion
- exhorting her to remain united
- reminding her of Christ’s return.
“The Apostles have been sent in order to prepare us so that Jesus Christ will return,” the Chief Apostle said in conclusion. “My wish is that when He looks at you and when He looks at me, He can say: ‘Oh, that’s My flesh, let us become one and let us be together for all eternity.”