Friend of the Bridegroom

John 3:28 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. He that has the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which stand and hear him, rejoice greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled. 

The friend of the bridegroom is the one who played an important part in the wedding ceremonies, and sometimes conducted the negotiations between the bride and groom. The friend, at the time of the first meeting of the bride and groom, stands just outside the door to hear how delighted the groom is about his bride.

‘This my joy, therefore, is fulfilled’ This does not mean John was not to be a member of the future bride of Christ, for he will be. The heavenly city, the New Jerusalem, is the bride of Christ (Rev. 21:2, 9-10). All Old Testament saints (Heb. 11:10-16) and all New Testament saints will go there (Heb. 13:14; John 14:1-3). This includes John the Baptist and other saints of all ages from Abel to the end of the first resurrection (1Cor. 15:23, 51-58; 1Thess. 4:16; Rev. 20:4-6). All John expresses here is the fact that he is not the bridegroom, but his friend, as are all saints who are friends of the bridegroom (John 15:13-15). As John invited people to Christ, so do all the members of the bride (Rev. 22:17).

Faith

John 3:15  That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life. 

‘Whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life’ this verse states the reason for the crucifixion (John 3:15-17, 36; 5:24). There is no exception – all can be saved (John 3:15-17; 1Tit. 2:4; 2Pet. 3:9).

The word ‘believeth’ denotes the act and process of faith. It comes from the Greek verb pisteuo which occurs 248 times in the New Testament. This use of the present tense indicates that faith must be continued in to receive its benefits (Acts 14:22; Eph. 6:16; Col. 1:23; 1Tim. 2:15; 3:9; 6:12; 2Tim. 3:8; 4:7; Tit. 1:13; 2Pet. 1:5-10). Faith can be lost (1Tim. 1:19; 4:1; 5:8, 12; 6:10, 21; 2Tim. 2:18; 3:8).

Faith means: To be persuaded of (Rom. 4:17-22; 8:38-39; 2Tim. 1:12); to place confidence in (Eph. 3:12; Php. 1:6; Heb. 3:6, 12-14; 10:35; 1Jn. 3:21; 5:14); it is the substance or conviction of things hoped for, the assurance of things not seen (Heb. 10:19-38; 11:1, 6; Rom. 4:17; 8:24); it is an absolute dependence upon and reliance in the Word of God and of Christ (Matt. 8:8-10; 15:28; Rom. 10:17; Heb. 11:1-12:3); it means to fully surrender, yield, and have obedience to all known truth (Rom. 1:5; 6:11-23; 16:26; Jas. 2:14-26; 2Cor. 10:4-7; Heb. 11:6); to trust wholly and unreservedly in the faithfulness of God (Matt. 6:25-34; 12:21; 1Tim. 4:11; 6:17; 1Cor. 10:13); to give one’s self over to a new way of life (Rom. 1:17; 6:11-23; 8:1-16; Tit. 2:11-14; Heb. 12:1-15; 1Jn. 1:7; 2:6; 3:8-10; 4:17; 5:1-5, 18); it is the attribute of God and restored faculty of man whereby both can bring into existence things that are unseen (Rom. 4:17; Gal. 5:22; Matt. 17:20; 21:22; Mark 9:23; 11:22-24; Lk. 17:6; Heb. 11:1-40); it is the whole body of revealed truth (Rom. 10:17; 1Tim. 4:1, 6; 6:10; 2Tim. 3:16-17); to have joyful faith in, and acceptance of Christ as the substitute for sin and our Savior whereby one receives salvation (Mark 16:16; Acts 4:12; 10:43; Rom. 1:16; 3:24-31); have access to grace (Rom. 5:2); fulfillment of the promises (Heb. 6:12); the Holy Spirit (Gal. 3:14); righteousness (Rom. 4:1-25; 9:30, 32; 10:6; Php. 3:9); sonship (Gal. 3:26); healing (Jas. 5:14-16; 1Pet. 2:24); eternal life (John 3:15-18, 36; 5:24; 6:47); and answers to every prayer (Mat. 7:7-11; 21:21; John 14:12-15; 15:7, 16).

The Greek word for ‘perish’ is apollumi, which means to destroy (Matt. 10:28); lose (Matt. 10:39); die (John 18:14); be lost (2Cor. 4:3); be marred (Mark 2:22); and perish (Matt. 8:25; 18:14; Heb. 1:11). It never means annihilation. Here it simply means the loss of the souls in eternal hell.

The Temple

John 2:18-22  Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shew thou unto us, seeing that thou do these things? Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spoke of the temple of his body. When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said. 

The Jews were as always acting as an evil and adulterous generation that seek after a sign (see Matt. 12:39; 16:4) and Jesus gave them the same answer He would do later: that of His death and resurrection (the sign of the prophet Jonas). The one sign that will hopefully be the answer to all their doubts and unbelief so that they will accept Him as their Saviour.

Here He gave the same answer in the form of the destruction of that temple (Herod’s) that He will raise up in three days. This is the third New Testament prophecy in John where He no doubt pointed to His body – this temple.

With Christ’s death, the New Testament period started (Matt. 26:28; 1Cor. 11:25; Heb. 9:15) and temple service was abolished. God now (during the New Testament period) works through individuals and He clearly states in 1Corinthians 6:19 that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Ghost and He warns us through the Apostle John in Revelation 2:9; 3:9 that there will be those that blaspheme because they say they are Jews, and are not, but are the synagogue of satan. Service to God now comes through the body of Christ (1Cor. 12:27; Ep. 4:12), thus each individual that is consecrated to Him for His glory and honour (1Pet. 2:21-22) and not through a temple or synagogue (Acts 7:48; 17:24).

The rebuilding of the temple was commenced by Herod the Great, 20 B.C. Herod tore down Zerubbabel’s temple to make it larger and better.

When Jesus has risen from the dead (Matt. 27:51-53; 28:6; 1Cor. 15:12-23), His disciples remembered His words and they believed the Scripture – that was given to Christ of the Father (John 14:10).

The Son of God and of Man

John 1:49-51  Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel. Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believe thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. And he saith unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Hereafter you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man. 

The second New Testament prophecy fulfilled in John – thou shall see greater things than these – Nathaniel did see many greater works when he saw all the works of Christ for over three years. John 1:51 is to be fulfilled in the eternal kingdom of Jesus on earth when angels will ascend and descend in a more literal way than now (Matt. 13:41-43; 24:31).

Verily, verily means Surely, surely or Amen, amen. So used for emphasis, and only by Him who is the truth (John 14:6). Always used singly elsewhere: in the Old Testament only 16 times; 30 times in Matthew; 15 times in Mark; and 8 times in Luke and only by Christ.

The Son of man is used 88 times of Christ in the New Testament and once in Daniel 7:13 where it was predicted that He would come as the Son of man. It always has the definite article when used of Christ, but not when used of ordinary men. He, Jesus, is God’s Man to redeem mankind. He is God’s answer to satan to guarantee his defeat and restore man’s original dominion.

The Parable of the Leaven

Another parable spoke He unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. Mat. 13:33 KJV

The kingdom of Heaven here is “like” leaven (sour dough) that is always used in a bad sense in Scripture, as meal is in a good sense. Therefore, the common interpretation of leaven converting the world is the exact opposite of the true interpretation of the leaven corrupting the meal. Note the use of leaven in Scripture:

In the Old Testament leaven is used to portray the evil nature of the sinner: Exodus 12:8, 15-20; 34:25; Levitikus 2:11; 6:17; 10:12 These last three passages refer to leaven being forbidden in certain sacrifices. Only in one sacrifice was it used in Levitikus 7:12-13 and here it signifies that though the believer has made peace with God through the work of another (Christ), there are still human traits and selfishness in him which must be continually purged by growth in grace.

In the New Testament leaven is used in four ways: first, the leaven of the Pharisees which was external religion, legalism, and hypocrisy; Mt. 23:14-28; Lk. 12:1 second, the leaven of the Sadducees, which was skepticism as to the supernatural and the teachings of the Scriptures on resurrection, angels, and spirits; Mt. 22:23-39; Acts 23:8 third, the leaven of the Harridans, which was materialism, a mixture of religion and worldliness, a political religion; Mk. 8:15 fourth, the leaven of both Pharisees and Sadducees as to their evil doctrines and practices. Mt. 16:11-12; 23:14, 16, 23-28

This illustrates how the kingdom of heaven teachings and the program of God in this age would become corrupted by false doctrines and unscriptural programs until the whole is corrupted. Lk. 18:8; 1Tim. 4:1-8; 2Tim. 3:5; 4:3-4; 2Pet. 3:3-4  A woman is a common symbol of evil in the moral or religious sphere and when used figuratively in an evil sense ‘she’ represents wickedness, fallacy, uncleanness, and unfaithfulness, Lam. 1:17 harlotry, Ezek. 16:15,22,26,28-59; 23:1-49; 36:17; Hos. 1:2; 2:2-17; 3:1; Rev. 17 wickedness, Zech. 5:5-11; Rev. 17:5 and false religion. Rev. 17 Thus, in a bad ethical sense a woman always symbolizes something wrong or out of place religiously.  Zech. 5:7-8; Rev. 2:20; 17:1-18  When used in a good sense women represent Israel, cp Gen. 37:9-10 with Rev. 12; Ezek. 16 the two covenants, Gal. 4:21-31 and righteousness and purity. 2Cor. 11:2; Rev. 19:7-8 A meal symbolizes the Word of God. Mt. 4:4; Jn. 6:47-63 and the three hidden measures of the meal illustrates all false teachings, religious programs, and professed Christian lives that seek to hide behind the Word of God (Christ as the Bread of Life and the Word of God Mt. 4:4; Jn. 6:47-63; Jn. 1:1).

The parable illustrates how the kingdom of Heaven would become like leaven, which a woman uses to corrupt Christ and His teachings. Both Christ and the Word of God are being corrupted today by the false church and its teachings. These teachers dominate the realm of profession and use it to deceive people by exalting their own words above the Word of God and their own leaders above Christ; by making the people feel that their church is infallible and that obedience to it and its dogmas is better than obedience to civil governments and by many comparable doctrines contrary to the Bible, thus corrupting the truth through the realm of profession.

Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaven the whole lump? Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 1Cor. 5:6-8 KJV