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Revelation 22:17  And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

 Who is the “bride” referred to in Revelation 22:17? 

In Revelation 22  John records what was spoken by an angel and by Jesus.  Revelation 21:9 tells us of this angel: 

“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.”

The angel shows him New Jerusalem, God’s recreation coming down from Heaven.  In chapter 22 we read:

Revelation 22:1  And he [the angel] showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.  [2} In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. {3}  And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:  {4}  And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads.  {5}  And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. {6}  And he said unto me, These sayings are faithful and true: and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to show unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.

What a beautiful vision John saw and what a glorious description of what we will one day see.  John continues to behold this beautiful vision and then Jesus spoke to him, saying

Revelation 22:7  Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book.

Jesus reminds John of His imminent return and the blessing for those who keep His Word.  In verse 8 John reminds us that he SAW these things and he HEARD them.  He saw the glory of the new creation and He saw the glory of the Alpha and the Omega, the Great I AM, the Creator of everything, and he heard the words of His risen Lord and of the angel.  It caused John to fall down and worship.

Revelation 22:8  And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which showed me these things.  {9} Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.

The angle reminded John that only God is worthy of worship.  And then he told him “the time is at hand” and when that time comes the character of man will be revealed:

Revelation 22:10  And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. {11}  He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.

 Jesus then spoke again, proclaiming Who He is and what He will do:

Revelation  22:12  And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.  {13} I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

And the angel echoed the Lord’s words:

Revelation 22:14  Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city. {15}  For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.

Jesus confirmed that the angel is His messenger to the churches:

Revelation 22:16  I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star.

In verse 16 Jesus spoke of the local churches.  The gathering of people, who come together to for corporate worship.  Now we come to the verse in question.  Who is the “bride?”

Revelation 22:17  And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.

The “bride” is the body of Christ, all those who have repented of sin and trusted in Christ’s life, death, burial and resurrection and have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb.

It is not the corporate church, for we know that there are both believers and non-believers in every church gathering.  It is the communal Church — all those who are in relationship with Jesus Christ, by the power of His indwelling Spirit.  And, for that reason, it is the Spirit and the bride who then say “Come.”  They’re saying, come to the Saviour.  And whoever thirst will be satisfied by the Water of Life, the Living Water, the Lord Jesus Christ. 

John saw a glimpse of eternity and He shared it with us.  One day we will see what John saw.  Do you invite people to come to the Saviour?  Will you share your hope of glory with someone today?  And what is that “hope of glory?”  It is Christ in you!

To whom God would make known what is the riches of
the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles;
which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
(Colossians 1:27)

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