The Bride in Parables? – Fifth Sunday of Easter
The word for Bride occurs eight times in seven verses in the New Testament. Five times of these in the writings of John, four of those in the Book of Revelation. When reading the Book of Revelation, we have to remember that Jesus said (John 8: 23), ’Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world.’ Revelation concerns a spiritual togetherness, or communion in Latin, of all Christians! Is this togetherness what we are missing in modern society? The above from where Jesus is, is not to be found by flying a spacecraft away from the earth, but it is a higher level of perception of the dealings on earth in the light of a higher spirituality, of higher morals and consequently of an entirely different focus than our earthly matters.
Rev. 21: 1 to 5:  And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.  And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.  And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, [and be] their God.  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed [away].  And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
What is interesting though is the use of the word Bride. The ancient Greek word is nymphae, which in general just means a girl or woman desiring to have sex. The modern expression nymphomaniac for a sex addict is derived from this word. The word may have a plain meaning, but it can also mean just a sex partner, like young men in the 1960s might have spoken of trying to find a bride for the night, i.e. a one night stand.
The plain meaning occurs in Matt. 10: 34 & 35 (similar in Luke 12: 51 to 53), ‘Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.’ Here the translation of nymphae as daughter in law is used to contrast her with the mother in law. Concerning the customs between a man’s parents and his sexual partner, see Greetings from Paradise the chapter ‘The Chathan and the Kallah’. This deals with the customs in the Old Testament or the Tanakh, as Jews call it, but these are the customs in the area during the time when Jesus lived.
In Revelation, however, the word nymphae is always something joyful. In Rev. 18: 23 ‘the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in’ Babylon, which is probably code for Rome, since Christians were prosecuted at the time for speaking against that city.. There is a build up to this in the previous verse, there shall be no more music, nor the sound of the millstone, i.e. food will be short, and no light of the candle, maybe there will be no more enlightenment. There also is a very interesting reason given. Rev. 18: 23 ends, ‘for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.’ What would the downfall of Rome have to do with merchants? As pointed out last week, the ideals of the merchants are contrary to Christianity and one could go as far as saying that they have their own god today, the bull – god of which there is an image outside the Wall Str. Stock Exchange. In Roman Times their god was Mercury.
Now in Rev. 21: 2 and 9 the word bride, nymphae, stands for the new Jerusalem. In verse 2 John saw ‘the new Jerusalem coming down from from God out of heaven’, not from a place where you could go in a spacecraft, and in verse 9 an angel carried John away ‘in the spirit’ to show him the bride, (verse 10) ‘the great city, the holy Jerusalem’, the ideal city of happiness. What kind of happiness? The happiness of the bride, of the nymphae, of the nymphomaniac?
That couldn’t possibly be! Well wait for the next quote: Rev. 22: 16 and 17, ‘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. 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.’
So the spirit and Jerusalem, for which the bride stands, or maybe the spiritual Jerusalem, the ideal Christian society invites all people and this society will give freely water of life, of a happy Christian life, to everyone who thirsts for that.
However, John saw, or rather heard, Jesus saying, ‘I am the root and the offspring of David, [and] the bright and morning star.’
What is the bright morning star? Venus is the bright morning star. Venus due to its position closer to the son than earth can only be seen for a short time after sundown and a short time before sunrise. At other times it is also called the evening star. It is explained in Greetings from Paradise, in the chapter ‘Ecstasy’, that the Ancients thought that sexual arousal brings on the presence of a god or goddess or God. Oaths were sometimes asked to be taken in a state of sexual arousal, since these were then seen as having been taken in the presence of God (see Where Did Abraham’s Servant Put His Hand?) Since Venus was usually rising while people had sex, in very primitive society out in the open, they might have associated Venus with the love goddess because they believed their sex act brought on the presence of the goddess of love, Venus, Aphrodite, Ishtar, Inanna, Melitta or the like. Because she appeared when people had sex she was associated with it!
In other words, what John heard Jesus say of himself, referred to physical love!!!
Could this possibly be true? Let us have a look at the word nymphae in the Gospel of John (3: 29). John, the Baptist, said about Jesus, ‘He that hath the bride (nymphae) is the bridegroom (nymphios): but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.’ So John, the Baptist, takes joy in Jesus and his preachings.
However, what about the imagery? Where exactly is the friend of the bridegroom standing? And what is the bridegroom doing to make the joyful noises? What exactly is the (Rev. 18: 23) ‘the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride’? What are they doing?
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.