THE BRIDEGROOM VERSUS
Now we see the religious concept. Do not blame those Jewish people; we must blame ourselves. We have all become religious. We are still to some extent under religion’s influence. We are talking about fasting and praying, while the Lord Jesus is saying, "Can the children of the bridechamber mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them?" The Lord Jesus is not speaking in doctrines or religious rituals, but pointing to Himself as the Bridegroom. Our God, our Creator, our Redeemer, our Lord and Master today is a Bride groom to us. We must all drop the religious concept and take up something new. I cannot force you, but I would ask you from this day to contact the Lord again and again with the sense that He is your Bridegroom. Would you? There is not much need to pray in the old religious way. I am afraid that when you forget God, you just forget Him; then, whenever you turn back to Him, you immediately pray in that old way. It is so easy to pray like that. But when you pray in the way of appreciating the Lord, it is entirely different. Do not think this is my teaching; it is the Lord’s revelation. The Lord is going to recover it, and He is doing it now. We must have a change. Repent! Change your concept! Be buried! Enjoy Jesus as the Bridegroom!
Many times in my room by myself I have really become excited. The Lord is so much to me. He is so good, so wonderful, far beyond what I can express. He is the Bridegroom! Hallelujah! The Bridegroom is with us—we have His presence! We not only have the presence of the Almighty God, but the presence of the Bridegroom, the most pleasant person. He is so precious and so lovely. The Lord Jesus must be like this to us.
In the matter of love, none of us keep any formalities or rituals. If we really love someone, we drop all the forms. If not, our love is not genuine. Therefore, since Jesus is our Bridegroom, we must drop all our rituals and formalities.
THE BRIDEGROOM’S PRESENCE
We need our concept radically changed. When we come to our meetings, the church meetings, we are coming to meet the Bridegroom. Whenever we come together, we are coming to be with our Bridegroom. His presence means everything to us. As long as He is with us, we need no regulations, no rituals, no doctrines or forms. Why does Christianity today need so many doctrines, forms, rituals, and regulations? Because they have lost the presence of the Lord. In a wedding we have the presence of the bridegroom, but in a funeral we have lost the presence of a dear one. In Christianity people have lost the presence of the dear One, so there is no excitement. But we have the presence of our Bridegroom, and His presence is everything to us. How could we help but be excited? We have to shout, we have to be exceedingly joyful. The Bridegroom is with us—Hallelujah!
CHILDREN OF THE BRIDECHAMBER
The Bible not only tells us that the Lord Jesus is our Bridegroom, but that as such a Person to us we are four kinds of people to Him. Matthew and Luke tell us that He is the Bridegroom, and we are the children of the bride chamber. We are the people who are with the Bridegroom in His chamber. We love the Bridegroom. In this sense, we are not the bride, but we are the children of the bridechamber. We gaze upon the Bridegroom; His presence is so good and pleasant to us. You see, the children of the bridechamber are certainly unlike those in the mortuary. We are not in a mortuary; we are in the bridechamber. Hallelujah! We are fellows of the Bridegroom in the bridechamber.
(Christ versus Religion, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)