RG of the Bride of Christ

Israel is Giver.  The Old Testament portrayal of Israel as the wife of God is consistent with the wounded Giver profile we are familiar with.

That said, what is the redemptive gift of the Bride of Christ?  And what makes you think that?  I can see all seven gifts strongly at work in the Body, but what would be the ideal gift for the task God has given The Church?

I have a bunch of ideas, but no clear picture yet.  Let’s dialog for a while through the comments and see if we can get through the smog of surface stuff to hear the heartbeat of the church.

Copyright July 2013 by Arthur Burk

Airborne over Ohio, on my way to an intense research retreat for the fractal of four with a small team

This entry was posted in The Redemptive Gifts of Individuals. Bookmark the permalink.

58 Responses to RG of the Bride of Christ

  1. eva says:

    I find this dialogue to be very challenging and stimulatin. If my pastors knew that I engage in such questions who know what the world they would do with me. They already thing that I am not regid enough in their theology and that all Charistians MUST speak the same thing or something is just very wrong. However, i design is one that has question the status quo since I was a girl in Jamaica and i have seen no reason to stop because it is in the questioning of the status quo that God has taught me many, Many things. So keep the conversation going, I thrive on challenges especially those challenges of the theological nature. i have stopped considering myself as a misfit, but rather a perfect fit that others are too sometimes blide to see. I really have nothing essential to add to the conversation. Thanks.

  2. Rebekah says:

    This comment is in reply to Arthur’s comment below. The system would not allow me to enter it in the “reply” zone.

    How DO you define the Bride? I was hoping YOU would answer that question…. guess I should have known better. This is Sapphire after all. I don’t have a definition, but I think understanding what the Bride is not, may help narrow the list of Redemptive Gift qualities, and there by distill the essence.

    Frankly, I’m still tying to process the shock that I might not be included in the Bride. Worse yet is the idea that I might not even be counted worthy of the lowest seat at the table. That strikes deep at my legitimacy.

    Putting that aside, let’s see if I can pull some clues from scripture. These are only ideas mind you. I don’t have a theology about this, and I whole heartedly agree with the apostle Paul “This is a profound mystery” (Eph 5:32)

    First, We know the Bride is human, and it doesn’t appear that she died and was resurrected. So perhaps this is what Paul refers to in 1 Cor 15:51 when he says, “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed.” Perhaps the Bride is alive on the earth, and is “changed” before the marriage supper….?

    Second, we know the Bride is an end time player. I find it interesting that the New Testament has a lot to say about how believers should live and what the Church should accomplish, but it’s fairly ambiguous about the Bride. We find several parables on the wedding thyme in the Gospels, but none of them have the Bride as a central player. I wonder why?

    Third, the Bride actively pursues her birthright. She appears on stage immediately before the wedding feast, and she has made herself ready! (Rev 19:7) She is ready to take on the kings of the earth, the beast, false prophet, and ultimately the dragon, and what does the Groom’s Father give as a wedding present…..? The wholesale humiliation, judgement, and death of the prostitute (Rev 17:14-17.) Gruesome. The Bride is no pansy.

    Fourth, I find it intriguing that Revelations uses two different greek words when referring to the Bride. First, she is called the Bride, but when the New Heaven and New Earth are established she has become the Wife of the Lamb. What happens in the interim to cause this shift? Perhaps it has something to do with the millennium, during which time she is mentored by Jesus. Considering the global upheaval wrote by the disciples after only three and a half years of walking with The Master, I can only imagine what the Bride could accomplish after one thousand years. It must be magnificent for the final exam to be marked by satan’s release from the abyss.

    • SLG says:

      Rebekah, I think you are reaching a bit here. What do you do with Paul saying that the local congregation he was writing to was engaged to Jesus? And what about Israel being portrayed as the wife of God in the Old Testament?

      • Rebekah says:

        It could be that I’m reaching too far, and I have no problem being wrong. But I’m willing to risk asking the question because no one ever discovered something new by settling for status quo.

        I checked the NIV, NASB, KJV and Amplified translations of the Bible looking for the passage you mentioned where Paul says the congregation he is writing to is engaged to Jesus. I could not find it. A scripture reference would be helpful ~ Thanks!

        My best guess is that you are referring to to Eph 5:22-33 where it says “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.” The wording of this passage is intriguing to me because it is written in the context of husband and wife. The greek word for wife appears several times in the passage but when it says, “to present her to himself as a radiant …….” it does not say wife, which would fit with the flow of the analogue. He says Ekklesia. Why? If the Church is synonymous with the Bride why not preserve the flow of the passage by using the word wife or at the vary least bride? I don’t know. But I wonder.

        Israel being portrayed as the wife of God is very well established in scripture. I’m not contesting that in any way. I don’t recall anyone in my religious experience ever referring to Israel as the Bride of Christ. Do you think we can safely apply all the scriptures about Israel and God’s marriage relationship to Jesus and His Bride?

        • SLG says:

          Does 2 Cor. 11:2 work for you?

          I agree. Israel is not referred to as the bride — only the wife. I am merely suggesting a tool for theological interpretation which is to look at the whole of a topic. At the end of a day, a Rubik’s Cube is proven right because of the big picture, not because each individual block is proven right.

          • Rebekah says:

            Arthur, I’ve continued to ruminate on the mystery of the Bride in light of 2 Corinthians 11:2, “For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.” (NASB) Nestled in the monolog where Paul defends his ministry, and defines his boundaries, it appears this verse is a very individualized message.

            It’s curious to me the way it says “Paul” betrothed them to Christ. It doesn’t say, like it does in Hosea 2:19-20, that God betrothed them to Himself. If Paul intended this passage to mean that he had the authority to broker an engagement between Christ and the Corinthians then where does that leave the Ephesians, Galatians, Colossians, and the rest of us?

            Moreover, Paul uses a special word when he says “betrothed.” In fact, this is the only place in the New Testament where this unique word appears. Every other time, (i.e. Luke 1:27 Mary’s betrothal to Joseph) the word betrothed is a legal, ceremonial term. The word that Paul chose in 2 Cor 11:2 could equally be translated wooed, and it has an added dimension of two body parts being joined together with an articulating joint.

            Paul goes on in chapter 11 to express his concern about the Corinthian’s ability to keep themselves pure as he had hoped. Thereby affecting his ability to give a good gift to the King. It seems reasonable that Paul is using very graphic language to depict his own zeal and sense of responsibility for the Corinthian church, and not necessarily foreshadowing the revelation that John would receive on Patmos, about the Bride.

            Looking at the subject of the “wife” as a Rubik’s Cube in both Old and New Testaments, it seems the logical question would be….. is the covenant of marriage which God made with Israel exclusive? Is marriage with God accessible to all believing humanity by virtue of passages such as Rom. 9-11 and Eph. 2:15, which speak of the gentiles being grafted into the stock of Israel and the formation of one new man, or does God reserve the distinction of “wife” for one group? If God made a distinction in the Old Testament, then what’s to prohibit a distinction in the New Testament?

            On the other hand, if God didn’t make a distinction, and all believing humanity will ultimately be included in the marriage covenant by virtue of Jeremiah 31:27-40, then what role does the Bride of the Lamb play in the book of Revelation?

            Just to reiterate….. I don’t have a preconceived theology that I’m trying to prove, just an open mind that’s willing to consider an alternate story line. I still have more questions then answers.

  3. Rebekah says:

    Hi Arthur,

    I have been pondering this subject for the last month…. It just won’t stay in the drawer where I firmly put it! Despite my insistence that I don’t have time or extra brain power for such lofty matters, it just wont leave me be. So I’m going to hazard a question.

    Is it possible that The Church and The Bride are not synonymous……? Who says that every believer is entitled to the distinct honor of being included in The Bride……? I’ve always heard it taught that way in Sunday school, but what do you do with the passage in Matt 22:14 that says “many are called but few are chosen”…..? These words are in reference to “guests” who were invited to the wedding feast. If this is the case for the guests, how much more so for the Bride?

    Is it possible that the corporate Church and the Bride of Christ are two distinct entities? Possibly with different redemptive gifts?

    • SLG says:

      Rebekah, of course it is possible. I merely was going on the standard theology of the church which has let me down a thousand times before. So this is not something I have looked into at all on a detailed basis. The other “standard” answer is that the guests are the Old Testament saints.

      So let’s wipe the slate clean, say anything is possible, but then dig in and see what is really there. The first step would be to look up all the references to the Bride of Christ and see if there us basis for considering them a distinct group from The Church.

      • Rebekah says:

        Yes, I am aware of the teaching that says the guests at the wedding feast are Old Testament saints. But it seams to me that Matthew’s parable in chapter 22 is a lot more complex then this simplistic explanation. First, there are the guests who got killed in the King’s wrath. Then there’s the bad and the good who got dragged in off the street to take there place. Then there’s the man without proper wedding garments who gets thrown into the dark where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Seems pretty layered…. I don’t see a clear cut explanation like the one I grew up with in Sunday school.

        In Revelation 19 we read the account of the marriage supper of the Lamb. In verses 7-8 it says “For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” In verse 19:9 it goes on to say, “Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” I see two distinct entities involved here. The bride and those who are invited.

        If chapters 19 and 20 are chronological then we find Jesus and the wedding goers ridding out to a great battle culminating in the capture of the beast and false prophet who are immediately thrown into the lake of fire (Rev 19:20.) Followed by the sealing of satan in the abyss for a thousand years (Rev 20:3.)

        Then things start to get interesting. In Rev 20:4-5 we see the first resurrection of those who were beheaded, so they can reign with Jesus on the earth for a thousand years. Obviously these are believers because they were killed for their testimony. But presumably they were not in attendance at the wedding feast or participants in the battle.

        It goes on in verse 20:6 to say “Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.” So here we have a group of blood bought believers who have the distinctive honor of being priests and reigning with Christ. But who weren’t even invited to the wedding feast?! That messes with my theology.

        At the end of the thousand years and after satan joins the beast and the false prophet in the lake of fire, we see the great white thrown of judgement when all men are resurrected and judged. Again we find more believers who were not at the wedding feast nor were they part of the first resurrection, yet their names are written in the Lamb’s book of life (Rev 20:15.)

        In Revelation 21 we find the the New Jerusalem pictured as the bride, and it says in 21:3 that God dwells there among men. However, it does not say that all believing humanity dwells there. The believers at large dwell all over the new earth, only coming and going through the gates of Jerusalem occasionally 21:22-27.) If the new Jerusalem represents the bride and Jesus lives there, wouldn’t it stand to reason the bride would live there too?

        To top it off, Revelation 22:17 says, “The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.” It appears to me, this passage differentiates the bride from the one who hears, thirsts, and receives salvation.

        I’m no theologian, but it seems to me there is more then a little evidence to indicate the the Bride is distinct from the Church.

  4. Rich says:

    I love this, it is enthralling and challenging. I am strictly shooting from the hip here, but I thought I would just throw some thoughts out on the table that might help in organizing all the data coming in. I love the concept of fractals especially when related to the “big” picture because there is always a small, then smaller picture as well as a bigger and then bigger picture again.
    God is so faithful to release understanding and revelation in many layers from complex to simple. Paul Kieth Davis, from White Dove Ministries has done a fantastic in depth series of teaching on a bigger bigger perspective from the seven letters to the Church in Revelations. Each of the letters represents a specific, circumscribed period of time in church history down through the ages. If each of the letters / church history period is studied for the RGs in operation it could give clarity to the age we are in right now and the RGs flowing in this window. There is no way I could summarize these teachings, but they can be accessed from his website webstreams. He has also offered a brilliant series of teachings on the difference between the “Church” which is different from the “Bride.” We were made in the image of God, earth was made in the image of Heaven,and the Church was made in the image of the Throne Room, to fill it with praise and worship and joy. Their function is quite different from the Bride, which is a remnant called out of the Church for the purposes of ruling, reigning and legislating. So maybe by separating out these two from each other the RGs in operation may become more clear. Anyway, just some organizational thoughts. Giving these teachings contemplative study may bring more light to the table.

  5. kambani says:

    I find this about Ephesians 4 intriguing: that the Body is composed of five essential gifts. if you’re looking at it from the point of view of fractals, isn’t five the Giver fractal?

    it is also interesting to note that the measurements of the temple at the end of Ezekiel are all multiples of five (Ezekiel 42.15-20, in particular)—the link here being that we’re the temple composed of living stones.

    if these passages speak in any way about the Bride’s design (specifically Ephesians 4; Ezekiel’s temple is more a tangent for curiosity’s sake than a solid assertion at the moment), are we then treading on Giver territory?

    • SLG says:

      Kambani, the Giver is fifth in the fractal of seven, but that is not quite the same as being the fractal of five. We find the mother fractal of five to be the sequence of holiness: time, land, community, birthright and office.

      • kambani says:

        ah, of course: the mother fractal. how important it is to have the right interpretative grid when approaching a matter. thanks for the correction. I guess it’s back to the drawing board for me.

  6. Renate says:

    Song of Solomon is commonly understood as a picture of Christ and his bride. I noticed in several parts of the book that there is a main statement followed by a list of proofs or explanations for that statement. The most obvious is in S of S 2:10-13 where he gives her a detailed list of proofs so she can verify that the winter is really past. And that is how you convince a Teacher that something is true. Luke, a Teacher, also communicated like that for example in Luke 3:1-2. So to me that points to the Bride of Christ being RG Teacher.

  7. Elizabeth says:

    I am new to the concept of Jesus being Exhorter, so I am getting my head around that and wondering about the rest of the Trinity. My initial thought is that the Father is Mercy and the Holy Spirit, Teacher. This does not address the main question, but it would be helpful to me to see the bigger picture.

    • Salome says:

      I am a little confused – I am quite sure that somewhere in one of the CD’s I have listened to the Redemptive Gift of Jesus was given as Ruler? Unfortunately I cannot remember which CD so now I can’t go back to verify?

  8. Peter says:

    If God’s initial instructions represent our original intent, then managing the land by reproducing Eden across the Earth is top of the list, is it not? Is that related to enthroning Jesus on the land or is that a different assignment? Wouldn’t the function of the Bride on Earth be a return to implementing the original intent?

    • Maureen Charron says:

      I’ll pose another “if”. If God’s initial intent was to create a Bride for Christ “according to the PURPOSE OF THE AGES, which he (the Father) purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Eph. 3:11) and we know that the church (Christ’s Bride) was in him from before creation (Eph.1:4), then is it not possible that Adam and Eve were given those instructions to rule and procreate so that the image of God would be created in multiple human beings who together would form the Bride? And then, of course, because of sin, Christ had to come and redeem his bride but he ‘endured the cross because of the joy set before him” (what joy? His bride?).

  9. Christie says:

    What is the purpose of the marriage between Christ and his bride? I’ve always been taught that the church is to eventually ‘rule and reign with Christ’…in which case I’d be leaning more towards teacher or ruler. Obviously shooting from the hip. I’m curious and perplexed by this discussion.

    • SLG says:

      Good point, Christie. There are so many pictures of our relationship. He is the head. We are the body. He is the foundation. We are the building. He is the vine. We are the branches. He is the shepherd. We are the sheep. All of these are teaching tools for the church age to understand our multifaceted relationship with Him. However, the central image of the eternal relationship is marriage, not any of the others. And what is more dramatic is Christ’s statement that there will neither be marriage nor the giving of marriage in heaven. Apparently our marriage to Him will be the summation of all that is good about marriage and will be the only one there.

      So why marriage? Not sure, but it certainly elevates our marriages to a different plane if they are supposed to be the a microcosm of the one social construct that God plans on demonstrating in eternity.

      • dorisann says:

        So you are saying the Body of Christ, the Church, is the same as the Bride of Christ, which is our final destination at the second coming? While there are many parallels of the marriage analogy for the body of believers relationship with Christ, I have always seen the Bride of Christ as the perfected completion that God has prepared for the final perfect union of man with God – at the last resurrection. So that Bride to me would be the culmination of all the gifts, perfected in Christ. The Body of Christ, the Church, us, may be a specific RG until that time. Just thinking….

      • Deborah Rivera says:

        Just a thought, regarding ruling and reining with Christ, how does that relate to
        the millennium reign of Christ here on Earth? It would seem that there will be marriages
        at that time. I am appreciating this exploration, Deborah

  10. Maureen says:

    I am very new to the teachings of RGs and confess to being pretty shocked (albeit excited) that in 20+ years of studying/teaching the Bible I completely missed all this! But here are my first thoughts: First, I would make a distinction between the RGs of the universal church on earth, individual denominations, local expressions of the body of Christ – each which probably has a dominant RG, and the purified, spotless church that will become the Bride of Christ. Focusing solely on the Bride, I think that there would likely be a perfect, harmonious balance of all the strengths of all the RGs and, of course, none of the weaknesses. Genesis opens with a man and a woman and Revelation ends (begins?) with a woman and a man. The story of creation opens with a marriage and ends (begins?) with a wedding/marriage. It is essentially a love story from beginning to end. In the beginning, the woman (Eve) was hidden and taken out of the man (Adam). As the story unfolds, we learn that the Bride has been hidden in Christ! From somewhere in eternity past, God planned that at some time in the future, his Son would have an eternal companion perfectly fit for him. (Eph. 1:4; 5:25-27; 31-32) Further to this, I’m thinking that our spirits, those unique sparks/lights individually created in God’s image that make up the Bride must all together form the ideal complement to Christ just as Eve was to Adam. The Bride is Christ in another form because she was taken out of him. How can the Bridegroom join himself to a Bride less than himself? The Bride surely must be ‘whole’ as well as flawless. This passionate love story that is the great over-arching theme of, well, everything…is why we are compelled to imitate/create grand love stories in movies, books and to search for it in our own lives. It is the ‘stuff’ of which we are made.

    Perhaps it is because I am a Mercy (with Teacher & Giver running close behind) that I think like this. I hesitate to speak for all Mercies but, personally, I like to seek/know/focus on the ‘big picture’ and then drill down. Contemplating the absolutely indescribable passionate love of God can be all-encompassing and can easily diminish everything else. It’s perspective. If I’m just “being” in relationship with God on some conscious and/or subconscious level all day long, then I am also somehow evaluating at those levels how important everything else is in comparison. Even before I became a believer at 23 I would often think: On a scale of 1-10, how important is this to me? How much will I care in 1 or 5 years about this? I’m full of opinions and preferences. I can be deeply moved by some crazy small thing & downright ferocious concerning loved ones. But I’m also very aware of a …’meh, so what?’…when there is something much bigger going on. Does this make any sense or am I just being Merciful? 🙂 Maureen

    • SLG says:

      OK Maureen, if you see a tight parallel, why would it not extend to the gifts? Adam as Mercy and Eve was Giver. Jesus is Exhorter, so why would the Bride be all of them?

      • Maureen Charron says:

        Um…because Adam and Eve were ‘types’ and possibly Jesus is classified as Exhorter because it was within his incarnation but not reflective of his eternal being? Maybe? Just guessing….

        • SLG says:

          I find it very interesting that psychologically it it is important to many people that both Jesus and the Bride have all the gifts. I wonder why that is and why it rubs to think of either of them as being one gift?

          Regardless, let’s see if we can bring the discussion back to the question at hand. If we were to look at the whole of church history, what metric would we use for answering the question?

          In individuals, we often can spot the gift through the misuse of the gift or the area of greatest competence. When looking at THE church universal, that becomes a challenge since different subsets have committed every imaginable sin, and walked in every imaginable virtue in some century or the other through all of time.

          But the same can also be said of Israel. Choose your century. Choose your nation. You can find extraordinary sin and extraordinary virtue if you look long enough, yet, it is so easy to see that taken as a whole they are and always have been Giver.

          I still think that if we could step back quite a ways, we would be able to see a bigger pattern.

          So what would you nominate as the top three characteristics of THE church across 2,000 years.

          One thing that pops up for me is the indestructibility of the church. Sundry regimes have tried to stamp it out and that has been impossible.

          What other universal marks can you think of?

          • Christine says:

            The Body of Christ reflects Jesus — carries His presence into the world around them and represents Him to the world. We trim our lamps so that only the light of Jesus in us shines through us. “He must increase, but I must decrease.” We place the spotlight on Him. This has been shown in the myriads of faithful who laid down their lives to one extent or another while on this earth in order to showcase Jesus.

            Makes me ponder the potential for the Bride of Christ to be Servant…

          • Maureen Charron says:

            To try to answer your first question: Maybe because as believers we are individually & collectively to ‘become more Christlike’. If we say Christ was an Exhorter, is the implication that someone with a dominant RG of Exhorter is somehow just a tad more Christlike than someone with Exhorter at the bottom of their RGs?

            Next: I don’t see the church across 2,000 yrs as the “Bride of Christ” (original question)…more like the fiancee in preparation (smile) as I don’t think anyone thinks of a woman as a ‘bride’ until the actually day of her wedding. That being said, three characteristics of the church that come to mind are: light-bearing, community, suffering, leading.

            And finally, stepping WAY back for the big picture – what if Adam/Eve both had wholly all the strengths of the gifts BEFORE the fall and only AFTER they sinned did the potential weaknesses & rise of dominant gifts emerge?

          • I think of the battles within the church between the old and the new. The lengths to which the church will go to “stamp out” heresy, such as the Inquisition and the lesser public infighting. It so often seems like the first response for the church is to be hostile to the new.
            I also see how the church has often been on the forefront of new ways of dealing with a problem. For example, hospitals were a creation from the church. So many strong believers contributed totally new ideas, like Sir Isaac Newton, for example.
            There seems to be a tension between staying with what is known and proven, and going into areas never imagined. Is this a safety question? Or is it a not knowing all the pieces question?

          • Salome says:

            Jesus and His Father are one… They are both Perfect and Complete – if they were not they were not God… to me that implies all the gifts. Also Jesus overcame all the battlefields on the cross… the Bride is created in the image of the tri-une God…also she becomes Christlike… perfect, spotless, made both perfect and complete IN HIM. In perfect and complete unity with Him… she can have all the gifts?

  11. Christ as the Bridegroom – does he show a redemptive gift? If marriage is the two becoming one, and this is the mystery of Christ and the church, then is Christ incarnate that oneness? In which case, it seems Teacher is the RG for the Bride. What is the most complementary gift for the Teacher? I know for example, that Servant and Mercy marriage is the hardest but most fulfilling (my words:). What is the complement for Teacher that is the highest call?
    As for the Jerusalem in Revelations, would that hint to the Teacher gift as well since Jerusalem is RG Teacher?

    • SLG says:

      Yes, Irina, Jesus is Exhorter. So that is a valid line of inquiry — which gift would best complement the Exhorter.

      • Based on your RG seminar, I’d lean towards Teacher, with the example of Luke and Paul. Also, Mary’s gift of Teacher – maybe that had an impact on Jesus that might be akin to what he wants to do with his Bride. I don’t know if that’s a bunny trail, but I’d never thought of why she was a Teacher in relation to his Exhorter. What did he need from her?

      • Maureen Charron says:

        Jesus in his incarnation may have been Exhorter. Does that necessarily mean that he remains Exhorter in his exalted state?

        • SLG says:

          Maureen, obviously that is a presupposition that could be challenged, but I would say that His eternal condition is a cumulative expression of His earthly, so I see no compelling reason for a change in gift.

          • Maureen Charron says:

            Why do you think that Christ’s eternal condition is a cumulative expression of His “earthly” and not a return to His pre-incarnate eternal condition or a combination of both?

      • Peter says:

        I don’t know what the right answer to this is but the light of Jesus refracted through the jewels and gems New Jerusalem sounds like “beautiful color”… Mercy again?

  12. Koos says:

    Where in the old Testament is Israel portrayed as the bride of God?

    • SLG says:

      Koos, that is seen repeatedly in the prophets but perhaps the best known story is in Hosea 2. But to be technically correct, Israel is the wife, not the bride. God compared their idolatry to adultery in various passages.

  13. dorisann says:

    I was thinking along the lines of Peter. Revelation 21 describes the bride as the New Jerusalem. The only light is the light of Christ so that would eliminate any gift from exhorter on since that is when the sun and the moon and stars were created. And the bride is being prepared for her Bridegroom. I see a lot of atmosphere preparation here, reminiscent of the Servant who sets the atmosphere for the coming of the Bridegroom.

  14. Katie says:

    I believe our answer lies in the gift of Jerusalem-Rev 21

  15. Karolyn Polo says:

    In keeping with the idea of firsts, I propose, the RG of Prophet. Jesus told Peter, ” I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.” Matthew 16:18. I must say ,however, I am not secure in this concept of the Bride of Christ having one RG – I am wondering if the culmination of all RG’s in unity within the Bride will ultimately prepare her for her Groom. As always, the RG Prophet is foundational, as in RG church history. Thank you for the challenge, Arthur!

  16. carol says:

    Uuummm, that’s gonna take some chewing over but the first thought I had was in reference to purpose … and that leads me to Exhorter who has the ability to enter the Throne Room, receive revelation from God and then re-present it in the Earth in such an attractive demonstration of His Love that no human with full (spiritual) faculties could resist relationship with such a Lover of mankind. Strickly off the cuff … 🙂 Great question!

  17. eva says:

    That is an awesome question, I see us in the BOC trying to do so much I believe that if we personally and corporately knew our design we would be so much more satisfied as believing disciple.

  18. Stephan says:

    I would like to add to my previous comment that if we are determined to find a single gift that exists in the Body of Christ more strongly than any other, I think we should go back to the very first being: Adam.

    From my limited understanding of the gifts influence on their children, when God chose to make the human a mercy, it added a tiny dab of “mercy” to every single human that was created through him. So, I would think that all things being equal, the human race as a whole, has a smidgen more mercy than any other gift. And, it also happens that mercy is the gift that releases into adulthood, which happens to be the season that marriage (hopefully) occurs in.

    • SLG says:

      Ok. That is a leap of logic that is indefensible, Stephen. You arbitrarily say that God gives one gift to each organism He allows to exist but all seven to the Bride? I don’t agree.

      • Stephan says:

        I never said He necessarily gave all seven to the Bride, I asked “Is it possible for a body to have a primary gift?” I don’t know. That’s why I am putting more than one theory on the table for discussion. It may be possible that the bride of christ has a single redemptive gift, but I also think it may also be possible for all gifts to be present, with the primary gift depending on context.

        For example: The bible calls his church his body, his army, his bride, his bondservant, etc. Could it be that when the body of Christ goes to war against the enemy that it has the gift of prophet, and when the body withdraws to meet the Lord in intemacy it has the gift of mercy, and when the body submits to the Lord, serving faithfully even unto death that it has the gift of servant?

        I do believe any organism can have it’s own unique redemptive gift, but the body of christ is VERY different from any other organism on Earth. Because it is the body of God. The mystery of the ages: Christ in Us.

        I am simply saying we should consider all the possibilities before we clump the Temple of the Holy Spirit into the same category as every other organism.

  19. Stephan says:

    Well, to start with, is it possible for a body to have a primary gift? I know my soul has one gift, but my spirit has seven. Doesn’t a body fall into the latter category. And, if you can group a body under a primary redemptive gift, what is the redemptive gift of your body?

    Then, also, I think context is very important. Because the Body of Christ is involved in every imaginable activity. I think if you take all the members of the body involved in business, you would have a giver group. If you took every member involved in government you would probably have a ruler group. If you took every member involved in full time ministry you would probably have a teacher group, etc. But, if you take everyone that is a part of the body of christ simultaneously, I want to ask again: Is it possible for a body to have one primary gift, or is it simply a bunch of ‘gifted organs’ working together?

    • SLG says:

      How is this different from a church or city or football team or business or government that is an organism and has a redemptive gift?

      • Stephan says:

        It’s different in that a church or city or football team is born from man, and carries that man’s DNA. Your company, for example, has the same redemptive gift as your soul. But the body of christ wasn’t created by a man, it was created by a God with all seven Gifts as an intrinsic part of His character.

  20. Peter says:

    My guess: mercy.

    From barrenness to legacy (Isaiah 54)
    Lukewarm vs hot/cold (the 10 virgins of Matthew 25)
    Purity is critical (2 Corinthians 11, Ephesians 5, Revelation 19, Revelation 21:27)
    Characterised by His presence (Revelation 21:22-24)
    Erasing the line between secular and sacred (Revelation 21:25-26)

    • SLG says:

      Good start Peter. I appreciate the verses you brought to the table. You didn’t just shoot from the hip. The problem is that we can find verses to substantiate each of the seven. So keep on digging and let’s see what the right question is to create the big frame.

      • Peter says:

        I rather do think I was shooting from the hip! 🙂

        Thinking out loud now… since the bride is portrayed as the New Jerusalem, is it possible that there is a connection to the bride being RG teacher in the mercy season, paralleling the physical city within the tribe of Benjamin?

        • Peter says:

          Thinking about function rather than form, two things come to mind: “ecclesia” and “ministry of reconciliation.” I’ve not well researched these concepts in any depth so excuse my ignorance…

          The function of the ecclesia, as I understand it, is to legislate. In more Christian terms, perhaps it is to move towards approving the will of God such that legislation in the heavenlies and on Earth matches God’s will.

          I may be recollecting incorrectly but are not governmental legislation and reconciliation functions of RG teacher?

          I may just be looking for evidence to support my hypothesis 🙂

        • SLG says:

          Peter, nice bit of logic. Go to the head of the class. It is not conclusive, but is certainly a piece we need to consider closely.

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