ESV - 14 I said to him, "Sir, you know." And he said to me, "These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.
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The friend of the bridegroom in John 3:29 was John the Baptist. This is why John stated: "this my joy therefore is fulfilled." We know from the preceding verses that there are 144,000 Jews sealed who will go forth and preach the Gospel during the Great Tribulation period. In Revelation 7:14 it clearly states that "these are they which came out of great tribulation........". It doesn't specifically tell us whither they are Jew, Gentile or mixture be but we know they are individuals who were saved during the great tribulation, those who responded to the Gospel during the ministry of the Jewish remnant. I believe this is the same period of time that was prophesied in Jeremiah 30:7 "the time of Jacob's trouble". A couple interesting side notes. 1.The "Church" is not mentioned after chapter 3 of Revelation. 2. The term "bride" occurs 14 times in the KJV. 9 times total in Isaiah, Jeremiah and Joel, once in John and 4 times in Revelation beginning in chapter 18. The Church is nowhere directly declared the bride of Christ. Ephesians 5:25 is close as we can get. "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;"
My opinion through prayer and spiritual revelation is that the tribulation Saints are not Bride, although they remain believers and do not deny Christ through the Great Tribulation. Most of these Tribulation Saint's are washed in the blood(sanctified) and clothed in white garments (meaning given or transformed into their glorified bodies later on or after physical death) because they were martyred for Christ or suffered greatly for his name without ever denying him. The Bride of Christ will be gone before the Great Tribulation to the wedding Supper with the Lord in the air,along with the Bridegrooms friends(Prophets and Apostles) I hope this helps humbly in the service of Lord Jesus Christ.
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