They are clearly not the bride, yet they are not far removed from her. They know where the Bridegroom makes His flock to rest at noon; they are charged by the Bridegroom not to stir up nor awaken His love when she rests, abiding in Him; they draw attention to the Bridegroom as with dignity and pomp He comes up from the wilderness; their love-gifts adorn His chariot of state; they are appealed to by the bride for help in finding her Beloved, and, stirred by her impassioned description of His beauty, they desire to seek Him with her; they describe very fully the beauty of the bride, but, on the other hand, we never find them occupied with the person of the Bridegroom; He is not all in all to them; they mind outward and earthly things.
Do they not represent those who, if not actually saved, are very near it; or, if saved, are only half-saved? who are for the present more concerned about the things of this world than the things of GOD? To advance their own interests, to secure their own comfort, concerns them more than to be in all things pleasing to the LORD. They may form part of that great company spoken of in Rev. vii.9-17, who come out of the great tribulation, but they will not form part of the 144,000, "the first-fruits unto GOD and to the LAMB" (Rev. xiv.1-5). They have forgotten the warning of our LORD in Luke xxi.34-36; and hence they are not "accounted worthy to escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before the SON of Man." They have not, with Paul, counted "all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of CHRIST JESUS the LORD," and hence they do not "attain unto" that resurrection from among the dead, which Paul felt he might miss, but aimed to attain unto.
We wish to place on record our solemn conviction that not all who are Christians, or think themselves to be such, will attain to that resurrection of which St Paul speaks in Phil. iii.11, or will thus meet the LORD in the air. Unto those who by lives of consecration manifest that they are not of the world, but are looking for Him, "He will appear without sin unto salvation."