The Church is not the Bride of Christ, it is the Body of Christ

The Church is not the bride of Christ, it is the body of Christ. The bride of Christ is actually a city, the New Jerusalem.

  1. The phrase “bride of Christ” is not found anywhere within the Bible.
  2. You will find the word “bride” 14 times in the KJV:
    1. 9 times in the OT
    2. 1 time in John
    3. 4 times in the book of Revelation
  3. The apostle Paul never uses the term “bride” in his 13 epistles.
    1. Paul directly uses the phrase “the body of Christ” four times within his epistles.
    2. Paul uses a combination of “body” and “Christ” at least five other times within his writings.
      1. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. [Eph 5:23]
  4. Revelation 21 tells us clearly who/what the bride is:
    1. 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. [Rev 21:1]
      1. We currently live on the “first earth.” After the rapture of the Church, we will have a heavenly residence (Eph 1:3, 20, 2:6, Col 1:5, 1 Cor 15:40)
    2. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. [Rev 21:2]
    3. And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. [Rev 21:9]
    4. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, [Rev 21:10]
  5. The marriage relationship, when spoken to within Scripture, is describing a covenant relationship that God has with Israel.
    1. Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: [Jer 3:14]
    2. The book of Hosea addresses the marriage relationship of God.
    3. See also Is 54:5-6, Mk 2:19, Mt 9:15, Mt 22:1-14, Mt 25:10
    4. Israel is not married yet. It has a future promise.
  6. Arguments against this position make reference to Rom 7:4, Eph 5:22-33, 2 Cor 11:2
    1. Rom 7:4 is an analogy concerning the Law. The context is in Rom 7:1-3.
    2. Eph 5 – the husband and wife are already married. That is the relationship that the Church has with Christ (a present possession of salvation).  The Church is espoused to Him. 
    3. See 2 Cor 11:2

The bride of Revelation 19 is Israel, not the Church, the body of Christ, since the Church is nowhere in the book or Revelation.  John wrote Revelation 19:7-9.

In the marriage of the Lamb, we read that the bride has made herself ready.  Does this sound like the Church, the body of Christ?  Paul declared members of the body of Christ have been made complete in Christ (Col 2:10).  The Church needs no “preparation.”  We are complete in Him!  No, the bride here is Israel and the “marriage of the Lamb” is the reconciliation of Israel with God which the prophets foretold.

In Revelation 21, John described a new heaven and new earth (Rev 21:1) to replace the old heaven and earth which had departed (ἀπέρχομαι).  Along with the new heaven and earth is the new Jerusalem.  It comes down from heaven onto the new earth (Rev 21:2).  John described the city as a bride adorned for her husband. In Rev 21:9, one of the seven angels of the seven bowls showed John the bride, called the wife of the Lamb.  This was the new Jerusalem.  Again, everything is Jewish.  The city has twelve gates with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel written on them (Rev 21:12).  The twelve foundation stones have the names of the twelve apostles (Rev 21:14; cf. Mt 19:28).  Nothing of the Church is here.

Israel had both an earthly and a heavenly calling.  They were called out from among the nations of the earth and given earthly promises (e.g., a kingdom and preeminence among the nations (Deut 28:1, 13)).  But they had a heavenly calling also, described in Hebrews 3:1 that began with Abraham (cf. Hebrews 11:8-10).  Abraham anticipated (ἐκδέχομαι) a heavenly city.  How much he knew of it is unknown. But he looked for a heavenly city.  The new Jerusalem of Revelation 21 was that city.

 

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