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The Bride of Christ — Who?

Students of the Word of God who are agreed on what are called Christian fundamentals, such as the plenary inspiration of the Bible, the eternal Deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, and salvation by grace through faith in His redemptive work on the cross, are not agreed as to who is, or who is to be, the Bride of Christ.

In Revelation 19:7 to 9 we read these words: “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white; for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And He saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And He saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.”

The following footnote appears in the Scofield Reference Bible, explaining these verses in Revelation:

“THE LAMB’S WIFE” HERE IS THE “BRIDE” (Revelation 21:9), THE CHURCH, IDENTIFIED WITH THE “HEAVENLY JERUSALEM” (Hebrews 12:22, 23) AND TO BE DISTINGUISHED FROM ISRAEL, THE ADULTEROUS AND REPUDIATED “WIFE” OF JEHOVAH YET TO BE RESTORED (Isaiah 54:1 to 10; Hosea 2:1 to 17), WHO IS IDENTIFIED WITH THE EARTH (Hosea 2:23). A FORGIVEN AND RESTORED WIFE COULD NOT BE CALLED EITHER A VIRGIN (II Corinthians 11:2, 3), OR A BRIDE.

In connection with the verses in Revelation 19:7 to 9, we should read Revelation 21:9 and 10 and 12: “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. 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. And had a wall great and high, and had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel.”

Dr. Scofield’s explanatory note gives us the “Plymouth Brethren” interpretation of these verses and their teaching; that the Church, which is the Body of Christ is also to be the Bride of Christ. This is what might be called the general teaching among Premillennial Fundamentalists. A few of these brethren teach that the overcomers among the members of the Body will be the Bride. All of these Premillenarians, who are sure that the Body of Christ in Ephesians is also the Bride of Christ, strenuously object to calling the “Body” Church, “Israel”. However, they see no difference between the Church of “Acts 2” Pentecost and the Body of Ephesians.

There are other Premillenarians equally as fundamental, who think that this “Plymouth Brethren” interpretation of Scripture will not stand the Berean test. They think it is inconsistent to object to the Church being Israelitish and at the same time locate the Lamb and His wife in a city that is quite Israelitish in description. That city, according to Revelation 21:9 to 14 is to have the names of the Twelve Tribes of Israel written on the gates, or walls and the names of the Twelve Apostles on the foundations. Abraham was not in the Body of Ephesians, but he looked for such a city. The Twelve Apostles were ministers unto Israel, with the word which God sent to Israel; and they are to sit on twelve thrones and judge the Twelve Tribes of Israel. Galatians 2:9; Matthew 19:28.

Moreover, according to the Greek word in Revelation 19:8, the fine linen of the wife, who hath made herself ready, is “dikaioma” which means “equitable deeds”. This seems to contradict the grace message of Ephesians, in which Epistle the Body of Christ is likened unto a “wife”. Ephesians 5:31 and 32. But the members there have not made themselves ready by righteous acts to become the Bride of Christ.

Some teach that Israel will be the restored wife of Jehovah and the Body of Christ will be the Bride of Christ, the Bridegroom. This is supported by the fact that Eve was part of Adam’s body and also his wife. They also use the Song of Solomon to support their teaching. Also by certain marriages they seek to prove by type, such as Isaac and Rebeccah, Joseph and Asenath, Moses and his wife.

There are some who teach that the Church of the “Acts” period will be the Bride of Christ, because the blessings of that Church were on Israelitish grounds. Romans 11:17 to 24. Those members were the seed of Abraham and the Israel of God. Others teach that the Bride will be another remnant of Israel.

Is the Jehovah of the Old Testament the Christ of the New? Then the question: Can Jehovah have two wives, if Israel and the Church are separate and distinct?

For your prayerful study and decision we give the Scriptures. Be a Berean

“SING, O BARREN, THOU THAT DIDST NOT BEAR; BREAK FORTH INTO SINGING, AND CRY ALOUD, THOU THAT DIDST NOT TRAVAIL WITH CHILD: FOR MORE ARE THE CHILDREN OF THE DESOLATE THAN THE CHILDREN OF THE MARRIED WIFE, SAITH THE LORD.”

“FOR THY MAKER IS THY HUSBAND; THE LORD OF HOSTS IS HIS NAME; AND THY REDEEMER THE HOLY ONE OF ISRAEL; THE GOD OF THE WHOLE EARTH SHALL HE BE CALLED.”

“FOR THE LORD HATH CALLED THEE AS A WOMAN FORSAKEN AND GRIEVED IN SPIRIT, AND A WIFE OF YOUTH, WHEN THOU WAST REFUSED, SAITH THY GOD.”

“FOR A SMALL MOMENT HAVE I FORSAKEN THEE; BUT WITH GREAT MERCIES WILL I GATHER THEE.” Isaiah 54:1 to 7.

“FOR AS A YOUNG MAN MARRIETH A VIRGIN, SO SHALL THY SONS MARRY THEE; AND AS THE BRIDEGROOM REJOICETH OVER THE BRIDE, SO SHALL THY GOD REJOICE OVER THEE.” Isaiah 62:5.

“THEY SAY, IF A MAN PUT AWAY HIS WIFE AND SHE GO FROM HIM, AND BECOME ANOTHER MAN’S, SHALL HE RETURN UNTO HER AGAIN? SHALL NOT THAT LAND BE GREATLY POLLUTED? BUT THOU HAST PLAYED THE HARLOT WITH MANY LOVERS; YET RETURN AGAIN TO ME, SAITH THE LORD.”

“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.”

“SURELY AS A WIFE TREACHEROUSLY DEPARTED FROM HER HUSBAND, SO HATH YE DEALT TREACHEROUSLY WITH ME, O HOUSE OF ISRAEL, SAITH THE LORD.”

“RETURN, YE BACKSLIDING CHILDREN, AND I WILL HEAL YOUR BACKSLIDINGS.” Jeremiah 3:1, 14, 20, 22.

“NOT ACCORDING TO THE COVENANT THAT I MADE WITH THEIR FATHERS IN THE DAY THAT I TOOK THEM BY THE HAND TO BRING THEM OUT OF THE LAND OF EGYPT; WHICH MY COVENANT THEY BRAKE, ALTHOUGH I WAS AN HUSBAND UNTO THEM, SAITH THE LORD.” Jeremiah 31:32.

“ . . . SEEING THOU DOEST . . . THE WORK OF AN IMPERIOUS WHORISH WOMAN.”

“BUT AS A WIFE THOU COMMITTETH ADULTERY, WHICH TAKETH STRANGERS INSTEAD OF HER HUSBAND.” Ezekiel 16:30 and 32.

“PLEAD WITH YOUR MOTHER, PLEAD; FOR SHE IS NOT MY WIFE, NEITHER AM I HER HUSBAND; LET HER THEREFORE PUT AWAY HER WHOREDOMS OUT OF HER SIGHT, AND HER ADULTERIES FROM BETWEEN HER BREASTS.” Hosea 2:2.

“AND SHE SHALL FOLLOW AFTER HER LOVERS, BUT SHE SHALL NOT OVERTAKE THEM; AND SHE SHALL SEEK THEM, BUT SHALL NOT FIND THEM; THEN SHALL SHE SAY, I WILL GO AND RETURN TO MY FIRST HUSBAND; FOR THEN WAS IT BETTER WITH ME THAN NOW.” Hosea 2:7.

“LAMENT LIKE A VIRGIN GIRDED WITH SACKCLOTH FOR THE HUSBAND OF HER YOUTH.” Joel 1:8.

“GATHER THE PEOPLE, SANCTIFY THE CONGREGATION, ASSEMBLE THE ELDERS, GATHER THE CHILDREN, AND THOSE THAT SUCK THE BREASTS; LET THE BRIDEGROOM GO FORTH OUT OF HIS CHAMBER, AND THE BRIDE OUT OF HER CLOSET.” Joel 2:16.

“AND JESUS SAID UNTO THEM, CAN THE CHILDREN OF THE BRIDECHAMBER MOURN, AS LONG AS THE BRIDEGROOM IS WITH THEM? BUT THE DAYS WILL COME, WHEN THE BRIDEGROOM SHALL BE TAKEN FROM THEM, AND THEN SHALL THEY FAST.” Matthew 9:15.

“AND JESUS ANSWERED AND SPAKE UNTO THEM AGAIN BY PARABLES, AND SAID, THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN IS LIKE UNTO A CERTAIN KING, WHICH MADE A MARRIAGE FOR HIS SON.” Matthew 22:1 and 2.

“THEN SHALL THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN BE LIKENED UNTO TEN VIRGINS, WHICH TOOK THEIR LAMPS, AND WENT FORTH TO MEET THE BRIDEGROOM.”

“WHILE THE BRIDEGROOM TARRIED THEY ALL SLUMBERED AND SLEPT, AND AT MIDNIGHT THERE WAS A CRY MADE, BEHOLD, THE BRIDEGROOM COMETH; GO YE OUT TO MEET HIM.”

“AND WHILE THEY WENT TO BUY THE BRIDEGROOM CAME; AND THEY THAT WERE READY WENT IN WITH HIM TO THE MARRIAGE; AND THE DOOR WAS SHUT.” Matthew 25:1, 5, 6 and 10.

“HE THAT HATH THE BRIDE IS THE BRIDEGROOM; BUT THE FRIEND OF THE BRIDEGROOM, WHICH STANDETH AND HEARETH HIM, REJOICETH GREATLY BECAUSE OF THE BRIDEGROOM’S VOICE; THIS MY JOY THEREFORE IS FULFILLED.” John 3:29.

“WHEREFORE, MY BRETHREN, YE ALSO ARE BECOME DEAD TO THE LAW BY THE BODY OF CHRIST; THAT YE SHOULD BE MARRIED TO ANOTHER, EVEN TO HIM WHO IS RAISED FROM THE DEAD, THAT WE SHOULD BRING FORTH FRUIT UNTO GOD.” Romans 7:4.

“FOR I AM JEALOUS OVER YOU WITH GODLY JEALOUSY; FOR I HAVE ESPOUSED YOU TO ONE HUSBAND, THAT I MAY PRESENT YOU AS A CHASTE VIRGIN TO CHRIST.” II Corinthians 11:2.

“BUT JERUSALEM WHICH IS ABOVE FREE, WHICH IS THE MOTHER OF US ALL.” Galatians 4:26.

“ABRAHAM THE FATHER OF US ALL.” Romans 4:16.

“FOR IT IS WRITTEN, REJOICE THOU BARREN, THAT BEAREST NOT; BREAK FORTH AND CRY, THOU THAT TRAVAILEST NOT, FOR THE DESOLATE HATH MANY MORE CHILDREN THAN SHE WHICH HATH AN HUSBAND.” Galatians 4:27.

“FOR THIS CAUSE SHALL A MAN LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER, AND SHALL BE JOINED UNTO HIS WIFE, AND THEY TWO SHALL BE ONE FLESH. THIS IS A GREAT MYSTERY, BUT I SPEAK CONCERNING CHRIST AND THE CHURCH.” Ephesians 5:31 and 32.

“LET US BE GLAD AND REJOICE, AND GIVE HONOR TO HIM; FOR THE MARRIAGE OF THE LAMB IS COME, AND HIS WIFE HATH MADE HERSELF READY.”

“AND TO HER WAS GRANTED THAT SHE SHOULD BE ARRAYED IN FINE LINEN, CLEAN AND WHITE; FOR THE FINE LINEN IS THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF SAINTS. AND HE SAITH UNTO ME, WRITE, BLESSED ARE THEY WHICH ARE CALLED UNTO THE MARRIAGE SUPPER OF THE LAMB.

“AND HE SAITH UNTO ME, THESE ARE THE TRUE SAYINGS OF GOD.” Revelation 19:7 to 9.

“AND I JOHN, SAW THE HOLY CITY, NEW JERUSALEM, COMING DOWN FROM GOD OUT OF HEAVEN, PREPARED AS A BRIDE ADORNED FOR HER HUSBAND.” Revelation 21:2.

“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 SHOW THEE THE BRIDE, THE LAMB’S WIFE.

“AND HE CARRIED ME AWAY IN THE SPIRIT TO A GREAT AND HIGH MOUNTAIN, AND SHEWED ME THE GREAT CITY, THE HOLY JERUSALEM, DESCENDING OUT OF HEAVEN FROM GOD.” Revelation 21:9 and 10

“AND THE SPIRIT AND THE BRIDE SAY COME. AND LET HIM THAT IS ATHIRST COME. AND WHOSOEVER WILL, LET HIM TAKE OF THE WATER OF LIFE FREELY.” Revelation 22:17.