By Curtis Pugh
By Curtis Pugh
Our five-hundred word limit means we can deal only briefly with our subject. Christ did have a bride, does have a bride and will have a bride. The Jewish nation was spoken of as the wife of Jehovah in the Old Testament, but is not to be confused with Christ's bride who is made up of both Jews and Gentiles.
This particularly New Testament entity is first mentioned by John the Baptist: “He that hath the bride is the bridegroom...” John said in John 3:29. By these words he pointed out that he, John, was not the Messiah, but that Jesus was. Jesus was making and baptizing more disciples than John (see John 4:1), and John cited this as proof that Jesus was the Messiah: Jesus had the bride, he said. Thus John identified those baptized disciples of Jesus as His bride.
Those disciples were also identified as Christ's church – His ekklesia or congregation. Jesus Himself promised to complete the building of His church while He was alive upon the earth. His words were: “...I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it,” (Matthew 16:18). A study of the New Testament shows that there are requirements and essential characteristics of Christ's congregations: in other words not everything called a church is a true church of God or of Christ. (Both names are used in the Bible.)
Paul wrote to the congregation in Corinth saying, “...I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ,” (2 Corinthians 11:2). Merriam Webster says espouse means to marry. Thus Paul said that as the founding teacher of the church in Corinth he had married that church to Christ. Christ, then, continued to have a bride after He ascended back to Heaven. We see no reason to think that sound congregations today are not still each one spoken of as a bride of Christ. The term is a metaphor which speaks of the permanent union and love of Christ as Head over each of his congregations. Taken together in the institutional sense all Christ's true churches constitute His bride.
Three verses taken together tell us of the future of Christ's bride. Consider: “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. ...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, ” (Revelation 21:2 & 9-10). The bride or “Lamb's wife” is identified with her future home, the New Jerusalem, wherein she shall dwell with Christ for eternity for “the Lamb is the light thereof,” (Revelation 21:23).
Grace Bible Baptist Church
26080 Wax Road
Denham Springs, LA 70726