Will the REAL Bride of Christ please step forward?

We’ve heard over and over again that the church is the bride of Christ.  I can’t find that statement anywhere in the Bible.  Instead I find in the New Testament that the New Jerusalem is the bride of Christ.  In the Old Testament, I find that Israel is the bride of Christ, prophesied to be set aside for a time, then restored to the place of bride at which time God completely cleanses her to make her spotless.  Since Gentiles have been grafted into Israel, Gentiles are partipants in the promise made to Israel to be the spotless bride of Christ.  With my post on 6-26 touching on the significance of Isaiah 49, I thought I would follow up with this study that I began acouple of years ago, but finished earlier this year. 

Preface: Israel, the adulterous wife of the LORD, divorced but later restored to the position of spotless bride with Gentiles also participating in the marriage covenant with the LORD.

#1- Hosea~ No prophet understood adultery like Hosea. The prophecy in 1:9 "ye are not my people and I will not be your God" is the divorce papers that God is serving to Israel. Yet in the midst of this tragedy, the LORD gives the future hope in 1:10 "in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people, there it shall be said unto them, Ye are the sons of the living God.". The apostle Paul quotes this verse in Romans 9:24-26 and applies it to all who had not obtained mercy, Israelites and Gentiles.

The prophecy in 2:16-23 is an expansion of 1:10. "You will call me ‘my husband’. I will make a covenant for them. I will betroth you unto me forever, in faithfulness, and you will know the LORD." And then we have the reiteration in 2:23, "I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God." So the future marriage covenant with Israel is fulfilled in the church.

Additional notes on Hosea~ Romans 9:27-30, immediately after quoting Hosea, Paul quotes Isaiah 10:22-23 and 1:9 to show that all along God was working through a spiritual remnant within the nation of Israel. His conclusion is that Gentiles have been extended mercy to become a part of spiritual Israel, that remnant within national Israel that the LORD has been working through all this time.

Although this is directed at the northern kingdom, the scope of Hosea’s prophecy is to both houses of Israel and prophesies that they will be united, 1:11.

#2- Isaiah 54~ On the heels of the suffering Messiah, we have this prophecy. "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." The apostle Paul quotes this in Galatians 4:27 as being fulfilled in our freedom from the law because we (the church) have Jerusalem as our mother. A brief word in 54:3 "your seed shall inherit the Gentiles". Then in 54:5,

"5 For thy Maker is thine 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. 6 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. 7 For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee. 8 In a little wrath I hid my face from thee for a moment; but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the LORD thy Redeemer."

So we see the LORD forsaking Israel as a wife for a moment, but restoring her with everlasting kindness at some future time along with "the children of the desolate", that is, the Gentiles. In 54:10 the LORD refers to this as "the covenant of my peace". So the future wife of the LORD is Israel with the Gentiles who are saved being more numerous than the Israelites who are saved. When we come to Galatians 4:27, Paul has already stated that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham (3:7), that the blessing of Abraham comes on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ (3:14), and if ye be Christ’s , then are ye Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise (3:29).

Additional notes on Isaiah 54~ Verse 13, "And all thy children shall be taught of the LORD" if read as a continuation of 54:1 would assume that "all thy children" would be Israelites and Gentiles together to be ultimately fulfilled in the kingdom come. The LORD Jesus quotes this verse in John 6:45 after using the phrase "I will raise him up at the last day" but He seems to apply it to anyone who possesses any knowledge of God.

Isaiah 62~ This is not as clear cut. There are many themes woven together in these prophecies here. Brief overviews, 60:10 "in my wrath I smote thee" reminding us of 54:8. 61:1-2 is Messianic fulfilled in Jesus Christ. 61:6 "ye shall be named the Priests of the LORD; men shall call you the Ministers of our God". Then the passage which we all remember by the name Beulah.

62:1 For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. 2 And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name. 3 Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. 4 Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah,

and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married. 5 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.

We see again that Israel (or Zion) will be restored after being forsaken. The term Beulah means married. The LORD is speaking of that marriage covenant with Israel. But at the same time the Gentiles will see this righteousness. There is a millennial feel to this portion of prophecy, though. Verse 12 is worth noting in this study. "12 And they shall call them, The holy people, The redeemed of the LORD: and thou shalt be called, Sought out, A city not forsaken." How can this not be fulfilled in the church?

Additional notes~ The apostle Peter must have had this theme in mind in I Peter 2:9-12. We are a royal priesthood, a holy nation, then in verse 10, "Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy." This is language identical to Hosea. Then he moves into our testimony "among the Gentiles". This tells us as we enter the nation of spiritual Israel (the church), we are called out of our earthly identity to be an ambassador among the Gentiles.

The word translated Beulah occurs in 54:1 as married wife, in 54:5 as husband, and in 62:5 as marry.

Last but not least.

Ezekiel 16~ Too lengthy to post the entire chapter which needs to be read to understand the last portion. 60 Nevertheless I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant. 61 Then thou shalt remember thy ways, and be ashamed, when thou shalt receive thy sisters, thine elder and thy younger: and I will give them unto thee for daughters, but not by thy covenant. 62 And I will establish my covenant with thee; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: 63 That thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, when I am pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord GOD.

So we see the LORD forsaking Israel (Jerusalem), but remembering His covenant at a later period in time when Israel becomes ashamed (repents). He establishes an everlasting covenant at which time the two sisters are included. They are Samaria and Sodom. This is not hard to extrapolate a future covenant of the LORD with Israel at which time the Samaritans and Sodom (the worst of all Gentiles) will be included.

The phrase "I will give them unto thee for daughters, but not by thy covenant" to me means the relationship of national Israel to the Samaritans and Gentiles (during the millennium) will not be by a marriage covenant like the LORD established with Israel.  Matthew Henry gives the possibility that these Gentiles will not be under the Israelite covenant, yet have the same relationship to the LORD.  "They shall be thy daughters, but not by thy covenant, not by the covenant of peculiarity, not as being proselytes to the Jewish religion and subject to the yoke of the ceremonial law, but as being converts with thee to the Christian religion."

Additional notes~ Nowhere in the New Testament is the church called the bride of Christ. We have one scant reference to Christ and the church in Ephesians 5 where the term "wife" is used. In Revelation 21:2, it is the New Jerusalem that descends as a bride adorned for her husband. The angel uses both terms, the bride and the Lamb’s wife (21:9). In Revelation 19:7, which everyone seems to insist is the church, we have the word "wife" used. The dispensational distinction between Israel being the wife and the church being the bride does not exist.

If the New Jerusalem is the bride, we need to rethink our way of looking at dispensational theology if there even is such a thing. The New Jerusalem has twelve gates with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel on those gates. The New Jerusalem also has twelve foundations for the wall of the city with the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb on them. This would be the foundation for the nation of Israel, and the Israelite remnant that the Messiah established His everlasting covenant with at His first advent, or we could say the foundation for the church. To say that the church is the bride of Christ could be accurate if people use the terms correctly. The New Jerusalem will be the capitol city of the world during the millennial kingdom.

Any thoughts on this?

Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13

-The Orange Mailman

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4 Responses to Will the REAL Bride of Christ please step forward?

  1. Yeshua is the Lord of Glory says:

    Hi Darrin…I have questions concerning your last paragraph…1 Corinthians 15:26 states that the last enemy to be destroyed is death…This takes place at the resurrection of the just and the unjust,at the second coming of the Lord.. See 1 Corinthians 15:52-54 Isaiah 25:8 and Acts 24:15… John 5:29 refers to Revelation 20:14,which refers back to 1 Cor 15:26… In the context of the final judgment,Matthew 25:32 refers to Revelation 20:12…Revelation 20:15 states that " whosoever" was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire (the second death)…John 6 and 11 states that the resurrection is at the last day…1 Corinthians 15:24 states " then cometh the end " when he,Christ,will have delivered-up the Kingdom to God…It seems to me that there is one (general) resurrection and judgment,taking place at the Lord\’s second coming…Where in scripture is it taught that there is to be a millennial Kingdom and earthly reign of Christ Jesus,for 1000 years? Most of all,when and where are the "Great tribulation" or Pre-wrath of God saints,and when are they resurrected? Daniel 7:13,14 tells us that Christ received his dominion and a Kingdom…This took place at his ascension back to Heaven 40 days after his resurrection…See also Matthew 26:64,65 and Acts 1:9… According to Colossians 1:12,13 believers are (now) translated into the Kingdom of God\’s dear Son…This means that Jesus already has a kingdom (his church) and reigns over it from Heaven… Darrin,i am hard-pressed to see a future earthly Millennial Kingdom and reign…

  2. Darrin says:

    Hello-I am a Pre-Millennialist. I have posted fairly extensively on this. In fact, my current series on prophetic apocalypse in the psalms is designed to show that God always intended for prophecy students to look forward to a Messianic Kingdom which would exist here on earth for some duration of time. The characteristics of this kingdom is clearly spelled out in the psalms.I believe the millennium was in view in the OT. Isaiah 24:22 is the best example I can give. The host of the high ones are gathered and bound in a pit, but ultimate judgement upon them is held in abeyance until "after many days". Isaiah 24-27 contains what is known as Isaiah\’s Little Apocalypse. Here is spelled out the terms of death being swallowed up in victory as Messiah establishes His kingdom. The resurrection, the gathering, the wrath, the second exodus, they are all spelled out in this little peek at the future.In I Cor. 15, there is an order to the resurrection. There are 3 distinct steps to this order. #1- Christ the firstfruits. #2- Those that are Christ\’s at His coming. #3- The end when He delivers all things unto His Father. The context here is that He rules over His kingdom until all things are subject unto Him. This indicates He begins a rule (here on earth) during which time there are yet some things not completely subject to Him. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. At the very end. The resurrection is on the last day of the end of this age. Then comes the age of the resurrection. There are only two ages, the age that is, and the age that is to come.Where in scripture is it taught that there is to be a millennial earthly reign of Jesus for 1000 years? Revelation 20. Also see this post.http://theorangemailman.spaces.live.com/blog/cns!FD6CC4005A27EADA!698.entryChristians have been made citizens of the Kingdom of God, yet this kingdom is a future kingdom. Christ will rule from the New Jerusalem here on earth. We live in the presence of the future. We have repented in advance of the judgement and have entered His kingdom by faith. When He comes from heaven back to earth, we will rule with Him as He promised, Luke 19:11-27.Have fun and stay busy – Luke 19:13 (love that verse)-The Orange Mailman

  3. Yeshua is the Lord of Glory says:

    Thanks Darrin and Hello… I will of course check it out…Yeshua is the Lord of Glory

  4. hepzibah lenal says:

    Well the bride of christ is here on earth… She passing on the faith and knowledge about yashuwah the creator toward that are lost, wary and losing hope.. He is for real… She praying for other to recevies the love and grace in the righteouse of yashuwah the christ… to help all his peoples that willing to be the chosen ones to open up their hearts and their spirit toward christ and actually recevie and humble toward the yahwah… He luv ya all and even though yud dnt c him and just ask him . open and focus to have a postive mind and yourself.. Just read sum psalm 91 dats a powerful pray and put names on it in yur head of you and others … pray always and read the spiritual bread give the luv of yashuwah everyday…He’ll forgive you…if ya just repent of your sins and clean all the filthes of sins… Also the bride of christ is also the one that delight in yeshuwah… Mens, womens and childrens are consider to be with yahwah. Dats is the sheep of the sherpared… but not the wolves…. They are also the Bride of Christ too..

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