It is pure coincidence that as I pen this article my own daughter is diligently preparing for her pending marriage. Few roles in life create as much anxiety or as much excitement as that of being a bride. The analogy of the church as a bride begins early in the New Testament. John the Baptist refers to himself as the friend of the bridegroom. He was obviously referring to Jesus. “You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’ “He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled. “He must increase, but I must decrease.” (John 3:28-30 NKJV) This was John the Baptist’s response to concerned disciples of John who reported that Jesus was baptizing and drawing great multitudes. (John 3:26) John the Baptist recognized Jesus’ role as a bridegroom. This necessitates the existence of a bride.  

The Apostle John reveals that the bride is the New Jerusalem. “Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. “And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.” And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts. “He who overcomes shall inherit all things, and I will be his God and he shall be My son.” (Revelation 21:1-7 NKJV)

John was taken in the Spirit and introduced to the bride. “Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.” (Revelation 21:9-10 NKJV) John goes on to figuratively describe the beauty and the purity of the bride. In the heart of the city was a river of the water of life which emanated from the throne of God. The tree of life, last seen in the Garden of Eden, was also present. (Genesis 3:24, Revelation 22:1-2)

How do we conclude that the church is the bride? First is relationship between Christ and the church which the Apostle Paul describes to the Ephesian brethren. He speaks of submission and sacrificial service in the marriage relationship. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” (Ephesians 5:25-32 NKJV)

Second is the symbolism of Abraham’s two wives and their sons. “For it is written that Abraham had two sons: the one by a bondwoman, the other by a freewoman. But he who was of the bondwoman was born according to the flesh, and he of the freewoman through promise, which things are symbolic. For these are the two covenants: the one from Mount Sinai which gives birth to bondage, which is Hagar– for this Hagar is Mount Sinai in Arabia, and corresponds to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children– but the Jerusalem above is free, which is the mother of us all.” (Galatians 4:22-26 NKJV) “Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise.” (Galatians 4:28 NKJV) The children of promise are the offspring of the heavenly Jerusalem.

The eternal inhabitants of the New Jerusalem are those written in the Book of Life. This includes all the souls reconciled to God and redeemed by the blood of Jesus. “But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.” (Revelation 21:27 NKJV. Exodus 32:32-33) “And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.” (Revelation 22:17 NKJV) There is room for you!

KEN FLEEMAN (6/27/2021)

error: Content is protected !!