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Featured The Body of Christ vs. The Bride of Christ (pt. 1)

Discussion in 'Eschatology & Prophecy Forum' started by Trekson, Jan 31, 2019.

  1. Trekson

    Trekson Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps, because I'm a male of the species, I've always been uncomfortable with the description of the church as the Bride of Christ. As I've listened to various pre-trib preachers use the constant references of us as the bride of Christ, the discomfort has increased as I've sensed that this isn't just a "guy thing", I believe it is a misunderstanding derived from erroneous biblical interpretations. Some of the arguments they give for keeping the church out of the 70th week contrary to what the bible teaches is that "no bridegroom would make his bride suffer that way", or "we need to be in heaven for the marriage banquet during the seven years of Daniel's 70th week". They've even "made up" and embellished Jewish wedding customs that have no historical validity, to support what they teach. For example, there is no support for the bridegroom "kidnapping" his bride a week before the wedding. A term Zola Levitt has used to equate that with the rapture. Another pre-trib believer, Greg Killan, has written that John 14:2-3 was spoken to the bride by the groom as he left to prepare for the wedding. Again, there is no written historical documentation to support this. I've also heard it taught that Israel is the bride of Father God and the church is the bride of His Son, Jesus. The former has some scriptural support but the latter is not clearly stated in the bible. I believe that if the church was to be his bride then He would have clearly stated that fact somewhere in His teachings. I think it's important that it isn't there.

    Dispensationalism is a doctrine of separation and God through Jesus is the author of unity. I consider myself sort of a quasi-dispensationalist. By that I mean, I recognize that Israel has a few future physical promises yet to come that will find their fulfillment in the millennium but all spiritual promises have found their completion and fulfillment through the church, which as you know, was basically just Jewish in origin for the first several years before Paul started preaching to the gentiles. Any doctrine that eternally separates the church from Israel should be considered false and subject to intense scrutiny.

    Before we get into the NT teachings let's take a quick review of what the OT has to say on this subject. Jer. 3:14 - "Return, faithless people," declares the Lord, "for I am your husband. I will choose you—one from a town and two from a clan—and bring you to Zion. I believe this prophecy, which is the Lord speaking to the Jews is fulfilled in Rev. 14:1 - Then I looked, and there before me was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion, and with him 144,000 who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads. Is.62 is speaking about the new name of Zion. Vs. 5 states - As a young man marries a maiden, so will your sons marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you. The virgin sons of Israel will marry Zion and/or the King of Zion who is Jesus Christ! (Rev.14:4). Jer. 14:18 tells us that Judah will unite (marry?) Israel. Jesus is also called the Lion of the tribe of Judah.

    This may surprise some of you but nowhere in the bible is the term, "the bride of Christ" used, however, the "body of Christ" referring to the church is used twice by Paul, once in 1 Cor. 12:27 and again in Eph. 4:12 and inferred in a few more places. Well then, where did this idea come from? Some have used the parable of the ten virgins as support but this really isn't logical once you dissect the passage. Matt. 25: 1-13 - "At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. 6"At midnight the cry rang out: 'Here's the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!' 7"Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8The foolish ones said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.' 9" 'No,' they replied, 'there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.' 10"But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. 11"Later the others also came. 'Sir! Sir!' they said. 'Open the door for us!' 12"But he replied, 'I tell you the truth, I don't know you.' 13"Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.

    I can't argue the fact that Christ is sometimes pictured as a bridegroom but that doesn't automatically translate into the church being the bride. In this parable, believers or the church would equate to the ten virgins, a bride isn't mentioned at all although it could be implied that the ten virgins were keeping her company. This parable also doesn't support the theory of imminence, but it does warn of preparation, readiness and what might happen to those who fail to watch. A couple of other things can be assumed by this passage, one is that they knew what exact day the wedding would be. They were at their posts, but the bridegroom was delayed. There is historical documentation that typically the bridegroom would arrive at 11:30 pm to pick up his bride and guests then they would proceed to the bridegroom's father's house for the midnight ceremony. Here, the bridegroom was delayed and the announcement didn't come until midnight. That is why the virgins fell asleep. They didn't know how long the delay would be. I think this fits a pre-wrath scenario quite nicely.
     
  2. bbyrd009

    bbyrd009 Groper

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    wrath at a wedding? "Like" down to here tho! :)
     
  3. 101G

    101G Well-Known Member

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    Revelation 21:2 "And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband".

    Revelation 21:9 "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.
    Revelation 21:10 "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 3:12 "Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.

    is not the Body "in" the city?.

    PICJAG.
     
  4. Enoch111

    Enoch111 Well-Known Member

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    That's like saying nowhere in the Bible are the words "Trinity" or "Rapture" therefore those doctrines cannot be true. I already quoted several passages which show that the Church is not only the Bride of Christ but the Wife of the Lamb. These are all metaphors for spiritual realities and truths which will only be understood in eternity and when the Church has been perfected.

    The very fact that Christ is called the divine Bridegroom and has also given us a parable of the Bridegroom coming for His Bride means that there is a Bride.

    JOHN 3
    27 John answered and said, A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven. 28 Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. 29 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. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease. 31 He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all.

    There can be no doubt from these words of John the Baptist that he was referring to "the Christ" (Jesus) when he said "He that hath the bride is the bridegroom". This is sufficient to tell us that there is a Bride of Christ. So who is this Bride? We know that before a woman becomes a bride, she gets engaged or betrothed or promised to her future husband. And God -- speaking to the saints through Paul -- says that they are espoused to Christ (2 Cor 11:2).

    King James Bible
    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.
    New American Standard Bible
    For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.
    Christian Standard Bible
    For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy, because I have promised you in marriage to one husband--to present a pure virgin to Christ.

    That word "espoused" is the translation of ἡρμοσάμην (hērmosamēn) and this is what it means:

    Thayer's Greek Lexicon
    STRONGS NT 718: ἁρμόζω

    2. of marriage: ἁρμόζειν τίνι τήν θυγατέρα(Herodotus 9, 108) to betroth a daughter to anyone; passive ἁρμόζεται γυνή ἀνδρί, the Sept. Proverbs 19:14; middle ἁρμόσασθαι τήν θυγατέρα τίνος(Herodotus 5, 32; 47; 6, 65) to join to oneself, i. e. to marry, the daughter of anyone; ἁρμόσασθαι τίνιτινα to betroth, to give one in marriage to anyone:2 Corinthians 11:2, and often in Philo, cf. Loesner ad loc.; the middle cannot be said to be used actively, but refers to him to whom the care of betrothing has been committed; (cf. Buttmann, 193 (167); per contra Meyer at the passage; Winer's Grammar, 258 (242)).

    So if this is not enough for the naysayers, then nothing will suffice. Today we have many people who always come up with "It doesn't say this" and "It doesn't say that" when they wish to avoid believing what is revealed in Scripture.
     
  5. Trekson

    Trekson Well-Known Member

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    I can't really argue with that because the only potential bride he was aware of, is Israel.
     
  6. Trekson

    Trekson Well-Known Member

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    In many ways yes. It will be great to see it all finished.
     
  7. Naomi25

    Naomi25 Well-Known Member

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    I know we've already been into this, so I won't go right into it.
    I suppose the one thing I did just want to point out quickly is this verse by Paul:

    In the same way husbands should love their 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 Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. -Ephesians 5:28–32

    If, as you say, we are not the 'Bride'...then it seems strange that Paul tells us that this is the relationship we have with Christ. Christ 'nourishes and cherishes' us, he left his Father to 'hold fast' to us, becoming one with us. Now...I totally get why, as a guy, you'd be uncomfortable with the idea of that. To be honest, even as a woman that idea isn't great. It's because sex just does't come into the relationship we have with God, and with Jesus. But, sex was only, if we stop and think about it, for a few reasons: procreation (which we don't need to do with Christ), a sense of connection and intimacy with our spouse (which we will get with Christ by other means...he will know us at a soul level, knowing us deeper than anyone could ever know us), or pleasure (the pleasures we receive in the presence of God will be, I imagine, not of that kind but still be far greater). All that being said, if we take sex, or the need for sex, out of a marriage, what do we have left? Love, commitment, friendship, partnership, glad submission to the need of the other, joy.
    Paul tells us that Christ gave himself up for the Church...to become one with her. For those things. Is that so hard to imagine?
    Those are my thoughts, anyway...
     
  8. Trekson

    Trekson Well-Known Member

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    Hi Naomi, Jesus said, "I and the Father are one." I don't think it means they are married to each other. The type of unity we should have with Christ and each other, echoes the unity we should have in a marriage. We don't become one flesh, we unite as cells in a body unite and we divide and multiply through sharing the gospel. I honestly think Rom. 12 is the closest verse we have to the reality of what Paul is allegorizing.
     
  9. Naomi25

    Naomi25 Well-Known Member

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    Um. No...neither do I think Christ and the Father are married to each other. Did I imply they were? I don't think I did.
    You say: "The type of unity we should have with Christ and each other, echoes the unity we should have in a marriage".....yeah...this has been my point all along. This has been Paul's point all along. The things we see here on earth are types and shadows of heavenly realities, of better things coming. Using the image of marriage just means Paul, and Christ, is saying that the Church and Christ will have a relationship based on trust, love, respect and the sort of intimacy where we are truly known. The sort of relationship where Christ is 'the head' over us, we in joyful submission, knowing the bride price he paid for us.
    Romans 12 is how we are to function together as the body, not how our relationship with Christ works.
     
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  10. Trekson

    Trekson Well-Known Member

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    Paul yes but Jesus doesn't say anything about the church and marriage. Thank you for validating that the "marriage" is a metaphor, not a reality as many think. Regarding Rom. 12 - If you're thinking of individuals then no, but if you are looking at the body as a whole then the closer the body's relationship is with Jesus, the better we will operate with unity.
     
  11. Naomi25

    Naomi25 Well-Known Member

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    Crikey! What sort of a 'marriage' did you think I was talking about? :eek: Let me assure you....I most certainly AM only talking about marriage and 'bride' as symbolic representations of the whole idea. Not actual.
    Actually...I did come across a dude once who thought it was going to be a legitimate wedding/marriage thing between the Church and Christ...including the...ah...intimate side of things. I nearly fell off my chair in horror at the implications and where his head was obviously at. Just when you think you've heard it all....
     
  12. Trekson

    Trekson Well-Known Member

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    Not counting the intimacy part, most adherents to "The church is the bride of Christ" do think there will be an actual ceremony w/ wedding reception and everything. Does your first word mean you're Australian or just a fan of Steve Irwin?
     
  13. Naomi25

    Naomi25 Well-Known Member

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    Ha! Australian! Not a huge Steve Irwin fan...the guy was a bit of a muppet. Respect to him for doing what he loved, though.
    As for the actual marriage etc...I'm not sure there NEEDS to be an actual ceremony. I mean...don't we say that, in reality, the union between man and wife (still leaving out the physical intimacy part) at the beginning was a symbol of how the unity between the Godhead was? Quite imperfectly, of course. But, like in the Trinity, there was love, respect and fellowship as they worked together to achieve their goal for mankind (very briefly put...you could write books about the Trinity!)...and like that, the union between man and woman echoed that...the man was not...'more', than the woman...she not 'less', but different jobs within the union to achieve, through love, unity, respect...what they needed to...in this case, a family that would love and serve God and watch over the earth.
    So...marraige, in my mind, biblically, is symbolic of how relationships...Godly relationships, are supposed to work...echoing THE relationship...the Trinity, the persons in one. So, I think when the bible uses the analogy of the Church being the Bride of Christ, it's not really talking about having to go through all that in actual fact, it's pointing to an idea, a relationship that we'll have. The supper? The bible is replete with feast images!! A great banquet is thrown in triumph, in fellowship, in sharing, in victory!! And once we, the Church, are finally in the right relationship with Christ, that banquet will be for us!
    Anyway...that a super brief explination on how I see it.
     
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  14. CoreIssue

    CoreIssue Well-Known Member

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    The wedding supper of the Lamb is based on the ancient Jewish wedding custom.

    Marriage Super of the Lamb
     
  15. Naomi25

    Naomi25 Well-Known Member

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    Uh, hmm. Did you notice how many times that article mentioned "like", or "analogous", or "parallel to".
    It's almost like me saying that our relationship with Jesus is 'like' a marriage...that the symbol of marriage is 'analogous' to the relationship between Christ and the Church...or that, said imagry is 'parallel' to the relationship between the Church and Jesus.
    So...really, we're both just saying that the Wedding/Marriage is an idea to describe the relationship and connection that exists now, and then between Christ and the Church. Which...sure, can also be mirrored by the Jewish marriage custom. We see heaps of Jewish customs as shadows and types for the 'real' thing.
     
  16. farouk

    farouk Well-Known Member

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    I do see the church and Israel in Scripture as fundamentally distinct, albeit with the New Testament drawing strongly on the language of the Old Testament.
     
  17. CoreIssue

    CoreIssue Well-Known Member

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    I said based on.
     
  18. Naomi25

    Naomi25 Well-Known Member

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    I think that the very fact that the Church began with mainly Jewish believers tells us that 'the church' in the NT, and now, is but a continuation of the 'elect'...those true believers of Israel (those who were of faith, like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and David). Gentiles have not displaced or taken over Israel, but entered into that which God truly intended for Israel to be, within the bounds of his new covenant, which he preached beforehand via the prophets. Paul spends a great deal of time breaking down the notion that there can be two peoples of God. It must be, he argues, that in Christ (the only way to God) there are only one people...true Israel, the Church. The Church started with the Apostles...Jews. It spread to Jews...was spread BY the Jews until the Church came TO the Gentiles. To say that Israel and the Church are separate is to miss most of what Paul, and Peter are saying.
     
  19. Enoch111

    Enoch111 Well-Known Member

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    Only in the context of the Church, which will have a finite number of Gentiles -- *the fulness of the Gentiles*.

    After that God will redeem and restore Israel according to what Paul says (along with all the prophets). Kindly pay close attention to the words of Paul:

    ROMANS 11 (FUTURE REDEMPTION OF ISRAEL)
    25 For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

    26 And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:

    27 For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

    28 As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes.

    29 For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

    30 For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:

    31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.

    32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

    33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

    34 For who hath known the mind of the Lord? or who hath been his counsellor?

    35 Or who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?

    36 For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen.


    Both Israel and the Church will be within the Kingdom of God, which means that all will be people of God. But the eternal destiny of the Church is in the New Jerusalem, whereas that of Israel is on earth.
     
  20. Naomi25

    Naomi25 Well-Known Member

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    I suggest it may have been the other way around. We see things here on earth echoing heavenly realitites and truths, not the other way around. Wouldn't you agree?
     
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