The Bride of Christ Revealed – Part 6 Presenting the Bride

(Ver 1.2)  Today I want to begin to explore the New Testament references for the identity of the bride of Christ.  I want to “present” you to the identity of the bride of Christ.  You will see later why I said that so look for it.  There are certinly many scriptures that identify the Bride to us, but I want to start with the strongest verses first.  If you have not been following this series from the beginning I would strongly recommend that you go back and start reading from Part 1, The Introduction.

Here it is, one of the strongest scriptural evidence that I’ve seen concerning the identity of the Bride of Christ and it’s found in the New Testament in the book of Ephesians and chapter 5.  These are words written directly to the church and specifically about the church so read them very, very carefully.   Understanding Ephesians 5 is critical for you understanding your identity in the spiritual world.   Pay close attention to the subject being discussed and then see how they fit together:   I will go verse by verse starting with verse 22.  I will keep a running total of references that I find on the primary noun subjects being discussed.  So help me count as we go.  Let’s start reading in Ephesians chapter 5 and verse 22:

Eph 5:22  Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

We can clearly see that the primary subject of this verse is marriage because it is talking to wives and husbands.  But did you notice who this verse is written to?  It is written to the church, the wife of Christ.  If you notice in this verse, it ends with “as unto the Lord”.  The implied reference is that the church is the bride and Christ is the husband.  There are clearly two patterns given to us; one is a natural pattern and the other is a spiritual pattern.  The church is clearly commanded to submit to their husband, the Lord Jesus Christ.  So while “wives” are mentioned only once, the implication is given that we the church are also a wife to Christ.  If we count the references to noun subjects we have the following totals:

Direct Implied
Husbands 1
Wives 1
Church/Body 1
Christ 1

You will notice the primary nouns given in this verse is concerning wives, husbands and Christ.  There is one implied or indirect reference to the church as being a wife.  I hope you can see what this verse is talking about and who it is talking to.  So let’s go to the next verse and see what it says:

Eph 5:23  For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

So we have a continuation of the primary subject of marriage still in the context of husbands and wives being given to us.  Again we see a direct relationship being established between the natural and the spiritual.  The husband is said to be the head of the wife in the natural world and I refuse to comment on that statement.  However, Christ is the implied husband of the church given the clear context of being the head of the body.  The church is clearly given to be the body of Christ which is a direct parallel that we learned about when we studied about Eve being the body of Adam.  We know that these are patterns for spiritual truths that God is communicating to us from natural truths.  So let’s update our total number of noun reference counts.

Direct Implied
Husbands 2
Wives 2
Church/Body 2 1
Christ 3

So we are up to 2 direct references to husbands and wives and 3 direct and indirect references to Christ and his bride.  Let’s continue with verse 24:

Eph 5:24  Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.

Again in this verse we have two parallels given to us.  Both of these patterns are implied covenant marriages given from the context of the subject being spoken of.  The church is said to be subject to Christ and that is just another way to say we are to submit.  We can clearly see that this implies Christ is the husband and the church is the wife, given the ending statement of the verse being directed to natural wives to be submitted to their natural husbands.  These are God’s words and not mine so don’t shoot the messenger.  Just read them and accept them.  Let’s update our total reference count from this verse:

Direct Implied
Husbands 3
Wives 3
Church/Body 3 1
Christ 4

I do not know how ministers have read these verses and refuse to  see what they clearly say, but that is the way the Bible is written, men see what they want to see.   Let’s continue with the next verse in the chapter:

Eph 5:25  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it (her, the Church);

This verse repeats the pattern and speaks to husbands and wives again.  It clearly implies that Christ is the husband that loves his bride, the church.  It clearly says that He proves his love for her by giving Himself as a sacrifice for her.  This verse should have used the personal pronoun “her” instead of “it”.  The church is not an “it”.  God did not send Jesus to die for an “it”.  Let’s update our total noun reference count:

Direct Implied
Husbands 4
Wives 4
Church/Body 5 1
Christ 6

Let’s take a brief look at verse 26 even though this is a bit off the main subject of marriage.  Take a look at what this verse is saying:

Eph 5:26  That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

According to this verse “it” is again mistranslated as being a reference to “her”, the church.   This verse is saying that Christ is sanctifying and cleaning the church by a washing process that involves the Word of God.  This implies that the Word of God is a liquid like pure water with a power to clean dirty spots out.   Isn’t that an interesting statement?  Aren’t we talking about the church?  I mean I can clearly understand it, but can you?  If the church is the body of Christ, why would Christ need to give himself a bath to make himself clean?  You see the problem with that logic, don’t you?  That is why people who teach that the church is the body of Christ and only the body of Christ are severely mistaken.  This is just further proof to me of how preachers have taught some incredibly stupid things.  If the church was just the body of Christ we wouldn’t need cleaning or washing.  Jesus is already clean and righteous.  We are the ones with the faults and blemishes, the dirty spots that need cleaning off.  But since we have become His body by a marriage covenant and we are a separate individual that still needs cleaning, we can more clearly see how we fit into all of these verses and not just some of them.  As we continue with verse 27 we see more marriage terminology given to us about Christ and the church:

Eph 5:27  That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

In reading this verse I think of many weddings that I have been to.  The bride comes walking down the center aisle and is presented to the husband usually by the father of the bride.   Ephesians 5 is primarily about marriage so we can know that Christ is talking about His bride in this verse.  What we have seen in the last three verses are a extraordinary effort being put forth by Jesus to give himself completely for His wife.  This is a process that involved Him suffering and experiencing tremendous pain and death on a cross.  He shed His blood for us, because He loved us that much.  Verse 27 informs us why He was willing to go to this extraordinary effort.  Verse 27 declares so that He might present “it” to himself.  We of course lose a lot by not studying the Greek to determine what this actually means.  From the English translation in the KJV it sure sounds like a term for marriage.  In many marriage ceremonies I have heard it said by the minister  after the final vows, “may I present to you Mr. and Mrs. fill in the name.  However, the Greek word translated as “present” actually has a literal meaning “to stand beside“.  That is actually a fascinating contradiction of terms.  How can the body of Christ stand beside Himself?  You see it just doesn’t really make sense unless you put it into the context of a woman standing besides her husband in a marriage ceremony and the two becoming one flesh that way.  Several times in these verses the church is referred to as “it” and this again is a mistranslation and the same word should say and mean “her” and it is translated that way in the New Testament many times.  In fact it is translated as “her” in Revelation 19:8 when referring to the woman called the “New Jerusalem”.  Isn’t that a coincidence?   Let’s look at this verse just for grins:

Rev 19:8  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.

I hope that you see why I included this verse, because it is so very similar to the one we just looked at in Ephesians 5:27.  The first thing I wanted to point out is the term “G846” is translated correctly this time as “her” and not “it”.  So how can translators make such obvious mistakes in one verse the word is “it” and another one it is “her”.  That is a question that I suppose we all need to understand and see that translators are just men capable of making mistakes.  Then the next thing I wanted to point out is what are the terms “clean and white” saying, is this describing what we read in Ephesians 5?  Obviously they are references to what she is wearing a type of extraordinary piece of clothing or fabric.  So how does that compare with what the woman in Ephesians 5 is wearing, it says “without spot or wrinkle” and this implies fine nice clothing also that does not have any dirty spots.  I think we can clearly see that these two verse are speaking of the exact same woman.  So again, what did Paul tell us that Christ was presenting to himself, a church without spot or wrinkle, clean by the washing of the water of the Word.  It’s amazing how the Bible fits together, isn’t it?  Both of these are describing the same wedding apparel if you ask me.  What we see is that both of these women are described as being in perfect condition, wearing the finest clean garments.  This is a clear picture of the church and this truth is reflected to us in the book of Revelation 19 when it speaks of the bride being adorned for her husband and how she has made herself ready.  These are all pictures and patterns into a spiritual truth that I hope you are seeing and understanding.  So let us update our running count of references that we have observed in these verses and see the new totals:

Direct Implied
Husbands 4
Wives 4
Church/Body 6 2
Christ 7

Let us continue with the next verse in Ephesians for it is really getting good now.  In this verse we start to again see the law of marriage being restated in context with the husband and the wife in marriage:

Eph 5:28  So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

Are you understanding these concepts?  God is reaffirming the law of marriage from Genesis 2 in this simple verse of truth.  This verse speaks to men and instructs them to love their wives because they are his body.  Since Eve came from Adam’s body, so a wife is joined to her husband and the two are now said to be one flesh.  If a husband physically abuses his wife it is like him hitting himself in the head, and that is idiotic and crazy behavior.   In this verse we have several direct and indirect references to husbands and wives and this now is reflected in our total reference count in the following:

Direct Implied
Husbands 7
Wives 6
Church/Body 6 2
Christ 7

The next verse continues with more about the law of marriage from Genesis 2, but now concludes with the revelation that this also applies to Christ and the church:

Eph 5:29  For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

You see from this verse further confirmation that the woman and the husband are said to be one flesh or one in the same body.  Whatever happens to one affects the other directly.  However one treats the other is how they treat themselves.  God is really saying to them to treat the other like he or she is you, because you two are one body.  God then concludes this verse with the revelation that this applies to Christ and the church.  Christ the husband and the church is the wife.  Christ cherishes His bride, the church with great love and affection.  The church is the Body of Christ.  Christ dwells in us right here and right now if you are born again.  Christ therefore loves the church because she is His body and His wife.

Direct Implied
Husbands 8
Wives 6 3
Church/Body 7 2
Christ 8

I hope you are following my count and seeing the references, both direct and indirect implications being given to us.  These scriptures are very important to understand.  We are finally getting to some great scriptures that we have been working up to and the anticipation has been building with great excitement:

Eph 5:30  For we (the church) are members of his (Jesus Christ) body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

You finally begin to see what God is speaking of about Christ and the church.  This verse informs us in very clear language that we are the body of Christ and indirectly tells us how we became His body.  But then did you notice that it also calls us his flesh and his bones.  Isn’t this what Adam said about Eve?  Adam said she is bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh.  Do you understand the context?   I put the description of who this verse was talking about in parenthesis so that you could better understand it.  What we clearly see is a reference to the natural law of marriage given to us by God in Genesis 2.  To reaffirm the connection to Adam, God repeats the law from Genesis in the next verse:

Eph 5:31  For this cause shall a man (Jesus Christ) leave his father (God) and mother (Israel), and shall be joined unto his wife (the church), and they two shall be one flesh (body).

God is directly saying that what happened with Adam and Eve was a pattern for Christ and the church.  I included the participants in this verse and named names.  I put these in parenthesis so that you would not confuse them with the original verse.  I did not add to the verse I only clarified the subjects and references so that you could more easily see them.  Did you see them?  Did you understand them?  That is the main part we are going for, if you can understand them, then Satan can’t steal them away from you.   One of the key words in this verse is given to us and it is that the two will be “joined” together to be one flesh (body).  The Greek word for “joined” literally means “to glue”.  That is God’s definition of marriage, creating one body, taking two separate pieces and gluing them together to be one piece or one body.  This is again basic math God’s way.  With Adam he took one and made two, however God still called them one.   You can see this from a multiplication perspective.  One man times one wife equals 1 body.  I’ve done wood working before, and I have taken two pieces of wood and using dowels and glue I’ve put them together or “joined” them and clamped them and let them dry.  After sanding and staining it is incredible the strength and beauty of the one new piece of wood.  There are in fact some glues that are so strong that if you would try to pull them apart the wood would usually break in a new spot.   This is what God is trying to communicate to us.   To join together is a process of marriage.  Taking two separate individual pieces and creating one new piece.  Here is a revised count of direct and indirect scripture references to the subjects in marriage:

Direct Implied
Husbands 8
Wives 6 3
Church/Body 9 2
Christ 13

We can see that from this total sheet that we have an overwhelming number of witness to the subject matter of marriage in context with all of these participants.  God declares that just as husbands and wives are in covenant and become one flesh so it is with Jesus and the church.  The next verse in Ephesians actually declares to us some very valuable information.  This verse is the overwhelming climax to the subject of marriage in this chapter of Ephesians:

Eph 5:32  This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

You see in this verse Ephesians 5:32 God lets us in on a secret that has been kept hidden since the foundation of the world.  God had a plan and He patterned this plan after things that He created for us to see.  God created a man and a woman and established the law of marriage.  God declares that just as one wife becomes one flesh or body with her husband, so all wives become one flesh with their husbands.  God declares this to be a Great Mystery.    The Greek word for mystery here means “to shut the mouth” as in “keep a secret” from someone.  Did you know God had secrets?  God must have not wanted someone to see his plan and I believe this was Satan.  God says that all of this chapter is about marriage covenant relationships and that this is or was a great secret, but He lets the proverbial cat out of the bag so to speak by telling us that this all has to do with Christ and the church.  Jesus Christ is the bridegroom and the church, the bride.  The New Covenant is a marriage and the result is the establishment of new family unit.  Why did God have to establish a new family?  Apparently He had a major problem with his old family.  If you can see this and understand it you will be far beyond a lot of other Christians who do not yet know who they are.  Satan has tried to confuse the identity of the Bride for many reasons.  Even preachers have helped Satan to confuse us.  God is doing a new thing in these last days, He is getting the truth out for us to see and to understand.  I hope and pray that you can see it.  We will continue in the next blog on the mystery of the identity of the Bride using more New Testament verses that confirm our true identity.

If you would like to continue with this series, you can go to “Part 7“.

Advertisements

About agapegeek

Using the Bible to understand the Bible! Advanced Bible study for mature Chrisitians who want to grow.

Posted on February 5, 2010, in The Church and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Michelle Burgess

    I am a bit confused because I noticed during a google search that some consider that Israel is the bride of Christ not the Church. Please could you give some understanding around this? I am real confused.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: