The Bride of Christ Revealed – Part 7 The Bride in the New Testament
(Ver 1.1) This is now Part 7 in this series on the subject of the Bride of Christ Revealed and I have covered a lot of information on the subject. In my last blog on this subject I introduced you to some very strong New Testament verses that confirm the identity of the Bride of Christ directly as being the church. Ephesians chapter 5 is predominately about the subject of marriage and the relationships between husbands and wives. We went verse by verse through key verses in this chapter and counted the references to see how many times natural husbands and wives were mentioned and then we looked at how these natural marriages fit a pattern for a greater spiritual truth. Jesus is clearly given to be the head, the husband and the bridegroom in these verses. The church is clearly given to be his bride, his wife and his body by marriage. 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. This series is designed to step you through the subjects in a way that you can more easily see and understand this very deep and complex topic. So read each part of the series in order and hopefully you will grasp all of the spiritual concepts.
I heard more than one preacher say “search the Bible and you won’t find one scripture that says the church is the bride”. I sometimes wonder what Bible they are looking at, for I found a bunch of verses that tell me the church is the bride of Christ. These were well known ministers and men who have been teaching and studying the Bible for 50 years. The main problem they are experiencing is one that Jesus said you will always find what you are seeking. Jesus actually said seek and you shall find. But the problem is when people seek wrong things you find wrong things. If you are looking for no verses that say the church is the bride you will find no verses that say this. You always get what you seek and not necessarily what is the truth. That is how God designed the Bible to give you a choice to believe whatever you want to believe. That is a law of Bible research and study. Here is another law of Bible interpretation, it tells us that in the mouth of two or three witnesses let every word be established. I already showed you Ephesians 5 about Christ and His bride. So what other scriptures can we find in the New Testament that reveal the church to be the bride of Christ? Read these next scriptures very carefully, for they too are written directly to the church in Rome and they reveal very clearly the identity of the church as being the bride of Christ.
Rom 7:1 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?
This is an incredibly critical verse to understand fully. It speaks about the law. Here is the important thing to grasp, it says as long as a man is alive the law has dominion over him. Do you understand that statement? The implication is that when a man dies, the law is no longer in effect over his life. But did you notice who Paul and God wrote this verse to? It says “brethren” and that would be the church, except then it qualifies it further and says to only my brothers who know the law. Do you understand that statement? I bet you don’t fully get it. You see to “know” is a covenant term between a husband and a wife. Adam “knew” his wife and she had a son. To “know” is a sexual type reference, but God is not talking about a physical intimacy but a spiritual intimacy. What God is saying in this verse is, these next verses are written to members in the church who were previously under the law of Moses and the Old Covenant wife of God.
Rom 7:2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.
So we see some more important information concerning marriage and the law. If you recall in an earlier blog I discussed the law of marriage using Genesis 2. This verse confirms that there are laws in the Old Testament that govern marriage relationships. This verse says that a woman is bound by the law to her husband as long as her husband is alive. Why is that? The law of marriage said that they are one flesh. You can’t cut off a piece of your own body and get rid of it and still be whole. In most marriage ceremonies there is usually a phrase “until death do us part”. God informs us that death is a legal separation of a marriage covenant. There is really a tremendous number of applications of this scripture to the women in the Bible. If you recall Israel was called a woman married to God. That is exactly why God is using Paul to write these verses to Messianic Jewish believers. He is informing them of something that is very profound and relevant so let’s keep reading:
Rom 7:3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.
I really don’t want to get off of the subject and go into a lot of detail right here concerning Israel, but I guess I will mention it so that you can do further research and see that it does apply. If you read Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Hosea to name a few good examples you will see God called Israel a whore because of her unfaithful interaction with foreign gods and idolatry. God considered these acts as adulteress conduct of sexual perversion. God also considered these acts as covenant acts of marriage to these foreign gods and idols. So I gave you a lot to research, but let’s get back to this verse and what it says. It is speaking to those under the law and it tells them that as long as their husband is alive if they are in covenant with another then they are committing adultery. But then it says if a woman’s husband is dead, then she is free to marry or enter into covenant with another man. Remember these verses are written to brothers, males and these men are referred to as a woman. I think sometimes people don’t see this and miss out what God is saying.
Rom 7:4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
I hope you are getting what these scriptures are saying for they end in a very clear statement in Romans 7:4 that says you are now married to another, the Lord Jesus Christ! Try to explain that away! I’m sure you’ll come up with something if you don’t want to see the truth. I could say a lot more about these scriptures because they reveal so much more that we haven’t seen, but since that is not my primary purpose in this lesson, I will not weigh you down with any unnecessary things to think about. The main thing to take away from these verses is the reference to a man married to woman and how she is bound to that husband until he is dead. If she marries another while he is alive she is called an adulteress. However, Paul clarifies the problem because he says the first husband died by the body of Jesus Christ. So now they are free to be married to another and that is to him that was raised from the dead. This is an incredibly detailed discussion about the law and the law in specific relation to marriage covenants. Only people under the law would have been concerned to this level of detail. Gentiles were never married to the law or God, so they are free to marry Jesus the same as a natural Jew is now free to marry the Lord. The primary point to see is that the New Covenant is a marriage. But instead of a covenant with the Father God, it is with the Son of God, Jesus Christ and that is a very important concept to note and pay attention to. There is always a reason for everything that God says and does and this is no exception.
So is the church the bride of Christ? Some sure have gone through great extents to try to prove that we are not. I don’t know how they don’t see it, it sure seems to be there to me. Are you seeing it? Let’s start going through some more scriptures and continue by looking at this important verse:
2Co 11:2 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.
This verse is another that some Bible teachers are determined to explain away not letting people know what it really says. All the ingredients of marriage are mentioned in this verse. The identity of the bridegroom is clearly given as Jesus Christ. The mention of being married or “espoused” to Christ is a very clear reference. So who is the verse directed to? The verse is written to the bride. Bible teachers who don’t believe this verse say it is just making a comparison with the word “As”. You of course know if you can read that the word “as” is added by the translators and is not in the original Greek language so that argument is shot down pretty easily. We can clearly see that it is not making a comparison but it is identifying the church to be the chaste virgin. The Greek word translated as “virgin” has the following definition in the Strong’s:
Of unknown origin; a maiden; by implication an unmarried daughter: – virgin.
The description of an unmarried woman is clear from this definition. The reference is specifically to an unmarried daughter being presented to Christ. The word “present” in this verse is the same word we looked at in Ephesians and it means to stand beside. So we again see the reference to a marriage ceremony. Then there is the Greek word translated as “chaste” in the King James Bible and here is what Strong’s says about it:
From the same as G40; properly clean, that is, (figuratively) innocent, modest, perfect: – chaste, clean, pure.
Wow does that describe the church you know, it’s not a whole lot of the church I know. So you can read this verse in 2 Corinthians and do what you want to with it. But it clearly has all the necessary ingredients and parties of a wedding ceremony and a marriage covenant. The clear inference is this bride is unmarried and a virgin that has not been touched by another man. The reference is basically the same as a woman dressed in clean and white fine linen that has made herself ready for her husband. But I guess that is just me speaking isn’t it? I can’t prove it to you, either you see it or you don’t. It is so funny how that you can’t make anyone see the truth if they don’t want to see it.
I tell you if you look for scriptures that identify the church as the bride you will find them, the trouble is so many are just not looking for them. I know sometimes that verse can say things indirectly and sometimes not be totally obvious when you read it. Look closely at this scripture because you will find another reference to the church being the bride of Christ:
1Co 6:15 Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.
1Co 6:16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.
1Co 6:17 But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.
Verse 15 starts with confirming the church is the body of Christ. God tells us that our bodies are like individual cells in the bigger body of Christ. We make up the pieces that His body is comprised of. It is a spiritual truth using a natural pattern of the human body. The natural human body consists of many different organs, tissues, bones, cells and other components that when working with each other make up a healthy living body. But as we have already seen we know how we got to be the body of Christ was by the law of marriage found in Genesis 2. That law states that two shall become one body after they are married. This marriage covenant between Adam and Eve was a pattern for the Jesus and the church. Finally, in this verse the subject of harlots come into play in direct relation to the body of Christ. The implication is given that the church now that they are married in covenant with God can still have spiritual sexual relationships with other gods and other spiritual entities. I will agree that these verse seems to go both for natural relations with whores as well as spiritual relations with whores. I believe there is a clear application to the law of double reference. Where a verse of scripture can be taken naturally and spiritually and both points of view are true.
Within the context of these scriptures here we see another direct reference to a physical relationship between a man and a woman. The reference is purely sexual in nature and contains an inference of a woman being joined to her husband by covenant. In 1 Corinthians 6:17, the husband is clearly the Lord Jesus so who is Paul writing to that has been joined to Him? What does it mean to be joined together in Holy Matrimony? Doesn’t this verse have the same contextual relevance to our subject of marriage between a man and a woman? God contrasts the union of Christ and the church to that of a man to a harlot. This is certainly a significant comparison and gives us a lot of information that we should be aware of. For example, having a sexual relation with a whore is called a marriage in the eye’s of God. The sexual act is a covenant act. So if the man has a one night stand with a whore, it declares that in the eyes of God they are joined together as husband and wife. I was watching TV and to my surprise there was a group of individuals sitting around a table and discussing how many sexual partners some of them had. Of course in the unsaved world to men it is a matter of conquest to say they have had a lot of female partners. Who knows who was lying and who was telling the truth, but a couple of them had estimated they had 40 to 60 different women in their lives. According to scripture God sees each of these relations as a marriage covenant act. Obviously men and women don’t see it the same way or they wouldn’t be so casual about who they married. If the courts viewed sex as God views sex, there would be a lot more alimony going out of some of their pockets.
Going back to the verse in 1 Corinthians 6:17 we see the same sexual act reference given but this time to the Church with Jesus Christ. If you don’t see this it is because you don’t want to see it. The difference or contrast is given that we the church have become one spirit with Jesus and the man with the harlot has become one flesh with her. Both have become one by a marriage covenant act. There is a very clear statement of the church being joined to the Lord Jesus. To be joined is of course a marriage. A marriage is always where God takes one male and one female and makes one body out of them. This is so critical to understand.
I have given you at the minimum three great witnesses found in the New Testament that all deal with the church being called the bride of Christ by a marriage covenant act of God. The law of marriage is applicable and helps to explain a great number of other Bible verses, like how the church became the body of Christ? So we have explored more than enough witnesses to confirm this truth, but I might give you some more unique points of view in my next blog on this subject. I think I have said enough today so I hope you have a great day.
If you would like to continue reading this series, you can go to “Part 8“.
Posted on February 7, 2010, in The Church and tagged Bible, Bride, Christianity, Church, Covenants, God, Interpretation, Jesus, marriage, Prophecy, Religion, Revelation, Truth, understanding, woman. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.