|The Bride of Christ
By Rev. David L. Hodges
"The Bride of Christ is composed of the entire spiritual church" (1 Corinthians 12:25; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Galatians
3:28, 29; Ephesians 4:16, Eph 5:23-33; Revelation 19:7-8).
While we do believe this and the above scriptures indicate this, I would like to say that there is a wide range of
parallels between the Church and a Bride.
First, I want to look at the entire spiritual church. The word "church" means an assembly or the "called out" ones.
Paul teaches in Romans 12:4-8 that the church is like a human body and in Ephesians 5:23 and Colossians 1:18
that Christ is the Head. Every believer, like every part of the human body, has individual functions to do. Christ is the
Head of the church, which means He has the authority over the church to guide it. This also means that Christ (the
Head) and the church (the body) exist together in organic unity.
We must remember when this body is attacked (and it will be attacked as our physical bodies are attacked) that
Christ is the Head. A body cannot drown until the Head goes under, and He is never going under. Paul states in 1
Corinthians 12:18 that God "set the members every one of them in the Body, as it pleased Him." This signifies that
God has chosen each member and that each member is of equal importance to God, as every body part is
important to the body. In 1 Corinthians 12:15-17, Paul shows why, as members of this body, we should not feel we
are more important than another member. In verse 17, he states, "If the whole body were an eye, where were the
hearing? If the whole were the hearing, where were the smelling?" In Ephesians 4:3-6, Paul exhorts this body to
unity based on the oneness of the body. He states in these verses that there is one Spirit, Hope, Lord, Faith,
Baptism, and one God and father of all.
Christian unity in the body of Christ is damaged by mistrust, anger, unwholesome talk, bitterness, wrath, and clamor.
All of this among fellow members (Ephesians 4:25) is to be put away. To be able to put these things away, we must
be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving to one another.
Secondly, when the Word of God speaks of the Church being the Bride of Christ, it is referring to both the symbolic
and the actual Bride of Christ (Ephesians 5:31, Revelation 19:7; 21:9). Figuratively speaking, the church is likened
to the marriage relationship between a husband and a wife. The reason being that the relationship is monogamous
and is a commitment for life. The Children of God, who comprise the church, are to have a "one and only one God"
relationship. That is, a life-long commitment on the part of the Husband (Christ) as well as the Wife (Church).
In Revelation 19:7 she is not called His bride, but His wife. That is a deeper, dearer, more matured word than
"bride." "His wife hath made herself ready." The Church has now come to the fullness of her joy and has taken
possession of her status as "His Wife." What does "hath made herself ready" mean? It means first, that she is
willingly and of her own accord, coming to her Lord to be His, and to be with Him forever. This she does with all her
heart: "she hath made herself ready." She does not enter this engagement with reluctance.
Notice the preparation! It is described in the eighth verse: "To her was granted." This speaks for itself. Whatever
preparation it was that she made, in whatever apparel she was arrayed, it was granted to her. Look at the apparel of
the wife: "To her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white." How simple her raiment!
Only fine linen, clean and white! Noting the first, and only, Hebrew word in the Revelation is `worthy'. Alleluia is the
supreme shout of praise, and is not heard until the marriage celebration takes place (Revelation 19:1). It is a
beautiful, loving relationship with which we, as mortal man, can identify. The intimacy, caring and affection pictured
in the marriage relationship are a longing and a desire felt and known by all those who claim the name of Christ.
What a wonderful view we have into the very heart of God as we are likened to a Bride. At any moment, the trumpet
could sound, and we could be summoned to the glorious Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
Can't you hear the wedding bells ringing?
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