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Old 03-08-2009, 06:32 PM
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Biblestudent Biblestudent is offline
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Philippines
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Hello, everybody!
I did struggle with this years before. I used to teach that the "Bride of Christ" is the Body of Christ. I go to Genesis 2 through Revelation 21 to prove that. I have all the commentaries to back me up. But when confronted with Scripture, I don't have a verse for it.
But as with Chette's observation, the words "Bride" and "the Bride of the Lamb" is not found in Paul's epistles (Paul claims to be the revelator of church doctrine.); and the phrase "Bride of Christ" is not found in the Bible either.
Context determines meaning, and the question "who is speaking?" is very important.

Who is speaking?
Romans 7 (Paul) "married"
2 Corinthians 11 (Paul) - "AS a virgin" (simile)
Ephesians 5 (Paul) - "wife" (right NOW, not in the future; "one flesh")

Who is speaking?
John 3 (John) - "bride" (already exists before the cross; the bridegroom is already with the bride in John 3)
Revelation 19 (John) - "wife" (just got ready here; the marriage was postponed when the bridegroom was rejected, but after the tribulation period, she's now ready; her number is "twelve", not "one")
Revelation 21 (John) - "as a bride" (defined in the context as New Jerusalem)

I don't think John saw the church (Body of Christ), a "mystery" revealed to Paul and through Paul); I believe what he wrote was in line with OT prophecy.
If we run all OT passages, the Gospels (before the cross), and the Revelation (after the rapture), references to "bride" as a group of people is associated to Israel.
I believe the Body of Christ will be with Christ at the Second Coming and the Millennium (1 Thessalonians 4:18), but that revelation was given to Paul and it is absent from John's revelation.

One more problem with the interpretation that the "bride" of John 3 and Revelation 19 & 21 is the church is to use TYPOLOGY (Genesis 2) and teach it as DOCTRINE.
I realized it should not be so. It should be DOCTRINE first and TYPOLOGY last.

Ephesians 5 teaches us that right NOW (not in the future), we are the Body of Christ and have relationship with him AS the husband and wife is "one flesh" -- right NOW.
But one day, Paul will "present" us to Christ AS a chaste "virgin" (2 Cor. 11:2). (Note: we are AS a wife NOW, but will be presented to Christ AS a virgin.
Also in Romans 7:4, we "should be married to another" that we should "bring forth fruit unto God". When are we going to bear fruit? During this Church Age, we are to bear fruit; therefore, we are "married" to Christ right NOW so that we can bear fruit right NOW.

Revelation 19 and Revelation 21 should be read in the context of OT prophecies and the Gospels. Israel, the "bride of the Lamb" and the "wife of the Lamb", was not ready in John 3 but will be ready in Revelation 19.

Here's one article I went across that has helped me when I was studying the issue:

So my current position now is this:

1. The "bride" or the "wife" spoken of by the OT prophets and the Twelve is associated with Israel.
2. The "virgin" or the "wife" spoken of by Paul is the Body of Christ.

I believe the key here is to see that Paul is a unique apostle with a unique revelation to a unique body of people in a unique age.

For the love of Christ,
Bible student