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Church:  Are we today the bride of Christ? 

Gary Googe May 12

It is at least partly, if not mainly, because of this first passage of Scripture I’ll mention that people suppose we as believers today are “the bride of Christ” church.  As you’ll see in this verse, it’s not hard to understand why people might think that.

2 Corinthians 11:1-2

1 Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me.

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. [Emphasis added]

Instead of being designated as the bride of Christ, many think of us as being the Body of Christ church.

Ephesians 5:29-30

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

30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. [Emphasis added]

Do we then hold both titles? To add even more to the confusion, we then have still other titles that have been associated with us.

2 Corinthians 5:16-17

16 Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.

17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature [KTISIS = creation]: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. [Emphasis added]

As if this wasn’t enough, there are still others, but we won’t get into that in this study.  What we need to realize is that all the titles have meaning.  But they can also cause some confusion if certain people are thought to belong to the wrong group.  In this case it is us who ARE NOT a part of the bride of Christ.  That’s regenerate Israel, not us! That title pertains to a relationship that will exist between Christ and the regenerate people of Israel of a former time and of a future time, the time of the seven-year period known as The Tribulation.  “The bride, the Lamb’s wife” is “that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of Heaven from God.”

Revelation 21:9-10

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.

The apostle John tells us this occurs in the coming time known as The Tribulation, the period that precedes the return of Christ to the earth to begin His millennial reign.

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, [Emphasis added]

What the apostle John foresees is the culmination of God’s program with His nation Israel.  This was a declared and prophesied issue with them since the foundation of the world.  He clearly describes what He’ll provide as an everlasting dwelling place for the regenerate people of Israel.  It is not Heaven, but a new and beautiful city on Earth

Revelation 21:16-23

16 And the city lieth foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed, twelve thousand furlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal.

One furlong is approximately 220 yards.  Twenty thousand furlongs is approximately 1500 miles.  Wow! What a large and beautiful city this will be!

17 And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that is, of the angel.

18 And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass.

19 And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald;

20 The fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolyte; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth, an amethyst.

21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.

22 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.

23 And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. [Emphasis added]

Unlike this, our eternal home as members of what is called the Body of Christ will be in Heaven, not a new city on a newly restored Earth.  The new Earth and this city will belong to Israel.  As a member of what is called the Body of Christ, we’ll reside in Heaven in our new body.  We are already citizens there; we just don’t live there yet bodily.

Philippians 3:20-21

20 For our conversation [POLITEUO = citizenship] is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ:

21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. [Emphasis added]

What the apostle John sees prophetically is the culmination of God’s program with the people of the nation Israel.  He sees the marriage of God Himself to Israel in the land He promised them.  All this adds up to the fact that regenerate Israel has a wonderful earthly future while we as what is called the Body of Christ have a wonderful heavenly one.  For both people it involves a situation far better than anything ever enjoyed before.

When people today fail to rightly divide the Word of God, they run all this together as being one.  For instance, I’ve seen large books before that were supposedly about Heaven.  Instead, they were books about the things that have been revealed about this coming new world that’ll be the dwelling place for God’s people of Israel, not us as member of the Body of Christ.  Such books only create confusion and misunderstanding about all this.  However, even the apostle Paul’s use of marriage, or marriage-type terminology, can contribute to this.  Our opening passage to this article is an example of that.

Again, 2 Corinthians 11:1-2

1 Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me.

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. [Emphasis added]

However, as we see it here, the marriage relationship can be used to illustrate matters of love, faithfulness, and more.  When such things are mentioned in the Bible, it doesn’t automatically mean the passage is referring to us.  We are not Israel in any sort of a way.  Yes, we’re both God’s people but the differences are many.  These differences are especially important regarding the way people are saved.  I’ve addressed those differences in other articles on this website.  Here are some examples.

Dispensations:  What is this about?

Salvation:  How were The Twelve Apostles saved?

Salvation:  What part does man’s work play in it?

Jesus Christ:  What does it mean to believe in His name?  

There are other differences, but this regarding the means to one’s salvation is by far the one most important.

What we read in the 2 Corinthians 11:1-2 passage is only there so that the Corinthian believers can learn why he’s so upset over their tolerance of false preachers he speaks of as the “very chiefest apostles” who have caught their attention.  In the previous chapter, he began addressing the issue of the “love-spell” these people had put on many in the Corinthian church.  By saying what he says, he seeks to avoid getting into a “beauty contest” with them.  He was concerned that they would think he had only petty jealousy because of them.  Instead, it was a doctrinal issue that concerned him.  Paul’s concern was that they would perceive his genuine “godly jealousy” as sinful jealousy that motivated his actions. Therefore, Paul begins chapter 11 with an appeal for them saying, “bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed, bear with me.”  He was concerned that they would think him a fool for the things he said in chapter 10.  He was concerned that they did not realize his genuine love for them.  He only had a godly jealousy over them just as God has for us.  Therefore, it is the context that goes back into chapter 10 that is the key to understanding and appreciating what Paul goes on to say.  Let’s look at the last part of that verse one more time.

2 Corinthians 11:2

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. [Emphasis added]

The key word here is “as” toward the end of the verse.  Therefore, his statement here is just for the purpose of illustration.  They are not “the bride” of Christ.  It is regenerate Israel that is “the bride of Christ,” not them or us today.  Instead, we, today are said to be members of the Body of Christ.

Ephesians 5:30  

30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. [Emphasis added]

I know all this may look like we’re “splitting hairs” over this, but such distinctions are important for a right understanding of things as we rightly divide the Scriptures.  Paul’s just saying he loves them, and God loves them like a groom loves his bride.  That is all.  He wants them to understand that he simply wants only the best for them.  The passage is not a proof-text for us being “the bride of Christ” today.

Another important lesson for us all in this is to never let some personality we’re infatuated with interfere with our spiritual growth.  Our focus should always be on Christ, not the people who represent Him or anyone else.

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