A Publication of Separation of Church and State Law Ministry.
Copyright © January 4, 2018
Churches are called the bride of the Lamb. Christ is the bridegroom of the church.[i] The New Testament speaks of a church as a virgin espoused to one Husband. Paul likens the marriage relationship of husband and wife to the relationship of Christ and His churches:
“For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word. 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. For no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband” (Ep. 5.23, 25-27, 29-33)
Various people in the Old Testament are types of Christ, the Bridegroom, and the church, the bride. For example, Eve is a type of the church as bride and wife of Christ.[iv] Rebecca was a type of the church, the “called out” virgin bride of Christ. Isaac was a type of the Bridegroom, who loves through the testimony of the unnamed Servant;[v] he was a type of the Bridegroom who goes out to meet and receive his bride.[vi] “Typically, the book of Ruth may be taken as a foreview of the church—Ruth, as the Gentile bride of Christ, the Bethlehemite who is able to redeem.” Song of Solomon pictures, for one thing, the love between Christ and His church.
The coming of the Bridegroom is cause for great rejoicing by the believer, the friend of the Bridegroom.[vii] The marriage of the Lamb to His bride will be a glorious event which will occur in heaven, unlike the restoration of Israel which will take place on the earth.[viii]
The husband is to be the only head of the wife, and Christ is to be the only Head of His churches.[ix] “After Jesus was born, “there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him” (Mt. 2.1-2). “‘The King’ is one of the divine titles (Ps. 10.6), and so used in the worship of the Church (I Ti. 1.17), but Christ is never called ‘King of the Church.’ He is ‘King of the Jews’ (Mt. 2.2) and Lord and ‘Head of the Church’.[x]
[i][i] “Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled” (Jn. 3.28, 29).
[ii] “And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 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” (Re. 19.6-8).
[iii] “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel” (He. 12:22-24).
[iv] “Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. 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. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him” (The Holy Spirit writing to the church at Corinth in 2 Co. 11.1-4). “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” (Ro. 7.4).
[v] “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Pe. 1.8).
[vi] “For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first” (1 Th. 4.14-16).
[vii] : “He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled” (Jn. 1.29).
[viii] “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 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. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, “These are the true sayings of God” (Re. 19.7-9; see also Re. 21.9-22.17).
[ix] See Ep. 5.23, 25-27, 29-33 quoted in En ii above. And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church” (Ep. 1.22).
[x] “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. (Ep. 1.22, 23)” “Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence” (Col. 1.15-18)