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The Bride of Christ

by Bill Wong

 

 

 

 

The Bible tells us that true believers are the bride of Christ.  Many Christians recognize this term and consider themselves as this bride (Matthew 9:15; 25:13; Mark 2:19-20; Luke 5:34-35; John 3:29; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Ephesians 5:22-32; Revelation 19:7-9).

 

However, most Christians are not aware of what the term “the bride of Christ” means.  They do not know, because Christians are taught in error to ignore and avoid all things that are from the Old Testament or whatever is considered “Jewish”.  They were taught the lie that "the Church" of non-Jewish Christians have replaced Israel as the chosen of God. This is unfortunate, because the salvation plan of God with the Lord Jesus being the groom coming for His bride is entirely framed within the context of the ancient wedding custom of Israel.

 

The Bible truth tells us that first and foremost, it is Israel herself who is the bride of Christ.  God hates divorce and does not leave Israel to marry another.  God is faithful to Israel now and forevermore. Those people who are not of Israel, but become Israel, are grafted into this relationship. 

 

To fully understand and appreciate what it really means that Messiah is the groom and He has a bride, we must also understand the harvests and the salvation plan of God as outlined in the Biblical feast days of God.  The harvests, the feast days and the ancient wedding customs of Israel are all intertwined together to form one unit, one map, one story – with Israel as the bride and those who are grafted in with her.  This should be read with the articles: ‘God’s Salvation Plan in the Biblical Feast Days’ and ‘We are One Israel – the Faith Once Delivered’.

 

When we realize this, only then will we fully understand the gospel of the salvation of God in the Lord Jesus Christ and what it truly means to be one with Israel – Jew and Gentile together (please note the real name of Jesus is Hebrew: Yahusha‘ (or Yahushua‘ / Yeshua‘; see the article: ‘The Name of God and Messiah’).  Knowing the gospel falls within the context of this ancient wedding custom enables us to see and understand many things about God’s truth.  We can see the awesome beauty of the plan of God to reconcile us to Him and what it means to be the bride of Christ and what is required of us.  We can understand what the role of baptism is and what God’s holy spirit is. Most of all, we can see the overarching message of the Bible: it declares to us who God is, what God is love means and what He is doing to save us and bring us into His family forever.

 

Let us review what the Bible says about the Lord Jesus being the groom and we the bride and how this is outlined exactly according to the ancient wedding customs of Israel.  Briefly, there is a betrothal, a period of separation where the groom prepares a place for his bride, then he comes back for his bride to take her to the place he prepared, and the groom and bride finalizes the marriage covenant by holding a great wedding supper for everyone.

 

 

  

 

Betrothal

 

The betrothal is called the 'erusin'.  The man who wants to marry a woman must present the marriage covenant/contract (the 'ketubah') to the potential bride and her father which specifies the terms, and also pay the bride price (the 'mohar') for her.  The bride price is the most important part of the marriage covenant, because it secures the father’s permission to marry his daughter and also expresses just how much the man loves the woman, as reflected in what cost he is willing to pay to marry the woman he loves.  Therefore, the bride price is usually very high.

 

Even though the marriage will not be completed/consummated until later, the betrothal is still a binding contract and the man and woman are considered married.  It is accepted and sealed by the groom pouring a glass of wine and the bride partaking of the wine.


 

How it is fulfilled in the Bible:

The terms of the contract are specified, wine is poured and accepted:

Matthew 26:

26   While they were eating, Jesus took some bread, and after a blessing, He broke it and gave it to the disciples,

      and said, "Take, eat; this is My body."

27   And when He had taken a cup and given thanks, He gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you;

28   for this is My blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for forgiveness of sins.

29   "But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day

      when I drink it new with you in My Father's kingdom."    (NASB)

 

Also: 

Mark 14:22-25

Luke 22:17-20

1 Corinthians 11:23-25

 

 

The price paid for His bride is His life; the Lord Jesus does this on Passover as the Lamb of God:

 

Ephesians 5:

25    Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,    (NKJV)

 

Also:

Matthew 20:28

Mark 10:45

Acts 20:28

1 Corinthians 6:19-20

1 Corinthians 7:22-23

Galatians 2:20

1 Timothy 2:5-6

Hebrews 9:12-17

1 Peter 1:15-21

 

Comment:  Almost any person will say they are ready to die for their spouse if need be.  This is exactly what the Lord Jesus does for us, as the term of the betrothal!

 

 

 

 

Preparing a place 

 

After the betrothal has been accepted, the groom leaves his betrothed for a period of time to prepare a place for them on his father’s property (building a 'huppah' or 'chuppah', or bridal chamber/covering).  This time of separation can range from approximately one to two years.  The groom’s father has the authority to decide how it should be built and also when it is finally ready and it is time for the groom to go and get his bride.


 

How it is fulfilled in the Bible:


The Lord Jesus will depart to prepare a place for His bride in His father’s house:

 

John 14:

2     In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

3     And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself; that where I am,

      there you may be also.   (AKJV)

 

Also:

Matthew 9:14-15

Mark 2:18-20

Luke 5:33-35

John 14:28

 

 

Only the Heavenly Father knows when and tells the groom to get His bride:

 

Matthew 24:

36    But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.   (AKJV)

 

Also:

Mark 13:32-33

Acts 1:6-7

 

 

 

 

Departing gift

 

Since the groom will be gone for some time preparing a place for his bride in his father’s house, he leaves her with a bridal gift (the 'matan').  The gift serves as a reminder of her beloved and that she is his and he is hers.  It is also a token of the promise that will be realized in full when the groom returns and the marriage is finally complete and they will be officially husband and wife.

 

The bride then takes a ritual cleansing immersive bath that also symbolizes a spiritual change as well as a status change in the bride.  This is called a 'mikveh' or 'mikvah' and is the same word for baptism.

 

The mikvah and departing gift comes together as we see below.

 

 

How it is fulfilled in the Bible:


God’s holy spirit, the spirit of truth, is a gift which is given when the Lord Jesus leaves to prepare a place for His bride. At first, it is given to the 120 apostles and disciples in the upper room on the Day of Pentecost and then to all upon baptism and the laying on of hands: 

 

Acts 2:

38    Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness

       of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.   

39    "For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will

       call to Himself." (NASB)

 

Acts 8:

14   Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God,

      they sent Peter and John to them,

15   who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.

16   For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

17   Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit.

18   And when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Spirit was given,

      he offered them money,

19   saying, "Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit."

20   But Peter said to him, "Your money perish with you,

      because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money!   (NKJV)

 

Also:

Luke 11:13

John 7:39

Acts 2:1-4, 33, 38-39

Acts 9:17-18

Acts 10:44-48

Acts 19:4-6

 

 

We are baptized with holy spirit: 

Matthew 3:11

Mark 1:8

Luke 3:16

John 1:33

Acts 1:4-5

Acts 11:16

1 Corinthians 12:13

 

 

The gift of God’s holy spirit empowers us to know and do God’s will: 

Luke 11:13

1 Corinthians 12:1-31

Hebrews 2:4

 

 

The spirit of God/truth is given when Christ goes back to His father; it brings to remembrance the things of Christ until He returns  the bride may be sad now, but will be overjoyed at His return: 

John 14:15-19; 25-31

John 16:5-14

 

 

It is also a pledge or down payment of what is greater and yet to come: 

 

Ephesians 1:

13   In Him, you also, after listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation--having also believed,

     you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise,

14   who is given as a pledge of our inheritance, with a view to the redemption of God's own possession,

      to the praise of His glory.    (NASB)

 

Also:

2 Corinthians 1:21-22

2 Corinthians 5:1-5

 

 

When we acknowledge and repent of our sins, we are baptized by immersion which symbolizes the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, putting our old selves to death and washing away our sins to be born anew in Christ (Romans 6:3-6).  We give ourselves to the Lord and we belong to Him.  We are to be baptized in the name of Our Lord Jesus, be forgiven of your sins and receive God's holy spirit.

 

God giving us His holy spirit is a gift to constantly remind us of Christ and that we belong to Him.  It also enables us to grow and conform to Christ’s image (we must be chaste and set apart/holy for Him) and be empowered for God’s service as we wait for the wedding.  In modern terms, the baptism can be likened to an engagement or marriage commitment where God’s holy spirit is an engagement gift like an engagement ring (it is a thing and not a person, though translators try to make it appear to be a person), and the full and true promise of the wedding with the bride and groom being together forever is yet to come. 

 

  

 

 

Bride must be prepared
 
During the period of time the groom is away preparing a place for his bride, the bride conducts herself as set apart for him and also prepares for and eagerly anticipates the marriage upon the groom’s return.  She is fulfilling her duties as the betrothed to remain faithful (called 'kiddushin'). The spirit of God/truth that the groom gives before He leaves enables the bride to remain faithful and holy.  Since she does not know when the groom would return for her, she must be ready at all times for his arrival.  It is customary for the groom to come in the middle of the night to “steal away” his bride.



How it is fulfilled in the Bible:

The bride (we) must conduct ourselves as set apart for Christ:

 

1 Corinthians 6:

15   Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and

      make them members of a harlot? Certainly not!

16   Or do you not know that he who is joined to a harlot is one body with her? For "the two," He says,

     "shall become one flesh."

17   But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.    (NKJV)

 

Also:

1 Corinthians 11:3

2 Corinthians 11:2

Ephesians 5:23-32 (verse 26: “that He might sanctify & cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, related to the mikvah)

1 John 3:1-9

2 Peter 3:10-14

Revelation 19:7-9

 


The Lord Jesus gives us many warnings to be prepared for His sudden return like a thief in the night:

 

Matthew 25:

1     Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened to ten virgins, which took their lamps,

      and went forth to meet the bridegroom.

2     And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.

3     They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:

4     But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.

5     While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.

6     And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him.

7     Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.

8     And the foolish said to the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.

9     But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you:

      but go you rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.

10   And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage:

      and the door was shut.

11   Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us.

12   But he answered and said, Truly I say to you, I know you not.

13   Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man comes.  (AKJV)

 

Also:

Matthew 22:1-14

Matthew 24:42-51

Luke 12:35-40

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

2 Peter 3:10

Revelation 3:3

 

 

 

 

Wedding

 

 

The wedding itself is called the 'nissuin'. 

 

 

 


Part 1.

 

The groom will return at an unknown time with his friends to claim his bride.  As mentioned in the section ‘Preparing a Place’, only the Father sets this time for the groom to get his bride.  When he comes, his arrival will be announced by his friends with shouts (such as "Behold! The bridegroom comes!") and by blowing a ram’s horn (shofar; or trumpet as it is translated in English Bibles).  The bride is taken to the place prepared for her in the house of the groom's father for the wedding and consummation.  They go away for 7 days as the wedding guests celebrate and feast, and join them at the end for the wedding/marriage supper.


 

How it is fulfilled in the Bible:

 

The Bible teaches that the harvest of saints is the bride.  The harvest theme parallels and supplements the wedding theme as the Bible shows the bride going to meet her groom when He comes visibly in glory with the trumpet of God (the Bible says the Lord Jesus comes only once to gather His people for the wedding, and comes with them for the wedding supper; see Parts 2-4 below). 

 

 

 

Messiah comes with His friends after tribulation, to gather the harvest, His bride for the wedding and to take her to the place He has prepared.  His arrival will be announced by His friends with shouts and trumpets/shofars:

 

1 Thessalonians 4:

16   For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.

17   Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.   (NASB)

 

1 Corinthians 15:

50   Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

51   Behold, I tell you a mystery; we will not all sleep, but we will all be changed,

52   in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.

53   For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.   (NASB)

 

Also:

Matthew 24:21-31

 

 


 

Part 2.

 

The groom has two friends that serve as witnesses who help in many aspects of the wedding including preparation of the supper and acting as liaisons between the groom and bride.  This part actually occurs before the groom’s arrival for his bride in ‘B’ just above.


 

How it is fulfilled in the Bible:

 

The two witnesses preach the gospel of the faith once for all delivered to the saints to all the world, calling people into the body of Christ, before the end comes/Messiah returns (they witness for 1260 days which are 3.5 Biblical years of 360 days each):

 

Revelation 11:

3     "And I will give power to my two witnesses, and they will prophesy one thousand two hundred and sixty days,

         clothed in sackcloth."  

4     These are the two olive trees and the two lampstands standing before the God of the earth.  

 

 

When they finish their testimony they will be killed and raised near the end of tribulation before Messiah returns; their presence is needed in heaven for preparation of the wedding and supper:

 

Revelation 11:

7     When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them,

         overcome them, and kill them.

8     And their bodies will lie in the street of the great city which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt,

         where also our Lord was crucified.

 

11   Now after the three-and-a-half days the breath of life from God entered them, and they stood on their feet,

         and great fear fell on those who saw them. 

12    And they heard a loud voice from heaven saying to them, "Come up here." 

         And they ascended to heaven in a cloud, and their enemies saw them.

 



Part 3.

 

Now the bride is ready for the wedding:

 

 

How it is fulfilled in the Bible:

 

Revelation 19:

6     Then I heard something like the voice of a great multitude and like the sound of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, saying, "Hallelujah! For the Lord our God, the Almighty, reigns. 

7     "Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him,

      for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready."

8     It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.  (NASB)

 

 

 


Part 4.

 

After the wedding, the groom and bride go away for 7 days (a literal 7 days).  At the beginning of the 7 days the marriage is consummated. The groom and bride return as “king” and “queen” from the 7 days and hold a great wedding supper for all the families and guests. 

 

 

How it is fulfilled in the Bible:

 

Everyone is invited to the wedding supper of God:

 

Revelation 19:

9     Then he said to me, "Write, 'Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.'"

      And he said to me, "These are true words of God."

10   Then I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, "Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your

      brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy."

11   And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True,

      and in righteousness He judges and wages war.

12   His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems;

      and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself.

13   He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.

14   And the armies which are in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, were following Him on white horses.

15   From His mouth comes a sharp sword, so that with it He may strike down the nations,

      and He will rule them with a rod of iron; and He treads the wine press of the fierce wrath of God, the Almighty.

16   And on His robe and on His thigh He has a name written, "KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS."

17   Then I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he cried out with a loud voice,

      saying to all the birds which fly in midheaven, "Come, assemble for the great supper of God,  (NASB)

 

Comment:  The wedding and consummation occurs between the Feast of Trumpets and the Feast of Tabernacles which is the wedding supper.  It should be noted that the appearance of Messiah in Revelation 19 probably combines both His arrival on the Feast of Trumpets to get His bride, and after the wedding/consummation, His reappearance with His bride to join their guests for the wedding supper.  With the feast in Revelation 19 being specifically called a wedding supper, this means that the 7 days which the groom and bride spend together alone are a literal of 7 days, because the feast is shown to occur shortly after Messiah’s return as the enemies of Israel and God are gathered at Armageddon. 

 

Also:

Matthew 16:27

Matthew 22:1-14

Matthew 25:31-46

Luke 9:26

2 Thessalonians 1:7-8

Jude 1:14-15

 

 

It should be made very clear that the ancient Hebrew wedding custom shows a pre-tribulation rapture is not only impossible, but makes absolutely no sense.  This doctrine states that believers are taken away before 7 years of tribulation while the Jews and those “left behind” must suffer through it and some be saved.  However, the Biblical ancient Hebrew wedding customs which Messiah and His bride follow shows that the groom, the Lord Jesus Christ, comes to get His bride after tribulation and she is hidden for the 7 days (not years) after the wedding ceremony.  During these 7 days the wedding guests celebrate with joyous feasting to wait for their reappearance at the end as husband and wife.  Are the Jews and others left behind joyously celebrating anything through tribulation while the groom and bride are supposedly together in heaven on honeymoon during this same time?  Of course not – everything happens after tribulation.   Please see section: ‘Pre-tribulation Rapture?

 

 


 

The Bride’s inheritance 

 

 

As the bride we share in the inheritance of the groom and take on His name.  The groom and bride first live together during the 1,000 millennial Kingdom of God and then together forever in their new eternal home – New Jerusalem, as the heavens and earth are remade.  This is symbolized also by the Feast of Tabernacles and the Last/Great 8th Day.



How it is fulfilled in the Bible:

 

 

We inherit God’s name:

 

Revelation 3:                                                                                                                                                              

12    Him that overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out:

      and I will write on him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem,

      which comes down out of heaven from my God: and I will write on him my new name.    (AKJV)

 

Also:

Ephesians 3:14-15

Revelation 2:17

 

  

We have a new home - our true home:

 

Hebrews 11:

8      By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to the place which he would receive as an inheritance.

      And he went out, not knowing where he was going.

9     By faith he dwelt in the land of promise as in a foreign country, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob,

      the heirs with him of the same promise;

10   for he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God.

11   By faith Sarah herself also received strength to conceive seed, and she bore a child when she was past the age,

      because she judged Him faithful who had promised.

12   Therefore from one man, and him as good as dead, were born as many as the stars of the sky in multitude ---

      innumerable as the sand which is by the seashore.

13   These all died in faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off were assured of them,

      embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth.

14   For those who say such things declare plainly that they seek a homeland.

15   And truly if they had called to mind that country from which they had come out,

      they would have had opportunity to return.

16   But now they desire a better, that is, a heavenly country. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God,

      for He has prepared a city for them.    (NKJV)

 

Revelation 20:

4     And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.   (NKJV)

 

Revelation 21:1    Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. 

       Also there was no sea.

2   Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God,

        prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

3   And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, "Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them,

        and they shall be His people.  God Himself will be with them and be their God.

4   And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. 

        There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away."   (NKJV)

 

Also:

Matthew 25:33-35

Revelation 21:9-27     

 

                                                                                                                                                                

We share the inheritance of the Lord Jesus:

 

Ephesians 1:

5     having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,

6     to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

7     In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace 

8     which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence,

9     having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself,

10   that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ,

      both which are in heaven and which are on earth --- in Him.

11   In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him

      who works all things according to the counsel of His will,

12   that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.  

 

17   that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and

      revelation in the knowledge of Him,

18   the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,

19   and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe,
according to the working of His mighty power

20   which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,

21   far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

22   And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church,

23   which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.   (NKJV)

 

Also:

Acts 26:13-18

1 Corinthians 2:9

1 Corinthians 15:20-28

Colossians 1:9-12

Colossians 3:23-24

1 Peter 1:3-9

 

 

 

Conclusion

 

We can see clearly that the salvation plan of God is entirely represented in the ancient Hebrew wedding customs and the salvation plan of God in His Biblical feast days.  It shows us the beauty and perfection of God and His awesome love for us.  He is truly our Heavenly Father who wants us to be adopted children/married into His family.  It also reveals the Bible truth of what both Jews and Gentiles being one people means. 

 

Within this structure of the wedding, we can also see critical Bible truths that reveal the falsehood of the Trinity, infant baptism and pre-tribulation rapture doctrines.  This is to be expected, because the Lord Jesus Christ taking His bride is one of the central themes in God’s plan of salvation, and therefore lays bare all Bible truth on:


A.   Who Jesus is and what the holy spirit is (the holy spirit is an engagement gift – it is a thing and not a person);


B.   What His death represents (baptism – which must have acknowledgement and repentance of sin and be by immersion to signify His death and death to self);


C.   What the perfectly aligned sequence of everything the Lord Jesus has done, does and will do to take His people – His bride (the pre-tribulation rapture doctrine is false – Jesus only comes after tribulation to take His bride).

 

In all respects, the wedding of the Lord Jesus Christ with His bride is truly an overwhelming display of God’s power, love and holiness.  

 

 

 

Please also see the article ‘Our Kinsman Redeemer.

 

The following may also be of interest to you:

-Baptism

-Pre-tribulation Rapture section

-Trinity section