The Church is PART of the Bride of Christ


In Scripture the ‘Church’ is given a definite, direct and defined ‘name’ and that name does NOT originate from any ‘Scriptural allusions’ nor symbolic references.   

As such, when we reference the identity of the Church we CANNOT simply pick and choose those allegorical Scriptural Passages that we seem to like best.  When we go down the slippery slope of choosing a Church name from ‘symbolic’ rather that direct references than ALL relative symbolism becomes fair play. 

For example, the Scriptural allusions of John 3:29, Matt. 9:15; 25:1 & 6 are all references to the Church as the Bride of Christ.  These are in NO way direct references but rather ‘allusions’.  If we apply this same methodology of allusions in naming the Church then just look what can equally happen. 

In Matthew 9:14,15, Jesus referes to his disciples as the ‘Children of the Bridechamber’ and as anyone familiar with Jewish weddings knows the ‘Children of the Bridechamber’ as well as the ‘Bridechamber’ itself refers to the friends of the Bridegroom who are in charge of providing what is necessary for the wedding. (emphasis added) 

Matthew 9:14-15
    Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not? [15] And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.  

As such, Jesus was indeed referring to Himself as the Bridegroom that would soon be taken away from them, but He did not call His disciples, who were the beginning nucleus of the New Church, the Bride but rather He called them the ‘Children of the Bridechamber’ or the friends of the Bridegroom. 

Again in Matthew 22:2-10 we see that God has made and prepared a ‘wedding’ for His Son Jesus and has called for the Jews to attend that wedding but they made light of it and did NOT come.  Therefore, He sent out into the highways (the Gentiles/Church) to furnish ‘ATTENDEES’ to His Son’s wedding.  Therefore, here the Church is invited to the wedding of God’s Son but NOT as the Bride of Christ but as ‘Guests of the Bridegroom’

Matthew 22:2-10
    The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, [3] And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. [4] Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage. [5] But they made light of it, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: [6] And the remnant took his servants, and entreated them spitefully, and slew them. [7] But when the king heard thereof, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. [8] Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. [9] Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. [10] So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests.  

To this end, as stated before we CANNOT pick and chose a ‘name’ for the Church based on allusive Scriptures.  If we do it is just as equitable to say that the Church is a ‘Guest of the Bridegroom’ as to say that the Church is the ‘Bride of Christ’ – this methodology will NOT work. 

However, in 2 Cor. 11:2, whereas Apostle makes the allusion ‘I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.’, this suggests that Apostle Paul makes it perfectly clear that the Church is ‘married’ to Christ which is also echoed in Romans 7:4.  Therefore the Church CAN indeed be 'part' of the Bride of Christ. (emphasis added) 

Romans 7:4
    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.  

Nonetheless, the summation in many of the above Scriptural Passages (excluding the direct Passage of Romans 7:4) are ‘allusions’ and by NO means can they be used to directly name and identify the Church.    

Meanwhile, as I stated at the very beginning there is a direct ‘name’ for the Church in 2 distinct Passages that are NOT allusions and, that name is ‘The Body of Christ’ and NOT the Bride of Christ. (emphasis added) 

1 Cor. 12:27
    Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.  

Ephes. 4:12
    For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of
the body of Christ:  

In a brief summary, the Bride of Christ/Lamb's Wife is directly referred to ONLY in Rom. 7:4 and Rev. 21:9-10.  

Romans 7:4
    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.  

Rev. 21:9-10
    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. [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,  

While we may indeed have trouble getting our mortal minds wrapped around the concept revealed above it is nonetheless Scripture and therefore incumbent upon us as believers to figure it out. 

The ‘wedding’ analogy throughout Scripture is to represent the ‘Redeemed’ becoming ‘ONE’ with Christ just as a man and wife after marriage become ‘ONE Body’.

Meanwhile, Rev. 21:9-10 reveals that the ‘CITY’ is the Bride of Christ and is populated by the ‘INHABITANTS’ (Church) which is also the Lamb's Wife.  As such, it is indeed true that the Church will ‘live’ internally in the City as well as other nations who enter in and out of the glorious light of it. 

Although, Rev. 21:11-27 is all about the CITY – with little to no focus on its inhabitants.  Look at what it says about the Church dwelling in the Bride. 

Rev. 21:24
    And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.  

This chapter is all about the literal CITY New Jerusalem and NOT its inhabitants, they are simply a further description of the events and indwellers that will visit and occupy the CITY. 

As stated before, I agree it is extremely difficult to understand the concept of God Christ 'marrying’ a City but that is exactly what Rev. 21:9-10 says.  However, we CANNOT approach this with natural human logic because Christ as God is the Bridegroom and the Woman He has chosen to be His 'Wife' is that Holy New City Jerusalem and its inhabitants the Church.

Nonetheless, there is a ‘distinction’ between the City itself and the inhabitants of that City, just as there is a clear distinction between the house you or I are now living in and you or I ourselves – one is not the other, but one dwells within the other. 

This is what makes Rev. 21:10-11 so difficult to understand.  In terms of a natural wedding, as you have suggested, the Bridegroom goes and builds a House for the Woman and then returns to ‘marry’ her and make her his Bride and Wife and, they go off to live in the House the Bridegroom has built.   

However, Rev. 21:10-11 turns this on its natural head – The Bridegroom goes and builds a House and then returns to ‘marry’ the House and make it his Bride and Wife instead of the Woman, whom he however allows to live in the House he has built. 

In summary, as stated before we are dealing with the ‘wisdom’ of God here and not the ‘wisdom’ of man.   

1 Cor. 2:14
    But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.