Who is the Bride of Christ and where does that phrase come from?
The Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins
Matthew 25 begins,
“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
“And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.”
“Afterward the other virgins came along also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’
“Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.”
The bridegroom is Jesus, the virgins are brides; but what about men who follow Jesus? Although we are in an age of increased liberalities in society and some are taking those liberalities and applying them to the Gospel, am I advocating marriage between men? Nope. Nor am I proposing women take a man’s role as groom so that men become brides. Well then, this bridegroom/bride analogy leads us, I think, to a reasonable question: How are men to relate the the bride analogy? Is it important?
The term “Bride of Christ” is a phrase that does not actually appear in the Bible. It suggests that the Church (ie the followers of Jesus) is the bride, since Jesus is the bridegroom, and this supports the Matthew 25 scripture above. The beauty, grace, and surrender of the bride offers a clear relational context to the bridegroom who is the faithful love, friend, protector of his bride. But is it masculine? Doesn’t seem so to me. So I wonder, do men have a problem relating to it?
Some phrases we adopt are not necessarily Biblical; an easy way to avoid assumptions and misdirections is to look up phrases we are keen on to see where they appear — if they appear — in scripture. In the case of the marriage analogy, I raise the question of masculinity because as we walk in the Spirit, “there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). In other words, gender doesn’t matter to GOD!
Finally, as an afterthought and in the desire to remove human assumption, it is possible that the virgins are a collection of people, both men and women, when Jesus refers to the virgins: innocents. For Jesus does not call these people brides — we have done that. He merely refers to the bridegroom who is coming and the virgins who are waiting. We have filled in the rest. Note however, Revelation 22:17 does seem to refer to the Church as a bride, and so this afterthought is most likely just a diversion.
The Bride is to prepare… for what?
To introduce this concept of “Preparing the Bride” and how I’ve come to the conclusion the emphasis in this Blog needs to shift in that direction, you might like to start here:
and then come back to this post.
This blog is for men and for women who seek to grow, to learn, to discover more about ourselves, our faith and our Jesus. Time does seem to be growing short and so I believe it is time I gear what I write to preparing myself and preparing others for Jesus’ inevitable return.
What do we need to prepare?
- total surrender to the Holy Spirit and the Word of GOD
- the oil of the Holy Spirit
- readiness for where GOD wants our attention and focus
- fellowship to help each other as we all prepare
- alertness to the truth and a willingness to lay down our assumptions about the Gospel and the Word of GOD.
As we live in the End Times, not knowing when Jesus’ return will be yet living as though it is tomorrow, we are the remnant, the ones who are sold out for Jesus. To walk in the Spirit, without compromise, without fear, without fleshly desires, is our goal. We pray, we praise, we trust GOD.
Come Lord Jesus, come.
5 replies on “The Bride of Christ”
Excellent thank you. “Body” of Christ/”Bride” of Christ = the same thing surely, where, as St. Paul puts it, “Christ is the Head of the Church,” NOT a mere mortal, but the Immortal Son of the Living God YAHWE and the “Church” is the worldwide body of TRUE ‘born again/from Above’ believers, who are sold-out to following Christ/obeying His Teachings daily “even unto death” no matter that death may come through martyrdom.
Amen and Amen, Bryan. Thanks for your comment. I really value the engagement.
And yes indeed, “Body” and “Bride” … I suppose our commitment is what comes up in the Matthew 25 text. We can believe and follow, but are we ready — will we be really ready: surrendered, sold out, totally committed, ready and waiting when he appears?
Amen Sarah – thanks. I’ve just finished watching a teaching on the “Olivet Discourse” by Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum PhD, where he poses exactly the same question “Will we be ready” when Christ returns “At a day/hour you do not expect.”
As you rightly mention, Matthew 25 puts the same question to us differently, effectively asking, by inference, “Will you be a wise or foolish virgin/handmaiden?” Our response is critically important, if we are to be included in, or shut out from, the “Wedding Supper of the Lamb.” No clues will be given as to the exact timing of His Return , for it will happen suddenly and unexpectedly, “as in the days of Noah,” when the flood swept millions away, including many who HAD been warned. Just as in the age-old game “Hide and Seek” Christ will return “READY OR NOT,” so then, it’s entirely OUR choice!
Precisely. If we are only interested in getting into heaven, we’ll be and do our minimum. If we have no idea when Jesus is returning, and care about our relationship with him, we’ll be focused on him rather than on the aim of getting into heaven.
Of course all this is human thinking and GOD is way beyond us. But Jesus is calling, he is ready and waiting, and it is our responsibility how we handle our surrender to be “in him” rather than “in the world” (which I reckon is a bit like whether we are a wise or a foolish virgin).
Lovely chatting with you, Bryan. Let’s agree in prayer for the vast number of Believers (and some not even committed yet to GOD) to weigh in on the side of wisdom and surrender.
Amen and Amen Sarah. In Christ’s invincible Name. Amen!