THE BRIDE OF CHRIST  


 

THE BRIDE OF CHRIST

Nowhere in the Bible is the bride specifically and completely identified.
We find the term “saints” at Rev. 19:8 associated with THE BRIDE -
The righteous deeds of the saints is the clothing of the bride.
We see the New Jerusalem at Rev. 21 stated as being the bride.
”I will show you the bride . . . and he showed him the New Jerusalem.”

Paul gives us an analogy at Ephesians 5:22-23. It is possible that this
analogy can be used to show that the church is PART of the bride.
Paul makes the comparison of the church to a wife.
The comparisons should be clear enough for the objective mind.
Thus, at verse 23, the husband is the head of the wife as Christ
is head of the church (church corresponds with wife).
Verse 24 - church subject to Christ; wives subject to husbands
       (church corresponds with wife).
Verse 25, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church (the whole church)
and gave himself for her (church corresponds with wife).
Verse 31, quotes Gen. 2:24 which indicates symbolism that corresponds with
Christ and the church.
Verse 32 - “this mystery is great.”
What mystery? The mystery of the man leaving parents and clinging to WIFE
and the two becoming ONE flesh.
“But I am speaking in reference to Christ and the church.”
That is, the church corresponds with the wife of Gen. 2:24.
And the “one flesh” corresponds with the church being the body of Christ.
Therefore, it can be suggested that the church AS the body of Christ
is also the bride.
However, this illustration should probably be viewed ONLY as something that teaches FUNCTIONAL issues between Christ and the church body while here
on earth. It should not be used to PROVE that the church is the bride,
for according to the scenario at Revelation 19,
the “bride” is not yet a “wife."

More specific in identifying the bride,
we have the image taught by Paul at 2 Corinthians 11:2.

“For I betrothed you to one husband so that to Christ I might present you a pure virgin.”
Here, the church is actually portrayed as “engaged” to Christ through the fact of its salvation relationship with God. That is, each individual makes a personal choice to trust in Christ as Savior, and accordingly enters into an “engaged” relationship with Him.

Paul’s intent is to communicate truth to the believers so that they might purify their souls from false doctrine and sin, and as a result produce a maximum amount of good works that please God.

At the reward seat of Christ, which will occur sometime before Armageddon, each believer will have his “deeds” evaluated to see which ones are good and which ones are useless. 1 Corinthians 3:10-15. The useless deeds will be rejected (“burned up”) and the good deeds will be rewarded. The result will be that only the good deeds remain. And no matter what amount of good vs. useless has been produced in the believer’s life, he will still be saved.

Accordingly, after the evaluation is completed the ENTIRE body of Christ will be seen as RIGHTEOUS and ready to be wedded to Christ.

At Revelation 19:7-8 the church/bride is pictured as having “made herself ready.” This READINESS will be accomplished through the evaluation of deeds at the reward seat of Christ. The result will be that the church/bride will be clothed in white garments “which are the righteous deeds of the saints.”

SEE TOPIC: The Reward Seat of Christ

WHO IS INCLUDED IN THE BRIDE

According to Ephesians 2:11-22, the OT saints and NT saints have been joined into ONE BODY. For those who recognize a dispensational distinction between the evangelistic function of Old Testament believers and the church, there is no inconsistency. Dispensations deal only with the function of the believer while living on the earth. Dispensational distinctions do not continue into the after life.


The OT saints are currently in heaven, in the heavenly Jerusalem, described as “the spirits of just men made complete.” Heb. 12:22-23.

The spirits of righteous men made complete. This refers to Old Testament saints who were taken to heaven at the "first" ascension of Jesus and were thus, "made complete" but not apart from that "completion" being given to the church (Hebrews 11:40). Furthermore, it is important to realize that the "condition" of these Old Testament saints in heaven is not in resurrection body. The word "made complete" in this context does not refer to resurrection but to the confirmation of the salvation promised in the Old Testament. It was given to them by way of promise as they experienced "comfort" in Paradise, awaiting the arrival and the work of the Messiah. After His victory, these spirits were taken to heaven where their salvation was confirmed (made complete) by their heavenly access to the Father (Ephesians 2:18). No one receives resurrection until Christ returns (1 Corinthians 15:23).

New Testament saints who die go there as well. Phil. 1:23; 2Cor. 5:8.

SEE TOPIC:  The Saints in Heaven
 

Both Old Testament and New Testament saints are resurrected at the rapture.
After Armageddon, the bride is described via her place of residence - the new Jerusalem.

The church is described as those who have been betrothed to Christ at the moment of salvation (2Cor. 11:2) and “enrolled in heaven” as “the church of the firstborn.”
Their place of residence is also the heavenly Jerusalem (Hebrews 12:22-23). Therefore, it is not strange for us to see this “church” along with the Old Testament saints (the spirits of righteous men made complete), designated AS the bride of the Lamb at Revelation 21:1-14.
 

The 12 gates (12 tribes of Israel) represent Old Testament saints (Rev. 21:12) and the 12 foundation stones (12 apostles) represent the New Testament saints (the church), Verse 21:14.
Both of these are part of the bride.

The city comes down - looking like a bride.
WHY? It is because the city HOUSES the bride.
Then at verse 9, "come, I will show you the bride . . .
Verse 10, and he showed me the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven - HAVING THE GLORY OF GOD.

It is probably best to view the resurrected Day-of-the-Lord martyrs of Revelation 20:4 as part of the bride.
SEE COMMENTARY:  Revelation 20:1-4

Since these believers share the "reigning" destiny of the bride, they should be considered part of the bride. It seems that in Revelation 19:7-9, the wedding has not yet occurred, but only that preparation has been made.
The wedding and wedding feast will occur at the start of the millennial kingdom. After Armageddon, then, the saints of Revelation 20:4 will be resurrected, have their works evaluated, and then be joined to the saints who were resurrected at the rapture. The entire group will then be "wedded" to Christ at the start of the kingdom.

I don’t think that ANY Millennial kingdom saints are part of the bride. This group will have a different designation in eternity, which is not revealed in Scripture.

THE JEWISH WEDDING CUSTOM

The pretibulational theory of the rapture teaches that the customs of the Jewish wedding picture the rapture of the church BEFORE the 7 years of the 70th week of Daniel. However the PATTERN of a Jewish wedding does not illustrate the second coming of Christ.
The picture of Christ and the church as a groom and a bride is
AN ILLUSTRATION that communicates a spiritually intimate relationship.
It is not designed to give us a detailed PATTERN of how the end times scenario will take place. If one chooses to take the illustration as a detailed pattern, then ALL the details should be included. When we look at the parables where Jesus uses this illustration, it is apparent that only a specific spiritual truth is being communicated rather than a pattern to be applied in detail to His coming.


According to Ephesians 5:22-33, the church is ALREADY the wife of Jesus.
But of course, this TOO is simply an ILLUSTRATION to teach a spiritual concept. And at 2 Corinthians 11:2, Paul says that he has “betrothed” us to one HUSBAND (Christ) in order that we might be presented as PURE. Of course, this too is talking about a SPIRITUAL issue, and the marriage relationship is used ONLY as an illustration. Now we have Ephesians 5 and 2 Corinthians 11 - are we engaged or are we married?
Both are JUST ILLUSTRATIONS.

Where in the Bible can it be found that requires the marriage of the Lamb at Revelation 19 to follow exactly ANY pattern of ANY marriage ceremony?
John 3:29?  Purely an ILLUSTRATION that John uses to portray the IMPORTANCE of Jesus vs. the relative unimportance of John. There is no intent to establish a PATTERN that must be followed.

The parable at Matthew 22:1-14?
Parables have ONE MAIN point of focus and the details are there simply to TELL A STORY, not to establish a pattern.
In this ILLUSTRATION, who are the wedding guests portraying?
The guests are portraying BELIEVERS - Christians. Those who God chooses to temporarily replace
Israel because Israel rejected Jesus as the Messiah. That is the main point of focus.
Verses 3-8 illustrate the Jewish age and the fact that the Nation of Israel rejected Christ and failed as the evangelistic agent to take the gospel to the world.
Verses 9-10 illustrate the ones chosen to REPLACE the old agent with a new agent. That replacement is THE CHURCH - comprised of people from “the main highways” - the rest of the world, thus Jew AND GENTILE.
Verse 11 - what is the significance of the man without wedding garments?
He is NOT A BELIEVER. He has not trusted in Christ.
That is the whole point of the passage. Those who reject Christ are replaced by those who accept him.
By the way - NOW we have the church as a bride, an engaged woman AND a group of wedding guests. All are simply illustrations.

Next we have the PARABLE at Mat. 25:1-13.
This is an illustration of PREPAREDNESS.
The one who is prepared will be taken (go into the feast) and the one who is not prepared will not be taken (not go into the feast).
What is PREPARED? Verse 12, says “I do not KNOW YOU.” The issue is salvation relationship with Jesus.
The purpose of the parable is NOT to establish some kind of pattern that will be followed at the second coming, but rather to teach a spiritual principle. Some will be saved when Jesus comes back and some will not.
Do we take these DETAILS of this parable LITERALLY? There is no good reason to do so.
Having enough oil teaches - salvation.
Not having enough oil teaches - no salvation.
Do we think that there will be an announcement “here comes Jesus,” and that 5 of these “virgins” are going to run off to find some OIL? I don’t think so. When Jesus comes back - you are either saved or unsaved; you will either go into the feast or be rejected. And what’s this DETAIL about these 5 foolish ones coming LATER? You are either going to go UP or be left behind.
Thus, Verse 13, therefore be on the alert! What does that mean?
It means to be prepared! How are you prepared? Make certain that you are saved. This is exactly what was taught by Jesus in the previous chapter; Matthew 24.
The same thing is taught by OTHER PARABLES. Are we going to take EACH ONE OF these parables and apply the DETAILS to the second coming? I don’t think so. A landlord, servants, head of a household. (Jesus comes and knocks on the door to come in to his own house - Luke 12:36).
Luke
12:40 - YOU TOO BE READY! Make sure you are a believer.
Look for the MAIN spiritual principle (and sometimes a few minor ones) and don’t get bogged down by the details.
Here’s a good ILLUSTRATION -
God in the Old Testament had TWO WIVES (
Kingdom of Judah and Israel).
And he divorced them at two different times.

Where in Scripture does it tell us or EVEN HINT that the pattern of the Jewish wedding process is the pattern that will be followed when Jesus returns?
Here is a good question. Where does it say that Jesus is EVEN coming for a BRIDE when He returns?

The bride is mentioned at four places in the book of the Revelation.

Rev. 19:7   “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.”

Rev. 21:2   And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.

Rev. 21:9   And one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues, came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I shall show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.”

Rev. 22:17   And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.

Yes, the saints are PICTURED as a bride about to be wed to the groom. That ILLUSTRATION begins RIGHT THERE in Revelation 19. It is perpetuated AFTER that event. Of course the church IS OF THE BRIDE (or is that the WIFE?), but again, there is no place that tells us the Jewish wedding process is the PATTERN for when Jesus comes for the church.
 
The attempt to claim support for a pre-trib rapture through the bride of Christ analogy totally breaks down.

ANSWER TO RENALD SHOWERS’ BOOK, “Maranatha – Our Lord Come!”

(The following answer was written by an unknown author replying to Renald Showers.)

Another passage that is used to claim validity for this “bride” theory, and therefore the pre-trib rapture theory is John 14:2-3.
"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. 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."

Scripture consistently refers to the relationship between the Church and the Lord Jesus Christ as being like a marriage covenant, with the Church as the Bride and Jesus as the Bridegroom. Based on this comparison, Renald Showers, the author of “Maranatha – Our Lord Come!” looks at the timing of the rapture in comparison to the traditional Jewish marriage ceremony. He contends that this would have been a familiar analogy to His audience.
According to Dr. Showers, the traditional Jewish wedding ceremony went like this: The bridegroom traveled to the home of the prospective bride, where he negotiated her purchase price. Once the price was paid, the two were considered to be husband and wife. As a symbol of their new covenant relationship, the bride and groom drank a cup of betrothal wine, after which the groom returned to his father's house to prepare a place for her. They remained separated for approximately 12 months. When the time came to fetch his bride, the bridegroom returned, usually at night, accompanied by male escorts in a torch-light procession. Because the bride did not know the time of the groom's coming, his arrival was preceded by a shout, which gave her time to prepare. Once the groom arrived, the bride and her attendants returned with the procession to the groom's father's house, where the wedding guests were assembled. The couple then consummated their marriage and the wedding party spent the next seven days celebrating.


The analogy to the relationship between Christ and the Church is
lovely. Jesus, as the Bridegroom, pays the purchase price for His Bride with His own blood. As the traditional Jewish bride was declared to be sanctified (or set apart) after her betrothal, so, too, is the Church declared to be sanctified until Christ's return. Like the betrothal wine, Jesus gave us the communion cup. And just as the groom returned to his father's house to prepare a place for his bride, so, too, Jesus went to heaven to prepare a place for us. Now the Church, like the Jewish bride, awaits the shout. In like manner that the groom took his wife to live with him in his father's house, so, too, will Jesus take the Church to be with Him in His Father's house, where the heavenly angels and the saints will attend the marriage supper in a joyous celebration.


And here, in Dr. Showers' estimation, is the most critical aspect of the argument: Just as the bride and groom came out of hiding after seven days, so Christ and the Church will come out of hiding after the seven years of the 70th Week, when Jesus returns to earth with the Church at Armageddon. The author asks, "Which rapture view corresponds perfectly with this analogy? Only the pretrib view." In other words, only the pretribulation rapture teaches that Christ will rapture His Church to meet him in the air, where He will take her to heaven to live in His Father's house during the seven years of the "Tribulation."
At the end of this time, Jesus will bring the Church with him to remain with Him on the earth throughout the Millennium.
Dr. Showers writes: "In contrast with the other rapture views, the pretribulation view corresponds fully with what has been observed in this chapter concerning Jesus' promised John 14 coming. In light of this, His promise in John 14:2-3 is a significant inference in favor of the pretribulation rapture" (p. 172).

Interpreting Parables
Because Dr. Showers interprets this as a parable, the basic rules for interpreting parables apply. According to The New Unger's Bible Dictionary, there are four restraints upon the interpretation of parables.

1. The analogies must be real, not arbitrary.
2. Parables are to be considered as parts of a whole and the
interpretation of one is not to override or encroach upon the lessons taught by others.
3. The direct teaching of Christ presents the standard to which all interpretations are to be measured.
4. The parable may not be made the first source of doctrine. Doctrines otherwise and already grounded may be illustrated or further confirmed by them, but it is not allowable to constitute doctrine first by their aid.

The author's constructed analogy breaks all four of these rules.
First, many of the analogies are arbitrary. The author turns some aspects of this parable into a strict analogy, while rejecting others. Thus, when he makes this statement, "In contrast with the other rapture views, the pretribulation view corresponds fully with what has been observed in this chapter concerning Jesus' promised John 14 coming," what he really means is that the pretrib view is the only view that corresponds fully with his analogy, and of that, only with the details that support his position.
In fact, no rapture view corresponds perfectly with this parable. That is not the purpose of parables. If it were, Jesus would have negotiated with Satan for the purchase price of His Bride (since prior to the marriage covenant, man's father is Satan, not God), and there would be a period of waiting between the shout and the arrival of Jesus, giving the Church time to prepare.
Furthermore, if the seven days of the wedding feast correspond with the seven years of the "Tribulation," then the period of separation between Jesus and the Church must also correspond to the 12 months of separation between the Jewish bride and the groom, which would have required Jesus to return for His Bride about the turn of the fourth century.
There are other comparisons that could be made, but this would descend into the realm of the ridiculous. In fact, it is only one detail - the seven days of celebration - that the author attempts to turn into an exact analogy with the Second Coming. The other details are quite fuzzy, and understandably so.
Second, the strictness of this analogy creates contradictions with other parables that relate to the rapture if all are taken with equal strictness. Take, for example, the parable of the bridegroom and the wise and foolish virgins.
When the bridegroom comes, it is at the darkest hour, not before the darkest hour as pretrib theology teaches. This parable also records a time period between the shout of the bridegroom and His arrival, not the "twinkling of an eye" as taught by scripture. It also records that when the foolish virgins cried out to the bridegroom, the door was shut, yet we know that many will be saved during the remainder of the 70th Week, including all of the remainder of
Israel.
It is clear that this parable, like all parables, was meant to
illustrate a point - preparedness - and if taken as a strict analogy in all details, the doctrine can quickly become distorted. The third rule of interpretation is that Christ is the standard by which all of our interpretations are to be referenced. In this case, Jesus said only, "I go to prepare a place for you." The detailed analogy between the traditional
Jewish marriage ceremony and the rapture, and all the implications that follow, are drawn solely by the author. Further, the direct teaching of Jesus, given to us in Matthew 24, is that His return is not prior to the 70th Week, but after the sixth seal. Instead of using Jesus' own words to interpret the parables, however, the author uses the parable to interpret Jesus.
Thus, the author also breaks the fourth principle by making this parable a source of doctrine.
When we look at scripture as a whole, we see that the analogy between the rapture and the Jewish wedding ceremony is a beautiful one, but it was designed to make a general point, not to be used as a point-for-point analogy.
In doing this, the author takes this comparison farther than it ought to be taken.
----------------

DISCUSSION ABOUT THE BRIDE

The un-named person in this discussion claims that the bride is taken OUT OF the body of Christ and is comprised only of FAITHFUL believers and not all believers.

This person’s comments are indicated by > . . . <.

My comments follow the various entries.


>Using the "rule of first mention," and keeping in mind that the things
written in the Old Testament are types and examples for our learning, (Rom.15:4, ICor.10:11)<

The “rule” of first mention is not a LAW. It is only a guideline for interpretation. Every first mention does not automatically find a counterpart in a 2nd mention, etc.

Everything in the Old T. is given for our instruction -
Rom. 15:4;
And examples - 1 Cor. 10:11.
BUT not everything is a “type” for something in the NT.
For something to be a type it needs to be identified as such. To take just anything from the OT and make it a type is simply the arbitrary fantasy of an over zealous imagination.

>we can see that the Bride is taken out of the Body.<

This is a good example of stating a supposition and reaching for straws to try to prove it.

>Two examples from the Old Testament illustrate this truth:
>The first bride Eve was not the body of Adam,
>but was taken out of his body. Adam is a type of Christ.
>Eve is a type for the Bride.<

Adam is not a “type” of Christ. The Bible does not support that claim.
One needs to use the Bible to show HOW Adam is a type of Christ.
What did Adam do to qualify as a type for Christ.
No where does the Bible even hint that Eve is a type for the bride.
You can’t build doctrine on this kind of sloppy manipulation.

>In Genesis 24 we have the story of Abraham who sent his servant to take a bride for his son, Isaac. Most people say this is a type for God the Father sending the Holy Spirit into the world for calling out the Church.
However, this is not the true meaning of the story.
While the Gospel is to go into all the world, in this story Abraham told the servant not to go to the Canaanites, but to go to his own people to take a bride for his son.
The correct interpretation is this: Abraham, a type of the Father, sent the servant, a type of the Holy Spirit, to his own people, a type of the
Church, to take a bride for his son Isaac, a type of Christ.
When the message of salvation goes forth, it goes to everyone;
but when God calls for his Bride, He calls not the world, but His own people, or His family.<

Once again, this is building doctrine on an “imaginary” type.
The bible does not teach that this story is a type for anything.
The Bible does tell us that Isaac is a type - a type for resurrection
at Heb. 11: 19.


>Our Lord used the term "family" because of its meaning to us in our
physical life.
We are born the first time into a physical family. When we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, trusting Him who died in our place, we are born again, into the family of God. The word "Bride" is used in a similar sense. We know what the blessings of family life involve. We also know the bride and groom, while in the family, share a closeness and an intimacy, which is not shared by the other members of the family.<

This, of course, is  a valid distinction but finds no scriptural support as being what God has in mind by using “family” and “bride.”
Both family and bride relates to salvation.
Family emphasizes entrance into relationship with God through the new birth.
Bride emphasizes the place of believers “beside” Christ and reigning with Him in the New Jerusalem, not only during the Mill. but for all eternity.

>With these thoughts in mind, we can see how the Lord calls those who are His to come up closer. It is not to the world, but to His own that He says, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God" (Rom. 12:1-2).
Not many Christians heed this direct command. Many who are saved continue to conform to this world and they never experience sweet communion and
fellowship with the Lord Jesus; and like Esau, forfeit spiritual rewards in the future for gratification of the carnal nature in the present.
In writing to the carnal Corinthians Paul tells them they are espoused to one husband, that is, they are promised in marriage or engaged.<

Yes, the betrothal occurs at the moment of salvation, when someone trusts in Christ as savior. And the betrothal carries the same force as an actual marriage. That is why in the case of Joseph who was betrothed to Mary, sought to “put her away” (divorce) her privately - because breaking a betrothal had the same restrictions and required the same procedures as breaking a marriage.

That is also why Paul makes the comparison of the church to a wife at Eph. 5:22-23, which this person denies as equating the church with the bride.
But the comparisons are clear enough for the objective mind.
 Thus, at verse 23, the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is head of the church (church corresponds with wife).
Verse 24, church subject to Christ; wives subject to husbands
       (church corresponds with wife).
Verse 25, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church (the whole church) and gave himself for her (church corresponds with wife).
Verse 31, quotes Gen. 2:24 which indicates symbolism that corresponds with Christ and the church.
Verse 32 - “this mystery is great.”
What mystery? The mystery of the man leaving parents and clinging to WIFE and the two becoming ONE flesh.
“But I am speaking in reference to Christ and the church.”
That is, the church corresponds with the wife of Gen. 2:24.
And the “one flesh” corresponds with the church being the body of Christ.
Therefore, it should be perfectly clear that the church AS the body of Christ is also the bride. And there is no HINT anywhere in the bible that this is otherwise.
And since via Eph. 2, the OT and the NT saints have been joined into one body, Eph. 5:22-23 would apply to both.   

>The word espoused is the same word used in Matthew
1:18,
>where Mary is espoused to Joseph.
Before they came together, he thought of putting her away since he thought she had been unfaithful. Many believers today are unfaithful, and there is a sense in which the Lord will "put them away."<

Nowhere in the bible does it teach that God will “put away” any who have
trusted in Him. Therefore, there is NO “sense” in which the Lord will “put them away.”

This does not mean the loss of their salvation, but in Revelation 16:15, we read, "Behold I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watches, and keeps his garments lest he walk naked and they see his shame."

This refers not to His righteousness with which He clothes us for our own salvation (Isaiah 61:10), but to a garment of good works (deeds) which may be maintained with a profitable result, or which may be lost to our shame and loss of rewards when Jesus returns (see I John 2:28, Titus 3:8, and II John 1:8).

Revelation 19:7,
The bride has made herself ready by having all her works evaluated and
what was not “white” or acceptable to God as reflecting His righteousness was rejected by God (burned up by His justice) 1 Cor. 3:10-15.

The judgment seat of Christ is where this takes place sometime after the rapture and before Armageddon. Rom.
14:10; 2 Cor. 5:10.
The bride has all the unrighteous deeds purged out by the “fire” of God’s
justice so that all that remains is “the righteous deeds of the saints.”
Thus, she is prepared for the marriage.

There will indeed be individual rewards for consistency in faithfulness to God while here on earth (Actually, 4 separate crowns) but such faithfulness or lack of, has nothing to do with one’s STATUS in the bride.


>Many Christians do not work for Christ after they are saved and they are not preparing themselves to meet the Bridegroom.<
   
See now how one can take that “present tense” of prepare and keep on using it in error?

>These unprepared Christians will be "put away" as it were, into the darkness oustide the wedding feast. Outer darkness is not representative of hell for there are unprofitable servants there.<

This is good!   It can’t be hell because there are “servants” there??
In the parable the servants don’t equal believers.
   

>It is the darkness outside the feast where the unfaithful will be; while those who have been faithful, will be enjoying a communion not shared by all.<

Such conclusions reveal a failure to understand those parables that are now listed.
Every detail of a parable does not correspond with spiritual truth.
A parable is an illustration from normal human life to teach ONE overall theme

>In Matthew 25:14-30, the Lord deals with His own servants and we find the
unprofitable servants cast into the darkness outside.<
   
This parable as well as the one at Matthew 22, deals with the faithlessness of the nation of Israel who rejected Jesus as the Messiah.
The servants in Matthew 25:14-30 represent members of the nation of Israel.
The “race” = God’s chosen people; and the nation = God’s chosen vessel for
communicating spiritual truth to the world.
The talent = $1000 in silver content and refers to the “resources” God gave to Israel which they were to pass on to others.


>We have a parallel passage in Matthew 22 where one without a wedding garment is also cast into outer darkness.<

At Mat. 22:1-14, the subject is the failure of Israel and the fact that God turns to the Gentiles to fulfill His plan on the earth.
Verses 3-8 represent the Jewish age, and how they continued to be unfaithful to God.
The wedding feast represents “status” in the kingdom of God.
The slaves represent God’s messengers and prophets throughout the Old Test.
The mistreating and killing of the slaves represents the killing of the prophets (Mat.
23:33-36) because they reject the salvation provided by the messengers of God.
The king sending his armies represents the fall of Jerusalem in 70 AD.
Verse 8 is the rejection of Israel:  Mat.
21: 43; 23:37-38
Verses 9-10 represents God turning to the Gentiles to form a “nation producing the fruit of the kingdom.”
Verse 11 - wedding clothes = salvation status through faith in Christ.

Also, the foolish virgins in Matthew 25, are shut outside
when the Bridegroom arrives.

The virgins represent people (focus on Gentiles)
The 5 wise = people who have trusted in Christ. Oil simply represents the PRINCIPLE of being PREPARED.
The 5 foolish = those who have no relationship with God and are therefore UNPREPARED.
Midnight = the Day of the Lord return of Jesus  (the rapture)
The 5 wise are accepted  because they are saved.
The 5 foolish are rejected - and even though they get some oil later, it is too late to go up. The oil represents being prepared. And even though oil is obtained later, the FACT of the matter is that they were UNPREPARED at the time the Lord came.
Notice verse 12, “but He answered them, I do not know you.”
This is a relationship (salvation) issue - not a production issue.

>All of these are references to Christians.<

No, they are not.

>As Christians, we will give an account of the deeds we have done (II Corinthians
5:10).<

This is true.

>The unconcerned, unfaithful Christians will weep over their failures.<

The initial shame at His return - but he STILL is AT the judgment seat.
If he is AT the judgment seat - that means he was raptured.

>for it is only after the Millennium is over that God will wipe away all the tears from their eyes (Rev. 21:4).<

This is wrong. The raptured church at Rev. 7:9-17 has every tear wiped away.

>To be part of the Bride of Christ is a great reward to those Christians who have earned it. It is a figurative picture of those who have lived a clean, pure and holy life yielded to Him. They "made themselves ready" to be His Bride by their righteous deeds.<

The bible does not say that “being a part of the bride” is a reward for faithfulness.
Every believer who has died is RIGHT NOW in the presence of God and the Bible does NOT make any distinction between those who are there - but ALL are designated as “those who have died through Jesus” and “the dead in Christ.”  1 Thes. 4:13-17.
Furthermore, they are all designated as being in the heavenly Jerusalem at Heb. 12:22-24, along with angels, the Father, Old testament saints and Jesus.

>The Apostle Paul referred to this in Philippians 3:11. He certainly had no fear of missing the resurrection, but he desired to be among those who are called out for the prize of the high calling of God. Salvation is not a prize, but a gift freely given to those who call upon Jesus Christ to be saved.<

Yes, Paul was aware of rewards for faithfulness. But nowhere does Paul equate such rewards with being part of the bride.

>Paul knew we are saved by grace through faith and works did not play any part. Yet he said he strives for the prize and was even concerned he might be disqualified for the prize (I Corinth. 9:24-27).<

Yes, any believer can be “disqualified.”  Literally - disapproved after evaluation. That is, loss of reward due to lack of faithfulness. It is not referring to loss of salvation.


>The Church is one Body, made up of all believers in Christ. It is made up of two classes: the spiritual and the carnal (see I Corinthians 3). Those carnal believers will be saved as through fire, but they will not be part of the Bride.<

GEE, if the bible actually said that, wouldn’t it be much easier?

>Who then is the Bride? Those who are providing themselves with a wedding
garment & those who are preparing to meet the Bridegroom when He returns
very soon. All Christians will not qualify to be the Bride. WILL YOU?<

The bride is comprised of those who have been betrothed to Christ at the moment of salvation and “enrolled in heaven” as “the church of the firstborn.”
Their place of residence is the heavenly Jerusalem (Heb.
12:22-23). Therefore, it is not strange for us to see this “church” along with the Old Testament saints (the spirits of righteous men made complete),  designated AS the bride of the Lamb at Rev. 21:1-14.
The 12 gates (12 tribes of
Israel) represent Old Testament saints (Rev. 21:12) and the 12 foundation stones (12 apostles) represent the New testament saints (the church), Verse 21:14.
Both of these are part of the bride.
And nowhere in scripture does it indicate or even suggest that anyone who has trusted in Christ before the 1000 year reign of Jesus, is not part of this bride.

>And just because the wedding doesn't occur until this point in the Trib doesn't mean that the church hasn't been in heaven all this time either.<

The raptured church is in heaven FROM the time of the rapture - we are not disputing that. The issue is WHEN does that rapture occur.

Nowhere does it say the church is Christ’s ARMY to fight at Armageddon.
The bride, who lives in the new Jerusalem descends to the earth where both the marriage and the supper take place AFTER Messiah’s victory. Rev. 21:1-4.

>
Rev 19:14 doesn't say this "Army" does the fighting. It is merely accompanying Christ. He is the one who does all the fighting with the sword that comes out of his mouth "The Word of God". That's all he needs.<<

The implication is that ARMIES fight.
Verse 19, IMPLIES that the army is there to fight, for the nations are "assembled to make war against Him and against His army."

Now if you if you want to stray away from the CLEAR implication, nothing I can do about it - but these are the reasons I think that the army is there to FIGHT.
In fact, at verse 20, "the beast WAS SEIZED, etc - leaves lots of room for an angel to do the seizing. Even in Rev. 20:1, it is an ANGEL who throws the dragon into the abyss.

>As I already proved above the Marriage has already taken place.<

Not proof to me - nor to many many others.

>>What we have in Rev 21:2 is the New Jerusalem coming down from heaven ***AS*** a bride. THIS IS NOT THE BRIDE HERSELF.<<

I think then, that you are denying the clear intent of the language:
The city comes down - looking like a bride -
WHY? Because the city HOUSES the bride.
Then at verse 9, "come, I will show you the bride - - -
Verse 10 - and he showed me the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven - HAVING THE GLORY OF GOD.

 Just for FOR EXAMPLE - instead of being so strongly in favor that the “armies (plural) which are in heaven,” at Rev. 19:14 MUST refer to the church BECAUSE they have white garments on, it should be considered that:
>1. It is not logical for the “bride” to ALSO be the armies.

>Quite the contray. Jesus said that we would be with him always. And being as I have just shown that the marriage has already occurred it is most appropriate for the Bride to accompany her husband wherever he goes from now on.  In fact this is what Thayer's indicates the wedding ceremony  in Rev 19:7 means, " Under the figure of a marriage here is represented the intimate and EVERLASTING union of Christ, at his return from heaven, with his church."<

Perhaps "always" does not mean every second and minute?  JUST PERHAPS what is in view is the PRINCIPLE of marriage that joins TWO as ONE, and their life is now ONE and they share and share alike all sorrows, joys, ups and downs, etc.
BUT they are indeed separated for many hours at a time as the hubby goes out to the fields, etc.
 
2. Nowhere is the church viewed as armies in heaven, but instead a very well known title for the Lord Jesus in the Old Testament is Yahweh of HOSTS, which means - Yahweh of the armies.

>Also the word "host" does not occur in Rev 19:14
. The word in question is "Strateuma" #4753, or the soldiers that make up an army.  Paul says that Christians are to be soldiers (II Tim 2:3; 1 Pe 2:11). Ephesians 6:10-19 indicates how we are to be good soldiers and that we are to put on our armour daily. Therefore I strongly disagree with you that we are not the army that accompanies Jesus at his return.<<

I do not agree that the "principle" of SPIRITUAL warfare as it relates to the church ON THE EARTH has any bearing on the armies of Rev. 19:14.
I don't think it is a valid comparison and would not use it myself as any kind of proof.
 
Re: John 3:29-30
Let me suggest that John 3:29-30 has nothing to do with our "bride" subject or of Christ as the OFFICIAL bridegroom.
John the Baptizer is using a common figure of speech to communicate HIS ministry as compared to Christ's.
The FRIEND of the groom is JOHN.
The PROMOTION of the groom far exceeds the status of the friend.
The friend is equivalent to our "best man."
The friend rejoices in the PROMOTION (marriage) of the groom.
John rejoices at the promotion (public ministry of Jesus as the Messiah).
The friend stands for and announces the arrival of the groom and has "glory" for that moment of time that all ears are attentive to him. But once the ceremony begins, all eyes dart away from "John" and are exclusively attentive to the groom.
The friend in the meantime takes a back seat - but not grudgingly. He REJOICES at the marriage of his friend and wants only his happiness upon this occasion (Thus, John proclaims, "and so this joy of mine has been fulfilled"). For all intents and purposes, the friend of the groom leaves the scene and the ONLY issue is the groom and his glory; his presence; his words. Thus, John proclaims, "He must increase, but I must decrease."

 

 
 

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