Monday, January 23, 2012
Who is the "BRIDE OF CHRIST?"
For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called. —Isaiah 54:5
From Genesis to Revelation, the Scriptures reveal God’s desire to have an intimate relationship with mankind and dwell in his presence. Yet, as much as the Creator wanted to lavish His love upon man, He would only do so if man mutually agreed to this relationship. For this reason God created man with a free will, allowing him to choose if he wanted to dwell and walk with God in all eternity. Today, our Heavenly Father continues to extend that choice to His family of believers—allowing them to determine what kind of relationship they want with God.
For each of the different types of relationships described in the Bible—whether it be a body, family, a vineyard or an army—God’s greatest desire was for a more intimate relationship—one which could only be pictured between a husband and wife. To demonstrate this, Yahweh chose to use the marriage relationship as a “type or shadow” to the degree of intimacy He wanted with His church.
The marriage between Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden was a prophetic foreshadow of Jesus’ desire to be married to His bride, the church.
Genesis 2:23-24 says:
And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
These same words are spoken again in the book of Ephesians 5:30-32:
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.
We read in Genesis 1:26, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” In Philippians 2:6-7, we see Jesus described as being in the likeness of man: “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: but made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.” This is mentioned again in 1 Corinthians 15:45-47.
We also see how Adam was named as King of the Earth. Psalm 8:3-6 says:
When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honor. Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet.
All believers know Jesus is the “King of Kings” as described in Daniel’s night vision in 7:13-14:
I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed
God created Adam to have dominion over all the earth, ruling and reigning over God’s creation as a king over the earth. With his authority, Adam named everything as we can see in Genesis 2:19-20. This is a prophetic picture of Jesus who has been given the name that is above every name, demonstrating His authority as mentioned in Philippi-ans 2:7-11.
However, God determined it was not good for Adam to be alone, so He formed a help meet for him (Genesis 2:18). The bride was a suitable match for him, completing him. Just as God presented a “suitable” mate for Adam, so He will present Jesus, with a suitable bride.
The Scriptures tell us that God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam. Genesis 2:21 says, “And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof.”
This picture of “deep sleep” is also a prophetic shadow, as mentioned by Jesus in John 11:11-14:
These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep. Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well. Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep. Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.
Sleep, a synonymous term for death in the Bible, is a spiritual picture of death of the flesh followed by resurrection concerning the Lord. We can read about this in 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-53.
Adam’s side being pierced or wounded was a spiritual picture of Jesus' crucifixion on the cross. Isaiah 53:5 tells us, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him.”
Following this incision to remove one of Adam’s rib (a small remnant), God fashions Eve; thus, the wedding in the Garden of Eden is a prophetic picture of His bride, the church, who will come out from the body of Messiah, through the shedding of blood.
Just as Eve was taken from the side of Adam (his rib was taken from his body), so the Bride of Christ will be taken from Jesus' body. Jesus' bride will be taken out from His body of believers from among those who are saved.
The bride of Christ in Scriptures is pictured as a female, though the distinction of His bride being made up of males and females is irrelevant. There is no gender in our heavenly position in Messiah. Scriptures tell us we are all sons of God through faith. Galatians 3:28 says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Many Christians today believe the “body” and “Bride of Christ” are synonymous terms. However, that is simply not true. The Greek word, Ekklesia, means “congregation of believers” as referred to as His body in Ephesians 1:22-23. The definition of “church” is “called out ones” and refers to the remnant that came out from the body and is set apart for Him alone.
Not everyone who has received the gift of salvation will respond to this closer walk. Believers who continue to live a worldly, or carnal, lifestyle will not be ready to meet the Bridegroom.