In my recent studies of Revalation 21 and reading of parables concerning the "bride" and "bridegroom", I have began to wonder if the Church, the Body of Christ is actually the bride of Christ. Hear me out.
Rev 21:2 - Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
This appears to be a simile, but this is the verse that initially caught my attention.
Rev 21:9,10 - Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,
This verse appears to be very literal about who the bride is. Now I did consider that the Church is presented to Christ in the great city, but the parables that Christ told are what made me question the Church being the bride.
Matt 25:1-10 - 1 “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. 3 Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, 4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. 5 But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
6 “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming;[a] go out to meet him!’ 7 Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. 8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ 9 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.’ 10 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.
The 5 wise virgins went in with him to the wedding. The reason that this stood out to me was that it doesn't say they went in to wed Him. I think that we assume that these five virgins are to be the bride of Christ representing the Church. While I agree that the five wise virgins represent the followers of Christ, I do not see any indication of a marriage between the bridegroom and the five virgins.
John 3:29 - He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled.
In this verse we notice that the bride belongs to Christ. John tells us that the FRIEND of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices...and therefore John the Baptist's joy is fulfilled. John the Baptist was a saint and refers to himself as a friend of the bridegroom, not the bride. I believe this verse makes a clear distinction between the bride of the bridegroom and the friends of the bridegroom. If John the Baptist is a friend, what does that make us? Jesus refers to his disciples as "friends" in John 15:15 - No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you.
Matt 22:1-14 - 1 And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said: 2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, 3 and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come.4 Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.”’ 5 But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. 6 And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. 7 But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. 8 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 9 Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’ 10 So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests.11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. 12 So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”
1-A king arranges a marriage for his son: God and Jesus
2-Sent out his servants to call those invited to the wedding: Prophets are the servants and the Jews are those who are invited.
3-invities ignore God's invitation and kill his servants: Jews kill the prophets
4-God destroys their cities and and judges the people
5-Those in the highway both bad and good: The gentiles...US
6-And the wedding hall was filled with guests: US
In this parable, we the gentiles, those who were not originally invited to the wedding, are guests at the wedding, not the bride.
I did search for verses that would imply that the church is the bride of Christ.
Eph 5:25-27 - 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
These verses were the only ones that i could fine that come anywhere near suggesting that the church is the bride of Christ, and even then v.27 refers to us as such...a church, not a bride.
I understand that the word of God is not open to private interpretation, so if anyone has anything that could point me in another direction or show me that i might be on the wrong track i would really appreciate it. This isn't a faith altering discovery, but as a teacher of the word, I want to be sure I am teaching what God's word is actually saying.
Thank you so much for your time