In our study of the Bride, we will look at the New Testament references of the word, and then answer common objections. These objections are repeated so often I could type them without referring back to sources. I believe these are the most important objections that need to be dealt with.
I am sure there are many, many more objections, but I have not heard them. Mostly, these objections stem from hurt feelings. Even though I believe the previous study is thorough enough, I will take the pleasure of answering these questions.
John the Baptist said, “He that hath [present tense] the Bride is the bridegroom.” The Bride at that time was the 12 disciples; Jesus is the Bridegroom. Note again “hath.” Jesus had, present tense, the Bride. Therefore, the Bride is NOT only a future entity of all the saved. This is true because Jesus did not have all the saved with him. John was only referring to him and the 12 disciples. That fact is plain and simple.
This is going to be repeated later, so listen closely: admittedly, there is controversy over whether or not John was excluding himself from the Bride by calling himself “the friend of the bridegroom.” In his great humility, John was simply stating the fact that the Bride was with Christ on earth; and he left his bride, the local, visible, New Testament churches with her great commission, and he is coming again to claim her, the espoused bride, as his wife.
John was not saying he was part of the bride, that part is certain. He excluded himself (because he was a meek and humble man—we would do well to follow his example). But will he be part of her? Some Briders say yes, and the reason is that when the Bride is inviting her guests to the Marriage supper, which we will see later, she is not just inviting them to be saved, but the invitation is to partake of the supper itself. Therefore, some Baptist Briders view the “guests,” “friend” and “bride” as synonymous. This certainly may be the case.
Still others, due to tradition, make hardline distinctions that are admittedly a stretch and do not always fit the context of many parables and passages. Therefore, we should be sure we are comparing scripture with scripture and studying these things for ourselves. Regardless, BOTH positions deny the universal bride doctrine and adhere to a “Faithful Bride” position.
The verse here deals with the rapture. It reads “And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.” The context is the destruction of the whore Babylon, the Catholic, Protestant and world religions that martyred the saints (the Bride). Notice the close relationship the bridegroom and bride have. Their voice is one voice; their body is one body; their doctrine is one doctrine. Paul says, “One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (speaking of the local, visible church, Eph 4:4-6). At this point, when Babylon is destroyed, the rapture occurs, and the faithful bride of Christ is revealed. Because the resurrection of saint and saved (yes, there is a difference), the voice of the bride and of the bridegroom are heard no more in the earth, at least not until the Lord establishes his kingdom for 1,000 years, which takes place shortly after the Battle of Armageddon, or the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. At that point, his “wife” the “bride” hath made herself ready. She was faithful, raptured, adorned in white and given her reward, and she returns with Christ to establish the kingdom and rule with him (Rev 19:7-9). The people who were saved but did not earn that blessing received a glorified body are cast into “outer darkness” (NOT HELL) for 1,000 years. Jesus and his bride, and only his bride, will rule over the nations of people who survive into the Millennial Period.
These verses have been wildly controversial. Verse two reads, “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” Verse nine reads, “And there came unto me one of the seven angels which and the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me saying, Come hither, I will shew the the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” A few things of great importance can be learned from these two remarkable verses.
v.2—The bible says the holy city, new Jerusalem, is the bride. Now many will say that the physical city itself is the bride. But that is tantamount to saying the brick and mortar building is the church. That is wrong. When John sees the city, he sees the bride because the city is the bride’s dwelling place. Jesus said of the church, “Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hid.” The churches, or assembled believers (saved, baptized people), are cities. The description does not need to be complicated, but it is because men would rather deny this truth than be labeled divisive.
v.9—Note, again, the relationship between the Bride and the Lamb. The Bride IS the Lamb’s wife, even in Revelation 21! So, to say that the Bride is no bride without a wedding is a foolish statement considering the Bride is still called the Bride even AFTER the wedding took place. Secondly, some object here and say, “Jesus as the Lamb of God concerns salvation. Therefore, the Bride is ALL the saved. Otherwise, he would not be called the Lamb here.” But that statement is just asinine. We know Jesus is the savior of all men, especially them that believe. But really consider this verse in Acts 20:28, which reads, “take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” Jesus did not only die for individuals. He died for an even more express purpose: to redeem his bride. Therefore, it is perfectly fitting for the Lord to be the “Lamb” in respect of the Bride. He saved her!
“And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.” This is a verse parallel to the Great Commission given by Jesus Christ, who said, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Matt 28:19,20). The Spirit and the Bride work together. The Spirit is the one who, at Pentecost, sealed (empowered) the Bride, the Jerusalem church; the Spirit is still operating as that seal (power) today in all the Lord’s TRUE churches. The Bride was charged with the Great Commission to be a witness in the entire world. The charge does not end at preaching the gospel, but administering Scriptural Baptism, and teaching the members to observe everything else the Lord commanded. This is how the Lord wants to find his churches at his return. Again, we need to be mindful that we have a responsibility to invite as many as we can to partake of that blessing, if so be we are found faithful ourselves. The one who thirsts after these truths, after the doctrines of Christ, will be filled. Jesus said, “If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (Jon 7:17).
What follows are but a few studies on Old Testament shadows of the New Testament bride, and later we will consider a couple of New Testament Parables on the subject. Please understand that these are not all of the illustrations there are. These are only a few.