Rev 21:9  And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.

Rev 21:10  And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,


If I understand your question properly you want me to tell you how I deal with the verses in Paul’s epistles that seem to indicate that he identifies the church of today as “the bride of Christ.” This question is frequently asked and I usually respond by first of all pointing out that there is no question as to who and what the “bride of Christ” is, because the Bible states it in no uncertain terms. Revelation 21:9–13 plainly declares it.

“And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying. Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,…”

There it is plain and simple. That’s the “bride of Christ.” Unfortunately, most of the time when this is pointed out to Christians they say, How can a city be the bride of Christ? But that’s what the Bible says. The real problem is that most Christians have a very weak understanding of God’s program with Israel and they are not at all familiar with God’s marriage relationship to Israel. They don’t understand and appreciate the extent of the living-union-relationship of marriage that God said He would have with Israel and because of this having a city called the Lamb’s “bride” and “wife” is something they can’t fathom. But that’s not the Bible’s fault. Christians need to understand God’s program with Israel.


Isa 62:1  For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.

Isa 62:2  And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name.

Isa 62:3  Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God.



They need to understand that a marriage relationship is what God established with Israel and that this relationship included their land. Hence, for example in Isaiah 62, God speaks of marrying Israel’s land again. Until Christians understand these things they will continue to misunderstand the “bride of Christ” and they will continue to try to identify it as something different than what God plainly says it is. For you and I, however, it is plain to see that the “bride of Christ” pertains to God’s program with Israel and not to us in this dispensation of God’s grace. Hence, as John describes in Revelation 21:9–10, “the bride, the Lamb’s wife” is “that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.” What John sees is the culmination of God’s program with Israel. He sees the living union relationship of the marriage of God Himself to them in their land, which has been the declared and prophesied issue with them, their land, and Him, since the foundation of the world.


Isa 62:4  Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah, and thy land Beulah: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married.

Isa 62:5  For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.


Regarding the sequence of things described in Revelation 19ff, especially the “marriage supper of the Lamb,” my understanding is that this is the fulfillment of Isaiah 62:4–5, and other similar passages, describing the living union marriage relationship that God has purposed to have with Israel in their land. The marriage itself is the joining together that takes place when the Lord returns to His people and to His land at the end of His day. (Which is what John is seeing at the beginning of Revelation 19. He sees that the wife is ready, the decking is underway (Isaiah 61:10), the Lord is mounted and ready to return to end the “Forsaken” and “Desolate” status of the land, and the announcement of the marriage is set to go out.) The marriage takes place when the Lord returns, vanquishes Israel’s and His enemies, purifies the land, and then brings the “bride,” the heavenly Jerusalem down and joins it to the land. The living union relationship is then established. The “marriage supper” is the rejoicing celebration of the marriage in fulfillment of Isaiah 62:5. The nations are called to the celebration, as described in Isaiah 60–62, and as seen by John in Revelation 21. The key to understanding and appreciating the marriage terminology and the sequence of events in Revelation 19ff is in the issue of knowing the passages in the law and the prophets describing God’s relationship to Israel and the land, as in Isaiah 62.


2Co 11:1  Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me.

2Co 11:2  For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.

2Co 11:3  But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.

2Co 11:4  For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

2Co 11:5  For I suppose I was not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles.


What then is Paul doing in II Corinthians 11:2 and Ephesians 5? He is doing just what the little word “as” in both passages indicates. He is explaining something by the use of an illustrative analogy. In II Corinthians 11:2 Paul is explaining and amplifying upon the declaration he has made to them that he is “jealous over them with godly jealousy.” He knows that the ones he is particularly addressing there in chapters 10–12 don’t understand his love for them; nor his reasons for being upset with their disapproval of him; nor his motives for dealing with them as he has done; etc, etc. He knows that they think he “walks after the flesh”; that he is insincere; has ulterior motives; operates on a hidden agenda; and is just plain fleshly jealous over these “very chiefest apostles” who the Corinthians find much more impressive and entertaining than Paul.


2Co 11:16  I say again, Let no man think me a fool; if otherwise, yet as a fool receive me, that I may boast myself a little.

2Co 11:17  That which I speak, I speak it not after the Lord, but as it were foolishly, in this confidence of boasting.

2Co 11:18  Seeing that many glory after the flesh, I will glory also.

2Co 11:19  For ye suffer fools gladly, seeing ye yourselves are wise.

2Co 11:20  For ye suffer, if a man bring you into bondage, if a man devour you, if a man take of you, if a man exalt himself, if a man smite you on the face.

2Co 11:21  I speak as concerning reproach, as though we had been weak. Howbeit whereinsoever any is bold, (I speak foolishly,) I am bold also.


Paul knows all of this, and he knows exactly what they are thinking as he writes to them and how their own flesh is responding to what he has been saying to them, especially from 10:1 up until this point. He is jealous, but not of the “very chiefest apostles.” That would be fleshly jealousy. Instead, Paul, as he says, is “jealous over you with godly jealousy.” This is completely different and is righteous, being the very jealousy God Himself possesses. But Paul knows that these carnal Corinthians aren’t going to pick up on this right away. They don’t have any frame of reference for this kind of righteous jealousy (anymore than Israel did when God first declared it of Himself to them). So Paul provides for them to have a measure of understanding and appreciation of his “godly jealousy” over them by giving them an illustrative analogy of what it is like. And he does this by referring to a righteous jealousy that they could relate to — the kind an espoused husband would have to his virgin. Even in their carnality these Corinthians could understand this. And this is the kind of jealousy that Paul had for them. He wasn’t walking after the flesh at all. They were being seduced by a seducer and didn’t even know it. They were in danger of being spiritually raped, so to speak, and they needed to realize this and preserve their chastity. But they would only realize this if they would listen to Paul as he manifested the truth of it to them. And they would only listen if they could be made to see that his motive wasn’t fleshly jealousy, but “godly jealousy.” Hence, his illustrative analogy of acting towards them as one who has espoused them as a chaste virgin to one husband.


Eph 5:22  Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.

Eph 5:23  For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

Eph 5:24  Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

Eph 5:25  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;

Eph 5:26  That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

Eph 5:27  That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.


In Ephesians 5 as he deals with the Divine institution of marriage and especially of the love that a husband ought to have for his wife, Paul once again sets forth an illustrative analogy in order to describe the depth of that selfless love that a husband ought to have. Christ’s love for the church is the illustrative analogy, and it is the perfect illustrative analogy. For there is a common “bond of perfectness” to both the living union-relationship that exists in the body of Christ and the living-union-relationship that exists in marriage, and that is agape love; selfless love. The two living-union-relationships, though different, are designed by God to effectually operate on the exact same principle. Hence, to teach and exhort Christian husbands to operate on the “bond of perfectness” of love that God designed a marriage to operate on, Paul uses the illustrative analogy of the “bond of perfectness” of Christ’s love for the church so that the full depth of that love can be understood and appreciated.


Eph 5:28  So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.

Eph 5:29  For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

Eph 5:30  For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.

Eph 5:31  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.

Eph 5:32  This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.



Keith R. Blades

Enjoy The Bible Ministries

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