The Nature of the Church Part Four:
The purpose of this lesson is to show the Biblical teaching regarding the Church as the “bride” or “wife” of Christ.
As noted in the second lesson on the “body” there is a correlation between that lesson and this one.
The intimate relationship of a husband and a wife are used in many passages in the New Testament to refer to Christ and His Church.
They two are one flesh Eph 5:22-32
It must be noted that the church is not actually called the wife or bride in this passage rather the term “as” is used quite often. However there is a parallel made throughout the passage and then the statement;
This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Eph 5:32
A relationship now:
Joined to the Lord is one flesh 1 Cor 6:17
Joined to an harlot 1Cor 6:16
I never knew you Matt 7:21-23
The same word is used in many verses but it is interesting that this same word is used in reference
to Mary not knowing a man.
Knew her not Matt 1:25
I believe that those in Matt 7 are not known intimately by Christ as He knows His Church or espoused Bride.
Espoused to Christ 2 Cor 11:1-2
We are espoused to Christ when we become a member of a true church. We enter into a covenant relationship with Him, like marriage.
Betrothal (from Nelson’s Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Copyright (c)1986, Thomas Nelson
A mutual promise or contract for a future marriage (Deut 20:7; Jer 2:2; Luke 1:27).
The selection of the bride was followed by the betrothal, not to be entirely equated with the modern concept of engagement. A betrothal was undertaken by a friend or agent representing the bridegroom and by the parents representing the bride. It was confirmed by oaths and was accompanied with presents to the bride and often to the bride’s parents.
The betrothal was celebrated by a feast. In some instances, it was customary for the bridegroom to place a ring, a token of love and fidelity, on the bride’s finger. In Hebrew custom, betrothal was actually part of the marriage process. A change of intention by one of the partners after he or she was betrothed was a serious matter, subject in some instances to penalty by fine.
The most important instance of betrothal in the Bible is the one between Joseph and Mary (Matt 1:18-19). A Jewish betrothal could be dissolved only by the man’s giving the woman a certificate of divorce. A betrothal usually lasted for one year. During that year the couple were known as husband and wife, although they did not have the right to be united sexually.
Betrothal was much more closely linked with marriage than our modern
engagement. Butthe actual marriage took place only when the bridegroom
took the bride to his home and the marriage was consummated in the sexual
So we have a relationship now but there will be an even greater relationship later in eternity: The wedding to come
His wife has made herself ready Rev 19:6-9
Christ will marry the faithful of those in covenant relationship with Him.
The marriage has not happened yet, we are espoused.
Contrast the works of the Bride verses the works of those in Matt 7.
A term of unfaithfulness within a marriage is used in reference to a spiritually unfaithful relationship with the Lord and His Spirit.
Adulterers and adulteressesJa 4:1-5
The dwelling place of the bride
Come I will show you the bride Rev 21:9-10
The Bride dwells in the City
The Lord dwells in the city Rev 21:22-22:4
V 4 – His servants shall see His face
Holiness… without… no man will see the Lord Heb 12:1-17 (10, 14)
The Old Testament symbolism Ruth and Boaz
Ruth makes her choice Ruth 1:16-17
I may find favor. She was looking for grace and mercy. 2:2
Why have I found favor.. .since I am a foreigner2:10
Boaz supplies abundantly as she gleans in his field.
We must work, want and seek, but if we do God’s will He will supply above our
effort or expectation!
Ruth presents herself for marriage.
There is one closer 3:8-13
What she is doing is honorable tradition for that time period.
Boaz approaches the close relative.4:3-6
The closer relative cannot redeem her.
Boaz takes Ruth as wife. 4:13-18
Christ and the Church
Strangers and foreigners Eph 2:11-13
As soon as we came looking for mercy the Lord loved and blessed us.
She stayed only in his field, as he had requested.
She loved him and he loved her
If you love Me Jo 14:15-24
Boaz paid the price to redeem her and make her his own.
Christ also paid the price…Eph 5:2-3