Commentary By: Gordon King
I very recently had a comment posted that told me I was wrong in believing that the bride of Christ is the same as the body of Christ, that the two are in fact not the same. Have I been corrected? What is the truth? I have never before heard this and it has stroked my curiosity. I asked this believer to please give me scripture to back up what he is telling me, however, I have not heard back from him at this point in time. Aren’t we all seeking the truth?
This is a short study that I have done so that I may find the truth, so that I may share with others just what God tells us is the truth regarding the body of Christ, the church, and the Bride of Christ.
You can believe what I believe which is taken from scripture or not, it’s your choice. All of us will not agree with all things, I believe what I read and study in scripture, what the good Lord leads me to believe. I seek the truth and this is the truth that I get from the word of God, you may see things differently or perhaps have more enlightenment about the subject than I do, and that’s ok, it’s a learning and growing experience with God.
For many years I have known the “church” to be the “body of Christ”, and I have also known the “body of Christ” to be the “bride of Christ”. What does the bible have to say about this subject?
This verse from the apostle Paul seems to sum it all up, but I cannot stop there, I must continue to search the scriptures for more of the truth, more evidence of what the apostle Paul is saying here.
“Therefore, my brethren, you also have become dead to the law through the body of Christ, that you may be married to another—to Him who was raised from the dead, that we should bear fruit to God.“
The apostle Paul was speaking to believers in Rome. In Romans 7:4 he states that we may be married to Jesus Christ. This is from the NKJV, some other versions do not speak of marriage (ESV: belong to another; YLT: for your becoming another’s; TLB And now you are “married,” so to speak). However, in the book of Ephesians the apostle Paul writes in comparison of husbands and wives to Himself and the church, or His body.
There are some who argue that the parable of the “Ten Virgins” is an example that not all believers will be at the marriage supper of the Lamb.
“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; 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.
11 “Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ 12 But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’
13 “Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.“
First of all we must know what Jesus means by this parable. He is not speaking about the marriage supper of the Lamb specifically, but about those who will enter the kingdom of heaven and those who will not. Five of the virgins were saved, they had their lamps full of oil, while the other five were not saved, they had no oil. This is easily seen when we read verse 12, when Jesus says “Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you”. What believers does Jesus not know?! Of course He knows all of us, we belong to Him, each and every believer! The only way we can be prepared for the coming of Jesus Christ is to be saved, nothing we can do ourselves can make us ready.
In this next epistle written to the Ephesians, the apostle Paul tells us that Jesus Christ is the head of the church which is His body. He goes on to talk about wives submitting to their husbands as the church submits to Christ.
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their husbands.
25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.
28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.“
He gave Himself up for her, sanctified her, cleansed her, so that He might present the “church” or “body” to Himself with splendor, without spot or wrinkle, holy and without blemish, that sounds like marriage. Christ loves the church as He does His own body because we are members of His body, just as a man should love his wife. This is a mystery which has been hidden until this time, it refers to Christ and the church! Love your wife as yourself just as Christ loves the church, His body.
We must take note that the “church” is composed of the body of believers up to this point in history before the rapture, believers taken up after the “rapture of the church” are not part of the church body, they are “Tribulation saints”. Revelation 7 explains just who they are.
‘After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, saying, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” 11 All the angels stood around the throne and the elders and the four living creatures, and fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, 12 saying:
“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom,
Thanksgiving and honor and power and might,
Be to our God forever and ever.
13 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, “Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?”
14 And I said to him, “Sir, you know.”
So he said to me, “These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple. And He who sits on the throne will dwell among them. 16 They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.” ‘
Christ’s bride is arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, the linen he is speaking about is the righteous acts of the saints! I can only see this as being the church arrayed in fine linens, clean and bright, washed clean by the blood of the Lamb.
“Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” 8 And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.“
Again in the epistle to the Ephesians, the apostle Paul tells us the exact same thing about the church as in Revelation 19:7-8 which speaks about Christ’s bride! The fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints, who else would be wearing the fine linen of the saints? No one other than the saints, the church body, the bride of Christ!
“So that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.”
The marriage of the church as the bride of Christ to Christ is a mystery of God, a mystery which has not been revealed to us until the time of the apostle Paul.
‘ “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.’
The apostle Paul told us that this is a great mystery, he speaks concerning “Christ and the church”, the marriage of Christ and His bride, the church, the body of Christ!
Even the old testament speaks of our Redeemer the Holy One of Israel, and our Maker being our husband.
“For your Maker is your husband, The Lord of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth.”
Many will argue that this verse is not for the church, not for Christians but for the Jews, yet I will argue until the cows come home that gentile believers in Jesus Christ have been grafted into the Jewish lineage, adopted by the blood of Christ!
“For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.“
All of us who have been saved are a part of Abraham’s seed, we have been grafted in, made children of the living God!
“But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, 7 nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.” 8 That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed.“
There are many more verses from scripture speaking about this, but I move on. The apostle Paul tells us in the 2nd epistle to the Corinthians that we are betrothed to one husband, that he may present us as a chaste virgin to Christ!
2 Corinthians 11:2
“For I am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.“
So here again we see that the church or body of Christ is in fact the bride of Christ! As a chaste virgin, adorned in white linens, spotless, without wrinkle, holy and without blemish, perfected in Christ!
There are many, many mysteries of God, many which we do not know, yet many which have and are now being revealed to us. None of us should act as if we know them all, for none of us do. However, there are mysteries which the good Lord has revealed to us and wants us to know.
So take it as you will, either believer that the church is the body of Christ, and that the body of Christ is in fact the bride of Christ, or not. I am not forcing anyone to believe it, but I believe what the word of God tells me is the truth! So help me God!
God bless my friends! Maranatha!