Is ‘Bride’ Synonymous With ‘Overcomers’? June 23, 2012Posted by stevekerp in Uncategorized.
I have discussed on several occasions the concept that the ‘bride of Christ’ is taken from the Church, just as the bride of Adam was taken from Adam’s body. I have then suggested that those comprising the Bride of Christ will enjoy a closeness to Christ, and other benefits that the remainder of the Church will not enjoy.
The idea that the Bride of Christ is not the same as the Church – that is “all saved people from Pentecost to the Rapture” – appears offensive to some, as well as scripturally unsupported. Is the Bride a subset of the Body of Christ? Or is this just another last-days divisive false doctrine?
The phrase “Bride of Christ” does not occur in the New Testament. Paul said in 2 Cor. 11:2 that “…I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present [you as] a chaste virgin to Christ.” In Ephesians 5 Paul goes into detail regarding the proper relationship between a husband and wife (submission, love, sanctification) mentioning several times in his admonition that he is speaking concerning Christ and the church. One might conclude, then, that every member of the true Church is necessarily part of this “Bride of Christ.”
Then again … maybe not. Being “espoused” is not the same as being married. As volitional creatures, we are free to say ‘no.’ Indeed, Jewish wedding custom provides for it. Ephesians 5 also has volitional elements. The wife is enjoined to submit to her husband in everything. What of those Christians who are not submissive? Christ “might” sanctify and cleanse His people. He fully intends to and is certainly able … but we all know Christians who aren’t particularly interested in sanctification. Some Christians have a zeal to be holy, blameless, without spot or wrinkle. Others really couldn’t be bothered, thinking that all God expects is for Christians to avoid gross sins and go to church on Sundays.
Jesus speaks to this with clarity in His letters to the seven churches. Each letter has a promise to those who “overcome.” Does this not presume that being an “overcomer” (whatever that may mean) is not automatic with salvation? Overcomers, like brides, get a ‘new name’ (Rev. 3:12). Like brides, overcomers will be clothed in white garments (Rev. 3:5). They will sit with Jesus on His throne. In Rev. 3:12 we also see that “He who overcomes …I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem…” Move ahead to chapter 21 and one of the seven angels says, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife” and John is shown the New Jerusalem.
When God took a rib from Adam, He made a companion for Adam who was “meet,” that is, suitable. Eve was designed specifically for Adam. If this is a type or foreshadowing – if Christ who is the ‘last Adam’ will also get a suitable companion … what sort of companion will He get? What sort of bride does He deserve? One who pursues all that the term “disciple” entails? One who is passionate about the things of God? One who treasures holiness and hates sin with a holy hatred? One who is conformed to the image of Christ? And of these attributes, which are gifts of the Holy Spirit; things that happen “automatically” in the life of every believer? Can we complain to God because He did not give us the “gift of obedience” or the “gift of abiding in Christ”?
Of course not! Obedience is something we render (or not) to God. It’s OUR CHOICE. In short and to summarize, we – as volitional beings created in God’s image – decide for ourselves whether or not to be obedient; to be overcomers. Discipleship – observing whatsoever our Lord has commanded (Matthew 28:20) is entirely up to each of us.
In the article “Jewish Marriage” the author writes:
Prior to the wedding day, the bride is required to visit the mikveh, the ritual bath, and immerse herself, to ensure a purified spiritual state as she prepares herself for married life. The bride must show proof of having visited the mikveh before she is eligible to sign the marriage contract.
This, to me, strongly suggests water baptism, which is the first step of discipleship (Matthew 28:19). I can’t be dogmatic in insisting that one cannot qualify as a “disciple” in the Biblical sense without first submitting to water baptism, though a fairly compelling case can be made. On the other hand is practical history: in Stalin’s USSR baptism may have been a capital offense. Study the scriptures and reach conclusions of your own, but don’t use the policies of atheistic regimes as an excuse for disobedience.
I believe that the bride of Christ consists of the “overcomers” and that this group is a sub-set of the church. And in a few days we may find out if I’m correct.