Bride And The Bridegroom

The New Testament gives us a beautiful picture of the Church as the bride of Christ and Jesus as the bridegroom.

Jesus Likened The Kingdom Of Heaven To A Marriage

"And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son’." Matthew 22:1,2.  "Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom" - Matthew 25:1.

The Best Man
     Known today as the "best man", John the Baptist referred to himself as the friend of the groom. "He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled." John 3:29.

The Groom
     Jesus Referred To Himself As A Bridegroom. 
"Then they said to Him, ‘Why do the disciples of John fast often and make prayers; and likewise those of the Pharisees, but Yours eat and drink.’ ‘And He said to them, Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them;  then they will fast in those days.’" Luke 5:33-35

The Bride
Referring to The Church as the bride of Christ, The Apostle Paul wrote:

  • To his converts at Corinth, "For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy.  For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ ". 2nd Corinthians 11:2
  • To his converts at Ephesus, "For the husband is the head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church…Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her; that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies…just as the Lord does the church.  For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a  great mystery,  but I speak concerning Christ and the church." Ephesians 5:23-32.

The Apostle John Pictures the Marriage Supper of Christ
     "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." "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." Then he said to me, "Write: Blessed are those who are called  to the marriage supper of the Lamb!" "And he said to me, These are the true sayings of God." Revelation 19:7-9

     "Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls, …came to me and talked with me, saying, Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb's wife."   Revelation 21:9

The Three Stages of a Wedding

     The marriage of Christ and His church follows the pattern practiced in Bible times. It consisted of three separate stages:

The Betrothal Stage
     The father of the groom would enter into a contract with the father of the bride in which he pledged his son to the bride and the bride’s father pledged her to the groom. The father of the groom would pay a dowry for the bride.

     God, the Father, has selected the bride for His son. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world…" Ephesians 1:3,4

     The dowry for the bride has been paid. "Knowing that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, like  silver and gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." 1st Peter 1:18, 19.

The Presentation Stage
     At the appointed time the groom’s father would send his servants to the house of the bride with a copy of the betrothal contract. The bride would then be led to the home of the groom’s father. The groom’s father would place her hand into the hand of his son. Scriptures that speak of the presentation stage include Ephesians 5:25-27 and Revelation 19:7, 8 (quoted previously). To these could be added John 14:2,3 and Jude 24.

The presentation of the bride of Christ awaits His coming for His church.

The Celebration Stage
     Following the presentation of the bride to the bridegroom there would follow a joyful wedding banquet to which the friends of both families would be invited. It was at such a banquet that Jesus performed His first miracle in turning the water into wine (John 2:1-11) There are also references to such a wedding celebration in Matthew 22:2,3; Luke 12:35-37; Luke 14:8- 24.

The Bride’s Final Preparations

     It is the desire of Jesus that His bride be presented to Him in faultless purity, righteousness and glory. In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus spoke to His heavenly Father about all those who would come to believe in Him, "And the glory which You gave Me I have given them; that they may be one, just as We are one." John 17:22.
     This adds meaning to those words given through the apostle Paul, "…Christ also loved the church and gave Himself  for her; that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing…" Ephesians 5:25-27.

     The bride will be clothed in fine white linen and endowed with her crown and jewels at what our New Testament calls, "The Judgment Seat of Christ."

     "For we (believers) must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ that each one may receive the things done in the body…" 2nd Corinthians 5:10.
     Unbelievers will stand trial at "The Great White Throne" Judgment to be assigned their punishment (Revelation 20:11-15). Believers will be judged to be assigned their rewards. "He who receives a prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward.  And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man shall receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives one of these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple,  assuredly, I say to you he shall by no means  lose his reward." (Matthew 10:41, 42)

     These reward are spoken of a "crowns" and ruling with Christ. For more in depth study consider the parables of the talents (Matthew 25:14-23), the pounds (Luke 19:11-27) and the trial of works by fire (1st Corinthians 3:11-15) and the "the crowns". We must keep in mind that Jesus both sees these rewards as being received by individual believers and collectively by "the church".

     It is interesting to note that the representatives of believers fall down before God and cast their crowns before His throne (Revelation 4:10, 11). To me, this acknowledges that all the spiritual good produced in us and the spiritual fruit produced through us finds its original source in God. We yield to the Holy Spirit to work in us. He produces all the spiritual good that lasts for eternity. We receive the reward of crowns. This equips us to worship and honor God in a greater way for all eternity.

All the bridal preparations are to be finalized at the "Judgment Seat of Christ."

Christ Takes His Bride Home
     God has some great purposes in mind for the church when Jesus comes to take His bride home:

  1. To deliver the bride from His wrath of the Tribulation. 1st Thessalonians 1:9, 10; 5:9
  2. To reward and honor individual believers.
  3. To prepare the church to rule with Him
  4. To enable the church to enter into her inheritance of "all things". Romans 8:32; 1st Corinthians 3:21-23.

The Wedding Day

     The conclusion of the scriptures we have studied is that a day is coming, perhaps not too distant, when Jesus, the heavenly bridegroom, will make a special trip from Heaven to take His bride, the church, home to be with Him. It will happen with surprising suddenness like a lightning bolt out of clear blue skies. The bodies of believers sleeping in their graves will be raised and living believers will be caught up with them.

     The bride will behold her Bridegroom in all His glory. She will be caught up in a series of breath-taking events that will prepare her for and eternal relationship with her Savior Bridegroom. From that point on, wherever He goes, she is at His side.

Copyright © 2002 Thomas E Berry
All Scriptures quoted from NKJV unless otherwise noted