This teaching examines several places where the ‘Bride of Christ’ appears in the Bible. Remember, it is important to interpret the Bible through the lens of Hebrew thought and interpretation because the Bible is a Hebrew book.
Flesh and Bone
A significant place where the ‘Bride of Christ’ is found in the Bible is in the Book of Ephesians. The Apostle Paul (or Rabbi Shaul) used a Midrashic approach to state categorically that the Body of Christ was in a marriage relationship with Messiah (or Christ). To do this, Paul quoted the Book of Genesis when Eve is taken out of man to become Adam’s wife:
Genesis 2:23-24 And Adam said: “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman because she was taken out of Man.” 24. Therefore, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Almost the exact words are used by the Apostle Paul when describing the Body of Christ in the Book of Ephesians:
Ephesians 5:30-31 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. 31 “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.”
What was the Apostle Paul thinking when he made the above statement? Clearly, he was aligning the marriage relationship of Adam and Eve with the relationship between Messiah and the Body of Christ. As such, the Body of Christ is also in a marriage relationship with Messiah. Just as Adam received his wife from his flesh and bone, so does Messiah receive His wife (bride) from His flesh and bone. Paul continues to confirm this marriage alignment of Messiah with the Bride of Christ in the next verse:
Ephesians 5:32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
Paul infers that this marriage relationship between Messiah and the Body of Christ is a great mystery – unrevealed (in Biblical history) until now. Part of this great mystery is that Messiah, having been rejected by His own (namely ‘Israel’ at the time of Jesus – see John 1:11) is now to receive a ‘bride’ for Himself made up of all believers (both Jew and Gentile) in the church age:
Galatians 3:28 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.
Once this great mystery of the ‘Bride of Christ’ is understood, the earlier verses of Ephesians chapter 5, where the feminine pronoun (‘her’) is used, makes sense. Messiah is preparing His bride for the nuptial meeting (by way of sanctification or purification by the word).
Ephesians 5:26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word,
Ephesians 5:27 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.
The Symbolism of Adam’s Rib
The symbolism of Adam’s rib is important because out of the side (rib) of Adam in a deep sleep (Genesis 2:21-24) was created Eve and out of the side of Messiah (Jesus) also in a deep sleep (death), was born the ‘Bride of Christ’. The Bible teaches that the death of Jesus was a ransom for many (Mark 10:45) and facilitated new life for all believers. The deep symbolism of the ‘blood and water’ from the side of Messiah, captured this truth. Just as blood and water are present at natural childbirth so too was blood and water present at the death of Jesus and represented the spiritual birth of the church.
John 19:34 But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.
Note that this spiritual birth of the Body of Christ (out of the side of Messiah in the deep sleep of death), is represented numerically in the following diagram. Please see the prime-fulfilment numbers for the church for details of ‘17’ and ‘153’.
The Bride of Christ is Corporate
Another part of this great mystery is that the Bride of Christ is corporate (plural). Adam and Eve were one man and one woman whereas the marriage between Messiah and the Body of Christ is between one man and many believers. This is why the Lamb’s wife (or Bride of Christ) in Revelation 21:9 is described as a great city!
Revelation 21:9-10 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,
Remember that Jesus earlier in His ministry, referred to his disciples as a high up ‘city’:
Matthew 5:14 “You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden.”
Now, a city has foundations and significantly, in the case of the Lamb’s wife (‘the great city’), these foundations were labelled with the names of the twelve apostles:
Revelation 21:14 Now the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.
Given that the Apostle Paul described the Body of Christ (or the church) as having been built on the foundation of the apostles and the prophets, this further confirms the Lamb’s wife (the great city) as the Body of Christ – built on the foundational ministry of the apostles and the prophets.
Ephesians 2:20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone,
The Heart Cries Between the Spirit, Bride and Messiah
The Book of Revelation begins and ends with a reference to the churches – the Bride of Christ:
Revelation 1:11 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and send it to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”
At the end of the Book of Revelation Jesus said the following:
Revelation 22:16-17 “I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star." 17 And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the ‘water of life’ (120) freely.
Jesus instructed the Apostle John to write the book (of Revelation) and send it to the churches (the Body of Christ) and then at the end of the book we have the closing reference of Jesus to the churches (Revelation 22:16 above) together with this heart utterance:
Revelation 22:17 the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!”
In other words, there is an association of the churches with the bride. This is followed by the moving message from Messiah (the bridegroom) to the Spirit, who notably is with the bride:
Revelation 22:20 ...“Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come Lord Jesus!
The Testimony of John the Baptist and Jesus
Both John the Baptist and Jesus referred to Messiah as a bridegroom. This is important because these references were not allegorical, metaphorical, or symbolic but rather Messiah (Jesus) was and is a literal bridegroom!
John 3:28-30 You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent before Him.’ 29 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. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
Mark 2:19-20 And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends (lit. sons of the bridechamber) of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. 20 But the days will come when the bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast in those days.”
If there is a bridegroom, there must be a bride – as identified by the Apostle Paul in the Book of Ephesians (discussed above).
Again, the Apostle Paul directly teaches of the marriage of the Body of Christ to Messiah in the following verse:
Romans 7:4 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 Communion/Baptism of the Holy Spirit
Remember that our union with Christ is not a ‘resemblance’ or ‘reflection’ of marriage it is a current spiritual reality. The spiritual union between members of the Body of Christ is a spiritual reality. Believers in the church age are spiritually united with one another and with Christ. This is truth and fact as stated in the following verse:
1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body - whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free - and have all been made to drink into one Spirit.
This spiritual communion is exclusive to the Body of Christ and is metaphorically expressed by the meal of ‘bread’ taken by the living church (Acts 2:42). This communion is facilitated by the Holy Spirit who is the Spirit of Jesus (Acts 16:17; Philippians 1:19; Galatians 4:6) and when this spiritual communion of the Body of Christ is consummated at the Rapture, this purpose of the Holy Spirit on earth will be concluded. Remember that Jesus stated that unless He went away the Spirit would be unable to come.
John 16:7-11 But very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. 8 When he comes, he will prove the world to be in the wrong about sin and righteousness and judgment: 9 about sin, because people do not believe in me; 10 about righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; 11 and about judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned.
When the Holy Spirit did arrive in the church on the Day of Pentecost, this spiritual union/communion of the Body of Christ began, as facilitated by the Holy Spirit. Only at the Rapture will this communion/baptism be consummated (2 Thessalonians 2:7 For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way).
The Traditional Hebrew Wedding
The following four stages of the traditional Hebrew marriage are a beautiful picture of the biblical provision promised to the Bride of Christ, by Messiah:
1. The Father arranges the wedding and pays the price (the blood of His Son, Jesus).
2. The Bridegroom (Jesus) prepares a place (John 14:2) and fetches the bride (the Rapture). As it happens in Hebrew Tradition, the father sets the date of the ‘fetch’. The notorious verse of Matthew 24:36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only”, is a veiled reference by Jesus of His return at the Rapture at the time established by the Father!
3. The marriage ceremony preceded by a ritual cleansing (Ephesians 5:26; Revelation 19:6-8).
4. The marriage feast lasting seven days (Revelation 19:9).
Accreditation: The Footsteps of the Messiah (Arnold Fruchtenbaum).
Isaac and Rebekah
Rebekah, in her time before meeting with Isaac (Genesis 24:58), is a type of the betrothed Bride of Christ (before her meeting with Jesus).
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.
Abraham, who was a type of God the Father, sent his trusted unnamed servant (a type of the Holy Spirit) to find a bride for his son Isaac (a type of Christ). Remember, Isaac had just been resurrected in ‘type’, after God commanded Abraham to sacrifice his one and only true son on Mount Moriah:
Genesis 22:2 Then He said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.”
The servant of Abraham found Rebekah and gave her gifts and prepared her for Isaac. Likewise, God sends the Holy Spirit to find a bride for His Son Jesus. The Holy Spirit has found (and is finding) the church, and has given her gifts, and is preparing her for Jesus.
Genesis 24:22 So it was, when the camels had finished drinking, that the man took a golden nose ring weighing half a shekel, and two bracelets for her wrists weighing ten shekels of gold,
1 Corinthians 12:1 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brethren, I do not want you to be ignorant:
Rebekah as a type of the Bride of Christ, is only mentioned once in the New Testament, and the Greek numerical value for her name is ‘153’ – the number of the completed church. (Greek: Ρεβεκκα Rho  + Epsilon  + Beta  + Epsilon  + Kappa  + Kappa  + Alpha  = 153)
Romans 9:10 And not only this, but when Rebecca also had conceived by one man, even by our father Isaac.
Ruth Typifies the Bride of Christ
Ruth was also a type of the Bride of Christ. She was a Gentile woman who married the Hebrew man, Boaz who was a type of Christ who redeemed his bride. In this repsect, Boaz was the ‘Kinsman Redeemer’. In the passage where Ruth clings to Naomi as an expression of unswerving loyalty and faithfulness (Ruth 1:14), the Hebrew numerical value of ‘Ruth’ is ‘612’ (Hebrew: ורות Vav  + Resh  + Vav  + Tav  = 612).
Ruth 1:14 Then they lifted up their voices and wept again; and Orpah kissed her mother-in-law, but Ruth (612) clung to her.
Note that the number ‘612’ is factored by ‘153’ because 4 x 153 = 612.
Both Rebecca and Ruth were clearly types of the ‘church’ (or Body of Christ) as associated typologically and numerically with key Hebrew men who (typologically) represented Christ. Because Rebecca and Ruth’s relationships with these men was one of marriage, they support the truth that the church (or Body of Christ) is also the Bride of Christ.
Jacob’s Wife, Leah, Typifies the Bride of Christ
There is another important type in scripture which associates the Body of Christ with marriage. It is the seven year’s work of Jacob for Rachel which were lost in favour of Leah (Genesis 29:27). Note that the number ‘seven’ is biblically associated with the church age, when the Body of Christ is formed: the seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread in 1 Corinthians 5:6-8, the seven churches of Revelation chapters 1-3, the seven Kingdom parables of Matthew chapter 13 and the seven dips of Naaman in the river Jordan which cleansed this Syrian Gentile (Naaman) after Israel had rejected their Messiah – Luke 4:27.
Now, Jacob was a type of Christ and Jacob’s wives, Leah and Rachel, were a type of the (mainly) Gentile church (Body of Christ) and Israel respectively. Jacob’s unexpected marriage with Leah was earned with seven year’s work which Jacob had originally performed for Rachel. Jacob received Leah first even though his initial advance was towards Rachel. This was the same for Jesus who received the (mainly) Gentile church (Body of Christ) first, even though the seven-year combined ministry of John the Baptist and Jesus, was for Israel.
This ‘type’ develops further because while Leah’s womb was open and bearing children, Rachel’s womb was barren (Genesis 29:31). This is true for the (mainly) Gentile church (Body of Christ) which has been bearing fruit to God during the Christian Dispensation while Israel has been barren. It was not until Leah had borne all seven of her children (Leah’s children were Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Zebulun and Dinah. See Genesis 29, 30:17-21) that Rachel even went into labour (Genesis 30:22). Likewise, only when the (mainly) Gentile church (Body of Christ) has finished bearing fruit for God and her witness is removed at the Rapture, will Israel enter her travail. The anti-type of Rachel’s travail is Israel’s future trial (1 Thessalonians 5:3) in the seven-year Tribulation (Micah 4:9-10).