Who is the Bride of Christ in Revelation?September 20, 2023
Many Christians think the bride of Christ in the book of Revelation is the church(saints), but if we closely examine the verses containing the bride, it is clear that the bride cannot be the church, because in the parable of the heavenly wedding banquet, the church is consistently represented by the guests.
Revelation 19:7-9 Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.) Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”
In the above verses, the bride of Christ is referred to as the bride of the Lamb. It is commonly known that the Lamb in the Bible is Jesus. This Lamb is a groom and He represents Second Coming Christ because the events of the book of Revelation take place after Jesus’ ascension. So, who is Second Coming Christ’s bride? While some Christians may think that the bride represents the church in this metaphor, the Bible clearly testifies that the invited guests represent the church (“Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding”). Since a bride cannot be a guest at her own wedding, the bride must represent someone else.
When Jesus delivered a parable about the heavenly wedding banquet, he also described the church members, the saints, as the guests.
Matthew 22:1-14 Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come…. So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, the bad as well as the good, and the wedding hall was filled with guests…. For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
Many are invited to the wedding banquet (heaven) but few are chosen to actually attend (receive salvation). In this parable, the people of God are clearly guests at the wedding banquet, not the bride.
Jesus also confirmed this in a conversation about his disciples.
Mark 2:18-20 Now John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting. Some people came and asked Jesus, “How is it that John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees are fasting, but yours are not?” Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom fast while he is with them? They cannot, so long as they have him with them. But the time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them, and on that day they will fast.
Here, too, Jesus referred to himself as the bridegroom and the disciples are referred to as His guests.
Who is the bride of Christ in Revelation?
The book of Revelation gives more information about the bride in chapter 21, which makes it clear that she cannot represent the church.
Revelation 21:9 One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.
The angel told apostle John that he would show him the bride, and what he showed him was Jerusalem coming down out of heaven. This bride cannot be the church because the saints are gathered on earth and taken to heaven, whereas the bride comes down out of heaven. Then, is the bride a literal city? Just as the Lamb here is not a literal animal, but represents Jesus Christ, the bride, the Heavenly Jerusalem is not a literal city, but a metaphor. The book of Galatians reveals the reality of the Heavenly Jerusalem.
Galatians 4:26 But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother.
Who is the Heavenly Jerusalem above? She is our Mother. Just as the Bible testifies that we have our Heavenly Father, we also have our Heavenly Mother. That’s why, in the last chapter of Revelation, they appear together to give eternal life, something only God can do.
Revelation 22:17 The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.
According to the trinity, the Lamb, Jesus Christ, is God the Father who came in the flesh. And the Spirit is God the Father, too. The bride is God the Mother, Heavenly Jerusalem. Together, they are inviting people to come take the water of life, namely, eternal life. Since only God has the authority to give eternal life, and the church, sinners, must receive it, there is no doubt that the bride cannot represent the church in this verse, but must represent our Heavenly Mother.
Our Heavenly Mother, the bride, is prophesied to appear with our Heavenly Father, the Spirit, to give eternal life to the saints.
Why do people think the bride of Christ is the church?
The bride of Christ in Revelation consistently represents God the Mother. Then, why do people think the the bride of Christ in Revelation must be the church? It’s because they do not pay attention to the context in Revelation (the bride is the source of salvation) and quote two verses where the Bible does use the bride as a metaphor for the church. They mistakenly think that if a word is a metaphor for one thing in the Bible, it cannot represent something else in another chapter.
In the the book of Ephesians, the Bible used the bride of Christ as a metaphor for the church.
Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.
2 Corinthians 11:2 I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.
In these verses, the church is indeed described as being like the bride of Christ. However, does that mean that every time the bride of Christ is mentioned it must represent the church, regardless of context?
The bride of Christ has two meanings in the Bible
In the Bible, a single word can have more than one meaning depending on the context and this is clearly illustrated through the word “lamb.”
John 21:15 When they had finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” “Yes, Lord,” he said, “you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my lambs.”
After Peter repented of his act of denying Jesus, Christ asked him to “feed my lambs.” Jesus meant that He wanted Peter to feed spiritual words to His people and care for them. In this case, the lamb clearly represents God’s people. Does that mean that every single verse about a lamb represents God’s people or the church?
John 1:29 The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
In this verse, Jesus is clearly called the Lamb of God. Does this Lamb of God have to represent God’s people, the saints, instead of Jesus, the saviour, just because of the verse in John 21? A single word can have more than one meaning in the Bible. Based on the context, this Lamb clearly has a different meaning — it represents Christ. So, the word “lamb” can either refer to the saviour or the saved. It is the same with the word “bride.”
While there are verses that compare the church to the bride of Christ, the bride in Revelation cannot represent the church just as the Lamb in John 1 can never be interpreted as representing the saints. In Revelation 19, the bride cannot be the church because the people of God are blessed to be invited to the wedding. They are the guests. In Revelation 21, the bride cannot be the church because She is coming down out of Heaven. In Revelation 22, the bride cannot represent the church because She is delivering the water of life to the saints alongside God the Father. The saints are the ones who are receiving the water of life.
The bride of Christ in Revelation is our Heavenly Mother. Learn more about Her.