There is a disagreement among mainstream Christians and the World Mission Society Church of God (WMSCOG) when you bring up the topic of the Bride of Christ. Ask mainstream Christians, “Who is the bride of Christ in the Bible?” and most will say “the bride only means the saints.” The mainstream Christian assumption is that the bride of Christ only can mean one thing. Is there any language where words only have one meaning? No.
In the Bible, Words Have More than One Meaning
What about the word, “lamb” in the Bible? Does “lamb” always, 100% of the time refer to the animal? No.
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.”
Jesus asked Peter to feed His lambs. Was Jesus actually a shepherd of animals? Was Peter now going to change professions and stop being a fisherman? No. In this verse, “lamb” means a saint who follows Christ. What about in another verse?
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!
Did John see an animal coming towards him? No, he saw Jesus. In this verse, “lamb” means Jesus, but more specifically, “lamb who takes away the sins of the world” means Jesus. There are different kinds of lambs based on the context.
Who is the Bride of Christ in the Bible? In Ephesians it is the Saints.
The “bride of Christ” also has multiple meanings depending on the context. The reason most Christians understand the “Bride of Christ” is the church is because of the following verses:
Ephesians 5:22-25 – Wives, submit yourselves to your own husbands as you do to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives should submit to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her
There is a clear comparison between the wife (bride) of Christ and the Church.
- Husband —> Christ
- Wife (bride) —> the Church
The WMSCOG also believes that in this verse, the bride of Christ is the saints. However, this does not mean that the bride of Christ is always the saints. Just as there were different kinds of lambs, there are different kinds of brides based on the context.
Who is the Bride of Christ in the Heavenly Wedding Banquet?
What about with the “bride of Christ” or “bride of the Lamb” in the heavenly wedding banquet? Does this bride mean the saints?
Revelation 19:7 – 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.
Based on the context, the “bride” in this verse is not just any bride. The bride here is “the bride of Christ in the heavenly wedding banquet.”
Let’s say that the bride of Christ here is the saints. Then when you continue to read this chapter, does it make sense?
Revelation 19:9 – 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.”
If the bride of Christ is the saints, then who are those who are the invited and are blessed by God? The blessing of God is to receive eternal life in the kingdom of heaven, something the saints should receive. The saints should be those who are invited to the heavenly wedding banquet. When you read the parable of the heavenly wedding banquet you can see that Jesus says the saints are the “invited” not the “bride of Christ.”
The Saints are the Invited in the Heavenly Wedding Banquet, Not the Bride
Matthew 22:2-14 – The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son… 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. But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. He asked, ‘How did you get in here without wedding clothes, friend?’ The man was speechless. Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside… “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
The kingdom of heaven is like a wedding banquet. In the heavenly wedding banquet there is a bridegroom, bride and guests. Who plays each role according to Jesus? Note above that the guests are the ones who are invited. The guests are the invited in Rev 19:9.
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.
The night Jesus was taken from the disciples was the night after celebrating the New Covenant Passover. Jesus explains that He is the bridegroom and the disciples are the invited guests. Can the saints be the bride and the guests at the same time? No. In a wedding banquet, a person can only play one role. This means that the saints are not the bride of Christ in the heavenly wedding banquet.
The Bride of Christ in the Heavenly Wedding Banquet is Heavenly Mother
Then who is the bride of Christ in the heavenly wedding banquet?
Revelation 21:9-10 – 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 bride of Christ here is also called the Holy City Jerusalem coming down out of heaven, also known as the Heavenly Jerusalem. Who does the bible say the Heavenly Jerusalem is?
Galatians 4:26 – But the Jerusalem that is above is free, and she is our mother.
The Jerusalem that is above (heaven) is our Mother. Therefore, the bride of Christ in the heavenly wedding banquet is God the Mother. The WMSCOG believes that God the Mother is the Bride of Christ as testified in the Bible. The verses above also show that the saints are not the bride of Christ in this situation. Who is the Bride of Christ in the Bible? Sometimes the saints but in the book of Revelation the bride of Christ is God the Mother.