What seven Old Testament brides portray the Bride of Christ?
Tim Moore: During Jesus' earthly ministry, He frequently taught using parables. Sometimes it was to mask certain truths from those without spiritual discernment (Matthew 13:13). And, at other times, the parable itself was meant to convey a deeper truth with even greater clarity.
Jesus spoke in the language of the people He interacted with and used examples from their own life experiences. So, He called fishermen from Galilee to be "fishers of men." The people living in an agrarian lifestyle on the hills of northern Israel, He talked about "scattering seed of various kinds on the ground." But, when it came to revealing a beautiful mystery, Jesus chose the symbol of a Jewish wedding (Matthew 25:1-13). He knew that His listeners would understand the inherent joy of a Jewish wedding. Every man who has ever been a groom, and every woman who has ever been a bride, would recognize the significance of such a joyful event, and so could relate to the truths Jesus was imparting.
Nathan Jones: Teachers of Bible prophecy have long recognized the symbolism in Jesus' references to the Jewish wedding. He is the Bridegroom who has proposed a covenant relationship. His "bride" is the Church — including Jews and Gentiles — who have accepted His proposal and are "betrothed" to Him. From the moment that covenant is made, our Groom is committed to us and we're set apart, meaning made holy by Him and for Him (Revelation 19:7-8). The New Testament writers consistently expected that we, the Church, should eagerly wait for our Bridegroom to return to snatch us up, or rapture us up, to Heaven.
Tim Moore: Although the Church was a prophetic mystery up until it was born when the Holy Spirit was imparted on the day of Pentecost, the Old Testament contains some wonderful prophetic types that hint at the future relationship between the Son of God and His Church. They are the seven brides who together portray the Church as the Bride of Christ.
Nathan Jones: To help us learn how seven Old Testament brides portray the Church, we were joined by Dawn and Dennis Morris on an episode of Christ in Prophecy. Dawn is a novelist who has written such thrilling Christian titles as Fire and Flood, One Will be Taken, and One Will be Left. Dennis is a former Navy submariner turned successful businessman. Both share a passion for equipping the Church for the soon return of Jesus Christ.
1. The Bride Eve
Tim Moore: I'm eager to see how these seven Old Testament brides point to Jesus Christ, who is the Church's Bridegroom. The Church has been compared to a bride waiting for her groom to come for her (Mat. 25; 2 Cor. 11:2). So, Dawn, tell us a little bit about the very first bride presented in Scripture — Eve. How is Eve a pattern of the Church and how do we relate to Jesus the Bridegroom?
Dawn Morris: Eve was created by God for Adam in the same way that the Church is created by God for His Son. She's presented to Adam by God in a finished state of glory. Likewise, the Church is going to be presented holy and blameless, without wrinkle or spot, in a state of glory for the Lord. Eve did not choose Adam in the same way Jesus told His disciples, "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you" (John 15:16). She and Adam both were given dominion over the earth, and in the same way, the Church is going to rule and reign with Jesus during the Millennial Kingdom.
Tim Moore: What a beautiful picture! Frankly, I don't know if I've ever even thought of Eve as not doing anything to qualify herself to become Adam's wife. It is God who prepared her, presented her, and made her holy and set apart as a helpmate and partner for Adam.
Nathan Jones: How does the bride motif fit Eve? I've never really thought of Eve as a bride. There wasn't a wedding, that we know of. There wasn't any father handing her off. What made their relationship husband and wife?
Dawn Morris: The Lord did, right? He made the two of them become one. Concerning the days that we're living in, the thing about Eve that speaks the most to me is that she was the one who had been deceived by Satan. Adam had not been deceived. Jesus warned us over and over, especially because we live in the last days, to not be deceived. Eve's fall into deception speaks to me, warning me to be discerning in the dark times in which we are now living.
Nathan Jones: Were Adam and Eve engaged in a covenant relationship, which is the foundation of marriage?
Dawn Morris: Yes, I believe they were. The foundation of marriage is God putting one man and one woman together for life.
Nathan Jones: Throughout the Bible, especially in the Old Testament, God is always comparing special relationships to covenants, particularly the marriage covenant, which He protects. That's why God hates divorce so much, for it is a breaking of a covenant. We see in the Bible how much God loves and respects covenant relationships.
Dawn, I first heard your teaching about the seven Old Testament brides portraying the Bride of Christ at a conference that you were holding up near Seattle. It blew my mind because I've never thought of the Old Testament brides as pointing to the Church. You'll even hear people declare, "The Church was a mystery that nobody heard about until the New Testament." True, but that doesn't mean that the Lord wasn't already pointing to the Church by using these brides, correct?
Dawn Morris: God does so throughout Scripture. Pattern is a part of prophecy. And so, when you see these women and their patterns, they do altogether provide a picture of the Church.
Tim Moore: We as individuals or collectively as a Church don't have anything that would set us apart as holy except for God declaring us to be righteous. Christ is even going to provide clean white linens for us to wear once we get to heaven. The work of making the Bride holy is all to His credit, and so we will be presented to our Bridegroom as one made pure. What a beautiful picture!
To find out who the other six Old Testament brides are who portray the Bride of Christ, watch this week's episode of Christ in Prophecy or read the blog series starting today!