IS THE CHURCH THE BRIDE OF CHRIST?
By E. A. Rawlence. (Note: The original article has been edited because of its length. However, the argument and purpose of the author is clear. We do not necessarily condone all the writer says, but it seems to be the best answer to age old question. The publishing of this article does not imply that we agree with any departure from the KJV, should the author do so.)
Now, the “former rain” caused the grain to start its growth, corresponding with the outpouring of the Spirit on the nation at Pentecost, as we have seen, and as Peter was quick to note. The “latter rain” caused the ears to fill and mature for the harvest. So will Israel’s final testimony, when Joel’s prophecy will be fulfilled, cause “the harvest of earth” to ripen (Rev. 14. 15).
Out of this godly remnant we have to seek a company that will answer to the Bride, whilst the residue will answer to the bond-servants who went forth with the message, and the guests will be their Gentile converts. Such a company we find in Revelation 14:4, in the 144,000 which were redeemed from the earth. “These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the first-fruits unto God and to the Lamb.” The term, “they are virgins,” is no doubt not literal, but spiritual, indicating that they have not been guilty of spiritual whoredom, and have never given allegiance to the Antichrist. This seems clearly indicated verse 5. Whereas we are expressly told that on mankind “God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie” (2 Thess. 2. 11). The whole relations, as described between these sealed ones and the Lamb are such as would alone answer to the position of husband and wife.
The term, “they are virgins,” is no doubt not literal, but spiritual, indicating that they have not been guilty of spiritual whoredom, and have never given allegiance to the Antichrist.
I believe those 144,000 are to be identified with the man-child in Rev. 12, as the travailing woman is obviously Israel under her final great trouble, corresponding to the prophecy in Isa. 66:7, 8, “Before she travailed, she brought forth ; before her pain came, she was delivered of a man-child.” “Who hath heard such a thing ? Who hath seen such things ? Shall the earth be made to bring forth in one day ? or shall a nation be born at once ? for as soon as Zion travailed, she brought forth her children.” And it is whilst the nation is in this wilderness condition that the re-marriage is to take place. “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her. “And I will give her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope : and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt. “And it shall be at that day, saith the Lord, that thou shalt call me ISHI, i.e., my Husband; and shalt call me no more Baali (i.e., My Lord). “For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name.” Hos. 2:14-17.
We have yet to ascertain the time of the marriage. This is placed almost beyond dispute from Rev. 19, which clearly shows that it is practically the last event that takes place before the apocalypse of Jesus Christ as “the King of Kings and Lord of lords,” to usher in the Millennium. From this it is clear that if the Bride be the Church, the Church must then go through the whole of tribulation except the final act.
In conclusion I trust I have shown that there are many difficulties in the way of the Church being the Bride, although on the other hand there are no doubt passages which may seem to indicate that they are the same Bodies, but these are not absolute statements of identity, as in Rev.21. 9. They are only illustrations or comparisons, and are, I believe, open to a reasonable interpretation of the lines which I have indicated, whilst, if I have rightly divided the Word, I venture to think that such an interpretation clears many doubtful points, and opens the way to better understanding of God’s dispensational dealings.
Pastor Ken Blue was born in Boswell, Ark. In 1955 he accepted Christ as his Savior. He and his wife Joyce were married in 1955. They have 5 children. He graduated from Midwestern Baptist Bible College in 1969 and started the Open Door Baptist Church in Lynnwood, Wa. where he pastored for 39 years. Because of health issues (ALS) he was forced to resign as pastor. It is his desire to continue to be used of God to help pastors and believers through this ministry.