Is the Bride in Revelation the Church?May 15, 2023
It is a common misunderstanding among churches today that the “bride” or “wife of the Lamb” mentioned in the book of Revelation indicates the church or the saints (members of the church). However, this is incorrect. The bride mentioned in Revelation cannot be the church for several key reasons.
The bride gives the water of life
In Revelation 22 it is written that the bride gives the water of life.
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.
The water of life indicates eternal life. The bride mentioned in the book of Revelation is the giver of the water of life, eternal life. Can a church or its members ever give us eternal life? Never. Only God can give the water of life.
Revelation 21:5-7 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.
In the same book of Revelation, it is clearly written that God alone will be the One to give us the water of life. This is true not only in the last days, which the book of Revelation speaks about but in every age.
In the age of the Father, only God the Father Jehovah could give the water of life.
Jeremiah 2:13 “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me [Jehovah], the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”
There were many prophets in the age of the Father, for example, Abraham, Moses, and Joshua. However, they could never give the water of life, eternal life. Only the Savior can give us eternal life. In the age of the Father, the savior was God the Father, Jehovah. So only Jehovah could give the water of life.
In the age of the son, too, only the Savior, Jesus, could give the water of life.
John 4:13-14 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
In Jesus’ time, too, there were many prophets and apostles like Paul, Peter, and John. However, none of them could give the water of life. Why? Only the Savior can give the water of life.
In any age, the Bible consistently teaches that only the Savior can give us the water of life, eternal life. We can never receive eternal life from a church leader, such as a pastor, or from another church member. So, the bride in the book of Revelation who gives the water of life cannot be the church or its members.
The bride invites the saints to the wedding banquet
It is written in Revelation 19 that the wedding of the Lamb and His bride has come and that those who attend Their wedding are blessed by God.
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. 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.”
As in any wedding on earth, the wedding of the Lamb has three parties: the groom (the Lamb), the bride, and the guests (those who are invited and blessed). Those who are blessed by God are the church members, the saints. Can they then also be the bride? It is not possible to be both bride and guest at the same wedding banquet.
The parable of the heavenly wedding banquet is mentioned many times throughout the Bible. In every instance, the church or its members (the saints) are described as the guests of the wedding, not the bride.
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… Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. So go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ 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.”
In this parable delivered by Jesus, the son of the King represents Jesus who came to earth as the Son of God. The guests represent the members of the church, the saints, who are chosen by God to receive salvation. Thus, here, too, it is clear that the guests, those who are invited to the wedding banquet, cannot also be the bride.
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 [Jesus’ disciples] 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, Jesus described Himself as the bridegroom i.e., the groom in the parable of the wedding banquet. He also referred to His disciples, who were the saints of God (church members) 2,000 years ago, as the guests. Those who are the guests of the wedding banquet can never be the bride.
It’s clear that the bride mentioned in Revelation is not the church or its members.
Who is the bride in Revelation?
In the Bible, the word “bride” can have different meanings depending on the context. Those who insist that the bride in the book of Revelation is the church or its members quote a few verses to support this insistence:
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.
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 bride (or wife of Christ) is likened to the church or its members. Thus, in some contexts, the use of the word “bride” may indeed refer to the church. But this does not mean that every time a word is used in the Bible it has the same meaning. There are several words used in the Bible to have different meanings depending on the context, for example, 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.”
Here, Jesus instructs Apostle Peter to feed (care for) His lambs, referring to God’s people, the members of the church. Thus, in this context, the word “lamb” is used to refer to the church members. Does this mean that the word “lamb” is always used to refer to God’s people in the Bible? No.
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, “the Lamb” refers not to the church members but to their Savior, Jesus. If we were to assume here that the word “lamb” refers to the church or its members, we would come to the confusing misunderstanding that the church members take away the sin of the world and thus give salvation. This is certainly not the case.
Just as the church members cannot take away sin, allowing us to easily understand that the word lamb can mean either the church members or their Savior, so too the church members cannot give the water of life, allowing us to easily understand that the word bride can refer either to the church members or their Savior. The meaning of the word bride, just like the word lamb, depends on the context in which it is used.
In the context of the book of Revelation, the word bride can only mean the Savior of God’s people, not the church or its members to be saved. The bride in Revelation gives the water of life, which only God can do. The bride in Revelation is the wife of the Lamb, not the guests of the wedding banquet. The bride in Revelation is undeniably the Savior.
The bride in Revelation is God the Mother
The bride mentioned in Revelation 22 as the giver of the water of life, is referred to as the Heavenly Jerusalem, the wife of the Lamb, in Revelation 21.
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 [the Heavenly Jerusalem] from God.
The Apostle John, who wrote the book of Revelation, was shown the bride. However, what He was actually shown was Jerusalem which comes down out of heaven, i.e., not the physical Jerusalem on Earth, but the Heavenly Jerusalem.
Just as the Lamb here does not refer to a literal lamb, but rather the Savior, Jesus (John 1:29), the Heavenly Jerusalem does not refer to a literal city, but rather the Savior, God the Mother.
Galatians 4:26 But the Jerusalem that is above [in heaven] is free, and she is our mother.
Just as our Father who is above is God the Father (Matt. 6:9) so, too, our Mother who is above, in heaven, is God the Mother. The “our” mentioned in this verse are the church members to whom the Apostle Paul, the writer of Galatians, was writing.
To receive the water of life given by the bride in Revelation, we must come to God the Mother. She is the reality of the bride; our Savior in this age. Without receiving God the Mother who comes to give us the water of life, we can never be the guests of the wedding banquet who are blessed by God. If we view the Bible only in fragments without understanding that words like bride and lamb can have different meanings depending on their context, we can never receive the promise of salvation given by God the Mother. We must strive to realize the Savior and come to Her. If you want to learn more about God the Mother so that you can become Her child and be blessed with salvation, please read other articles about Her here or visit the World Mission Society Church of God.