The Bride of Christ


Most churches in Christendom teach the Church is the “bride of Christ.” But the phrase “bride of Christ” does not occur in the Bible. Furthermore, imagery of the Church as bride is thin at best. The goal of this study is to examine whether the teaching that the Church, the body of Christ, is the bride of Christ has Biblical merit.

The Bride in the Old Testament

In the Old Testament, the idea of Israel as the “wife” of God is developed. Though Israel was “married” to God she proved an unfaithful spouse. The nation’s unfaithfulness was expressed as spiritual adultery: it deserted Him for false gods, e.g., Baal, Asherah, Molech, Dagon, etc. Despite these failures, God declared the nation would return to Him, that they would become what He had purposed for them, and that He would fulfill His covenant promises to them. According to God’s promise, the entire nation would become priests (Exodus 19.6) and a faithful wife. With this in mind, Isaiah wrote:

“Fear not, for you will not be put to shame; and do not feel humiliated, for you will not be disgraced; but you will forget the shame of your youth, and the reproach of your widowhood you will remember no more. “For your husband is your Maker, whose name is the LORD of hosts; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, who is called the God of all the earth. “For the LORD has called you, like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, even like a wife of one’s youth when she is rejected,” says your God. “For a brief moment I forsook you, but with great compassion I will gather you. “In an outburst of anger I hid My face from you for a moment, but with everlasting lovingkindness I will have compassion on you,” says the LORD your Redeemer (Isaiah 54.4-8).

1 For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not keep quiet, until her righteousness goes forth like brightness, and her salvation like a torch that is burning. 2 The nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; and you will be called by a new name which the mouth of the Lord will designate. 3 You will also be a crown of beauty in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of your God. 4 It will no longer be said to you, “Forsaken,” nor to your land will it any longer be said, “Desolate”; but you will be called, “My delight is in her,” and your land, “Married”; for the Lord delights in you, and to Him your land will be married. 5 For as a young man marries a virgin, so your sons will marry you; and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so your God will rejoice over you (Isaiah 62.1-5).

Jeremiah wrote:

“Return, faithless people,” declares the LORD, “for I am your husband. I will choose you—one from a town and two from a clan—and bring you to Zion (Jeremiah 3.14).

31 “Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. 33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people (Jeremiah 31.31-33).

God used the prophet Hosea’s personal life as an object lesson to instruct idolatrous Israel. To present His case, God told Hosea to marry an idolatrous woman,1 to represent Israel’s faithlessness in serving other gods. Hosea had three children by his wife, Gomer. Their names depicted God’s judgment of the nation. The first child, a son, was named Jezreel (God scatters). God judged (scattered) the northern kingdom with the Assyrian invasion (722 B.C.). The second child was a daughter named Lo-ruhama (not pitied) and the third child, a son, was named Lo-ammi (not my people). But God’s disfavor would be temporary. He promised that the nation would repent of its unfaithfulness and return to Him. Hosea wrote:

14 “Therefore, behold, I will allure her, bring her into the wilderness and speak kindly to her. 15 “Then I will give her her vineyards from there, and the valley of Achor as a door of hope. And she will sing there as in the days of her youth, as in the day when she came up from the land of Egypt. 16 “It will come about in that day,” declares the LORD, “That you will call Me Ishi and will no longer call Me Baali. 17 “For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth, so that they will be mentioned by their names no more. 18 “In that day I will also make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field, the birds of the sky and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish the bow, the sword and war from the land, and will make them lie down in safety. 19 “I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and in justice, in lovingkindness and in compassion, 20 And I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness. Then you will know the LORD (Hosea 2.14-20).

In this tender passage, God is seen as a courting lover. He “allures” the object of His love and speaks kindly to her. The passage speaks of a refreshed relationship in which His wife (Israel) will call Him  אִישִׁי “my husband,” “my man” (Ishi) instead of בַּעְלִי “my Lord.” Baal (בַּעַל) was one of the false gods Israel discovered when they came into the land of Canaan (Numbers 22.41; Judges 2.13). In the prophecy of this restored relationship, in which God will put His Spirit into the nation (Jeremiah 31.31-40), the animal kingdom will also be at peace (Isaiah 11.6-9) and war will be no more (Isaiah 2.1-4). This renewed betrothal will be eternal and Israel will know the Lord–the One True God.2

The Bride in Revelation

The book of Revelation reads like an Old Testament book. And for good reason. Most  of its symbols and imagery are found in the prophets. To a discerning reader, it should be clear that Jesus’ messages to the assemblies (ἐκκλησία) in Revelation 2-3 were not Christian, i.e., Pauline churches. The language the Lord used towards them has no correspondence to the language or the concepts Paul had received and communicated to Christian churches. John wrote to these seven Jewish assemblies to encourage them in the tribulation they were experiencing (cf. Revelation 1.9). Of the seven cities Jesus mentioned, only three are found elsewhere in the Bible: Ephesus (Acts 18.19, 21, 24, 19.1, 17, 26, 35, 20.16, 17; 1 Corinthians 15.32, 16.8, Ephesians 1.1, 1 Timothy 1.3; 2 Timothy 1.18, 4.12), Thyatira (Acts 16.14), and Laodicea (Colossians 2.1, 4.13, 15-16; 1 Timothy 6.21). We have no information about Smyrna, Pergamon, Sardis, or Philadelphia. The interpretation of the events of Revelation remain future. Those who have attempted to make church history correspond with the messages to these churches (historicists–see below example) or worse, have tried to fit the events into a pre-70 A.D. timeframe (preterists), have replaced sound exegesis with fantasy.

The character of these assemblies is Jewish. No Church, i.e., body of Christ, doctrine is present in them. The Lord’s message to them is wholly different from the language He gave to Paul for the body of Christ. No hint of the gospel or the doctrines of grace may be found in Jesus’ words to these assemblies. Jesus’ refrain is “he who has an ear, let him hear” and His command is to persevere and endure. None of this is present in Paul. The warnings Jesus gave the assemblies echo His warnings to the Twelve on the Mount of Olives. In that address, He warned them not to be deceived and to endure to the end (Matthew 24.4, 11, 24, 13). The great temptation that will confront Israel, as well as the world, during the period of time foretold by Revelation, will be to accept a false Messiah. This will involve the worship of Satan, the beast (Satan’s man, the Antichrist), the Antichrist’s image, and the taking of his mark (Revelation 13.4, 8, 15, 16-17). Jesus’ refrain to the seven assemblies is repeated in Revelation 13.9. In Revelation 14.9-11, God’s angel warned of the consequences of submitting to the temptation. Revelation 14.12 describes the “patience,” “perseverance,” or “endurance” (ὑπομονή) Jesus described in the Jewish assemblies in Revelation 2.3, 19, 3.10. During this period of time salvation is possible only through endurance (Matthew 24.13). Jesus’ words about salvation during this period are as straightforward as words can be: only by enduring to the end, i.e., the end of one’s life (martyrdom) or until He returns is salvation possible.

Since the book is primarily about Israel and reads like the Old Testament, one conclusion remains: that is what it is. The bride of Revelation 19 is Israel, not the Church, the body of Christ, since the Church is nowhere in the book. John wrote:

Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. then he *said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb’” (Revelation 19.7-9).

In the marriage of the Lamb, we read that the bride has made herself ready. Does this sound like the Church, the body of Christ? Paul declared members of the body of Christ have been made complete in Christ (ἐστὲ ἐν αὐτῷ πεπληρωμένοι, Colossians 2.10). The Church needs no “preparation.” We are complete in Him! No, the bride here is Israel and the “marriage of the Lamb” is the reconciliation of Israel with God which the prophets foretold.

In Revelation 21, John described a new heaven and new earth (Revelation 21.1) to replace the old heaven and earth which had departed (ἀπέρχομαι). Along with the new heaven and earth is the new Jerusalem. It comes down from heaven onto the new earth (Revelation 21.2). John described the city as a bride adorned for her husband. In Revelation 21.9, one of the seven angels of the seven bowls showed John the bride, called the wife of the Lamb. This was the new Jerusalem. Again, everything is Jewish. The city has twelve gates with the names of the twelve tribes of Israel written on them (Revelation 21.12). The twelve foundation stones have the names of the twelve apostles (Revelation 21.14; cf. Matthew 19.28). Nothing of the Church is here.

Israel had both an earthly and a heavenly calling. They were called out from among the nations of the earth and given earthly promises, e.g., a kingdom and preeminence among the nations (Deuteronomy 28.1, 13). But they had a heavenly calling also, described in Hebrews 3.1 that began with Abraham, cf. Hebrews 11.8-10. Abraham anticipated (ἐκδέχομαι) a heavenly city. How much he knew of it is unknown. But he looked for a heavenly city. The new Jerusalem of Revelation 21 was that city.

The first two callings pertain to Israel. The third calling is for the Church, the body of Christ (Ephesians 1.18; 2 Timothy 1.9). God’s promises to the Church are wholly heavenly, not earthly (Ephesians 1.3, 2.6; Philippians 3.20).

Paul and the Bride of Christ?

Paul taught that the Church was the body of Christ (Ephesians 1.22-23; Colossians 1.18, 24) and that believers become members of His body through the baptism of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12.13). This revelation was one of the “secrets” (μυστήριον) the glorified Lord revealed to Paul alone. Paul was the only writer of Scripture who taught that the Church was the body of Christ. He declared that before him this truth was not known (Ephesians 3.3-7).

We have established that the Scriptures teach that the Church is the body of Christ. How is it most of Christendom teaches the Church is the bride of Christ? Two passages have been used to make this argument. They are the following:

2 Corinthians 11.2

For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.

Read out of context, this passage may appear to support the idea that the Church is the bride of Christ. But the verses that follow correct such wandering. Paul continued,

But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully. For I consider myself not in the least inferior to the most eminent apostles. But even if I am unskilled in speech, yet I am not so in knowledge; in fact, in every way we have made this evident to you in all things (2 Corinthians 11.3-6).

Paul’s point was to encourage the Corinthians to remain faithful to Christ and his gospel (1 Corinthians 15.1-4). Paul constantly had to defend his ministry–from both unbelievers and believers. From his words in this passage he recognized he was not the most polished speaker. But in terms of knowledge, he was far ahead of anyone else: he was God’s apostle to the Gentiles (Romans 11.13). The risen Lord had commissioned him and revealed to him secrets no one else knew.3 Paul’s choice of words to the Corinthians, “present you as a pure virgin” was to illustrate his desire for holy living for these believers, not to teach that the Church is the bride of Christ–any more than Paul taught that he was their mother (Galatians 4.19) or their father (1 Corinthians 4.15).

Ephesians 5.22-33

22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything. 25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND SHALL BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.

In the passage above, Paul argued that as a husband is the head of a wife, Christ is the head of the Church. This fit with Paul’s teaching that the Church is the body of Christ with Christ Himself as the Head (Ephesians 1.22; Colossians 1.18). Paul noted that husbands should love their wives as their own bodies (v. 28) because no one ever hated his own flesh (v.29). One nourishes his body and cherishes it (v.29). It is this nourishing and care of a husband for his own body that Paul used to make the analogy regarding Christ’s care for His Church, i.e., His body (v. 29-30). Paul quoted Genesis 2.24, not to make a point about the husband/wife relationship or that the Church is the bride of Christ but to emphasize the unity and care for the body. Paul declared this was a great “secret” (μυστήριον) but that he spoke with reference to Christ and His Church (v. 32).

Since the Church is the body of Christ it means that if Christ is the bridegroom we are part of His groomsmanship. Thus, we are of the bridegroom, not the bride!


Wife and bride are titles that belong to Israel not the Church. Our title is “the body of Christ.” As the body, we are of the bridegroom, not the bride. If you cannot tell the bridegroom from the bride at a marriage it is going to be a confusing wedding. But God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14.33). He wishes believers to understand who they are, where they fit in His plan, and what promises belong to them. When we do, we can rejoice in the grace God has given to us and serve and honor Him effectively.

1 Hosea’s wife אֵשֶׁת זְנוּנִים (Hosea 1.2) was most likely an idolater, not a physical prostitute. This is what seems to be indicated in Hosea 2.8, 13, 3.1, 4.12-19, etc. God used Hosea’s personal life to address the spiritual adultery of the nation, their unfaithfulness to God as Israel’s husband.
2 See the author’s study, The One True God.
See the author’s study, Paul’s “Mystery.”

©2012 Don Samdahl. Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold.

Updated January 4, 2014

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224 Responses to The Bride of Christ

  1. beth lowe says:

    I can not express the depth of gratitude I feel upon reading this. I knew it !! I knew that we the church was not the bride but I could not explain it. I didn’t have the knowledge to do so. maybe not fully understanding it fully myself , but I knew with just common sense of how some scripture read that it could not be true. So again I say Thank you!

  2. mike says:

    Awesome very well put. I would have preferred the clear wording of the King James version but the study is spot on…I cant wait to see Him face to face

  3. Matt Taylor says:

    Trying to wrap my head around this and have more questions:

    Isn’t Paul referring to the church in this part of Ephesians 5?

    “also loved the CHURCH and gave Himself up for HER, 26so that He might sanctify HER, having cleansed HER by the washing of water with the word, 27that He might present to Himself the CHURCH in all HER glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that SHE would be holy and blameless.”

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Good observations and questions. In Ephesians 5.25, Paul used αὐτῆς, genitive feminine singular of αὐτός so, “her.” In v. 26 and 27, he used αὐτήν, the accusative feminine singular, “her.” Why did Paul use the feminine pronoun? Wouldn’t it have made more sense for him to use the neuter pronoun, especially since the noun for body, σῶμα, is neuter? Normally, yes. But if we consider the context, Paul’s subject is marriage, especially the relation of husbands and wives. The wife’s position is one of subjection, just as the body is subject to the head (vv. 22-24). The role of husbands is to love their wives as Christ loved the Church, vv. 25, 28. The conclusion is that both, men and women, husbands and wives, are members of His body (v. 30). In the context of Ephesians 5, Paul was making an illustration, not establishing a doctrine. Paul quoted Genesis 2.24 (v. 31), for the integrity of the marriage relationship is like that of the Head and body. Paul explicitly stated the Church was the body of Christ. He never stated the Church was the bride of Christ. One was illustrative, the other doctrinal.

      • Rich Prickitt says:

        In Matthew 16:18 (KJV), Jesus says, “. . . I will build my Church . . . and the gates of hell shall not prevail against IT.” (In the Greek,
        αὐτῆς (autes). αὐτῆς (autes) = “it.”
        In Ephesians 5:25-27, the NIV; the NKJV; the ESV; the HCSB; the NASB; the Ampl; and several others change the impersonal third person pronoun “it” to “her.” But in order to be consistent, Matthew 16:18 should then read, “. . . and the gates of hell shall not prevail against “HER.” Therefore, stick with the KJV.

        • doctrine doctrine says:

          How one translates αὐτός is determined by context. Since ἐκκλησία is a feminine noun, it requires a feminine form of αὐτός which is αὐτῆς.

      • stacey says:

        i know you will bring this up further on you say that Jesus would not marry himself but did not adam do this as we read Gen 2:21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
        Gen 2:22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

        • doctrine doctrine says:

          I don’t quite follow your thought here. They only think I am really saying is that the Church is the body of Christ, not the Bride. No Scripture states the Church is the bride and the phrase doesn’t even exist. The preponderance of Scripture is that believing Israel occupies the wife/bride relationship with Christ, not the Church.

  4. Dymesha says:

    So with your evidence, can you expound on how Israel is related to the bride in Revelation based on Revelation 21:2, 9-10; 22:17, which point to the holy city, New Jerusalem? Something isn’t quite adding up on my end. Also, doesn’t Paul say in Galatians 3:28-29 that “there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs, according to the promise?” How can there then be a distinction made between Israel and the Church when Paul states, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, that we are all one?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      John wrote that the New Jerusalem was “as a bride,” ὡς νύμφην, not that it was the bride. During the Church Age, in which God is forming the “body of Christ” there is no “Jew or Gentile” just as Paul wrote. But God works one plan at a time. When the body of Christ came into existence, Israel was set aside (see Romans 11). When the body of Christ is complete, God will remove it from the earth and finish his dealings with Israel (Romans 11.25-27). During that period, God will fulfill His promises to the nation which culminate in the kingdom of God on earth. In the kingdom, the New Covenant will be enacted and God will fulfill His promises to Israel, such as Exodus 19.4-6, Deuteronomy 28.1, 13, etc.

      • Dymesha says:

        So why do you suppose that when the angel said to John “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife” does John get “carried…away…and showed…the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God” and then goes on to describe this city in great detail? I understand that there are metaphors and symbolic meanings in scripture but this seems to be literal concerning the city. What do you suppose Revelation 22:17 means by “And the Spirit and the bride say, Come?”

        • doctrine doctrine says:

          Consider: Revelation is wholly Jewish. Jesus addressed Jewish assemblies in Rev. 2-3. The New Jerusalem on the New Earth will be the eternal abode of saved Israel (cf. Revelation 3.12, 21.2, 22.14, Hebrews 12.22). Saved Israel is the bride/wife of Christ and by metonomy the New Jerusalem is described as the bride, since it is the residence of the bride/wife. We have no information about the relationship of the body of Christ, the Church, to the New Jerusalem. God has chosen to keep that secret. The most we have is what Paul wrote in Romans 8, that we are heirs of God and joint-heirs of Christ. Since the Church is a heavenly people we can speculate that our destiny is involved in the New Heavens rather than the New Earth.

          • Rosemarie C. says:

            Thank you for this study about the bride of Christ. I just want to add something to your comments above on the New Jerusalem…

            In Galatians 4:22-31, Paul says we are the children of promise and that New Jerusalem is the Mother of us all.

            I understand this to mean all of us; both saved Israel and the Body of Christ.

            • doctrine doctrine says:

              Yes, the heavenly Jerusalem, the greater reality of the earthly Jerusalem, is the mother of all believers, Israel and Church. This heavenly city is the meeting of heaven and earth for while it is currently in heaven, John saw it descend upon the earth in the new heavens and new earth of eternity.

          • Mark says:

            “But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.” ~ Rev 21:27 Looks to me like the New Jerusalem is for EVERYONE who is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.

            • doctrine doctrine says:

              I can think of no Biblical reason to disagree. But also remember, John’s audience was Jewish, not the Church, the body of Christ. We have little information about the eternal state or our activities therein.

          • Dk says:

            Thank you for your post. Some good information, but I do have a concern. You state that Jesus was addressing Jewish assemblies in Revelation 2-3. He was addressing the seven churches, which were comprised of both Jews and Gentiles and some (please forgive my assumption) may have been entirely Gentile except for the overseers. Please reconcile. By the way, I tend to agree the bride is not the church.

  5. Darlene Leistner says:

    Thank you for your article. I also have raised my eyebrows when it is mentioned that the church is the Bride of Christ. Nowhere in scripture does it say that; but it says that we are the body of Christ, which is a doctrine of the church. I think that sometimes the church forgets that God is not through with His people; we have been the ones grafted in by the grace and mercy of God. I would like to point out, however, that Paul taught that the Jews and Gentiles have been united to God as one new body through the cross (Eph. 2:16). The separation is not with the spiritual Jews and Gentiles in Christ, but with the earthly Israel, the nation of Israel, who will one day see their Messiah and will mourn for their unbelief.

  6. De doven says:

    Well well cried when I read this as I knew in my heart that we as a church were trying to rob Israel of her inheritance as the bride.yes we are the body of Yashua and should be very honoured to have this privilege, thank you so much for saying what I could not explain, thank you again.

  7. true doctrine says:

    when Paul tells the church, “for I betrothed you to one husband” (2 Cor 11:2), [husband being Christ] doesn’t that make them the bride?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      No, I answer that question in the article. If God is the husband of the Church does God have two wives? If the Church is the body of Christ how can it be the bride? Bride and groom are different.

      • Becky says:

        Hi Don,
        Could it be that God the Father is married to Israel and out of this union came Jesus the Son? Then this verse in Corinthians can be taken simply and literally, that the Church is betrothed to Christ. Actually this seems to be played out/portrayed often throughout Scripture.

        This verse just came to mind:
        Isa 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.

        Who is “us”? In my mind, i thought of “us” as the world. But Jesus wasn’t born unto the world. A child is born unto his parents. Also, I’ve always thought about God giving His only begotten Son without thinking about the fact that Jesus is the son of a Jewish woman also. Israel, God’s wife. The Son of that union, Jesus. And Jesus’ betrothed, the Church.

        • doctrine doctrine says:

          The “us” of Isaiah 9 is the nation of Israel.

          • becky says:

            Hi Don, Wondering if you got my last reply, which i sent on the 12th. My point is that the “us” in Isaiah is as you say the nation of Israel. That Jesus was born unto Israel; as the Scriptures say, salvation is of the Jews. Thus with Israel being “married” to God the Father, they as a nation could not be the “bride” of Christ. But as Paul said, he has betrothed the Church to Christ. Do you catch what I’m saying?

            • doctrine doctrine says:

              I think I covered this in the article. Please see the passages in Isaiah and Hosea where Israel is spoken of as a bride. The Church is the body of Christ, not the bride.

              • Becky says:

                Thanks Don. Do the prophets mention or allude in some way to the marriage supper?

              • doctrine doctrine says:

                See Psalm 45.

              • becky says:

                Thanks for the Psalm 45 reply. (the reply button was not under that reply for some reason). That is truly amazing, don’t know that i’ve ever “seen” that before.

              • Becky says:

                Don, is Israel ever scripturally brought out from being under the law? The Law or law are not mentioned in Revelation. The other thing i see is that in 2 cor 11:2 the words “you as” are italicized. Without them it reads “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present a chaste virgin to Christ.”

                Also, it appears to me that those under the law are represented as Hagar the bondwoman. Again, at what point does Israel become free from the law in order to become Christ’s bride? I am being sincere, not contentious.

              • doctrine doctrine says:

                This is a difficult question. God told the Jews He would write His law on their hearts (Jeremiah 31.33). This certainly includes the moral law but may include the whole law. We know the Temple will exist in the Millennium. I hesitate to write more because this is not an area I have studied sufficiently to provide a sound answer. The article: may provide some insight.

      • Franz says:

        doctrine, I think it is possible to have both distinct images “wife of Yahweh” and “bride of Christ” because they explain the two distinct relationships of God with his people Israel and with the church. God is big enough to be faithful in both these relationships.

        If you don’t accept that then indeed you run into a problem with “for I betrothed you to one husband” (2 Cor 11:2) which is clearly written to the church.

        Regarding body of Christ / bride of Christ, again I wouldn’t see a contradiction but rather 2 different images illustrating 2 aspects of our relationship as church with Christ. I would even go as far as saying that Ephesians 5.22-33 is Paul’s way to bring both images together: the wife of the husband is set equal to the body of the husband when Paul says: ‘For the husband is the head of the wife’.

        • doctrine doctrine says:

          I think there is one important point in this. Paul explicitly stated the Church was the body of Christ. He did not state the Church was the bride of Christ. Regarding the notion of the Church being the “bride of Christ” Paul used the marriage relationship to illustrate our relationship with Christ. He never stated the Church was the bride. I cannot understand why so many try to make the Church to be the bride since such a view has so little Scriptural support. The Scriptures are explicit that Israel is the wife/bride of YHVH, i.e., Christ.

          • Franz says:

            I guess the relevance of this question is connected to Jesus declaring himself to be the bridegroom and how this shines through in his teachings (e.g. John 14:2-3). If we – the Church – are not the bride, is this then not meant for us?

            Of course, this also depends on the question if Jesus addressed his disciples as representatives of Israel or as pioneers of the Church (which he certainly intended them to be, see Matthew 28:18-20)

            • doctrine doctrine says:

              The Church, the body of Christ, is not revealed until Paul. It was a secret truth God kept hidden until then. No Church language exists in the Gospels. Matthew 28 speaks of the OT program of Israel blessing the nations, not the Church.

      • toddott says:

        Eve was taken out of Adam, but she remained bone of his bone, flesh of his flesh… his body. The two become ONE. Very simple. We are both the Bride and the Body.

        In the same way, in Christ, Gentiles become part of the Commonwealth of Israel, ONE NEW MAN, and sharers in the Promise. Very simple.

        The eternal purpose of God, from the foundation of the world, was to bring all things together in Christ.

        We are called saints, the elect, kings, priests, servants, a holy nation, Israel, the Church, the Bride, the Body, and more.
        It doesn’t mean the Church will literally be married to Christ, or that will are literally His body. The natural is given in order to teach us something about the spiritual.
        Just as a husband places his seed into his bride, and she bears natural fruit, so Christ places His Seed into His Bride, and she bears spiritual fruit. The Bride is anyone to whom the Spirit is given.

        John tells us that the Bride is the Holy City, the New Jerusalem. Paul tells us that Hagar represents the Old Covenant, and Jerusalem below, that is, earthly Jerusalem, and that her children, earthly Israel, are in bondage. Sarah represents the New Covenant, Jerusalem above, and that her children, spiritual Israel, are free. The writer of Hebrews tells us that we have come to Mount Zion, to the City of the Living God, to the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, to the general assembly and the Church of the Firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of men made perfect, and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood which speaks better than the blood of Abel.
        The Bride is Israel, but Paul states that “not all who are descended from Israel are Israel, nor are they Abraham’s children. It is not the natural seed, but rather those who believe in the Promise. True Israel is made up of the believing remnant of Jews, and grafted in believing Gentiles.

        As for the Church not being in the book of Revelation, that is nonsense. Those who have the testimony of Jesus and obey His commands are defined in John’s first letter.

        • doctrine doctrine says:

          No Biblical support exits for the idea that the Church becomes part of the Commonwealth of Israel. Israel and the Church are separate programs created by God. Mixing these programs has led to gross error and great confusion in Christendom. The Scripture declares believing Israel will be priests (Exodus 19.4-6; 1 Peter 2.9), not members of the body of Christ. John, Peter, James, Jude wrote to Jews, not to the Church. That was Paul’s domain (Galatians 2.7-9). Paul’s language is wholly different. It is easy to write it is nonsense that the Church is not in Revelation but it is not possible to prove it with the Scriptures. The language of Revelation is not Church language. Compare it with Paul and this will become abundantly clear. Revelation describes God’s judgment upon unrepentant Israel and the Christ rejecting nations. The Church is absent. It does not receive God’s judgment (1 Thessalonians 1.10, 5.9).

  8. true doctrine says:

    why cant the church be the bride & the body? the Bible has many metaphors for the church?

  9. Alan Raine says:

    Thanks so much for your clarification. Ever since immersing myself in Darby, and the Berean Fellowship writers ( Stam, Brock, Sadler et al) and now Feldick I’ve been able to see clearly the role of restored Israel including the fact that the Body of Christ is not in Revelation. However I’m really surprised that Darby, Stam and Feldick all refer to the Body of Christ as the Bride of Christ. At least Sadler takes issue with Stam over the concept. I keep wondering how they can make that mistake since they are so advanced in their understanding of Scripture. How do you integrate their mistake with their otherwise ultimate interpretations of Scripture? Thank you.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Thank you. I really can’t explain it. It seems pretty straightforward to me.

      • Judith Benson says:

        I have heard Feldick say the Body of Christ is not the Bride of Christ. That is what started my investigation of this. I have never liked the term Bride of Christ for the Body of Christ. I thank you, Doctrine, as well for the clarification. I read the article through tears of understanding as well.

    • John martin says:

      Feldick has changed back on this.

  10. Taylor says:

    Thank you for the article. I have a question, reason with me. Everyone born in the Israelite family in this day in time has to believe and receive Christ as their Saviour, and the Holy Spirit just as everybody else to be saved right? In this light, wouldn’t that make them part of the “body of Christ”? That being said, with them being of the Israel nation, they are also the “bride of Christ” are they not? That being said referencing Eph. 2:16, if the Jews can now grab hold of being the “body of Christ”, they can now hold both titles. Therefore, would not the Church be able to hold both titles also? Just reasoning thought, please give feedback.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Thank you. Interesting thought but it doesn’t work that way. It doesn’t matter if one is a Jew or a Gentile at present since Paul taught that in the “body of Christ” no distinction exists between Jew and Gentile (Galatians 3.28). All who are saved today have believed Paul’s gospel, 1 Corinthians 15.1-4, which makes them a member of the body of Christ.

      • Lloyd says:

        He makes a good point. And you only addressed it by saying “it doesn’t work that way”. Can you elaborate on how it doesn’t work that way? I found your entire article to rely on assumptions to reach conclusions. Particularly that Revelation is for Jews only. Your interpretation of Ephesians chapter 6 is less than compelling. Yes there is talk about the husband loving his wife as his own body, but just before Paul mentions the “mystery” he quotes Genesis 2:24, so the immediate context is actual marriage of a man and woman. I believe that the church, and true Israel, are the Bride of Christ and the Body. I believe that this was why God created humankind, to be married to him. In Isaiah 62:2 the prophet says that God will give Zion (historically Israel) a “new name” which the Lord will designate.

        • doctrine doctrine says:

          My point was that at the present time, God makes no distinction between Jew and Gentile when one believes Paul’s gospel and becomes a member of the Church, the body of Christ. So one doesn’t hold dual “citizenship” as it were because it doesn’t exist. We know Revelation was written primarily for Jews for the churches John writes were all Jewish. No Church, i.e., Pauline language exists in Jesus’ words to them. Furthermore, salvation is not based upon faith the the death and resurrection of Christ but upon “overcoming.” See my article Understanding the Book of Revelation for more information.

          • Lloyd says:

            Sorry, this is really long. I understand how you see the Church and Israel and how Jewish people who accept Christ will be in the Church. But that seems so messy. What happened to Israel when the Church came? Did they cease to be the bride? Is their status on hold until the Church age was finished?
            Your argument that Revelation has no Church or Pauline language means it’s a Jewish book for Jews, well why does the type of language dictate the audience. This is the only New Testament book that is apocalyptic. So we don’t have any “gentile” apocalyptic books to compare it to. Might it be that it isn’t Jewish in character, but how God chooses to reveal the future no matter the audience. I found this argument that Revelation is not primarily for Jews, but the Church as a whole and am curious how you respond to it.

            “Revelation certainly has many Old Testament themes and allusions, which might make it appear very Jewish. It was also written by a Jew, which also gives it a Jewish flavor. Further, it is really the only prophetic/apocalyptic book in the New Testament — all the other books that closely resemble it are in the Old Testament, which may also make it appear Jewish.

            On the other hand, most of the books of the New Testament were written by Jews (some argue that even Luke and Mark were Jewish), which should not be surprising since all the apostles were Jewish. But this leaves us with a distinct lack of Gentile Christian apocalyptic/prophetic literature for purposes of comparison. In other words, there is really no good way to tell if Revelation is distinctly Jewish in style, or if it is simply Christian in style (with Jewish and Gentile Christians sharing the same style). Several facts imply that the original audience of Revelation was not distinctly Jewish: 1) Revelation does not distinguish between Jews and Gentiles in the church, implying that such a distinction is not very relevant to how its message is received; 2) Revelation was written in Greek (not Aramaic or Hebrew), indicating that any Jews in the original audience were at least somewhat Hellenized; 3) the original audience dwelled in Asia Minor, which was a predominantly Gentile area; 4) the biblical information regarding other churches in Asia Minor, such as that contained in Acts and the Pauline epistles, indicates that they contained both Jews and Gentiles — this is explicitly the case with Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, and Ephesus was part of the original audience of Revelation.”

            Regarding the salvation by “overcoming” comment. You mention the future active tense of “grant salvation” as the reason these congregations have not been saved by faith. But then mention that the congregations are going to be present during the Tribulation. It makes sense that Jesus would extend a future salvation to a future people. Their faith is also future when they will exist on the earth. The degree to which everyone’s salvation is by faith, is so completely expounded throughout the Old and New Testament that I can’t imagine why you draw up this distinction other than to support the “Revelation is for Jews” line of reasoning.
            I have to ask, what is your training? How did you formulate your doctrine? On your own, did you go to a school, study under someone? I ask because you have such unorthodox teaching. (I’ll be the first to admit that is not always bad) After a second reading of your definition of “overcoming”, one can say that this is really just the definition of “having faith”. So I am not as alarmed as I was when I read your response, though still very concerned. Saying that under any circumstances salvation for anyone is not by faith alone in the Sacrifice and Resurrection of Christ is rightly considered heresy.

            • doctrine doctrine says:

              You’ve posed many questions. As to what happened to Israel, I recommend my article, The Olive Tree. With regard to Revelation in general, we simply do not find Pauline language there. We have no mention of the cross of Christ or by believing in the death and resurrection of Christ for salvation. The reason is that God has removed the Church and these final seven years involve God again dealing with Israel according to His revelation in the Old Testament–again, see The Olive Tree. I think I’ve answered most of your questions in my articles. If you persevere you will find the answers. As to my background, see the Contact page.

            • Isobelle says:

              I agree with you totally and would like to add this… The word, Church or Churches, mysteriously disappears from the Revelation after 3:22 and is not mentioned again until Rev 22:16 and then, it only references back to what the Angel was going to tell John in the first 3 chapters concerning “these things in the Churches”. Too many people are trying to put the Church into all of Revelations when the fact is the Church is NOT mentioned or seen on earth during the Seven Seals of Judgment.

              • doctrine doctrine says:

                Please see my article, Understanding the Book of Revelation. The “churches” Jesus addressed in Revelation 2-3 were Jewish assemblies, not Body of Christ churches. Paul divided the human race into three categories: Jews, Gentiles, and Church. Revelation primarily concerns Israel (Jeremiah 30.7) as well as Gentiles (nations). The Church, the body of Christ is not addressed or present. The language Jesus used in His address to those assemblies was wholly Jewish. We find no Pauline language there.

              • Sky Cade says:

                Sorry but if you look at the first chapters of revaluation 1-4 it’s the opening for the church’s…. He explains to each church what they are doing good and bad… After that he goes on to tell them what he saw… So if you take a letter you have the heading which was the churchea then you have the opening which were him telling them what they were doing good and bad then you have the body or the purpose of the letter and that was him telling what he saw…. Also everyone has to get saved to get to heaven, even the Jews if they don’t then they will go to hell…. But once you are saved you become the seed of Abraham father of all nations… So if take the meaning of the bride of the lamb as it really means, it means the holy Jerusalem the city…. because why would John go to so much detail of the city if was referring to the Jews? Even the first 12 Christians are written on the city and the 12 tribes….

              • doctrine doctrine says:

                The word “church” is ἐκκλησία which means an assembly of people. Jesus is speaking to Jewish congregations in Revelation 2-3. The language He uses is that of the Old Testament. These addresses contain language that is wholly different from the language Paul used to the Church, the body of Christ. The Twelve were not Christians. No one was called a Christian until Acts 11.26 and Paul was the first Christian according to 1 Timothy 1.15-16 and 1 Corinthians 3.10 (see my article, Paul: Chief of Sinners?).

              • Sky Cade says:

                so if what you are saying is that we are gone way before chapter of Revaluations???.. Which doesn’t make sense… And if you look at the churches he writing to they were real churches. So he was speaking to Christians not Jews…

              • doctrine doctrine says:

                One of the foundational truths of Christianity is that the Church, the body of Christ, will not be present during the Tribulation. This is basic Christianity. Paul taught this to the Thessalonians immediately after they believed the gospel (1 Thessalonians 1.10, 5.1-11; 2 Thessalonians 2.1-3). Revelation concerns the Jews and the nations. The Church is not present. It is the time of Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30.7). Jesus addressed Jewish assemblies in Revelation 2-3 as a continuation of his warning in Matthew 24. He cannot return until they repent (Matthew 23.37-39).

              • Sky Cade says:

                Christian means followers of Christ so they were the first Christians

              • doctrine doctrine says:

                No, the Scriptures teach that men were not known as Christians until they came under Paul’s teachings (Acts 11.26).

          • Lloyd says:

            One last comment. It seems unlikely that the Church at Pergamum was only Jewish if they had those who were of the Nicolaitans in their number. For those who don’t know, this was a corrupt sect of early Christianity that allowed adultery/polygamy and the eating of food sacrificed to idols. Unimaginable acts for Jews.

            • doctrine doctrine says:

              Perhaps. But in the OT Jews did unimaginable things. Can you imagine making a golden calf to worship immediately after God had delivered them from the slavery of Egypt? We really don’t know what was going on with these assemblies. What we can know is that the language the Lord used to address them was all Jewish, i.e., OT language. Not one hint of Paul’s gospel, grace, etc. is there.

  11. Taylor says:

    In addition to my prior post, what about Romans 7:4? Paul is speaking to believers (body of Chris). He specifically states that they are to be “married to another”, i.e. Christ.

  12. Hova says:

    To me, Revelations clearly states that Jerusalem is the bride of Christ. To many, “the church” is clearly the bride. Israel, now to me, seems to make more sense than either of the before mentioned, however Jerusalem is in Israel. So I guess what is unclear to me is, is the people of Israel his bride, or the actual land? Because if it is the land, then Jerusalem (the place) is also to considered Israel, which would then also be considered the bride? What does not make sense to me is how confusing Revelations seems to be on that point, and that God knew before hand how confusing it would be. What was God’s thoughts on this (no i don’t expect you to know this answer but I’m gonna pose it anyways). God’s thinking is as follows?: I am going to have this angel tell John exactly this, knowing that most my people will read it “, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,” and then go on for the whole chapter to describe that city, BUT, its not actually the bride, nor will I have John ever explain any of it. At least if that part was left out of Revelations, it would be SOOOOO much more clearer to SOOOO many more people, that Israel is the bride. Furthermore, what about polygamy? Wasn’t that acceptable in the Old Testament for Gods people? Would Jesus not be able to take more than one wife? Please don’t confuse my search for answers, for anything, but that. The more I think about some of this stuff the more confused I get. The only thought about all this that does give me peace is that, I don’t feel that if I am wrong about who the bride is, it will cost me my salvation. As a friend just reminded me earlier, God judges the heart right?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Revelation 21.2 states the new Jerusalem was prepared as a bride. This is a figure of speech for its beautiful appearance. In verses 9-10 it seems the figure is continued for the new Jerusalem seems to be Israel residence. God allowed polygamy but this was not God’s express will. Usually, polygamy did not work out well. It just caused problems. God created Adam and gave him one wife. That was the divine design.

  13. linda c says:

    Great article. I saw that you mentioned that in revelation the church is no longer around. Are you referring to the rapture and if so do you have a link to a study of yours for that? Also, I had read a few days ago on a forum where someone was stating that daniel 9:27 is about Jesus and not the antichrist and that it wasn’t about His crucifixion either. They were saying that it is still a future fulfillment of the new covenant that He has with Israel during that time. That there is no such 7 year tribulation etc Super interesting and I kind of see now with your article how it all is coming together like a puzzle. Would you agree with that statement? Have you ever heard of that and do you think that it makes sense?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Please see my articles, The Rapture, The Day of Christ, and Understanding the Book of Revelation. Someone else just wrote me about the Daniel 9.27 passage. This passage clearly refers to the Antichrist as well as the Lord’s crucifixion. There’s a lot of deception right now regarding the Rapture and end-time events.

  14. b wellskopf says:

    One of arguments that the proponents for the Bride of Christ being the Body of Christ is based on the strict chronology of Revelation 19. We have a celebration in heaven (Rev 19:1 -6) and announcement of for “the wedding of the Lamb” (Rev 19:7- 9) and then Jesus coming back to earth to judge. (Rev 19:11- 21). Therefore, they say, the Wedding of the Lamb is in heaven where the Body of Christ will be during the Tribulation. Could you please explain?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Throughout the Scriptures, Israel is named as the wife of YHVH. Nothing in Revelation involves the Church, the body of Christ. John was one of the Twelve who were apostles to Israel, not the the Church. The marriage of the Lamb is the marriage between the God of Israel, the Lord Jesus Christ, YHVH, and redeemed Israel. Jesus told the Jews in Matthew 23.29 they would not see Him until they said, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord.” For Him to return means they have said this, i.e., repented which Paul declared would occur (Romans 11.26). The marriage of the Lamb is between the God of Israel and faithful Israel. It is the day they once again become “Ammi” rather than “Lo-ammi” (Hosea 1.10 cf. Hosea 2.14-20).

      • b wellskopf says:

        Thank you for your quick response, and I agree but I am still curious as to why Rev 19 was written in this sequence. You can’t have a wedding without a bride present. So it appears that either John did not write this chronologically or the announcement was written in the future tense. What do you think?

        • doctrine doctrine says:

          According to Revelation 19.7 the bride has made herself ready and the time for the marriage has come. How has the bride made herself ready? By repenting according to what Jesus spoke in Matthew 23. This is all anticipatory and prepatory. When Jesus comes on His white horse he comes for His bride to receive repentant Israel. In Revelation 19.15 it says the Lord will rule with a rod of iron. This was first stated in Psalm 2. This is the kingdom and anticipates his victory His enemies.

  15. mo praker says:

    pertaining to the difference between the body of Christ and Israel: the first group raptured out of the earth and the second group to endure the tribulations and form the kingdom of god on earth.
    What happened to the analogy that Jesus used to describe how Christian groups could be grafted into the olive tree and therefore enjoy all the blessings with Israel. Aren’t we as believers one with the Jewish people and can enjoy the same rewards as them?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      The Church, the body of Christ, and Israel are different programs. At the present time, in the body of Christ, God has removed these distinctions. Thus, there is no Jew or Gentile in terms of equality in Christ. When the body of Christ is completed, God will remove it (the Rapture). God will reestablish His program with Israel (Daniel’s 70th week). When that has ended He will establish His kingdom on earth. The Bible provides no information as to where the Church will be or what it will do during that 1,000 year period. See my article, The Olive Tree, for more information on that subject.

      • hugandkisses says:

        I knew that Eph 5:25-32 is the key to understanding body/bride concept..after reading what doctrine instructed I compared the different bible versions using the key word her and it and the KJV uses it referring to the church and reading this way the mystery is revealed…most modern bible versions causes confusion using ..her…so the correct meaning is the church is the body of Christ for He careth for it.

  16. Sue says:

    Hi Don,

    We will be (or are ) ‘His Glory’ so we will be with Him in all His Glory.


  17. Tom lewis says:

    Thank you for you insight on this teaching. This had bothered me for a long time that people were teaching the church bride thing for many years. I first saw Fred Price’s son first teach about the truth of this matter about 10 years ago and it rang to the Spirit. I have reposted this to face book and I hope it will help those who have been mislead

  18. Tom says:

    Covenant theology has a real problem with what you are sharing, as far as the body or bride of Christ you make a good argument. I would say that the 10 virgins would give some weight to the body being the bride? When the world was more moral a bride was a virgin. Matthew 25 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’ “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’ No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, open the door for us!’ But he replied, Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’ Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” Shalom!

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Yes, as does most of Christendom. The problem with the 10 virgins passage is that Jesus spoke it to Jews, not Gentiles, not the Church. His ministry did not include Gentiles (Matthew 10.5-6; John 1.11; Romans 15.8).

  19. Ben Miday says:

    Your doctrine divides the kingdom. All have been reconciled into one body both Jew and Gentile. The body is Christ. There is no second visitation to separate the body again. And the body of Christ is made of Jews and Gentiles mentioned in Revelations. 144,000 from every tribe and the multitude that no man could number from every nation kindred and tongue. The 144,000 were the first, not the last, Rev 14, then the Gentiles are brought in from the gospel being preached. Revelation 14, is an outline of the Church age, beginning with the tribes of Israel and ending with world judgement and wrath. Our God is one.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      God’s kingdom is composed of believing Israel and the Church, the body of Christ. Only Paul taught the body of Christ. Peter, James, John, Jude never mention it. They never had a ministry to Gentiles. God’s kingdom is composed of all who have put their trust in יְהֹוָה, the Lord Jesus Christ. Within that kingdom are two major programs: Israel and the Church. Mix the two and you have contradiction and confusion. In the Church, the body of Christ, there is no Jew or Gentile. God will complete the body of Christ and remove it (Romans 11.25; 1 Thessalonians 4.16-17). The body of Christ does not exist in Revelation. Read Revelation 7.4. The 144,000 are all Jews.

      • ron says:

        The never had a ministry to Israel you wrote . I believe you ment Gentiles when replying to Ben on July29 2014 @ 7:50 am guess you were just up. Thanks again for your teaching,time and patience Ron Carney.

  20. victor says:

    you made a statement and i quote, “Since the Church is the body of Christ it means that if Christ is the bridegroom we are part of His groomsmanship. Thus, we are of the bridegroom, not the bride!” . this statement goes against pauls analogy in Eph 5, and doesnt create a good picture, because if you say this, then i can also say, “since Christ is the head, we are also the head and part of the head”.
    I think the whole idea, of Father-Son, Bride-Bridegroom, Husband-wife, Friend-friend, Brother-brother, ‘Joined to God=one Spirit’, is to show us that all the relationships known to man is not enough to explain the kind of union and oneness we have come into with God (Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit).
    Because how can you physically or anatomically explain that Someone is the Head and another person is the body (this is equal to chaos in a lame man’s mind).
    I believe the Holy Spirit knows what He’s doing and he made paul make that analogy in Eph 5, because that may just be what a Christian somewhere needed to begin to grasp the kind of union he/she has come into with Christ. Thank you for the article.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Paul’s point in Ephesians 5 was to declare Christ’s love for the Church and that we are members of His body. And in terms of marriage, husbands are to love wives as Christ loved the Church. Paul declared the Church is the body of Christ. We do not find this declaration regarding Church as bride of Christ. We must be careful students and understand what the text says and what the text does not say.

      • victor says:

        i am not saying you are right or wrong, i am saying its all an analogy, its not literal, moreover Jesus never said we are part of His body. My point is, the whole idea is to understand your connection, relationship and union with the Godhead, because Christ is not literally a head and we a body as in anatomy. And Paul using this analogy of body and head to explain husband and wife and Christ and the church shows that there is direct correlation with the responsibility and place of the wife and the church and also of the Christ and the husband. which brings me back to my point, it not whether or not the word bride was directly used for the church, but the fact that Paul could directly proportion or estimate the role and place of the church to a wife and vis-a-vis.
        Another thing is you separate the the church from Israel, you say the new Jerusalem is about jews, but Heb 12vs 22-24 actually describes what is in the heavenly Jerusalem and the mount zion and its not just a jewish thing there. And think about it israel will have their own special jerusalem with their bride and the rest of the “gentiles””christians” what happens to us we stay in the other heaven or another Jerusalem, or since we are the body, then we are also the husbands of Israel. Israel as a land or israel as a country like today, or israel in terms of genes. So can i for example go and nationalise to be an israeli and then qualify to be a bride. You and i know that isael as been conquered different times and there are many mixed jewish blood out there, and many living outside Israel intermarrying, so how to determine exactly.
        Finally Jesus didn’t separate us so why should we, in John 17 when Jesus prayed his final prayer, in verse 20, he included those that will believe in him in the future also with his then present ‘Jewish’ disciples in that prayers.
        So i am not denying that there is no place explicitly written in the bible that the church is the bride of Christ, but Paul implied it and several other places in the bible implied it, which you can easily refute by saying he meant just israel and not the church, and that will mean you believe the doctrine that Israel is more special or superior to other Christians. However its unfair to israel if they are just a wife and we are actually the real body of Christ.

        • doctrine doctrine says:

          Jesus revealed nothing about the Church, the body of Christ in His earthly ministry. That revelation was held as a secret until the ascended Lord gave it to Paul. I recommend Paul Sadler’s article on the bride of Christ: Hebrews was written to Jews. The content is Jewish and was meaningless to Gentiles. It was written to convince the Jews that going forward in Christ was the only choice. Judaism and the Levitical sacrifices was over.

  21. James Querry says:

    I am amazed how inspired you are all in commenting on the Church as Bride of Christ. Let us not forget the mystery behind. Whether written or not, through the working of the HOly SPirit, the unveiling of the truth continues. Si comprehendis, non est Deus. No one can say this or that is the right interpretation as long as they remain sound with our moral and spiritual life. Your (all) discussions are helpful. May others find them inspiring to live a Christian moral life and praise God for His goodness and greatness. May this bring unity rather than assertion of ones claim to be true and the other as false. For that, the Lord does not intend.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Thank you. But I disagree with Augustine. God has revealed so that we can understand. Paul wrote the Ephesians:

      15 For this reason I too, having heard of the faith in the Lord Jesus which exists among you and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. 18 I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe (Ephesians 1.15-19).

  22. Steve H says:

    Thanks for this chain of comment!

    It was around a year or so ago that the Pastor of our church threw out the comment ‘ The church is not the bride of Christ – it is Israel.’

    And I confess, the theological hairs on the back of my neck began to bristle.

    One of the things I have learned over the past 40 years of wilderness wandering, is that I haven’t got the answers – but God is really interested in hearing what my questions are. Asking questions is the way we keep the conversation concerning Him flowing.

    After my Pastors comment, I decided to check it out & approached it with as open a mind as possible. I know we all bring our presuppositions etc to these things but I do believe if we are honestly seeking truth, God will reveal it.

    God’s interaction with the world has always been through Israel [we can argue about Abraham, as he wasn’t in fact Jewish].

    Israel has been the vehicle that God has presented His message to the world.

    When Jesus came, He came to Israel & presented His credentials to Israel that He was the long awaited Messiah. His whole earthly ministry was to Israel.

    They rejected Him as Messiah & we then see the next phase of God’s plan – the church age as revealed to Paul.

    But the call and destiny of Israel is not over with – one day, they will again be used as God’s vehicle to the world.

    If we work on the basis that Jesus’ ministry was to the Jews, then we see in His accounts & teaching that often He uses marriage language [ie bride/bridegroom stuff] – this is the stuff of Jewish relationship.

    And when the physical, worldly destiny of Israel has been outworked, He returns for His bride [Israel].

    I still struggle with Revelation being solely Jewish Don [as we have already discussed] but believe the understanding of Bride v’s Body are extremely important to grasp & the string of comments to your writing have been evidence of this.

    Thanks for generating such good questions.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Thanks, Steve. I pray God will continue to lead you according to Paul’s prayer to the Ephesians: Ephesians 1.15-23.

    • No`e says:

      Sreve, beautifully said (the tone in your writing)! Thanks for sharing.
      Too, as you mentioned, I appreciate the string of comments regarding this subject.
      Don, thank you. You seem earnest and eager to help, without defense, which is so refreshing for Bible seeking-students. Many thanks!
      Good article. I very much appreciate your dedication for letting Scripture interpret Scripture, and for holding the measure of proof text as standard, which lessens opinions.

  23. J dixon says:

    Your explanation is confusing. It seems you’ve studied a great deal, but your explanation is more complicated than what you’re trying to explain.
    The reason you don’t see the bride of Christ in revelation until rev 19 is because she is in heaven during the tribulation. Raptured away before the tribulation starts, “so shall we ever be with the Lord”
    The nation Israel will sleep in the wilderness in tents in the mellinial reign, with King David as her ruler, and King, but also a co regent prince under King Jesus, (ez 34) whose throne will be in the heavenlies with his Bride in the bridal chamber, US, from the heavenlies. The Bride of Christ IS his body, and will come out of the body of Christ, the church, (kingdom and grace saints, think Rachel and Leah), but not all of the church is the Bride (naomi, Ruth, Boaz). In revelation 21, you see the tabernacle “New Jerusalem”with men” Israel, and those born in the mellinial reign, and then you see the Holy of Holies, “HOLY Jeruselam” the holiest part of the tabernacle, which is where Christ will dwell with his Bride, the saints of the grace dispensation, and enjoy an intimacy with Christ as his queen. Those twelve gates are for his family, king David, and the Apostles, and kings of the earth (grace saints), and the kingdom saints, who will also have access to the “Holy Jerusalem” inside the “New Jerusalem”, but as a family member “children of the Bride chamber”, oart of the body, but not the Bride.
    All the Godly men in scripture from Adam to Jacob, to Joseph, to Boaz, to King David, EVERY ONE of them had GENTILE BRIDES, including Moses and Jacob. as will Jesus. Boaz, the picture of Christ in the OT married a Gentile bride, but she was a Jew by ADOPTION, as we are adopted by “the mother of us all” and the story of Boaz and Ruth is the perfect explanation of the relationship Jesus has with his church, the body, and his Bride, which comes from his body as Adams rib to make Eve. Its plain as day. Jesus Bride is a Gentile, but a Jew by adoption, specifically the Grace dispensation saints, which will come out of the body of Christ, his church. I pray this helps your understanding.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      J Dixon,
      The explanation is simple: Israel is the bride/wife of YHVH. The Church is His body. Paul alone revealed the Church was the body of Christ. He did not state it was the bride of Christ.

      • Tim says:

        I take a slightly different take on this…and go strictly w/ the biblical text.

        The Bride of Christ is the city… New Jerusalem ( And there came unto me one of the seven angels, who had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, “Come hither; I will show thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.”
        10 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the Holy Jerusalem, descending out of Heaven from God,

        Israel is the the friends of the Bride Groom (or wedding guests), like John the Baptist… Jesus says so (Luke 5:34 – “Can you make the friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them?”

        The church is the body of Christ

        • doctrine doctrine says:

          We must compare Scripture with Scripture. Throughout the Scriptures, Israel is the wife/bride of Christ. John wrote that the New Jerusalem was prepared as a bride, not that it was the bride (Revelation 22.2). This verse governs what comes later, Revelation 21.9-10.

  24. Sue says:

    Why is everyone determined to make the body of Christ ‘ the Bride ‘.

    Ephesians shows that the Mystery Church will be ‘His Glory’ manifested because of what He did on the cross.

    If anything the church is ‘in’ the bridegroom ready to receive the bride (Israel) then all the fullness will be summed up in Him.

  25. Dennis says:

    Thank you for the article. My wife and I had often wondered if calling the church the “Bride of Christ” was doctrinally correct! What you have said makes sense to us.

    I was wondering if you could expound upon your statement, “Jesus’ words about salvation during this period are as straightforward as words can be: only by enduring to the end, i.e. the end of one’s life (martyrdom) or until He returns, is salvation possible.”

    This is probably a very simple concept, but I have yet to wrap my brain around it. Can you explain this, or point me to another article of yours that talks about this?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      During the Tribulation, people will be saved by believing the gospel of the kingdom, not Paul’s gospel. The gospel of the kingdom is believing who Christ is–the Messiah, the Son of God. Opposed to this will be Antichrist’s claim that he is God. Most who believe the gospel will be martyred. Some will survive. The Bible teaches that 2/3 of the the Jews will survive and will initiate the Lord’s return (Matthew 23.37-39). So the salvation Jesus spoke of can be taken in a dual sense–eternal salvation–by believing the gospel and physical salvation–by fleeing to the mountains (Matthew 24.15-20).

  26. Shirley says:

    What Church do you attend?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      I attend an Anglican Church.

      • Sue says:

        Hi Don,

        Your articles have been a wonderful forum whereby we can fellowship over the Word. I have been greatly blessed. Thank You.

        You said you attend an Anglican Church. Can I ask how you reconcile some of the error the AC teach and hold to, such as infant baptism, a strong hierarchy, confirmation etc. with your pursuit of the rightly dividing the Word of God.

        I am in agreement that we need to fellowship with one another and personally continue to seek to do this. However, I have experienced many leaders who imply they are not comfortable with questions asked or incorrect doctrine being challenged. Has this been your experience or have you a different reason for attending an Anglican Church.

        Sorry if this is too personal and not in keeping with the aim of this web site.

        • doctrine doctrine says:

          Thank you. I have found no church true to the Scriptures in all areas where I live. As long as I can teach without interference I do. So far, that has been the case. I do not mind challenges as long as the Scriptures are the supreme authority. I am not bound by the teachings of any denomination or church.

  27. Katlego says:

    Hi doctrine, firstly thank you for your writings, very insightful and helpful. When I read your article contrasting between Peter and Paul’s gospels and how at the Council of Jerusalem it was concluded that the only way to be saved is through Paul’s gospel which says that salvation comes only by faith in the risen Jesus, which is totally true. That even in Galatians Paul wrote that if anyone preached any other gospel he should be accursed. How then is Israel in the Book of Revelations going to be saved through perseverance? That is those who perseve until the end will be saved. Isn’t that another gospel? Another way of being saved?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Paul’s gospel is operational as long as the Church is here. At the time of Revelation it is gone (1 Corinthians 15.51). Read Jesus’ words to the 7 assemblies. They contain information of how people will be saved. The gospel of the kingdom will be back–as Jesus declared in Matthew 24.14. That gospel focuses upon the identity of Christ. Paul’s gospel focuses upon the work of Christ. The great question during the Tribulation will be who is God–Jesus the Messiah or the Beast, the Antichrist. Those who believe Jesus is the Messiah will be saved. Those who worship the Beast and take his mark are lost. So yes, it is a different gospel.

  28. Thomas Kole says:

    Thank you for helping me to unpack this theology. I have been chasing this rabbit down its hole for several months and with your help have grabbed it by the leg. I am of the same opinion you are, that the church is not the bride of Christ. How about Mat 22:29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. Mat 22:30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.
    God asks Ezekiel, (ch. 16 all) to give Jerusalem a message, in vs. 8 God gave marriage vows to Jerusalem, and declared a covenant with her.
    The prophet Isaiah says 62:4 God will claim Jerusalem as his bride.
    I do not yet have it skinned.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Thank you. Throughout the Scriptures Israel is referred to as the wife/bride of God. The Church is the body of Christ with Christ as its Head. God has kept these two programs separate and distinct as heaven and earth.

  29. Joe says:

    Doctrine, I am impressed with your patience. You answer the same question over and over.
    A couple of questions…If the marriage to the Bride is in heaven why does Christ return ‘for’ his bride. And if the marriage is in heaven what about the saved Kingdom believers still alive on earth at the end of the seven years? I assume these believer who make it through the tribulation live on into the Kingdom and don’t attend the wedding? Maybe I’m wrong about the marriage in Heaven….

    Thank you so much, ……Joe

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      The description is anticipatory: 7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.” 8 It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. 9 Then he *said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” And he *said to me, “These are true words of God.” Those speaking are Jews who witness Israel repentance. Christ can return and marry repentant Israel according to His words in Matthew 23.37-39.

  30. JD says:

    What is the distinction b/t the Church and Israel?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      The Church is under grace; Israel was under Law. The Church has heavenly promises; Israel, earthly promises. No prophecy attends the Church; Israel is replete with prophecy. Christ meets the Church in the air; Christ meets Israel on the earth. Just a few.

  31. Innocent says:

    I find this article to be technical and seemingly authoritative. However the author never questions his basic suppositions. There is no reason why the Bride of Christ cannot be both the people of Israel and the Holy Church ( his body). Perhaps at different times. These revelations from scripture are to help us apprehend deep mysteries of the Godhead and are not to be defined as doctrine per se. The author relies wholly on modern scripture ( Sola Scriptura) and never appeals to the writings of the “Church Fathers” who by the guidance of the Holy Spirit were guided in to all truth and helped to articulate the faith and teaching of the apostles and who gave us the basic doctrines of the Church in the 7 ecumenical councils including the canon of scripture and the earliest creed of the One holy catholic ( not roman) and Apostolic church. The article further offers no help in applying his notions to the life of a Christian and how our conceptions about the church and the bride and the body of Christ help us to know Him.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      You are correct in that I appeal to the Scriptures alone. Some of what the Church Fathers wrote was good. Some was not. Their writings were not “God-breathed” (θεόπνευστος) as the Scriptures. The Bible makes a clear distinction between Israel and the Church and God’s program for each. Other articles deal with the Christian life and provide more information about God’s plan, His Church, etc. Keep reading!

  32. Marinara says:

    Revelation 21:9-10 clearly says “….Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb. And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of the heaven from God,” John proceeds to describe this city in detail. To me this is clear. Why does it have to be so complicated? Why can’t we just go back to fundamentals and take the Bible at it’s word?

  33. Marianne says:

    Doctrine, I came across this post while researching about the Gospel Of Jesus’ Wife. I was just watching something on tv about it, but I had to shut it off, because the scholars seemed much too immature to continue watching. They have this tiny fragment which reads at the end of the fragment, “…Jesus said to his disciples, “My wife…” and that’s where it ends. So from this they are radically assuming that he had a human wife.

    But I immediately thought, what if the word could have meant ‘bride’ or ‘wife’ in the sense of ‘the bride of Christ’ (of course I always correlated that to the church but I can see from your post that it is Israel). And I, too, have read in scripture in the Old Testament prophets where Israel is referenced metaphorically as a wife to God. And I see you have mentioned that Revelation 21:9 which mentions the ‘wife of Christ’. So if I could ‘see’ that, or think of that first, why can’t these people with all of their scholarly knowledge consider it?

    My point is that I’m glad I came across your post because it verifies that my thought of the verse in this fragment could be correct, and I just wish scholars weren’t so quick to get Jesus married off. I have many legitimate reasons to believe that Jesus was not married, but whether he was or not would not change who he was. But I also think if He was married, there would be some mention of that. I’m just suspicious of most secular scholars’ push for Him to be so. Thank you for the insights.


  34. Leeann Stone says:

    I clearly see from his teaching that the Bride of Christ is Israel. Scripture refers to the wedding guests! Who might the guests be? Old Testament saints?
    Thank you in advance?

  35. Becky says:

    Regarding those who are confused by Eph 5, Paul does not use the word “bride.” He uses a different word, “wives;” something to ponder because even without the Greek or hebrew, we all must admit that “bride” and “wife” bring two different pictures to mind.

    Also, a key verse in this passage is Eph 5:29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church….. This moves away from the “spiritual” to the “physical,” speaking specifically about a man’s own body, having nothing to do with his wife, but rather how a man takes care of himself, eating, keeping himself clean, etc. And in this context, Paul compares it to the Lord, who would be the man, taking care of the Church, His own body. Paul then goes on in verses 30-32 still speaking about a man’s own body/flesh. These four verses seem to me to be a side note or veering off, because in verse 33 he gets back on track with the word, “Nevertheless.”
    So this entire passage cannot be used to prove that the Church is the Bride because of verse 29. Paul is simply trying to teach men how to love their wives: by the spiritual where a man and woman become one “flesh,” and by the physical where a man takes care of his own physical body.

  36. Vini Vinc says:

    If Jesus is the church and Israel is the bride then who are ( blessed are those who are invited the the marriage supper of the lamb?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      We’re not told specifically. Bullinger’s comment is probably as good as any: And he saith to me, Write, “Blessed are they that are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.” ] Thus we not only have the Wife; but as in Ps. xlv. 14, “the virgins, her companions”; and also those who are the invited guests. As “star differeth from another star in glory” (1 Cor. xv. 41), so the people in glory differ in ranks and orders and degrees; but all, all-glorious, in the “many mansions.” Just as in an earthly family there are the Husband, the Wife, the Children, the Relatives, the Friends, the Visitors, and the Servants, yet all in the same mansion and all one household; so in the glory there will be the Christ and the Church which is His Body; the Lamb and the Lamb’s wife; the “friends of the Bridegroom” (John iii. 29); the “virgins” that be the Bride’s “companions” (Ps. xlv. 14); those who are “called” to the marriage supper; the “servants”; the great multitude of Rev. vii.; the 144,000 of sealed ones; and of all, it is true, that they are “blessed.” For the angel goes on at once to announce this in the most solemn and formal manner, which calls forth the adoration of John.

  37. Dale Poteet says:

    2 Questions:

    1: Where did Abel fit into all this? Was he in the Bride, or The Body, or neither, or both?

    2: When did the Church start?

    I have never heard or read so much confusion since the last time I listened to a TV preacher trying to explain tything!

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Where Adam to Abraham fit is unknown. The Church, the body of Christ, began with Paul. See my articles, Paul: Chief of Sinners? and The Church: The Body of Christ.

  38. Sarah says:

    Hi, I’d be interested in hearing your interpretation of 1 Cor 11 where it speaks of the wife or woman covering her head in prayer. One of my relatives was Old Order Mennonite and they make a good case for wearing a veil or headcovering always, since we are supposed to be praying without ceasing. What do you say? Do I have to cover my head?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      The head covering is larely cultural. Paul’s point is to teach headship (v.4). Man is the head of woman and God of Christ. Nature provides a natural sign of headship: long hair for woman. Culture provides a sign: head covering. Maintaining this truth is important for angels, who observe and enforce God’s natural order. I do not think a head covering in today’s society indicates headship but would argue long hair does (v. 6, 14-15).

  39. Joe says:

    Rev 19 vs 8 mentions fine linen and relates that to righteousness of the saints.
    In vs 11 the Lamb comes to make war.
    In vs 14 the armies are clothed in fine linen.

    questions…Who are the saints? Kingdom gospel believers? The saints wear fine linen and come for battle wearing fine linen. Kingdom gospel believers in battle? This event appears to be at the end of the tribulation. “Heaven opened” ..”and the armies which were in Heaven followed him”. Kingdom gospel believer in Heaven?

    I always thought the Kingdome gospel believers were resurrected at the end of the trib and the church was in Heaven during the trib. Please explain if you will. thank you very much.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      I don’t know. Since Revelation concerns Israel and the nations and John wrote to Jews we cannot know for certain if the Church is included. I would say the saints include OT believers (they don’t necessarily need resurrection bodies to appear clothed–cf. Matthew 17–did Moses and Elijah appear clothed?) and possibly (probably?) the Church as well.

  40. Susan says:

    Thank you for your website, it has been interesting.

    After reading this article, I wanted to ask you what you think about the scripture which says the heavenly Jerusalem City will descend to earth as the bride? If the church is raptured to heaven before the tribulation, could this be understood that the church as “the body of Christ” will inhabit the new Jerusalem city in heaven and come with Christ as mentioned in Revelation’s?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Note carefully the language, “as a bride.” That is, it will be beautiful and pure. We have nothing specific about our dwellings. All members of the Church, the body of Christ, have heavenly citizenship and are joint-heirs with Christ. In the new heavens and new earth, heaven will come upon the earth. The city will be enormous so this would seem to indicate a much larger earth. I see no reason the Church will not have dwellings there but the Bible does not reveal this.

  41. Susan says:

    I have noted well the phrase, which can be understood just as it is stated, ” As a bride”. The wedding has taken place at the rapture, see scripture verse, Luke 12:36. Do you think the wedding supper will be at Christ’s return after the tribulation?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Why do you think the wedding (I assume you mean the marriage supper of the Lamb?) takes place at the Rapture?

  42. Susan says:

    No, I was trying to ask you about the wedding supper of the Lamb, as a seperate event. The wedding ceremony will take place as the Bride is made ready (Rev. 19:7-8) at the Rapture. Before the Second Coming, The Bride (Body of Christ) will have gone thru the Bema Seat Judgement.
    Now we read:
    Rev. 19:9, “Write, blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!” Do you think this could be a future event, at the Second Coming?
    Today we celebrate the wedding ceremony followed by the marriage supper (reception) sometimes at different locations (seperated by a time peiod.)
    Biblical times, we find references of the marriage supper lasting a week.
    Remember when the Body of Christ is raptured, time will be different in heaven, we will be living in eternity, so time is beyond our understanding.
    I tried to condense paragraphs into a few sentences, so I hope my question is explained?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      The Church is the body of Christ, not the bride of Christ. The Church is complete in Him and needs no preparation. The Church is not found in the book of Revelation. Revelation deals with Israel and the nations, not the Church. The marriage supper seems to take place right before the 2nd coming.

  43. Kevin Rence says:

    I read in the KJV of the Word in acts 15 : 11 where Peter says we believe that we shall be saved by Grace // it sounds to me that the we is the household of Israel ( I like to call that nation ( IS REAL ) but what is Peter saying about being saved in the future ( shall be ) are they not saved at that time , or is it what like most so called pillars of the church tell me that its no big deal cause other versions say that Peter says we are saved even like the Gentiles // seems to me that shall be and are is a big difference what do you say cause it might be a hinge pin on this Bride of Christ discussion PTL

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      I’m not sure I follow your comment. Peter stated in Acts 15.11 that Israel had now to be saved like Gentiles, that is, according to Paul’s gospel, not the gospel of the kingdom. Salvation was always by faith but not by faith alone until Paul. This is what the controversy in Acts 15 was about. The Jerusalem church was maintaining that Paul’s Gentiles could not be saved by faith alone. They also had to be circumcised and keep the Law. We know from the Gospels that water baptism was also required (Mark 16.16; Acts 2.36-38). Paul argued that the gospel he had received from the ascended Lord required faith alone. Peter came to Paul’s aid for he remembered that when he went to Cornelius’ house, Cornelius and his family had been saved by faith alone, being baptized afterwards. Then Peter stated that they were also to be saved according to Paul’s gospel. In other words, from this time forward, the gospel of the kingdom was set aside. See my article, The Great Hinge, for more information on this subject.

  44. Ron says:

    Wow, this has really made my head spin. I confess that I have been one of the ones who have taken for granted that the Bride of the Lamb is the church but I do think I follow your line of reasoning. Taking the bride of the Lamb as redeemed Israel does seem to sew up a lot of questions. I still wonder in reference to the church being removed. If I follow the line of thought, after the church has been raptured or removed, then are we saying that no Gentile believers will be coming to a knowledge of Jesus Christ as Saviour during the Tribulation period? There still will be recordings, written materials outlining Paul’s means of Salvation for the church. Is it not possible that the church’s number will still be added to during the tribulation period? Or are you saying regarding the different programs, that once the church is gone those left behind will have to “overcome” in other words adhere again to the basis of law? Or is only apostate Israel going to come to back to God by accepting and acknowledging Jesus as Messiah during the tribulation period prior? We have said that believing Jews currently can also be part of the body of Christ but if I’m understanding you, the body ends or is complete at the rapture and no more will be added to it but apostate Israel will be able to come back to God but only by acknowledging Jesus as the suffering servant and Messiah prior to his second coming and setting up the millennial kingdom? I’m not trying to trip you up in your words or score points, I truly am trying to understand this. After the article and all the posts, I freely admit that I’m probably getting confused on a few points. I do appreciate your willingness to dialogue as this concept you present is huge regarding the understanding of the book of Revelation. Sorry for so many questions but I look forward to your response.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      After God removes the Church at the Rapture, He will seal 144,000 Jews (Revelation 7) who will become evangelists. They will not proclaim Paul’s gospel but the gospel of the kingdom as Jesus declared (Matthew 24.14). The focus of gospel of the kingdom is the identity, rather than the work, of Christ. Many Gentiles (probably millions) will be saved during this ministry. The meaning of “overcome” is rejecting the Antichrist and holding to the truth that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God (cf. Matthew 16.16, i.e. the gospel of the kingdom), not the Antichrist. The Antichrist will declare he is the Messiah and God Himself (Revelation 13). When God removes the Church, He returns to the prophetic program He began with Abraham. According to Daniel, one week of years (7 years–the length of the Tribulation) remains on Israel’s prophetic clock. During the Tribulation God will deal with Israel and the nations, not the Church (see 1 Corinthians 10.32). My articles, The Kingdom of God and The Purpose of the Book of Revelation may provide additional insight into these matters.

  45. junel says:

    The bride,the church, are one.. The new israel is the gentile..

  46. Kim N. says:

    In John chapter 3, John the Baptist mentions the “friend of the bridegroom”, who is the friend of the bridegroom, in your opinion? Thank you.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      John spoke of himself. He was the friend of the bridegroom according to John’s words (John 3.28-30).

  47. leon everett says:

    Doctrine could you help me please. As beth lowe commented I am like minded.
    I didn’t understand your conclusion as to who is the bride of Christ ? If Christ is the second Adam and God took the bride for the first Adam out of his body will the bride for the second Adam come out of his body ( the church )?
    May God bless

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Believing Israel is the bride.

      • becky says:

        Hi Leon, I am new (since January) to understanding rightly dividing the Scriptures regarding the fact that all of the Scriptures are profitable for us, but not everything is written to us or about us. If you have this understanding, it clears up so many doctrines taught incorrectly by modern-day “Judeo-Christianity”

  48. Bob says:

    This is completely wrong and false. I will not go into all the details but the major error is Revelation is written to Jewish Israel. This is book is written to Christians, to the church. Rev1:1, 4, 5,. Rev1:9 John says he is your brother, means Christian. Now where does John say he is writing to Israel or Jews

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Revelation was written to Israel. Nothing in it is Christian. The “churches” of Revelation 2-3 are Jewish assemblies–believing Jews. The language in these chapters is wholly different from the language used of the Church, the body of Christ. John was an apostle of Israel. Neither he, nor any of the Twelve, ever had a ministry to Gentiles. It is not in the Bible. The ascended Lord commissioned Paul to be the apostle of the Gentiles. The Twelve were apostles of Israel. These were two completely separate programs. For more on Revelation, see my article, Understanding the Book of Revelation.

  49. james maycock says:

    I understand the Bible teaches we who believe in Christ in this dispensation are the Body of Christ and where He is we shall be also. Ruling and reigning with Him over the new heavens and the new earth? Eternally? Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles and presented the ‘mystery’ of I Corinthians 15. How does this fit in with the Return of Christ for His Body, the Ekklesia? And I Thessalonians 1: 7-9?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      When Christ returns for His Church (Rapture), members of the body of Christ will receive resurrection bodies. When our responsibilities officially begin is unknown. I do not understand your question regarding 1 Thessalonians 1.7-9.

  50. I have read through all the comments above and have learned a lot. Thanks for your individual responses to so many questions. I have this one.

    Where do Messianic Jews fit in this? Are they the bride or the body of Christ? To be specific, throughout history, there has always been a remnant of Jewish believers. If they have accepted Yeshua as their Savior during the church age, are they considered the bride or the body of Christ?

    Thanks for the clarification.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      All who believe Paul’s gospel (1 Corinthians 15.1-4) are members of the body of Christ (Galatians 3.26-29).

  51. David says:

    Is Abraham, isaac ,Jacob,……David…..job…in body of Christ. If not what their position in heaven. In new testament we are beliver and we are in body of Christ. What about old testament peoples. Kindly advise with biblical reference.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      None of these OT believers are members of the body of Christ. They are in heaven awaiting their earthly kingdom. See Matthew 19.28, 6.10; Genesis 15.7-21. The Jew’s inheritance is earthly, not heavenly. The body of Christ was a Pauline revelation. No other writer mentions it.

  52. Vanessa says:

    Thank you for a well explained article. The fact that John the Baptist (Jewish) is the Bridegrooms friend it tells me that the bride has to be Jewish. Thank you for a lovely lovely article.

  53. Stephanie says:

    I won’t quote scriptures because you are familiar with them; however if in Revelations the churches are made of Jews why would Christ refer to them as churches? Jews went to temples and synagogues. The term church only came into existence under what you call Pauline doctrine.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Words have meaning in context. The Lord did not call them “churches.” The word is ekklesia. It basically means a group of people. So, the context has to determine what kind of a group He addressed. In this case, they were Jewish believers. Take a look at the link and see how the word is used. In Acts 19, I think, it is used of a mob. When Paul used the term, he meant the body of Christ.

      • AJ says:

        doctrine, It seems that ekklesia is just a contextual word and not a label of one specific group. When you said that when Paul uses the term Paul means the Body of Christ. When I went down the list of the different uses of ekklesia in the link you left for Stephanie. I saw that the term was used for the church of God. Is the “church of God” specific to gentiles Body of Christ or to believing Jews of the Messiah? I ask because through the link that you gave for the word “ekklesia” 1Cor1:2 “To the church G1577 of God which is at Corinth, to those who have been sanctified in Christ Jesus, saints by calling, with all who in every place call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, their Lord and ours:” I see this contextually used for gentiles, which would be the Body of Christ. Then, 1Co 15:9
        “For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church G1577 of God.” This I understand to mean believing Jews of Jesus being the Messiah. Will you help clear up this confusion? I know that I’m missing something.

        • doctrine doctrine says:

          What ἐκκλησία means depends upon context. In its most basic sense it means a group of people, an assembly. It can mean the Church, the body of Christ (Romans 16.1; 1 Corinthians 12.28). It can mean a group of Jewish believers (Matthew 16.18, 18.17; Acts 8.3). It can also mean a mob (Acts 19.32).

          • AJ says:

            So the “Church of God” is both Jewish believers of the Messiah Jesus and the Body of Christ? Two different gospels under one title Church of God as per the two scripture examples from my previous comment? If you would address that. It would better help me make my distinctions during discussions.

            • doctrine doctrine says:

              During the ministry of John the Baptist, Jesus, and the Twelve until Paul there was one gospel, the gospel of the kingdom (Matthew 3.1-2). The focus of the faith portion of that gospel was upon the identity of Jesus, that He was the Messiah, the Son of God (Matthew 16, John 11). The works portion was baptism, keeping the Law, etc. (Mark 1.4, 16.16; Acts 2.36-38). After Paul was saved, most likely while he was in Arabia, God gave him the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20.24). From this time until the Council of Jerusalem, both gospels were valid. But at the end of the Council, only Paul’s gospel was valid (Acts 15.11; Galatians 1.6-9). Paul’s gospel was/is faith + 0, no works. It’s focus is not upon the identity of Christ, but upon the work of Christ, that He died for our sins and rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15.1-4). The Twelve did not know this gospel until they learned it from Paul who received it directly from the risen Lord (Galatians 1.11-12). So today, both Jew and Gentile are saved by believing Paul’s gospel, that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose from the dead (1 Corinthians 15.1-4). It is now faith + nothing. My articles, The Gospel, and The Gospel of the Kingdom, may be helpful.

  54. Gee says:

    I Revelation 22 it says, “The Spirit and the Bride say come.” Where else in scripture does Israel, the Bride, gives this inventation to come? Also who is the woman of Revelation chapter 17? Thanks

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Revelation 22 anticipates Israel’s (the Bride) repentance and salvation (Matthew 23.37-39 cf. Romans 11.26). The woman is the false religious system of the world that Satan uses to blind the world to the gospel. Satan uses religion as his vehicle of deceit. The beast is Satan in the persona of the Antichrist. Ultimately, all religion will be centered upon the Antichrist himself and he will demand that the world worship him.

  55. Jennifer says:

    I have to agree with Bob. This article is completely wrong and false. “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. Eph. 25-26 The Church, the Bride, will be presented to Christ. Jesus said he would go away to make a place for us… just as in the Jewish wedding ceremony. Israel is married to the Father and has played the harlot, but God will remain faithful to his covenant and she will return to Him. “Return, O backsliding children,” says the Lord; “for I am married to you. I will take you, one from a city and two from a family, and I will bring you to Zion.” (Jer. Jer. 3:14) The Church is a virgin (unmarried) – “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.” 2 Cor. 11:2 But, in contrast, Israel has already been married to God. -Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah-not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. (Jer. Jer. 31:31-33)

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Read the Scripture again. Paul did not write that the Church was the bride of Christ. He told husbands to love their wives as Christ loved the Church to present her as a radiant Church. The word ἐκκλησίαν is a feminine noun–that is why we have the “her” language. Paul is using a simile. The Church is the Body of Christ, not the Bride of Christ. We are part of the bridegroom. We are not the bride. The Scriptures do not state the Church is the Bride; they state we are the Body.

  56. Joe says:

    Doctrine, Off topic but please direct me to your comments on Luke 17:21…”kingdom within you” kjv

  57. Patience says:

    Hie Don
    I’m humbled by your deep and intense understanding of Scripture.I love this,the Church is His Body while Believing Israel is His Bride! May the good Lord increase You!

  58. Vanessa says:

    Hi Don, For those who think the church is the bride I wish to remind the readers of this passage. At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven. Matthew 22 v 30. This passage and your above article sealed it for me. I think that we can become puffed up with Spritual proudness when we assume we are the bride. I once thought the church was the bride so yes I too had spiritual proudness. I love God and I so enjoy it when he shows me my error in a kind and loving way. Thank you.

  59. Jen Kelly says:

    I don’t know why this is a sticking point for me? God keeps bringing back up. I agree. The church is not the bride, Israel is. So how do we see the marriage supper of the lamb? I can see us as the guests (body of Christ?), but then when does this happen? And is this with the martyred Israelites (which I believe is the 144,000) as the bride? I can’t seem to sort this in my head. Thanks for responding to these articles, even years after being written.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      I gave the following reply to this question asked earlier: We’re not told specifically. Bullinger’s comment is probably as good as any: And he saith to me, Write, “Blessed are they that are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.” ] Thus we not only have the Wife; but as in Ps. xlv. 14, “the virgins, her companions”; and also those who are the invited guests. As “star differeth from another star in glory” (1 Cor. xv. 41), so the people in glory differ in ranks and orders and degrees; but all, all-glorious, in the “many mansions.” Just as in an earthly family there are the Husband, the Wife, the Children, the Relatives, the Friends, the Visitors, and the Servants, yet all in the same mansion and all one household; so in the glory there will be the Christ and the Church which is His Body; the Lamb and the Lamb’s wife; the “friends of the Bridegroom” (John iii. 29); the “virgins” that be the Bride’s “companions” (Ps. xlv. 14); those who are “called” to the marriage supper; the “servants”; the great multitude of Rev. vii.; the 144,000 of sealed ones; and of all, it is true, that they are “blessed.” For the angel goes on at once to announce this in the most solemn and formal manner, which calls forth the adoration of John.

  60. Joe says:

    A great site. Well organized. Thank you for your study and your patience.

  61. Joe says:

    There is something in my spirit that tells me there is more to marriage than what we normally think. I’m willing the accept that marriage between a man and a woman is a divine institution.I know there is/will be the marriage in heaven. I believe there is more to the Adam and Eve story than I know. Eve was taken out of man. I can understand that mandates there remain a single creation for humanity(both genders) with the requirement of a single sacrifice. Angels are different with each angel a single creation…..millions of angels equal millions of creations. It’s like Eve was a graft taken from Adam but an original graft/sion from where? Originally all the other animals had mates. Adam didn’t. Eve came from a ‘compartment’ in Adam’s side? Is there more of a significance to this arrangement of man/woman or husband/wife or am I making more of this than necessary?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      You are right. Mankind is composed of man/woman. We are a unity which in a unique way mirrors God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is One but said, “Let US make man in OUR image. We were created in the image of God. It is a great, wonderful mystery.

  62. Dawn says:

    You and your site have been a confirmation for me. I can not sleep at night so I listen to scripture. I have been doing this for about a year. I am a “mature” woman. A believer for over 30 years.
    One can not listen to certain passages over and over again with out questioning the common “teachings” out there.
    I couldn’t buy into the Bride of Christ teachings. It was clearly Israel as far as I read. So I went online to see who else might understand it this way and I found your site.
    Thank you for all your writings. I have just about read it all your work now. I have such a peace over the scripture I read . And a new appreciation for Paul’s writings. The whole end time scenario has become clearer. And what is glaring to me now is how dangerous the Jewish roots movement is. All this September doom stuff too is now very suspect to me. Including the Blood Moon teachings. Something might be there but surely, if it is, not for the church.
    The church is so deceived with the misunderstandings of Kingdom vs the Gospel teachings of Paul. I now look at all the men I use to hold up as knowledgeable and wonder how “they don’t know better”. They are leading many astray.
    I tried to share my thoughts with a very good friend of 30 + years. A wonderful Christian friend and she was horrified I did not think the church was the “bride”. I can see I have an up hill journey with my new understanding of Bride VS Body of Christ.
    I’m wondering if the whole “Body of Christ” is a far more literal process than we think. For lack of a better term on my part…..more spiritually accurate….more mystical.
    Why would Jesus put His own body through Judgment? Right? So easy to see the Pretrib rapture once this is understood.
    Any other thoughts you have on how this whole “Body of Christ” actually works?
    God Bless You…..Dawn

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Thank you for your kind words and comment. I’m afraid Christendom is like Judaism of our Lord’s day. It follows tradition. Many things are learned in seminary and taught without a sound Scriptural basis. Men repeat things they have heard but have little Biblical knowledge about what the Scriptures actually say. Once people have tradition locked in their minds, it’s very difficult to wrest out error. The body of Christ is an intimate relationship. It is an organism, a living thing. The fact that God has designed us to love our own bodies speaks to the physical/spiritual relationship we have with Christ.

      • Dawn says:

        Would I be correct that this passage: ” And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” Often quoted as a sign for the Rapture is really for the Jews that will see the second coming of Jesus?
        Thank you

        • doctrine doctrine says:

          Yes. It cannot be the Rapture for the Rapture was a secret (1 Corinthians 15.51). The risen Lord revealed this truth to Paul alone.

          • Dawn says:

            wow…….just as I now suspected so many rapture teachings fall to the way side. Such as the rapture will /could happen on feast of trumpets. The analogy of the Jewish Wedding to the “Bride” and ” no one knows the day or hour”
            Thank you again! And I hope you won’t mind, as I continue to really grasp the truth of scripture, and ask more questions?
            Is this Apostate Israel? : “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! 3 For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.”

            Have they become rich through the process of rebuilding the Temple?

            • doctrine doctrine says:

              Babylon is the world’s religious system. God destroyed false religion in the Flood but it was reborn at the Tower of Babel. The woman who rides the beast in Revelation 17 is the culmination of all false religion which will be used by the Beast and False Prophet to deceive the world during the Tribulation. She is called the great whore because Revelation is essentially an Old Testament book and in the OT false religion was described as spiritual adultery. Two characteristics of the system is its bloodthirstiness and wealth.

  63. Kilonzo says:

    How do you explain this with your argument?

    Revelation 21:9King James Version (KJV) And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.

    Revelation 19:7King James Version (KJV) Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.

  64. Thomas says:

    Your error in dividing up the people of God into multiple spiritual groups is caused by your error of dividing up the Bible and failing to accept that every verse of Scripture is to the church (2 Tim 3:16).

    Much of the modern church has latched on to ignorant views of the relationship between Israel and the church. This is partly due to the confusion of terms when we discuss Israel and the church. Therefore, it must be understood that there is an outward Israel and there is an outward church; likewise there is a spiritual Israel and a spiritual church. In order to avoid any confusion, in this submission, I will only be discussing spiritual Israel and the spiritual church; So when I use the term Israel here, I mean a body of people who are truly saved having believed upon the Lord, and when I use the term church here, I mean the body of people who are truly saved and not just anyone who professes to be a Christian. The question we must look to answer is, “What is the relationship between Israel and the Church?”

    Scripture tells us that Gentiles (non-Jews) are grafted into the same body as Israel, for it was God’s design that “the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body” (Ephesians 3:6) In Romans 11, the apostle Paul uses the image of an olive tree which represents the spiritual body made up of God’s people. Notice that the tree never changed, but Gentiles were grafted into that same tree:
    “And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then, ‘Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.’ Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith.” (Romans 11:17-20)
    The Scripture is very clear that there is only one spiritual body of people belonging to God. The only distinction is that some were natural branches while others were grafted in. Another way to view this truth is by observing the Scriptures which relate to the bride of Christ (God’s people); the Bible never gives any indication that there is more than one bride.
    “Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” (Ephesians 2:19-22)
    In this text, Paul is describing one spiritual body which clearly consists of both Jews and Gentiles. The fact that prophets are mentioned shows that the Old Testament saints are part of this body, and the fact that the Ephesians (whom Paul is writing to) are referred to as former strangers and foreigners shows us that the Gentiles have been brought in to this body. Again, we see a demonstration of how people who are not blood-line Jews are “grafted in” to a spiritual body of God. Many would claim that the spiritual body described here is not spiritual Israel.

    It is interesting to note that Abraham is called the “father of all those who believe” (Romans 4:11). This is significant due to the fact that Abraham is both the physical and spiritual father of the nation of Israel. Could this mean that Christians are part of spiritual Israel? Some would argue that us being spiritual sons of Abraham does not necessarily imply that we have been brought into spiritual Israel. Once again, if we insist that spiritual Israel is separate from the spiritual church, we then have to face the problem of the existence of two separate spiritual bodies which Scripture (read Ephesians) clearly rejects.

    There can be no denying that Jesus was both a blood-line and true spiritual Israelite. With that in mind, we can draw a very simple conclusion from our spiritual union with Him. The Scripture tells us that we are “married…to Him who was raised from the dead” (Romans 7:4) —Jesus Christ. Also, it is written that “he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with Him.” (1 Corinthians 6:17) If we are one spirit with a true spiritual Israelite, how can we conclude that we are not part of spiritual Israel? If we are not spiritual Israel, then that would mean that Jesus could not be either, for the Scripture clearly states that we are one with Him. Furthermore, If God told Israel “I am married to you” (Jeremiah 3:14), how could we also be “married…to Him” unless we were grafted in as part of that same bride? Surely, God would not have more than one bride. There have been people who claim that because the church is called the body of Christ, it cannot also be the bride. This seems sound at first, but falls apart when we observe that modern Jews who must accept Christ would be both the wife (Israel) and the body of Christ (the church). We must therefore either acknowledge the church as having been grafted into spiritual Israel or tell believing Jews that God has divorced them (which He would never do).

    To avoid any confusion, we must look at the nation of Israel and the church on two separate plains (physical and spiritual). On the first plain, we have the physical nation of Israel and the physical church. Here, God has temporarily turned from the nation of Israel to the church (Matthew 21:43). It is certain that there will be a restoration of the physical nation of Israel (Matthew 19:28). On the second plain, we have the spiritual Israel and the spiritual church. Here, we must agree with the Scripture that both are one spiritual body. All of the Scriptures establish that all members of the church are “brought in”. This type of language would be unnecessary if there was a separation on this plain.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      The human race is divided into believers and unbelievers. That’s as basic as it gets. All Scripture is FOR us but not all Scripture is TO us (Romans 15.4). For example, the Law was given to Israel, not to the Church. Paul taught the Church, the body of Christ, is not under Law but under grace (Romans 6.14). The olive tree does not represent a body of people who are saved but the place of privilege, the place of God’s blessing (See my article, The Olive Tree). Israel stood in that place for 2,000 years. But because of unbelief, God temporarily broke them off and placed Gentiles into the place of blessing. That is the meaning of Romans 11. If you do not understand God’s program for Israel and His program for the Church are entirely different programs–different rules, destinies, ways of approaching Him–you cannot understand the Bible. This has nothing to do with a dichotomy of physical Israel/spiritual Israel and physical Church/spiritual Church. What must be understood is that God has initiated two separate programs. The Church and Israel are completely, totally separate–united only by the fact that believing Israel and the Church have the same God. Paul received secrets from the risen Christ that He did not reveal in His earthly ministry. The Twelve knew nothing of them. They knew nothing of the gospel of the grace of God, the Church, the body of Christ, salvation by faith alone, the Rapture, the blindness of Israel, not being under Law, etc. These were new revelations God gave to Paul alone. Without such awareness, without right division and interpretation of the Scriptures, the result is error and confusion.

      • Thomas says:

        I think by “privileged position”, you mean to show that prior to before, Israel was in the primary position through which God revealed Himself and now, this position belongs to the church. In this way, God turned from the Jews to Gentiles that they might bear the fruits of the kingdom which Israel did not. If this is the interpretation of Paul’s illustration, why did he not have all of Israel’s branches cut off as opposed to some of them? There are of course Jews in the church, but that means they are part of the “church branch” and not the “Israel branch”. Jesus said to the Jews, “the kingdom of God will be taken from you and given to a nation bearing the fruits of it.” The tree appears to be the kingdom of God. The King of Kings who rules this kingdom was the King of Israel. Now, after being rejected and crucified by His own people, He became the King of as many as would receive Him. He currently does not reside on the throne in the nation of Israel, but on the throne in the hearts of every Jewish and Gentile believer-hence some of branches of Israel remained. In your understanding, unbelieving Gentiles are part of this tree. Paul’s phrase “you stand by faith” must then be a continual ringing in your ears. Do people stand in a “privileged position” by faith? Since when do the “rules” change from Israel to the church. Was not everyone from Abraham to John the Baptist justified by faith (Rom 4), Sanctified by God (Exodus 31:13). Granted, the Holy Spirit wasn’t yet given, but that only serves to further prove that everything depended upon Christ. The law they were given was given to point them to what we have (salvation by grace through faith). Its the same program, the same kingdom, the same King, the same salvation, the same bride of Christ comprised of all faith filled people.

        • doctrine doctrine says:

          Read Romans 11 again. It’s not just the Church which occupies the place of blessing, though we are the primary beneficiaries, but Gentiles. For 2,000 years Israel, believing and unbelieving Jews, had that place of privilege. Believing Jews were the primary beneficiaries but both believers and unbelievers occupied the place of privilege . God did break off all Israel in the illustration. National Israel does not presently occupy a place of privilege. That is held by Gentiles. Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 10.32 that there are three categories of people: Jews, Gentiles, and the Church. God sees believing Jews as “Church” just as He sees believing Gentiles as “Church.” Jesus was not speaking of the Church in his declaration of “a nation bearing the fruits of it” for the Church was a secret according to what Paul wrote in Ephesians 3. A secret is that which is unrevealed. Rather, He spoke of a future generation of Jews who would believe, i.e., the “all Israel will be saved” of Romans 11.26 cf. Matthew 23.37-39. The answer to your question, “Was not everyone from Abraham to John the Baptist justified by faith (Rom 4)” is “No.” Men have always been justified by faith but not by faith alone. Salvation by faith alone was a Pauline doctrine not taught by anyone else until after Acts 15 (see my article, The Great Hinge). Justification by faith alone was a doctrine not known before Paul. Before Paul, men and women were justified by faith and works (Abraham being an exception) as evidenced by Matthew 6.14-15, 19.16-17; Mark 1.4, 16.16; Luke 10.15-28; Acts 2.38, 15.1, 5 (as well as the whole OT).

          • Thomas says:

            Justification by grace through faith is the cornerstone doctrine of Christianity (Ephesians 2:8-9). No soul can be saved by any mixture of works and faith, but only by the grace of God giving them the faith to believe, that being the means through which they are justified. Anyone with true faith who has been justified will produce the good works which we were created for (James 2:14-26). The works can only be a byproduct of salvation and never a prerequisite (Rom 11:6). You seriously believe that God who designed salvation so that boasting is excluded (Rom 3:27) would have Old Testament saints marching into eternal life with a salvation partly merited by their own works? I see that your failure to accept very basic truths of Scripture have done damage to much of your understanding of the Bible. Hebrews makes it clear that the entirety of the old covenant system was a shadow of the new covenant. shadows couldn’t save anyone. The reality saves and He is Jesus-not Jesus and some good works I did. Old Testament saints looked forward in faith and we look back in faith, but all look to Christ to save them apart from works. Why do you think God gave Israel the Sabbath. Doesn’t Colossians 2:16-17 tell us that Christ is the substance of those shadows. Doesn’t Hebrews 4 tell us that whoever believes has entered into that Sabbath rest. Wasn’t the Sabbath given as a sign to Israel that it was God who would sanctify them? (Ezekiel 20) God wanted Israel to know that it was Him who would make them Holy-not Him and some works they did. Why do you think God made sure the guy picking up sticks on the Sabbath was executed (Numbers 15). God doesn’t care if people pick up sticks! The Sabbath symbolizes our rest in faith in Him for salvation, and the man who violated the symbol serves as an example to those who violate the reality. Why do you think Old Testament saints and New Testament apostles were at the transfiguration? Its almost as if they were all part of the same program for salvation.

            • doctrine doctrine says:

              You are correct. Justification by faith alone is the cornerstone of Christianity. But justification by faith alone is not taught by anyone until Paul. Study the Scriptures. Try and find any Scripture that teaches justification by faith alone before Paul. John did not proclaim it. Jesus did not proclaim it. Peter and the Twelve did not proclaim it. Only Paul. Peter, at Pentecost did not tell the Jews to believe Christ died for their sins, arose from the dead, and that by faith alone they could be saved. What did he tell them? He told them to repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2.36-38). Baptism is a work. If Peter had known salvation by faith alone do you not think he would have proclaimed it? Why didn’t he? He did not know it. For three years they had proclaimed salvation by faith and baptism (e.g., Mark 1.4, 16.16).

              • Thomas says:

                Found 1. Luke 18 – “He spoke this parable to some who trusted in themselves that they were righteous” (Sounds like pride in works). “And the tax collector, standing afar off, would not so much as raise his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me a sinner!’ 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other;” (seems as if this man didn’t work for his salvation). This is clearly in reference to salvation, for Jesus mentions how the Pharisee thought he was righteous. He thought he could do it on his own merit. He did not understand that it is God who makes one righteous (those with a broken and contrite heart). That is justification by grace through faith.

              • doctrine doctrine says:

                Such a response is not useful. The problem of maintaining that men have always been saved by faith alone is that too many verses are against it. The entire OT stands against it as does Jesus’ earthly ministry and the teachings of the Twelve. I gave you several verses which demonstrate this. Apparently you have not examined them. Your position is like that of the Pharisees whose tradition was dearer than the Scriptures. Salvation by faith alone began with Paul. Unless you understand that Paul is THE apostle of the Gentiles you cannot understand Christianity and the Church. I would encourage you to study the Scriptures for yourself and not rely upon tradition for it is wrong and has led to all the confusion we see among denominations.

  65. Joe says:

    I had a forehead slapping experience recently. After reading the story about Peter going to the house of Cornelius (which I’ve read many times over the years) he returns home and gets jumped on by the local Jews for preaching to a gentile. This incident happened a long time after Acts 2:28. How can it be taught that Peter’s sermon early in Acts 2 was to and for anyone but fellow Jews?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Yes. If passages like this will not convince one that it is impossible the Church began at Pentecost nothing will (Luke 24.25).

  66. G Teo says:

    Thank you for your insight about the Bride as reference to Israel only. Paul wrote in his letter to the Romans in chapter 11:13-25 , addressing the Gentiles. He gave the illustration of the wild olive (the Gentiles) being graffed into Israel. So would not then the Gentile believers having been graffed into Israel the is One with Israel as the Bride in Revelation?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      G Teo,
      Thank you. The wild olive branches are not grafted into Israel but into the olive tree, the place of blessing. Please see my article, The Olive Tree.

  67. Steph says:

    THANK YOU. Thank you SO much.

  68. Joe says:

    There was the first Adam (Adam)and the last Adam, the Lord. Originally it appears that both Adam and Eve were one. Out of the first Adam’s body came Eve. Can it be said that Eve became Adam’s wife?

    The Church is Christ’s body. Does the Church in some way parallel Eve in that Christ’s body is both Himself (the Head)and the church?….but instead of being taken out we are being put in….This next comment is totally w/o foundation but I think in ages past there was a dispute of some kind and now in time a bride, marriage, union, man/woman….something associated with the divine institution of marriage resolves that dispute.

    Without evidence I have come to think of marriage as a metaphor that speaks to a higher spiritual level or to the resolution to a mystery. I’ve never been able to find it and it may be because I’m way off base. Is marriage a type for something? Is marriage a ‘prop’ or a teaching/learning device to help mankind comprehend a proper relationship w/ God? Maybe marriage is just the best way to hold society together until the Lord comes.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      God established marriage as a divine institution to prevent immorality. But an earlier, deeper, spiritual dimension exists to marriage. God made man male and female as the image of God. The woman came from the man to be his companion and a communicator with him. In marriage, they reconnect “one flesh” into the unified image of God. Paul provided spiritual insight into the relationship of Christ and His Church with marriage (Ephesians 6).

      • Joe says:

        You write so well. I wish I could articulate my thoughts like you.

        Thank you for your work and time spent with all us knuckleheads.

  69. GraceReceiver says:

    Joe, I do believe that you are on to something, so keep digging!
    Richard Jordan of Shorewood Bible Church has alluded to this several times in his sermons. Unfortunately, I cannot recall which ones. Guess you’ll just have to listen to random sermons to find it, LOL.
    Even if you don’t find the sermon you’re looking for, you’ll be blessed along the way, as he’s a good teacher.
    Really, really great article, Don.

  70. willardd says:

    This is a very good article you have written. I am one who hungers deeply for knowledge. I want to know what any great teacher thinks about a biblical doctrine, even if I come away disagreeing sometimes. You, I agree with on this issue.
    My question is in regards to the elect, and the resurrections. Who is the elect in your understanding? I have understood the elect, the overcomers, and the firstfruits to God to be the same thing. The elect resurrect in the 1st resurrection.
    Paul teaches heavy on the elect. Is the elect composed of only the church body or is the elect the 144,000 Jewish priests? Can it be composed of members of the body and the bride? Is the elect, the bride, and the body three separate groups? Is it anything similar to the barley, wheat, and grape harvest?
    Sorry so many questions. I need to know these things. Thank you.

  71. willardd says:

    Thanks. I read The Resurrection article. I’m fine with that. Very similar to my own beliefs. However the article did not really express anything about the elect, overcomers. It did mention very briefly the firstfruits which I believe are the same thing.
    I’m sorry to be persistent about this, but I’ll try to condense my question. Paul speaks of the elect. I’m assuming from the body. Expressly is the elect composed of the body, the bride, or portions of both groups. And I’m believing that the body, the bride, and the elect are three distinct groups in the resurrection also.
    Once again I appreciate it. Thank you.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      Paul spoke of the elect as being members of the body of Christ but also of all who are faithful to Him, even angels (1 Timothy 5.21). In the gospels the elect are believing Israel as well as believing Gentiles (Matthew 24.22). Thus, the elect is a general term that refers to all believers of all ages and all who have remained faithful to God. The firstfruits composed those who were resurrected with Christ immediately after His resurrection.

  72. Carlos Ilustre says:

    Thank you so much for the invaluable work you are sharing to us. I praise the Lord for this wonderful work you are doing in the service of the Body of Christ. Shalom.

  73. Joe says:

    Here’s a thought. L. S. Chafer quotes C. I. Scofield….Hosea 2:2 “That Israel is the wife of Jehovah (16-23), now disowned but yet to be restored, is the clear teaching of the passages. This relationship is not to be confounded with that of the Church to Christ. In the mystery of the Divine tri-unity both are true. The New Testament speaks of the Church as a virgin espoused to one husband (2 Cor 11:1-2); which could never be said of an adulterous wife, restored in grace. Israel is, then, to be resorted and forgiven wife of Jehovah, the Church the virgin wife of the Lamb..Israel Jehovah’s earthly wife; the Church the Lamb’s heavenly bride.”

    Psalm 45:8-15. In this picture the King appears with the queen upon His right hand in gold of Ophir. she is addressed as daughter and as the king’s daughter. The virgins who attend her are not the queen but are brought to her with joy and gladness. Of them it is said “they shall enter into the King’s palace” Thus the virgins of Matthew 25: 1-13 are identified in the relation to the bride. Why should not Israel pay tribute of honor to the queen the bride of their King? The virgins are the queens companions and those among them who are ready to enter with her into the “ivory palaces: which is the Kings palace (15)

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      This is an area I disagree with Chafer and Scofield. I do not think a sound Biblical case can be made that the Church is the bride of Christ.

  74. Joe says:

    Not arguing just thinking out loud.

    Why the various ‘types’ in the OT of gentile brides? Adam/Eve, Isaac/Rebekah,Joseph/Asenath,Moses/Zipporah,Boaz/Ruth,David/Abigail,Solomon and his true love Canticles. (I found this list in Chafer’s works)

    Was Eve Adam’s bride at his/their creation and before the ‘rib’ episode?

    John the B, a Jew, was only a ‘friend’ of the Groom.

    The wedding must take place with ‘physical’ entities because it takes place before the Kingdom. I’m assuming the Lord at this very moment is in a physical state. What is the only physical group of beings in existence at the time of the wedding?

    Have i made any major errors?

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      These are figures of Gentile salvation. Paul stated humanity is composed of Jews, Gentiles, and the Church (1 Corinthians 10.32). God’s relationship to the Church is that of being His body.

  75. Joshua deville says:

    You are missing key aspects of the scriptures you used especial Ephesians 5:25-27

    1st To you separating Jews, Gentiles and Christians.

    “There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.” – Galatians 3:28

    “He did this by ending the system of law with its commandments and regulations. He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups.” -Ephesians 2:15

    “25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, 26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, 27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” – Ephesians 5:25-27

    He refers to the Church and a Wife in the same sentence making it plain as day “Gave Himself for her” after just mentioning a Wife in a Marriage.

    Israel is the Place Christ will rule from not the Bride itself.

    • doctrine doctrine says:

      No Jew or Gentile exists in Christ but functionally Jews and Gentiles exist. Paul categorized humanity into three groups: Jews, Gentiles, and the Church (1 Corinthians 10.32). Paul used marriage as an illustration of relationship of the Church with Christ but did not teach the Church was the bride of Christ. Christ will rule on earth as Israel’s King (Zechariah 14.9). The Church, the body of Christ, are joint-heirs with Christ, not subjects. No where does the Bible teach Christ is the King of the Church. He is the Lord and Head, not King.

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