Q. There has long been the assertion that the church is the Bride. Could you please send me the specific bible reference? I have never been able to find this reference. The Church has a masculine gender and the Lamb’s wife is the New Jerusalem. How can ones own body be his bride, especially if the Church is masculine?
A. Paul mentioned the Church as the bride in two places. The first is 2 Cor. 11:2 where he spoke of espousing us to one husband, to Christ, presenting us as a chaste virgin. The second is Ephesians 5:25-32. There he said husbands should love their wives as Christ loved the Church, and gave himself up for her, seeing her as radiant, holy and blameless. He said in the same way, husbands should love their wives.
Just like describing the Church as a body of believers is symbolic and doesn’t refer to an actual body, describing us as the bride of Christ is also symbolic and doesn’t refer to an actual bride.
Also, the New Jerusalem is not the bride, but the home of the bride. The phrase prepared as a bride in Rev. 21:2 means that just as no effort is spared in making a bride as beautiful as possible for her wedding day, no effort will be spared in making the home of the bride as beautiful as possible for us. Besides, the Lord doesn’t take a city as His bride, He takes the people who live in the city.
Further evidence for this can be found in Rev. 21:27 . Speaking of the New Jerusalem John said,
Nothing impure will ever enter it, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
This tells us the New Jerusalem is the home of the bride, not the bride. And finally, the Greek word for Church is ekklesia and it’s a feminine word. Put it all together and you can see that Paul was using the symbolism of a husband and wife to demonstrate the intimate kind of relationship the Church enjoys with the Lord.