Q. Where does it say that the Church, the body of Christ, is the bride of Christ? It says in revelation 21 starting v9, come let me show you the bride of Christ and John is shown the holy city of Jerusalem adorned as a bride. I would just like to know are we the body of Christ or the bride of Christ or both?
A. In 1 Cor. 12:27 Paul wrote, “Now you are the body of Christ and each one of you is a part of it.” And in Ephesians 4:11-12 he spoke of special abilities being given to those among us to prepare God’s people for works of service so that the body of Christ may be built up. From these examples it’s clear that the Church is the body of Christ.
As for being the bride of Christ, you have to read all of Rev. 21 to realize that when the angel said, “Come, I will show you the bride , the wife of the Lamb” in Rev. 21:9 he then spent most of the chapter describing the Bride’s dwelling place. (The phrase, “prepared as a bride” in Rev. 21:2 indicates that just as is the case with a bride on her wedding day, no expense has been spared to make the New Jerusalem look as beautiful as possible.)
Nothing in the Bible allows us to conclude that Jesus will marry a structure, but there are several places where it’s implied that He will marry the Church, even though the actual phrase “Bride of Christ” does not appear n Scripture.
For example, speaking of the Church Paul said, “I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised (espoused, betrothed) you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to Him” (2 Cor. 11:2).
In Ephesians 5:25-27 he wrote, “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.”
And in Rev. 19:7 we read, “Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory, for the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteousness of the saints.)
The implication of these verses is clear. Jesus will marry the Church. And sure enough, near the end of his description in Rev. 21, the angel shifted from the structure to those who dwell within it.
In Rev. 21:27 he 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 description can only refer to the redeemed and perfected church.
Therefore it’s reasonable to conclude that the Church is both the body and the bride of Christ.