Q. I once heard a TV preacher say that John the Baptist is the friend of the Bridegroom (John 3:29), and that Paul has the equivalent position with the bride (2 Corinthians 11:2). And that they both could have future roles at the marriage supper of the Lamb. What are your thoughts on this?
A. John 3:29 shows that John the Baptist called himself a friend who attends the bridegroom, and in 2 Cor. 11:2 Paul spoke of presenting the Church to the Lord to be His bride. In western tradition this would make John the best man and Paul the father of the bride.
In Matt. 11:13-14 Jesus said all the Law and Prophets (Old Testament) prophesied until John, indicating he was the last Old Testament figure. He also said John came to fulfill the role of Elijah, further indication of his place in the Old Testament. This lends support to John’s role as friend of the bridegroom rather than being part of the bride.
In Romans 4:11-12 Paul called Abraham the father of all who believe, whether circumcised (Jews) or not (Gentiles), and in Galatians 3:29 he said if we belong to Christ we’re Abraham’s seed (offspring). But in 1 Cor. 4:15 he told the Corinthians he had become their father through the Gospel. That could support the opinion that Paul saw himself as the father of the Church, but it seems like Abraham is a more likely candidate.
Whether this is all symbolic or whether it will convert to reality is not clear, so we’ll have to wait and see. Either way it will surely be the best wedding ever.