The Unfaithful Wife And The Virgin Bride

Q. Thank you for your ministry and for taking the time to answer our questions. Your website is a blessing to me and countless others. How does Hosea chapters 1-3 and Isaiah 62 which seems to refer to Israel as God’s wife relate with the church from Pentecost to the rapture as the bride of Christ?

A. The symbolic references to Israel as God’s unfaithful wife and the Church as the virgin bride of Christ are meant to demonstrate the differences in the Old and New Covenants, because in truth the Church has been just as unfaithful as Israel. The difference is the cross, which makes us appear to be without spot or blemish even though we aren’t.

Put another way, the central issue between God and Israel was obedience whereas between Christ and the Church it’s faith. Paul wrote that no one could ever be declared righteous by keeping the Law, because the Law can only make us more conscious of our sin (Romans 3:20) So if we’re being compared to the standard of the Law we can only be pronounced unfaithful.

But then came a righteousness from God apart from the Law, imputed to us by faith in the completed work of Jesus Christ. This faith lets God see us as if we had never sinned, as if we’re as righteous as He is. It’s what makes us appear to be as pure as a virgin bride (Romans 3:21-22, Ephes. 5:25-27).

Isaiah 62 speaks of the Millennium when Israel, having accepted the New Covenant, will no longer be called unfaithful.

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