Q. I know a teacher that has a bible study group and his doctrine about the bride of Christ is that the Jews are God’s bride, and the gentiles are Jesus’ bride. What do you say? I have never heard this before! If it is so, it changes the whole new testament for me. I just can’t believe it. What do you have to say about this? Is this considered a doctrine also? Thank you so much!
A. In the Old Testament, Israel is sometimes referred to as God’s adulterous wife. Hosea 2:2 is one example. In the New Testament, the Church is called the virgin bride of Christ (2 Cor. 11:2). Both these descriptions are used figuratively to illustrate the difference between Law and Grace, because in reality the church is no better behaved now than Israel was then.
In the Bible righteousness is often equated with sexual purity. Israel tried to keep the Law but Romans 3:20 tells us that no one will be declared righteous by observing the Law. Hence the adulterous wife reference.
2 Cor. 5:21 says that having accepted the Son’s death as payment for our sins we’ve been made as righteous as God is, because our righteousness has been imputed to us by faith. In God’s sight we’re as pure as a virgin Bride.
As long as you understand the symbolism, there’s no conflict.