By George Feldman
Christ is the Bridegroom and the Church which is his body is the Bride. Some day He is coming back which will meet Him in the air and go back to Heaven.
These are familiar sentiments we have heard many times. But how much of it is truth? There is obviously a mixing of the metaphors that is confusing and raises serious questions. For instance, how can Christ fulfill His role as Bridegroom and His role as Head of the Church which is His Body at the same time? How can His Body be also the Bride at the same event?
In the Patmos vision of Revelation 21 we read of "the Bride, the Lamb's wife," but the term the \"Bride of Christ\" used by many evangelical believers, is unknown in Scripture. It is common to hear the description of the New Jerusalem used as a picture of Heaven and the future home of all believers. If this is so, who would be left to inhabit the New Earth God is going to create? Or who would be left to inhabit the heavenly places promised in Ephesians and Colossians? Therefore the Bride cannot in any sense of the word be considered synonymous with the Church which is His Body. The New Jerusalem, or the Holy City as it is also called, represents or contains the Bride, who are the inhabitants. They will be a distinct household of resurrected believers designated as Overcomers: people of superior faith and obedience. They will be rewarded with the "better resurrection" of Hebrews 11:35. This will characterize all the inhabitants of the New Jerusalem. The City will be their exclusive habitation. Abraham, for instance, had the Land assured as an inheritance, but as an Overcomer he looked higher, and waited for the heavenly city as his reward.
To properly understand the Bible it is imperative that three distinct spheres of blessings and households or families of believers who will inhabit them be recognized. They are: the New Earth, the Bride, mentioned in this article, and the Church which is His Body, whose habitat will be in the heavenly places (Eph. 1:3).