Reply To: The Bridegroom, the Bride, the New Jarusalem, and the 10 Virgins

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Anonymous
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Hi Al and Tammy,
I have not been ignoring Tammy’s questions or quotes, I have just been busy with life. Also the Wisconsin Campmeeting was this last week. Getting ready for it and then being there while also having to take care of some personal business kept me busy. That and the fact that their WiFi was not the best did not help. Also I was waiting to see if others would have questions or comments to make.

So, what about the comments that Tammy shared from Adventist Home p26? And those shared by Al Roesch “Christ honored the marriage relation by making it also a symbol of the union between Him and His redeemed ones. He Himself is the Bridegroom; THE BRIDE IS THE CHURCH.” {Ministry of Healing 356} And “Very close and sacred is the relation between Christ and His church—He the bridegroom, and THE CHURCH THE BRIDE.” {Education 268}

To be honest there are many other places that it would seem that Sister White has confirmed the idea that the Church is the Bride, making the point that I have made mute. One could say, the two sides of the same coin. In fact, depending on how one looks at it, there are over 25+ different places/sources where she makes this connection. Or does she really? That is what I will be looking at here because it is important that we come to this with a clear understanding.

Can we say that the Church is the bride of Christ? “making it also a symbol of the union between Him and His redeemed ones.” MH p. 356; “Very close and sacred is the relation between Christ and His church…” Ed p. 268; “Christ honored the marriage relation by making it also a symbol of the union between Him and His redeemed ones. He Himself is the Bridegroom; the bride is the church, of which, as His chosen one, He says, “Thou art all fair, My love; there is no spot in thee.” AH p. 26. From just these three it would seem clear, or is it? What do these three statements and the many others that can be found, concerning the church being the bride, have in common?

The most common thing that they have, is the fact that they are nothing more than quotes from other places. So what was the original quote(s) where were they made, and what may be even more important is, what was the ‘date’ that the statement was made? Also it is important to understand that, yes, something can have dual meaning, but what is the real point, that is trying to be made, by the symbol/metaphor that has been given. Here is one good example, the one that I have stated in an earlier post here. COL p 190-191 “The rabbis understood Christ’s parable as applying to the publicans and sinners; but it has also a wider meaning. By the lost sheep Christ represents not only the individual sinner but the one world that has apostatized and has been ruined by sin. This world is but an atom in the vast dominions over which God presides, yet this little fallen world–the one lost sheep–is more precious in His sight than are the ninety and nine that went not astray from the fold. Christ, the loved Commander in the heavenly courts, stooped from His high estate, laid aside the glory that He had with the Father, in order to save the one lost world. For this He left the sinless worlds on high, the ninety and nine that loved Him, and came to this earth, to be “wounded for our transgressions” and “bruised for our iniquities.” (Isaiah 53:5.) God gave Himself in His Son that He might have the joy of receiving back the sheep that was lost.” The Parable has a wider meaning according to Sister White. What does she mean by a wider meaning? Is the view of the lost sinner the narrow view of this parable, but the wider view being that this world, an atom in the vast dominions of God, is that lost sheep?

Likewise then, what is the narrow view/meaning about the church being the Bride in contrast to the wider view/meaning that “The Holy City, the New Jerusalem, which is the capital and representative of the kingdom, is called “the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” And just when did(by Date) Sister White start to make the narrower view of the church being the Bride? This understanding is more important than what most will see or understand. For that answer we need only look at the dates of each publication of the idea that the church is the bride. Also it is important to note how many are nothing more than a repeat of a quote from another place.

(1897) was the first time that she made the statement that, “Very close and sacred is the relation between Christ and His church—He the bridegroom, and THE CHURCH THE BRIDE.” found in Education(1903) which was taken from a manuscript that became part of Education.That would make the manuscript the original source for this quote and every other place nothing more than a copy, a repeat of this 1 statement.

(1902) in the Ministry of Healing we find, “Christ honored the marriage relation by making it also a symbol of the union between Him and His redeemed ones. He Himself is the Bridegroom; the bride is the church, of which, as His chosen one, He says, “Thou art all fair, My love; there is no spot in thee.” Song of Solomon 4:7. Which has been copied in Adventist Home. These are the only 2 places that this statement can be found in its entirety. It has been chopped down and placed in other books and pamphlets after 1902.

So in reality there are only two places where these two statements are made. Every other place is a copy of these statements. All of them being made after the Date of 1896, eight years after the Great Controversy was published. And more years than that in regards to all of the many other statements that she made concerning the Bride, the Marriage and the Wedding Supper prior to 1896. The term that is used the most for the connection/relationship between Christ and the Church in both the New Testament and Sister Whites writings is, He is the Head, the church is the Body. The other term used is that we are Orphans waiting for the adoption. Another term used by Sister White is that we are to wait for Christ to return from the Wedding. If we are the Bride and there is a wedding why are we not there? And why are we to wait the return of Christ from the wedding? To which we must ask, “What really is the wedding all about, What is taking place at the wedding?” Remember, Jesus does not come for us until after the wedding is over.

Also, how do you fit the following statements, found in these following comments, in with the idea that the church is the bride? COL p405-406 Lingering near the bride’s house are ten young women robed in white. Each carries a lighted lamp and a small flagon for oil. All are anxiously watching for the appearance of the bridegroom. But there is a delay. Hour after hour passes; the watchers become weary and fall asleep. At midnight the cry is heard, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.” The sleepers, suddenly awaking, spring to their feet. They see the procession moving on, bright with torches and glad with music. They hear the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride. (RH Oct 31, 1899)… “This parable is not a representation of open sinners, but of those who profess Christ. The bride is the church who is waiting for the second appearing of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. In the proclamation of the first and second angels of Revelation 14, a special message has come to our world.” Who do the 10 Virgins, all 10, hear the voices of? Is this church on Earth the only church in the entire Universe?(Rev. 22:17) Are we the only ones that worship God??

Most people will quickly turn to Ephesians 5: 23-27, 32 and use these verses to say that Paul is showing that the church is the Bride of Christ. Their evidence and conclusion hanging on verse 32. But is that what Paul is saying or is that what we want to make it say?
5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
5:24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so [let] the wives [be] to their own husbands in every thing.
5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
5:27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
5:32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.

V23 the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church. The church being the body of Christ. (Chpt 1-4:32, 5:30)
V24 as the church is subject to Christ, let wives be to their husbands
V25 husbands love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and died for it.
V26 that he might sanctify and cleanse it…
V27 that he might present it… that it shouldbe holy…
V32 this is a great mysterybut I speak concerning Christ and the church.

What mystery is there concerning Christ and the church? What is Paul trying to get across to his readers by his comparison of the husband and wife relationship in comparison to Christ and the church? First off, he tells us that Christ is the head and the members of the church are like the different parts of the body. Each having its own place in the body, having its own special purpose. Likewise each member in the church has their own special place in the church, having their own talents given to them by God for the health and growth of the church(the many different body parts). This is the continuing theme starting in chapter 1 and continues all the way into chapter 5. Then Paul starts to talk about the type of relationship that should be between the husband and wife. A relationship that should mirror the relationship that Jesus had/has with the church. A relationship that is based on Love, respect, caring and the giving of oneself totally for the marriage, just as Christ did for the church. None of these verses say that the church is the bride or the wife of Christ; they demonstrate in words and the actions of Jesus, the type of relationship that God requires between a husband and wife. (See v28-29)

As for the mystery that Paul speaks of? He speaks of the mystery right after he says, 5:31-32(first part) “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh“. “This is a great mystery:” How can a man and a woman become one flesh??? That is the mystery that Paul speaks of. But what had Paul been talking about for 4+ chapters before he, sidetracked, himself by talking about husbands and wives? The relationship between Christ the HEAD and the church the BODY, v32(last part) but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Eph. 5:30 “For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones”. Paul is not saying that it is a mystery how the church can be the bride of Christ.

I will add more later this week, I hope. And yes, there is more, a lot more. A question to ponder, “Why was it that Sister White waited until 1896 before she started making comments about the church being the Bride?

here are all of the places that reference the church being the bride and some places that reference the ‘Spirit and the Bride’.
Adventist Home p.26 (1952)
The Ministry of Healing p.356 (1905)
Education p.268 (1903)
Evangelism p.318 (1946)
A Call to Stand p.65 (2002)
Christ Triumphant (1999)
manuscript 115, 1897
The General Conference Bulletin
July 1, 1902 p.670 reading for Dec. 27th
The Gospel Herald May 28 (1902)
HM-The Home Missionary
Aug 1 (1896)
The Faith I Live By
My Life Today (1952)
Selected Messages book 1 (1958)
the Youth’s Instructor August 11, (1898) The Risen Saviour part 2
7BC S.D.A. Bible Commentary Vol. 7 (1957)
Letter 123 1/2 (1898)
Letter 177 (1901)
Letter 39 (1902)
Special Testimonies on Education (1897)
The Review and Herald (originally called ‘The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald’)
Oct 31, (1899)
Jan 27, (1891)
Apr 29, (1909)
Mar 24, (1910)
Nov 12, (1914)
MR16 Manuscript Releases Vol. 16 [Nos. 1186-1235] (1990)
MR No. 1223
MR No. 1224 (1898)
MR No. 1234 (1902)
Ms 121 p.17 (1899)
Letter 123a (1898)