The church is referred to as the Bride of Christ and the Day that we await is the wedding feast of the Lamb, the day when our betrothal becomes marriage. Revelation speaks about it this way,
Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,
For the Lord our God
the Almighty reigns.
7 Let us rejoice and exult
and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
8 it was granted her to clothe herself
with fine linen, bright and pure”--
for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.
9 And the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.” And he said to me, “These are the true words of God.” (Revelation 19:6-9).
John continues in Revelation 21:1-5.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
5 And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
In the same chapter John continues with verses 9-11.
Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.
These verses talk about the city of New Jerusalem being the Bride of Christ, but it doesn’t mean the actual city, the buildings, streets, and such, it is talking about the church, the people. In the same way that the church is the people and not the building, the city is the citizens of the city, the believers, you and me. We are His bride. What does it say about us? Well, these verses have some beautiful things to say about us and the rest of the Bible has even more to say. The first thing we read says that the wedding is a reason to rejoice, it is celebrated and the Bridegroom, Jesus is praised!
It says too that the Bride is ready. Brides after all must be prepared. I have seen many friends get married, most of them spent a great deal of time preparing for the wedding and the marriage itself. They planned the wedding of course, ensuring all their friends and families would be there with them. They made their finances so that when married the monies and all properties would belong to husband and wife. They got counseling together so that their two separate lives would mesh as one. They got to know one another through that counseling and found out the details that would change the way they lived their lives.
The dress is to most brides, one of the more special parts of the ceremony. Even if she doesn’t wear a traditional gown, she still chooses some special outfit. After all, she wants to be beautiful for her groom. She wants everyone to say, “Look how blessed the groom is, his bride is lovely and she obviously loves him to make herself look so exquisite today.” Jesus made it possible for us to wear fine linen, bright and pure. Through the Crucifixion and Resurrection, He has granted us the right to wear what a virgin bride wears. Although we have all sinned and no longer have the right to claim purity, Jesus took away every sin and made us righteous. He granted us the right to wear the bright and pure fine linens that only a pure and wealthy bride may wear.
Romans 3:21-23 states it this way,
But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
What are the fine pure linens we clothe ourselves with? Ezekiel 16:6-14 tells us those linens belong to God.
“And when I passed by you and saw you wallowing in your blood, I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ I said to you in your blood, ‘Live!’ 7 I made you flourish like a plant of the field. And you grew up and became tall and arrived at full adornment. Your breasts were formed, and your hair had grown; yet you were naked and bare.
8 “When I passed by you again and saw you, behold, you were at the age for love, and I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness; I made my vow to you and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Lord God, and you became mine. 9 Then I bathed you with water and washed off your blood from you and anointed you with oil. 10 I clothed you also with embroidered cloth and shod you with fine leather. I wrapped you in fine linen and covered you with silk. 11 And I adorned you with ornaments and put bracelets on your wrists and a chain on your neck. 12 And I put a ring on your nose and earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. 13 Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen and silk and embroidered cloth. You ate fine flour and honey and oil. You grew exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty. 14 And your renown went forth among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through the splendor that I had bestowed on you, declares the Lord God.
Revelation 19:8 tells us the clothes are righteous deeds. Without Jesus, people may do good things for a variety of reasons, but no matter what they do, go on a hunger strike for the rights of the poor, give millions of dollars to charity, or donate a kidney to a stranger, without Christ, those deeds are not righteous. Because only Jesus is truly righteous and our righteousness is His from Him. We are accorded the ability to do these deeds only because of Him. It is His Spirit given to us which makes it possible. Jesus made it possible for us to wear those linens, but it is up to us to put them on, to prepare ourselves for the wedding. He will not force us. Romans 13:14 says,
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
Some versions word it as “clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh” (NIV).
In Ephesians 4:20-24 Paul wrote it this way,
But that is not the way you learned Christ!— 21 assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, 22 to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires,23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
God has given us many new names, but it is up to you and me to choose to walk in the new identity He gave us. That means we do good works. We are not saved by those acts, we are saved by faith, but our faith is proven, it is revealed, expressed, and demonstrated by good works. Doing those things does not earn us Heaven, they prepare us for Heaven, and say to God, “I love you” (2 John 1:6). They show the world how good God is. James said,
What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. (James 2:14-18).
In marriage, at least in the perfect marriage that Jesus exemplifies for us, there is love. And oh, how Jesus loves you, Bride. He laid down His life for you, He loves you so much. That is what John said defines real love (1 John 3:16). Ephesians 5:25-33 reads,
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.
Jesus gave up His life for a purpose, His love for us is so great that He chose to purify us in order to be united with us in a relationship that surpasses what we know as marriage. The Husband, Christ cherishes us, nourishes us so that we flourish because we are not only with Him, we are a part of Him, just as His hands and heart are a part of Him, so are we. Jesus loves us! He adores His bride, He thinks we are beautiful and He makes us more so. The wedding will be a huge party because He will be so happy to finally be united with us forever. Psalm 45:6-15 in The Message describes it this way,
“Your throne is God’s throne,
ever and always;
The scepter of your royal rule
measures right living.
You love the right
and hate the wrong.
And that is why God, your very own God,
poured fragrant oil on your head,
Marking you out as king
from among your dear companions.
8-9 “Your ozone-drenched garments
are fragrant with mountain breeze.
Chamber music—from the throne room--
makes you want to dance.
Kings’ daughters are maids in your court,
the Bride glittering with golden jewelry.
10-12 “Now listen, daughter, don’t miss a word:
forget your country, put your home behind you.
Be here—the king is wild for you.
Since he’s your lord, adore him.
Wedding gifts pour in from Tyre;
rich guests shower you with presents.”
13-15 (Her wedding dress is dazzling,
lined with gold by the weavers;
All her dresses and robes
are woven with gold.
She is led to the king,
followed by her virgin companions.
A procession of joy and laughter!
a grand entrance to the king’s palace!)
Verse 11 says, “The king is wild for you!” in The ESV it says, “the king will desire your beauty.” The Aramaic Bible in Plain English translated the phrase as, “the King will be ravished with your beauty.”
I want you to understand that Jesus love is not merely a warm feeling, it is passionate, ardent, and vehement. He adores you, He cherishes you. He is ravished by you and enraptured by you.
There is so much more we could go into about what it means for us to be the bride, for God to be our Husband, but you can look into those things, you can consider what marriage should be and apply it to your relationship with Jesus.