“Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and spoke with me, saying, ‘Come here, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.’” – Rev. 21:9
I would like to hear your explanation as to why “bride” and “wife” are used to describe the same group of the redeemed? Or, is a distinction actually being made with respect to the same group? I have heard some teach that the “wife” represents the redeemed of Israel (Hosea) and the “bride” represents the redeemed from among the Gentiles. What say you? – fl
I think it is precisely so that we will not make such unjustified distinctions. The wife and the bride are the same. Redeemed Israel and the body of Christ are one. One of the reasons why the woman of Rev 12 has been so misinterpreted is because traditionally the church has “over” distinguished between Israel and the church. Is there a distinction? Yes, there is an important distinction, but it is not of the nature usually assumed. The church is simply the Israel within Israel. Regardless of how many gentiles swell the ranks of the body of Christ, the people of Christ, the true seed of Abraham, remain no less the Israel of God within the still predestined nation of the Jews. However much a mystery has been newly revealed, the church is the people of the Spirit of all times and dispensations.
However much the revelation of the mystery of the gospel has brought to greater light the nature of the unity of the mystical body of Christ as the one new man of the Spirit, still, the body of Christ remains in corporate continuity and solidarity with the “remnant according to the election of grace,” i.e., the Israel within Israel. In this sense, the regenerate “remnant of her seed” are distinct but not separate from larger Israel, as the yet “elect woman” who, though presently blinded and under divine discipline, is predestined to be an all saved national entity. The fulfillment of the covenant in the salvation of “all Israel,” is precisely what Satan most fears and resists, and why he so assiduously seeks the destruction of the woman before this can be established with real flesh and blood Jews in real space and time history in public vindication of the everlasting covenant.
We may compare the relation of the church to Israel, as we would compare the regenerate spirit to a body that though subject to death because of sin is no less destined for resurrection because of the promise. In this sense, the living church, like the living Lord of glory, is joined to the elect body of corporate Israel. Though presently dead spiritually, Israel is destined for full corporate salvation because of the promise and election of the fathers, the spiritual seed within the seed, as the church is a spiritual nation within the nation. You see, one cannot be “in Christ” and not be “in Israel.” In that sense, the church is an internal phenomenon within Israel, i.e., the nation of the natural branches.
As much as God remains in covenant with Israel despite her present blindness, so the church should never see herself as separate and apart, but like a corporate, weeping Jeremiah, travail in birth till Christ be formed in the elect nation. This we do, even while we preach the good news and prophesy to the nations of the glories of the New Covenant. God is not in such a covenant of predestined mercy with the apostate church of world Christendom. He remains, however, whether for weal or woe, benefit or judgment, in a unique covenant bond with Israel, and so are all who are born of His Spirit, or should be, were our identity not so obscured through false doctrine concerning our relationship to Israel, as though we belong to an entirely separate entity. Distinct? Yes! Separate? No!
This is the logic of why Israel receives the double for the double. Even in their unbelief, they are His national son, called to be the servant nation, though presently prodigal and estranged from the new nature of the Spirit, they, as a national Jewish entity, are no less predestined, uniquely, as a nation, for full corporate salvation. This is the covenant that will be openly vindicated throughout the millennium in the sight of all nations, and it is an election that God will require all nations to honor.