The NT writers wrote to the 1st century churches telling them that the New Covenant church was the new bride: see Rev. 19:7 then 21:2-3 then 21:9-10, 14 then 2 Cor. 11:2 then Eph. 5:24-27 then Gal. 4:24-26 then Eph. 2:19-22 then 1 Pet. 2:3-5.
- The OT types and shadows of Old Covenant Israel, with her physical temple, priesthood, sacrifices, land and promises à are fulfilled in the eternal spiritual New Covenant Israel in the church. Both Jewish and Gentile “Christians” are the true descendants of Christ and Abraham. We belong to Christ, and we are Abraham’s spiritual seed and heirs according to the promises of God (Gal. 3:26-29; Rom. 9:6-8).
The BRIDE OF CHRIST refers to that first century church. Those saints were specially chosen people. Christ established His New Covenant heavenly home in the New Jerusalem, which He brought with Him at His second coming Parousia in AD 66. This is where the first century church, the BRIDE OF CHRIST, consisting of the resurrected and raptured saints in AD 66, permanently resides in His presence.
“2 Then I, John, saw the holy city, NEW JERUSALEM, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a BRIDE adorned for her husband.” (Rev. 21:2).
“9Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, ‘Come, I will show you the BRIDE, THE LAMB’S WIFE.’ 10And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, THE HOLY JERUSALEM, descending out of heaven from God’” (Rev.21:9-10).
They were represented by the five wise virgins in Christ’s parable (Matt. 25:1-10). They eagerly waited for the Groom to come. They were ready and when the Groom was coming, they awoke, trimmed their lamps, and went out to meet him. The wedding took place with Christ as the Groom and the first century, raised all the former faithful believers from Hades/Sheol, and raptured all of the living faithful believers, as the Bride.
The five other virgins, whose lamps did not have oil, may have been like the “sleepers” in the first century church, who were not genuine believers. They were caught like a “thief in the night” thus missing His coming. The Groom told them: “Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.” (Matt. 25:11-12; Matt. 7:22-23; 1 Thess. 5:2; Rev. 3:3).
The New Jerusalem is also the eternal dwelling place of the bride and all the future believers, who are the “relatives” of that marriage. It is the permanent dwelling place for all born- again believers after they die going forward in human history. They are all sons and daughters of that marriage. (John 1:12-13). They all have eternal life in Christ and are all brothers and sisters of each other. (Matt. 19:29).
The non-believing Jews of the Old Jerusalem and Old Covenant had become a “harlot” to God. (Rev. 19:2). Christ righteously punished and destroyed her. His BRIDE was made righteous forever in Christ (Deut. 24:4; Ezek. 44:22; Matt. 5:32; Matt. 19:9; 1 Cor. 6:15).
Just like a newlywed couple establishes a new home together at marriage, this is the same way the Bible describes the marriage of Christ and the BRIDE. In heaven, they build a new household together. The children of that marriage (all believers after AD 70) are a part of that new household, both relationally (covenantally and positionally) “in Christ” while on earth, and fully experientially in new individual immortal heavenly bodies when they die and go to heaven. (Rev. 21:24-26; 22:14, 17).
[For a more in-depth study see eschatology “Study Series 16 Lesson 7 Rev. Chapters 19 and 20 (sub study on The Wedding)”]