The Church: the Body and the Bride.

1 Corinthians 12, and Ephesians 5.

J. A. Trench.

Article 6 of 55 from 'Truth for Believers' Volume 2.

The Body is a present relationship of all who are Christ's to Christ, but goes on into eternity. We never cease to be His fulness, blessed be God. But now from this flows another precious aspect of our corporate place. (Eph. 5) I say "from this" because we see a man's wife as identified with himself in verse 28. How does the relationship of man and wife set forth that of Christ and the Church? Because being members of His body (1 Cor. 12:12) we are Himself; "no man ever yet hated his own flesh." (Verse 29) So, according to the original institution of marriage, "they two shall be one flesh;" and he speaks "concerning Christ and the Church."

Thus, you see, the thought of the wife or bride of Christ is not another relationship, but only another aspect of the one we are in by being members of His body.

You may say, why is this other aspect added to all the wealth of divine relationship expressed in chapters 1 and 2? Because the thought of being His body did not in itself sufficiently express Christ's affections. He wanted more to express what the Church was to His heart; hence the moment husband and wife are referred to as the beginning of natural relationship, the Spirit seizes the opportunity of unfolding thus to us what the Church is to Christ.

As to the place of Revelation 22:16, 20, it is mere inattention to Scripture and the structure of the book to say it has anything to do with prophecy. The book, as a whole, has; but in the close of it, as at the opening of it, there is an address to the Churches into whose hands the book is placed. It is the Church, then, turning from the dark prophetic outlook of judgment, which characterises the book, to the blessed Hope that flows from its own proper relationship to Christ.

It is not the Kingdom the Bride wants, but Himself, the absent Bridegroom of her heart. It is not to get out of trouble she wants, or relief of any kind, but to see His face.