Several days ago, I published an article titled ‘The One Bride (of Messiah) Myth.’ While it has had a number of hits, there has been surprising little push back, and all in private. Either, readers have decided that I’m finally completely off my rocker, or the information is worth weighing seriously while understanding what Scripture actually says on the matter v. ancient doctrines that cut part of the Israelite family out of the picture. My prayer is that it is the latter.
Anyway, the only really valid question that I received was regarding Revelation 21:9-12,
9 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.”
10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the holy city, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, 11 having the glory of God. Her brilliance was like a very costly stone, as a stone of crystal-clear jasper. 12 It had a great and high wall, with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels; and names were written on them, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the sons of Israel. 13 There were three gates on the east and three gates on the north and three gates on the south and three gates on the west. 14 And the wall of the city had twelve foundation stones, and on them were the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.Revelation 21
While this clearly refers to the New Jerusalem as the bride, my brother pointed me to verses 10-14 which could be understood as the Assembly being the bride (singular) because of the definitive reference to the twelve tribes. I can’t disagree, but there are a couple thoughts to consider:
- This doesn’t happen until after the Millennial reign
- David’s kingdom was clearly house of Judah and house of Israel, why not the Son of David? (Ez. 37:24)
- We still have the twelve tribes functioning as an ‘assembly’ that is walking in unity (echad)
- The tribes have not melded into one tribe (e.g. Judah or Ephraim) but retain identities and therefore unique character and quality.
It is interesting to note the parallel between Jacob coming into the Land with Rachel and Leah in Genesis 32 and 33, then the death of Rachel in Genesis 35 leaves only Leah in the ‘house of Jacob,’ though he had 12 sons (tribes).
The point is that IF there is this ‘one bride’ picture, it doesn’t happen until the New Jerusalem. Our current situation and seeming clear understanding from Scripture is that God is dealing with two brides and is intent on pulling the house together. (Ez. 37:15ff) Therefore, each house (bride) must be very careful in how we understand and address the other house (bride). Judah is NOT Ephraim’s concern. Likewise, Ephraim is not a concern of Judah. (Is. 11:11-14) Rather, BOTH should be focused on learning to love and accept the other and leave correction and disciplining/disagreement to the Head of the House, a major point from my Does God have two brides? article.
The picture is that of Suzerain and vassals, or a polygynous family, something covered in the Torah commentary Authority, Headship, and Family Structure (According to Moses).
I look forward to further comments, whether public or private.