The Berean Expositor
Volume 11 - Page 25 of 161
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Dispensational Difficulties.
Is the Church of the One Body also the Bride?
(With a Note on the statement that the Church is feminine).
pp. 9 - 11
There are some who are not quite clear as to the distinction which Scripture draws
between the Church called before Acts 28:, and that of the mystery called after
Acts 28:
The epistle to the Ephesians gives the definition, "the Church which is His Body, the
fullness of Him that filleth all in all". This Church is further spoken of in the second
chapter as "one new MAN", and Scripture figures are inspired and consistent. A new
man can never be a bride. During the Acts of the Apostles the Church was not the new
man, and there the Apostle speaks of it as a betrothed virgin, "I betrothed you to one
husband, a chaste virgin to present you to Christ" (II Cor. 11: 2). There is no simile here,
it is not "as a chaste virgin", as the A.V. reads. The new man is consistently spoken of as
the Church which is the Body. The chaste virgin is consistent with the Church which is
the Bride; the Church which is the Bride is associated with the New Jerusalem
(Rev. 19:)., whereas the Church of the One Body is connected with the super-heavenlies
"far above all". Some have a difficulty when they come to Eph. 5:, for there the
relationship of husband and wife is very prominent. Chapter 5: is a section in the
practical portion of the epistle, where the walk of the believer is considered. The section
does not stop short at the relationship of husband and wife, but speaks of children and
parents, servants and masters.
Believers who are members of the One Body have relationships one with another to
observe, and the relationship of husband and wife comes first. Husbands are exhorted to
love their wives, even as Christ loved the Church; wives are exhorted to be in subjection
to their own husbands as the Church is to Christ; children are exhorted to be obedient;
and fathers to tenderness; servants are reminded that in their service they may serve the
Lord Christ, and masters are reminded that they have a master in heaven. None of these
things, however, can rightly be made to teach or to prove the dispensational position of
the Church. The practical exhortations would remain true if the church of Ephesians had
been the kingdom of the heavens, or any other company.
Some have been perplexed because they have heard it said that where the A.V. reads
"it" in Eph. 5: 25, 26, the original reads "her", and have therefore concluded that the
church being feminine must be the bride. This method of argument is fallacious. The
word translated "Church" is feminine, and is therefore followed by a feminine pronoun,
but to say that this proves the church to be a female is to betray ignorance of the facts of
language. Turn for a moment to modern language. The French have feminine and
masculine "words" which are of course accompanied by feminine and masculine articles
and pronouns. La table is feminine: should we be truthful if we spoke of the table as a
female, and referred to it by the pronouns "her" and "she"? Le livre is masculine: is a