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Volume 29 - Page 112 of 208 Index | Zoom | |
Great Plainness of Speech.
The Bride and the Body.
pp. 59, 60
Were we all logical and consistent, the recognition of three spheres of blessing would
suffice to save us from confusing "The Body" with "The Bride". But there is abundant
evidence that none of us is fully reasonable. One effect of the fall is a darkened
understanding, and while, by grace, "the renewing of the mind" is going on day by day,
we too often "see men as trees walking". In accord with the title and object of these
articles, therefore we draw attention to the difference between "The Bride" and
"The Body" that must be recognized if we would distinguish between things that differ.
In the book of the Revelation the Bride is identified with the New Jerusalem, and to
any who realize the peculiar character of the Mystery, this, of itself, would be enough to
show her to be distinct from the Body of Ephesians. The Bride is called the Bride of the
Lamb and the Lamb's wife, yet the actual title "The Lamb" is never used in the Prison
Epistles, although it is nevertheless most blessedly true that the church of the Mystery is
saved by the same sacrifice and precious blood as is the Church of the Acts period.
Just as the "New" heavens and earth are linked with the present heaven and earth, and
just as the "New" covenant is connected with the old covenant, so the "new" Jerusalem is
nevertheless a new "Jerusalem", and, as such, has no connection with a calling which, at
the start, reminds those who are blessed, that they were once aliens from the
commonwealth (citizenship) of Israel. Further, each gate of the New Jerusalem is
inscribed with the name of Israel, and its foundations contain twelve courses of stones
(twelve being the number of the tribes), which bear the names of the twelve apostles of
the Lamb. As I Cor. 15: 5-8 makes clear, Paul was not one of the twelve. Writing to the
Corinthians, the Apostle said:
"I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you a chaste virgin to Christ"
(II Cor. 11: 2).
Writing to the Ephesians, the Apostle takes the very word translated "husband" and
reveals that as the status and goal of the Church which is The Body of Christ.
"Unto a perfect man (husband), unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of
Christ" (Eph. 4: 13).
The idea that we are not to take too much notice of the "mere" letter of the word, and
that the apostle could mix his metaphors as he pleased, will not do. A Berean knowledge
of the perfection, and therefore accuracy, of the language of inspiration, would prevent
the acceptance of such a slip-shod idea as that Paul could, in one Epistle, speak of the
Body as the perfect "husband", and, in another, of the same company, as a "chaste
virgin" "espoused to one husband". Further, the idea that the Ephesian position is merely
the "perfecting" of the Corinthian, as some teach from I Cor. 13: 9-13, is ruled out, for