The Bride of Christ. The Bride of Christ is an aspect of the Church of God in which there is a mystical union between Christ and His Church. The preeminent theme in this union is love... the Church is the object of Christ's affections; Christ's love caused Him to die for the Church (Eph. 5:25). Also, the Church is subject to Christ. As subject to Christ, the Church should make it her lifelong mission to please Christ in every way (Eph. 5:14). Along with subjection, we have the thought of headship. Christ is head to the Church. As her Head, Christ has taken it on Himself to supply nourishment, leadership, and direction to His bride. Finally, we are so closely connected with Christ that we are "one flesh" with Him! The relationship between Christ and the Bride is the pattern set out for Christian marriage in Eph. 5. It seems that the Spirit of God uses an eastern marriage in the teaching on the bride of Christ, as opposed to a western marriage. In a western marriage, the marriage all happens on one day, and the bride is the prominent figure in the wedding. But in an eastern marriage things happen differently. First, a legal marriage takes place in which a dowry is paid. At that point, the bridegroom and bride may not have even met. Secondly, the bridegroom will arrive at the bride's home to take her on a wedding procession. Finally, the couple, family, and friends enjoy a marriage supper together. The bridegroom is the focus in the wedding, not so much the bride. This is how the marriage of Christ and the Church is portrayed. We have already been "espoused... to one husband... as a chaste virgin to Christ" (2 Cor. 11:2). The dowry or down-payment is the Holy Spirit, who is "the earnest of our inheritance" (Eph. 1:13-14). Even though we have never met our Bridegroom, we know His love, His voice, His very thoughts through the Holy Spirit. The next thing we are waiting for is our Heavenly Bridegroom to take us home to the Father's house. This will take place at the rapture (Rev. 22:17). Finally, after all the heavenly saints are gathered home, the "marriage supper of the Lamb" will take place (Rev. 19:9). I believe this will take place just before the Lord returns at the appearing to take His rightful "kingdom of the world" (Rev. 11:15). Even now, we the Bride are preparing for that moment, all other moments above (Rev. 19:7-8)! Until that day comes, we are waiting for that moment, and Christ is waiting too (2 Thess. 3:5). After the millennium is over, and time fades into eternity, still the Church is seen in the freshness of her heavenly beauty; "And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of the heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband" (Rev. 21:2)!