By Sir Robert Anderson
“Is the Church the Bride of Christ?” Let us begin by correcting our terminology. In the Patmos visions
we read of “the Bride, the Lamb’s wife”; but “the Bride of Christ” is unknown to Scripture. The first
mention of the Bride is in John 3:29. In a Jewish marriage the “friend of the bridegroom “answered to our
“groomsman.” His most important duty was to present the bride to the bridegroom. And this was the
place which the Baptist claimed. His mission was to prepare Israel to meet the Messiah, “to make ready a
people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17).
With the close of the Baptist’s ministry, both the Bride and the Lamb disappear from the New Testament
until we reach the Patmos visions. In Revelation 21 the Angel summons the Seer to behold “the Bride,
the Lamb’s wife”; and he showed him “the Holy Jerusalem descending out of heaven from God.” The
twelve gates of the city bear the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel, and in its twelve
foundations are “the names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb.” And the foundations are “garnished
with all manner of precious stones. For “it is the city that hath the foundations, whose builder and maker
is God,” (Hebrews 11:10) the city for which Abraham looked, when he turned his back upon the then
metropolis of the world.
These Apostles of the Bride are not the Apostles who were given after the Ascension for the building up
of the Body of Christ — the Apostles of this Christian dispensation, chief among whom was Paul. They
are the twelve Apostles of the Lord’s earthly ministry to Israel, who shall sit on twelve thrones, judging
the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28). They are the Apostles of the Lamb. And “the Lord God
Almighty and the Lamb” are the temple of this city; and the Lamb is the light thereof. Every part of the
description and of the symbolism tends to make it clear that this city represents a relationship and a glory
pertaining to the people of the covenant.
And now we can understand why it is that it is called the Bride of the Lamb, and never the Bride of Christ.