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DOCTRINE QUESTION 16
What did John the Baptist mean when he said, "He that hath the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice?" John 3:29.
The Bible uses the language of that day to illustrate spiritual truths. Here the figure of a bride, a groom, and the best man is used. The Bride represents the Church, the Bridegroom is Christ, and the friend of the Bridegroom is John, who represents the nation of Israel. Read Psalms 19:5, where it states the literal sun is a picture of the Eternal Son coming out of His chambers to get the bride. He left His heavenly chambers to come here to die and get a bride. John, nor Israel, is that bride; but are friends of the bridegroom, who is Christ.
The Church is seen now as a virgin espoused (engaged) to Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:2). In Revelation 19:7, we see all of heaven rejoicing because the marriage of the Lamb has come. A future marriage supper of the Lamb is seen in Revelation 19:9, where there are guests. The guests will be John and the saved of Israel. They will go together into the 1000 year kingdom mentioned in Revelation 20:3-4. Christ will sit as King of kings and the Church will reign with Him. Revelation 5:8-10. The saved of Israel and the Gentile nations will also be there. (Matthew 5:32-34). John, as the friend of the bridegroom, introduces Him to the world. "Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world." John 1:29. He is not part of the bride (the church) but of Israel.
If you are not an Israelite you cannot be a friend of the bridegroom; but if you are not saved you can't be a part of the bride. Trust in this Saviour and you will belong to that body called "the Church of Christ."
All comments and questions to: Harold Smith
Updated July 2009, by Shelly Allen