Bride, the Lamb’s Wife
with G. Davison
subject is the Assembly as called by these two characteristic titles,
“the Bride” and “the Wife”. Some time ago a
request was made that we look into the matter together to see what
the distinction is between these two titles. It may be that in our
great appreciation of the love of Christ for His own, and in dwelling
so much upon the thought of the Bride, we have forgotten this other
title, the Wife. I think we shall see that it is of equal importance
and we should enquire — Why has the Spirit been pleased to use
these two titles of the Assembly in her association with Christ?
has been remarked that in the thought of the Bride we have the fruit
of the love of Christ, but in the thought of the wife we have the
fruit of His work. Is that so?
I think, are the fruit of His work, but perhaps the Wife describes
more the work of Christ in us
in view of the world to come. The Bride hardly speaks of capability
or competence, but the Wife does suggest this and seems to me to be
the fruit of the work of our Lord Jesus Christ in formation in us. It
is all with a view to fitting us to share with Him in His Lordship
and Headship in display in the world to come.
the world to come is the end to which this work is moving, the Wife
character first, and the Bride character in eternity. Is that right?
quite, for they both come together in the day of display, as we shall
see in these passages we have read. In our first passage in Rev.
just prior to the moment of manifestation, we read it is the marriage
of the Lamb and “His WIFE hath made herself ready”. Then,
read, “The Bride, the Lamb’s Wife”. both are seen
in display. Again, looking back to the opening verses of Rev.
the new heaven and the new earth are in view, we read, “as a
Bride adorned for her husband”. So the Assembly is married as a
wife, displayed as a Bride; and abides as Bride when the Wife
character has passed away.
Bride character then is that which abides after the world to come —
she is the object of His affection.
think that is the point. The world to come is the sphere where God
will display His triumph when He has solved all difficulties and
overcome all opposition to His will. We know from the general
teaching of Scripture that the Assembly will be the vessel which He
will use for this display. She comes under the Headship of Christ for
this, as we read at the end of Ephesians
“and gave Him to be the Head over all things to the church,
which is His body, the fulness of Him that filleth all in all”.
is the wife in Ephesians
is what led us to take up this subject. “Husbands, love your
wives”; it does not say “your brides”. We do not
want to destroy one thought by another, for we shall see they are
both of equal importance, but we do want to grasp the distinction and
see what the Spirit has in mind in using both these terms to describe
the Assembly. It was that statement which first led me to think over
this matter and, in view of the exhortation given us there, it led me
to suggest that the wife is the fruit of the work of Christ in
us as well as his work for
us. I gather the work going on in us by His daily
care has in view the forming of a competent vessel to display His
glory in the world to come.
has been said that Adam and Eve are the only types in the Old
Testament which are cited in the New Testament as a figure of Christ
and the Church.
might have said the Man and the Woman are the only types, for I
believe there is a distinction between these terms — the Man
and the Woman, and Adam and Eve — though of course they are the
same persons. The name Eve does not appear until after the fall but
the “Woman” was named before the fall.
is the distinction?
is God Who says, “I will make him an help meet for him”,
and, taking the rib from the man He builded a woman (Gen.
Margin). In Gen.
read that God “called their
Adam”. Adam called her “Woman” for she was taken
out of Man; but after the fall he called her name “Eve” —
which means “life” for “she was the mother of all
living”. We might have said, She is the mother of all dying,
but Adam had grasped the thought of God in the promise He made as to
the seed and he “called his wife’s name Eve”. Not,
mark, his bride’s name, but “his wife’s name Eve”.
So, the woman shows the original thought of God, a help meet for the
man; Eve, the vessel through whom He is going to operate to recover
all that had been lost.
relation to the first few verses of Revelation
I understood you to say that the abiding thought is the bride.
is right, for the Scripture uses that title.
has been said that we can qualify for a place in the world to come,
but we cannot qualify for a place in the eternal state. Do you think
that is so?
appears to me to be the general teaching of Scripture. Scripture
assures us that corresponding to our service and labour in the world
today, we shall have a suitable reward in the kingdom in the world to
come. It does not say this about eternal conditions. So far as the
thought in “wife” is concerned, we can be dogmatic about
that, for it is clear from this Scripture. We read here “His
wife hath made herself ready”. I suppose this is the result of
our fidelity to Christ.
were suggesting that while it is clear there will be differences
between the saints according to the degree of faithfulness today,
these differences will have ceased to exist in eternity. What about 1
where it speaks of star differing from star in glory and then adds,
“so also is the resurrection”?
I am trying to establish is that I think what the saints have done in
their faithfulness today has altogether to do with this present order
of creation, not the eternal state. I gather that when we reach the
eternal state there will be nothing there that has come to light as
the result of the faithfulness of saints. It seems to me that we
shall have reached just the place which in the purpose of God we
should reach, altogether as the fruit of His
work and not the fruit of our own.
you would not imply that there is uniformity between one saint and
another throughout eternity in view of 1
chapter is connected with the world to come and not with eternity. It
has display in view; but I did not use the word uniformity.
suppose in the eternal state we shall all be conformed to the image
of God’s Son?
shall be that in the world to come, for that will come when the
saints are raised or changed at the coming of Christ. Of course, I
think it must go on eternally, but it will be true of us at His
there not Scriptures which suggest that whatever enlargement there is
in the way of capacity now will remain for all eternity? The
impressions that you and I have received of Christ now have enlarged
our capacity to take in spiritual things. Surely that will remain for
all eternity? Another’s capacity may be greater than mine but
all will be filled, for there will be no envying of one another, but
I believe that the capacity will remain.
we asked you for your Scripture for that remark, to which would you
would turn you to the Epistle to the Galatians, where it says “For
he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but
he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life
that is an exhortation for today. It is the way to enjoy eternal life
today. We do not reap eternal life originally, it is the gift of God;
but the whole point of that passage is that if I am to enjoy it I
shall have to go the road in which it can be enjoyed and that is, by
the body of Christ exist eternally?
the Assembly will go into eternity as such is clear from these
Scriptures, but I am not aware of any Scripture which says the body
will be there as such.
thought that was the meaning of Ephesians
is the world to come at the end of Ephesians
not the eternal state.
do reach the eternal state in Ephesians
not in Ephesians
“Unto Him be glory in the Church by Christ Jesus throughout all
ages”, is the eternal state. There is no idea of rule here but
rather a reflex in that company of the glory of God for His eternal
pleasure. Growth, rule and such like things connected with the
responsibility of the saints will have passed, so far as I understand
it. Many think as our brother about capacity, but some of us think
these things have only to do with the kingdom in its display. I
believe when we reach the new heaven all growth God intended to be
there will be there in each one of us, and all the fruit of His work
not our own. What we
will have an answer in the world to come, in the kingdom; but I
gather that when we reach the point of these verses in the opening of
the passage we are quoting in Ephesians
all thought of faithfulness will have ended with the day of display
and what God has wrought will abide. But I do not press the point, as
many think as our brother does.
does it not say in Rev.
the marriage of the Lion of the tribe of Judah has come, or of the
Faithful and True, but of the Lamb?
are viewed first as the product of the work of Christ and the
beginning of that work was that He died for us on the cross. It is
“the Lamb’s wife”. His work for her is still going
on, as Ephesians
us, but it began at the cross. Here is a help meet, a fitting return
for all He has done and a wife who will delight His heart and share
with Him in His administration in the kingdom.
is indicated as far back as Genesis
when the man was put into a deep sleep and as the result of that the
woman was formed.
and the word there is, “the man and his wife”. In
Ephesians we are told it is a great mystery, Christ and the Assembly,
and here we have the same thought, “the marriage of the Lamb is
come, and His wife hath made herself ready”.
you get the thought of the Bride at all in Rev.
that I am aware of. We often listen to addresses upon the subject of
the Bride taken from Rebekah and Isaac, or David and Abigail, but in
every case you will find they are called wives, not brides. I do not
object to the use of these terms in ministry but when one is asked
what the distinctions between the words are, it is another matter.
speaking of the judgment seat you are not suggesting that it is there
we are prepared? That preparation is going on now.
is, but it is established there in view of display. It will be
revealed then what place each person has qualified for in the
you have in mind is the statement, “And to her was granted”;
she is said to be worthy of that robe of practical righteousness.
What a triumph that, in spite of all our weakness and failures, it
will be established at the end that there have been so many right
things about the saints that this robe has been produced. It has been
pointed out concerning that robe of fine linen that God will not
clothe with glory anything that is inconsistent with Himself. If the
Lamb’s wife is to be clothed with glory, as we read in Rev.
she must have fundamentally this garment of righteousness.
are two outstanding things which will merit reward at the judgment
seat, righteousness and faithfulness; two rare qualities in the world
is something the saints have attained to?
in practice in this world. That is why our brother said it will not
be produced then, it is being produced today, but it will be
acclaimed then and suitably rewarded.
first recorded words of our Lord in the Gospel of Matthew are,
“Suffer it to be so now; for thus it becometh us to fulfil all
righteousness” — practical righteousness. This is the
path He trod and the one which we ought to tread.
has been said that the Jewish bride prepares her own wedding dress.
that is the simile used here. In our way of stating these things
naturally, we speak of a bride before a wife, but the Spirit puts
these terms the other way round.