Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Why I Believe The Church is Not The Replacement "Bride of Christ"

Hear me out on this one, folks.  I understand this is a controversial subject!

From a comment on the last blog entry, Viral Vid Reminds Us To Not Love Religion , Ladyhawk spoke, tongue in cheek, about "staying home and not attending any church".  This brought up a quote from the young man in the video:

Religion as the institution and as the church — as Jesus’ bride — that is God’s plan A and there is no plan B. So I don’t want to abolish that. I don’t want to turn from that. And that’s where God is manifest.”

I know exactly where the man is coming from because I used to believe the same thing!  This teaching, that the "Bride of Christ" has become the Church, is widespread throughout Christianity and is considered a doctrinal truth.  I would politely and respectfully disagree!

BTW, I want to thank Ladyhawk because she is a person who understands the wonderful, ancient art of conversation, something which I believe blogs are perfect for.  Alas, so many people nowadays have forgotten this art and prefer anger over discussion.

To assist me I will be using notes from a good friend and respected Elder, Mr. Ron Warren, who regularly publishes study notes and Parsha references in a newsletter format.  At the end I'll give his contact information if you're interested in receiving his newsletter.

Notice the word, Parsha?  (also spelled Parashah)  Look it up if you're not familiar with it.  On the simplest level it means a portion of biblical script studied in meaningful sections.  To an Orthodox Jew it means much more and consists of Torah portions only.  To a Messianic Jew it also means Torah portions but with accompanying B'rit Hadasha (New Testament) references.

... now, to the subject at hand ...

The Four Cups of Passover

It is written in Exodus 6:6-7 "Therefore, say to the Israelites: 'I am the Lord, and I {YHVH} will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I {YHVH} will free you from being slaves to them, and I {YHVH} will redeem you with an outstretched arm and with mighty acts of judgment. I {YHVH} will take you as my own people, and I {YHVH} will be your God. Then you will know that I {YHVH} am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.”
These verses were used before Yeshua’s time, to produce the four cups used in the Passover Seder by the rabbis of antiquity.

* I {YHVH} will BRING YOU OUT” - Cup of Sanctification
* “I {YHVH} will FREE YOU” - Cup of Salvation or Deliverance
* “I {YHVH} will REDEEM YOU” - Cup of Redemption
* “I {YHVH} will TAKE YOU TO ME” - Cup of Hope and Acceptance

It's a shame to skip ahead because Ron does such a tremendous job with this, but for the sake of the subject we will jump to "Cup 4", the Cup of Hope and Acceptance.

The Fourth Cup - Hope and Acceptance

Then I will take you for my people, and I will be your God…”

This promise is different (than the earlier ones). It has little to do with Israel’s enslavement. It has to do with a personal intimate relationship that God wanted to make with them. When God used the Hebrew word that translates “to take”, it is used in other places in reference to someone taking a wife. If that is the case, God was proposing marriage. This was Israel’s formal legal engagement to their future husband, the Lord our God.

These words do create an identity crisis with the church. The Tanakh (Old Testament) teaches that Israel is God’s bride. The Torah hints at it and the prophet Hosea specifically teaches it. But, as Hosea says, Israel was an unfaithful bride.  (Hosea Ch. 2)

This causes some people to say, “God just left this unfaithful bride to go and marry another.” They will use Ephesians 5 to teach that the “church,” God’s faithful “called-out ones,” is His bride. God rejected Israel and married the church instead.

This reasoning, that God rejected Israel and married the Church, has a few problems. According to the prophet Malachi, God says He “hates divorce.” If true, it is inconceivable He would go against His own nature not to forgive, and divorce His unfaithful bride, Israel. Hosea also spoke, in Chapter 3, how God will make her faithful and mend their relationship.

Also, God make other promises in the Tanakh and Torah where He would bring Israel back to Himself and their land (Deuteronomy 30). He also promised that Israel would always exist as His covenant people (Jeremiah 31:27-37).

If this is true, how should you understand about the church being God’s bride? Does God have two brides?

Paul gave the solution in Romans 11. Non-Jewish believers in Yeshua are grafted in to the olive tree, which is Israel. Being grafted into the commonwealth of Israel does not make them Jewish, but it means they are part of Israel.

God does not give up one bride for another (“Replacement Theology”). He does not have two brides (“Two- Covenant Theory”), nor does the Gentile become Jewish (“Two-House Theory”). He is increasing His bride by adding more to it – non-Jewish believers in Yeshua.

You see folks, we believers in Messiah in the Church, and the Jewish believers in Messiah, and the actual nation of Israel (the Bride) are ALL ONE!

Maybe you'll think differently now when you hear something on the news about Israel and our national relationship to her.  If we, as a nation, abandon Yeshua's Bride, we are in deep trouble!

I would also recommend reading Pastor Steve Wohlberg's essay on the two Israels.  Although Pastor Steve has the opinion that the Church has become the Bride, his essay actually helps to clarify how Israel becomes ONE!

Friends, their is no reason why we can't disagree with one another on issues of interpretation, as long as we're both worshipping the Lord and serving Him.  It's when we begin accepting sin in our midst we go down the wrong path.

If anyone is interested in receiving Ron Warren's newsletter you may contact him at:


and ask to be added to his list.  Ron will definitely give you the Messianic Judaism view of things, which is in itself interesting, since he was raised as a Lutheran!

The Observer

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