“Why can Jesus have no other bride besides the church?”
L: “That’s an interesting question and one that would make for an interesting discussion. 🙂 I think if you look at scripture and God’s treatment of marriage and the relationship between the bride and groom, you can see God’s design beginning with Adam and Eve, of course, but look at the Proverbs 31 woman and the Song of Solomon for the relationship between a wife and her husband, or lover and beloved. The idea is one bride and one groom. God referred to Israel as His covenant people and spoke of their waywardness like that of an adulterous wife. So, God the Father as ‘husband’ to Israel is similar in imagery to Christ the bridegroom waiting to marry his bride, the church. What are your thoughts about how scripture addresses this issue?”
CS: “The comparison of Jesus’ relationships and marriage is a metaphor, not literal. Even the verses where Jesus is stating that it is not necessary to marry, so that you can devote your full attention to God states that this would merely be a choice and not a necessity. Loyalties can be divided by two wives, provided they are both the same (as two women.) So, a metaphorical marriage to the Church or God has no bearing what-so-ever on an earthly marriage.
If we were to take the metaphor literally, then why isn’t there only one actual nun at any one time, like there is only one pope? Are they not the Brides of Christ?
There is plenty of reason to believe that Jesus was married (from historical texts outside the Bible.) There is nothing stating one way or the other (in the Bible or anywhere else.)
The part about this that fascinates me the most is that people who claim to be devout Christians state flat out that if Jesus were married then he cannot be the son of God. When challenged on this point they refuse to explain why they would abandon their faith so easily.”
L: “I’m a little confused by your reply, possibly because I am not Catholic. I am not familiar with the scriptures where Jesus says it is not necessary to marry. However, I am familiar with the words of the apostle Paul about that and he did suggest that Christians remain as Paul was, unmarried, but that if they could not, they were free to marry. He also pointed out that those were his own words and not a commandment from God. The reference in scripture to Christ and His bride, absolutely does have bearing on an earthly marriage and is very, very plain in Ephesians 5:22-32. That is a long passage and simple to search online. Again, these words are by the apostle Paul, carefully laying out the relationship of a wife and husband as being precisely like that of Christ and the church. He says it is a mystery, so I can see why it would be challenging to understand. The reference that you make to nuns is not anything I am aware of in scripture. There is only one bride of Christ referenced in scripture and that is the Church. There is zero reason to believe that Jesus was married while on earth and there are no accepted scholarly historical texts that challenge his status as unmarried. It’s just not an issue. I’m also not sure what you mean about abandoning faith, rather than people simply stating that a married Jesus is not the Jesus of scripture. Therefore, THAT Jesus is not the Son of God, naturally. It’s like saying that Jesus stopped being a carpenter when he was in his early twenties and spent 8 years as a goldsmith, because some obscure piece of paper found in Egypt said so. It’s not remotely relevant or believable. It’s a waste of time. My faith in Christ alone is not shaken by that. I find it fascinating that people are so easily lured away from the Word of God to cling to any scrap of controversy. There’s enough to do following Christ without being blown around by every wind. Read the scriptures as they are written. Consider the context. Look for patterns and repetition. Allow scripture to interpret scripture. Consider the authors. Read it straight, like you would any other literature. Start with the gospels…the gospel of John would probably be good. Try to lay aside denominational traditions in your mind and look at the text square in the eye. For example, I recently started re-reading Matthew. I was fascinated by Matthew Ch. 8. and how reading it through all in one sitting makes the theme of faith and how concerned Jesus was with faith leap off the page. I read it again. There was much more there… in the verse that says he healed people, fulfilling Isaiah the prophets words “Himself took our infirmities and bare our diseases”, Jesus, creator, TOOK and BARE or carried our diseases. He took the little viruses and bacteria. He commanded them to come out of the sick and he carried them away. Amazing. So much to think about.”
CS: ” >>>Re: ‘And there is zero reason to believe that he was not married.
…I’m also not sure what you mean about abandoning faith, rather than people simply stating that a married Jesus is not the Jesus of scripture.’
Why? This is the simple question that you, and dozens beside you, refuse to answer.
If Jesus were never married, not a single line of scripture would need to be changed to reflect that. If Jesus were married, however…. the same. Not a single line of scripture would need to be changed because of it. It’s that simple.
All I am asking of you and your fellows is an explanation of why you would immediately abandon Jesus as your Lord and Savior if you found out he was married? You keep trying to say it’s a simple thing, but then you go off on long tangents that have nothing to do with that one question that you refuse to answer.”
L: “I said the exact opposite about faith and about abandoning the Lord. If a married Jesus is not the Jesus of scripture, my ‘fellows’ and I are not abandoning scripture and Christ, but rather dismissing the marriage claim. The question of Jesus being married is a ‘what if’ question about an earthly wife that doesn’t exist in scripture. Abandonment of faith in a ‘what if’ scenario is needless speculation, whereas dismissing the actual scriptures about the very real bride of Christ and the direct application to earthly marriage actually is an abandonment of faith in the Word of God…Jesus is the Word of God.”
CS: “And now you resort to flat out lying about what I’ve said. I’ve said repeatedly that we don’t know. That’s the simple fact of the matter. There is nothing in the Bible one way or the other. It’s irrelevant.
You, however, continue to claim that you have been granted special knowledge to know that which is unknowable. Let me know how that Pride serves you when you stand before the throne.”
L: “And what have *I* said all along? That we can know what ~scripture~ says about Christ. The reason you and I are not finding common ground here is our divergent approaches to scripture. Is scripture authoritative for you? From your statements here, you place it on equal footing with folklore. From a scholarly perspective, how do you come to this conclusion? It’s important to know where you stand on this important issue. I am a family historian. I search documents for dates and details. For example, I had always been told my mother’s grandfather died from an unusual disease no one else had in the family. As an adult, when I began researching family history, I obtained a copy of his death certificate. The cause of death was listed as TB. His mother also died of TB, as did several extended family members. At first, my mom was resistant to the new information. She had always been told otherwise. The other story she knew could have been true, but we don’t know now. We have a lot more evidence to the contrary. Primary sources are important to the study and documentation of history. The bible is no different. Take a look at the studies that have been done on scripture. Look at how much more we actually know about Jesus compared to other historical figures of his time. Now let’s consider folklore. I love folklore. I’ve spent the last 8 years getting to know storytellers and balladeers and understanding their craft. Consider historical figures and weigh the facts about them with folklore. How do we know the difference between historical fact and folklore? Let’s take a pop culture reference. Chuck Norris. He is alive and we can study his life and the facts about him. Legend has it that he was bit by a rattlesnake and the snake died. When he is asked how many push ups he can do, he says “all of them”. He is amused by his own folk-hero status…but we all know these are folk stories. They are fun. They speak to people’s affection for him. This is the same regarding folklore about Christ. Stories about Christ speak to people’s interest in him and affection for him. Who would be mad at people for loving him and speculating on things about it that *might* have been *could* have been or could be? However, scripture as authoritative and scripture as the rod by which we measure all other stories about Christ and God’s design and plan for mankind, intentionally sets it apart from other material. It’s not a pride thing. It is a decision that you make as an individual. Is it authoritative? Do you trust it as the Word of God? Then have faith in Christ, who *is* the Word of God to preserve for you his word in your own language. Embrace it. Love it. Read it. Stand alone on the Word of God.”
CS: “And again you are back to claiming scripture says something that it doesn’t. No where in the Bible does it say one way or the other whether Jesus was married or not. This is the simple fact.”
L: “And we are back to square one…it says he is betrothed to the church, his bride and the wedding is soon.”
CS: “No, it doesn’t, but please keep claiming you are special among all, chosen by God to know things others don’t. That Pride will lead you to where you deserve.”
L: “Yep. It does. A quick Google search will find a lot of stuff on ‘bride of Christ’. Chapter/verse references include but are not limited to: Ephesians 5:22-29, 2 Corinthians 11:2, Revelation 19:7-9, 21:1-2..Jesus speaks of himself multiple times in the gospels as the bridegroom. Why would that be significant to the Jews? What was Jesus communicating by calling himself a bridegroom? Look at the book of Joel, chapter 2. This is a prophecy of the “day of the Lord”. Verse 16 talks about the bridegroom and the bride. Bridegroom appears 8 times in the old testament. Jesus is referred to in scripture as the last Adam. In 2 Corinthians 11, the bride and bridegroom are likened to Adam and Eve. God’s design is one bride and one bridegroom. The bride of Christ is made up of many…but the many are only one bride. Just one. There’s so much more that would fill so much more space and begin so much more discussion. All of God’s people are chosen by God to know things others don’t. The scriptures are available to all, but not all will read. The bible says the meaning is spiritually discerned. Not all will respond to the call. Not all will be compelled to read and study and know. Why? I don’t know. Jesus said his sheep hear His voice. In the book of Jeremiah, the voice of the bridegroom is mentioned 4 times. 4 being for seasons perhaps? I would have to study it, but the opportunity to study it is available to all. What is plain as day in scripture to me and full of treasure upon treasure is ignored or dismissed out of hand by some. This is as available to you as it is me. What good is being prideful about understanding what scripture says? I didn’t do anything but read it straight like anything else anyone else would read, but I didn’t understand it at first. Even when I didn’t understand a word of it, I wanted to know it and the first step was a blow to all pride and rebellion, repenting of my sin and believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.”
CS: “Yes. His relationship with his followers and the church is compared with marriage as a metaphor. It compares the relationship. It’s not an actual marriage to the church. That has no bearing what-so-ever on whether he was married in actuality.”
L: “Except that it does! Christ’s sacrificial role as bridegroom to the church, His bride, is the template, the real deal, and the model upon which earthly marriage of a man and woman is based…not the other way around. Jesus is the bridegroom of His bride, the church, as seen in the old testament, long before the incarnation. He was already betrothed long before his appearance in Matthew. When he tells to the Jews the parables of the bridegroom, he is revealing *himself* as bridegroom. It has enormous bearing on to whom he is married. What purpose would there be in Christ preparing the church in chaste purity as his one and only, where the church is to be wholly committed to Christ alone, only to have his affections divided by an earthly wife and children? It is nonsensical and not remotely in keeping with God’s character and what we know ~in scripture~ of God’s marriage plan.”
CS: “Your belief that is what is says doesn’t make it absolute. It’s obvious you are clinging to this like a life preserver, and we’re back to my original question. Why? It’s obvious you will never get to an answer, so I bid you good day.”
L: “Bye, bye, CS…Scripture answers your original question. The scripture references I have provided answer your question and there is so much more. All of scripture is about Jesus. All of it. If you cannot see it reading it yourself, remember that Jesus is alive. Ask him directly. Tell him you are not seeing it. Tell Him you have questions and you don’t understand. “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy paths.” – Proverbs 3:5″
CS: “No, it doesn’t, but as I’ve already said, you will never admit that you aren’t perfect in your understanding of the Bible.”