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The Bride (and Groom)

John the Baptist said...

John 3:28; You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Christ,’ but, ‘I have been sent ahead of Him.’
John 3:29; He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. So this joy of mine has been made full.
John 3:30; He must increase, but I must decrease.

Who is this bridegroom? Is this context it certainly seems to be Jesus (the Christ).

Mark 2:18; John’s disciples and the Pharisees were fasting; and they *came and *said to Him, “Why do John’s disciples and the disciples of the Pharisees fast, but Your disciples do not fast?”
Mark 2:19; And Jesus said to them, “While the bridegroom is with them, the attendants of the bridegroom cannot fast, can they? So long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast.
Mark 2:20; But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day.

Here we have Jesus identifying himself as the bridegroom. ( see Matt 9:15; Luke 5:34; also )

We also have the parable to the ten virgins... waiting to meet the "bridegroom".

Matt 25:1; “Then the kingdom of heaven will be comparable to ten virgins, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.
Matt 25:2; Five of them were foolish, and five were prudent.
Matt 25:3; For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them,
Matt 25:4; but the prudent took oil in flasks along with their lamps.
Matt 25:5; Now while the bridegroom was delaying, they all got drowsy and began to sleep.
Matt 25:6; But at midnight there was a shout, ‘Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’
Matt 25:7; Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps.
Matt 25:8; The foolish said to the prudent, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’
Matt 25:9; But the prudent answered, ‘No, there will not be enough for us and you too; go instead to the dealers and buy some for yourselves.’
Matt 25:10; And while they were going away to make the purchase, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding feast; and the door was shut.
Matt 25:11; Later the other virgins also came, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open up for us.’
Matt 25:12; But he answered, ‘Truly I say to you, I do not know you.’
Matt 25:13; Be on the alert then, for you do not know the day nor the hour.

There has been a lot of speculation about the virgins and the oil, what it is and what it means, but
this parable is equally about the bridegroom. In fact the only reasons the virgins came with their
lamps (this could be a whole thread on being "the light") was to meet the "bridegroom".

But a bridegroom has to have a bride. Who is the bride? There seems to be some disagreement about this.

Rev 21:1; Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea.
Rev 21:2; And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband.
Rev 21:3; And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them,

Is the city (New Jerusalem) itself the bride, or rather is it the inhabitants (saints) of the city who are the bride. Verse 3 says God Himself will dwell among... "them" ... His people.

Rev 22:17; The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.

It's interesting to note the word in Rev 21:2; is slightly different. νύμφη - noom-fay'
From nupto (which is where the term nuptial comes from). Bethrothed or newlywed.
From here it would seem that the bride doesn't marry the groom until the new earth and new heavens come. (Rev 21:1; )

The word in Rev 19:7 is γυνὴ - goo-nay'
A woman, unmarried or married. A virgin or widow. A wife or a betrothed woman.

Neither word really distinguishes whether they are already married or not. But Rev 21:2; says "adorned for her husband". Can you have a husband if you aren't already married?

... to be continued ...
In Ephesians 5, we seem to have a parallel passage that is talking about two things at once.

Eph 5:22; Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord.
Eph 5:23; For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body.
Eph 5:24; But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
Eph 5:25; Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her,
Eph 5:26; so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
Eph 5:27; that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.
Eph 5:28; So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself;
Eph 5:29; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church,
Eph 5:30; because we are members of His body.
Eph 5:31; For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.
Eph 5:32; This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.
Eph 5:33; Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.

For me personally, it is difficult to read this passage and not think that Paul is comparing Jesus to the husband, and comparing the church to the bride (wife).
I think this is a powerful passage that shows how much Christ loves the church, how He is jealous for them. How He cares and provides for them.
I personally believe it is difficult to understand Christ's relationship with the church without understanding this bride and groom reference.

The word "church" here is ekklēsia ( ek-klay-see'-ah ) - a religious community, congregation, assembly of the church, saints in communion.

While it never actually says the the church is the bride... I don't see how this can be taken any other way.

2 Cor 11:2; For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.

Paul says he is jealous for the church, he "betrothed [them] to one husband". Who is that husband? Paul or Jesus?

Rom 7:3; So then, if while her husband is living she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress though she is joined to another man.
Rom 7:4; Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, so that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, in order that we might bear fruit for God

Again we see marriage based terminology about the church and Christ. In order to "die" to the old law. We have to be joined "married" to Christ.