Revelation, 19:7 “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him the glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come and his bride has made herself ready.” Regardless of your eschatological leanings, no reasonable person would suggest that this has already taken place. The Bible teaches us that the complete Church is the bride, betrothed to Jesus.
The Bride of Christ the Bible speaks of is not individuals but collective, as the complete church, the body of Christ is to be married to her husband, who is the head of the church.
Matt 25:1 “Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom.” V. 5 “But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.” V. 10 “And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut.”
Most see this as referring to Jesus coming for his church (Isa 61:10-11) who is faithful in keeping the truth.
The Bride of Christ is separated from the Bridegroom in the
church age. Matt 9:15 And Jesus said to them, “Can the friends of the bridegroom
mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the
bridegroom will be taken away from them, and then they will fast.” During this
betrothal period she is to be faithful to Him (2 Cor.11:2; Eph. 5:24). The
coming of Christ for the church unites the Bridegroom in heaven that results in
a “wedding ceremony,” an eternal union of Christ to His bride (Rev. 19:7-9;
21:1-2). So all believers in Christ, both those dead and alive are gathered
together (the redeemed of the Lord) and will inhabit the heavenly city
known as New Jerusalem.
We find in Judaism ‘the master of the feast called the bridegroom” (John 2:9)
John the Baptizer declared 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. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled.” In other words Jesus has the church, and the bride listens to him.
Paul explains a metaphor used in the New Testament for the Bride (the church) based on actual marriage in Genesis.
Eph. 5:25-27: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her,
that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” V.30-32 “For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”
The concept of a “mystical marriage” was promoted by Teresa of Avila, a Roman Catholic who spoke of experiencing “spiritual ecstasy” defined as a “divine intimacy.” Many elements of Catholic Mysticism have been used by those espousing the Bridal Paradigm today.
It was William Branham who first made this popular to the church in the last century, saying that those who follow his teachings, as the prophet, were the bride - which is limited to a special group of “overcomers.” They would participate in the rapture and the rest of the Church (denominations) will be left behind to go through the Tribulation.
We have numerous bridal concepts revived today, those who present a heavenly lovesick groom for his bride. A desirous Messiah being “in-love” with his bride, he is lovesick and cannot have joy without the bride with him, as he desires to be married. He is described as a Lover with fire in His heart for His bride. Sensuous terms are used for Christ and the church.
The church is to respond in a similar passionate manner in prayer and singing of our love for the bridegroom, our longing to be with him also using sensuous human terms as if our relationship to the bridegroom is liken to our wives.
language from Song of Solomon are used as a divine romance. The Bible says He loves us with a love that is described as immeasurable, beyond comprehension in its height, depth, width and breadth (Eph 3:18-19), but many describe it in songs from a worldly persepective.
The emphasis on the metaphor of the Bride and bridegroom (The church is the Bride of Christ) are not the only metaphors used to describe the Church. The Church is also called the Body of Christ (1 Cor. 12), the children of God (Eph. 3:14, 1 Jn. 3 and others), the flock of God (1 Pet. 5:2), God’s house (Heb. 3:6), a field (1 Cor. 3:6-9), a temple (1 Peter 2:5), a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9), a holy nation (1 Peter 2:9). Numerous metaphors, symbols in titles and images of the church are used in the New Testament just as there are numerous images used of Christ as the Groom.
These descriptions teach us something about our relationship to the head and his commitment to us. None of this is meant to be taken as literal. The Bride is used for the church as a whole, this is never used for an individual believer as we are hearing today.