ARE WE THE BRIDE OF THE LAMB?
There is nothing in the two figures of bride and body which makes it impossible that both should not be used of us. Paul could compare the Corinthians, who certainly were one body, to the betrothal of a pure virgin, in order to picture their singleness toward Him, not their union with Him. But, as a matter of fact, Paul never mentions either a bride or a lamb, nor is this ever connected with the nations in the Word of God.
The faithful in Israel are often found under covenant relationship with Jehovah. In the realm of feeling and affection this is figured by the marriage bond. Israel was the wife of Jehovah. Those who receive the Messiah are the bride of the Lambkin. As God's supreme aim is to unite His creatures to Himself by links of love, this may be considered as the highest aspect of Israel's relationship to their God. He uses the transient experience of earth's highest bliss to figure the permanent felicity of His people.
The forgiveness of offenses (Eph.1:7) seems to be so far below the sphere of truth in the Ephesian epistle that those who are most enlightened are tempted to look askance at the phrase and wonder if it is well founded in the ancient text. They have learned that pardon, or forgiveness (it is the same word) is probational. It belongs to the proclamation of the Kingdom. Many who gained pardon, like the ten thousand talent debtor (Matt.18: 23-30), lost it through misconduct.
This forgiveness, however, is not measured by the mercy shown to the Circumcision. That, as we have seen, was comparatively stinted and probational. It sprang from pity rather than love. It was temporary because its term depended on its possessor instead of on God. This forgiveness is according to the riches of His grace. It were wise never to leave off this phrase.
According to Col.1:13 we are rescued out of the jurisdiction of Darkness and transported into the kingdom of the Son of God's love, "in Whom we are having the deliverance, the pardon of sins." In anticipation of the coming Kingdom of God upon the earth, when the race shall be freed from the thralldom of its spiritual despotism, the believers, and they alone, are rescued from the realm of darkness and transported to a different allegiance, that of God's Son. To complete the picture, our sins are pardoned, and we have deliverance, as will be the case in the new earth. Let us not confuse this with other figures, such as justification, or acquittal. That belongs in the courtroom, and has to do with our relationship to the judgment, which will take place before the new creation. Now it is a question of entrance into a kingdom, and, as it is a figurative kingdom, we can enter it only by means of a figurative pardon.
A. E. Knoch