This depends upon what we mean when we say church. The word church is the word ekklesia and means called out assembly. The word ekklesia is not unique to Christianity or even to the New Testament. In Acts 7:38 it reads “This is the one who was in the assembly in the wilderness with the angel who spoke to him at Mount Sinai, and who [with] our fathers received living oracles to give to us.” This verse in Acts speaks of Moses leading the Assembly, which is the word ekklesia, (ie. Church) So the concept of church is common to both the Old and New Testament. Note that Moses led the “called out assembly” (church) from Egypt to Sinai which is the place where Israel became consummated as a nation and also betrothed to Jehovah in marriage. So being the ekklesia (or church, called out assembly) is a transitory state that leads to marriage. As the church we are the called out assembly and like Moses led Israel out of Egypt, through the Red Sea and the Wilderness to Mount Sinai, so also Jesus leads out His ekklesia from captivity to betrothal. Being the church is the beginning of our journey, being the Bride is our destiny. So to answer our question is the church the Bride? We will always be the “called out assembly” and therefore we will always be His church, but we must also understand that we are a called out assembly (i.e. the church) to be the Bride. So the church cannot remain where she is, she must go beyond the threshold of church into the destiny of being the Bride. She must go deeper and not only relate to Jesus as the Saviour, but also as our Bridegroom. If we do not allow the Holy Spirit to take us on that journey, then we may find that though we are the church, we may never be ready as the Bride.
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