BETWEEN THE BODY AND THE BRIDE
In the Lord’s eyes, the church has two positions: as to her life, the church is the Body of Christ, but regarding her future, she is the bride of Christ. As to the union of Christ with the church, the church is His Body; regarding the intimate relationship of Christ with the church, the church is His bride.
Whenever God’s Word speaks of the oneness between Christ and the church, we see Christ as the Head and the church as His Body. Whenever the Word shows the distinction between Christ and the church, we see the church as the bride to Christ. Adam and Eve were spoken of as two becoming "one flesh," but they were still two persons; God still counted them as two. Adam was Adam, and Eve was Eve. They were united to be one. This is the relationship between the church and Christ. From one they became two, and from two they became one. When God first created man, He made male and female. Eve came out from Adam; thus, she and Adam were one. Even so, the church comes out from Christ; therefore, the church and Christ are also one. However, since Adam and Eve both existed at the same time, there was a distinction between them. Likewise, since the church and Christ coexist, there is also a distinction between them. Regarding oneness, they are one, but as to the matter of distinction, they differ from each other.
These two positions have to do with a difference in time. Today the church is the Body of Christ, but in the future the church will be the bride of Christ. Today the church is the Body of Christ for the purpose of manifesting the life of Christ. One day, when the church is mature in life, God will bring the church to Christ; in that day she will become the bride of Christ. Some people think that the church is the bride of Christ today, but this is wrong. There is no such thing. Since the Lord Jesus is not yet the Bridegroom, how could the church already be His bride? God will not bring the church to Christ as His bride until the work of the church as the Body of Christ has been accomplished.
If we look at the type in Genesis 2, we can also see the relationship between the Body and the bride. Eve was made out of Adam’s rib, so she was the body of Adam. Since a portion of Adam’s body was used to make Eve, her position was the body of Adam. But after Eve was made, God brought her to Adam, and she became the bride of Adam. This is the relationship between the Body and the bride. When reference is made to Eve coming out of Adam, it means that she is the body of Adam; but when Eve was brought to Adam and became his help meet; she became Adam’s bride. That which was out of Adam was the body of Adam, and that which was brought to Adam was his bride.
Only that which came out of Adam could become the help meet of Adam. Whatever was not out of Adam could never be his help meet. Thus, when all the birds of the air were brought to him, Adam did not take any of them as his help meet, for they were not out of him. When all the cattle were brought to him, Adam did not take any of them, because they also were not out of him. It was the same with all the beasts. Their origin was not right. Since they were not out of Adam, they could not be his help meet. Who then could be the help meet of Adam? Eve could! Eve was brought to Adam just as the birds of the air, the cattle of the field, and the beasts were brought. However, there was a basic difference between Eve and them; they were not out of Adam. Since Eve was the only one who came out from Adam, she alone was qualified to be his bride. Coming out from him, she was brought back to him. Whatever comes out from him is his body; whatever is brought back to him is his bride.
(The Glorious Church, Chapter 3, by Watchman Nee)