Monday, February 24, 2020

Two Brides of Christ?

Alice C. Linsley

The biblical kinship data sheds light on the relationship of Israel and the Church, although I prefer not to speak of Israel and the Church because neither is perfected. It is more accurate to speak of the justified of the Old Covenant and the justified of the New Covenant. There is only one ground for justification, as the story of Abraham on Mount Moriah reveals. That is trust in the promised Son of God.

The marriage and ascendancy pattern of Jesus' ancestors suggests that the faithful of the Old Testament and the faithful of the New Testament together constitute the eschatological kingdom of God, and that these groups are co-equal. The status of both groups is fixed on a single promise established and confirmed by the blood of the long-awaited Messiah.

The two-bride motif is not about two chosen peoples. It is about one Kingdom and one Lord over the faithful of both the Old and New Testaments. "For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has torn down the dividing wall of hostility…" (Ephesians 2:14)

In the Bible, the relationship of the faithful Hebrew is represented by Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who had two wives. Nobody would argue that God Father or Jesus the Son of God has two wives. That is absurd. However, the pattern of two co-equal wives would have been familiar to Jesus and should be considered as possible background to the eschatological marriage feast, the "cup" He will drink with second bride, and the multitude gathered in heaven for the wedding feast of the Lamb (Revelation 19:7-10).

The sequence of marriages among the Hebrew ruler-priests with two wives seems to parallel the sequence of the celestial marriage feast and the coming of His eternal kingdom.

Analysis of the marriage and ascendancy pattern indicates a sequence of two marriages. The first bride is faithful Israel and the second is the faithful of the dispensation of the Church. The kingdom was delivered to the royal heir only after the second marriage. The two wives constituted the ruler's kingdom as they lived in separate settlements that marked the northern and southern boundaries of the kingdom. Both wives and their households constituted the ruler's kingdom.

This seems to resolve the difficulties posed by the supercessionist or the replacement theory in which the Church replaces Israel or completes God's prior covenants. Supercessionism disconnects the Messianic faith we call "Christianity" from its origin among Abraham's Hebrew ruler-priest caste who anticipated a Righteous Ruler who would overcome death and lead his people to eternal life in an eternal kingdom.

The Apostle Paul speaks of the Gentiles believers being grafted into the faith of Abraham (not Judaism), so it unlikely that Abraham (who represents the faithful of Old) is subsumed to the Church. Paul explains that the faithful in the Church dispensation share the same root. 

"But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root, but the root that supports you." (Romans 11:17-18)


Paul also writes, "This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 3:6).

Hebrew rulers with two wives include Lamech, Terah, Abraham, Esau, Jacob, Amram, Moses, Elkanah (Samuel's father), Ashur (1 Chronicles 4:5), Mered (1 Chronicles 4); and Joash (2 Chronicles 24:1–3). Caleb fathered children by his two wives Azubah and Jerioth.

This diagram of a "nuclear family" (husband and wife with two sons and one daughter) is not typical of the biblical rulers since they had two wives and the offspring of the wives often married (endogamy). Abraham, for example, married his half-sister Sarah. They had the same father but different mothers (Gen. 20:12).

The diagram below shows the typical marriage arrangement. Lamech, a descendant of Cain, had two wives (Gen. 4). His daughter Naamah married her cousin Methuselah. As the cousin bride it was her prerogative to name their first-born son Lamech after her father (Gen. 5). Since cousin brides were usually the second wife, it is likely that Methuselah already had a wife. The first-born son of the first wife was Methuselah's proper heir. The first-born son of the second wife belonged to the household of his maternal grandfather who he served.

It should be noted that the two-wife pattern pertained only to rulers and ruler-priests. There is no evidence that the average male had more than one wife. Because of the need for a proper heir in succession, marriage arrangements for rulers have always been different than for commoners.

Since the two-wife pattern pertained only to rulers, an argument cannot be made for polygyny (multiple wives). When a commoner takes more than one wife, as in Mormonism and among some Muslims, he sets himself up as a ruler, perhaps attempting to gain social status. For some, that may be hubris.

Analysis of the marriage and ascendancy pattern of Jesus' Hebrew ancestors suggests that the eschatological kingdom consists of two co-equal royal households: the faithful who lived in anticipation of the appearing of the Seed of God (Gen. 3:15), and those who believe that Jesus is that promised Son of God.

The Two Flocks of Christ

The ruler-priests had two wives living in separate settlements with separate flocks. Together these two camps constituted the ruler's kingdom. In the event of attack, the ruler's line was more likely to survive if divided into two camps. Jacob kept his two camps separated as he approached Edom for fear of attack (Genesis 32).

Jesus, the Good Shepherd, speaks to the Jews of having sheep in another fold (John 10:16). Both folds live in expectation of the Son of God, who through His death and resurrection, leads all his sheep to the same eternal kingdom.

Related reading: The Church is Drawn NearThe Wives' Settlements Mark the BoundariesRighteous Rulers and the Resurrection; The Substance of Abraham's FaithMoses' Horite Hebrew FamilyIsrael and the Church; No Kingdom by DeceptionThe Cousin Bride's Naming Prerogative; Royal Sons and Their Maternal Uncles; The Faith of Abraham Lives in Christianity


Unknown said...

Hello Alice,
What you are describing here has been commonly practiced in Africa ever since. My great grand-parents, may grand-parents, my parents and myself did the same thing. A girl accepting drink from his fiancée marks the consent, therefore the official beginning of the marriage process. It is a pre-colonial practice. In fact, the boy's family offers drink to the girl's family. The later, asks their daughter to pour the drink, drinks some and offered it his father. If the girls agrees to do so, she marks her consent. The process of marriage can then proceed, otherwise, it stops. This is more less what you call in the Western world as engagement. I should mention again that the words of marital rituals are surprisingly similar: bala (to marry), mar (moher), cihaku (thiyatu) dowry, and many more. To ask a girl's hand is said to seek for a vase or firewood fetcher. There is a similarity with the Abraham descendants who met their wives at well waters, the girls went to fetch water. There a speculation of Mary and Jesus around the well when the latter asked her for water. Any comment?

Alice C. Linsley said...

You are referring to the Samaritan Woman at Jacob's Well, the first non-Jewish woman known to follow Jesus as Messiah. According to tradition her name was Photini. Photini represents the Church as bride.

Many of the Hebrew men of the Bible met their future wives at a well: Abraham met Keturah at the Well of Sheba. Moses met Zipporah at the well of her father Jethro, the priest of Midian. Abraham's servant found a wife for Isaac at a well in Padan-Aram.

Thank you for commenting. Your information is very helpful.

Anonymous said...

If Jesus has two brides, will there be two weddings?

Alice C. Linsley said...

Please see this:

This pertains to the marriage and ascendancy pattern of Jesus' Horite Hebrew people. That is the only pattern of marriage that Jesus knew, so it is likely that He is referring to it when in the Upper Room he says that He will not drink of the cup until the wedding feast. That would be the second marriage - to the Church. According to the marriage and ascendancy pattern of Jesus' people, the ruler ascended to the throne of his father upon his second marriage. The faithful of Israel are already wedded to Jesus Messiah.

Alice C. Linsley said...

The first group is represented by Abraham, Moses, the priest Simeon, the prophetess Anna, and John the Baptist. The second group is embodied by the faithful of the Church. In the sacrament of the cup, the Church receives the promise sealed by Christ's blood. The faith of both brides is fixed on a single promise established and confirmed by the blood of God's appointed sacrifice.

The pattern of two wives is characteristic of the marriage and ascendancy pattern of the early Hebrew rulers and priests. The wives maintained separate households on a north-south axis. Their households marked the northern and southern boundaries of the ruler’s territory. Sarah was Abraham’s half-sister bride. She resided in Hebron. Keturah was Abraham’s cousin bride. She resided to the south in Beersheba.

Among Jesus Hebrew ancestors, the second marriage and the coronation of the royal heir were connected events. The heir ascended only after taking his second bride. The second bride was genetically more distant than his first bride. The first bride was a half-sister, as was Sarah to Abraham (Gen. 20:12). The Church is the cousin bride and the coming marriage feast marks Jesus Messiah's coronation in his eternal kingdom.

Jesus alluded to the marriage of the Church at the Last Supper. He told his disciples, “Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom” (Matt 26:27-29). Jesus is here referring to the marriage customs of his Hebrew ancestors.

When a Jewish man proposes marriage, he gives her a contract, a ketubah. These are beautifully produced and hang in the new couple's home. The contract includes promises. If the bride agrees, the bridegroom hands her a cup of wine, and if she drinks from the cup the marriage is sealed. He then says to her “I will not drink of this cup until we are reunited.”

In ancient times, the contract stated the price the groom would pay for his bride. In the case of both of Jesus' brides, the price was His eternal blood.

Analysis of the marriage and ascendancy pattern of Jesus' Horite people suggests that Christ has two brides: those who believed and lived in anticipation of the appearing of the Seed of God (Gen. 3:15) and those who believe Jesus is the Son of God and live in anticipation of His coming again to establish his eternal kingdom. The first group can be traced in Scripture from Jesus' Hebrew ancestors to the priest Simeon, the prophetess Anna, and John the Baptist. The second group is embodied in the Church and that promise is sealed by the cup of Christ's blood received in faith. The faith of both brides is fixed on a single promise established and confirmed by the blood of God.