The analogy of God’s relationship between God and his people and that of marriage is a recurrent one throughout Scripture, in both the Old and New Testaments.
At the end of Paul’s famous discourse on marriage in Ephesians 5, he says: ‘This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church’. (v. 32)
And John, writing in Revelation 19:9, referring to Jesus’ return says: ‘And he said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who have been called to the marriage supper of the Lamb’”. And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God”.’
Time and again, God illustrates his love for his people with that of a husband for his wife, and even equates idolatry with adultery, especially in the Book of Hosea.
Hosea in Hebrew means ‘Saviour’ or ‘Deliverer’ and is actually a fragment of Jesus’ name, which is Yeshua in Hebrew. In his book, the prophet is commanded to marry Gomer (whose name means ‘completion’), but she constantly commits adultery and harlotry until she is eventually becomes a slave. Nevertheless, Hosea even goes to the slave market where he buys her back and takes her as his wife again in her old age; such is the depth of his love for her.
Another parallel is in the most erotic book of the Bible, ‘The Song of Songs’, which once again illustrates God’s passion for his people.
In the Old Testament, Yahweh’s Bride is Israel, In the New Testament it is the Church; a parallel that should silence all apologists of ‘Replacement Theology’ once and for all, because God sees both as ultimately the same. Israel has been unfaithful but will eventually return to him, meanwhile the Gentiles have grafted into spiritual Israel as the Church. Marriage is a covenant and God has only one Bride – made spotless by his Blood.