The bride of Christ, who is invited to the marriage supper of "the Lamb," is mentioned specifically only two times in the Bible. Both references are in the book of Revelation. The marriage ceremony takes place just prior to the Second Coming of Jesus. Revelation records great rejoicing in heaven when the Kingdom of God takes control of the world and the wedding of the saints is revealed.
Let us be glad and shout with joy; and let us give glory to Him; for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife (the bride) has made herself ready (Revelation 19:7, HBFV throughout).
And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come." And let the one who hears say, "Come." And let the one who thirsts come; and let the one who desires partake of the water of life freely. (Revelation 22:17).
As the true groom, Jesus has not only prepared himself for the marriage but also has cleansed and prepared his betrothed wife for the glorious ceremony (Revelation 19:8). The Apostle Paul, in the book of Ephesians, alludes to the mystery of this relationship by making an analogy between a human-based marriage and this future relationship.
For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the Head of the church . . . in the same way also let wives be subject to their own husbands in everything . . . For this reason shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined to his wife . . . This is a great mystery; but I am speaking in respect to Christ and the church (Ephesians 5:23 - 24, 31 - 32).
Bride and Ten Virgins
What is the relationship of the bride of Christ with the parable of the ten virgins given in Matthew 25? The groom of the parable represents a resurrected Jesus. The ten maidens or virgins (Revelation 4:4) represent all those whom are truly called to salvation who are still alive when he returns to this earth to take over the reins of government. There are, of course, others throughout history who have been called to salvation who will also be resurrected and part of the bride.
Five of the virgins are considered wise and the other five are foolish. The lamp oil represents God’s Holy Spirit. The wise took or had a sufficient amount of oil (his character) evident in their lives, whereas the foolish did not. Having a sufficient amount of oil are indicative of those Christians today who are walking with the Eternal on a daily basis and have an active, ongoing relationship with him. They are in training to become kings and priests under Christ at his Second Coming and qualify to be his bride.
When the Lord returns the five foolish virgins will not be ready to "marry" him and attend the wedding supper. These believers were so lackadaisical that they spiritually were not ready to marry the groom. The wise virgins, however, will be ready and will reign with him for a thousand years (Revelation 20:6).
Meaning of Symbolism
The bride of Christ symbolically represents all those who are in the first resurrection of the dead (the spiritual church of God). This group is composed of all believers, since the time of Adam, who had the Holy Spirit within them. After living a life of overcoming, and being faithful to the end, they are resurrected and given a new spiritual body at the Second Coming. They are then rewarded with the most intimate relationship the Eternal can offer.