While this image is definitely inspired by biblical teaching (Ephesians 5:25ff, Revelation 19:6-9, etc.), it is not based on a specific passage, which makes it different than most of the work I do. However, I was asked by a FOE monthly supporter to make a picture based on the theme of the wedding of Christ and the Church and this was the result. I enjoyed making a more “topical” piece and was especially happy with this topic since I’m hoping for the next FOE animation to be about Christ and the Church.
In composing this picture I built on the central concept that the supporter presented to me, namely, that human marriage will one day be superseded by the more foundational relationship of YHWH to His people, of Christ to His Bride. So, in this image I tried to represent something—what a dim representation!—of that moment when the collective people of God from all ages and places and languages will be gathered into eternal communion with their risen Lord.
Scripture never speaks of individual believers as the “Bride” of Christ, and so in this picture the multitude of the elect make up the singular, universal Church—the Bride. Both the individual elect and the Bride herself are dressed in bright white (Revelation 7:14, 19:8). The Bride rises out of a crimson ocean—imaging the purifying blood of her Lord (again, Rev.7:14, also Ephesians 5:25-27)—and is embraced by the hands of sovereign love that were pierced for her salvation.
Within the Bride, an elect man and woman are central and are holding each other’s hand. These two can be understood to represent the institution of Christian marriage as a whole. The man and woman are part of the Bride—thus their relationship to one another is understood to be swallowed up into the greater reality of Christ and the Church—but at the same time I pictured them as continuing to hold hands. This is because I do think that scripture gives us warrant to anticipate an enduring uniqueness—even in eternity—between those who shared the bond of Christian marriage in this life.
To be sure, the institution of marriage will be fulfilled in the union of Christ and the Church, and the exclusive, covenantal, procreative relationship of those who were once “married” will be at an end. However, in God’s eyes a married couple is united at what seems to be an ontological level (Matthew 19:6, etc.), and I think there is reason to believe that some form—I do not venture to say what—of unique spiritual fellowship between those who were man and wife in this age will continue into the age to come.
Of this we can be sure: when we see the final consummation of the Lord’s plans for marriage—both human marriage and the realty beneath human marriage which is the union of Christ and His Church—we will praise Him for His flawless wisdom and beautiful purposes in all that He has done.