In "Ministry of Healing" (page 356), Mrs. White says that "the bride is the church." In "Great Controversy" (page 427), she asserts that "the people of God . . . cannot be represented . . as the bride." How is this apparent contradiction to be harmonized?
The assumption that there is any contradiction in these two passages is based upon the false premise that in the Scriptures any symbol used-as a figure in two or more places must always refer to the same thing. The inconsistency of this premise may be illustrated by many instances.
Thus, Jesus says, "I am the true vine, and My Father is the husbandman." "I am the vine, and ye are the branches." John 15:1, 5. But in other Scriptural passages He is represented as the hus bandman, and His people as the vine. "I had planted thee a noble vine: . . . how then are thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine unto Me?" Jer. 2:21. Again, a wife is said to be "as a fruitful vine." Ps. 128:3.
The apostle Paul refers to "the leaven of malice and wickedness" (t Cor. 5 :8), and Jesus bade His disciples "beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees," referring to their "doctrine," as recorded by Matthew (16:6-12) and to their "hypocrisy" according to Luke (12 :I). Yet Jesus also likens "the kingdom of heaven," to leaven. (Matt. 1333.)
A glance at the two statements made by Mrs. White regarding the Scriptural application of the bride of Christ shows that in the first instance she is commenting on the institution of marriage, which she declares to be a "symbol of the union between Him and His redeemed ones." "He Himself," she continues, "is the Bridegroom; the bride is the church." As Scriptural confirmation of this statement, she cites Canticles 4:7 and Ephesians 5 :25-28. Many more passengers might have been added, such as Jeremiah 3:14: "Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you."
In the second passage, Mrs. White clearly inti mates that "in the Revelation" the figure of the bride varies from its application in other parts of the Scripture. In that book "the people of God are said to be the guests at the marriage supper. If guests, they cannot be represented also as the bride." It is the reception of the kingdom, with its capital "prepared as a bride adorned for her hus band," that is here referred to, as.well as in Daniel 7:13, and 8:14. Both of Mrs. White's passages are in harmony with plain Scriptural statements, and are therefore not contradictory to each other. D. E. ROBINSON. [Member of the E. G. White Publications Staff.]