"And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God," (Revelation 21:9-10)
This passage is essential for understanding more fully the nature of Christ's bride. Most Christians refer to the New Testament church as the Lord's bride. While this is certainly not wrong, it is also not the entire picture. Ephesians 5:22-33 likens the relationship of a man and his wife to that of Christ and His church; therefore, the church may accurately be thought of as Christ's bride. Yet, there is more. The angel takes John to see Jesus' bride and proceeds to point out the new Jerusalem in which the saint of every age dwells. Based upon these facts, the saints of all time will comprise the Lord's bride in the eternal state.
In writing to the Hebrews, Paul groups the Old Testament and the New Testament saints together in the heavenly Jerusalem. The saints prior to the cross are given titles such as the general assembly and the spirits of just men made perfect. He calls the New Testament believers the church of the firstborn (Hebrews 12:23). Focused on the big picture, Paul saw a heavenly bride. He saw a city where believers dwell undivided by dispensations and united in their common faith in the righteousness of God.