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Hanukkah holds hidden secrets to end-time prophecy

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Most Christians think of Hanukkah as “that nice little Jewish holiday,” but they miss the deeper meaning, says best-selling author and Messianic Jewish Rabbi Jonathan Cahn. They picture Jewish families spinning dreidels, lighting menorahs and eating fried potato pancakes. But there’s more to this eight-day holiday, which begins at sundown Sunday. “It actually holds a big,… Continue reading

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Welcome to The Year of Jubilee

L’Shana Tova – Happy New Year!

Blow the Trumpet in Zion conte crayons, pencil

Blow the Trumpet in Zion
Aug ’15 conte crayons, pencil

Yesterday was the last day of the Shemitah year. Today is the first day of the Jewish civil New Year.  It is also Rosh Hashanah, or Feast of Trumpets.  Today is also the first day of a Jubilee Year.

The Bible connects the trumpet (or shofar) with the Jubilee Year:

“And you shall count seven sabbaths of years for yourself, seven times seven years; and the time of the seven sabbaths of years shall be to you forty-nine years. Then you shall cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the Day of Atonement you shall make the trumpet to sound throughout all your land. 10 And you shall consecrate the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a Jubilee for you; and each of you shall return to his possession, and each of you shall return to his family. 11 That fiftieth year shall be a Jubilee to you; in it you shall neither sow nor reap what grows of its own accord, nor gather the grapes of your untended vine. 12 For it is the Jubilee; it shall be holy to you” Leviticus 25:8-12

This is the year to make the trumpet sound throughout your land to proclaim liberty to the captives. We no longer have time on our side my friends. The Bridegroom is returning soon. We need to unashamedly lift up the trumpet (shofar) and “Blow the trumpet in Zion. Sound the alarm in My holy mountain” Joel 2:1

This is a year of restoration. This is the year where we need to ready ourselves in order to receive the returning prodigals.   First we need to let the Spirit of God search us in order to check that our names are written in the Book of Life. We also need to confirm that our lives are in line with the perfect will of God. Then it is that we are to set others free around us.

This is the year that when the shofar sounds those who are captive/bound/oppressed will be set free. Truly “each of you shall return to his possession and each of you shall return to his family”. This is the year that our sons and daughters will return to us.

Yes there is harvest of wickedness ripening all around us.  But simultaneously there is also a harvest of righteousness.  Jesus said that the fields are white unto harvest.  Go forth, go forth my brothers and sisters into the ripened fields, in the power of the Spirit, for the time of reaping is at hand.

God bless you and Shalom this Feast of Trumpets season,

Belinda

 

 

Related posts:

Rosh Hashanah – A Fresh Start

The Shemitah

Street Preaching & Something the Devil Doesn’t Want You to Know


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Jesus Christ – the Fulfillment of Passover

“Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29)1071010299Behold5Fcard

Jesus is the fulfillment of the Passover feast, the Passover lamb and the feast of Unleavened Bread. Whilst these Old Testament shadows pointed to the One to come, He is the reality behind the shadow. There is so much in the feast of Passover that foreshadows Christ that I don’t have a hope of covering all of it here. So this is just to skim the surface of these treasures:

The Lamb:

  • Type: A lamb was selected for the Passover sacrifice on tenth of Nisan. “Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying “On the tenth of this month (Nisan) every man shall take for himself a lamb, according to the house of his father, a lamb for a household.” Exodus 12:3
  • Anti-type: Jesus rode the donkey into Jerusalem on the tenth of Nisan. As He entered the city, so too were the Passover lambs being brought into Jerusalem in preparation for the Passover sacrifices.

lamb

  • Type: The Passover lambs were reared in Bethlehem and brought into Jerusalem for the feast
  • Anti-type: Jesus was born in Bethlehem and came up to Jerusalem for the feast

 

  •  Type: As the Passover lambs were ushered into Jerusalem the crowds cried out “Hosanna!”
  • Anti-type: Jesus was greeted with “Hosanna!” as he entered Jerusalem.  (Hosanna means “Save now” or “Please save”)

 

  •  Type: “Your lamb shall be without blemish….you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight.” (Exodus 12:5, 6). The lamb was kept by each family until the fourteenth of Nisan when it was sacrificed. During this period of four days the lamb was inspected to ensure it was without spot or blemish, which would preclude it from being offered to the Lord.Jesus2
  • Anti-type: Before Jesus Christ, was offered to God as a sacrifice He too was also examined – by Annas, by the High Priest, by the Sanhedrin, by Pontius Pilate and by Herod. No spot nor blemish could be found in Him, indeed He was wholly without sin.

 

The Leaven:

  • Type: “For seven days no leaven shall be found in your houses….” (Exodus 12:19). Homes needed to be cleansed at this time. (For Jews it is still a time of spring cleaning). Leaven needed to be searched out in each home and removed as this was also the time of the Feast of Unleavened bread.  Leaven in scripture is, of course, a picture of sin.
  • Anti-type: Jesus having arrived in Jerusalem, goes straight into the temple and begins to cleanse the leaven from House of God, driving out those who bought and sold in it. (Luke 19:45) Jesus, of course is the fulfillment of “Unleavened” bread, Him being without sin.

jesus passoverThe Passover:

  • Type: Jesus’ fervent desire is to eat the Passover seder with His disciples. The Passover was a remembrance of what God had done in setting the Israelites free from their bondage in Egypt. The blood of the lamb was painted on the lintels and doorposts so that the angel of death would pass over the Israelite’s homes and they would be saved.
  • Anti-type: It is at Passover that Jesus institutes the Lord’s Supper. “And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.” As Jesus broke the matzah He was telling them that His body would also be broken. Just at the Passover lamb’s blood was shed and painted on the lintels and doorposts – so too would His blood be shed. Under the covering of Christ’s shed blood we are set free from our bondage to sin and the matzahjudgment of God passes over us so that we are saved.

(The Jewish day begins at sundown. Jesus shared the Passover meal with His disciples at sundown as Passover began. He was crucified the next day before sundown, therefore, on Passover.)

The Sacrifice:

  • Type: During the time the temple was standing in Jerusalem, three lambs were sacrificed on Passover.
  • Anti-type: Jesus was sacrificed on the cross at the same time that the first Passover lamb was killed in the Temple. Around the time the second lamb was being slain in the Temple, everything went dark. At the time of the third lamb’s sacrifice, Jesus gave up the ghost on the cross and the veil in the Temple was ripped in two.

God had commanded in the Law that everyone was to be in Jerusalem for the Feast of Passover. That means that everyone got to witness the veil being ripped from top to bottom. The New Covenant was now instituted through Christ’s shed blood and the way into the Holy of Holies was made open by the death of the spotless, perfect, sinless Lamb of God – Jesus Christ.

jesus lambOh if we could only truly comprehend what He has done for us! He laid down His life for us – Him who never sinned. His body broken, His blood shed so that we could enter into communion with the Father. The veil of His flesh torn so that the way to God is open for us now!

For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near. Otherwise, would they not have ceased to be offered, because the worshipers, having once been cleansed, would no longer have had consciousness of sins? But in those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins year by year. For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.… Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, SAT DOWN AT THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD….For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.” Hebrews 10:1-14

By one offering Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, took away all the sins of the world…. Hallelujah to the Lamb!

 

 

 


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A Jewish Girl and a Kingdom

Picture it – a young orphan girl, brought up by her uncle in a foreign land where her jewish girlpeople had been carried away as captives years before….She had known the sorrow of the loss of her parents, of poverty and hardship. But now she found purpose in looking after her uncle and hope in looking forward to a future as one day becoming a Jewish wife and mother, even in the foreign land of Persia.

But one day, the King of the land of Susa, where she was dwelling, issued a decree and this young lady, as well as some others, was brought into the custody of a eunuch in the King’s palace.

For the King was seeking a bride.

Imagine this young Jewess, Hadassah, in the King’s palace, gazing at the splendor surrounding her.  The fierce might of the palace’s guards, the opulence of the furnishings.  Everything so beautiful, so different than she had ever known.  And what of her future hopes now?  Would she ever become a wife and mother?  Would this Gentile king cause her to have to relinquish her future and remain with him in his palace?

anointing oilFor one whole year this young lady remained in the eunuch’s care, and eventually Hegai, as he was called, became her friend, her helper, her adviser.  Each day for twelve months she was prepared and beautified for her first meeting with the King.  Each day she wondered what that one night with the King would mean for her and what her future held.  And as she soaked in the oil of myrrh, tears as bitter as that herb flowed down mingling with the oil and softening the harsh callous places of her skin.

After six months of the oil of myrrh preparation, Esther, as she was now known, was led by Hegai to begin the beautifying preparation with perfumes.  Soft and supple now, her skin had been made tender by the bitter treatment of myrrh.

But that wasn’t the only thing that had changed.  Soaking in the myrrh Esther’s heart and character had also been softened by the bitterness of her own “death”.  Death to her future, death to her own plans, to what she had desired for her own life.  But even further, the tender treatment and counsel of her constant companion Hegai had taken her through that bitterness of death and brought her into something new, something fresh, even…exciting.  Now she was filled with a different hope, a different expectancy for the future that was laid on the foundation of a humble yet mature character wrought through endurance.

The perfume preparation complete, Esther was now ready to enter the King’s presence.  Having come through this next stage of preparation Esther had become even more dependent on her friend Hegai and sought his counsel as to what she should take with her to the King.  He, after all, knew the King and the King’s taste.

jewish-wedding-giftIt was Esther’s turn.  Hegai took her to the King and “the king loved Esther more than all the other women and she obtained grace and favor in his sight more than all the virgins so he set the royal crown upon her head and made her queen….” Esther 2:17

Esther, now as the King’s bride, settles into life as a Queen.  She of humble origins, an orphan, now the Queen of 127 provinces, from India to Ethiopia.

One day Esther receives some troubling news from her uncle.  Haman the Agagite has decreed to exterminate all of the Jews, her people, and her husband the King has authorized this decree!  Her uncle tells her to make a plea to the King for her people.

Deeply distressed, Esther hesitates.  She knows, as does her uncle, that to enter the king’s presence unbidden brings the immediate sentence of death.  Yet she loves her people, her heart yearns for her people with every day that goes by.  Her uncle’s heart breaks, he loves her and knows her dilemma – yet he must utter these words:

““Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews.  For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13, 14)

Then Esther told them to reply to Mordecai:  “Go, gather all the Jews who are present in Shushan, and fast for me; neither eat nor drink for three days, night or day. My maids and I will fast likewise. And so I will go to the king, which is against the law; and if I perish, I perish!” (Esther 4:15, 16)

If I perish, I perish

As her tears had rolled into the waters of myrrh long ago Hadassah had known that her life was no longer her own.  It was then that she had perished.  Long ago she had been prepared for this.

And it was because she had perished then, that she could intercede now for those who were perishing.

cropped-girl-praying1.jpgOH Lord, make us into a people like Esther, who would die to ourselves, our plans and our own lives.  Make us into a prepared and beautified Bride, who will come boldly before the throne of grace in Your presence and plead for the lives of those around us who are perishing. Father we thank you for Your Son, Yeshua, the ultimate intercessor, who did give up His life for us, who stood in the gap for us, so that we should not perish but have everlasting life.  OH Lord, help us to be led by Your Spirit only, to seek You only and Your will.  May we be brave and stand in the gap, even in the midnight hour.  In the Name of Yeshua Hamashiach, Amen.

Happy Purim everybody!


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Hanakkuh and Persecution

Wednesday night began Hanakkuh, also known as the “Feast of Dedication” or the “Feast of Lights”.

Hanakkuh is an 8 day Jewish holiday, beginning on the 25th day of Kislev, celebrating the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem by the Maccabees in about BC 164.

Hanukkah has now become a special time for us because on Wednesday, the first night of the feast, both our daughter and our son were baptized in our bathtub by their Dad.

We had friends and family over for a meal last night whom witnessed our children’s public declaration of their faith in Jesus Christ.  At the same time we asked their Poppy to dedicate them to the Lord, since this is a Feast of Dedication.

The interesting thing is that until yesterday I didn’t know that Jesus actually attended this very feast Himself in Jerusalem.

“Now it was the Feast of Dedication in Jerusalem, and it was winter.  And Jesus walked in the temple, in Solomon’s porch.”  John 10:22, 23

Because all of the Feasts point to Christ, and by the fact that Jesus attended this Feast Himself, I think we could say that Jesus attached some significance to it, and so it is worthy of our consideration.

During the period of the Syrian rule over Palestine the Jews suffered extreme persecution.  Under Antiochus Epiphanes many Jewish men, women and children were slaughtered mercilessly.  He also desecrated the Temple of the Lord by removing the golden altar, candlestick and vessels and setting up a statue of his false god Jupiter in the Holiest of All.  The Jews were commanded to worship this idol and only (un-kosher) pigs were allowed to be sacrificed in the Temple.  The Jews were forbidden from keeping the Sabbath and from practicing circumcision.

Eventually a godly remnant of Jews revolted against this oppression and the desecration of the Temple.  The Maccabees family led the revolt which eventually drove the Syrians from Jerusalem.  Judas Maccabees then cleansed the Temple and re-dedicated it to the Lord.  During this time the Temple was illuminated with a consecrated oil which miraculously lasted for eight days.  This is why Jews today light nine candles, one for each day of the Feast, during the “Feast of Lights”.

Eventually there arose from the revolt three sects amongst the Jews – the Pharisees, the Sadducees and the Essenes.

Pastor Bill Randles writes this about the Pharisees in his article “Why Saul Hated Christians”:

“Pharisees were not rationalistic unbelievers as the Sadducees were, nor were they political schemers as the Herodians of Jesus day. Pharisaism was a serious attempt to systematically observe the laws of God, and to separate from ungodliness. However, of all of the known sects of Israel in Judea at the time of Christ, Pharisaism was closest to the theology of Jesus.”

(From “Pastor Bill Randles Blog”)

Think about it.

The Pharisees were the religious leaders during the time that Jesus walked the earth.  They observed the Feast of Dedication as a way of commemorating the Maccabees cleansing and re-dedication of the Temple at a time when the Jews were set free from massive persecution.  They lit candles in honour of the miracle of the light shining for eight days.

hanukkah photo: Hanukkah Wallpaper 1920x1080x300 ppi HAN_WALL_06_zps899f55ee.png

Yet  when Jesus, the fulfillment of the feast, was walking right among them –  they didn’t recognize Him.

While they were lighting the candles in the temple, He who is the Light of the World was walking amongst them in the temple.

While they were commemorating the cleansing of the temple all those years ago, He, who had cleansed the Temple twice in front of them, was there.

While they were celebrating the emancipation from their persecution, they were persecuting the Son of God Himself.

Why?  Because they couldn’t see Him.  For all of their knowledge of the Torah, their good works and their religion, they didn’t recognize their Messiah even when He was right in front of them.  Whilst they were celebrating a feast that pointed to Christ, He was there in their midst and they missed Him.

 “The Jews who were there gathered around him, saying, “How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.”

25 Jesus answered, “I did tell you, but you do not believe. The works I do in my Father’s name testify about me, 26 but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all[c]; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.” John 10

Further to not being able to see Him, they also persecuted Him:

“ Again his Jewish opponents picked up stones to stone him, 32 but Jesus said to them, “I have shown you many good works from the Father. For which of these do you stone me?”

33 “We are not stoning you for any good work,” they replied, “but for blasphemy, because you, a mere man, claim to be God.” John 10

As Kevin Conner writes in “The Feasts of Israel:

“They had become worshippers of the Temple but failed to worship the Lord of the Temple.

They kept the Feast of Dedication but sought to stone the One to whom the Temple was dedicated.  Thus they missed Him at another Feast, even as they had at previous Feasts.”

They had external works of the natural – but none of the spiritual

They kept the letter of the law – but had not the spirit of it.

They had the ritual, but not the reality – Jesus Himself!

How easy it could be for us to now say “Tut-tut how could they have missed Him?” But….have we ever done this ourselves?

Do we have a worship of God based on ritual, on the external works of man?  Are we, ourselves, of the letter and not of the Spirit?

Do we actually have the reality of Christ Himself?

And here is a BIG question – Have we actually, amidst our profession of Christ, missed Christ Himself? Or worse still, have we persecuted Him?

As a Christian, we may well wonder whether it is actually possible to persecute Jesus.

The answer is yes.

When Saul was persecuting the Christians, Jesus appeared to him on the Damascus Road.  Notice that Jesus didn’t say “Saul, why are you persecuting my children?”,

No. He said “Saul why do you persecute Me?”

We need to be careful that we don’t persecute Him, by persecuting one of His children

We need to be careful that we don’t reject Him, by rejecting one of His children

Have we ever deliberately withdrawn our fellowship from another believer because they do not conform entirely to our own concepts and viewpoints?

Have we ever slandered other Christians?  Caused division between brothers and sisters?  Have we accused others of having a spirit other than the Holy Spirit?

And…what if we are wrong…?

We need to watch that in our quest to be right we do not miss the Saviour.  What if He were to come to us in a way we did not expect – in a meek and lowly way, in a way of weakness?

What if He were to come to us through someone outcast or poor?  Or how about a mentally- ill person?

What if it were through a Christian whom didn’t conform to our idea of ‘Christian’?

Jesus spoke a lot with the Pharisees. He warned them, spoke honestly to them, because He loved them.  He wanted them to see Him, but they wouldn’t.  If He was the Messiah then they didn’t want Him.  He wasn’t what they were looking for, He didn’t come to them as they expected – so they rejected Him.

No wonder Jesus wept over Jerusalem and said:

Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were not willing.”  Luke 13:33-35

This brings us to a very important point:

It is possible to know the Word of God without knowing the God of the Word.

If the Pharisees had truly known God they would have recognized Jesus.  They knew the scriptures, they knew the Law, but Jesus they didn’t know.

Jesus is not separate from His Body, the Church.  So when one of His members is persecuted He takes it personally.  We need to be careful, oh so careful, that we don’t become so full of head-knowledge that we can no longer recognize Jesus nor His Body.  Because in doing so we may become like Saul, like the Pharisees, and persecute the very Lord we profess to follow.

Jesus said, “Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you hypocrites; as it is written: “‘These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.” Mark 7:6

The letter truly kills, but the Spirit gives life.  This Feast of Dedication, let us re-dedicate our lives to Christ Himself, not to a creed, not to a denomination, nor to a set of rules or ideals, but to the Son of God Himself.  Let us live in the light of His illumination and really get to know Him personally.

Once we truly know Him, then we will recognize Him, even in the unexpected.


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The Return of the Bride-Groom

joyful4.jpg

This post is part 3 in my series about Marriage and the Church, in the light of Jewish marriage customs.  This is the next installment of the interpretation of the analogy which I wrote about recently, (The Beauty and Significance of Jewish Marriage Customs).  If we look at these Jewish customs in the light of Jesus Christ and His Bride then we will begin to see, not only the beauty of the analogy, but also the bearing this has on us as Christ’s Bride, the Church….

 

Preparing A Place

In the analogy the young man leaves his betrothed to go and prepare a place for her in his father’s house.  Just as the young man is busy preparing for his bride a place, so too our Betrothed has not forgotten His bride and is busy preparing for us a place.

Jesus had said to His disciples concerning His return: “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,f but only the Father….Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.” Matthew 24:36-42

 

The Father’s Consent

When the time comes and the father gives permission to his son to collect his bride, the young man takes three days to prepare before he begins his journey to go and collect his bride.  As John and Helen Gardiner write in “Wow! So that’s how Jesus loves me!”:

We know that one day is as a thousand years to the Lord.  And just as with working out the three days of the death and resurrection of Jesus, we know that the Jewish method of measuring days is different to ours.  So, we are on the brink of the third millennium, the third day.  Yes the third day is almost upon us.  Our bridegroom has been preparing Himself for three days.  He is fully prepared and fully expectant, longing to be with His Bride…”

jewish bride 

The Bride….Waiting

Meanwhile the bride has been patiently awaiting her groom’s return, not knowing when it will be, but knowing that he will keep his promise to her. Because she is uncertain of the date and time she must keep watching.

For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night…But you, brethren, are not in darkness so that this Day should overtake you as a thief…Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober..” 1 Thessalonians 5:2-6

Jesus will return for His Bride, just as he has promised.  So the picture of the young man returning to collect his bride, is a picture of the Rapture of the Church.

 

 

The Fetching of the Bride

Just as the young man brings his friends and escorts with him to collect his bride, so too will Jesus Christ return for His bride with His holy angels in the Rapture of His Church.

Matthew 24:31 says:

“And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

Jesus’ arrival will also be preceded by a loud shout and the blowing of a trumpet (shofar) to alert His Bride that He is on His way:

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. ” 1 Thessalonians 4:16

“…For the trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised incorruptible and we shall be changed.” 1 Corinthians 15:52

 

As Arnold Fruchtenbaum puts it so clearly in “Fruit from the Frucht” here’s what will happen:

“1. the Messiah will come from Heaven into the earth’s atmosphere and He will enter into the realm of the home of the Bride.

2. He will then give a shout.  The Greek word used means “a military command”.  Thus, He will issue the command as a military general does for the process to begin.

3. The third step will be the voice of the archangel.  Michael the archangel is pictured here as the sub-commander, who will repeat the order of the chief commander.

4. Then… the trump of God will sound.  After the sub-commander had issued his orders, the trumpeter would issue his calls so the soldiers could know what to do: whether to attack or retreat, whether to go forward or reverse, whether to go right or left.  So the trump of God will sound.

5. Then the dead in the Messiah will rise first.  This is why the dead saints will not miss out on the benefits of the Rapture, they will receive them first by being raised first.

6.  Those who are alive will be caught up (or be raptured) to meet the Lord in the air.

7.  The believers will ever be with the Lord.  From then on, believers will be with Him because He is their husband.

rings

The Wedding Ceremony

Now the Bride is with her Groom and so the wedding ceremony can take place.  As in the analogy, the ceremony took place in the groom’s house.  There were only a few guests at the actual ceremony, usually family members and two witnesses.

Once again, the Jewish marriage system foreshadows what will take place between Jesus and His Bride, the Church.  At the ceremony in Heaven, there will only be a few in attendance.  These will be those who have already been raptured.  Revelation 19:6-8 describes the wedding ceremony:

“Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out,

“Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready; it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.”

 

The Wedding Feast

 

In the analogy the bride was hidden away for 7 days in the bridal chamber (huppah).  So too will Christ’s Bride be hidden away for 7 years during the Great Tribulation upon the earth.

 “For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed.” Romans 8:19

Then after this 7-year period the veil will be lifted off the Bride and she will be revealed in all her glory:

 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.” Revelation 21:2

The Wedding Feast is different from the ceremony, in that whereas only a few were invited to the ceremony, many are invited to the Feast.  It is the Wedding Feast that will usher in the Millennial Kingdom on earth and so it takes place on the earth.

The ones invited to the wedding Feast will be as follows:

  • The Old Testament saints (including John the Baptist, whom are not resurrected with the Church, but after the Tribulation period.)
  • The Tribulation saints (whom are saved by faith in Christ during the Tribulation period, but not resurrected until after the Second Coming.)
  • Israel (those who survive the Tribulation)

“And the angel said[b] to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.”” Revelation 19:9

 

The Home of the Bride

We cannot forget the glorious, eternal home that Jesus is even now preparing for His beloved Bride…

“One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb. And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. 11 It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal….” Revelation 21:9-11

 

Conclusion

“The Spirit and the bride say “Come!”… (Revelation 22:17).

If you do not know Jesus the Messiah as your Lord and Saviour, hear His voice today and come to Him.  He, in essence, is making to you a marriage proposal.  Will you allow the One who gave up His life for you to be your Husband….to have and to hold…in sickness and in health…forsaking all others from this day forward?

And will you, accept the cup offered to you and become part of His Bride?  Will you pledge to Him your troth (your faithfulness) from this day forward?

If you do know Jesus, if you have already been betrothed to the Bridegroom, then I exhort you to remain faithful to Him.  God is not slack concerning His promises as humans are, Jesus is returning for you very soon. He has already paid the Bride-price for you with His own precious blood.  Keep watching and waiting for Him.

It won’t be long now!

“This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church” (Ephesians 5:32)

Next time, Is Virginity Important?


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Marriage and the Church

ringsThis post is the interpretation of the analogy which I wrote about recently, (the significance of jewish marriage customs).  If we look at these Jewish customs in the light of Jesus Christ and His Bride then we will begin to see, not only the beauty of the analogy, but also the bearing this has on us as Christ’s Bride, the Church.

All the Way from His Father’s House

As we saw the young man coming to the young woman’s home, all the way from his Father’s house, so Jesus Christ did this for His Bride.  He came from Heaven to earth to redeem His Bride.  It was a long way for Him to come.  He left the glory and worship of Heaven to enter this dark, sin-stained world.  Although He is God, He humbled Himself and took on human flesh:

Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”  Philippians 2:6-8

The Bride-Price (Mohar)

In ancient Jewish customs, the Bride-price was a very high price to pay, and for some young men it was simply too high, they couldn’t afford a bride.  The higher the price that was paid, the less incentive for a young man to divorce his betrothed.  This gave the young woman comfort that her betrothed would in fact return for her.

Jesus Himself paid a very high price for His bride, the ultimate price – He paid with His own blood.  His life was poured out for her.  No higher price has ever been paid than what He paid.  We can take comfort in this, knowing that the price that Jesus paid was so high, His own life, that we know that He will return for us.

The Agreement

In the analogy, the young man and the father discussed in private and agreed upon the price that the young man would need to pay in order to purchase his bride.  This too was the case in the plan of redemption, which was formed and agreed upon (or covenanted) from all of eternity within the eternal counsel of the Godhead.  (Read: Revelation 13:8; Psalm 110:1; Psalm 2:7, 8)

Paid in Full

The Bride-price is hence agreed upon.  And so the young man pays the price in Full to the father in order for the marriage covenant to be established….

…and so we see Jesus.  There He is, nailed to the cross, beaten, whipped, bloodied.  The Son of God with men’s spit on his face, with self-righteous heads shaking at His humiliation.  He cries out with a loud voice “It is finished!” (John 19:30)

Everything He had come to do, everything that had been pre-determined in the eternal counsel of God, had now been accomplished.  He had said to His Father “Thy will be done” and now it had been done.  His was a cry of victory.

There at the cross, the sinless Son paid in full the debt owed, our debt, for the sin of mankind to the Father.  Oh what a beautiful Saviour!

And he has blotted out by his authority the bill of our debts which was adverse to us and he took it from the midst and nailed it to his cross.” (Colossians 2:14, Aramaic Bible in Plain English)

The Handing Over of the Bride-Price

The Bride-price was agreed upon and paid, now it needed to be handed over to the Father.

On the Day of Atonement, the High Priest killed the goat of the sin offering for all of the children of Israel on the altar. He then brought the blood of the sacrifice inside the veil of the Holy Place and presented it to God by sprinkling it on and in front of the mercy seat. (Leviticus 16:15) The High Priest could not come into contact with anything impure or unholy before he had brought the blood into the Holy Place.

As everything that happened under the Old Covenant was a picture (or type) of our Lord Jesus, so too did Jesus, our great High Priest, have to hand over His blood (the Bride-price) to the Father.

He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.” Hebrews 9:12

In John 20:17 Jesus meets Mary Magdalene outside of His tomb.  He was risen from the dead but, as yet, had not presented His blood to the Father, and so He said to her :

“…Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended unto the Father…”

Note: that it was the groom-to-be that paid the price in full.  The Bride was not required to add anything, nor could she, to what the groom had paid.  

The Glass of Wine

A glass of wine is poured.

Now the bride is invited into the groom’s presence.  It is the Holy Spirit whom calls in the lost, but we are used as His mouthpiece.

Just as the bride in the analogy was offered a glass of wine to drink to show her acceptance of the covenant with the groom, so too Jesus, the Bride-Groom, offered His disciples a cup of wine.

Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it.  This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them.  Mark 14:23

This was Christ’s “marriage proposal” to His Bride.  And just as that young woman could either accept or reject the marriage proposal, so too can each of us.   Every time the gospel is proclaimed through this world it is Christ once again issuing His proposal to the lost sinner.

So by Jesus offering His disciples the Cup, He was instituting the New Covenant, just as the marriage covenant was explained to the young woman.  The disciples drank from the cup He offered and thereby accepted His proposal and consented to the covenant He was making with them.   As they drank from the cup He offered, the disciples willingly entered into the covenant which was to be established at Jesus’ death.  Another important point here is that upon entering into covenant with Him, they also entered into covenant with each other, as the Bride.

When Jesus said this is my blood of the covenant..” He was explaining to them that it is His blood that is the Bride-price. It is the blood that will institute the new covenant He is making with them.  The disciples, being Jews and familiar with the marriage customs of the day, would have understood the implication.

Truly I tell you, I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” Mark 14:25

Here Jesus is referring to the consummation of the betrothal – the marriage and Wedding Feast of the Bride and the Lamb in Revelation 19:7.

The Covenant

Just as the young Jewish couple are now considered husband and wife, although betrothed, rather than that of fully married, so too are we, as Christ’s Bride, wholly set apart, or consecrated, for our husband and exclusively committed to Him. As we willingly enter into covenant with Him, it is now only divorce that can dissolve the union. (ie. Spiritual adultery on our part).

When we partake of communion we are showing forth the Lord’s death until He comes.  This is not just an empty religious ceremony but a loving way of the Bride remembering her Groom and confirming her faithfulness to Him.  It is her way of saying “I have not forgotten You, nor the covenant we made with each other.  I am remaining faithful to You, my Groom, while I wait for You to return for me.  I remember the Bride-price you paid for me, Your blood was the price you paid to gain me, and so how can I not be faithful to a Groom who would pour out His life for me?”

Being part of His Church, the mystical Body of Christ, we also enter a covenant relationship with others within the Body. His Body is made up of individual believers, but once we enter into covenant with Him, we are also entering into union with other believers.  Christ never intended individualism within His Body, it is a mystical community of unity and oneness with each other.  This is why it says in 1 John :

For this is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another…. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love each other…. This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.”

Just as Jesus washed the disciples’ feet, so too are we expected to do this for each other.

 

The Departure

After Jesus instituted the New Covenant with the disciples, and offered them the cup of His “marriage proposal”, which they accepted, He then prepared them for His soon departure.  Just as the young man prepared to depart from the young lady’s home after their betrothal, so Jesus too must go away for a time.

Just as the young man comforts his bride-to-be with these words at his departure, so Jesus Himself comforts His Bride-to-be with the same words:

Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”  John 14:1-3

But Jesus went further than the young man in His comforting promise – He not only promised that He will return, but also that in His absence He will provide a Comforter for her:

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.  18 I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you…. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.”  John 14:16-26

Jesus made His departure 40 days after His death and resurrection.  In Acts 1:9-11 it says:

And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight.  And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;  Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”

Once again we, as Jesus’ Bride-to-be, are comforted with the knowledge that He will return the same way in which He departed.

And true to His Word, the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, was given 10 days later at Pentecost.

The Waiting Bride – To – Be (That’s Us!)

As the betrothed of Jesus Christ, what is our role as we await His return?

  • Watch as did the young woman.  Watching is to stay-awake, to be sober, to be vigilant against the enemy, to use our mind to interpret end-times Bible prophecy and to pray.  Jesus and the apostles connected prayer with watchfulness.
  • Wait for Him.   This is not a passive state, but rather we need to actively await Him. We need to live in a state of expectancy, for we do not know when His return will be, although we can tell His warnings in scripture that it will not be long now.  And as we wait we should be preparing ourselves as a Bride.

Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.  Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)” Revelation 19:7, 8

  • Be faithful to our Bridegroom, just as that young bride was faithful to her betrothed.  We have entered Covenant with Him and this not to be taken lightly by us.  A covenant relationship is just as binding as a marriage.  We should not look upon another while we wait for Him, our eyes should be steadfastly fixed upon Jesus, as we “set our mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:2).  It is possible for us to commit spiritual adultery whilst He is away.  How do we do this?  The Bible says quite clearly:

You [are like] unfaithful wives [having illicit love affairs with the world and breaking your marriage vow to God]! Do you not know that being the world’s friend is being God’s enemy? So whoever chooses to be a friend of the world takes his stand as an enemy of God.”  (James 4:4 AMP)

 

  • Be Not Deceived by false prophets, false Christs or false doctrines. Jesus Himself warned us to :

Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am the Messiah,’ and will deceive many…. For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. See, I have told you ahead of time” Matthew 24:4-25

The best way to recognize the counterfeit, is to know the real thing.  So get to know your Betrothed, Jesus Christ.  Spend time with Him and study the Word of God.

For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin. But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ.”  2 Corinthians 11:2-3

  • Consecrate Ourselves to Him. To be consecrated is to be declared or set apart as sacred and holy.  This is something we willingly do for Him.  It is surrendering our own will and our very lives to Him.  We have been bought with a (bride) –price, at the huge expense of Christ’s own blood, therefore our body is no longer our own to do with as we choose.  It is now His property:

But the one who joins himself to the Lord is one spirit with Him. Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” 1 Corinthians 6:17

  • Be Sanctified by Him.  We consecrate ourselves to Him, but we are sanctified by Him.  This is what He does in us, by His Holy Spirit.  Sanctification is a process of being purified and made holy.

We need to allow the Holy Spirit to do His work in us as He sanctifies and cleanses us “with the washing of water by the word, (so) that He might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish.” Ephesians 5:26, 27

This will include trials, tribulations and suffering on our part, but we must yield to the Holy Spirit and to the loving discipline of the Lord to His children.

My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all.  Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.  No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.” Hebrews 12:5-11

Next time….The Return of the Bride-groom