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…”
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.
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.
7 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; 8 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
“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?