30 December, 2014

The Bridegroom and His Bride

A picture of Jesus and His Church
(Extract from harvardhouse.com)
Understanding ancient Jewish wedding practices makes the meaning of Scripture clear. The wedding is a picture of the covenant Jesus made and reveals His plans to return for His bride, the church. The people of ancient Israel understood what Jesus was going to do because they understood the model of the wedding. The analogy between a wedding and Christ and the Church is described in Ephesians 5:31-32.

Let me show you the practices of an ancient Jewish betrothal and wedding and how Jesus has fulfilled the betrothal portion of the wedding and how He may fulfil the remainder when He comes again for His bride, the church.


ANCIENT WEDDING PRACTICE: MARRIAGE COVENANT AND BRIDE PRICE
When a young man desired to marry a young woman in ancient Israel, he would prepare a contract or covenant to present to the young woman and her father at the young woman's home. The most important part of the contract was the bride price, the price that the young man was willing to pay to marry the young woman.

JESUS' FULFILLMENT: MARRIAGE COVENANT AND BRIDE PRICE
Jesus came to the home of His bride (earth) to present His marriage contract. The marriage contract provided by Jesus is the new covenant, which provides for the forgiveness of sins of God's people. Jesus paid the bride price with His life. At the last supper, when breaking bread, He spoke of the price He was paying:
"...This is my body given for you..." (Luke 22:20) and Hebrews 8:15 makes it clear that Jesus died as the price for the new covenant.

ANCIENT WEDDING PRACTICE: THE CUP
If the bride price was agreeable to the young woman's father, the young man would pour a glass of wine for the young woman. If the young woman drank the wine, it would indicate her acceptance of the proposal. At this point, the young man and young woman would be betrothed. Betrothal was legally binding, just like a marriage. The only difference was that the marriage was not yet consummated. A typical betrothal period was 1-2 years. During this time the bride and bridegroom each would be preparing for the marriage and wouldn't see each other.

JESUS' FULFILLMENT: THE CUP AND GIFT FOR THE BRIDE
Just as the bridegroom would pour a cup of wine for the bride to drink to seal the marriage contract, so Jesus poured wine for His disciples. His words described the significance of the cup in representing the bride price for the marriage contract: Then He took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying:
"Drink from it, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom." (Matt. 26:28-29). The disciples drank of the cup, thus accepting the contract.
Next, the bridegroom would present the bride with special gifts. The purpose of these gifts was to show the bridegroom's appreciation of the bride. They were also intended to help her to remember him during the long betrothal period. He has given us of His Spirit" (1 John 4:13). Jesus described this gift in John 14:26:
"But the Counsellor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

ANCIENT WEDDING PRACTICE: PREPARING A PLACE
During the betrothal period, the bridegroom would prepare a wedding chamber for the honeymoon. This chamber was typically built in the bridegroom's father's house. The wedding chamber had to be built to the groom's father's specifications. The young man could go for his bride only when his father approved. If the bridegroom was asked when the wedding was to be, he might well say "it is not for me to know, only my father knows".

JESUS' FULFILLMENT: PREPARING A PLACE
Just as a bridegroom would have told his bride that he would go to prepare a place for her, so Jesus told His disciples:
"In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. 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)

ANCIENT WEDDING PRACTICE: A WAITING BRIDE CONSECRATED
While the bridegroom was preparing the wedding chamber, the bride was considered to be consecrated, set apart or "bought with a price". She wouldn't know when her groom would come for her, so she always had to be ready. Since bridegrooms typically came for their brides in the middle of the night, to "steal them away", the bride would have to have her lamp and her belongings ready at all times.

JESUS' FULFILLMENT: A WAITING BRIDE CONSECRATED
We, the bride of Jesus, are now consecrated or set apart, waiting for the return of our bridegroom. We should be spending this time preparing ourselves for Jesus' return. Jesus used a parable of ten virgins waiting for the bridegroom to describe the need to be alert for His return. (Matt. 25:1-13).

ANCIENT WEDDING PRACTICE: BRIDEGROOM COMES FOR HIS BRIDE
When the bridegroom's father deemed the wedding chamber ready, the father would tell the bridegroom that all was ready and to get His bride. The bridegroom would abduct his bride secretly, like a thief at night and take her to the wedding chamber. As the bridegroom approached the bride's home, he would shout and blow the shophar (ram's horn trumpet) so that she had some warning to take her belongings.

JESUS' FULFILLMENT: BRIDEGROOM COMES FOR HIS BRIDE
Jesus will come back the same way for His bride, with a shout and the sound of a shophar (trumpet) and take His bride home (1 Thessalonians 4:15-16).

ANCIENT WEDDING PRACTICE: MARRIAGE SUPPER
After seven days in the wedding chamber, the bride and bridegroom would emerge and participate in a feast with friends and family. There would be joyous celebrating during this feast. The feast would conclude the wedding celebration.

JESUS' FULFILLMENT: MARRIAGE SUPPER
As the bride and bridegroom celebrated with a joyous wedding supper, so Jesus and His bride, the church will celebrate the marriage.
"Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. 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 the saints). Then the angel said to me, write: 'Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb'" (Revelation 19:6-9)!

ANCIENT WEDDING PRACTICE: DEPART FOR HOME
After the marriage supper, the bride and bridegroom would leave the groom's father's house where the groom had built the wedding chamber. They would go to their own home, which the bridegroom had prepared.

JESUS' FULFILLMENT: DEPART FOR HOME
Just as the bride and bridegroom left the marriage supper to go to the home that the bridegroom had prepared, so Jesus and His bride will depart for their new home. Jesus will come back with ten thousands of His saints to earth to establish His Millennium Kingdom and to rule for a thousand years. (Rev. 19:11-16)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iTVKrM6V0Ak

1 comment:

annemarie said...

Hello Peter,
This is my favourite song, I thought you might like it...

Sing a song of celebration
Lift up a shout of praise
For the Bridegroom (Christ) will come
The glorious One
And oh, we will look on His face
We'll go to a much better place

Dance with all your might
Lift up your hands and clap for joy

The time's drawing near
When He will apear
And oh, we still stand by His side
A strong, pure, spotless bride (Christ's followers)

We will dance on the streets that are golden
The glorious bride and the great Son of Man (Christ)
From every tongue and tribe and nation
Will join in the song of the Lamb (Christ)

Sing aloud for the time of rejoicing is near
The risen King, our groom (Christ), is soon to appear
The wedding feast to come is now near at last
Lift up your voice, proclaim the coming Lamb

AMEN