The Marriage of the Lamb

by: Bill Bratt

Email: info@icogsfg.org


Weddings are beautiful and a lot of planning goes into a successful wedding. Weddings are memorable with the bride and her dress, the groom in his tux, the wedding cake, the fresh flowers, candles, music, friends, relatives, photographs and memories.

There is a beautiful theme that runs throughout the Bible that reveals the "Marriage of the Lamb." The apostle John reveals this in his book of Revelation: "Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready." {8} And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. {9} Then he said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!' " And he said to me, "These are the true sayings of God"" (Revelation 19:7-9).

Who is this Lamb that is to be married? The apostle John states in his gospel that "The Lamb of God" is Jesus Christ: "The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" (John 1:29).

Who is the Wife in this passage of Revelation? The apostle Paul in his epistle to the Church of Ephesus uses an analogy of exalting the role of the wife in comparison with the role of the Church as the Bride of Christ. "Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. {23} For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. {24} Therefore, just as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. {25} Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her, {26} that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, {27} that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish. {28} So husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. {29} For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church. {30} For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. {31} "For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh." {32} This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. {33} Nevertheless let each one of you in particular so love his own wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband" (Ephesians 5:22-33).

This beautiful passage compares our human marriages with Jesus Christ and the Church which will become His Bride and Wife.

Letís notice Revelation 19:8 again: "And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints." Letís notice that the Brideís wedding garments are clean and bright linen which is the "righteous acts of the saints." It is important to note that righteousness is acting in accord with divine or moral law, which is keeping Godís Commandments. "For all Your commandments are righteousness" (Psalms 119:172 ). These righteous acts are acts of loving God and loving your neighbor, doing good for your neighbors and even loving your enemies (Matthew 5:44).

Righteousness involves repentance from breaking the laws of God. God wants all men to repent (Acts 2:38-39, 2 Peter 3:9). As we have already read in Ephesians 5:27, the Church is to be without spots or wrinkles - it is to be holy and without blemish - without sins, holy and consecrated to Christ.

God is the Match Maker

The Jews had no dating or courtship. Marriage to them was a practical legal matter, established by a contract. Many times the father chose the bride for his son and decided the terms of the contract. The father might also use the services of a matchmaker. The matchmaker was an expert in finding the right bride for the father's son. In ancient Israel God was the matchmaker.
God matched Himself with the nation of Israel. In Exodus 6:6-7 God says: "I will take you as my people, and I will be your God." Isaiah the prophet records: "For your Maker is your husband, The LORD of hosts is His name; And your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth." "For the LORD has called you Like a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, Like a youthful wife when you were refused," Says your God" (Isaiah 54:5-6).

The apostle John reveals in the New Testament that it is God who is choosing the Bride for His Son. Jesus said: "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day" (John 6:44).

The people that God calls must respond. God has called many but only a few are chosen (Matthew 22:14).

The people who are called must put forth the effort to do good works and respond to God's Word. Some who are called REJECT their calling.
Letís look at the Parable of the Wedding Feast: "And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said: {2} "The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, {3} "and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. {4} "Again, he sent out other servants, saying, 'Tell those who are invited, "See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding."' {5} "But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. {6} "And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. {7} "But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. {8} "Then he said to his servants, 'The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. {9} 'Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.' {10} "So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests. {11} "But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. {12} "So he said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?' And he was speechless. {13} "Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' {14} "For many are called, but few are chosen"" (Matthew 22:1-14) .

Doesnít this parable sound familiar. God the Father is the king and the son is Jesus Christ. The Church is the guests invited to the wedding, and we are to keep our wedding garments without spots or wrinkles. These wedding garments picture how we live our lives. We are to be without blemish, without sins, holy and consecrated to Christ.

The Jewish Custom of Matrimony

Now letís consider the Jewish custom of matrimony and compare it to Jesus Christ and the Church. We will see that "The Marriage Supper of the Lamb" and Godís seven annual Holy Day Sabbaths have much in common.
"The first phase of the Jewish wedding is the betrothal. The young man prepares a marriage contract or covenant which he presents to the young woman and her father. The Hebrew word for this marriage contract is Ketubah. It is a formal written document which stipulates the terms of the marriage proposal he is making. He probably goes over the contract with his father to make sure Abba (daddy) is in agreement. He then goes to the house where the young woman lives and makes the proposal to her and her father."
(1)

"The most important consideration in the contract was the price the bridegroom would be willing to pay to marry this particular bride. The "bride price" is still utilized today in parts of the Mediterranean and African world and while it seems most archaic to us now, it had some useful purposes. First of all, if the bridegroom was willing to sacrifice hard cash for his bride, he was showing his love in a most tangible way. Secondly, it was a favor to his future father-in-law. We must recall that in those days of farming and heavy labor, it was something of a liability to raise a daughter. A family with sons would prosper more because of the built-in work force; but a family of daughters would expect to "consolidate their losses" when the girls were mature enough to attract bridegrooms. And so the father of the bride was more or less paid off for his earlier expenses and for his patience and skill in raising a girl to be good marriage material." (2)

I can relate to this point of raising our girls to be good marriage material. I am a father of four daughters and we, as many Christian parents, have raised our children in the way of God. We have tried to follow the Biblical proverb: "Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6). Three of our daughters are married and have blessed us with fine upstanding son-in-laws and they have also blessed us with many beautiful grandchildren.

Jesus is our Bridegroom and He Paid the Bride Price

When the bridegroom came to meet his bride-to-be he brought the "bride price." This was no modest token but was set so that the bride would be an expensive item. The young man had no delusions that he was getting something for nothing. He would pay dearly to marry the girl that he had chosen.

Now, letís bring Jesus Christ and the Church into this story of Jewish matrimony.

The bridegroom represents Jesus Christ who presents Himself to the bride which is the Church with an agreement, contract or covenant, offering to pay a "bride price" for her.

The "bride price" was a costly item and the young man might consult his father regarding the price. Is it to much?

Jesus, after the Passover supper and His institution of the new Passover sacraments (the foot washing, bread and wine), went up to the Mount of Olives to pray. Jesus contemplated His soon coming death by crucifixion on the cross and the horrible way in which He was going to die, and Jesus prayed to the Father and said: "Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done" (Luke 22:39-42). Jesus in essence did discuss the "bride price" with His Father and He knew that this was a high price to pay.

Jesus Christ paid the highest price for His Bride by giving up His life and shedding His blood for us. He was beaten, scourged, spit upon, humiliated, crucified, the disciples left Him, and even God the Father forsook Him (Matthew 26:56, 27:26, 30, 46.)

We, the Church, the Bride, have been bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20). The price was the blood of Jesus (1 John 1:7).

Letís notice how this ties in with the Passover. The apostle Paul said: "Therefore purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. {8} Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" (1 Cor 5:7-8). Paul was saying that Jesus is our Passover Lamb that was sacrificed for us. He also told us to keep the feast. The feast that he was referring to is the Feast of the Days of Unleavened Bread. (See Leviticus 23 for information on all of Godís seven annual holy day festivals including the weekly Sabbath.)

Letís also notice that the apostle Paul said that Christ died for us and through His death we have been justified by His blood, reconciled to God and we are saved by His life: "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. {9} Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. {10} For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life" (Rom 5:8-10) .

The Marriage Contract

In the Jewish custom of matrimony the young man prepared a marriage contract or covenant which he presented to the young woman and her father. Jesus also presented His Bride-to-be (the Church) with a contract or covenant. It is called the "new covenant" and He presented it at the Passover Supper. "And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, "Take, eat; this is My body." {27} Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. {28} "For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins" (Mat 26:26-28).

Letís notice briefly what the new covenant is. The writer of the book of Hebrews said: "And for this reason He (Jesus) is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance" (Hebrews 9:15).

The prophet Jeremiah also reveals a few points on the new covenant: ""Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; {32} "not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. {33} "But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. {34} "No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more"" (Jeremiah 31:31-34).

From these two passages we see that we have the promise of eternal life and eternal inheritance and that Godís laws will be written in our hearts and that He will be our God and we will be His people.

The Cup of Acceptance

Letís go back to the Jewish custom of matrimony.

"If the marriage contract and the bride price are acceptable to the father (of the bride), the young man would pour a cup of wine for his beloved and wait nervously to see if she will drink it. This cup of wine represents the blood covenant commitment and union they would have as a husband and wife. It is the young manís way of "popping the question" to her. If she drinks the cup, this shows her acceptance of the marriage proposal. This was her "yes" to the proposal." (3)

Notice that the young woman still had the choice of choosing yes or no. If her answer was no, she would not drink the cup of wine. She had to realize that another offer of matrimony might not be offered for a while.

Contracts and covenants at that time were ratified with blood.

Letís notice again what Jesus did with His disciples at the Passover: "Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. {28} "For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins" (Mat 26:27-28).

The wine represented Jesusí blood. Symbolically this new covenant was ratified with Jesusí blood.

Gifts from the Bridegroom

"The bridegroom prepares for this joyous occasion by bringing gifts for his beloved. They were a token of his love and a constant reminder to the bride that she is his special treasure. She, in turn, treasures him and his gifts and makes good use of them as she waits for the time they can be together as husband and wife." (4)

Now letís think about the gifts that the bridegroom offered. Jesus has given gifts to His Bride (the Church). He has given us Godís holy spirit.

"Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:38).

"And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him" (Acts 5:32).

Jesus told us to bear fruit: "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you. {17} "These things I command you, that you love one another" (John 15:16-17).

What are the fruits of the Holy Spirit that we are to bear?

"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, {23} gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law" (Galatians 5:22-23).

Jesus has also given other spiritual gifts that we are to use for Godís glory and the benefit of His Bride. These gifts include the gifts of prophecy, healing, ministering, teaching, exhortation, interpretation, leadership and mercy. (1 Cor. 12:28-31, Romans 12:6-8, Ephesians 4:11).

"At this point the young couple are betrothed. This means they are legally married, although they are not yet ready or able to live together as husband and wife. The marriage is consummated later in the celebration phase. The nearest we have to this in the West is the engagement period." (5)

The Wedding Chamber

After the young woman accepted the cup of wine, which indicated that she said yes to this marriage proposal, the bridegroom would say: "I go to prepare a place for you" and then he would return to his fatherís house where he would build her a bridal chamber in which they would have their future honeymoon.

What did Jesus do? The answer is recorded in the gospel of John: "Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. {2} "In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. {3} "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also" (John 14:1-3).

Jesus is now in heaven preparing the place for His Bride and we the Church are in a waiting period. Sometimes we may grow impatient waiting for His return. We may say "Our Lord has delayed His coming." We must learn to be patient and wait. "For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ" (Philippians 3:20). Letís notice what the patience of the Saints is: "Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus" (Revelation 14:12).

"It might take a full year or more to complete the bridal chamber. Naturally the eager bridegroom works as fast as he can and is tempted to "cut corners". So it is left to his father to decide when the place is ready. We can certainly see the wisdom here. If someone asks the young man the date of his wedding, he would reply, "I donít know, only my father knows." (6)

Jesus and His disciples were on the Mount of Olives and they ask Him "What will be the sign of Your coming and the end of the age?" Jesus gave them a message on prophecy of what was going to happen at the end of the age. Jesus said that only His Father will know the day or the hour of His return: "But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only" (Mat 24:36).

As a warning for His Church, we can not set dates for Jesusí return. If we do, we may increase church attendance for a while, but when the date that we pick comes and goes so will the people that follow us will also go.

Baptism

"After her young man leaves, and before their wedding, the bride takes a special bath as part of a ceremonial cleansing to prepare herself for the days ahead. The Hebrew word for this ceremonial cleansing is Mikveh. It is a washing or cleansing that denotes a purifying through baptism." (7)

We have already quoted Acts 2:38 where Peter said that we are to repent and be baptized for the remissions of sins. Paul also mentioned baptism in his epistle to the Church at Rome: "Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life" (Romans 6:4).

Baptism pictures death and a resurrection to a new life. Baptism for the Bride pictures the glorious Church being spotless, without wrinkles, holy and without blemishes (Ephesus 5:27).

Baptism is also pictured in the story of ancient Israel when they were in slavery in Egypt. God delivered them through Moses. They came out of Egypt and their slavery on the first day of Unleavened Bread. Egypt is pictured as a type of sin (Revelation 11:8). Repentance is changing the way you live and coming out of sin. In essence Israel repented when they came out of Egypt. God led them by a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day and they continued to travel to the Red Sea. On the last day of Unleavened Bread God led the Israelites through the Red Sea on dry ground. This going through the water of the Red Sea pictured baptism.

After our repentance and baptism we are to strive for perfection (Hebrews 6:1) and not sin. The apostle Paul admonished us not to sin (Ephesians 4:26, 1 Corinthians 15:34). The apostle John also told us not to sin (1 John 2:1).

Making Herself Ready

"While the bridegroom is busy preparing a place, the bride is busy preparing herself. She would use the gifts her bridegroom had given her to make herself beautiful. Of course, she does not use her gifts for selfish purposes but for the benefit of her beloved." (8)

"The bride, for her part, was obliged to do a lot of waiting. She would take the time to gather her trousseau and be ready when her bridegroom came. Custom provided that she had to have an oil lamp ready in case he came late at night in the darkness, because she had to be ready to travel at a momentís notice. During this long period of waiting, she was referred to as "consecrated", or "set apart", "bought with a price". She was truly a lady-in-waiting, but there was no doubt that her groom would return. Sometimes a young man would depart for a very long time indeed, but of course he had paid a high price for his bride; even though there were other young women available, he would surely return to the one with whom he had made a covenant" (9)

The Bride of Christ, the Church, is to make herself ready for Christís return. She is to be "arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints." (Revelation 19:8).

The apostle Paul elaborated further: "Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; {13} bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do. {14} But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection. {15} And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also you were called in one body; and be thankful" (Colossians 3:12-15).

Did you notice that the apostle Paul called the Bride of Christ the "elect of God, holy and beloved?"

The Bride of Christ, the Church, the Saints, the Elect are to be holy: "but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, {16} because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy"" (1 Peter 1:15-16).

In the following parable letís notice that the ten virgins were to have their "oil lamps" trimmed: "Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. {2} "Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. {3} "Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, {4} "but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. {5} "But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. {6} "And at midnight a cry was heard: 'Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!' {7} "Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. {8} "And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.' {9} "But the wise answered, saying, 'No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.' {10} "And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. {11} "Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us!' {12} "But he answered and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.' {13} "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming" (Matthew 25:1-13).

The "oil" in this parable represents Godís Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is the power of God and it is a gift that God gives you after you repent and are baptized. This gift is an absolute promise from God, but there are conditions. We must submit and obey God, stir up the spirit and not quench it, pray for more of His Holy Spirit every day and bear forth fruit. The Holy Spirit will not force you to do anything. Use It so you donít Lose It!

The King James version of the Bible calls the Holy Spirit a comforter: "And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever" (John 14:16). Other translations compare the Holy Spirit to: helper, counselor, and advocate.

The Bride Would Wear a Veil

"The bride would wear a veil whenever she stepped out of her house so that other young men would realize she was spoken for and would not try to approach her with another contract." (10)

In todayís world the veil could be pictured as a lady wearing an engagement ring. Like an engagement ring the brideís veil shows our commitment to our Bridegroom. We must set a good example by keeping Godís Ten Commandments and be pure, clean and holy as virgins. In the Bible adultery is often associated with idolatry (Jeremiah 3:6-25, Hosea 3:1). We, as the Bride of Christ must keep away from the evil ways of this world. We should shun the pagan holidays and keep Godís Feast days that God says to keep: "Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them: 'The feasts of the LORD, which you shall proclaim to be holy convocations, these are My feasts" (Leviticus 23:2).

The brideís veil could also be compared to a sign that identifies that the bride is committed to someone. Letís notice that there is a special sign that the people of God have: "And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, {13} "Speak also to the children of Israel, saying: 'Surely My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you. {14} 'You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you. ...... {15} 'Work shall be done for six days, but the seventh is the Sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD.....{16} 'Therefore the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. {17} 'It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed'" (Exodus 31:12-17). This special sign of Godís people is the Sabbath which is one of the most precious gifts that Jesus gave his Bride: "And Jesus said to them," in Mark 2 verse 27, "The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath. {28} "Therefore the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath.""

The Sabbath was made for man. It is a day of freedom from work and the daily "rat race" that most us have to endure. It is a time when we can focus on God and Jesus. It is a time that we can spend in extra prayer and Bible study. It is a time of fellowship with other people of like-minds. The Bible admonishes us: "not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together" (Heb 10:25).

The Sabbath is a time to worship Jesus and to ponder our relationship and commitment with our Bridegroom, in singing songs of praise to Him and hearing His word expounded.

Jesus said that He, "the Son of Man is also Lord of the Sabbath." Jesus is our Lord and Master. He is the member of the God family who created the Sabbath at creation (Genesis 1-2). Since Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath, that makes the seventh day Sabbath the true "Lordís Day."

The Wedding Phase

"As the year went on, the bride would assemble her sisters and bridesmaids and whoever would go with her to the wedding when the bridegroom came, and they would each have their oil lamps ready. They would wait at her house every night on the chance that the groom would come, along with his groomsmen, and sweep them all away to a joyous and sudden wedding ceremony" (11)

The apostle Paul tells us that Jesus will return suddenly as a thief in the night: "For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night" (1 Thessalonians 5:2). We donít know the day or the hour (Matthew 24:36).

Coming for the Bride

"Finally, the chamber would be ready and the bridegroom would assemble his young friends to accompany him on the exciting trip to claim his bride. The big moment had arrived and the bridegroom was more than ready. He and his young men would set out in the night, making every attempt to completely surprise the bride." (12)

Will Jesus catch us asleep? Will Jesus catch the Church asleep?

We have already read the parable of the ten virgins in Matthew 25:1-13. Five were wise and five were foolish. Is this an indication that fifty percent of the Church will be caught off guard? We, the Bride of Christ, must be as the wise virgins, having our lamps trimmed and filled with the oil of Godís Holy Spirit. We must not slumber and be asleep spiritually but we must be prepared spiritually to meet Christ our Bridegroom.

The Jews considered it romantic when the brides were "stolen". "The Jews had a special understanding of a womanís heart. It was a thrill for her to be "abducted" and carried off into the night by the one who loved her so much that he had paid such a high price for her." (13) Jesus said: "Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. {43} "But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. {44} "Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect" (Matthew 24:42-44).

"The day of the actual wedding has come and the bridegroom, accompanied by his close friends, makes his way to the bride's house. The anxious bridegroom wants to surprise his bride but also needs to give her a warning so she can be ready to go with him. She has to light her lamp, "put on her face" and get her things. No time for packing!" (15)

"When the wedding party gets close to the house, they give a shout and blow the shofar (ram's horn) to let the bride know her bridegroom is coming. This is the moment for which they have both been waiting. She's awake and alert and waiting! He's in a hurry! When they arrive, the bridegroom and his friends charge right into the house and carry off the bride and her maids." (16)

"Now wedding parties can be noisy. As the young people make their way through the dark streets, lamps aglow and voices loud, they awake the neighbors who realize a wedding party is taking place. Neighbors are naturally curious. They peek out the windows to see the identity of the bride, but she's wearing her veil. At this point the neighbors don't know who the bride is, but she will be returning in a week with her veil removed. Then everyone will know the identity of the bride. Some will be surprised, but others will have guessed it all along." (17)

The apostle Paul gave us a lot of information about the return of Jesus Christ. He stated: "For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. {17} Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord" (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17).

Notice that there will be "a shout" with the voice of an archangel. This corresponds with the blowing of the shophar to warn the bride that her bridegroom was near. This shout will be a warning for the Bride of Christ that Jesus is returning.

The apostle Paul also tells us that this shout is the last trumpet: "Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed; {52} in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. {53} For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality" (1 Corinthians 15:51-53). The book of Revelation reveals that there are seven seals, and that the seventh seal contains seven trumpet plagues and when the seventh trumpet sounds Jesus Christ will return and the Kingdom of God will be proclaimed: "Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!"" (Revelation 11:15).

The Celebration Phase

"The celebration lasts for seven days. While the newlyweds are inside the wedding chamber honeymooning, the invited guests are outside having a party. They celebrate for seven days until the newly weds emerge from their wedding chamber. When the new couple make their appearance, the guests clap and cheer and congratulate them. There is a lot of singing and dancing. It's all very festive. This is followed by - a joyous feast called the marriage supper which is given to honor the new husband and wife." (18)

The Bible reveals that those who will be called to the Marriage of the Lamb will be blessed: "Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready." {8} And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. {9} Then he said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!'" (Revelation 19:7-9).

In Conclusion: The "Marriage Supper of the Lamb" and Godís seven annual Holy Day Sabbaths have much in common. The Passover pictures the fact that Jesus died for you and me. He was our Passover Lamb, He was crucified, died and spilled His blood for us. He paid the "bride price" by giving up His life. The Days of Unleavened Bread pictures repentance and baptism. We need to examine ourselves and put on the fine linen wedding garments which is the righteous acts of the saints. Letís remember that we, the Elect, the Saints, the Church are the Bride of Jesus Christ. Pentecost pictures the receiving Godís Holy Spirit. We must be as wise virgins with the oil of Godís Holy Spirit in our lamps. The Feast of Trumpets pictures a time of war and the seventh and last trump pictures the return of Jesus Christ. The Day of Atonement pictures Jesus Christ being our High Priest in heaven interceding for us, his Bride, before the throne of God the Father. The Feast of Tabernacles pictures the establishment of the millennial Kingdom of God with Jesus Christ ruling supreme as King of kings and Lord of lords with the Saints, His Bride, at his side (Rev. 5:10, 1 Thes. 4:17).

Letís watch and patiently wait for the return of our Bridegroom Jesus Christ and be totally excited like a Bride when it is announced: "Behold, Your Bridegroom is coming!"


Footnotes: (1,3,4,5,6,7,8,14,15,16,17,18):Richard Booker , Hereís Comes the Bride (booklet), Sounds of the Trumpet, 1995.

Footnotes: (2,9,10,11,12,13): Zola Levitt, A Christian Love Story (booklet), Zola Levitt Ministries, 1978.