8And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God." (Rev. 19:7-9)
Jesus calls Himself a "bridegroom" and born again believers His "bride." (Mark 2:18-19) These terms are used more than once in the New Testament, and if there's one thing that we know about God, there's always a deeper meaning to words like these, so let's look at the traditions of a traditional Jewish wedding at the time, and consider whether that has any relevance to the Rapture, when many, like myself, believe that Jesus will come for His bride.
Choosing a bride...
In ancient Jewish tradition, either the father would choose the son's bride. Paul states, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will," (Eph. 1:3-5)
Oftentimes, the bride had not seen or met her future husband, but had found out about him through the bridegroom's servant. This reflects our engagement with Jesus. We have not seen Him, but God’s servant, the Holy Spirit, has revealed Him to us. "Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:” (1Peter 1:8) When He returns to retrieve His bride, we'll see Him face to face! Paul writes to the church body, "For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." (2Cor 11:2) The word "espoused" actually means "engaged." So we, as born again believers, are presently engaged to Jesus.
Every bride came with a price...
Brides in early biblical times were purchased through way of the bridal price, or "mohar." The word for wife, be’ulah, means the “owned one.” Husband, or ba’al, means “owner” or “master." Once a couple entered into covenant at betrothal, they were legally married in all aspects except for the physical consummation of the marriage.
Jesus paid our "mohar" through His blood...
- "Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:" (1Pet. 1:18-19)
- "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." (1Cor. 6:19-20)
- “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood." (Acts 20:28).
The marriage contract...
At the betrothal ceremony, a marriage contract, or ketubah, was presented to the father of the bride. Although a bride was selected for a bridegroom, the young woman did have some say in responding to a proposed marriage contract. The same occurs in our spiritual betrothal to Jesus because we also have a say in whether or not we'll accept the marriage contract. Paul writes, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." (Rom. 10:9-10) When we believe and make this confession of faith, we're agreeing to this wedding contract, and as such, we become part of the bride of Christ.
The bridegroom comes bearing gifts...
Betrothal also included the giving of gifts by the bridegroom to his bride. This gift was to remind the bride of what was to come. What is our Bridegroom's gift to us? God's Holy Spirit and all the gifts that come through Him. "Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you." (John 16:7) And again, "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. 14He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. 15All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you." (John 16:13-15)
Through the Holy Spirit, we receive additional gifts; "For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: 11But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” (1Cor. 12:8-11)
Brides purified themselves in a mikvah (pool of living water) prior to their wedding. It represented a separation from an old life to a new life – from life as a single woman to life as a married woman and from being under the authority of her father to being under the authority of her husband. Water immersion is the New Testament equivalent of the mikvah. The Bible says "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved;" (Mark 16:16a). When we're baptized in water, we're symbolizing our death and resurrection with Christ, going from our old life to a new life, coming out from under the authority of our old father, Satan (sin), and coming under the righteous authority of our Bridegroom, Jesus.
The bridegroom must go to his father's house...
Once the marriage covenant was sealed, the bridegroom left his beloved to go to his father’s house to prepare a wedding chamber for her. During this time, his wife-to-be would prepare herself to leave her parents’ home to live with her husband’s family and become part of their household. When a marriage contract is agreed upon, the engagement begins and the groom goes to his father's house to prepare the marriage chamber. When I think of this, it reminds me of the scripture, "In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also." (John 14: 2-3) The Jewish bride was set apart, consecrated, separated unto her bridegroom while he was away preparing their wedding chamber.
No one knows the day or hour...
The groom could be gone up to twelve months! Because of this, the bride had no idea what day or hour her bridegroom would return to take her to the wedding chamber. It was the bridegroom's father who inspected the bridal chamber to be sure it was completed and ready for the wedding. Only when it's been completed to the father's satisfaction does the father give his son permission to retrieve his bride. So, neither the bridegroom nor the bride had any idea when the bridegroom would be sent. As it says in scripture, "But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." (Matt. 24:36)
When the bridal chamber is ready and the groom is sent to retrieve his bride, he gathers his friends and they set off together. Now, during this entire time, the bride's responsibility is to remain vigilant and be ready, because the bridegroom could arrive at any time. "Be ye therefore ready also: for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not." (Luke 39:40) In fact, bridegrooms usually came for their brides late at night, near the midnight hour. It reminds me of the parable of the ten virgins, "And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him." (Matt. 25:6)
The trumpet is blown...
When the bridegroom approached from afar off, shofars would be blown and the shouting and merriment of those with him could be heard, which could be heard afar through the silence of the night. This reminds me of another portion of scripture, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” (1Thes. 4:16-17) Note: It's specifically stated that it will be the "trump of God," so this excludes the last trumpet blown during the seven trumpet judgments, since these will be regular judgment trumpets and not THE trump of God, which seems pretty specific. If you're interested in my reasoning behind this, check out my article, "What If The Trump Isn't What We Think It Is" You can also check out my YouTube video HERE.
The bridegroom always arrived at the huppah before his bride to welcome her to the place he had prepared for her, where, from that day forward, they would be together. This is where the bride and bridegroom would stand side by side, formalizing their union. Our Bridegroom will meet us at our huppah in the sky, on that day that glorious day when He welcomes us to His Father's house: "Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord i the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord." (1Thess. 4:17)
Alone together for seven days...
The Bride and bridegroom would greet the guests gathered at his father’s house and then be escorted to the bridal chamber where they would be alone for seven days, the marriage would be consummated, and the second part of the marriage ceremony would be complete. The best man or “friend of the bridegroom” waited outside the wedding chamber to hear the voice of the bridegroom tell him that the marriage was consummated. Then all the guests began a week long celebration. Jesus said, “He that has the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled” (John 3:29). The seven day period was also called the “week of the bride.”
The marriage feast...
Following the seven days in the bridal chamber, the bride and bridegroom joined their guests for a joyous marriage feast. The first meal that the bride and bridegroom shared with their guests was called a seudat mitzvah, a festive meal, and had religious significance. The purpose of the meal was to instill joy in the hearts of the bride and bridegroom. Again, scripture shows us that this part of the marriage will play out in heaven, "And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. 7Let us be glad and rejoice and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and his wife hath made herself ready. 8And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God." (Rev. 19:6-9)
Jesus fulfills the wedding feast responsibilities of a bridegroom...
- Jesus has chosen us as His bride.
- Jesus paid our bridal price with His blood.
- Jesus has made a bridal contract through His covenant with those who repent and believe.
- Jesus has given us a bridal gift by sending the Holy Spirit.
- Jesus has set up water baptism as our outward expression of our covenant with Him.
- Jesus has gone to the Father's house to prepare a place for us as we wait for His return.
- Jesus will return at a day and hour of our Father's choosing, so neither He nor we know when that day will be.
- Jesus will return at the sound of the trumpet of God and with a shout!
- Jesus will bring us up to meet Him in the clouds and take us to His Father's house.
- Jesus will sequester us in the bridal chamber for a week (seven years) during which we will participate in the wedding feast.
This entire article has brought us to this point, and the reason why I took the time to write this. Jesus plans on fulfilling His responsibilities as our Bridegroom, and that means taking us to the bridal chamber for one week (seven years) while the rest of the world is experiencing the Tribulation/Great Tribulation. Some will say, "He didn't take Noah or Lot out of this world." True, He didn't, but that's because it wasn't necessary to do so. He sequestered Noah and his family safely inside of an ark and He safely led Lot and his family away from the pending destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. The Rapture is different. There is going to be a worldwide judgment of God which will bring about the end of the world system as we know it and usher in His millennial reign. There'll be no flood to float on in this case. It'll be a world on fire! There will be nowhere on earth to find safety, so the Lord needs to take us home before the Tribulation begins.
What bridegroom says, "I love you, but to show your love for me, you must suffer through the worst judgments God has ever brought upon mankind." No, a true bridegroom would rescue his bride before she is exposed to that type of danger.
To those who say we need to suffer through the Tribulation so that we can somehow become more worthy to enter Heaven, I'd have to say that our salvation is not based on works, and we can't make ourselves more "worthy" by suffering through the Tribulation. You're using man's limited intellect and it just doesn't jibe with scripture. Our seven days in the bridal chamber with Jesus will be our seven years with Him in Heaven, participating in the Bema seat judgment and participating in the wedding feast He has prepared for us.
I hope that those who do not believe in a Pre-Tribulation Rapture will consider what I have to say in this series of articles. I hope we can interact in the comment section below. God bless!!!
If you wish to read the other parts of this series, please click on a link below:
REPENT, AND BE FORGIVEN!
BELIEVE, AND BE SAVED!