A sweet story of a Jewish betrothal and marriage.
I pray this helps your understanding of our relationship with our Saviour.
The Father sends an emissary (The Holy Spirit) to find a bride for his Son. Abraham and Eleazer are a picture of this. (Gen 24:8)
The Bridegroom negotiates the Bride price, or dowry, with the Father of the Bride. (Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane)
The Bride groom, at a family dinner, offers the potential bride his cup. If she accepts, she is officially betrothed to her Bridegroom. This is HER option. (Gen 24:53) If she refuses the cup, the family dinner continues, and the couple part as mere friends or acquaintances, and the groom keeps the dowry, no harm, no foul. (The last supper).
After she accepts the betrothal, and the dowry is paid, the Bridegroom leaves her a list of promises,love letters, and a written contract detailing the things he will do for her “I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14:2 in our Bible).
The Bridegroom then pays the dowry, or the Bride price. A price most precious. (Jesus blood at Calvary). Today, it would be akin to paying cash for a mansion. But the Father required blood. Jesus paid this price with his own precious blood.
From this point on, the Bride is, for all intents and purposes, the wife of the Bridegroom. She will wear a veil until her wedding. (Gen 24:65). She cannot break this betrothal, only the Bridegroom can do this, and only the groom can initiate this de facto divorce. She has no choice after this point. She is “bought with a price” she belongs to him, and he belongs to her. (eternal security of the believer)
After a short visit with the Family of the Bride, (Jesus earthly ministry after his resurrection), the Groom returns to his father’s home to begin building a home for his new wife.
This new home will be an addition to his father’s “mansion” or may be a separate dwelling on his father’s property. (John 14:3.).(it is the holy of holies in the tabernacle of God, the New Jerusalem, rev 21).
It may be many days before he sees her again. They are not permitted to see each other face to face until the wedding day.
During his absence, she exercises modesty in her dress and dealings with others, and honors him in her deportment and behaviour.(our Christian walk) To the public, she is considered as belonging to him. She behaves her self so as not to be ashamed when she sees him again, and he examines her in the bridal chamber.
During this time, she is baptized, a ritual cleansing. The groom was baptized unto her prior to the betrothal.It is an outward sign and a public testimony of their committment to each other. She wears her veil, as an outward sign that she is “taken”. She also now has the right to use his surname. (Christian).
During his absence, she is given many offers, and tempted by many potential suitors. She denies them all. Her loyalty is to her Bridegroom. She is “bought with a price”.
At night, and in times of loneliness, she comforts herself with the letters he sent her. His words and promises she has carefully highlighted in red. She draws strength daily from reading his promises and love letters. (our Bible).
As the months wear on, her excitement grows. Each passing day increases the odds that he will return for her. (the imminence of the Rapture). As such, she keeps her garments clean, and her house in order. She does not behave herself unseemly, for her conscience sake.
Because he has left her a dowry most precious, she knows he will not forsake her, (faith). She keeps her lamps full of oil. Her groom may come at night, she must be ready for him, and does not want to have to be caught unawares, or leave in haste in the dark.
Meanwhile, back at the Groom’s Father’s house, the Bridegroom has put the finishing touches on the bridal chamber. His Father examines the structure. Once it meets his approval, he is told to “fetch your Bride Son”.
The Bridegroom assembles a group of friends. They proceed to the home of the Bride. It may be in the dead of night to surprise her.
Within hearing distance of the Bride’s home, a trumpet is blown. This alerts the Bride, and awakens her family, and waiting friends that her soon to be husband is on his way. (1 Thess 4:15-17) Those that sleep in Jesus, “the dead in Christ shall rise first, with the trump of God, and a shout.”)
When the Bridegroom’s assembly reaches the doors of the Bride’s home, he calls her out with a shout. She meets him outside the door. (meeting the Lord in the air.1 Thess 4:17) They proceed to the Bridegroom’s father’s house. (The rapture).
At the Father’s house, a wedding party has gathered. All of the Groom‘s lifelong friends, and family are there. (John 3:29)(OT saints from Adam to John the Baptist).Robes of “Fine linen, clean and white” (The wedding kittle) are provided for the Bride, and the “friends of the Bridegroom.” It is a joyous assembly. There is a “reception”, and time of worship and praise shortly afterwards.
The Bride and groom retire to a secret chamber for a period of 30 minutes. (the yichud). “and there was silence in heaven for the space of a half an hour”e(the Bema judgment).
Once inside the bridal chamber, alone, the Groom then lifts his new wife’s veil for the first time. He sees her face for the first time since the betrothal. (no physical intimacy is involved in the yichud)
The “friend of the Bride groom” (John 3:29) waits outside the door and will announce the consummation. The Bride beholds her groom after so many days, but now she sees clearly, no longer through the veil she has been wearing for all this time.
He confirms to her the promises and commitments he made to her during his brief time with her before his departure. He shows her the wound scars in his hands and feet as tokens of his love, and a permanent reminder of the dear price he paid for her. From this day forward into eternity, Each time he takes her hand, she will be reminded of his eternal love for her. The Lamb’s book of life is opened, but only for rewards. Gifts are exchanged. (rewards, and casting crowns at the Bema seat). All her questions have been answered. (“we see through a glass darkly”).
The “friend of the Bridegroom”, standing outside the bridal chamber notifies the wedding party the marriage has been consummated. A joyous wedding feast begins. This continues for seven days. (7 years after the rapture, the great tribulation is taking place on earth.)
After the wedding feast, the bride and groom prepare to take a trip to visit the Brides family, and make their first public appearance to the world for the first time as man and wife. (“and the gates of heaven were opened” Rev 19) This is Jesus second coming, and he brings his Bride with him. She is now his wife, and his Queen.
The mother of the Bride, the nation Israel, has been waiting eagerly for this day.
She will soon meet her new Son in law for the first time as her daughter’s husband, a “Kinsman Redeemer, and a family member. (Israel awaiting her Messiah).
Formerly a “near kinsman“, now, he is part of her immediate family, and her heritage. She welcomes him as her Son, weeping for joy, for the redemption he has brought to the family through this marriage to her adopted daughter. It is a new chapter in her life. All things have become new.
Her land has now been redeemed, and returned to her after so long. Israel has been restored, and placed in the land given to her by the Father, and what is even better, the Bridegroom’s home is within site of her property, so the two families will be very close in dealings and in fellowship. It is a joyous time for all. The next thousand years will be a time of regeneration and reconciliation with God and humanity. We’re just getting started. There’s so much more to come!.