The Bridegroom and His Bride

The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ is the Bridegroom and the church is his bride. In John 3:29-30(NIV), John the Baptist taught, “29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete. 30 He must become greater; I must become less.” We should not think of this reference to the Bridegroom and the bride in the way in which wedding ceremonies are done in our time. The imagery for John the Baptist’s teaching is rooted in the Biblical custom of Hebrew weddings. As we learn a little bit more about this, it will increase our understanding about the coming of Jesus Christ and prayerfully, we will prepare for it with greater encouragement and commitment.

The coming together of the bridegroom and the bride in the Hebrew tradition was in three phases. The first phase involved the legal consummation of the marriage which was done by the parents of both the bridegroom and the bride. This was a negotiated match, and in those days, a Hebrew father would be more concerned about the marriage of his son than he would about the marriage of a daughter. He was obligated to pay a price or dowry to the father of his son’s future wife but would not have to do this if he were giving his daughter to be married. These marriages were often negotiated early in the son’s or daughter’s youth, and this usually occurred within the inner circle of family and community. It was commonly frowned on to marry outside of one’s immediate circle because this might introduce foreign beliefs and practices outside their faith.

Just as the Hebrew father paid a purchase price for his son to establish the covenant agreement of marriage with his bride, God sent Jesus Christ to pay the purchase price for us, the church—his bride. He paid the price of our sins when he gave his life on the Cross of Calvary, and we must demonstrate our gratitude by presenting our entire lives to God through Christ. He has set us apart as His Son’s bride, and as such, we must be holy, blameless, and totally committed to Christ. This applies to every believer, not just for a designated group. We all make up the bride of Christ, and his requirements must be met by every individual that has accepted him as their Lord and Savior.

The second phase of the Hebrew wedding is when the bridegroom comes to claim his bride. This is what the church has been patiently anticipating in the return of our Bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ. He tells us in John 14:1-3(NIV), “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? 3 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.” Our Master Jesus is in heaven preparing a place for us, and we will live in our Father’s house, and be with them an eternity.

The marriage supper is the third phase of the Biblical Hebrew wedding tradition. It is believed by many Biblical scholars that the interim period that is between the second coming and the beginning of the millennial kingdom is symbolic of this third phase. The thousand-year reign of Christ is also commonly referred to as the Golden Age or Paradise that will occur on earth after his second coming. Revelation 20:1-6 mentions this, and there are many teachings on the subject, and of course, there are varied beliefs. Our aim must be encouragement in Jesus Christ, and to know that we will be with him an eternity, and this is what our Heavenly Father desires.

The rapture is imminent. Jesus Christ will gather his bride in the air when he appears, and this could happen at any time. It is not dependent on the fulfillment of prophecy regarding a set chain of events. We should be joyously awaiting our Savior’s return, when we will be translated into our resurrected bodies within the blink of an eye. Philippians 3:21(NLT) states, “He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.”

As believers whose names are written in God’s Book of Life, many of us are still asleep. Even with the events that are happening in our world today, we are still behaving like the five bridesmaids in Matthew 25 that were not prepared with oil for their lamps. They thought they had more time, and when the Bridegroom appeared, they were too late. This can be said of many believers in our time. They have lost their deep and abiding love for Christ and have not continually put the Word of God in their hearts. Their loyalty is divided because they are trying to be committed both to Christ and to the world.

Romans 13:11-12(NLT) warns, “11 This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living.” We must wake up and recognize that our houses must be in order. We must stop participating in darkness and clothe ourselves in the example of love and light that Jesus Christ left us. Don’t assume you are ready, know that you are by seeking God with your whole heart. Let Him confirm it with His Spirit and do all that you can to live according to His Word.■

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide

“The Bridegroom and His Bride”, written for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2022. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!

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