Things to Come, Lesson 5, The Marriage of the Lamb, Revelation 19:7-9
My wife brought into this world four children, consisting of one boy and three prospective brides.
And thankfully the prospective turned into actual some 16 months apart.
My son was married first but his bride was not my responsibility in the same manner as was required of me and my wife for our three daughters.
Our second daughter was married first in 1997, our third daughter in 1998 and our first daughter, in 1999.
Wedding plans filled the air and I found myself having to get out of the way, while the women of my family relished the task at hand including the frequent emptying of my wallet.
But I cannot complain for weddings are worth every penny.
Weddings require a one time investment on the part of the father with hopefully a lifetime transfer of financial responsibility to another man.
One pre-nuptial agreement I think is wise is an agreement with your daughter and new son in law that the wedding should be thought of as a good bye present with no return rights.
So far I have not had the request from any of our daughters to come home.
Praise the Lord for such good blessings and such good son-in-laws.
But weddings are usually wonderful affairs where we are given to see women prepared for the ceremony in the most beautiful of ways.
Bridesmaids line the altar along with handsome well dressed groomsmen and of course the nervous groom awaiting his bride.
The smiling little girl comes down the aisle with a basket of rose petals tossing them to and fro.
She is smiling because this is the first time she is free to litter!
Perhaps a little boy comes down the aisle with a ring on a pillow and you can see it on his face that he doesnít know what is going on.
Weddings are times of joy and happiness for a new life commences that brings two, to be one.
Everything will be different now, a new home, a new partnership, perhaps even a new location.
God has given us weddings to show us a picture of another wedding, the ultimate wedding, the wedding to end all weddings.
There are weddings in scripture that if you look closely you will see seeds sprouting up which reveal things to come regarding a wedding that will be made in heaven.
It will be a wedding that will last throughout all eternity and has absolutely no chance of failure.
Mark reported in 12:25 that Jesus Christ said that those who are resurrected will neither marry nor are given in marriage.
Perhaps the reason Jesus said that, is because they are already married.
Those who have been taken up in the Rapture consist of the bride of Christ.
All believers who by faith were saved by the blood of Christ are part of, not only the body of Christ, but are part of the Bride of Christ.
Last week we discussed the Judgment Seat of Christ, the BEMA judgment where the works done in Christís name are tested by fire to determine their quality.
This is part of the preparation of the bride, for the bride readies herself for the Bridegroom.
The marriage takes place followed by the marriage supper, commonly called the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
Now in our times there are semblanceís in our weddings from weddings of old.
But in the old, old times, marriage customs generally centered around three major conditions.
Firstly marriage contracts were often made by parents of the parties of the marriage while they were young children, children of course who were not ready to take on adult responsibilities.
Of course a dowry was expected from the bride to be such that the new household would be properly established.
At times there was even a bride price which the father of the groom paid to the father of the bride to cover the costs or her child rearing.
So when the children became of sufficient age the second step of the wedding, a ceremony in which the bridegroom aided by his friends would go the house of the bride to take her to the groomís house.
Jesus told the story of this in Matthew 25:1-13 in the parable of the ten virgins.
Upon gaining the bride the groom would then bring his bride to his home where, after completion of the marriage, the marriage supper would take place.
So in Jewish society the girl was first betrothed to the boy.
This betrothal was a binding contract and could only be broken by divorce under certain circumstances such as a bride being found unfaithful.
This was the circumstance that Joseph found himself in when he was told Mary, the mother of Jesus, was with child.
When the betrothal contract is presented the young man would present a cup of wine to his beloved and if she drank it, it was a sign of acceptance.
He would then give gifts to his betrothed and then leave her house and she would then have to wait for him to return and bring her to his house.
He would leave with a promise to return but his leaving was with the promise that he would go and prepare a place for her.
And he would return when that place was ready.
In Jewish society that place was a wedding chamber with a fancy canopy bedecked with beautiful things.
The wedding date would be chosen by the father and at some time told to the son.
Many times they were betrothed for a year before the marriage was completed.
During this time the bride was to make herself ready, wearing a veil when she went out to show that she was spoken for.
Today our brides to be, wear an engagement ring, and perhaps go on diets, perhaps sign up for exercise classes etc.
Upon completion of the wedding chamber and arrival at the appointed date, the bridegroom would now be allowed to go to bring his bride to the chamber.
Knowing that the bridegroom could come at any time, it was the custom for the bride to keep a lamp, her veil and other things beside her bed.
She would have a contingent of bridesmaids waiting with her also ready with oiled lamps to accompany her to the bridal chamber.
The bridegroom would march to her house with his friends and when he got close they would shout and blow what is called a shofar to let her know to be ready.
So taking the bride to himself he would take her to his fatherís house where he had prepared the wedding chamber for a seven day honeymoon.
The groomís best friend would wait outside until the news came that the marriage had been consummated.
Now during the time of the honeymoon the friends would be celebrating for seven days and after seven days the marriage supper would begin.
Now of course it is easy to see the parallels of the Jewish marriage to that which takes place between Christ and the Church.
Jesus Christ came into the world to seek and to save sinners.
Jesus Christ came into the world seeking a bride.
Jesus Christ came into the world to give His name to a people, which is the right of the groom.
John the Baptist told us of this transaction in:
John 3:29, He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroomís voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.
John the Baptist was not of the bride but he is of the friend of the bridegroom.
So in seeking a bride Jesus presents to all men His contract of salvation.
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, shall not perish but have everlasting life.
So the promise is that if you say "I do" to this marriage proposal the gift will be eternal life.
Jesus Christ also came with a bride price, for the price of the redemption of the bride was His suffering and sacrifice on the Cross.
He gave Himself for the bride.
Matthew 26:28, For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
The new testament or covenant is the marriage contract.
This contract was not to Israel but to all who would drink of the blood he shed on Calvary, to all who would believe on Him in this, the Church Age.
Every time you drink the sacrificial wine of Communion it is a reminder of the marriage contract.
Matthew 26:26-28, And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. 27And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; 28For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
The very Gospel of Jesus Christ is Godís wedding announcement.
As in the case of the Jewish wedding there would be no wedding without the bride responding to the offer of marriage.
That acceptance is by her readiness to drink of the cup of wine that is poured out to her by the bridegroom.
This of course clearly is a picture of Jesusí blood that He poured out for our sins.
But the cup must be received, the blood must be recognized as personally efficient for you in order for you to be included in the marriage contract.
If you are to be the bride there is required of you a receiving of the cup.
Luke 22:20, Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.
The blood is the bride price and the price is accepted by receiving the blood.
Every person who by faith receives Jesus Christ as their Savior in essence, is accepting a proposal of marriage by the Bridegroom.
This bridegroom offers His blood which is the only covering that will guarantee the purity of the bride.
Every person who composes the bride is pure for each person is covered by the blood of the bridegroom.
The proposal is made, the bridegroom leaves the bride with a promise to return, for He has a task to do as the Jewish groom had to do and that task is to prepare a bridal suite for the bride.
Jesus Christ told his bride this in John 14:1-3.
John 14:1-3, Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2In my Fatherís house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
Brides and bridegrooms are meant to be together.
Jesus told the bride that he must depart in order to prepare a place but he promised to return so the bride and bridegroom would be together.
So during this time of the groomís absence the bride is now set apart for she is betrothed.
She is now separated from all others, unto her husband for betrothal means husband and wife.
She is now sanctified to her husband and must make herself ready for His return.
Her great responsibility is to know her husband and she has been told to study to show herself approved.
Her life is one of preparation for her husband may return at any moment.
Her husband is busy at His fatherís house for this is where He will bring His bride.
Her husband awaits the word from the father that all is ready and the father directs his son to go and bring his bride to the bridal chamber.
Only the father knows when this is to occur.
The bride awaits the Son, the Son awaits the Father.
Remember the shout that accompanies the Rapture of the church.
This shout announces that the bridegroom is coming for the bride.
Since the return of Christ to Heaven after the resurrection Godís Holy Spirit has been calling out a people who would be a fitting bride for His Son, Jesus Christ.
This called out body is the New Testament church.
It is called the body of Christ for upon marriage two become one flesh.
The Bride of Christ consists of millions of men, women and children!
When we are all brought together as a family following the rapture we shall
join with our Lord in a great marriage feast.