#6 – The Genesis of Life [Rev19:1-10]: The Great Pursuit 2

This is the 2nd part of a 3-part-piece covering The Great Pursuit. Please check out the other two here:

The Great Pursuit 1

The Great Pursuit 3

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“Let us rejoice and exult and give glory, for the marriage supper of the Lamb has come, and the Bride has made herself ready ;” Revelation 19:7 (ESV)

So, we are in the waiting game. The Father has selected us by the Spirit to be Christ’s Bride, He has set out the New Covenant as a contract between us as a couple, He has paid the bride price with the life of his own son, and he has made provision for our spiritual cleansing by the baptism of water and the Holy Spirit. We are fully betrothed to Christ Jesus. He has gone to prepare a place for us, His Bride, and we are preparing for Him to come and fetch us. (Picture Him picking us up in His arms, and carrying us to our new house. Then, kicking the door open, He takes us in to be with Him forever.) This is what we are waiting for. The consummation of the marriage…

Remember that we are looking at Jewish wedding customs and how they relate to Jesus Christ and His betrothal to us, His Bride. (Adapted from Jewish Wedding Customs and the Bride of Messiah, available at http://messianicfellowship.50webs.com/wedding.html)

Eyrusin: The word eyrusin means – Betrothal. The period is also called – kiddushim – meaning “sanctification” or “set apart.” This word really defines the purpose of the betrothal period – it is a time in which the couple are to set aside to prepare themselves to enter into the covenant of marriage.

So, after the Father has selected a bride, the bride price has been paid, the gifts have been given, the marriage contract has been accepted, and the ritual washing has occurred, the betrothal begins. In this period the groom goes to prepare a place and the bride prepares herself. In Jewish tradition this takes between one and two years. And in this time, the bride and the bridegroom will not see each other at all. The bride will wear a veil over her face in public to signify that she is taken; she has been “set apart” or “sanctified” for her future husband.

It is very important that this time is not neglected. It prepares both the bride and the bridegroom individually so that when they come together, they are ready. It must be embraced fully by both of them. It is designed to lay a solid foundation for the marriage. This time helps both the bride and the bridegroom to deal with the things that would keep them from loving each other perfectly. It is a time in which they can both process their lives and let go of the past. It is a crucial transition from the old life to the new. Without it, the marriage would really suffer. *It’s like cleaning your shoes and having a rest before you run a marathon again. You can’t just go straight into a new marathon after just having completed one. You will be tired, injured, and in desperate need of rest and recuperation to prepare for the next one. So also with marriage. Married life, though terribly exciting, is very different from normal life. It is a different type of marathon. One which requires different muscles, and a much larger capacity for endurance. It is a race on a whole other level. And without the correct training, one is sure to drop out before even reaching the end.

Hence, both the bride and the bridegroom must embrace the training time that God has designed into the marriage game. Both teams train separately before the big game. They do not train together, because then they will learn each other’s strategies before the game even begins. That’s pointless and not much fun. The game must bring unexpected twists and turns. That’s when the quality of the preparation really comes to the for. If a team is properly prepared, they will be able to adapt to the other teams tactics. It is the beauty of the game. It’s what makes it worth playing and watching. It’s what makes it fun.

So, if we’ve had 2000 years of preparation so far, can you just imagine how fun the marriage is eventually going to be?The best game ever played! And played for all eternity. Bring it on!

Huppah: After the couple have undergone – Mikveh (immersion, or in our case, baptism), each separately, they appear together under the Huppah – or canopy – and in public they express their intention of becoming betrothed or engaged. From ancient times – the wedding canopy has been a symbol of a new household being planned – (Ps. 19:5; Joel 2:16). While under the Huppah the couple participate in a ceremony in which some items of value are exchanged – such as rings, and a cup of wine is shared to seal the betrothal vows. After the ceremony – the couple is considered to have entered into the betrothal agreement. This period is to last for one year. During this time the couple is considered married – yet do not have sexual relations yet – and continue to live separately until the end of the betrothal.

So when did this occur between Jesus and us? Lets look at Matthew 26 at the institution of the Lords supper, from verse 26:

“And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, saying, ‘Drink of it, all of you, for this is my blood of the new covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.’”

A cup of wine was shared to seal the betrothal covenant. And it is exactly why we are encouraged by the Lord to do so often. We do it in remembrance of the covenant that we have made. We remember that He has gone up to prepare a place for us and that we are waiting to be married to Him. We, with Jesus, as a couple, have officially entered into the betrothal agreement, and we are already considered married. We are now only waiting for the consummation of the marriage.

The Matan – or Bridal Gift: Following this betrothal ceremony the groom returns to his home to fulfill his obligations during the betrothal. But just prior to leaving he gives his wife to be a Matan ntm – or bridal gift, a pledge of his love for her. It’s purpose is to be a reminder to his bride during their days of separation of his love for her, that he is thinking of her – and that he will return to receive her as his wife. So what gift did Jesus leave with us before he went away? Lets look at John 14 from verse 16 and 25:

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever…He will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you.”

So Jesus doesn’t just leave a simple gift, but a person. He leaves the Holy Spirit as a living letter to remind us about Him and everything He has said. The Holy Spirit is our Bridal Gift. And not only Him, but also the supernatural Peace of Christ that comes by the Holy Spirit. Wow! What an amazing Bridal Gift. And we see that Jesus fulfills His promise in Acts 2 on the day of Pentecost, when the believers are filled with the Holy Spirit.

And still today, as we receive Christ as our Bridegroom and are baptized in water, we can receive the Holy Spirit as a bridal gift just like the first disciples did. We can receive Him joyfully and so embrace our betrothal to Christ Jesus. For the Spirit is our love letter that reminds us of our lover everyday. He reminds us of the beauty of our Lord, and of the riches of His father. He reminds us of His honour and His stature. He reminds us of His wealth and His glory. He reminds us of His love and affection for us. Of the price He paid to purchase us. Of the eternal passion He has to make us His Bride. He reminds us to prepare ourselves for our wedding day. To make ourself ready for the consummation of the marriage.

Next we will look at what Christ’s responsibilities are as the Bridegroom and how exactly He is preparing for that great wedding day.

Father, thank you that you chose us to be a bride for your Son. Thank you that you did everything that was necessary to make sure that we can be married to Him. All we have to do is say “Yes!” Father, help us to accept what you have done for us. Help us embrace our betrothal to Jesus Christ. Help us receive the Holy Spirit as our love letter and remember everyday the beauty of our passionate lover, Jesus Christ.

7 thoughts on “#6 – The Genesis of Life [Rev19:1-10]: The Great Pursuit 2

  1. I love that the Jews take a year or two to prepare to be together but are already considered married in that time. Emotionally, it is so good to prepare yourself for such a different season of life that I think the whole western world would benefit from such a practice. It’s exciting: Preparing to be ready for a life-long partnership with your betrothed in every way, so exciting.

    It’s awesome that our bridal gift is the Holy Spirit because He knows the Father and Jesus so well. He can be there during the preparation making sure the process takes place in fulness and perfection. It reminds me of the eunuch and Hadassah in ‘One Night with the King’
    – the story of Esther. In the one scene Hadassah enters the treasury room and she, along with the other possible brides can choose any jewellry form the treasury as part of preparing themselves for the king. Hadassah waits and asks the eunuch, her helper in the preparation process to show her something in the treasury that will be to the pleasure of the king. She sets the pleasure of the king above her own and has the help of the eunuch at her disposal to be able to choose something that would be pleasing to him.

    In the same way, we have the Holy Spirit Who can show us through the Word and lead us in our spirits to choose change, growth, specific behaviour, devotion, obedience, sanctification, freedom, etc. as a love gift to our bridegroom ahead of time, sacrificing ourselves to be more and more pleasing to Him as a sweet smelling sacrifice of our love for Him – a response to His love towards us: He chose us, He gave up His life for us and is returning to be wed to us and be with us forever. Beautiful Jesus.

    Thank you Holy Spirit for showing us through the preparation process. Help us to submit to You in Your Wisdom and accept the suggestions You make in order to be perfectly prepared for the wedding with our Bridegroom King, Jesus Christ.

    1. Leaan

      I agree with you in terms of how we in the Western world do not give ourselves time to prepare for marriage. In fact, I am very glad that you brought it up. I felt it to be a strong sub-theme to this post. I really feel that if we understand the reality of the way God has designed marriage and the importance of the betrothal period, we will have many more couples united in love for much longer.

      The current divorce rate amongst Christians and non-Christians is about the same; at over 30%. And I’m sure most of our generation can agree that there are not many parents who still seem to be in love. The disposition of most couples is to tolerate each other rather than actually even like each other, let alone love each other in a romantic way. And so we have grown up in environments where our parents love their children in a greater way to make up for the lack of love in their marriage. What we mostly see are marriages that exist for the formalities of life, certainly not the joy of it.

      And joyful is what the Lord designed it to be. Full of passion and fun. This type of love is crucial to building a solid family in Christ. One that understands the eternal romance between Christ and His Bride as represented by the parents. It is why no-body really actually even gets this eternal love story. Church has become all about the formalities of life, instead of the joy of being a part of the greatest love story ever. And so, we have a generation who is not really interested in family or church. To most, it’s just stale and boring. Dysfunctional even. Definitely not exciting, fun, joyful, passionate, and everything else the Lord designed it to be.

      And so, we have a responsibility. We as the people whom the Spirit is revealing this to with new insight and wisdom, need to embrace representing Jesus and His Bride. We must choose to live and love in such a way that reveals Christ’s love to the world. It is why I would encourage all couples to understand betrothal in the way God has instituted it biblically and in the way Jesus Himself has embraced it. By really submitting to the various aspects of betrothal, a couple will be able to embody Christ and His Bride on a whole new level. Not with a worldly wisdom, but with an eternal godly wisdom. And so, slowly but surely, this generation will be able to practically see a love that transcends this world. Through families that are built on the love of Christ. A family that is actually fun and enjoyable to be a part of. A life, that is actually worth living. One, that flips formalities on its head and throws a party instead. An eternal party that foreshadows the party of all parties… The Marriage supper of the Lamb.

      I trust that God will begin to reveal this to many couples, and that they will choose to be swept up together in His eternal love story by prophetically embracing to reveal Christ and His Bride to the world through their courting, engagement, betrothal, and marriage. I also trust that those to whom He is showing it to will teach others the truth, and so set this generation free from the corruption of worldly thinking. I think it’s time for a love revolution! One, that seeps everybody up in the reality of eternity. A love affair between a love-sick God and a broken slave girl made whole and perfectly beautiful by the blood of His only son. The real truth. The ultimate love story. The Great Pursuit!

  2. Dylan, this comment’s for you to check out, just a bit of Leaan coming through here:

    On a personal note, I’m saying this purely because I’m saying what I like in the other posts, so I think I should say what I don’t like as well.

    “Hence, both the bride and the bridegroom must embrace the training time that God has designed into the marriage game. Both teams train separately before the big game. They do not train together, because then they will learn each other’s strategies before the game even begins. That’s pointless and not much fun. The game must bring unexpected twists and turns. That’s when the quality of the preparation really comes to the for. If a team is properly prepared, they will be able to adapt to the other teams tactics. It is the beauty of the game. It’s what makes it worth playing and watching. It’s what makes it fun.”

    I’m open to being corrected on this but this is my current feeling: I don’t like the metaphor of the ‘game’. I know some people don’t see getting married as exciting or fun so I see the reasoning behind it but I don’t need it. It feels like it clutters the beautiful romance between Jesus and the bride with ‘what some people would like to call fun’ for those watching. I don’t think the betrothal needs to compared to the prepartion for a sportsgame for it to be seen as fun or enjoyable.

    Maybe it’s just because I’m a girl. But seriously, why does sport have to be here in the Romance of the Ages…

    I don’t like thinking of how I look when I’m being prepared for marriage or how I’m gonna ‘meet the other team head-on, and show how my different characteristics have been perfected to the crowd.’ If it happens that’s fine, but I definitly don’t wanna focus on that – I wanna focus on getting married, you catch my drift.. I don’t wanna focus on what the crowd sees.

    I think it’s the strategist, movie-maker in you that gave that opinion. Even though it might be valuable from a movie-making point of view, I don’t find it valuable for me. Maybe other people would like to disagree and say they found the analogy valuable, that would be good.

    I know this is also just Leaan speaking and your view on this is special to Jesus, I just don’t like it … but I love you. 🙂

    Thanks, I love these times of reading the blog – they’re like dates with Jesus.. sigh

    1. Leaan

      You truly are special. Thank you for all your detailed comments. Even the ones that grind me in true Leaan fashion.

      In some ways I’m glad that you don’t like it. It means that you have embraced being a bride, and do not want to think of yourself as a team. That is good. Because one day you will be a real bride, and you will embody the bride of Christ to the world.

      But, the reason I used the analogy of a team, is because in the bigger picture, there are two teams, or camps. It’s not just the bride and the bridegroom, but it’s their entire households too. And everybody has a different part (or position) to play. While the two love birds just want to get lost in the romance of it all, (as you so delightfully want to do) the rest of the family actually has to make it all happen.

      So if you look at it again from a biblical perspective, the Father of the Bridegroom meets with the Father of the Bride and chooses a bride for His son. In Genesis 24, the entire family was involved in helping Rebekah make her decision to go. Yes, she made the final decision in the end, but it was a family thing. And then, the bridegrooms entire household again helps prepare things for the wedding. I mean, look at a modern wedding even. The parents help plan the wedding, the sisters and friends of the bride and bridegroom serve them and help them get ready. The is much money, resources, time, effort and “strategy” involved to get the two love-birds paired up and ready to live together. It is like two big teams working together in a big game where everybody wins. And the captain of each side is the Fathers. And the trophy, is a beautifully wedded couple starting a life together.

      This is big stuff. God the Father, His Spirit, and every angel in Heaven are caught up in preparing for the wedding. Every person of the triune God and every other heavenly being is fully devoted to this “game.” This is what it’s all about. All of life in fact.

      The Heavenly camp/ team is definitely well prepared and have been strategising for thousands of years. It’s the other team, the Earthly camp that is slacking a bit behind. But fortunately God has given us a helper, the Holy Spirit. He is going to help prepare us for our loverly wedding day. So don’t worry about the game too much. Just focus on being a loverly bride, waiting and preparing for her loverly groom to come and fetch her. And let us men worry about game day. It’s what we do best. Haven’t you noticed…. 🙂

  3. Wow. This is challenging my thinking. Not that I don’t agree with it but that I don’t have any paradigm for it really. I think I really need to grow in seeing Jesus as my bridegroom. What does romance with God look like for us? Its exciting, but offends the worldly mind. Lord help us to grow more and more in love with You. Help us to fall in love with You!

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