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