#8 – The Genesis of Life [Rev19:1-10]: Testimony 2

Hey everyone

I know it’s been 2 weeks since the last post, but I have been all over South Africa and that is why I have been unable to nicely structure a new post about the Bride. I am however working on something I hope all of you will love.

A highlight is that I was able to attend a Jewish styled wedding recently in Bloemfontein. Fascinating how it happened exactly during this time that I’m blogging about it. Isn’t the Lord so cool! What was even better, was that I had the great privilege of being the Best Man, or more appropriately, the Friend of the Bridegroom. I had the great responsibility of introducing the Bridegroom with the loud blow of the shofar while crying out “Behold, the Bridegroom is coming. Go out to meet Him.” The Bride, who had made herself ready, then came out to meet her Bridegroom. It was such a wonderful picture of how a loud trumpet will one day sound in the heavens announcing the return of Jesus to come and fetch us, His Bride.

What I would like to share with you today, is something very special. One of the responsibilities of the Best Man is to deliver a speech about the Bridegroom. I spent much time praying into what to say. And in honouring this amazing couple as well as the Lord, I would like to share it with you. I trust that it will be a great encouragement to everyone, especially those couples planning to get married in the near future. For it is a great story of faith, courage and surrender to the Lord in marriage.

I have typed it out exactly as I wrote it and delivered it, in speech style. It is quite long so you may want to print it out to read later. Enjoy

A testimony of true courage – For Gideon and Charmaine Loots – Married 26 March 2011

Firstly, I would like to thank God. Lord Jesus Christ, this occasion is not just blessed by you, but is in fact for you. Yes, it is a worship to you. To honour who you are & to reveal to the world your splendour. It is a picture of your eternal plan to be married to your beautiful bride. One whom you have chosen out of sinful man, and paid for with your own life. An everlasting love story that we have been swept up into. That we get to partake in and reveal to the world. Thank you for the opportunity to play even just this very small part in the greatest unfolding romantic drama of all time. Lord, we look forward to that day. The day that all creation groans for. The day the universe has been made for. The day our very lives exist for. The marriage supper of the Lamb.

Ladies and Gentlemen, it may seem strange that a young couple, basically still studying & barely out of university are able to afford such a marvelous and extravagant occasion. And to be completely honest, they couldn’t. They did not have a penny to their name when they decided to get married. Now that may seem completely irresponsible to some, but surely, if love is not madness, is it love?

And to understand the nature of this Groom, you must understand how this wedding came into being. For through it you will see a man of true courage. Yes, it is a story of true surrender.

Today, ladies and gentlemen, you will not hear a typically embarrassing or grueling best man speech about Gideon, and all the mistakes he has made and all the stupid things he has done, although I’m sure there are many. Just ask his dad, or in fact, the very wife sitting beside him. Truly, only a beautifully insane woman, or one completely blinded by love could marry a man of Gideon’s stature and wisdom. Clearly a woman of much patience and endurance she is. Because, as I’m sure you are all aware, for example of Gideon’s love for sharing with anyone that will listen, or not, the contents of every page he has ever read in any book, as well as exactly what he thinks about every page of every book, that he has ever read.

No, today friends, you will hear none of that. For those are the marvelous things of Gideon that we all know and love. Why encourage him any further? Rather, as everyone goes home tonight, say a silent prayer of strength and remorse for Charmaine, who now has the great privilege of living with him. Charmaine, we honour you. Truly, you shall be called “great” among woman.

No, today friends I will share with you a story of faith. One that forms the very foundation of this marriage. One that God Himself has built. One that is in Christ.

As all young couples who burn with passion, Gideon and Charmaine were no different. And after courting for 18 months, they were very ready to take the next step. Because when you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with someone, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible.

Let me ask you this, “What does a man do when placed in this kind of situation?” Do you think about what it will cost? Do you go to the gym and start pumping iron? Do you run far far away? No, you look to God and scream, “HELP!” And that is exactly what Gideon did. He did not look at himself or at his financial situation. No, he lifted his eyes, and looked straight at the one he knows he can trust. The one Who has proved Himself to Gideon time and time again. One Who owns a thousand cattle on a hill, and in Whom all wisdom lies. And also of course, one Who is far better looking than Gideon could ever be. Yes, His Lord, Jesus Christ. And as he did, his Lord said the unexpected. He said “Yes Gideon, go for it, I am with you. Marry this woman and make her your bride. I will provide for all your needs. Just trust me completely and follow my lead wholeheartedly.”

And Gideon said, “Yes Lord, I surrender to your will. Lets do this!” And so, with the courage of his Lord’s strong approval, towards the middle of 2010, Gideon & Charmiane began looking at possible wedding dates. Of course, the most logical & practical seemed to be December 2011. Now, I don’t know if anyone has noticed, but we are in March, and they are married. Why? Because to be honest, December would have seemed like the wise choice. But, man’s wisdom is not God’s wisdom. And though God’s wisdom may seem like foolishness to some, He has specifically chosen to use the foolish things to reveal His power to the world. And Gideon has lead this couple so wonderfully in saying, “Yes Lord, we will be foolish for you. We will get married on the 26th of March and trust you completely. We will humble ourselves to your will. This is how we will start our lives together. Completely surrendered in Christ and Him alone.”

My friends, that is true wisdom. That is to build your house on solid rock and to seek the Kingdom of God first above all. That shows real character & reflects true manhood. A son, who hears his Father’s voice and listens. An example that Christ Himself gave us, and one in which Gideon has so courageously followed. Gideon, I honour you. You are truly a man after God’s own heart. A man whom I am honoured to know and serve today.

So yes, ladies and gentlemen, do not hold this man or this couple responsible for this marvelous occasion. For it is none other than God Himself who proposed, planned, and paid for this wedding. Gideon and Charmaine just basically had to say “Yes,” and show up, and invite all their friends and family to come and share in the festivities. And show up you all did, and in serious style I might add. You all look stunning. Well done. And well done to you Gideon and Charmaine for seeking God together about your marriage date. Well done for not just asking Him to bless your plans, but rather asking Him how you could be a part of His. For that is true humility.

For it is in no way an easy thing to give God control of your life, but as you all can see by being here today, doing so is definitely worth while. For God has fulfilled His promises to both Gideon and Charmaine. He has provided for every need. And although the last 6 months have been filled with struggles, doubts, fears, and even anger by both families & friends of the Bride and Bridegroom, can I just say, “Look around you, look at the décor, the food, the wine, and all the people. Look, your faith has worked. God has done what he said He would.” He is truly worthy of your worship. He is worthy of your trust. He is worthy of your lives. He is not a man that He should lie. No, He is the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords. The ruler of everything. He is worthy.

And although many of you may just go home tonight and simply say a silent prayer for Charmaine, others may go and ask themselves, “Surely, if Jesus Christ is alive, in control of everything, and actively involved in peoples lives, and coming back to fetch His Bride, what is my response to that? What does one do when confronted with the reality of such a glorious and worthy King?

And so, Gideon and Charmain, I would like to suggest to you that God has taken your lives, stuck them together, and stamped right across the front for all to see, “Behold, Jesus Christ is Lord.” Yes, I believe that your life together will follow the same pattern of this wedding, and radically confront every person, every institution, every thought, every doctrine, and every system that exalts itself against the knowledge of God and His son Jesus Christ. A relationship formed to display His Glory. One destined to Shine His Beauty. One fashioned to radiate the Majesty of Jesus Christ. Yes, a union that will forever cry out a passionate plea saying, “Come, surrender, He is worthy!”

For just as the seed of this covenant has been planted by faith in Christ, in full surrender, so also will it grow into a marvelous tree, and bare much eternal fruit and bring much glory to the Father.

So, Gideon and Charmaine, I thank you for your example of love. Real love. Love that puts Christ first and gives Him center stage Love that makes Him Lord. A Love that all long to know and have. True Love.

And I, commit my life with you both to living a life worthy of Him. To building a family where He can dwell. To being a Friend of the Bridegroom and preparing the way for His return. To being a Shining Bride, fully prepared to meet her absolutely glorious and loving Bridegroom.

For there, is going to be a wedding, it’s the reason that we’re living, to marry the Lamb.

Thank you

#7 – The Genesis of Life [Rev19:1-10]: The Great Pursuit 3

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

The Great Pursuit 1

The Great Pursuit 2


“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, what are the responsibilities of the Bridegroom during the Betrothal?

This is the third edition of posts 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)

Responsibilities of the Bridegroom

During betrothal the groom’s responsibility is to focus on preparing a new dwelling place for his bride and family:

  • In Biblical times this was most often done not by building a new home – but by simply adding additional rooms to the family’s existing home.
  • The Rabbi’s determined that the place to which the bride was to be taken must be better than the place she had lived before.
  • It was not the groom’s duty to determine when the place he was preparing for the bride was ready – his father would make that determination and give the go ahead to receive his bride.

The bridegroom leaves and begins to prepare a bridal chamber for his new bride in his Father’s house. The bridal chamber is where the bride and the bridegroom will consummate their marriage. It must be very beautiful, and it has to meet the specifications of the bridegroom’s father.Lets  look at John 14:2-3:

“In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”

So Jesus has already told us what He is doing. He is fully embracing His betrothal to us. He has gone to prepare a place, and we have not seen Him for the past 2000 years. Why? Well, clearly the bridal chamber is not yet ready. It is probably why He said in Matthew 24:36:

“But concerning the day and the hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.”

It’s not because Jesus doesn’t know all things and is not all-powerful. No, it’s because He has embraced the wedding game (process), and therefore He knows that only once the Father is happy with the bridal chamber that He is preparing, will His Father give Him the go-ahead to come and fetch us, His Bride. He is fully submitted to His Father in this, as a good son would be. He knows that His Father knows best when it comes to these things.

The Grooms family hard at work

Lets look at it this way; lets look into Heaven for a moment and imagine a potential dialogue between Jesus and His Dad as they are fully active in preparing the Bridal chamber.

Just imagine Jesus preparing away, and every week or so coming to His Father and saying, “Dad, come look! Come see if it’s ready.”

And His Dad, getting off the throne for a moment, goes to inspect the bridal chamber. After walking around it and inspecting every draping, every emerald, jewel, and golden embroidery, every flower, every decoration, and every colour, He says, while pointing around the room, “Son, have you thought of this, and what about that…”

Jeus looks at His dad, and then looks at the chamber, and then back at His Dad replying,  “Oh yes… You’re right. I didn’t think of that. Ok, give me a week. I’m sure I saw some of that in the Royal store-house. Thanks Dad.”

And His Dad, while looking down towards the Earth replies, “Good my son, you take whatever you need from the store-house. And get some of those bridal angels to help you. That’s what they’re there for. It has to be perfect for her. Look at her, she is the most beautiful girl in the universe. We can’t leave anything out.”

And Jesus, while peering down at His Bride, says noddingly, “Yes Dad, I know. It’s why I went down to pay the price for her remember…”

Dad replies “Yeah yeah, I know Son, I’m just reminding you. You know how forgetful you can be when you start staring at her. She not only takes your breath away, she completely dumbfounds you. You completely forget about the bridal chamber. No-wonder its taken you over 2000 years to get it ready… [Chuckling] You can’t get your eyes off of her.”

Jesus, blushingly, just stairs at his toes with a kinda naughty, in-love look on his face. “What do you expect me to do Dad? She is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. I can’t contain myself. I just want to look at her. All the time. ”

His Dad, lovingly puts His hand on His Son’s shoulder and says,” I know my son. She’s beautiful. That’s why I chose her for you. I knew you’d love her. I knew you’d appreciate her. And that’s exactly why we need to get this bridal chamber ready. She deserves only the best!”

Jesus looks up at His old man with a look of determination on His face and says, “You’re right Dad. It must be perfect. Thanks for being so supportive in this. You really are the best Dad in the whole world!”

So as you can see, we clearly have nothing to worry about. These two are hard at work preparing everything for us. Why? Well, because we are the most beautiful bride in all the world. And next, before we look at what our responsibilities are as a bride, we will take a closer look at who we really are in His eyes. Who is this girl that the Father has chosen for His Son? Who is this girl that has stolen the heart of God? Who is she…

Father, open our eyes so that we may look into Heaven and see. Show us what you are doing and what you are saying. Just like Jesus did only what He saw you doing, so also, reveal to us what you are doing in this hour. We want to know. We want to see. We are curious. Inquisitive. Show us Lord. We want to know you…

#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


“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.

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

This is the 1st part of a 3-part-piece covering The Great Pursuit. Please check out the other two here:

The Great Pursuit 2

The Great Pursuit 3


“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)

Jesus Christ is waiting for His bride to be prepared for him at this very moment. That means  that we are in the time of the great engagement. The Church is betrothed to Christ. And Jesus Christ is in Heaven preparing a place for her. (John 14:3)

I would like to call this The Great Pursuit. And think of it as a “game” played between the Fathers, the Bridegroom, the Bride, and the Father’s household.  (I will be focusing on this for the next while, as I feel is it vitally important for us to understand.)

Marriage can often be thought of as a dry and weary process whereby a man finds a woman to marry. Especially if one looks at Jewish tradition and thinks only along the lines of all the formalities that need to happen. I do not think that is what God intended it to be. In fact, I think He wants it to be the exact opposite. It should be FUN. Yes. Exciting, exhilarating, enjoyable. Like a game played between two teams. A game where there are no losers, only two winners.

The object of the game is not just to win, but to enjoy the process of winning. It’s what makes winning worth while. It creates expectation, it involves all our senses, feelings, time, effort, resources, and relationships. When we put our life into something we appreciate it. And that is why the marriage game is so important. It is what prepares both the bride and the bridegroom to appreciate each other within marriage.

Lets see how Jesus enters into the Great Pursuit, as related to Jewish marriage custom. (Adapted from Jewish Wedding Customs and the Bride of Messiah, available at http://messianicfellowship.50webs.com/wedding.html)

1)      Shiddukhin: The Father selects a Bride for His son. This can be seen in Genesis 24 where Abraham sends his servant to find a wife for his son Isaac. God has already done this for His son Jesus Christ. He has sent His servant/helper (the Holy Spirit) and selected her from the human race.

2)      Ketubah: The ketubah was and still is today the – “marriage contract.” The ketubah includes the provisions and conditions of the proposed marriage. This has also already been written. Within the Old Testament there are many places that essentially spell out how the Lord (groom) promises to support His church (wife) to be. (Jer 31:31-40 is an example). It is the New Covenant! From the brides side she promises to pay her dowry – her financial status. It is that of her yielded life and to keep and prepare herself for Him (I Cor. 6:20).

3)      Mohar: The Bridal Payment. This is sometimes called – the Bride price. It is a gift paid by the groom to the bride’s family – but ultimately belongs to the bride. It changes her status and sets her free from her parent’s household. In the case of Christ, the Father so loved the world, that He gave His one and only son… The Father gave his son’s life as a payment for the bride. It is what has set us free from the bondage of our previous Father’s house. (the Father of lies)

4)      Mikveh: To prepare for betrothal it is common for the bride and groom to separately take a ritual immersion. The ritual is prior to actually entering into the formal betrothal period, and is symbolic of spiritual cleansing. We see that Jesus Christ is immersed in the river Jordan when John the Baptist performs his duty as the friend of the Bridegroom. And this is why, Jesus asks that every believer is baptized. It is the Brides immersion and cleansing for betrothal and represents that she is washed and sanctified by the Spirit of God.

5)      The Testimony of the Servant: I’d like to add an element to this story for which I have not found a Jewish word. It can be seen in Genesis 24 where Rebekah decides to leave her Father’s house to marry a man that she has never met, in a foreign country she has never been. Why? Because of the testimony of the servant. He told her everything about Abraham, his riches, his land, his wealth. He told her about Isaac, his character, his honour, his stature. The servants testimony was so profoundly convincing that Rebekah began to fall in love with Isaac before she ever laid eyes on him. (Viola, 2009). By the Spirit, Jesus Christ came and told and showed the bride everything about His Father’s house. Every miracle, every parable, every story, every action, was meant to reveal the beauty and majesty of His Father’s house and wealth. A house that he would one day inherit. Everything He did, was to entice and excite this human woman to leave her Father’s house (the kingdom of darkness) to be with Him in His Father’s house (the kingdom of light).

(This piece is adapted from From Eternity to Here by Frank Viola. Available at http://www.frometernitytohere.org/ It is a powerful exposition of God’s eternal love story. The chapter in the book from which I got this piece is called The preparation of the Bride. You can read it at Google Books here:


All five of these stages must all take place before a Bride can be Betrothed to her Bridegroom. In the case of Christ, all of this has already taken place. We are currently betrothed to be with Him forever. We have already entered into the “marriage game.” And isn’t it wonderful! Nothing can separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus. We are set to be married and nothing can annul the contract. But we will go into this in more detail in the next post. We will consider what it really means to be betrothed to Jesus Christ…

Father, give us the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Christ Jesus and the reality of our betrothal to Him. Open the eyes of our understanding so that we can truly see the mysteries that are in Christ Jesus. May we begin to perceive in our spirits the nature of who we truly are. Help us embrace our Bridal reality, so that we can begin to live in a way that prepares for the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. Amen