Even though the traditional Jewish wedding has been discussed in other articles, and we explained the basic steps up above, it is important to dig a bit deeper and include some of the traditions of the Jewish wedding which have been practiced for thousands of years. There is some variance in traditions at Jesus’ time in history but basic facts are mostly the same. The details of this traditional Jewish wedding have great significance to the spiritual marriage between the Messiah Bridegroom and His Bride.
The basic steps of the traditional Jewish marriage that we briefly explained above are these; steps by the way that were followed with great formality:
1. The betrothal.
2. The groom’s return to his father’s house.
3. The groom’s return to get his bride.
4. The groom’s return to his father’s house with his bride to consummate the marriage.
Below is an expanded breakdown of how the typical Jewish betrothal and marriage comes about and accompanying Scriptures.
Step 1: BETROTHAL: The Marriage Contract: The father of the groom pays the bride price, and establishes and confirms the terms of the marriage covenant. There is a heavy expectation of the bride using the betrothal time for preparation.
Acts 20:28: “Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the Church of God which He bought with His own Blood.”
1 Corinthians 6:19-20: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”
1 Corinthians 11:25: “In the same way, after supper He took the cup, saying, ‘This cup is the new covenant in my Blood, do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.’”
Ephesians 5:25-27: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the Word, and to present her to Himself as a radiant Church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless”
Step 2: BRIDAL CHAMBER IS PREPARED: The groom, after confirming the covenant, returns to his father’s house to prepare the dwelling for his bride–either attached to the father’s house, or in its own location not far away.
John 6:62: “What if you see the Son of Man ascend to where he was before?”
“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 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.”
“After He said this, He was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid Him from their sight. They were looking intently up into the sky as He was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. Men of Galilee, they said, why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”
Step 3:FATH BRIDE SNATCHED BY THE GROOM AND TAKEN TO THE FATHER‘S HOUSE: The father decides the exact moment and sends the groom to claim his bride. The bride was of course expecting her groom to come and get her but never knew the exact timing. This is why the groom’s arrival was announced by a shout which warned the bride when he was already within earshot.
John 14:3: “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.”
1 Thessalonians 4:13-18: “Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. we believe that Jesus died and rose again and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. According to the Lord’s own word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left till the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. For the Lord Himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words.
Step 4: CLEANSING OF THE BRIDE: Traditionally a bride went through a ritual cleansing before the ceremony
1 Corinthians 3:12-15: “If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man’s work. It what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. If it is burned up, he will suffer loss but he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames.”
Revelation 19:7-8 “Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.)
Step 5: WEDDING CEREMONY: Typically rather private or with specially invited group of guests.
Revelation 19:7 (again)
“Let us rejoice and be glad and give Him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.”
Step 6: CONSUMMATION: Consummation of marriage is held in the privacy of the bridal chamber.
Revelation 19:7 (again)
Step 7: MARRIAGE FEAST: This is held after the consummation. More are invited to this then to the ceremony itself
Matthew 22:1-14: “Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. Then he sent some more servants and said, ‘Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner. My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’ But they paid no attention and went off–one to his field, another to his business, the rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. ‘Friend,’ he asked, ‘how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless. Then the king told the attendants, ‘Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ For many are invited, but few are chosen.”
“At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish and five were wise. the foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. The wise, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep. At midnight the cry rang out: Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him! Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, our lamps are going out.’ ‘No,’they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’ But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet, and the door was shut. Later the others also came. ‘Sir! Sir!,’ they said. ‘Open the door for us!’ But he replied, ‘I tell you the truth, I don’t know you.’ Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.”
“Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, like men waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him.”
The marriage supper of the Lamb is an interesting subject, and one that has some controversy attached to it. Many of us have seen the painting of the long, seemingly never-ending table set with goldware instead of silverware, an assortment of different glasses, place-settings, etc. It is an artist’s rendition of the Wedding Supper of the Lamb. Question is: Where is this going to happen? I have found a number of thoughts on this. I will give you three of them, and then add a fourth for your consideration and study.
First of all, let’s look at what the Apostle John wrote by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit in Revelation 19:7-9:
“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give glory to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted, that she should be arrayed with pure fine linen and shining, for the fine linen is the righteousness of Saints. Then he said unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the Lamb’s supper. And he said unto me, These words of God are true.” (Geneva Bible 1599)
Now let’s look at some thoughts having to do with the when and where of this Scripture.
- The marriage will occur when the Church is raptured to meet Christ in the air at His Second Coming, and the marriage supper will take place on earth during the Millennium.
- The marriage will occur in Heaven when the Church is raptured before the 70th week (Tribulation Period), and the marriage supper will take place on earth during the Millennium.
- The marriage will occur in Heaven when the Church is raptured before the 70th week, and the marriage supper will take place in Heaven during the seven years of the 70th week.
- The marriage will occur in Heaven right after the Saints have stood before the Judgment Seat of Christ, which happens right after the Rapture of the Church and just before the Great Tribulation is unleashed upon the earth. There is then a wedding supper which is a great celebration, which is ongoing during the time of the Tribulation. Then, after the war of Armageddon, and after the nations have been brought into subjection to the KING of Kings and LORD of Lords; the Millennial reign having been set and begun, there will be a great supper prepared for all of the followers of the Lord God, whether Jew or Gentile and this great supper will be on the earth.
I believe the Scriptures show the fourth view to be the most correct. Here is why I believe it is.
First of all, there are a couple things that are quite important to establish. One is this: Both terms, “marriage” and “marriage supper” in Revelation 19 are related to Jewish marriage customs in Bible times. The second is this: The English wording in Revelation 19:7 where it says, “…the marriage of the Lamb is come” can lead someone to believe that this marriage is just now about to happen–which would put it at the end of the Tribulation period. In the original Greek, this is in the past tense. In other words, the Bride had already made herself ready and was wearing bright white, clean linen.
It is traditional in a Jewish wedding for there to be a rather simple ceremony confirming the vows, including blessings being given. The groom and bride then consummated the marriage union. After the consummation, traditionally, there were seven days of celebration, great excitement, hilarity, and a meal specially prepared at the father’s house for all of the attendees.
Jesus, in His teachings, emphasized that it is impossible to mix the joy of a wedding with the mourning of a funeral. Three of the Gospels record Jesus’ statement on this. Let’s look at Matthew 9:15:
“…Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them?” (KJV)
When we take a good look at what is going on at the Second Coming of the Messiah, we find that the mood on earth is just the opposite of the joyous, festive mood of a marriage. The wedding of the Lamb of God does not happen right after Armageddon. Christ is shown, not as a happy groom coming with joyful companions to take His bride to His Father’s house, but as a terrifying warrior-king coming with armies from Heaven to administer judgment and death upon rebellious humanity. The supper provided at this time is a funeral supper for all of the vultures and birds of prey on the earth! Revelation 19:17-18; 21 describes it well:
“And I saw an angel standing in the sun, who cried in a loud voice to all the birds flying in midair, ‘Come, gather together for the great supper of God, so that you may eat the flesh of horses and their riders, and the flesh of all people, free and slave, small and great…The rest of them were killed with the sword that came out of the mouth of the rider on the horse, and all the birds gorged themselves on their flesh.” (NIV)
Since Jesus made comment about it being impossible to mix the joy of a wedding with the mourning of a funeral, and since Jesus’ Second Coming will result in a massive amount of death of rebellious humanity that comes against Him at His appearing, one must realize that the Marriage of Jesus to His Bride is not going to happen at His second coming. It must happen before.
To Be Continued in PART 3