The New Testament calls Jesus Christ the bridegroom, and the church, his bride. Understanding this meaning will change your outlook and perception of the importance of church and marriage. Let’s take a look through the lens of first-century Jewish marriage. What follows will highlight six aspects of first-century Jewish weddings.
So you see how each sheds light on the New Testament’s understanding of our relationship with God. As a Christian, what this means today.
First, the “Proposal” of marriage.
In ancient Jewish culture, it is a man who initiated getting married by pledging his life to his prospective bride, on the condition that she will accept his offer and reciprocate his love and pledge.
In regards to God, this is what He does toward us in Christ Jesus. His incarnation, ministry, and death on our behalf is God’s declaration of love toward each of us. Yet God doesn’t pledge his life toward us on the condition that we reciprocate, but rather while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
God makes the ultimate sacrifice upfront in hopes that He will win the heart of His potential bride. That she will reciprocate in love and obedience to only Him. Not by religion, traditions, nor pagan rituals. But by proving His love to her through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. His selfless gesture was God’s invitation to join Him at the marriage supper of the Lamb.
Revelation 19:7-9 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
I wonder how many of religious faith know the truth of the wedding table? I know that as a Catholic for the first 29 years of my life, I did not. I attended Catholic grade school and High School having never been taught this truth. I was taught that the Catholic Church was the only body of Christ’s Church and without their organization and sacraments I was not going to Heaven. They teach that the only way into Heaven is through the Catholic Church.
However, due to the Grace, call, and mercy of Jesus Christ over my life, Jesus himself saved me from Satan’s lies. The Holy Spirit taught me the truth of who He is and how we receive Him. The only truth that will keep our souls from the pits of hell.
It was the Holy Spirit who enlightened me to the truth of the church of Christ and the wedding banquet. It was the Holy Spirit who made me Holy in Him and not a sinner because I listened to the man above God. The Bible teaches us the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. Praise be to God.
The Lord mourns over those who choose heretics and blasphemy above His teachings and the Bible is clear that the Harlot is not the Bride but the adulterer. So, for those who have been deceived by the word of man I implore of you to read on and seek the will and the word of the Lord.
Jesus longs to be with you.
Now, let us go further in the biblical teaching of Holy marriage so that all may understand our wedding in the Spirit of Jesus Christ.
First, the proposal of marriage.
A marriage that is only entered into when the prospective bride accepts the invitation and pledges her life to her groom. It’s true in many cultures, including ancient Jewish culture, that a woman could be forced to marry men they didn’t love or choose. Arranged marriages are more minor than fortunate for both bride and groom. They are leaving consequences that include oppression and circumstances that in no way reflect God’s ideals and plans for marriage.
The same theory applies when choosing Jesus as your groom. His love must be freely chosen. God wants a bride who voluntarily pledges her life to Him. To promise their life as a living sacrifice on earth. To one day spend eternity with Him. To share a place at the banquet table of the royal wedding. We who are the church belong to our Bridegroom forever, the moment we say yes to His proposal we reciprocate His love and surrender our life over to our husband’s way.
This is the best decision I have ever made. Marrying Jesus through His Spirit has filled me with the greatest joy of my life. I didn’t correctly choose a husband on Earth the first time, and for this, my children have suffered the heartache of separation. But in my singleness, I am complete with the love of my Heavenly Husband. I often share my testimony so that others feel comfortable sharing theirs, Jesus forgives us of our sin, and it is ok to move on in our lives with Him.
Now, on Earth and just as in any Jewish marriage, following the proposal and acceptance, comes the ceremony. This is where the bond of two unite and become one. This is the role of baptism in a believer’s life. The baptism into the fire and water of the Spirit of Christ. This is how the bride publicly declares their love and faith only to Jesus Christ. This is when we pledge covenant with our groom, Jesus Christ.
This is an act that happens when a person is of age to make their voice to marry. Infants clearly cannot match on Earth, and neither can they in the Spirit. To become the bride of Christ, you must be of “consenting” age to choose to be born again. To join the body of Christ’s only Church. We are a collective bride of Christ Jesus. His reward for His Sacrifice.
Jesus teaches a parable about the virgins. Those that prepared themselves for the returning bridegroom. Jesus alludes to this period as the betrothal period. He told his disciples that he was going away to prepare a place for them—the place where He would be.
In John 14, Jesus made His declaration of love and pledge by dying on the cross; He said He would now go away and prepare a place for His bride. A place to live for all of eternity. Together as one flesh with our King.
Now just as it is customary for a Jewish groom on Earth to express the sincerity of his pledge by gifting his bride with a ring. The bride’s assurance that this is the real deal by receiving a diamond. However, our marriage to Jesus is even better. Because Jesus gives us the Holy Spirit of God, he comes with His Spirit’s fruits, which signifies that we are of Him. That He is ours, and we are His that we are a couple!
The gift from our groom, who is Christ Jesus, is the precious gift of the Holy Spirit.
I hope you haven’t fallen asleep, please, stay with me it will be worth it.
Now, in marriage, we come to the consummation of our vows to Christ. This is when we, the body, who is the church’s community and bride, engage in the wedding celebration. So, just as a human couple would consummate their marriage and become one flesh. The New Testament helps us understand that our relationship with God will be fully consummated when we are taken into Heaven to be with Him.
Revelation 19: 9 Then the angel said to me, Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!”
These are the actual words of God. We, as the Lord’s bride, must keep ourselves pure for our Bridegroom.
Revelation 21:27 Nothing impure will ever enter into Heaven, nor will anyone who does what is shameful or deceitful, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Revelation 22:17 The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price.”
‘And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who wishes take the water of life without cost.”
Jesus paid the price for the wedding and the celebration feast. Something a Father always covers even in the tradition of the world’s wedding celebration. The cost of the wedding ceremony and banquet reception is completely covered by the parent.
I pray that you received this word in love and truth; now, take it to the Lord and ask Him and not man.
God Bless You.
Evangelist, Christine’s Cornerstone Ministries