There is so much pseudo spiritual trash on religious TV and in churches generally. But yesterday at our church in England we had a spiritual feast, morning and evening. The guest preacher was Don Hender from Bournemouth.
It so happened that a marriage was performed at the service, followed by Don’s talk, and he based it on the Jewish wedding customs of Jesus’ day and how they picture the second coming of the Lord Jesus. Then in the evening Don spoke on the marriage supper of the Lamb and the glory to come. Incidentally, the newlyweds even came to the evening service to hear about the glories to come!
Many of you will know all about the Jewish wedding, but here is a quick rundown for those who do not. This is an amalgam of Don’s sermon and various other very exciting teachings I have been privileged to hear on the Jewish wedding.
God the Father is the Father of the bridegroom; Jesus is the bridegroom; His church is the bride.
In the ancient Jewish wedding, the couple were betrothed to each other, a binding agreement sealed with both drinking from a cup of wine. We are betrothed to Christ when we put our faith in Him and are born again. We proclaim our faith in His death, resurrection and impending return when we partake of the Lord’s supper.
The bridegroom then goes back to his father’s house to prepare a place for the wedding. He builds it next to the father’s house, and this may take a long time.
Jesus indicated this when He said in John 14: ‘I go to prepare a place for you.’
The bride in the meantime does not know when her beloved will return. She must not pay attention to any other man, but Christians today ARE paying attention to the wrong things. Paul in 2 Corinthians 11:2,4 said he was jealous because some of the Corinthians were accepting preachers who taught ‘another Jesus’, a ‘different gospel’ and they were receiving a ‘different spirit’. This is happening in spades today, dear friends. The so-called ‘Florida Healing Outpouring’ is the prime example at the moment. Have nothing to do with it.
The Jewish bride of Jesus’ day spent the waiting time, which could have been as long as a year, making herself ready and expectantly waiting for his return, which could be at any time. If she was smart, she would be making herself and her wedding gown as beautiful as possible. We are made beautiful by the good deeds we should be doing while we wait for the Lord’s return. If we choose not to do anything for the Lord now, we will be very sorry indeed when He suddenly comes for us.
When the Jewish father decided the time was right, the eager bridegroom returned to fetch his bride. He would come suddenly, with no warning, but with great fanfare, possibly in the middle of the night. This is a picture of the Rapture of the saints, suddenly called out of this earth to go to that place the Lord Jesus has been preparing all this time! 1 Thes 4:16,17
The marriage takes place in the Father’s house. The marriage of the Lamb will be in Heaven, not on earth.
In the ancient Jewish wedding, after the vows were spoken, the bridegroom took his bride to the place he had prepared for seven days of honeymoon. This is a picture of the seven years when we will be with the Lord Jesus in Heaven while the earth undergoes the seven terrible years of tribulation described in the Book of Revelation.
In Isaiah 9:6,7 we see that the government (of this world) belongs to the Son of God. The government is on His shoulder. In the ancient Jewish wedding, the bridegroom would leave his father’s house and bring the bride to his own house. The Lord Jesus, after our seven years with Him in Heaven, will bring us back to earth with Him, to take possession of the world He created and owns. He will then rule from Jerusalem for the Millennium, the 1000 year reign of Messiah, King of kings (Revelation chapter 20). His bride, the church, will rule and reign with Him, and those who have been faithful in little will be given much. Those who have left houses, land, etc for His sake will receive 100 times as much! So whatever you have done for Him, whether it be raising a child to know Him, helping at church, visiting the sick, giving to missions, making efforts to spread the gospel – whatever it may be, if you have done it in His will and for His sake, the rewards will be out of all proportion to your effort. It is like saving £1000 in your bank account, and He turns it into £100,000.
So what can you do for Jesus today to put something into your heavenly account? Putting on a big show so that everyone thinks you’re wonderful counts for zero. Be faithful in little. That is all He asks.
Getting back to the Jewish wedding as a model for the end times, once the Lord has come back with us, and personally defeated all His enemies, there will be a great celebration, the greatest celebration the universe has ever known - the marriage supper of the Lamb, a celebration of the marriage of Christ and His church. The guests will be the Old Testament saints, in their resurrection bodies, the 144,000 Jewish evangelists described in Revelation chapter 14, and all the people who have not taken the mark of the beast in the Great Tribulation. The marriage supper will go on for goodness knows how long and will be the party of parties, like nothing we could ever imagine. Most parties on earth now are so dull. That party will not be dull! And do we deserve to be there? No way, but God’s grace will see that we get through. He has it all planned out and has given us the exciting model of the Jewish wedding to indicate the marvellous events He has in store, and the order in which they will unfold.
The most amazing thing is that God has issued the wedding invitation - the gospel - so that each and every one of us alive today can have a part in all this. All you have to do is put your faith in Jesus Christ, trusting that His death on the cross was the sacrifice that paid the penalty for all our sins; that He was buried and rose back to life, resurrection life, after three days. That is the gospel, and that is what you must believe. And then, my friend, what a glorious future beckons! Christ and His people will be united forever, for all eternity. With our limited minds, we cannot begin to imagine what this means, but I would urge you to make sure your name is among the millions of us down through the ages who have trusted Christ and are waiting for him to return. This, I firmly believe, is the generation which will see alll these things happen. The signs of the Lord's imminent return are everywhere today. The heavenly Bridegroom is surely coming for His bride, the church, the entire body of believers, and today is the day you can make sure you are not left behind.
Praise His holy Name!