THE EARTHLY INHERITANCE SERIES of BIBLE SUBJECTS
Various Bible study guides in subjects pertaining to
New Earth prophecy, as taught by Paul Phelps.
For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD,
they shall inherit the earth. Psalm 37:9
The BIBLICAL WEDDING ALLEGORY
Bible quotes are from the New Revised Standard Version
except for my own translations or as otherwise indicated.
The traditional Biblical wedding has hidden meaning
which reveals the Christian Church relation to Christ.
A Bible study project by Paul Phelps.
After several years of study this writing was completed in 2007.
Apostle Paul taught that the “catching away” of the saints is an end-time event
that marks an end of the Church age. Before a judgment of wrath falls on earth,
Christians will be caught up to heaven. The Church is called the Bride of Christ
(2 Cor. 11:2; Rev. 22:17). By comparing Jewish wedding customs of Bible times
we can better understand the bride-groom concept, and the “catching away.”
Gen. 2:24 says “a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife”
(prophetically spoken as an enduring principle). God’s plan for the Church is
based upon this. Jesus left his father’s house in heaven (John 6:38-40,50-51) and
came to earth to choose a bride—the Church, to return with him to heaven.
Arriving at the home of his beloved, the groom negotiates a bride price with
her father. For Jesus the purchase bride price for his Church was his life blood
(1 Cor. 6:20; 1 Pet. 1:18-19). Jesus had to give his human life to obtain his bride.
The marriage betrothal comes in effect when the bride price is paid. Jesus
announced this covenant at his last Passover supper when he passed the cup to
his disciples, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood" (1 Cor. 11:25).
After the purchase price is paid the marriage contract is established, and the
young man and woman are regarded as husband and wife. The bride is then
declared ‘consecrated’ or ‘sanctified,’ and set apart exclusively for her groom.
In like manner the Church was sanctified—set apart for Christ (1 Cor. 1:2; 6:11;
Heb. 10:10; 13:12).
Like a bride’s betrothal ring, the Holy Spirit gives the Church a contract seal,
that Jesus her prince will return for her (Eph. 1:13-14). To confirm the covenant
the bride and groom drink from a wine cup—on which a benediction is spoken.
The communion cup is the symbol of the new covenant by which Christ obtains
his bride—the Church (Luke 22:20; 1 Cor.11:25).
When a marriage covenant is approved the groom departs the bride's home
and returns to his father’s home. During this time he is separated from his bride.
Just as a Jewish groom departs from the bride’s home and returns to his father's
home, Jesus departed earth after his resurrection to return to his father's home;
(John 6:62; 20:17).
In this time of separation, the bride is gathering her trousseau and preparing
for married life, and the groom is busy preparing new living accommodations in
his father’s house, where he will bring his bride. The Church saints are now in
this ‘separation time of preparation’ (the Church age), awaiting Christ’s return.
As a Jewish groom builds dwelling places in his father's house for a bride, so
Jesus builds mansions in his Father's house in heaven for his Church; Jn. 14:2-3,
In my Father's house there are many dwelling-places. If it were not so,
I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again
and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also.
When the separation time is ended the groom returns to take his bride home
to live with him. ‘Taking home the bride’ happens at night, and as the age ends
Christ comes to take home his bride, the Church, to live with him (John 14:3,28).
Together with a group of male escorts, the groom leaves his house to conduct a
torch-light procession toward the home of the bride. And when Christ takes his
Church to heaven, he will have an angelic escort (1 Thes. 4:16).
A Jewish bride knows her groom will come for her but she does not know the
exact time. The Church also does not know the exact time of her Lord’s return
(Matt. 25:1-13, Rev. 3:3,10-11). Because the bride does not know the exact time
her groom comes, a shout precedes his arrival, so that she can prepare herself.
Likewise, a shout precedes Christ's return for the Church (1 Thes. 4:16).
After the bride is taken, the wedding assembly, bride and groom, bridesmaids
and escorts and guests accompany the groom as he returns to his father's house.
And likewise the Church when caught up with Jesus will go with him to heaven,
to his Father's house in heaven (1 Thes. 4:17).
Soon after arrival at their home, the groom and the veiled bride are escorted
to the bridal room. The groom’s escorts, bridesmaids and guests wait outside,
but the bride and groom enter the bridal room alone, and there in privacy they
are fully united together, completing the marriage that was covenanted earlier.
Likewise Jesus and the Church have their spiritual union after arrival in heaven.
This spiritual marriage covenanted in earth finds a perfect fulfillment in heaven.
While the bride and groom are hidden away, the wedding guests are feasting.
Just as the bride is hidden away several days with the groom in the bridal room,
(during the time at the father's house after arriving in heaven), the Church is not
present on earth. While the time of ‘endtime tribulation’ is happening on earth,
the Church is hidden from sight of those living on earth.
Isaiah 26:20-21, Come, my people, enter your chambers, and
shut your doors behind you; hide yourselves for a little while
until the wrath is past. For the LORD comes out from his place
to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity; the earth
will disclose the blood shed on it, and will no longer cover its slain.
When the feast days in heaven are ended, the friend* waiting outside the bridal
room announces to all the guests the consummation of the marriage. The groom
then brings his bride out of the room and her veil is removed, so all can see her.
So also, when Christ comes as King of earth, (at the conclusion of the tribulation),
he brings his Church with him in view of all, and all will see Jesus and his Bride
revealed in glory—the Bride of Christ (Colossians 3:4; 2 Thes. 1:10).
*(John the Baptist is a friend; Jn. 3:29. Psalm 45:14 speaks of virgin companions.)
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