Tag Archives: Bride of Christ

Communion – Food for Thought

The sacrament/ordinance of Communion invites different thoughts and even an air of mystery depending on your religious background. Regardless, we typically understand it to be either a Spirit-enabled grace or remembrance related to Jesus’ sacrifice; whether grace or memory will, again, depend on religious affiliation. However, the sacrifice is but one of two major points of consideration. Remembering only the sacrifice, we seemingly gloss over the other – the covenant Jesus’ sacrifice enabled. That marriage-like covenant will be the focus of my blog.

God and our Christ have always communicated with us in terms and contexts humans understand and to which we can relate. For instance, Jesus used fishing terminology when teaching fishermen and farming concepts when instructing farmers. Likewise, God used or established human practices to guide performance and dress rehearsals for things to hope for in the future.

An excellent example of God’s use of an existing practice to guide contemporary behavior was the covenant He formed with Abraham with its cutting, shedding of blood, and the promise of servitude. It constituted the basis for the renewed covenant through Moses and the dress rehearsals of the Passover feast (e.g. 1Corinthians 5:7) and a marriage-like relationship with Israel. Both rehearsals would eventually be fulfilled by Jesus’ sacrifice and resulting marriage-like covenant. But what do covenant, sacrifice, and marriage have to do with Communion?

Jesus and Paul made clear that the Church is the Bride of Christ (see the fulfillment steps below) just as Israel was the Bride of God (e.g. Exodus 19:5-6; Isaiah 54:5-8). And why not? Marriage is a covenant, and there’s no other human relationship meant to be as close. Therefore, the Jewish marriage served as a good ‘dress rehearsal’ for the relationship of God with the world through the Christ.

Understanding the process Jesus and His disciples were familiar with will help in the interpretation of Jesus, Paul, and John’s comments related to the bride, a cup of the covenant, separation and preparation of a home, the return of Christ, and the wedding supper. Here are major steps of the Jewish betrothal/marriage process we fulfill with Jesus until His return:

Ancient Jewish Betrothal & Our Fulfillment

  1. Father of the groom selects a potential bride: 2Corinthians 11:2
  2. Covenant sealed by bride and groom drinking from the cup of covenant: Matthew 26:27-29
  3. Separation (John Chapter 14; Matthew 9:14-15) & building of a home: John 14:2-3
  4. Father determined the day/hour of the marriage gathering: Mark 13:26-32

Ancient Jewish Wedding & Our Fulfillment

  1. Wedding announcement by shouts and trumpet: Matthew 24:30-31; 1Thessalonians 4:16-17
  2. Wedding feast and the drinking of the last cup: Matthew 26:29; Revelation 19:7-9
  3. The wife goes to her new home: Revelation 21:1-2 & 9-10

 

In closing, my challenge is that we as His Bride not only remember Jesus’ sacrifice during the sharing of wine and bread but also the marriage-like covenant His shed blood and broken body made possible.

 

Blessings,

Rb

 

Keep an eye out for “Finding Answers to Stuff Churches Don’t Discuss!” scheduled for a mid-20167 publication. There, you’ll find roughly 60 topics related to daily life (such as sex, religion, finances, tattooing, and everything in between!) along with practical application of God’s guidance for navigating those difficult waters!

And, for a very comprehensive and detailed study of the very important topic of God’s judgment to come and being rescued from it, feel free to read my 2011 guide titled, “Finding the End of the World” available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and from www.ronbraley.com in paper and e-book formats. In the guide, you’ll find roughly 500 pages of building blocks to help you do your own complete and unbiased study based on Scripture and history!

Apocalyptic Misquotes . . . Part III

“Jesus Can Come Back at Any Moment”

Let’s continue our Apocalyptic Misquotes with a look at an abuse that gives birth to an erroneous end-of-the-world timing and reflects poor hermeneutics.

Misquote/False Statement: “Jesus can come back at any moment!” This is perpetuated to support faulty end-times imminent return and pre-tribulation rapture doctrines. It’s made possible by taking texts like Matthew 24:36 and 1Thessalonians 5:2 and out of context and misquoting them at the same time (the Day of the Lord refers to the judgment of God to come in every case, which will come as a surprise to the wicked, – not to the gathering of the Saints).

so, you too, when you see all these things, recognize that He is near, right at the door. . . . But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. . . . Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming. . . . But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into. For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will.” — Matthew 24:33-44.

For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord [referred to many times in the Old Testament end-times prophecies] will come just like a thief in the night. —1Thessalonians 5:2.

You may be tempted at a glance to think that the return of our Christ will indeed be a surprise and could happen at any moment.  However, look at the verses leading up to and including Matthew 24:33 and you’ll find that Jesus gave signs to watch for.

What you’ll also learn through study of Scripture is that the return of our bridegroom at a ‘day and hour known by the Father alone’ reflects His fulfillment of the traditional betrothal and marriage processes whereby the Father determines when it’s time for the marriage supper to take place. He alone, after all preparations have been made including the building of the house for the new couple (remember, this is just one of several things Jesus referred to in mirroring the betrothal and marriage processes!), will send the groomsmen into the streets with shouts and trumpet blasts to announce that the time for the marriage supper had come. Related marriage fulfillment references to check out:

  • Betrothal – The Father has chosen us as a ‘bride’ for His son: Ephesians 1:3-5 and 2Corinthians 11:2
  • Betrothal – The cup of contract/covenant (cup of Ketubah): Matthew 26:28
  • Betrothal – The Father and Son preparing a place for us: John 14:2-3
  • Marriage – The gathering at the trumpets/shouts of the groomsmen once preparation have been made: Matthew 24:31 and 1Thessalonians 4:16
  • Marriage – The marriage supper/second cup of the covenant – ‘cup of blessings’:  Matthew 26:28-29 and Revelation 19:6-9

And, regarding abuse of 1Thessalonians 5:2: Paul is reminding Christ’s followers that the judgment and destruction of the wicked will be a surprise to them but that we, as followers, should NOT be surprised . . .

For more information regarding the return of our Christ and our ‘marriage’ to Him, and of the end of our world as we know it, please consider studying my very comprehensive guide “Finding the End of the World”. You’ll easily find it in paper and electronic format at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and www.ronbraley.com.

Please join me next week when we’ll continue teaching about (and hopefully correcting) bad doctrine and misquotes with these common abuses: “No Weapon Formed Against me will Prosper” and “I can do all things Through Christ“.