We’ve made it through four of seven feasts or festivals ordained by God. Well done! Let’s pause before going to the final three feasts in the fall. Why? Because Jesus’ consummation of the springtime feasts and His departure and impending return fulfill something else: the Jewish wedding process, beginning with betrothal. In other words, He and we are fulfilling a dress rehearsal for our relationship with Him and entrance into the age to come. Please allow me to share this unfolding love story with you.
God called Israel His ‘bride.’ We are Christ’s bride because He and we have fulfilled the marriage covenant since Jesus’ time on earth. No other relationship between humans should be as close as husband and wife, so it makes sense. Here are but a few parts of the ancient ceremony that have, and will be, completed:
- The father of a potential groom would search for a wife for his son. When a suitable bride had been found, the two families would meet to discuss the possible union. If the young man and woman agreed, they would essentially say, “I will be yours if you will be mine!” This is akin to what God said to His bride, Israel. Our selection for the groom can be seen in 2Corinthians 11:2.
- To cement the deal, the couple would drink from a cup of wine called the “cup of the covenant” (Matthew 26:27-28). This was the Cup of Redemption, the third of four cups of the Passover Jesus took with His disciples, and it is the foundation of today’s Communion cup. What about the fourth cup? We’ll enjoy that at the marriage ceremony at the transition of the ages (Matthew 26:29; Revelation 19:6-9).
- After vows, gifts, and ceremonial bathing (like baptism), the couple separated. The boy and his father would build a home for the couple (John 14:2-3 for fulfillment). This separation would typically last a year; however, we continue to wait. Why? Because God’s timing is His timing, He’ll delay until those who’ll accept His mercy have had the opportunity (2Peter 3:7-9).
- Then, at a time known only to him, the groom’s father summoned the groomsmen to announce the wedding ceremony with shouts and trumpets. We see this in the future in Matthew 24:31. The father started the process; he’ll finish it when he’s ready. So, Jesus’ comment, “But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone” (Mark 13:32) made sense to the disciples.
I realize that some people use Jesus’ statement to support an anytime, imminent return and judgment. However, there will be a sequence and signs, as we’ll see in the fall feast articles. Next week, we’ll move to the fall feasts, likely related to Christ’s eventual return and the transition of the ages, including the marriage feast I mentioned above.
Blessings and peace,
Dr. Ron Braley