by Dr. Noreen Jacks
Contrary to contemporary western tradition where the bride is the superstar of the wedding, the bridegroom was the primary focus of the eastern wedding during biblical times. It was the unknown, highly-speculated moment of the Jewish bridegroom’s celebrated arrival that stirred much excitement, wonder, and hope within the local community. No one doubted the bridegroom’s imminent return because of the costly bride-price he had invested in His beloved. The bridegroom’s kindness and generosity to the bride and her family became legendary during his lengthy absence.
While separated from his betrothed, the eager bridegroom spent his time preparing a place for his bride. Curiosity and questions surrounded the mystery of the bridegroom’s dutiful preparations and eventual return. What manner of dwelling place was he constructing for his bride? How much time would the task require? When would he take her to his father’s house? Concerning that momentous occasion, only his father knew the day and the hour! Therefore, it was imperative that the bride and her attendants be prepared for the wedding at a moment’s notice.
So shall it be when the heavenly Bridegroom, Jesus Christ, makes His second trip to earth, this time to gather unto Himself the holy bridal company that He established long ago through His sacrificial birth, death, resurrection, and ascension. The Lord will return in His Father’s appointed time, a kairos moment (Gr. kairo,j= “a fixed moment in time”), unknown even by the Son of God or the angels:
“But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.” Matt 24:36
The God of heaven and earth yearns to fulfill the ancient unilateral covenant that He first established with Abraham, the esteemed patriarch and father of the faith race(Gen 15). From every tongue and kindred, He gathers those who have been redeemed by the substitute sacrifice of the Lamb of God. The heavenly treasures prepared for the Bride of Christ will be more glorious than any bride has ever received:
…but just as it is written, “THINGS WHICH EYE HAS NOT SEEN AND EAR HAS NOT HEARD, AND which HAVE NOT ENTERED THE HEART OF MAN, ALL THAT GOD HAS PREPARED FOR THOSE who LOVE HIM.” 1 Cor 2:9
Although all true believers receive God’s gift of salvation without judgment, rewards may vary according to merit:
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed (rewarded) for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” 2 Cor 5:10
In addition to the esteemed bride and bridegroom, most weddings have bridesmaids, groomsmen, invited guests and servants, all playing key roles in the production at hand. Will you be satisfied as a mere attendant or servant at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb; or would you prefer to be the bride, the one nearest the sacred throne–the one receiving the hundred-fold reward? I suggest you go for the gold!
The purpose of this exortation is to prepare the universal Bride of Christ for Olympic-style victory and heavenly crowns, which she will humbly place at her Bridegroom’s feet. The Bible warns that the Bridegroom will appear suddenly amidst great heavenly fanfare, creating an unimaginable spectacle. If you desire to be bridal material, keep your spiritual eyes and ears open for the signs of His coming:
For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 1 Thess 4:16-17
Because the prophetic words of the apostle Paul will come to pass in the manner of all previously fulfilled prophecy, the Bride of Christ cannot afford to tarry with her preparations, nor can she doubt the nearness of His return. The hour is late! Those who delay may bring great sorrow upon themselves–heartache and gnashing of teeth that can easily be avoided by heeding the inspired oracles of Holy Scripture that have been proclaimed from the very mouth and heart of God.
I am reminded of the words of warning spoken on all airplanes just prior to take off. “In case of a sudden drop in cabin pressure, first, put on your oxygen mask before helping others put on their masks.” The Bride of Christ must be certain she is ready for “take-off”before she can help others prepare. She must breathe in the Spirit of the living God, inhaling spiritual oxygen for her soul. May the Holy Spirit prompt you through the pages of Scripture to make all necessary preparations for a safe “take-off and landing.” I pray you will have the opportunity to bring many onboard with you–all the way to eternity where you will forever behold the Bridegroomin all His glory!
For additional study on the Bride of Christ, see this author’s book, Grooming the Bride – Preparation for Eternity, available from Bibleinteract.com and Amazon.com.
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Dr. Noreen Jacks conveys her passion for the Word of God and her visions of hope for those in need of spiritual restoration. She enjoys biblical archaeology, cultural anthropology, linguistics, and history of the Bible lands and its people.