It is time for the Bride of Christ to grow up and to see herself in the bigger picture. We are the betrothed of Jesus. Marriage is our purpose and our destiny. Therefore, our focus needs to shift to preparing for our wedding. Apostle John saw our future, and in Revelation 19:7 said that the Bride has made herself ready. Are we prepared for our marriage to the Lamb? Do we anxiously wait for our Bridegroom? Do we have oil in our lamps?
The following is from "The Ultimate Wedding" by Bill Risk, which covers the steps of preparing for a wedding in Jesus' day. As you read, you will see many parallels to scripture and to what God is doing in this season.
"In Biblical times, the fathers of the young men and women arranged the marriages (Shiddukhim - the match). Brides were chosen for the sons just as our Heavenly Father chose us for His son. There was often an agent to act between the parties for negotiation and preparations. The Holy Spirit is the agent of the Lord who prepares us for Him.
Three men gave gifts to the Bride. The Father of the Bridegroom gave the Mohar - the bride price, The Bridegroom gave the Mattan - love gifts, and the Father of the Bride gave the Shiluhim - dowry. God, the Bridegroom's father, purchased us at a great price of His only beloved son's death (Mohar). Jesus gave us the greatest gift of love by giving His own life for us, thereby giving us the gifts of eternal life, peace, and the desires of our hearts (Mattan). Our heavenly Father gives us spiritual gifts and blessings as our dowry (Shiluhim).
A marriage contract was written up (Ketubah) that stated the bride price, the promises of the groom, and the rights of the bride. We have the New Covenant as our marriage contract with Christ.
There is a time of engagement called betrothal (Kiddushin). During this time, there is an exchange of something of value (in our day, it is the engagement ring) that sets the bride apart and seals her unto the groom. The engagement is usually a one-year period to prove virginity and is a time of preparation for both the bride and the groom. The groom prepares the house (huppa), and the bride enters into cleansing and purification baths (Mikveh- see the book of Esther). It is also a time of undistracted devotion and anticipation between the bride and groom to be. As Christians, we are sealed with the cup of the New Covenant, set apart, purified by the washing of the Holy Spirit, and we are to set our minds and hearts on the Lord, anticipating His return for us. Christ has gone ahead to prepare our house (huppa).
The final phase is the nuptials (Nissuin). The groom cannot claim his bride until his father determines that the house (huppa) is ready. No one knew when this would be except the father. The groom would show up unannounced to take his bride, usually in the night. Therefore the bride had to be always ready. The groom would take at least two witnesses with him to get his bride, and they would shout as they approached, "Behold the Bridegroom comes." There would then be a procession back to the groom's house. They would be elaborately clothed and treated like king and queen. They would enter the huppa and spend seven days together privately. Meanwhile, the guests enjoyed a seven-day feast waiting for the couple to return to public celebration. What a beautiful picture this shows of the Marriage of the Lamb."
God is encouraging the Bride of Christ to prepare for marriage to His son. We are to enter into the cleansing baths, (the fire of His Love) and we are to get our lamps ready as the wise virgins did so that when He comes, we will be prepared. Since we do not know the hour of His coming, we are also to prepare the following generations for the same.
The fire of God's love will help us to prepare if we will surrender to it and cooperate with Him.
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