Invitation to a Wedding
(a rejoicing!)

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Goal

There is a unique and very special relationship that exists between every Christian and Jesus.

That very special relationship is called "espousal."

Lots of folks know that the church is espoused. However, NOT so many folks are aware of the wonderful, joyful, mind-boggling details of this amazing relationship.

Accordingly, the goal of the essay is to shed light and joy concerning the espousal of the True Church to the Son of God.

If you don't know what we mean by "True Church," we urge you to read our web page entitled....

In search of the perfect church

Two Parts of this Essay

We will work towards our goal in two main parts as follows...

  • Part One gives "general procedures" for Biblical espousal and marriage. These facts might strike you as a bit dry, but read them carefully. Part Two will reward you for doing so.
  • Part Two identifies the step-by-step actions that God has taken in planning and arranging the most amazing Wedding in all the annals of eternity.

By the way... God most definitely has invited YOU to the Wedding!
To RSVP, read on.

Part One - marriage in Bible days

In Bible days, most all marriages were "arranged" by the parents of the groom-to-be.

We researched the following references to determine the steps that were involved in arranging and accomplishing a typical marriage...
  • Page 122, "Illustrated Dictionary of Bible Manners and Customs" by A. Van Deursen, Citadel Press, NY, 1967
  • Pages 131-135, "Bible Manners and Customs" by G.M. Mackie, Barbour Books, NJ, 1991
  • Article on "marriage" by George B. Eager, International Standard Bible Encylopaedia, Electronic Database Copyright (C) 1996 by Biblesoft

Our research disclosed that marriages in Bible times generally involved seven main phases, as listed in the table below...

Seven Steps to getting married

Step 1) Selection - the parents of the groom chose his wife-to-be.

Step 2) Dowry - the groom's parents paid a dowry price for the bride-to-be.

Step 3) Bridal Pledge-Gift - The groom gave a gift to the bride-to-be, as his pledge that he would fulfill his promise of marriage.

Step 4) Espousal

  • The bride and groom were now espoused. That is, they were "betrothed" or "engaged" to be married to each other.
  • IMPORTANT NOTE - Biblical espousal was fully as binding as marriage. Thus, unfaithfulness on the part of either the bride or the groom was legally viewed as adultery.
 

Step 5) The bridegroom cometh!

  • After an often lengthy period of espousal, the bridegroom would go to the bride's home to fetch his bride.
  • The groom would lift the bride's veil to reveal her face. Upon beholding his bride, the groom would give a joyful shout to show that he took pleasure in her beauty.

Step 6) To the father's house - The groom would then take his bride to his father's house.

Step 7) Marriage - In the house of the groom's father, the wedding feast (marriage supper) then took place.


Part Two - God arranges a marriage!

In Part Two of this essay, we will now look at God's step-by-step arrangements for the greatest wedding in all eternity.

  • The fact is... God began planning for this amazing wedding even before the foundation of the world.
  • This wedding has not yet taken place, but it soon shall.

Before we look at God's arrangements for the marriage, however, we first need to determine the identity of the bride and Groom...

The Bridegroom

And Jesus said to them, "Can the friends of the bridegroom (Jesus) mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? (Mt 9.15a)
In Matthew 9.15, when Lord Jesus spoke of "the bridegroom," He was referring to Himself.

The Bridegroom is none other than Jesus, God's only begotten Son.

The Bride

I have espoused you (the True Church) to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin (a bride) to Christ. (2 Cor 11.2b, KJV)

Second Corinthians is a letter that was inspired by the Holy Spirit and addressed to the church of God. (2 Cor 1.1)

Thus, in Second Corinthians 11.2, the word "you" refers explicitly to the True Church.

Second Corinthians 11.2 makes it abundantly clear that the True Church is the bride who God chose to be wed to His Son.

(If you are a Christian, then you are of the True Church and, as such, you are "the bride of Christ.")

Having established the identity of the bride and Groom, we will now look at the what God has done, and is doing, to bring about the greatest marriage in all eternity -- the marriage of Christ to the church.

As we do this, notice that the seven steps listed below are identical to those identified by the research referred to in Part One of this essay.


Step 1) Selection - God chose the bride

Don't get confused. Before showing you that God chose the bride for His Son, we want to show you a bit of interesting history.

Namely, the verses alongside show that...

  • God invented marriage
  • God chose the bride for the very first wedding
  • The very first wedding took place between Adam (the groom) and Eve (the bride).
  • God, the Father of Adam, not only chose Adam's bride -- He created her!
  Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Gen 2.24)

And the Lord God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him.'' (Gen 2.18)

And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. (Gen 2.21-22)
just as He (the Father) chose us (the True Church) in Him (Jesus) before the foundation of the world (Eph 1.4a)

(Jesus said to His Father...) "I have revealed you to those (Christians) whom you gave me out of the world. They were yours; you gave them to me and they have obeyed your word. (John 17.6, NIV)
 

Even as God chose the bride for the very first wedding, He also chose the bride for the soon-to-be greatest wedding of all -- the marriage of His Son, Jesus Christ.

  • Even before the foundation of the world, God the Father chose the True Church to be His Son's future bride.
  • Thus the Father accomplished step #1 for the greatest wedding -- He selected the bride for His Son.
  • God not only chose His Son's bride -- He created her! (Mt 16.18)
 

Step 2) Dowry - God paid a dowry price for the bride

The Father paid an infinitely valuable dowry price to redeem the chosen bride for His Son.

The price paid for the True Church was not mere silver or gold, but the precious blood of Jesus.
  For you (Christians) were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's. (1 Cor 6.20)

knowing that you were not redeemed (purchased) with corruptible things, like silver or gold .... but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. (1 Pet 1.18a-19)
 

Someone might say that Jesus, not the Father, paid the dowry price for the bride...

  • Ah, but Father and Son BOTH paid the price of Jesus on the cross -- perhaps the Father most of all.
  • All parents know that the greatest conceivable misery would be to stand helplessly by while their child endured extreme suffering.
  • A loving parent would do anything -- ANYTHING! -- to take away his or her child's pain and weeping. So also the Father of Jesus.
  • "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son..." It was God who gave.
 

Despite having all the power that ever was or ever shall be, the Father forced Himself to go through unspeakable agony as He allowed His beloved and only begotten Son to suffer on the cross.

Thus the Father accomplished step #2 for the greatest wedding when He paid the blood of Christ -- ALL the treasures of heaven -- as dowry price for the bride. For YOU!

As a side note...

  • Some say that salvation by grace alone is too easy. Too cheap.
  • It is true that salvation costs you nothing. But remember -- your salvation cost God EVERYTHING He has.

Step 3) Bridal Pledge-Gift - Jesus gave His pledge and His gift to His bride

When Jesus spoke the words recorded in John 14.3, He knew that very soon He would be going to the cross.

He also knew that He would depart the earth and ascend to heaven, where He would remain for many centuries.

Knowing He had to leave, Jesus pledged to His bride that He would surely return to claim her as His own, and to take her home to heaven with Him.
  (Jesus said...) "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also." (John 14.3)
(Jesus said...) "And I will pray the Father, and He will give you (Christians) another Helper (the Holy Spirit), that He may abide with you forever (John 14.16)

(God has...) set his seal of ownership on us, and put his Spirit in our hearts as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come. (2 Cor 1.22, NIV)
  Having comforted His bride concerning His return, Jesus then presented her with the most wonderful of all possible gifts as the PLEDGE of His love, and as guarantee that He would most definitely return for her.

The pledge-gift that Jesus gave to His bride was the Holy Spirit of God! And thus Jesus accomplished step #3 of the process that will culminate with the greatest wedding in all of eternity.

As a Christian, you are adorned with a LIVING engagement ring -- the Holy Spirit of God Who dwells with you, and in you, and ever walks beside you!

Step 4) Espousal - the church is now (at this very moment) espoused to Jesus

Step 4 is the status of the True Church as of today -- right this very moment...

The Father of the Groom has selected the bride and paid the dowry price

The Bridegroom has...

  • Given the bride His pledge to return for her, and to take her to His Father's home in heaven
  • Given the bride His pledge-gift. He has placed His ring upon her heart. He has gone to build mansions for her.

Christians are now espoused (betrothed, engaged) to the Bridegroom, Jesus Christ

If you are a Christian, you are espoused to a living Bridegroom who loves you with an everlasting love.

He pledged Himself to you. He gave Himself for you. You wear His ring. Be faithful unto Him, as He is faithful unto you.

  I have espoused you (the True Church) to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin (a bride) to Christ. (2 Cor 11.2b, KJV)

For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church. (Eph 5.31-32)


Step 5) The Bridegroom cometh!

Soon and very soon we are going to see the Lord!

Jesus, our Bridegroom, will descend from heaven to carry His bride (us!) away with Him to His Father's house.

Gently He will lift the veil from the face of His bride. And He shall utter a glad shout (1 Thes 4.16) as He gazes upon her beauty -- the beauty that He Himself has wrought.
  For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God.

And the dead in Christ will rise first.

Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air.

And thus we shall always be with the Lord. (1 Thes 4.16-17)

The bride longs for the Bridegroom to return for her...

By night on my bed I sought the one I love;
I sought him, but I did not find him.

(Song 3.1)

At last, the Bridegroom returns for His bride...

And at midnight there was a cry made,
"Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him!"

(Mt 25.6, KJV)

The Bridegroom speaks to His bride...

O my dove, in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the cliff,
let me see your countenance,
let me hear your voice;
for your voice is sweet, and your countenance is lovely.

Behold, you are fair, my love! Behold, you are fair!

...You are all fair, my love, and there is no spot in you.

(Song 2.14, 4.1a, 4.7)

The bride speaks to the Bridegroom...

The voice of my beloved! Behold, he comes leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills.

His left hand is under my head,
and His right hand embraces me.

(Song 2.6, 2.8)

The Bridegroom speaks to the bride...

Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away.

For lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth her green figs,
and the vines with the tender grapes give a good smell.

Rise up, my love, my fair one, and come away!

(Song 2.10-13)

The bride rejoices as she is carried to heaven...

I am my Beloved's, and my Beloved is mine... He has brought me to the banqueting house, and His banner over me is love!

(Song 2.4, 6.3a)

Step 6) To the father's house - Jesus will take His bride to His Father's house.
Step 7) Marriage - The marriage of the Lamb will then be celebrated

One day on his radio broadcast, Pastor Chuck Smith told his listeners of an elderly lady in his congregation...

  • This lady always wore a lovely corsage to every church service.
  • When anyone asked why she wore it, she would smile and reply, "I'm going to a wedding!"

As recorded in Revelation 19.7-9, the amazing and glorious marriage of Jesus to His church will soon take place. Soon. Very soon.

Will you be there? (Mt 25.1-13)

You ARE most definitely invited! (Mt 11.28-30; Rev 22.17)

RSVP today! (Rom 10.9-10)

  Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him (God) glory, for the marriage of the Lamb (Jesus) has come, and His wife (the True Church) has made herself ready.

And to her (the bride) it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

Then he (an angel) said, "Write: `Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!' '' And he said to me, "These are the true sayings of God.'' (Rev 19.7-9)

And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come!''
And let him who hears say, "Come!''
And let him who thirsts come.
And whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen

(Rev 22.17, 22.21)

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