Love, Purity, Heaven, Salvation and New Birth
Did you know that Christ would like to have you as his bride? Christ Jesus, the one of whom we sing, “King of kings, and Lord of lords." This isn't just any ordinary person! Yet, we accept it so coldly! Why aren't we leaping out of our seats? This is WONDERFUL news!
A bride is a very special person, at least mine was to me—a very, very special person. There was no one else in the world like her. And Christ wants us as His bride! Unbelievable!
God made us because He wanted companionship. He didn't just make us as minute creatures that He could observe, like how we might observe ants busily doing their thing. No, He actually had genuine companionship in mind – companionship between Himself and human beings.
Isn't that what it says in Ephesians 5:31-32? “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother and join unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” It is a great mystery. I can't explain all that to you, but I know God wants a wife. There is a divine romance going on. God wants to be our husband. Let's look at a few verses that bring this out.
Isaiah 54:5 “For thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.” He’s the One who wants to be our husband. Can we begin to get the picture – even if only a small piece of it? Can we open our minds just a little bit? God, “the God of the whole earth,” wants to be our husband. We struggle to comprehend a goodness this vast.
In Jeremiah 31:31-32, He tells us He came to be our husband. In Jeremiah 3:1 Return to me; I want to be your husband. Jeremiah 2:2 - God fondly remembers courtship. Jeremiah 3:14 - I'll take you to my city, my home. Just come. Psalm 45:13-14 - The bride is all glorious within. The king shall greatly desire thy beauty. God has a glorious future for His bride!
The New Testament also speaks of the bride. It refers to Christ as the Bridegroom.
In 2 Corinthians 11:2, Paul understood the Divine Romance. In Mathew 9:14-15, He said, “I'm a bridegroom; I'm here for my bride.” Can they fast while the Bridegroom is with them? They were not allowed to fast during the seven days of the wedding. Did they want to? No, they did not want to.
In Mathew 22:2-6, we have this king who invited all to his son's wedding. There's a wedding for the King's Son, and we are invited to it. However, we are the bride.
Mathew 25:1-8, “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.”
All of these verses show us the Divine Romance.
Revelation 3:19-20 “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”
We are familiar with the picture of someone standing outside the door and knocking. But this is something that a Jewish bridegroom would do when he went to get his bride, and the audience would have recognized it this way.
First, the father would go looking for a wife for his son, and he would talk with the lady's father and make the necessary arrangements. This Jewish father would then take his son, and they would go to the bride's house with the engagement cup, the drink, and the bride's price. Then, they would knock on the door.
The lady's father would go to the door, and he would peek out the little peephole. There he would see the son and the father who had come to get his daughter as the selected wife for the son. And he would turn to his daughter and say, “Shall I let them in?” And she had to decide.
We would hope it wasn't a hard decision, and she would say, “Yes, let them in!” We don't know how personal the arrangements were. But we can imagine how disappointing it would be if they would go and knock on the door, and she would say, “No.” And the father and son would have to turn around and go home.
The young lady could say no, or she could say yes. And so, it is with us. The heavenly Father is looking for a bride for His son. And He has made arrangements that we can be that bride! But when He comes and knocks on our heart’s door, it is up to the bride - us. We get to decide if we want the Father's Son as our husband. We are in total control of that decision. And if we say no to God, to Christ, then there is no adoption into glory. No honor. No wedding. No salvation. No love. No life.
If the young Jewish woman said yes, her father would open the door, and the son and his father would come in. But the bride could stop all these proceedings at any time. She didn't even have to give a reason. She could say, “I'm done!” And all the arrangements and all the wedding proceedings would stop. At any time, she could change her mind.
The bridegroom couldn't do that. Once he had made the arrangements, he could not back out. And that's how it is with Christ. Once He makes that commitment to us, He is faithful. He will not change his mind. He will not forsake us. He will not drop us in favor of another.
The only way the Jewish bridegroom would ever drop the arrangement is if he found that his bride had committed fornication and given her love to someone else. “Except for the cause of fornication...” - then and only then could the bridegroom change his mind.
And if that happened and he found that she was not a virgin, there were four things that he could do.
Returning to the Jewish household, once inside, they would all partake of a meal. These two Jewish families would get together and have four cups of wine. The first cup was served immediately after entering the house. The families would drink this cup of wine together – the Cup of the Covenant. And then, as they sat down to this meal, they hammered out the details of the marriage contract, and all agreed to the terms of the marriage. Once everyone agreed to the details of the marriage, they would have another cup. This cup would be shared with only the father and the bride-to-be and the father and the bridegroom. Those four would share this second cup. And then, at the end of the meal, the bridegroom would share a cup with only the bride. This was the sealing of the marriage. They were preserving themselves exclusively for each other. That's what this cup was cementing. They were exclusively for each other and would have a shared inheritance. They were officially married.
Then after that cup, the bridegroom would pay the bride price or the dowry. (Which Jesus did, he paid the price.) And then, the bridegroom needed to go back home to his dad's farm and build a house for his bride-to-be. And he would say these words, “I am going to prepare a place for you, I will return when it is ready.” Just like Jesus promised us in John 14:2-3 Oh, it's exciting! Jesus said, “I'm going to build a place where you and I can live together. And I will come back when it's ready and take you to be there."
And that's what the Jewish bridegroom would do. He would build this honeymoon room next to his father's house, and when he was finished, he would return and get his bride. But his bride didn't know when he was coming. She didn't know how long it would take him. And since he wanted to build something other than a shabby shack, it might go quite a while. Furthermore, he had to get his dad's approval on the house.
And so, when people would ask him, “When are you going to get your bride?”
He would reply, “I don't know.”
Because he didn't know until dad said, "Okay, okay, that's good enough for that bride. Now you can go and get her.”
“But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no not the angels which are in heaven neither the Son; but the Father.”
The bride didn't know when the bridegroom was coming. But she was responsible to be ready. Since he would certainly come between dusk, sunset, and midnight, she would get a lantern and put it in the window every night. That meant she was ready; her light was burning. If the bridegroom made his appearance between sundown and midnight, he would blow the trumpet when he arrived and look to see if the lamp was burning in the window. If it was, he knew she was ready, and he could go and get her. But he would turn around and go home if the light was out. She had changed her mind.
And they would consummate the marriage. And then, that fourth cup of wine would be drunk by the bride and the groom during the wedding ceremony. They would have a seven-day wedding in the bride’s house. And they would have the marriage supper at the end of seven days. (Oh, that must have been a wonderful time! When the Bible wants to talk about times of joy, it talks about "the voice of the bride and the voice of the bridegroom ."And when it talks about times of great sorrow, it says, "And there shall be no more voice of the bridegroom and no more voice of the bride.")
And our Bridegroom is going to be returning! Revelation 19:7-9 “ Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb....” .” Do we understand that word BLESSED? Do we understand what that means? God told Abraham, “In thee shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” That blessing comes through Christ. And He opens up to us all of heaven. All of life, eternal life for ever and ever. “At thy right hand, there are pleasures for evermore.” Do we understand the power, force, and impact of that blessing? “Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb.”
Revelation 21:2,9 “ And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” “And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife.” It seems that here the angel showed John the house that Jesus had prepared for His bride. The place Jesus has prepared shows how highly He values us, His bride.
We are not there yet. We stumble through our journeys so often, but if we continue on this journey, the end is assured and glorious! So don't let anything turn you from this wedding. But today, we are not there yet, and He's still knocking.
Have you opened up the door? Or are you going to keep it closed? The Savior could be your bridegroom, but you have the power to decide whether he comes in or not. You can say, “Don't open the door.” And he'll go away. Although he'll come back and knock some more, he'll always have to go away.
Have you opened the door and made that agreement? Maybe you have, but now that lamp is no longer in the window. The light has flickered and gone out because your affection is on another. Meanwhile, the knocking at the door continues.
And so, open the door to the divine romance! The Father is looking for a glorious wife for His Son.
Don't reject the Bridegroom. Don't despise the Divine Romance. There is no more noble, handsome, royal, glorious, loving suitor in all the world than the One knocking on the door of your heart.
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