When the bridegroom’s father deemed the wedding chamber ready, the father would tell the bridegroom that all was ready and to get His bride. The bridegroom would abduct his bride secretly, like a thief at night and take her to the wedding chamber. As the bridegroom approached the bride’s home, he would shout and blow the shofar (ram’s horn trumpet) so that she had some warning to gather her belongings to take into the wedding chamber. The bridegroom and his friends would come into the bride’s house and get the bride and her bridesmaids.
Jesus’ Fulfillment: Bridegroom Comes for His Bride
Just as the bridegroom would come for the bride in the middle of the night, with a shout and the sound of a shofar, so the Lord will come for us. For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words. Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
VIII. Ancient Wedding Practice:
Seven Days in the Wedding Chamber
The bridegroom would take his bride to the wedding chamber where they would spend seven days. The bridegroom’s friend would wait outside the door of the wedding chamber. When the marriage was consummated, the bridegroom would tell his friend through the door, and the friend would announce it to the assembled guests. The guests would celebrate for seven days until the bride and bridegroom emerged from the wedding chamber. At this time the groom would bring his wife out and introduce her to the community.
Seven Days in the Wedding Chamber
Ancient Jewish eschatology taught that a seven year “time of trouble” would come upon the earth before the coming of the Messiah. During that time of trouble, the righteous would be resurrected and would enter the wedding chamber where they would be protected from the time of trouble. Today that seven year period is referred to, by Christians, as the Tribulation, and as Birth Pangs by the Jews. After 7 years in Heaven the Groom, Christ, will bring His wife to Earth and at the time of His Second Coming He will introduce her to the community on Earth.
IX. Ancient Wedding Practice:
After seven days in the wedding chamber, the bride and bridegroom would emerge and participate in a feast with friends and family. There would be joyous celebrating during this feast. The feast would conclude the wedding celebration.
Jesus’ Fulfillment: Marriage Supper
As the bride and bridegroom celebrated with a joyous wedding supper, so Jesus and His bride, the church will celebrate the marriage. Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints) Then the angel said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’”. Revelation 19:6-9
X. Ancient Wedding Practice:
Depart for Home
Jesus’ Fulfillment: Depart for Home
Just as the bride and bridegroom left the marriage supper to go to the home that the bridegroom had prepared, so Jesus and His bride will depart for their new home. “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes… One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me,
“Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.
From the pattern of the ancient wedding practices, we see that, like the bridegroom of ancient times, Jesus came to the home of His bride for the betrothal, made a covenant with His bride and sealed it with a glass of wine, paid the bride price with His life and sent His bride gifts of the Holy Spirit.
We, the betrothed (Christ’s Church ) currently await the return of our Bridegroom to take us to the wedding chamber (the rapture ) to spend seven years (while the tribulation occurs on Earth ). We will then celebrate the Marriage Supper of the Lamb and depart with our Bridegroom for our new home, the new Jerusalem. ~ Revelation 21:1-4,