Doesn’t every little girl grow up dreaming about her special day—that day when she will walk down the aisle on her father’s arm and be given away to her waiting groom?
Prior to the internet, all we had were bridal magazines and our imaginations. But these days, social media has introduced brides-to-be to Pinterest, hosting hundreds of ideas for their wedding planning. Reality shows have also intervened, bringing us armchair adventures about each exciting phase of becoming a bride. From Say Yes to the Dress to Four Weddings, we can share everything from the quandaries of bridal gown shopping to the wonders of watching their beautiful weddings unfold on the TV screen.
Today’s traditions, however, don’t match those of ages past. The bride had to be dressed and ready for her groom’s arrival at her parents’ home, never knowing the exact time he would come. After her groom and his entourage appeared, there was great rejoicing as he took her away, veiled, to his home where they would celebrate their marriage ceremony.
The bride wore white, a symbol of her sexual purity, and was adorned with jewels. The proof of her virginity was displayed on the wedding sheets the morning after. That consummation was the legal blood covenant between the bride and groom, representing their physical union that promised until “death do us part.”
According to the Bible, there is a deeper and more mysterious meaning to the terms bride and groom.
In 2 Corinthians 11:2, Paul says to the people of Corinth, “For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin” (NASB). Here Paul defines the bride, who is the church, and her groom, who is Jesus Christ.
Additionally, Paul teaches in Ephesians 5:25-32 that marriage is a comparison of the relationship of Christ to the church. Wives are to be subject to their husbands, as the church is subject to Christ, who is its head. Jesus loved the church and gave Himself up for her so she could be cleansed by the washing of water and the word. Holy, blameless, without spot or wrinkle, He could therefore present her to Himself as His bride.
Have you ever wondered about the bridal dress? Listen to John describe it. “Let us rejoice and be glad and give glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready. It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints” (Rev. 19:7-8, NASB).
The righteous acts we perform don’t save us according to Ephesians 2:8-9, but they do play an important role because they will be our glorious, pure-white wedding gown. The beauty of it is certainly beyond our imaginations—but just thinking about it—wow!
The time is short, and we the church should be expectantly looking for our groom. No, we don’t know the day nor the hour of His arrival, but He told us that we can know when the season is near.
Remember the story in Matthew of the ten virgins who waited for their bridegroom? The five foolish virgins weren’t prepared to meet him because they had fallen asleep and didn’t have enough oil for their lamps. After they left to buy some from the dealers, the bridegroom arrived and took the five prudent virgins into the wedding feast with him, and the door was shut. Although the others returned and asked the Lord to open the door for them, he replied that he never knew them. (See Matthew 25:1-13). Don’t be caught by surprise with no oil in your lamp!
“Then he said to me, ‘Write, “Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb”‘” (Rev.19:9, NASB).
The invitations have been issued and everyone is invited to the wedding. Are you getting ready to meet your bridegroom? Look up…one day soon we will hear the shofar sounding from the clouds, announcing His arrival.
“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. Therefore comfort one another with these words (1 Thess. 4:16-18, NASB).
“‘Yes, I am coming quickly.’ Amen. Come, Lord Jesus” (Rev.22:20b, NASB).
Photos courtesy of Blowthetrumpetinzion.info, Vittolo photography, Pinterest.com