Bride of Christ (Part 2)

Last week we did a brief study of how God became married to Israel.  God Himself, declared that He was the husband of this nation.  We saw scriptures in the book of Exodus chapter 19, of the Betrothal stage which included the contract or Ketubah, as well as the second stages wherein the marriage was formally made public when Israel sanctified themselves and God came down in the thick cloud to meet with them on Mount Sinai.   Today we will continue this lesson and see how the Old Testament is knit together with the New Testament of God’s Word and just how brilliantly He connects the two.  We will begin to truly see how amazing God is and how we as born again Christians are truly the Bride of Christ!  God bless you all. :O))

Handout:  Bride of Christ (Part 2)

We learned last week that God was married to Israel but later divorced her because of her iniquities, (Isaiah 50:1); however He will bring them back to Himself. (Isaiah 62:4-5

Matthew 21:42-43 “ 42Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? 43Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.”

To the Church this was written:
1 Peter 2:9-10 “9But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light; 10Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”
The divorce from Israel, gave all other nations or Gentiles the chance to be grafted into the family of God and this marriage with Christ.  (Romans 11)   For this reason the Church was birthed! 
The reason why God has not turned back to Israel yet is because the age of the dispensation of the Gentiles, which is the Church age is still on the earth.  When the dispensation of the Grace of God concludes God will take us up to be with Him, (Ephesians 1:9-10) and turn His attention back to Israel, where God the Father can focus on restoring that Marital Contract with them, bringing them back to Himself.  Praise the LORD!  He is always so good!
Revelation 19:6-9 “6And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. 7Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to HIM: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and HIS wife hath made herself ready. 8And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9And HE saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And HE saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.”

By these verses, we know that there is coming a day when all those who have accepted JESUS CHRIST as LORD and SAVIOR will be with Him at the Marriage Supper as His bride.  We understand God’s idea of the Marriage Ceremony by reading the Old Testament, so now let’s look at our own marriage in stages to Christ.  It has already begun Hallelujah and one day we will enter the final stages of the formal public ceremony.  Praise the LORD!  
Exodus 24:7-11 “ 7And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the LORD hath said will we do, and be obedient. 8And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the LORD hath made with you concerning all these words. 9Then went up Moses, and Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, and seventy of the elders of Israel:10And they saw the God of Israel: and there was under HIS feet as it were a paved work of a sapphire stone, and as it were the body of heaven in HIS clearness. 11And upon the nobles of the children of Israel HE laid not his hand: also they saw God, and did eat and drink”
Here we see the stages completely.  The Covenant or Ketubah was written and agreed upon.  Moses sprinkled the people with blood, or the blood of the covenant which the LORD had made with them.  Then Moses and the elders went up to meet God, and saw Him walking on Sapphire. Then they had a meal.  In the rest of chapter 24 of the book of Exodus, we see that The LORD said to Moses, Come up to me, and Moses went up and God’s glory abode on the Mountain and the cloud (The Chuppah) covered it for 6 days and the seventh day God called Moses out of the midst of the cloud. (Exodus 24:12-18)
We have the very same Marriage process in the New Testament in case you haven’t noticed!  We have the book of the covenant, we have been washed in the blood of Christ,  We will be caught up to meet before the Throne of God which is like a Sapphire, (Ezekiel 1:26)   We are going to see The LORD and have the Marriage Supper!  PRAISE THE LORD! 
The very same parallels are found in the New Testament about born again believer’s marriage to Jesus Christ!  Remember The Old Testament is the New Testament concealed, and the New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.  Prophesies in the New Testament are founded in the Old Testament.  This is why we looked first at the Old Testament to see the process in which Israel was espoused to God.
Let’s look at the Parallels:

  1. Israel the Bride of God
  2. Church the Bride of Christ. 

2 Corinthians 11:2 “2For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.”
Romans 7:4 “4Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to HIM who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.”
In Matthew 22 we read where Jesus Himself taught in a parable about the Kingdom of Heaven likened unto a wedding.  He stated that only those who had the proper wedding garment representing robes of righteousness through Christ, would not be allowed to the wedding.  All of these terms in New Testament scripture, deal with a marital contract. 
Now we have set the foundation from the Old Testament.  Now we can begin to study how the Rapture of the Church, the Catching away, or the Gathering together, is tied into pre-tribulation.  It can only be understood by studying the Ancient Jewish Wedding Tradition.  The Ancient Jewish wedding had 2 Stages. 

  1. The Erusin or the Betrothal Process.
  2. The Nissuin which is the Formal ceremony conducted under the Chuppah,

 The first stage, The Betrothal Process happened while Christ was on earth.  The second stage, the Chuppah will begin at the Rapture of the Church and conclude in Heaven.
Marriage in the Bible was considered, A Taking of the Bride.  (Deuteronomy 24:1)  The Rabbis considered The Chuppah, The Receiving of the Bride.  The consummation of the marriage was called, The Bringing of the Bride.

  1. Taking of the Bride of Christ- Jesus Christ took us and Redeemed us! 
  2. Receiving of the Bride of Christ- Jesus promised to Receive us unto Himself. (John 14)
  3. Bringing of the Bride of Christ – He will bring us and present us at the Marriage supper.  (Revelation 19)

 Now we will look at the 14 Steps of an Ancient Jewish Wedding.

1.  Selection of the Bride
A young Jewish man in ancient times that was looking for a wife, would see a woman he was interested in, usually in the market place where the single girls would come to buy food.  When he chose a girl that he wanted to marry and he would find out who she was if he didn’t already know her.  He would find out about her family background.  It is possible that they may know each other already from the time they were children.  So when he was sure he would invite her to his father’s house if she was the one he had chosen.
Hallelujah JESUS chose us His Bride – John 15:16

John 15:16 “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever, ye shall ask of the Father in my name, HE may give it to you.”
Thank YOU LORD!  We did not even know about HIM!  We were Gentiles, a people without God and He saw us!  He chose us and drew us to Himself by the Holy Spirit!  

2.  Sitting at the Table with the Father of the Groom-
If the Bride accepted the Grooms invitation to meet at his father’s house, she would come and sit down at the table along with the groom, the groom’s father.  There would be other witnesses around usually but only the three of them would sit at the table.
This process is literally a formal part of the ceremony that we today would call an engagement.  They considered it phase 1 of the actual wedding.  Here the purchase of the bride and her worth would be negotiated.  Like a dowry.  

1 Corinthians 6:17-20 “17But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. 18Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. 19What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
So The Betrothal Process begins with the Ketubah.  The Ketubah was a scroll which was a marital contract.  The Ketubah listed the obligations of what the groom expected from the bride as well as what the bride expected from the groom.  It also listed the price of the bride.  This was the process that legally bound the man and the woman as one.
Our Ketubah with JESUS CHRIST goes something like this! 

The Groom JESUS CHRIST - will give HIS life for the sins of the bride.  He will never leave her or forsake her.  He will deliver her from all distress.  He will provide for her, comfort her, and giver her the desires of her heart if she will delight in Him.  He will protect her and love her with an everlasting love.  He will be a faithful husband because HE is so good and one day HE will return for her when He is finished preparing a place for her in His FATHER’S House!!!! Praise the LORD!

The Bride, The Born again Church – She shall set herself apart from the world, sanctified for her Groom.  She will use her time wisely telling others of Him and lifting His name up, while she waits for Him to return.  She will become pure, spotless and free from sin.  She will remain faithful to HIM alone having no other suitors for her heart.  She will love Him with all her heart, mind, and strength and serve Him with a thankful heart.  She will be watching for HIM and she will be ready to go with Him when He returns.  
The Ketubah or Contract of the Old Testament was the First five books of the Bible called the Torah.  It was their marriage contract to God Almighty.  The 27 books of the New Testament, is the Ketubah of the Church and Jesus Christ.  It lists what is expected of us as His bride, and it also lists the promises He has given, and the price that He paid for us on the cross of Calvary!  Praise the LORD!
The groom signs the contract and waits for her to sign as well.  He has put everything out on the table and he waits for her to accept him.  The bride understands that there is a personal responsibility from her to her groom if she signs this contract.  There is a personal price to pay.  She may lose some of her old friends, she will have to give up the world.  She will have to turn from sin and the sinful pleasures of this world!  However, she wisely sees that what she will gain is so far beyond what she will pay, that it does not even compare.  So she accepts saying I will choose this man and signs the contract!  
When we accept Christ invitation to enter into covenant with Him, we bow before him and His Father, God’s throne and we ask Him to forgive our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness, we are accepting the terms of the Ketubah!  We understand that any personal price we must pay is nothing compared to the glory that we will inherit.  (Romans 8:18)  Anything we must give up is nothing compared to the LOVE of our Groom which is eternal! (1 John 4:10)  Praise YOU LORD!  When we bow before Him we say YES!  I will choose this man Jesus who gave His very life for me and now I will give HIM mine!  
Romans 10:10 “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

Are you being faithful to Jesus, the husband and lover of your soul?  Are you living up to your end of the contract, or are you committing adultery and following after the lusts of this old flesh?  JESUS CHRIST is always faithful…will you be?  If you are not being faithful, I suggest you read 1 John 1:9, then repent, turn from your sin, and start trying your best to be a faithful bride to the one who shed HIS life’s blood for you.

3. Drinking from the Silver Cup – (In the Bible, silver stands for Redemption.)
(The cups used at Passover are silver also.)
So the contract has been signed but the groom and the bride must seal it with a drink from the silver cup.  It indicates that they are going to share their lives together.  Keep in mind that no consummation has taken place at this point, but still they know they are married in spirit and legally bound to one another by God and by law.
Remember in Matthew the story of Jesus’ birth, When Joseph was espoused to Mary, he found out she was with child and he thought about putting her away or divorcing her?  They had not yet consummated the marriage because it tells us that Joseph “knew her not” until after Jesus was born. Still they were legally bound by the contract, they were married legally.  If it was broken it could be punishable by law.

In Mark chapter 14, when Jesus held up the cup during the last supper before He was crucified and He said this is the cup of the new testament of my blood which was shed for you, when the disciples drank from the cup they understood what they were doing!  They understood that when they drank from the cup what HE had was theirs, what they had was His they were one, THEY WERE MARRIED!  And when we enter into that contract we are married to JESUS too!
The next stage of the Ancient Jewish Wedding Tradition is:
4.  The Giving of the Gifts

The groom will then give his bride a gift, usually of jewels or jewelry.  He presents them to her after they drink from the silver cup and the marriage has been sealed.  She will take those gifts with her. 
When we are saved by God’s grace, we have sealed the marriage and we are given the gift of the HOLY SPIRIT!  We read about Spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 12 as well as about the Comforter or the Holy Spirit in John 14. 

John 14:16 “And I will pray the Father, and HE shall give you another Comforter, that HE may abide with you forever.” 
Ephesians 1:13-14 “13In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, 14Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of His glory.

Oh that word Earnest in the Greek basically means engagement ring!!!  PRAISE THE LORD!
Now after all this has taken place, the groom and the bride will be separated for at least 12 months!  They will not see each other.  So after the father of the groom has welcomed the bride into the family, it is time for them to separate for a time so that the groom can build a bridal chamber onto his father’s house.  When the place is prepared and the father says it’s time the groom will then go get her and bring her to live with him.  PRAISE THE LORD!!!!
Before the groom and the bride separate, he greets her one more time and he says to her. I’m going to prepare a place for you, and when my father says it’s ready, I will come for you!!!! 
This is so exciting!!!  How truly romantic JESUS is!!!
What did Jesus say when HE left the disciples and ascended up to Heaven????  

John 14:1-3 “ 1Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 2In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
Matthew 24:36 “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of Heaven, buy my Father only.”

The disciples knew what He was doing!!!  They understood the wedding ceremony.  How their hearts must have been sad but also excited when HE said those words.  Dear one, Jesus went away, He is preparing a bridal chamber for His bride…oh called The New Jerusalem!!!  I think it’s almost ready!  When God The FATHER says to JESUS, Son it’s time!  Go get your BRIDE!!!! What a day that will be!!!  No more waiting, no more wondering what He looks like, no more missing Him, we will be forever with our LORD, with the Savior of our souls, the one who suffered and died that we might live!  He promised HE is coming back and Hallelujah HE WILL!

We are going to stop there and LORD willing will continue with Part 3 next week!  I hope that you have been blessed!

Thank You for being You.  You are Holy, You are Almighty and I worship YOU!  Thank You so much for choosing me!  Thank YOU for drawing me to Yourself and for saving my dying and sinful soul!  You are EVERYTHING to me and I LOVE You!  Thank You for being The LOVER OF MY SOUL…You are so romantic and My soul swoons over You.  Thank YOU that YOUR promises are true.  Father I pray that You draw our lost loved ones to Yourself as well that their eyes will be opened to the truth and that they will accept You and enter into covenant with You forever.  Help us to a faithful spouse to You, set apart from this world and walking in Your Spirit so that we will not live according to the desires of this flesh.  Thank You for always being faithful and help us be faithful to You.  In the name of LOVELY JESUS we pray.  Amen.


November 4, 2012