Jesus Did It!
By: Wendy Sissons
Thirty five years ago a very nervous young man fronted up to my mother seeking permission to marry me.
Knowing that such a request was not going to be received with much enthusiasm, Adrian tidied himself up, put on his most respectful voice, presented Mum with a bag of peaches then popped the question.
According to Adrian, my mother looked up from what she was doing and fixed him with such an icy stare, she fully conveyed her answer without the need of putting it into words.
Undeterred Adrian placed an engagement notice in the Press and purchased an engagement ring.
My sister was working for the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (otherwise known as the DSIR) at the time of our engagement. She brought home some off cuts of transparent white netting that were used to protect cabbage plants and other crops from caterpillars.
I made my wedding dress out of them.
Adrian’s parents did not want Adrian marrying me and as you now know my mother was not too fussed on me marrying Adrian.
My father who was estranged from my mother, very wisely didn’t have an opinion. Instead he made plans to holiday overseas during the week of our wedding.
So my uncle was conscripted into giving me away, a duty he was not happy to perform.
When it came time for Adrian and I to say our vows, I stood at the altar in my wedding dress made from caterpillar netting and cried so much that the minister had to ask me to nod my head.
I couldn’t say my vows. I couldn’t say my name. I never promised to love, honour or obey Adrian, I didn’t even get out the words “I do”.
I just nodded my head and Adrian and I became man and wife.
The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 11:2 :
"I promised you to one husband to Christ so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him."
Marriage according to God it is the joining together of a man and a woman.
However, more recently, politicians have redefined marriage for God, by making it legal for a man to marry a man and a woman to marry a woman.
More radical again (although not legal) was the man in Nepal who married a dog.
A man in Britain who married his favourite pub.
Another who married his Harley Davidson motor bike and the woman who married a tree.
In keeping with these new and modern trends in marriage, even the traditionists who marry someone of the oppose sex, like to create their own unique wedding ceremonies that reflect their individuality.
For example the couple who married one another underwater. Or the nudists who stood at the altar naked. Or the bride and bridesmaids who wore black.
Wedding ceremonies and wedding vows can be custom made to suit every body, every one and every whim. No need any more to conform to custom, decorum or protocol.
2000 years ago wedding ceremonies were conducted according to custom and I’d like us to look at some of the Jewish wedding customs of that time.
The first step toward marriage was the betrothal, the formal presenting of the request.
The prospective bridegroom, would take the initiative and travel to the home of the prospective bride. There he would negotiate with the bride’s father the price he must pay to purchase his bride.
To the Jewish mind, this legal requirement of the 'bride price', was not how much the bride could be sold for but how much her prospective husband valued her worth.
After the 'bride price' had been established and paid in full, the couple entered a covenant relationship called the betrothal.
From that time on the bride was consecrated and set apart exclusively for the groom.
She had become his legally purchased bride. Only a divorce could dissolve the covenant or the contract.
As a symbol of this new covenant (or contract) the bridegroom pours the bride a cup of wine. If she drinks from the cup he offers, she is consenting to marriage.
But she doesn’t have to accept, she can refuse. She is at liberty to reject the bridegroom by rejecting the cup.
After the consenting bride and groom drink from the cup of the new covenant together, the bridegroom returns to his father’s house where he will remain apart from his bride for the next 12 months or longer.
The betrothed couple now enter a period of separation and preparation.
This interval allows the bride time to prepare herself for married life, whilst giving the bridegroom time to prepare a place in his father’s house to which to bring his bride.
At the end of the separation period the bridegroom and his male attendants set out at night (by lamp light) and proceed to the house of the bride.
Although the bride is aware that her bridegroom’s coming is imminent, she does not know the exact day or hour of his return.
As she does not know exactly when, she must be ready, waiting and listening for the loud shout that precedes his return.
The procession draws near. Then as the wedding party approach the home of the bride, the loud cry goes out: “The bridegroom comes!”
The bride and her female attendants dress and depart with the groom on the return journey to the father’s house. On their arrival they are greeted by the assembled guests.
The bride still veiled is escorted into the privacy of the bridal chamber. There the two consummate their marriage that had been covenanted twelve months earlier.
Now here comes the embarrassing part. Outside the bridal chamber the male attendants wait for the happy groom to pop out and announce the marriage has been consummated!
Once this happy announcement has been made, the male attendants then share the good news with the wedding guests, who may then feast and make merry for the next seven days.
During the period of feasting and rejoicing the bride remains hidden in the bridal chamber.
Not until the seven days have passed will the bridegroom bring out his bride unveiled and present her to the wedding guests so that they may see her beautiful face.
It was the night of the Passover supper. Yahshua/Jesus and his disciples were in the upper room. The mood was somber. Yahshua was talking about being betrayed; he was talking about an imminent death and returning to his Father.
The disciples were alarmed. They did not understand.
To comfort them Yahshua gave them the following promise found in John 14:1-3:
"Let not your hearts be troubled; believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms; if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you and if I go and prepare a place for you I will come again and take you to myself, that where I am you may be also".
Some of us are familiar with these verses from John. We take comfort in knowing that Yahshua/Jesus will come again and when he does, he will take us to be with him.
But we read John 14:3 from a western perspective, through western eyes. We only see that Yahshua/Jesus is promising to return. We do not see the analogy or the parallel he is making with Jewish wedding customs.
You see, 2000 years ago Yahshua the Bridegroom left heaven, his Father’s house in search of a bride. He traveled to the house of Israel the home of his prospective bride.
For the same reason that the Jewish groom takes the initiative, and comes to the home of the one whom he loves, Yahshua comes to earth for the purpose of obtaining those whom he loves, for his bride.
There in the upper room with his disciples, on the night of the Passover supper, the same night that Yahshua promises to return in John 14. He kneels and washes the feet of his disciples then lifts the cup of the new covenant and says:
“This is the cup of the new covenant in my blood.” - 1 Cor 11:25
His announcement leaves his disciples uncomfortable. Yahshua/Jesus has just proposed. He has drawn an unmistakable parallel with marriage and has asked his disciples to marry him.
He is asking them to enter the engagement period or the betrothal with him.
He is asking that they be legally covenanted in the sight of heaven, set apart exclusively for him until he returns.
He is declaring that the bride price he will pay to purchase the one whom he loves, will be in his blood.
And he is asking the disciples to accept his proposal by drinking from the cup he offers.
Yahshua proposed to his disciples on the night of the Passover supper. Making the Passover the anniversary of the night Yahshua proposed to his bride.
Yahshua proposed to his disciples on the night of the Passover supper but the next time you participate in this ceremony; the next time you eat the unleavened bread and drink from the cup of the covenant, remember that Yahshua is proposing to you.
He is kneeling at your feet as he did with his disciples and asking you to marry him. He is saying:
"I love you.
"Will you be my bride?
"Will you take me to be your husband?
"Will you consent to live with me in my Father’s house?
"Will you wait for me until I return?"
If you had been one of the disciples that night in the upper room with Jesus, how would you have answered him?
After the Jewish bride and groom drink from the cup of the new covenant together, the groom returns to his father’s house.
He returns to make living arrangements or to prepare a room for his bride.
Yahshua/Jesus promises in John 14 that he too will return to his Father’s house to make living arrangements for us. To prepare a room, a mansion, a dwelling place for his new bride whom He loves.
Revelation 19:7 says:
"Let us rejoice and be glad…………. 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".
According to Jewish wedding custom while the bridegroom prepares a room in his father’s house, the bride prepares her dress.
Correspondingly this period of time, this interval between the bridegroom’s proposal and his return, we the bride, need to be preparing our wedding dress for the Wedding of the Lamb.
Most brides (although there are exceptions) stand at the altar in dresses made from tulle, taffeta, satin or lace. But what will we the bride of Christ be wearing on our wedding day?
According to Rev 19, we will be wearing - "fine linen" symbolic of righteous acts and good deeds.
The Bride of Christ will stand at the altar in heaven, in a dress of good deeds.
Fabric exquisitely and beautifully interwoven from the threads of God’s righteousness together with our acts of kindness, goodness, justice, mercy, compassion and love.
Now is the time to say ‘yes’ to Yahshua.
Now is the time to prepare our dress of good deeds.
Now is the time to be watching, waiting and listening for the Bridegroom’s return.
Because this interval period will not go on forever. Yahsua is coming and this time of separation from him and preparation for him, is drawing to a close.
The Bible says in Matt 25:6: "At midnight the cry rang out, 'Here’s the Bridegroom! Come out to meet him!'"
According to Jewish wedding custom, at the conclusion of the separation period, the bridegroom travels by night with his male attendants to the home of the bride.
Although the bride does not know the exact day or hour of his coming, nevertheless, she is keeping herself ready, because she knows his coming is imminent.
She is listening for the loud shout that precedes his return.
The Bible says in 1 Thess 4:16: "That Yahshua/Jesus himself will come down from heaven with a loud shout of command, with the voice of the arch angel and with the trumpet call of God".
Yahshua/Jesus is coming.
He comes in the power and glory of his Father with all his holy angels. He is coming for the one he is betrothed to, to claim her as his legally purchased bride.
The question that I would like to ask is – is this you?
Have you said ‘yes’ to Yahshua/Jesus?
Have you accepted his proposal of marriage? Have you drunk from the cup of the new covenant he offers?
Are you preparing your dress of good deeds? Are you watching, waiting and listening for his return?
Are you the one he is returning for?
Because the Bridegroom comes only for his bride and Jesus is returning only for those who love him.
I’d like us to look at Matt 24:29-31:
"Immediately after the distress of those days, the sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light……………..At that time…………the Son of Man will appear in the sky and all the nations of the earth will mourn.
They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call and they will gather his elect from the four winds and from one end of the heavens to the other."
According to Jewish wedding custom the groom comes for his bride at night, accompanied by his male attendants. According Matthew 24, Yahshua will come for his bride at night, accompanied by his angel attendants.
Matthew 24:36 goes on to say: "No one knows the day or hour of his coming."
The Jewish bride did not know the exact day or hour of the groom's return and the Bible says we must be ready, for Yahshua comes at a day and an hour we do not know.
We don’t know when Yahshua/Jesus will return but we do know that when nature
is unruly and unpredicable; when the earth shakes, the sun and moon refuse to shine and the world is
plunged into darkness, the Bridegroom comes.
He comes at the midnight hour.
He comes with all his holy angels, but he comes, only for those he is betrothed to.
For those who love him and have consented to be his bride.
Yahshua/Jesus issues to you an invitation to attend his wedding but not as a guest. You come as his bride or you don’t come at all.
He has already paid the bride price just for you. He extends to you the same cup of the covenant in his blood he extended to his disciples on the night of the Passover supper.
How will you answer him? Will you accept or reject the cup he offers?
The Bible says in 2 Corthanians 11:2:
"I promised you to one husband to Christ so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him."
When we say ‘yes’ to Yahshua, consent to be his bride, repent and accept that his death on a cross was the bride price he paid to purchase us ... then it doesn’t matter what wrongs we have done or what sins we have committed.
Because in his eyes we are his forgiven, beautiful, chosen one.
His legally purchased, promised, virginal bride.
Yahshua/Jesus is returning for his bride, his betrothed, his beloved.
He will come at the darkest hour.
She will be listening for the loud shout that precedes his return.
He will come with all his angel attendants.
She will be caught up together with him in the air.
He will prepare the wedding supper.
She will never hunger or thirst again.
He will provide the garments of his righteousness.
She will be wearing her dress of good deeds.
He will prepare the mansion in his Father’s house.
She will enter the bridal chamber.
He will rejoice over her with singing and his gift to her will be eternal life.
Then will the angel attendants announce the consummation of their love.
Dear Yahshua/Jesus, Most Lovely of Bridegrooms,
Thank you that you have purchased me with your blood.
I am legally yours. I consent to be your bride.
I take you as my husband. From this day forward, as heaven is my witness, for richer or poorer, better or worse, in sickness or in health.
I will wait for you, until you return.
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Staff Note: I took the liberty to add a couple of links in Wendy's writing that are not on her original writing. I highly encourage readers to go to Wendy's ministry website and read many other of her insightful, spiritual writings: http://www.wendysissonministries.com/default.html
Here is another writing that addresses this same topic Wendy has written
about, to give readers a second witness to this Wedding that is going to
- Norm Rasmussen ,
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"THE ANCIENT JEWISH WEDDING" -
Amazing Parallels Regarding The Return Of Christ For His Bride