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Biblical Literature

“He brought me to the banqueting house, and His banner over me was love” (Song of Solomon 2:4).

There is a myth that romantic love never occurred till the Romantic Age and that before then couples related and mated as spouses but not as lovers. People who hold such opinions should read the Bible. The Bible is filled with real-life drama, making shambles of most persons’ short-sighted views.

CHRIST AND THE CHURCH

“Come, I will show you the Bride, the Lamb’s wife” (Revelation 21:9).

In the Old Testament God pictures Himself as a husband married to two sister-wives, Israel and Judah. In the New Testament Christ, the Bridegroom, “came to His own, but His own received Him not. But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons [and daughters] of God” (John 1:11, 12) and, through marriage, the Bride of Christ.

John the Baptist referred to Jesus as the Bridegroom. “I am not the Christ. I am sent before Him [His forerunner]. He who has the Bride is the Bridegroom. The friend of the Bridegroom [the best man], who stands and hears Him, rejoices greatly because of the Bridegroom’s voice. This my joy, therefore, is fulfilled” (John 3:28, 29).

Jesus referred to Himself as the Bridegroom. When the Pharisees complained that His disciples did not fast, Jesus responded, “Can the children of the Bride chamber mourn as long as the Bridegroom is with them? But the days will come, when the Bridegroom shall be taken from them. Then shall they fast” (Matthew 9:15; Mark 2:19, 20; Luke 5:34, 35).

Jesus enhanced the metaphor with this “parable” (Matthew 22:1-14), describing events that actually took place or will take place. “The kingdom of heaven is like to a certain King, who made a marriage for His Son and sent His servants to call them who had been invited to the wedding, and they would not come,” meaning the Jews. For the first time Jesus sent out the Twelve, He sent them only to the household of Israel (Matthew 10:5, 6), not to the Samaritans, not to the Gentiles.

But the second time Jesus sent out disciples, He sent them to a wider audience. “Again, He sent His servants”—the Seventy (Luke 10:1-16)—“to tell them, Behold, I have prepared My dinner, My oxen and My fatlings, and all things are ready. Come to the marriage. But they made light of it, and went their way, one to his farm, another to his merchandise.”

“And the remnant [Judah] took His servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. When the King heard, He was angry … Then He said to His servants, The wedding is ready, but they who were invited were unworthy. Go, therefore, into the highways, and bid them to the marriage.”

At last, Jesus gave the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20; Mark 16:15-18; Luke 24:46-48; Acts 1:8) opening the door to Judea, to Samaria, to the Gentiles, and “whoever will” (Revelation 22:17).

Today, Christ, the Bridegroom, is still wooing His betrothed Bride, the Church.

“So those servants went out into the highways and gathered as many as they could find, bad and good, and the wedding was furnished with guests” (Matthew 22:10).

The hand of the God is still extended to “whoever will,” but the day is soon coming when the door of opportunity will close. The Bridegroom will call for His Bride and take her to the place He has prepared especially for her (John 14:2, 3).

Jesus said the Kingdom is like “ten virgins, who took their lamps, and went forth to meet the Bridegroom. Five of them were wise, and five were foolish. The foolish ones took their lamps, but no oil, while 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 is coming! Let’s go out to meet Him!’ Then all the virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, we haven’t enough for us and you. Go buy your own.’ And while the five foolish ones went to buy, the Bridegroom came; and they who were ready went in with Him to the marriage” (Matthew 25:1-10).

The Bride will put on her wedding apparel.

“For the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has 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 the saints” (Revelation 19:7-9).

For “Christ loved the Church and gave Himself for it, That He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, That He might present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Ephesians 5:25-27).

John said, “I saw the Holy City, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a Bride adorned for her husband” (Revelation 21:2).

“All are invited to the Gospel-feast; but they who will partake of it must put on the King’s wedding-garment of Evangelical holiness.” ~Alfred Edersheim

The Bride will say her vows and attend the reception, “the Marriage Supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:9).

And, finally, the Bride and Bridegroom will consummate their relationship. “As the Bridegroom rejoices over the Bride, so shall your God rejoice over you” (Isaiah 62:5). “So shall we ever be with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17).

This is the real significance of marriage: Christ and the Church.

“The relationship between Jesus Christ and His church is the supreme example of the committed love that a husband and wife are to follow in their relationship with each other.” ~John C Broger

Copyright © 2014 Alexandra Lee

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