Today when a boy and a girl like each other they will go on a date, maybe to a movie or go out for a pizza. Later they become engaged and marry.
When Jesus was on earth it was a whole different affair. Marriage then was a legal matter. If a young man wanted to marry a girl, the young man would go to her parents and present them with a marriage contract.
After visiting, the groom would announce his reason for the visit and would offer a price for the girl he intends to marry. The price would be agreed upon by the girl's father and the groom. The father saw it as payment for the inconvenience and expenses he experienced while raising the girl. Usually, the father held out for as much as he suspected the groom could afford. Then, when both parties were satisfied, the contract was sealed by the groom and the bride-to-be drinking a cup of wine. The cup of wine signified their entering into a covenant relationship of marriage.
Once they drank the cup of wine, the groom would pay the father the amount agreed upon. Then, turning to the bride the groom would say, "I am going now to prepare a place for you".
Then the groom would return to his father's house where he would begin to build a bridal chamber for their honeymoon. He would either build a small home separate from his father's or fix up a room in his father's house.
The bridal chamber had to be beautiful and stocked with enough provisions to last a week because that was going to be the length of the honeymoon.
The bridal chamber would take up to a year to build. The father of the groom would judge when the chamber was good enough. He would check it now and then and wouldn't be in any hurry.
You can imagine that if the groom was to judge when the bridal chamber was ready he would be so eager to finish it that it could very well look like a shack. So now and then the father would take his time looking it over and make sure everything was just right.
The bride was also busy during this time of waiting. With help from her mother, sisters and friends, she would be preparing her "trousseau", her clothing, linens and everything she will need when the groom came to get her.
The bride would always have a lamp filled with oil in case the groom came at night. She had to be ready to travel in a moment's notice. During the time she was waiting she was referred to as being, "consecrated", or "set apart" and "bought with a price". When she left home to go to the market or to draw water, she would always wear a veil to indicate to others that she was spoken for and soon to be wed.
During the time of preparation, the bride would gather her sisters & bridesmaids and together they would wait for the groom to come. They would all have oil lamps ready because the groom could come at any hour of the day or night so they would all wait at the bride's home every night.
Back at the bridal chamber the groom would hammering away and checking with his father hoping it was good enough to go get his bride. When neighbors would walk by and ask, "When's the big day?" the groom would answer, "Only my father knows that".
Finally, the day would come when the bridal chamber would meet the father's expectations and he would approve it. The groom would gather some of his friends to go with him to get the bride. It was meant to be a surprise as if he was stealing her away.
Meanwhile, the bride would be waiting and wearing her veil, her wedding dress and with her lamp full of oil.
The groom couldn't totally surprise the bride. She may be asleep with curlers in her hair. She
May have a mudpack on her face, etc. (no wonder she always wore a veil). So as the party of young men got close enough to her house one of the men would shout.
When the bride and bridesmaids heard the shout, they knew the groom would be coming through the door to sweep her off her feet. She only had time to get her lamp & clothes for the honeymoon.
Her attendants had to be ready too. They had to have their lamps filled with oil and wicks trimmed because no one would try to walk on that rocky ground without a lamp.
The groom would charge through the door, pick up the bride and carry her away. The bride's father and rest of the family, although excited, would look the other way as if nothing had happened. But the bridesmaids would follow behind the groom and bride.
As the wedding party would travel through the village people would hear them shouting and see the lamps and know it was a wedding. But they wouldn't know who the bride was because she would be wearing her veil over her face.
In a few weeks the bride & groom would be coming back that way again. The bride would have the veil removed at that time and everyone would recognize the bride and groom.
Meantime, the groom and bride have reached their destination and the groom takes the bride into the bridal chamber. They go inside and close the door. This is their wedding night and no one else is allowed inside. The honeymoon would last for 7 days.
The wedding party would wait outside. They can't celebrate until the marriage is consummated. That was the Jewish law. The two had to become one thru the act of intercourse and then they were considered legally married.
The friend of the groom, or the best-man, would wait just outside the door and listen for the groom to tell him the marriage had been consummated and the friend would tell the rest of the wedding party. The celebrating would begin and last the rest of the week.
At the end of the week the couple would come out of the chamber and everyone would join in a large marriage feast or supper. We would call it a wedding reception.
After celebrating, the two would go to their own house which had previously been built by the groom. The bride wouldn't be wearing her veil so as they travel through the village on their way to their new home, the bride & groom would be recognized by everyone.
The Analogy of the Wedding Ceremony and the Christian's Relationship with The Lord:
The marriage contract: Just as marriage is a Blood Covenant, when we accept Jesus as Lord & Savior, we are entering a Blood Covenant relationship with Him. It's a contract that is sealed in His Blood. The contract is outlined in Jer. 31:30-35. It is even dated: in verse 36.
The Cup of Wine: At communion we take the bread & juice. The grape juice represents the Blood of Jesus. Communion is an affirmation or declaration that we are still in Covenant with Him. We are still receptive to His blessings. The broken bread represents His Body that was broken for us for our healing, physical and spiritual. Healing from Him is one of the blessings we are entitled too through Covenant.
The Price is paid: How much did our Bridegroom pay for us? Back in those days a lot of men probably returned home to their father and said, "Do you realize how they want for her?". In the same way, Jesus was in the Garden of Gethsemane. He asked His Father, "If it be possible, let this cup pass from me, it's too big a price to pay!" But Jesus trusted His Father's judgment and said, "Nevertheless, not what I want but what You want. I'll pay the price".
Prepare a place for you: When the groom left to go home and build a bridal chamber, he would tell his bride, "I'm going to prepare a place for you". In John 14:1-3, Jesus said, "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In 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. And 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".
We're in the waiting period. We're consecrated. During this time, we are getting ready for the Groom to come. Our lamp should be filled with oil, the Holy Spirit. Our veil is the way we live. When others see how we handle problems with prayer and peace of mind they ask, "Who is this? Why are they so different? What do they have that I don't?"
The Coming of the Groom for His Bride: 1 Thess. 4:16-17: "For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: 17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord."
When the Lord comes, we must be ready. Matt. 25:2-4 tells about the 10 virgins who had lamps and were waiting for the groom to come. 5 were ready and had their lamps filled with oil. 5 were foolish and had let their lamps run out of oil. They asked the other five for oil, but they only had enough for themselves. The 5 foolish virgins went to buy more oil but verse 6 says, "And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him." verse 10: " ... and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. " Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. 'Z But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not.
8. Jesus added "Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.". What are we supposed to be watching for? The signs of the times. The signs have never been greater, more frequent or more certain than they are today.
9. The Bridal Chamber: We will be taken up to Heaven. II Cor. 5:10 says, "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that everyone may receive the things done in His body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad." This is our honeymoon with the Lord. This is called the Judgment Seat of Christ or the Bema Seat. It is when we go before the Lord and He removes His Brides' veil. It will be a time that we really become "intimate" with Him. He will already know everything about us, but it will be the beginning of our really knowing Him.
He will review our life with us from the time we became saved until the time of the Rapture. He will talk with us and reward us for the good acts. (1 Cor. 3:11-13) He'll also remind us of the things that we should have done but neglected to do. That will mean taking rewards away.
10. Then after 7 years of honeymoon, the Groom Jesus will tell His friend the marriage has been consummated. John 3:28-29, this John the Baptist speaking,
"Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before him. 29 He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom's voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled."
11. Who is the Best Man of the wedding between Jesus and His Bride? John the Baptist was the cousin of Jesus and the forerunner of Jesus. It could very well be that John the Baptist will announce to the heavenly hosts that the Marriage is complete.
11. The Marriage Supper: Rev. 19:7-8, "Let 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. 8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints."
12. After the supper we will leave the Father's house in heaven and come to earth where Jesus will set up His Kingdom. We will live with Him here on earth for 1000 years and then the earth will be purged of sin by fire. There will be a new Heaven & New Earth and we'll live with Jesus for eternity.