Weekly Sabbath Survey
Here Comes the Groom — 3-11-2017
Wedding traditions: every culture and ethnicity has theirs. The clothing, the ceremony, the decor, the food. Some things have roots in superstition. Like it’s ‘bad luck’ for the groom to see the bride on their wedding day until she’s walking down the aisle. Others are cultural with roots way back, like jumping the broom and throwing the bride’s garter for the lucky single guy to catch or the bride’s bouquet for the young ladies.
By God’s own design, much of what we do at weddings mirrors His laws and His plan for us. None is more obvious than the Jewish wedding ceremony. Today it’s modernized and lost some of the rich symbolism which was once a part of the ceremony. A wedding in context of the Bible will give us a great picture. It’s easy because the Yemenite Jews in Israel today still have the old, old wedding traditions.
After two families make an agreement for betrothal, the parties all sign a legal contract of marriage. The wedding ceremony is a formality and celebration, but once the legal, binding contract is signed, the couple is already man and wife. No date is set. The couple each stay with their own parents, while the groom ‘prepares a place’ for them to live. They may see each other (like dating) if they live near. When his father says the place he’s made is ready, word is passed along so the village women can begin to prepare, but only the groom’s father can say exactly when. Does any of this sound familiar?
So when The Father decides the time is right, the groom gets himself bathed and dressed to meet his bride. When the groom and his friends start walking down the street toward the bride’s home, the single girls in the entourage go along carrying oil lamps, because the groom always arrives after sundown. Villagers join them as they go along, laughing and chattering with excitement. The best man runs ahead to the bride’s home, yelling all the way, “The groom is coming! The groom is coming!!!” During this time the preceding week or so, the bride has been in a constant state of readiness every day. She had her wedding clothes and jewelry laid out and ready. She bathed each afternoon in water perfumed with oils. All she had to do was slip out of her night dress, fix her hair, put on the wedding dress, veil and jewelry. Her married friends, her sisters and her mother help get her gussied up, and she is, of course, gorgeous. She is ready for her husband’s arrival. Rev. 19:7 says “The bride has made herself ready.”
As the groom’s party approaches the young men hoist him up seated in a chair so he arrives like a king of old. The people cheer for the groom. He is the centerpiece of the wedding. He shouts his wife’s name. She comes out and is seated in a chair beside him. The Rabbi addresses them with admonitions of love and respect for one another, and prayers that many children be born to them. Then, the dancing and feasting begins and goes on into the night. The men dance together in one circle, the women in another. At some point, the groom gives the bride one end of a scarf and he holds the other. With it stretched between them, they dance. She is still veiled. After they dance, she quietly slips away into the marriage tent which was set up by their friends and furnished with food, wine, sheets and pillows, whatever they might need. The groom waits a short while, giving the bride time to remove her wedding regalia and ‘slip into something more comfortable.’ When he comes to join her, the best man stands outside the tent’s door to make sure nobody bothers or teases them. The singing and dancing and rejoicing continues far into the night.
I have no idea when or how or why our customs changed to make the bride the star of the wedding. But no matter what our customs are, when Jesus returns for His bride, He will be coming as a mighty King for a bride that adores Him and has been making herself ready for a very long time. At that moment, every eye will be fastened on The Groom.
The first time I read that the bride MADE HERSELF READY, I realized I was just sitting around waiting for the Lord to change me (like a baby’s diaper!). Not good enough!! He does change us, but at my stage in development as a Believer, I knew that very day I had to start doing some things myself!! I might make heaven like I was, His blood and all that, but if I wanted more, if I wanted to be a part of The Bride, I needed to start preparing myself. I’m still working on it!
Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to The Groom: for the marriage supper of The Lamb is come and his wife has made herself ready. He says, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, Come Lord Jesus. Revelation 19:7, 22:17
Scroll down for photo of modern Jewish Yemenite Bride . . .
Charlene Reams Manning, Believer in the Lord Jesus Messiah
Forward any WSS you feel has merit. (without changes, please) September 2015
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