Friday, February 19, 2010

Say Yes to the Dress

Have you ever been completely unhinged when the full meaning of something comes into clear, or - should I say - clearer view?

It's really the experience of the student - be they in institutions of higher learning or living out their daily undertakings - when layer-upon-layer of knowledge merges with understanding and - VOILA! - wisdom is born - jaw-dropping wisdom that never ceases if/when we become aged. We are forever students of something - be it the noble or the ignoble.

That's how I feel whenever I dig deeper into the layers of God's word; especially so when it pertains to the symbolism in the parables & teachings of Jesus. While they're pivotal & pointed all by themselves, when taken in two's, or ten's ... they become the very meat (in contrast to milk) by which we grow.

I gave you milk, not solid food, for you were not yet ready for it. Indeed, you are still not ready. 1 Corinthians 3:2

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation ... 1 Peter 2:2

... by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God's word all over again. You need
milk, not solid food! Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil. Hebrews 5:12-14

It's a meaty subject, as they say, but the implications for us where the
Wedding Feast of the Lamb is concerned are simply too incredible to pass by. I'd like to keep this brief, and I'll try; but the subject is so rich & amazing that I simply must capture it in full array.

Many of you already know how this unfolds, so bear with me.

I go to prepare a place for you .... in My Father's house ....

The wise (virgins), however, took oil in jars along with their lamps ...

This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

My sheep listen to my voice ... My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father's hand.

I will not drink of this fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom.

These are but a few of the layers that are easily connected to Jesus' promises to His Jewish disciples, and to us - the Jewish & Gentile believers through the ages. When sewn together in the context of the Jewish wedding customs in the time of Christ, they become a portrait so splendid it's difficult to consider it without dumbstruck awe. But His Jewish audience "got it", and so can I.

The sad thing to me is that so many religious practices take bits & pieces - some quite beautiful all by themselves - and weave a tapestry of tradition & doctrine that is far from a tether to the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. Often out of context, they become the ritual & rote of religion, with little resemblance to the deeper Jewish roots that undergird every single bit of the Canon, and every single one of Jesus' teachings. But I digress ...

Of that feast, His wedding celebration, the key elements are these (but oh-so much more, so I've included links below if you want to read/study further).

First, the marriage contract was consummated between the parents of the Bride and the Bridegroom. This was called the betrothal period, during which time the Bridegroom prepared a place for his Bride in His Father's house, promising to return to collect her when all was in order. Even he didn't know when that would be, for the timing was up his Father.

Second, the Father sends the Bridegroom, accompanied by his male friends in a torchlit parade through the streets, to get his Bride at her home. He was to arrive at the midnight hour, with the Bride knowing what would take place (but not when); so she would be ready with her maidens at all times. At her Bridegroom's summons, she and her maidens would join the parade that would end up at the Bridegroom's home - the Father's house.

Third
was the marriage supper itself, which might go on for days.

In our Christian worldview, these dots connect like this:

The first phase was consummated on earth when each individual member of the Church (the body of Christ made up of true believers), placed his faith & trust in Christ as Savior. The dowry paid to the Bridegroom’s Parent (God the Father) would be the shed blood of Christ on the cross on the Bride’s behalf. Now the person/Church would belong to Christ in the sense of betrothal and, like the wise virgins in the parable, all would be watching and waiting for the appearance of the Bridegroom (the Second Coming). Neither they nor anyone else could snatch the Bride from the Bridegroom's hand!

The second phase symbolizes the Removal of the Church when Christ comes to claim His Bride and take her to the Father's house.

The marriage supper then follows as the third and final step, which is yet to come as we read in chapter 19 of the Book of Revelation.

We come away with so much more than understanding, and I dare say so much more than our salvation (as if that alone weren't enough!!).

We come away with a ring on our left hand; a promise of a place in the Father's house; and an expectant anticipation of the midnight call that's coming - a call that'll rock our world for eternity ..

“Blessed are those who are
invited to the marriage supper
of the Lamb”

Revelation 19:9.

Resources:
Lambert Dolfin
Berean Christian Studies
Judaism 101: Weddings
Jewish Wedding Traditions

20 comments:

Rose said...

Katheleen,

Oh what a way to start my day. Yours is the first blog I read this morning and I am overcome with emotion.
How beautifully you have shown the Jewish customs and joined them, much like the marriage, to our Gentile understanding.
A dear friend of our from church teaches a study on this and you touched on some of the points he brings out and every time I hear them they bring tears to my eyes and it gives me goose bumps. Like you said there is so much more to it, but you condensed it so well. Thank you! I never tire of hearing it.

Tammy@If Meadows Speak... said...

I love being HIS bride!

christy rose said...

"a call that will rock our world for eternity" That is for sure! I can not wait for this day! The one hope of our calling is to be reunited with our bridegroom and honeymoon forever with Him. :)

They call me "Deb" said...

Beautiful teaching. I love it! You did a wonderful job!
As a virgin bride awaiting the return of my Betrothed, I can't help but know the excitement in the air that tells me this is the season of His return. Making sure my lamp is filled with oil!
Hugs,
Deb

NanaNor's said...

What a wonderful real picture you've painted here from the Word. I love the reality that we are His bride and cherished beyond belief. Thank you for sharing Thruth today-what a blessings.
Hugs, Noreen

Debbie said...

Kathleen, thank you for sharing such wisdom and Truth. I love how you explained each part and related it back to the Jewish audience who would totally get this marriage ritual.

How thankful I am that I have a bridegroom. It puts this life into proper perspective. While I wait, not knowing the exact time, I want to grow closer to the Lord and to grow to become more like Jesus.

Love you,
Debbie

manthano said...

It does mean so much more when put
in it's proper prospective. Thanks for
laying it out for us.
May the Lord continue to bless you.

Andrea said...

AMEN!
I am eagerly waiting,
andrea

~*~KIMBERLY~*~ said...

This is an excellent post Kathleen. Praise God. Even if some of us already knew this it is a 'great' reminder of what's in store for us. Praise the Living God! Amen!

jsi said...

Hi my name is Jessie and I just found your site - what a treasure you have presented today! I find it to be an amzing picture of believers walking around wearing their wedding clothes everyday waiting for Jesus. My wedding dress is downstairs in the basement in its packaging (for safe and gentle keeping)with the hopes or dreams that my daughters could wear it. I only wore it once, but I have remained married now nearly 20 years. Can you imagine wearing your wedding dress for 20 years??!!
Jesus asks us to be ready...He's coming to get His bride...what a thrilling and moving visual you have brought to my mind this afternoon!

I'm going to try to follow you weekly. Have a great day!

Deborah Ann said...

Thank you for this very poignant word..we are the Bride of Christ, and as such we must make sure our garments are spotless...

skoots1mom said...

eternal covenant :)

GrammyGoo said...

Awesome Post.
The last paragraph and the scriptuer with it brought a praise right to my lips!

Blessings , Ella

RCUBEs said...

I'm so grateful I didn't have second thoughts to say "yes" when I got invited!

Awesome! Thank you! Have a blessed weekend!

Nel said...

Amen! I just pray that my loved ones and friends will join me on that day! Gives me goose bumps to think about it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

until next time... nel

sonja said...

Kathleen:

That was a beautiful pictureof us, because we know Him. I am constantly challenged to live with eterrnal perspective, and your picture here is another confirmation of what that really means.

He IS coming, and I want to be ready.

Blessings!

Sonja

Denise said...

Bless you for this lovely post.

Donna M. Kohlstrom said...

Wow! What a great post reminding us of the eternal wedding celebration that is ours when we accept His invitation!

I've got my wedding dress on, accepted the invitation and await the wedding ceremony!

Just a little something from Judy said...

New insights into the precious Word of God. It seems that every time I read the Word, new and exciting things open up to me. You gave us a beautiful picture of the marriage feast, and what is in store for us. I've watched my daughter's as bride's on their wedding day. The anticipation and joy was everywhere. May we be the same as we await that glorious day.

Beth E. said...

Wow, Kathleen...such a powerful lesson! Your explanations of Jewish tradition and the way you relate it to God's Word - and his promise - are wonderful.

Hugs,
Beth