And The Bridegroom
The New Testament gives us a beautiful picture of
the Church as the bride of Christ and Jesus as the bridegroom.
Jesus Likened The Kingdom Of Heaven To A Marriage
"And Jesus answered and spoke to them again
by parables and said, ‘The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who
arranged a marriage for his son’." Matthew 22:1,2. "Then the kingdom of heaven
shall be likened
to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the
bridegroom" - Matthew 25:1.
The Best Man
Known today as the "best man", John the Baptist
referred to himself as the friend of the groom. "He who has the
bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who
stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s
voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled." John 3:29.
"Then they said to Him, ‘Why do the disciples of John fast
make prayers; and likewise those of the Pharisees, but
Yours eat and drink.’ ‘And He said to them, Can you make the
friends of the bridegroom fast while the bridegroom is with them? But the days will come when the bridegroom
will be taken
away from them; then they will fast in those days.’" Luke
Jesus Referred To Himself As A Bridegroom.
Referring to The Church as the bride of Christ,
The Apostle Paul wrote:
- To his converts at Corinth, "For I am jealous for you with
a godly jealousy. For I have betrothed you to one husband, that I may present you as a
chaste virgin to Christ ". 2nd Corinthians
- To his converts at Ephesus, "For the husband is the head of
the wife, as also Christ is head of the church…Husbands, love your
wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself
for her; that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the
washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself
a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such
thing; but that she should be holy and without blemish. So husbands
ought to love their own wives as their own bodies…just as the Lord does the church.
For we are members of His body, of His flesh and of His bones. For this
reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to
his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a
great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church."
The Apostle John Pictures the Marriage Supper of
"Let us be glad and rejoice and give
Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His wife has made
herself ready." "And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine
linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of
the saints." Then he said to me, "Write: Blessed are those who are
called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!" "And he said to me,
These are the true sayings of God." Revelation 19:7-9
"Then one of the seven angels who had the seven
bowls, …came to me and talked with me, saying, Come, I will show you
the bride, the Lamb's wife." Revelation 21:9
The Three Stages of a Wedding
The marriage of Christ and His church follows the
pattern practiced in Bible times. It consisted of three separate
The Betrothal Stage
The father of the groom would enter into a
contract with the father of the bride in which he pledged his son to
the bride and the bride’s father pledged her to the groom. The
father of the groom would pay a dowry for the bride.
God, the Father, has selected the bride for His
son. "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who
has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in
Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation
of the world…" Ephesians 1:3,4
The dowry for the bride has been paid.
"Knowing that ye were not redeemed with corruptible
things, like silver and gold, from your aimless conduct received by
tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ,
as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." 1st
Peter 1:18, 19.
The Presentation Stage
At the appointed time the groom’s father would
send his servants to the house of the bride with a copy of the
betrothal contract. The bride would then be led to the home of the
groom’s father. The groom’s father would place her hand into the
hand of his son. Scriptures that speak of the presentation stage
include Ephesians 5:25-27 and Revelation 19:7, 8 (quoted
previously). To these could be added John 14:2,3 and Jude 24.
The presentation of the bride of Christ awaits
His coming for His church.
The Celebration Stage
Following the presentation of the bride to the
bridegroom there would follow a joyful wedding banquet to which the
friends of both families would be invited. It was at such a banquet
that Jesus performed His first miracle in turning the water into
wine (John 2:1-11) There are also references to such a wedding
celebration in Matthew 22:2,3; Luke 12:35-37; Luke 14:8- 24.
The Bride’s Final Preparations
It is the desire of Jesus that His bride be
presented to Him in faultless purity, righteousness and glory. In
the garden of Gethsemane Jesus spoke to His heavenly Father about
all those who would come to believe in Him, "And the glory which
You gave Me I have given them; that they may be one, just
as We are one." John 17:22.
This adds meaning to those words
given through the apostle Paul, "…Christ also loved the church
and gave Himself for her; that He might sanctify and
cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might
present her to Himself a glorious church, not having no spot or
wrinkle or any such thing…" Ephesians 5:25-27.
THE BRIDAL GOWN
The bride will be clothed in fine white linen and
endowed with her crown and jewels at what our New Testament calls,
"The Judgment Seat of Christ."
(believers) must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ
that each one may receive the things done in the body…" 2nd Corinthians 5:10.
Unbelievers will stand trial at "The Great White Throne" Judgment to
be assigned their punishment (Revelation 20:11-15). Believers will
be judged to be assigned their rewards. "He who receives a
prophet in the name of a prophet shall receive a prophet’s reward.
And he who receives a righteous man in the name of a righteous man
shall receive a righteous man’s reward. And whoever gives one of
these little ones only a cup of cold water in the name of a
disciple, assuredly, I say to you he shall by no means lose his reward."
(Matthew 10:41, 42)
These reward are spoken of a "crowns" and ruling
with Christ. For more in depth study consider the parables of the
talents (Matthew 25:14-23), the pounds (Luke 19:11-27) and the trial
of works by fire (1st Corinthians 3:11-15) and the "the
crowns". We must keep in mind that Jesus both sees these rewards as
being received by individual believers and collectively by "the
It is interesting to note that the
representatives of believers fall down before God and cast their
crowns before His throne (Revelation 4:10, 11). To me, this
acknowledges that all the spiritual good produced in us and the
spiritual fruit produced through us finds its original source in
God. We yield to the Holy Spirit to work in us. He produces all the
spiritual good that lasts for eternity. We receive the reward of
crowns. This equips us to worship and honor God in a greater way for
All the bridal preparations are to be finalized
at the "Judgment Seat of Christ."
Christ Takes His Bride Home
God has some great purposes in mind for the
church when Jesus comes to take His bride home:
- To deliver the bride from His wrath of the Tribulation. 1st
Thessalonians 1:9, 10; 5:9
- To reward and honor individual believers.
- To prepare the church to rule with Him
- To enable the church to enter into her inheritance of "all
things". Romans 8:32; 1st Corinthians 3:21-23.
The Wedding Day
The conclusion of the scriptures we have studied
is that a day is coming, perhaps not too distant, when Jesus, the
heavenly bridegroom, will make a special trip from Heaven to take
His bride, the church, home to be with Him. It will happen with
surprising suddenness like a lightning bolt out of clear blue skies.
The bodies of believers sleeping in their graves will be raised and
living believers will be caught up with them.
The bride will behold her Bridegroom in all His
glory. She will be caught up in a series of breath-taking events
that will prepare her for and eternal relationship with her Savior
Bridegroom. From that point on, wherever He goes, she is at His
Copyright © 2002 Thomas E Berry
All Scriptures quoted from NKJV unless otherwise noted