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May 2, 2022 12:00 am
In Revelation 2, Christ commends the church at Ephesus for their pure theology and their love for sound doctrine, but He condemns them for losing sight of their first love. So if Jesus isn't the reason we're studying Revelation, we're studying in vain.
One of the ways that God described his relationship with the church is as a groom and the bride. Then in Revelation. There's a wedding. Sarah, the charges will be torn and blood so John is transported to this nation of a ceremony at a feast in involving the bride of Christ tried to be just wipes out, we probably would to. There are special garments that traditionally are part of what is the bride is beautiful down of some sort. God used the imagery of a bride to describe the church and its relationship to him.
Part of that involved clothing believers in special garments. There's more imagery of a bride that God uses in Revelation and Stevens looking at that today this is wisdom for the heart were in a series called thy kingdom come. In today's lesson is called here comes the bride whether a few events on the planet more special than attending a wedding wedding scene. There is no event more special than your own wedding.
All the men said there's no event more special than your own wedding day and all the men said men have to have things repeated before they get it day. For those of you who are married certain details of your wedding day probably stand out to you after all the details, the planning, praying the purchasing stress the family members. The stress finally today arrives. The groom is anxious. The bride is nervous when brought to read about some time ago so nervous you knew shooting a faint walking down the center island.
Her daddy they were in the back of the sanctuary. Just about ready to march in healing data gave her a little advice. He said honey. The key is concentration is in the looking. We started out the first thing you do is you just concentrate on the aisle as we get a little closer but halfway down, you look up and you focus on the altar and get a little closer and you just focus on the your bridegroom you you focus on him. So, the moment arrived and they begin to march down his shirt up.
She followed that advice you walked and at rose petal strewn path and people were a bit startled, though she passed them because they could hear her muttering under her breath. Aisle alter him.
I'll alter him.
Not that advice. Most men are in need of alteration and all the women said that's allowed for the privilege of performing weddings over the years have never seen a bride. Anything less than beautiful in the groom. Anything less than joyful, and you have some pictures to show if you been married you look back at them every once in a while, one of my favorite wedding pictures was when that photographer captured the moment when the wedding march began to my bride descended the steps from the balcony down what her dad waited for her at the bottom of the stairs and the photographer captured the moment when she was walking down but if you look closely at the picture you can see her eyes are looking appear toward me.
My heart was racing about 120 did in Slidell after the wedding cake. Never forget that when our funniest memories was after the wedding march and I spent away from the church to her childhood home where her parents were living in where you change clothes and then take off for our honeymoon. Only after we got to her parents home. We realize we'd forgotten the key to the house to get in. We walked around that house. It was it was locked the front door was locked. We walked around to the back of the little home in the back door was locked but we noticed the bathroom window is open was about 8 feet above the ground and I can still remember putting my hands together and hoisting my bride up to receive just get a hold I went. I climbed through the wet client to that window. Wedding dress and all present a picture of that that would be great throughout human history. Weddings, wedding ceremonies, wedding arrangements, wedding decorations wedding apparel have all been significant moments. In fact they been the highlight of the human race for the Jewish young men and women who didn't have an arranged marriage as I was preparing for this message.
Going back in the context of the Jewish wedding which has great significance and in the way prophetic Scripture rolls out as I'll show you today is interesting to me. The rabbis taught that for those who are single that a woman must never seek after a husband, but that the man should seek out his wife have interesting how they argue, they argued that they should be the rule because man was formed from clay but woman came from man's rib therefore meant when a man was looking for his wife. He was merely looking for what he had lost is not good.
Rabbis also taught. I thought this was funny. That man was made from soft clay and woman was made from a hard rib bone and and that illustrated they taught why men are easier to get along with and women. Actually, I didn't think that was funny at all those those Rebbe well if you haven't discovered it yet. If you're new to the faith. You'll learn as you study the Bible that the plan of salvation is a love story by J. Vernon McGee delayed Bible expositor referred to it as the romance of redemption, God the father refers to Israel as his bride, God the son is called the bridegroom and calls the church's bride. It's no surprise to me as we reach this point in human history wert about to change forever with the second coming of Christ. The language of Revelation chapter 19. Sort of shifts into the imagery of a wedding is the coming of Christ, which is effectively the coming of the bridegroom and when he comes he comes with his church who is called the bride no later on in the millennial kingdom that imagery of a bride will be expanded to include the Old Testament saying but for now the focus is on the bride, those who come to faith in Christ. During this dispensation of grace. You could easily entitle this paragraph in the middle of chapter 19 of Revelation, here comes the bride affect it's impossible to capture the significance of this moment. Apart from the wedding customs of biblical time, so any kind of work you through four significant events that take place in a Jewish biblical Jewish wedding. They are the betrothal. The presentation the ceremony and the wedding feast will slow down to go back through each one of them one at a time that there could literally be years between the betrothal and the wedding feast. That's because a Jewish boy and a Jewish girl could be betrothed without ever meeting one another. Now in America in the Western world we have that little ditty that little children's rhyme to go something like this.
Johnny and Susie sit in the tree.
KISS ING first comes love, then comes marriage then comes a baby and a baby.
There's not bad progression of event first comes love, then comes marriage. Not for a Jewish couple first came marriage then came love to them it was first. I do, and then I love you for since I love you, and then maybe I do. Why would this be the case in the Jewish culture because their marriages were arranged by their parents. Their parents decided who they would marry which I think is a brilliant idea.
I have daughters so be happy to arrange all alter him. That's my motto.
This was the system and culture in the days of Christ fact, it's still the culture of many around our world. It's been a delight to add your deacon fellowship a godly man by the name of garage Raj and his wife Anna are originally from India. They recently celebrated their seventh wedding anniversary and it was an arranged marriage by their parents Raj and Anna met on the day they were officially engage. I've asked him and her. You know how how does that work you know how does that feel what is that light can spin delightfully here of their culture. They both with believing parents have the arrangements made. It was a system of honor that they respected.
They both love Christ. They have grown to love each other and now they are in their eighth year of marriage.
This is the culture of the patriarch, this is Isaac and Rebekah Genesis chapter 24 they had never seen each other until they married Moses records Isaac took Rebekah and she became his wife and he loved her. It was first I do and then I will learn to love you and I think our Western culture could learn a lot about in this generation. In the arrangement of the marriage betrothal parents would meet each other.
They would always have at least two witnesses, which was their custom and they would negotiate the betrothal contract now in those days the betrothal was a binding legal arrangement. It was much more significant to the Jewish people than engagement is in our Western during the betrothal. The man in his future bride were actually referred to as husband and wife even though they lived together they had had the wedding ceremony that had taken place yet these two young people during their betrothal would be faithful to one another, even though they were not fully married or their marriage physically consummated.
It was a time when the bride would be observed for her chastity and her purity, she would be observed by the family and friends for her devotion to her coming bridegroom and their marriage together and demand during this betrothal. Would be a way back in his father's homestead building on to the father's house preparing the place where he and his bride would would live another betrothal. Typically lasted about 12 months, sometimes longer, sometimes shorter, but was always a time of joyful anticipation and preparation that the betrothal was formally called the preparation, but why was so devastating to Joseph to learn of Mary's pregnancy during the time of their what their betrothal when Mary that you wrote had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child.
In other words, at that critical juncture in this process. In this period of time where she is supposed to be revealing her purity and faithfulness to him alone were seized to be preparing for the home that she would create and provide with him.
Her betrothed husband Mary is found to have been unfaithful. She's expecting and everything now shattered little wonder it would take the appearance of an angel to keep Joseph on the path to marrying his betrothed, listen, we, the church, the bride of Christ are to live with joyful anticipation of that moment when we will be united with our betrothed. The apostle Paul in fact used this language even though now we can be called wife and Christ husband that has yet to be fully consummated in the ceremony and the establishment of the kingdom and so Paul uses this wedding imagery to speak to us as he writes to the Corinthians. He says this for I betrothed you to one husband. In other words he uses the language as if he is the parent and he is saying to the church. I've already negotiated by virtue of the gospel. This betrothal arrangement where you become his and and he saying this that I might present you as a pure virgin, but I'm afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. First Corinthians 11 to sustain devoted we in this waiting period of time.
We follow after Christ we please. Our beloved, so to speak. Another aspect of this betrothal. It is the dowry.
This is the price paid by the groom's family for the bride know this culture, the women were so involved in establishing the home. In fact, managing and running the household. Everything from crops to Catalan children. The size of the family would grow through the childbirth of the matriarch, the loss of a daughter one Hebrew scholar wrote I learned this this week that how they thought about this. The loss of a daughter he wrote was viewed as the diminishing of efficiency for her family and increasing the efficiency of her husband's family so the groom had to pay the price of an dowry to compensate for the loss. Another brilliant idea is we've already learned in our last session he got a Revelation 19 is the coming of Christ to earth with his bride. I find it fascinating as we slip into this scene that the wedding imagery comes to the surface.
Look at verse seven of chapter 19. Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to him for the marriage of the Lamb has come and his bride has made herself ready. Now wait a second.
He is coming as a conquering sovereign. In fact will be described later on in chapter 19, without descriptive phrase, King of Kings and Lord of lords. Why is there a reference not to him as King of Kings and Lord of lords, but a reference to him as the Lamb. I think this is a reference back to the idea of the dowry. This is the title of his suffering.
This is the title of his glory through his death.
This would be that an implication of the dowry he paid for the bride for the bride cost him what his life. Ephesians 525.
You have been bought with a price.
Therefore glorify God with your body for scripting 620, so the bride is seen with her groomsmen and he is called the Lamb so evidently the betrothal.
Now is over. Never a set time the groom would send out a message that he was on the way to the bride's home to collect her.
What happens next in the typical Jewish wedding scene or process would be what we see happening in the New Testament.
We've studied it already is called the presentation after the betrothal is the presentation at this stage, the bridegroom comes to take his bride to the father's house and if you're listening you're going to hear implications of the gospel already. Now this presentation is a time of festivity's a great celebration and based on the wealth of the groom that would determine the length of it so we were a Jewish family. Today we would tell our daughters that there presentation can last 30 minutes. Now if you are well thinking last day. If you are really wealthy can last a week.
The wedding hasn't taken place yet it's the presentation of the bride where the bride is presented to the home. The household the family. The friends of the groom. So in this imagery of an ancient wedding. What would be the presentation.
It would be the rapture.
It would be that time marked when the bridegroom, the Lord Jesus Christ takes his bride back to the father's house for brief period of time at time of festivities, a time of celebration before the wedding ceremony time.
In fact, in fact, we watched a few times where we've seen the elders representing the church in heaven as they are before the throne. During this time of presentation worshiping and singing praise to their God that the presentation of the bride then prophetically for us has now lasted seven years. The tribulation is happening on earth.
The bride is being presented to the father and the father's house. That might seem odd to have such a long period of time for the presentation of the bride seven years, but consider the fact that the betrothal has lasted. Now, some 2000 as the bride is being gathered in the bridal party is not yet complete issue no. That will take place. In fact, when the bridal party is completed that last member of the bride to accept the Lord is sovereign Savior. The announcement will go out with the rapture call of the trumpet that the bridegroom is coming to sweep away his bride to present her to the father. This is the next event of the prophetic calendar by the way, this is what were waiting for the presentation of the bride sweeping away the bride for brief time of festivity and then the ceremony and the wedding feast we have been betrothed to Christ and wedding imagery. He's preparing a place for us at his father's house like this is the exact imagery that Jesus Christ spoke up to his disciples and to us when he said to them, in John 14, two and three in my father's house are many Monet you can translated many apartments, many dwelling places many rooms.
I am going away to prepare that place for you and I will come again and receive you to myself and where I am, there you maybe also to come and get you the bride and present you in this place that I've prepared the third stage of the wedding is now ready to take place as the actual wedding ceremony.Jewish wedding ceremony, much like a Western wedding would involve valves and prayers and blessings. Exchange of rings were not given wedding ceremony details. Although we can put some clues together what's taking place as the bride is presented brought together in union with her bridegroom ceremony.
The exchanging of of promises where our Lord honors us before his father. As we have honored him. I personally believe that many of the promises made to the church in Revelation 2 and three are going to be a part of the wedding ceremony is given one example, when my wife and I were married I gave her something that she had never owned before. I'm not thinking of our matching wedding bands.
I am thinking of my name all her life up to that point, her name had been Marsha Gladney good Irish name but yet is that wedding ceremony came to a close. We were introduced for the first time as Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Devi and from that point on her name change from Gladney to Davie. Christ promised the church in chapter 2 that he would give them fact individually, a precious gem of some sort with an new name inscribed on it. A unique name given by the groom to the bride. When I told her name is now most wedding ceremonies. The wedding attire is what any people come to see.
It's magnificent and then the groom who will be described for us later on. In chapter 19 we dressed as the King for he is a king. The Jewish groom would dress as much like a king as he possibly could dress, he would borrow the finest clothing we rent tuxedos today and he would borrow jewelry he would in fact he would send his garments in frankincense and myrrh that was their culture and custom that we most often think of gold, frankincense and myrrh as those gifts given to our Lord when he was a little boy by the Magi as a significant market is coming always royalty what is coming suffering and death because frankincense and myrrh. If you are wealthy enough are part of your burial. However, there's more to it than that.
These were the elements of a groom coming for his bride. So even from the time of his childhood. These gifts not only spoke of Jesus Christ.
They spoke of his great delight his own is not only signified his burial but his bride John provides for us and will look at this very brief statement of the bridal apparel because that is significant as well. Go to verse seven in the latter part of said his bride has made herself ready. Verse eight it was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean for the final and is the righteous acts of the saints never given three descriptive words about her bridal dress. This is the bridal gown of the church and each individual will be marked as I'll show you in a moment the first descriptive word is translated fine linen. This was expensive, beautiful cloth Joseph when he was elevated to Prime Minister were told he put on fine linen. Genesis 41 verse 42 King David of the Royal King of Israel war fine linen as part of his kingly dress first Chronicles 15.
This was the fabric of the power. This was the closing of the wealthy royalties.
So we arrived we royalty connected powerfully to the King of the universe will be wearing fine linen, bridal dress is also referred to as bright lamb process which gives us our word lamp use in a way that can be translated not just bright but shining. There is a glow in the bridal apparel.
There is a radiance about his back deficit. The imagery of the wedding divides us with the picture of how God views us as the church there's more to this passage that we want to study together.
The time won't allow us to go past this point today, but when we come back next time. Stephen will review a little bit from today's lesson and then move on and conclude the teaching on this passage. This message is called here comes the bride if you joined us midway through this message you've tuned into wisdom for the heart with Stephen Devi. In addition to being the teacher on this broadcast Stephen pastors the shepherds church in Cary, North Carolina. If your travel plans ever bring you near us.
Please join us for a worship service on a Sunday.
It's a special treat whenever we get to meet a listener in person and we'd love to meet you during the month of May. We have a free resource to celebrate and encourage mothers. Stephen has a booklet called motherhood in a variety of settings. Mothers are consistently underpaid, often undervalued and many times taken for granted in this booklet. Stephen offers words of encouragement to moms, you're not alone. In fact, God delivered some encouraging truths, especially for moms, those truths are revealed in the home life of a mother named Eunice. This is a free digital download that you can access from our website right now, go to wisdom online.org for information.
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