The hour had finally come for the loyal and long-suffering bride. Having made all preparations, having waited faithfully and patiently for the bridegroom’s return, having heard the trumpet and the shout, having gathered all together during the last half hour, and having heard the final shout, the bride now gave herself willingly to the bridegroom as he burst through the door of her home to claim her. By this action, the bridegroom suddenly elevated his bride to the stature of a queen.
The New and Everlasting Covenant provides for such regal unity: “[The Bridegroom] hast made us unto our God kings and priests [and queens and priestesses]: and we shall reign on the earth.” [xv] Elder Bruce R. McConkie wrote:
This unity among all the saints and between them and the Father and the Son, is reserved for those who gain exaltation and inherit the fulness of the Father's kingdom. Those who attain it will all know the same things; think the same thoughts; exercise the same powers; do the same acts; respond in the same way to the same circumstances; beget the same kind of offspring; rejoice in the same continuation of the seeds forever; create the same type of worlds; enjoy the same eternal fulness; and glory in the same exaltation. [xvi]
Immediately, the bride was lifted up into a special chair—a throne—“and carried to her new home. The four strong men,” who conveyed the bride, were “given the honorary title, Giborei Yisrael, or heroes of Israel.” [xvii] In this regal setting, the bride appeared stunningly beautiful without spot or blemish. Moreover, she was beautiful within, having prepared during and faithfully endured the wait.
Similarly, the apostle John saw latter-day Zion “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” [xviii] The psalmist wrote, “The king's daughter is all glorious within: her clothing is of wrought gold. She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needlework: the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto thee. With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought: they shall enter into the king’s palace.” [xix]
Now the bridegroom brought her to the place he had prepared for her. Donna Nielsen explained:
The most important period of the marriage festivities was when the bride entered her new home. The bride and groom were sometimes crowned with real crowns or with garlands or roses, myrtle, or olive leaves…. The couple was treated like royalty during this time. The new husband was literally considered a king and priest in his own home, with his wife as queen. [xx]
How glorious is the Covenant that exalts us and makes us equal with the King of Heaven!
A number of symbolic events occurred when the guests entered into the father’s home. These events hearken to blessings that attend the New and Everlasting Covenant. For example, each guest had his feet and hands washed, then he was anointed, embraced and kissed. These gestures were evidences of reconciliation; no hard feelings would be allowed in the father’s house on such a joyous occasion. We might expect to be thus treated when we regain the Father presence.
“Another Jewish custom was to wear a ‘wedding garment.’” These garments were supplied to the guests by the bridegroom’s father. They were white, “a color associated with royalty.” Moreover, the white garments represented light. If someone were found not wearing a garment, such as the guest mentioned in Matthew 22:11, he would be cast out. His action would be interpreted as disdain for the father’s generosity.
While the guests were dressing, greeting and conversing, the bridegroom and the bride dressed in their white wedding clothing, which was symbolic of “purity, forgiveness of sins, and solemn joy.” [xxi] Isaiah exulted, “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” [xxii]
At this point, the bride would be anointed with sweet olive oil. We remember that this sanctifying act signified her joy and her willingness to transform her life from a single woman to a queen to her husband. This change of status was shared by both the bride and the bridegroom. “Each groom at the time of his wedding and later in his own home was to be considered as a king and a priest.”
The act of clothing the couple in royal wedding robes signified among other things that they were now consecrated to become fruitful and bear children. [xxiii] Similarly, the Covenant clothes us “with the bond of charity, as with a mantle, which is the bond of perfectness and peace.” [xxiv] Our purpose changes from profane to holy, and joined with the Lord we become fruitful. [xxv]
Now the time of the wedding was at hand. The place of making the covenant was under a canopy, a square piece of cloth held up by four poles. The canopy was open on all sides, reminiscent of the hospitality Abraham and Sarah showed guests in their open tent. The canopy was usually positioned outside so as to be under the stars.
Symbolically and among other things, it represented “God’s sheltering love” and also the covenant that God made with Abraham, promising that his children would be as numerous as the stars of the heavens. [xxvi] Likewise, when we marry in the temple, we are sealed together in the presence of the luminaries of heaven and blessed with all the blessings of Abraham, including “a fulness and a continuation of the seeds forever and ever.” [xxvii]
After the bridegroom had been escorted to the canopy by his parents, the bride was brought to the canopy by hers. At that point, the “officiator faced the couple and read the Psalm of Thanksgiving (Psalm 100). A goblet of wine was raised, and a blessing was said over the wine. This was called the ‘Cup of Joy.’ Both the bride and the bridegroom drank from the same cup, indicating they would share the joys of life together.” Likewise, we are yoked to Jesus in the New and Everlasting Covenant. [xxviii] Our Bridegroom covenants to share with us all the joys and sorrows of life; by covenant, we will never be left alone.