(NOTE: This article is adapted from The Three Pillars of Zion. You can download free PDF copies of the books in this series by clicking: www.PillarsOfZion.com.)
Throughout the scriptures, the Jewish marriage symbolizes the New and Everlasting Covenant, the first pillar of Zion. Something extraordinary begins to happen when we see the scriptures through the lens of the marriage covenant. Suddenly, we understand that the Covenant describes an intimate, loving and fruitful relationship. This is the covenantal relationship that is offered to us by the Bridegroom, who invites us to take his name upon us and to share his life.
In this article, we will examine the events that led up to the actual wedding. These events began with the father’s giving his son permission to go and claim his bride. At that point, the father issued his second and final call to the wedding. Then the wedding processional began. The bridegroom came as a thief in the night and whisked away his beloved bride and conveyed her as a queen to the place that he had prepared for her. Then the wedding took place; the bridegroom and his bride were finally together, never again to be parted.
Invitation to the Wedding
When the bridegroom completed the “little mansion or bridal chamber” [i] for his bride, and when the groom’s father finally declared that the construction and preparations met with his approval, the father finally gave his son permission to go and claim his bride. Immediately, the bridegroom began to organize a wedding procession by calling and gathering his close associates. In this we remember the reference to the Lord’s coming with “all the holy angels with him.” [ii]
While the bridegroom was thus engaged, the father sent his servants to make the second announcement or in other words “for the last time.” [iii] We recall that the first announcement or calling happened at the time of betrothal. At that time, the invited guests covenanted to come to the wedding whenever the father announced that the wedding, feast and festivities are about to commence. [iv]
We must keep in mind that the chosen ones had promised that they would remain in readiness and attend the marriage of the son. To reject the invitation now would be nothing short of a monumental insult and a serious offense. Jesus spoke about the second announcement and the seriousness of following through on our initial covenant:
A certain man made a great supper, and bade many:
And sent his servant at supper time to say to them that were bidden, Come; for all things are now ready.
And they all with one consent began to make excuse. The first said unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see it: I pray thee have me excused.
And another said, I have bought five yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused.
And another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I can not come.
So that servant came, and shewed his lord these things. Then the master of the house being angry said to his servant, Go out quickly into the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in hither the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind.
And the servant said, Lord, it is done as thou hast commanded, and yet there is room.
And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled.
Notice that the chosen guests who did not attend the wedding used as excuses property, possessions and family concerns. It is sad but true that many of the chosen ones will step aside from their covenant: “Behold, there are many called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen? Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world, and aspire to the honors of men.” [vi]
For an invited guest to place anything above his commitment to attend the wedding or for an invited guest to be unprepared, as were five of the ten virgins, are insults that will summon the Father’s indignation. To not respond to the Bridegroom’s advent will most certainly result in such individuals’ being shut out from the wedding and the Bridegroom’s denying knowing them.[vii]
The Wedding Processional
The bridegroom led a procession to the bride’s home to claim her. He was decked out in regal attire, often wearing a crown, dressed in garments “scented with frankincense and myrrh,” and appearing in every way like a king. This joyous occasion was one of “singing, dancing and merriment.” Now the bridegroom’s long-awaited purpose and the object of his sacrifice were about to be rewarded.[viii] The clamorous late-night procession wound through the streets with their torches beaming and their trumpets blaring, awakening everyone along the way.
The scriptures inform us that “the Son of Man shall come, and he shall send his angels before him with the great sound of a trumpet.” Those in the procession beckoned others to join them: “…and they shall gather together the remainder of his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.” [ix]
When the procession neared the bride’s home, “a messenger was sent ahead to give the shout, ‘The bridegroom cometh!’” At that point, the bride had about half an hour “to make final preparations” before the shout was given again and the bridegroom claimed her. [x] “And he [the angelic messenger] shall sound his trump both long and loud, and all nations shall hear it. And there shall be silence in heaven for the space of half an hour; and immediately after shall the curtain of heaven be unfolded, as a scroll is unfolded after it is rolled up, and the face of the Lord shall be unveiled.” [xi]
Claiming the Bride
The Jewish marriage is filled with the imagery of the New and Everlasting Covenant. When we entered into the Covenant with the Bridegroom through baptism, we recognized the fact that he had paid a price for us. In the covenantal agreement, he promised to provide for us, redeem us, and to live with us in a loving relationship. Then he presented us with tokens (his wounds) representing his love and devotion. He did all of this in the presence of witnesses.
He vowed to prepare a place for us in the mansions of his father, and he promised to one day return for us: “I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.