GLEANINGS FROM THE SCRIPTURES
The Bridegroom Is Arriving!
By Keith L. Estes
Let me share with you a few words of Jesus, found in the parable of the ten virgins, taken from the Gospel according to Matthew, then let's review the custom of a Jewish wedding in biblical times.
"Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom...While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him...Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh." Matthew 25: 1,5,6,13.
To begin the courtship the prospective bridegroom took the initiative and traveled from his father's house to the home of the prospective bride.
The father of the woman then negotiated with the prospective bridegroom the price that must be paid to purchase his bride (grooms financial responsibility.)
When the bridegroom paid the purchase price, the marriage covenant was thereby established. At that point, the man and woman were regarded to be husband and wife, even though no physical union had taken place.
The moment the covenant was established, the bride was declared to be set apart exclusively for the bridegroom. The groom and the bride then drank from a cup over which the betrothal benediction had been pronounced. This symbolized that the covenant relationship had been established.
After the marriage covenant was in effect, the groom left the home of the bride and returned to his father's house. He remained there for a period of twelve months separated from his bride.
During this period of separation, the bride gathered her wardrobe and prepared for married life. The groom prepared living accommodations in his father's house for his bride.
After this period of separation, the groom, best man, and other male escorts left the house of the groom's father, usually at night, and conducted a torch-light procession to the house of the bride.
The bride was expecting her groom to come for her; however, she did not know the exact time. Thus, the groom's arrival was preceded by a shout.
The groom received the bride with her female attendants and returned to his father's house.
The bride and groom then entered the bridal chamber and, in the privacy of that place, entered into physical union for the first time, thereby consummating the marriage.
This also is a beautiful type of Christ, leaving his heavenly home, paying the price (his death) for His bride, the Church. Sharing communion with us, returning to His Father's house and preparing a place for His bride. As a loving bridegroom He will return for His bride, the Church. We shall go with Him and so shall we ever be with Him.
Matthew 25: 1-13 The Holy Bible and Betrothal, The Jewish Encyclopedia. Funk and Wagnals Co. 1907