Sermon Illustrations

When a Jewish man found a woman he liked (and most times his father would pick one out for him) he would approach the young lady with a marriage contract (a covenant). In the contract were laid out the legal terms in which he would propose marriage.

The most important part of this contract was the bride’s price. The bride price was the amount that the bridegroom was willing to pay the girl’s father for her hand in marriage. Daughters were considered to be sort of a liability back in Biblical times because they couldn’t do as much farming or heavy labor. So the bridegroom, paid a bride price to the father as a token of appreciation for doing such a great job raising her & preparing her for marriage. The bride price had to be costly. It had to be sacrificial. It was a token of the bride groom’s love for his bride. It was a picture of how Jesus bought His Bride with His very blood.

If the father agreed to the contract, then the bride & bride groom would drink a cup of wine together sealing to contract. Remember the Lord’s Supper. It was at that moment that the bride was considered espoused to the bride groom. It’s sort of like what we would consider engagement, but this technically made them legally married, however, they weren’t one flesh, yet.

From there the bride groom would leave to go & prepare a place for her. He would return to his father’s home & would spend a year building and preparing the bridal chamber. It was up to his father to approve of the bridal chamber & determine when it was completed. If someone were to ask the bride groom when the big day was, he would simply respond, “Only my father knows!” (Isn’t that what Jesus said about His return?).

Meanwhile, the bride waits. And she waits. And she waits some more. What she’s waiting on his for her bride groom to finish construction of the bridal chamber. (That’s what Jesus is doing for us right now! He’s almost finished!!). Once his father tells him it’s complete, he comes in the middle of the night to get His Bride, to snatch her & her bridesmaids away. The Bride had to be ready at all times, waiting expectantly and dressed, with oil in the lamps & the wicks trimmed. They did not know when the Bridegroom may appear for them. We do not know when Jesus will return. We must be ready at all times!

When the chamber was complete the father would tell the son to go & get his bride. The bridegroom would then take with him his groomsmen & they would go in the middle of the night to snatch the Bride away. They would announce the arrival of the bridegroom with a shout, giving the bridal party time to grab their lamps & go. This is a picture of the Rapture of the Church. We will disappear from this earth with a shout when the trumpet of the Lord shall sound (I Thessalonians 4:13-18).

Once the bride & bridegroom and the bridesmaids & groomsmen returned to the father’s house, the bride & bride- groom would go into the bridal chamber alone, and the door would be shut. Nobody could enter. They were finally Home together……as we will be with the Lord forever. No more sorrow, sickness or sin.

Meanwhile, the father of the bridegroom would assemble the wedding guests. However, the celebration wouldn’t start right way.

At that moment a friend of the bridegroom would go and announce it to the wedding guests. Then they would feast for 7 days while waiting for the bride & groom to come out of their wedding chamber. This feast was called the “marriage supper.” Once the marriage supper was complete, husband & wife would then leave & go to their own home, where they would begin their life together.

Everything we see in Revelation concerning end-times prophecies was clearly painted for us in the symbolism of Jewish weddings.

- Dr. Larry Petton

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