10.1. The Jewish Wedding Analogy

Jewish marriage included a number of steps: first, betrothal (which involved the prospective groom’s traveling from his father’s house to the home of the prospective bride, paying the purchase price, and thus establishing the marriage covenant); second, the groom’s returning to his father’s house (which meant remaining separate from his bride for 12 months, during which time he prepared the living accommodations for his wife in his father’s house); third, the groom’s coming for his bride at a time not known exactly to her; fourth, his return with her to the groom’s father’s house to consummate the marriage and to celebrate the wedding feast for the next seven days (during which the bride remained closeted in her bridal chamber).1

First, the father of the groom made the arrangements for the marriage and paid the bride price. The timing of the arrangement varied. Sometimes it occurred when both children were small, and at other times it was a year before the marriage itself. Often the bride and groom did not even meet until their wedding day. The second step, which occurred a year or more after the first step, was the fetching of the bride. The bridegroom would go to the home of the bride in order to bring her to his home. In connection with this step, two other things should be noted. First, it was the father of the groom who determined the timing. Second, prior to the groom’s leaving to fetch the bride, he must already have a place prepared for her as their abode. This was followed by the third step, the wedding ceremony, to which a few would be invited. Prior to the wedding ceremony, the bride underwent a ritual immersion for ritual cleansing. The fourth step, the marriage feast, would follow and could last for as many as seven days. Many more people would be invited to the feast than were to the marriage ceremony. In the Marriage of the Lamb all four of these steps of the Jewish wedding ceremony are evident.2

Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions (μοναι [monai] , dwelling places); if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. (John John 14:1-3)

In its description of the Second Coming, Revelation Rev. 19:1+ does not mention either a translation (rapture) of living believers (1Cor. 1Cor. 15:51-52), or a resurrection of dead believers (cf. 1Th. 1Th. 4:16).5

Notes

1 Charles C. Ryrie, Come Quickly, Lord Jesus (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 1996), 67.

2 Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, The Footsteps of Messiah, rev ed. (Tustin, CA: Ariel Ministries, 2003), 162-163.

3 Renald E. Showers, Maranatha, Our Lord Come (Bellmawr, NJ: The Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry, 1995), 165.

4 We see similar irreconcilable differences in OT passages concerning His ministry: He is to reign as king (Isa. Isa. 9:6-7), but He is to die for the world (Isa. Isa. 53:1). How can these both be true? The answer is found in two separate comings. And so it is with Rapture and Second Coming passages.

5 John MacArthur, Revelation 12-22 : The MacArthur New Testament Commentary (Chicago, IL: Moody Press, 2000), Rev. 19:11.

6 Showers, Maranatha, Our Lord Come, 164-169.

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