BEHOLD, THE BRIDEGROOM COMETH
“‘Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and HIS BRIDE HAS MADE HERSELF READY. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.’ (Fine linen stands FOR THE RIGHTEOUS ACTS OF SAINTS.)’” Revelation 19: 7, 8. N.I.V.
In the Bible, the marriage of Christ with His bride and the events that precede it, are not according to Occidental [the western] but rather according to Oriental wedding customs. An understanding of these customs will throw much light on the approaching appearance of the heavenly Bridegroom to take unto Himself His bride.
The Oriental father believes that it is his prerogative to choose a wife for his son.
With few exceptions, this was the general rule in Bible times. Concerning those who will help to make up the bride of Christ, the Apostle Paul said: “But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren, beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you* for salvation” (2 Thess. 2: 13). God has indeed chosen the bride for His Son Jesus Christ.
[* That is, ‘chosen’ out from His own redeemed people; from the members of His own family. See Gen. 24.]
In Eastern lands a dowry is paid for the bride.
Before a young man can secure his bride, he must be financially able to pay the price necessary to have her. In like manner the Lord Jesus had to be able to pay the price necessary to redeem His bride. “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it” (Eph. 5: 25). Christ's bride are truly bought with a price, even the blood of Jesus!
In Bible lands, often the bride does not see the groom until the wedding day.
It was so with Rebekah and her bridegroom, Isaac. It is thus with Christ’s bride. Peter wrote of her absent Lover: “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory” (1 Pet. 1: 8).
In the Orient, the wedding supper is usually at the home of the groom's father, and the expense of it is always paid for by the groom's father, and not the bride's father.
In his description of the marriage supper of the Lamb (see Rev. 19: 4-9), the Apostle John leaves no doubt that this great event will take place in heaven which is the home of Christ’s Father, and that every detail of the arrangements will therefore be cared for by Him.
In the East, the wedding procession is outdoors and not indoors as is so often the case in our part of the world.
The procession is from the house of the bride’s parents, all the way to the house of the groom’s parents, the latter house customarily becoming the future dwelling place of the married couple. In John 14: 3, Jesus said: “I will come again and receive you.” Thus the wedding procession that will precede the marriage of Christ and His bride will be an outdoor procession, all the way from earth to heaven!
Again, in an Eastern wedding procession, the bride rides, she rarely walks.
The Apostle Paul describes the coming wedding procession through the skies thus: “Then those of us who are still living will be caught up along with them on clouds in the air to meet the Lord” (1 Thess. 4: 17) (Williams’ trans.) So the bride of Christ will ride from earth to heaven in a chariot of clouds!
Also, it is the custom in the Orient for the groom to come out from his father's house to meet the bride, and conduct her in person to her new home for the wedding supper.
The words, “to meet the Lord in the air,” tell the thrilling story that Christ will do exactly that in relation to his bride and the coming wedding feast in heaven.
And in the East, the most important moment of the wedding festivities is when the bride arrives at her new home.
How significant then are the words of the Psalmist in relation to heaven’s wedding festivities: “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” (Psa. 45: 14-15).
Furthermore, according to Oriental custom, invitations to a banquet are pressed upon those to whom they are given, because it is expected that the first invitations will be turned down.
take time about most everything, even the accepting of an invitation. When Paul and his company were invited to be
Finally, a wedding supper in Bible lands is quite apt to take place late in the evening, even at midnight, particularly if the groom's house is a distance from the bride's house, and the procession is delayed.
It was so with the wedding Jesus described in the Parable of the Ten Virgins. “The bridegroom tarried.” “At midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom corneth” (Matt. 25: 5-6). The coming of Christ for His bride will take place when the earth is in midnight darkness. It would surely seem that we are in the eleventh hour now, and that His coming draweth nigh. Let us watch and be ready, with our lamps trimmed. “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come” (Matt. 24: 42).
"Who can tell how soon the Bride may hear the cry,
‘Behold, the Bridegroom cometh!’
Hear the shout of triumph ringing in the sky, -
‘Behold, the Bridegroom cometh!"
- (A. A. PAYN)