On my recent trip to Israel, our tour guide shared with us a brief Bible study which relates the Jewish customary arrangements for marriage to the marriage of God’s chosen Bride to her Husband Christ Jesus, the Messiah.
Father chooses the Bride for His Son
Firstly it is the father of the would-be husband who finds and chooses a bride for him.
Ephesians 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: 5 Having predestinated us to the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
Before the foundation of the world God chose us to salvation and hence He has prepared us collectively to be the ‘Bride’ for His Son.
Revelation 13:8 And all that dwell on the earth shall worship him [the AntiChrist], whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.
All those who are not the Bride — not the true believers — whose names are not written in the Book of Life shall worship the false Church led by the AntiChrist. Thus from the foundation of the world, God wrote in His Book of Life the names of those who are among the true Bride.
Covenant made with wine
The father of the future husband, goes to the house of the potential bride, and a covenant (a contract) is made and confirmed with wine, which symbolizes blood, and the price of the bride is paid.
Matthew 26:27,28 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink you all of it; 28 For this is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.
The new testament is a new covenant made between God and His people.
Luke 22:20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in My blood, which is shed for you.
1 Corinthians 6:20 For you are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.
Once the bride price is paid the bride belongs to her husband. So we are purchased by the price Christ paid on the Cross with the shedding of his own blood. We henceforth belong to Christ, as our husband.
Ring as symbol of the ‘seal’
Ephesians 1:13,14 In whom you also trusted, after that you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that you believed, you were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of his glory.
The exchanging of rings is symbolic of a seal on the marriage. The promise is made and it is now only necessary that the future husband goes and prepares a place for the bride to live before the husband redeems his purchased possession.
Groom goes home to prepare a house
John 14:2,3 In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. 3 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.
Bride waits at home, preparing herself, her clothing and waiting. The groom comes at night, with a loud voice, calls her, and picks her up for the wedding.
1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
Revelations 19:7-9 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife has made herself ready. 8 And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 9 And he says to me, Write, Blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he says to me, These are the true sayings of God.
The wedding feast is held after all the arrangements are finalised. There is much celebration as there is every time a person is saved and hence added to the Bride of Christ.
For more detailed information read: Jewish Wedding Customs and the Bride of Messiah.