John 14: 1-3 and the Jewish Marriage Analogy

Posted: May 25, 2010 in Blessings, Christian Beliefs, From Adventism to Christ, The Bible

A Much Deeper Look at John 14:1-3

(An article I found on the Internet called Jewish Marriage Customs inspired this article. What I have endeavored to do is take the information found therein and make it a little simpler to follow. A link to the original article will be included at the bottom of the post the original article also has footnotes I did not include in this version.)

A Case of Dismay

 

The Disciples were getting worried. They were certainly expecting a coronation of a King of Kings that is what the Jews expected of Jesus. It was after all exactly what had been foretold in the Prophets, I mean sure there was some other confusing elements about a Savior that was sacrificed. Surely though those writings spoke of someone else, you can hardly be both a conquering King and a suffering savior can you?

And yet recently Jesus had been talking of His dying and rising back to life after three days, this didn’t fit into their plans. Jesus was meant to be their ticket out from under the current rule, he was meant to lead a revolution and be unstoppable. Yet in a few hours all they knew would be changed forever.

Jesus could see their discomfort, their dismay at this unseemly turn of events so to calm them He talked again of the future. The future for those who believed in Him, it was perhaps the most comforting promise and it went like this:

Joh 14:1  “Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me.

Joh 14:2  There are many rooms in my Father’s house. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going away to prepare a place for you?

Joh 14:3  And if I am going away to prepare a place for you, I will come again and will welcome you into my presence, so that you may be where I am.

(ISV)

Jewish Marriage Customs

 

Before we go any further into that we need to look in depth at the Jewish Marriage Customs, if we do not we won’t grasp the full power of this amazing promise. The reason is because in the promise above Jesus was drawing an analogy from Jewish marriage customs of biblical times. We’re going to study each of the parts of the Jewish marriage closely so that we can show the great significance of this promise.

The first major step in the Jewish Marriage Customs is Betrothal. Betrothal began with the establishment of a marriage covenant; by Jesus’ time it was the usual for the prospective bridegroom taking the initiative.

The prospective bridegroom would travel from his father’s house to the house of the prospective bride. Once there he would negotiate the price of purchase of the young woman with her father to become married to the bride. Once the bridegroom had paid the agreed upon price the marriage covenant was established, and the couple were regarded to be husband and wife.

From this point on the bride was considered to be consecrated or set-aside exclusively for her bridegroom.

As a symbol to mark this covenant relationship as being established the bride and groom would drink from a cup of wine over which a betrothal benediction had been spoken.

After the marriage covenant had been established the groom would return to his father’s house. He would remain there separate from his wife for twelve months, during this time the bride would gather her things including her bridal group and prepare for married life.

The groom busied himself by preparing living accommodations in his father’s house, which would in turn be used by his bride.

When the work was done, at the end of the period of separation the groom would come to take the bride to live with him. This usually took place at night and would involve the groom, best man and other male escorts who would leave the father’s house and form a torch light procession to the bride’s home.

Although the bride expected her groom to come for her she did not know the exact time he would arrive, therefore the groom’s arrival would be preceded by a shout. This would warn the bride to get ready because the groom was coming.

After the groom received to him the bride and all of her female attendants with her the entire wedding party would return home to the groom’s fathers house.

Once they arrive they’d find that wedding guests were already assembled.

Not long after their arrival other members of the bridal party would escort the bride and groom to the bridal chamber (huppah). Prior to entering the chamber the bride remained veiled so that no one could see her face.

While the groomsmen and bridesmaids waited outside the bride and groom would enter the bridal chamber by themselves. In the privacy of that place they would for the first time enter physical union. This would signify the consummation of their marriage that had been covenanted earlier.

After the marriage was consummated the groom would make the big announcement to the other members of the wedding party waiting outside the wedding chamber.

John 3:29 It is the bridegroom who gets the bride, yet the bridegroom’s friend, who merely stands by and listens for him, is overjoyed to hear the bridegroom’s voice. That’s why this joy of mine is now complete.

The other members of the wedding party would then pass on the news of the marital union to the wedding guests.

Following the good news the wedding guests would feast and have a jolly good time for the next seven days.

During those seven days the bride remained hidden in the bridal chamber.

When the seven days concluded the groom would bring the bride out of the bridal chamber, this time with the veil removed so that all could see just who the bride was.

Examining the Evidence

Now that we’ve got all of the Jewish Marriage Customs written out above let’s see how they stack up against the promise. In what ways did Jesus’ promise stack up against the Jewish Marriage Customs?

The first thing of note is that the scriptures regard the Church to be the Bride of Christ.

Eph 5:22 A wife should put her husband first, as she does the Lord.

Eph 5:23 A husband is the head of his wife, as Christ is the head and the Savior of the church, which is his own body.

The next thing that comes to our attention is the fact that Jesus left His Father’s house in Heaven to go to Earth the home of His prospective Bride (the Church) over 2000 years ago.

From Heaven…

To Earth…

He came to Earth to establish a marriage covenant through which He could obtain the Church. In fact on the very same night He made the promise at the head of this post he instituted Communion note the cup.

 1Co 11:25 In like manner also the cup, after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood: this do, as often as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

In doing this He was saying that He would establish a new covenant through the shedding of His blood on the cross. Just as the Jewish groom would pay a price to purchase his bride Jesus paid a price for the Church, the price was high in that it was His death. His spilled lifeblood was the price for His Bride.

As Paul noted in First Corinthians:

1Co 6:19 Or know ye not that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have from God? and ye are not your own;

1Co 6:20 for ye were bought with a price: glorify God therefore in your body.

 

 

We are set apart as Sanctified

Just like the Jewish bride was sanctified as set apart for her groom on the marriage covenant was established the Church has also been set apart exclusively, sanctified for Christ alone.

Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself up for it;

Eph 5:26 that he might sanctify it, having cleansed it by the washing of water with the word,

Eph 5:27 that he might present the church to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

Ephesians 5: 25-27

1Co 1:2 unto the church of God which is at Corinth, even them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place, their Lord and ours:

1Co 6:11 And such were some of you: but ye were washed, but ye were sanctified, but ye were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.

1 Corinthians 1:2, 6:11

Heb 10:10 By which will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Heb 13:12 Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people through his own blood, suffered without the gate.

Hebrews 10:10, 13:12

A Cup of wine symbolizes the covenant for both the Jewish groom obtaining his bride and through the communion cup, which symbolizes how Christ obtained a covenant with the Church, His Bride.

 1Co 11:25 In like manner also the cup, after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in my blood: this do, as often as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

The Return to the Father’s House

Also, just like the Jewish groom left the home of his bride to return to his father’s house after the covenant had been established, Jesus left Earth to return to Heaven and His Father’s house. All this after he had paid the cost of the established the new covenant, by dying and had risen from the dead.

Joh 6:62 What then if ye should behold the Son of man ascending where he was before?

Joh 20:17 Jesus saith to her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended unto the Father: but go unto my brethren, and say to them, I ascend unto my Father and your Father, and my God and your God.

John 6:62; 20:17

The Period of Separation

Just as there was a period of separation between the Jewish groom and bride, Christ has been separate from the Church for over 2,000 years. We as part of the Church (Bride) are now living in that time of separation.

Building on to the Father’s House

Once again just as the Jewish groom would spend the time of separation building rooms for his bride onto his father’s house, so Christ is doing the very same for us on His Father’s House in Heaven.

Joh 14:2  In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.

John 14:2

He Will Likewise Come Again

In a mirror image of the Groom coming back at the end of the time of separation to take her to his father’s house, so Jesus will come from Heaven to take His Church to His Father’s House at the end of His period of Separation from the Church. The speed of our taking will veil us from the view of those on the earth.

Joh 14:3  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I come again, and will receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

John 14:3

With a Procession

The Jewish groom would come with his procession and male escorts from his father’s house to the bride’s house. Likewise, a procession of Christ himself and an angelic escort from the Father’s House in Heaven to the home of the Church will accomplish the taking of the Church from earth.

 1Th 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;

1st Thessalonians 4:16

 

 

 

We won’t know the time, so we’ll need to be shouted at!

Just like the Jewish bride didn’t know when her groom would arrive, neither will we know when Christ will arrive for us. For this reason there will be the shout of an Archangel to alert us of both Christ’s soon arrival and our departure.

 1Th 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;

Then We’ll go to Heaven, to His Father’s House!

As the Jewish bride returns with the groom to his father’s house so will the Church return with Christ to His Father’s House after she is snatched up to meet Him in the air.

1Th 4:17  then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

1st Thessalonians 4:17

Joh 14:2  In my Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you.

Joh 14:3  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I come again, and will receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.

John 14: 2-3

And when we get there, the Wedding guests will already be there!

In a similar manner to what the Jewish wedding party found on their arrival when we get to Heaven with Christ we’ll find the souls of the Old Testament saints assembled as the wedding guests! Now that’s awesome.

We will finally be in Union with Christ!

As a parallel to the Jewish custom of the bride and groom entering physical union after the arrival, the Church will finally be forever united spiritually with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

We will Be Hidden from the Earth!

Just as the Jewish bride was hidden in the Bridal Chamber for seven days after arrival at the groom’s father’s house, the Church will be hidden from the Earth’s view for a period of 7 years while the 7year Tribulation period is going on for those who dwell on the earth.  

 

And finally the Bride, the Church is Revealed at the Second Coming!

Like the Jewish groom brought his bride out of the bridal chamber at the conclusion of the 7 days with her veil removed, so they would know who she was, so will Christ do the same for His Church when we return out of Heaven at the Second Coming after the 7 year Tribulation.

Col 3:4 When Christ, who is our life, shall be manifested, then shall ye also with him be manifested in glory.

Colossians 3:4

 

 

The Significance of the Analogy

 

There’s no doubt that this is a powerful truth that’s been revealed by Christ to His disciples and to us through this analogy. Can you even begin to imagine how much this analogy meant to them? It also means a whole lot to us today here and now.

If you have not been come to Jesus Christ in repentance, and asked for Him to be your Savior from your sins it is of great importance. This signifies that Christ thought of YOU and had a plan to save you before you were even born. He came down to set up a covenant with you, pay a price for you and die for you. He also promised to go build a place for you in Heaven and to come back and take us to His Father’s House. And that will be part of an eternal relationship; you will know your Savior forever.

Every time the Gospel is shared with you Christ is pretty much proposing that you enter into this life saving and life changing relationship with Him. Imagine if you will that Christ is saying: “I, Jesus, take thee, sinner, to be My Bride. And I do promise and covenant before God The Father and these witnesses, to be thy loving and faithful Savior and Bridegroom; in sickness and in health, in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, in faithfulness and in waywardness, for time and for eternity.”

This proposal is one of free will, it’s up to you to choose just remember if you keep ignoring or saying no to this offer throughout your lifetime you will never be in a correct relationship with Jesus Christ. The results of failure to take up this offer are tragic and the polar opposite of what you would get if you accept, but just to make things clear:

Rev 20:11  And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat upon it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them.

Rev 20:12  And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne; and books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of the things which were written in the books, according to their works.

Rev 20:13  And the sea gave up the dead that were in it; and death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them: and they were judged every man according to their works.

Rev 20:14  And death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death, even the lake of fire.

Rev 20:15  And if any was not found written in the book of life, he was cast into the lake of fire.

Revelation 20: 11-15

Now I don’t what that for you, and I’m pretty certain you don’t want that for yourself so I recommend accepting Christ’s proposal.

By accepting Christ’s proposal your sins will be forgiven and you will enter into a relationship that makes you part of His Bride, the Church. In addition you will go to be with Him when He comes to take the Church, and you will live with Him forever and ever.

Here is how you can accept Christ’s proposal to you; If you sincerely believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He came to this earth, died for your sins and rose from the dead, then respond to Him as follows:

“I, sinner, take Thee, Jesus, to be my Savior. . . And I do promise and covenant before God and these witnesses to be Thy loving and faithful Bride; in sickness and in health, in plenty and in want, in joy and in sorrow, for time and for eternity.”

If You Are Saved be on the Alert!

If you have taken Christ to be your Savior it is possible to commit spiritual adultery just as a Jewish bride could possibly commit adultery during the time of separation. Paul wrote of that concern here:

2Co 11:2  For I am jealous over you with a godly jealousy: for I espoused you to one husband, that I might present you as a pure virgin to Christ.

2Co 11:3  But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve in his craftiness, your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity and the purity that is toward Christ.

2nd Corinthians 11: 2-3

And James mentioned his thoughts here:

Jas 4:4  Ye adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Whosoever therefore would be a friend of the world maketh himself an enemy of God.

James 4:4

 

Pretty much James is stating that one can commit spiritual adultery by become more and more devoted to the godless world system, and all the parts of it while you ignore Jesus Christ and the things that please Him.

Is Christ the center of your life?

Are you still on fire for Him as much as you were when you were first saved?

Does He give your life its purpose?

Are you devoted to Him, or did you slip into devotion to the world and things of it? 

If you have been unfaithful to your heavenly Bridegroom, confess this to Him and be assured that even “If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.” (11 Tim.2:13)

Then trust the Holy Spirit to renew your devotion as you wait for your heavenly Bridegroom to come at any moment.

In Christ,

Ross

Original Article: Original Article

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Comments
  1. Leola Ott says:

    Incredibly great read. Honest.

  2. von says:

    Interesting article. I would be interested in knowing where he got the information that the groom took the initiative. In the case of Christ, like so many of the other marriages we see in Scripture, it is in fact the father who took the initiative and declared (before the foundation of the Earth) the betrothal of the church to Christ. As Jesus declared, he came only to get those that the father had given him. And as her father, God the father gave the church to Christ much as he gave Eve to Adam.

    I wonder how many of our young people will be brave enough to follow the example of Christ in this area?

  3. rossbondreturns says:

    Well God is one being if you will with three parts.

    God the Father.
    God the Son.
    God the Holy Spirit.

    So God is both the Father and the Groom…not to mention the seal of His chosen through the Holy Spirit.

    Ross

    • von says:

      Well, that is factually true, but theologically rather inaccurate. The NT rather stresses the role of the ‘Father’ in choosing the bride, and the role of ‘Christ’ in marrying her, paying the bride price, etc.

      We see this in the entire life of Christ, where He emphasizes His role and the Father’s role. And, of course, this is reflected in the Earthly marriages shown in Scripture, where the father chooses and the son accepts.

      • rossbondreturns says:

        I agree.

        But for all we know that’s exactly what happend in Heaven.

        In fact it’s quite clear that such a thing was the case, In Genesis God sets the plan in motion by promising to send a Redeemer who we know is God the Son.

        You’ve got to remember that God is three division in one united being. That means One part of Him cannot be out of line with the other two parts.

        We could say that God the Father Promised to send His Son-

        Jesus Christ (God the Son) to die on the Cross and be raised back to life…

        In turn Jesus promised a Helper from Heaven to indwell in new Believers. God the Holy Spirit.

        It is the Holy Spirit that indwells and seals each believer ensuring their proper clothing for the wedding.

        I think the key point to rememebr is not the minutae, (in fact that can often lead to dissention), but the overall factual paralles between the entirety of God’s plan and His use of the Jewish Wedding Analogy to bring it so pointedly into focus.

        It’s such a wonderful masterpiece that it pains me that many involved in religion (across denominations) call the Rapture a get out of jail free card and ridicule it when it’s EXACTLY what God’s always promised to do.

        (Good discussion this).

        In Christ,

        Ross

  4. von says:

    And I agree with that.

    The issue that I have here is with ‘the marriage analogy’, in that most people leave the fathers role totally out of the picture. Scripture makes it quite clear that the father has the role of choosing the bride… but our society is so fixated on the supposed role of the son (ie dating or courtship) that they totally miss the Biblical point (which is consistent from Genesis to Revelation) that it is *the father* who picks the bride, as a gift to his *son*… and that the girl is *given* in marriage, in exchange for a bride price.

    Most of those elements are foreign to our culture, and contradictory to our inclinations. We want to focus on the ‘romance’ of the boy and girl ‘getting to know each other’ and ‘deciding to marry’; in spite of the fact that the Scripture teach nothing of the sort. Scripture teaches us that they are to be ‘brothers and sisters’ until the day when they are ‘husband and wife’.

  5. rossbondreturns says:

    Oh so very true.

    I think it might be an idea to actually look closer at the Jewish Marriage and just how different it is from marriage nowadays.

    It also has a great effect on the Brith of Jesus…in fact I think we should look at the Jewish marriage through that very story.

    Ross

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