Updated: Feb 5, 2022
Have you ever read Bible scriptures that refer to the Bride? How about the wedding feast? Did you ever read or hear the scripture where Jesus said, "I'm going to prepare a place for you?" What about this one: "In my Father's house are many mansions?" Have you heard or read the parable that Jesus refers to: " There were 10 Virgins, five were wise and five were foolish?"
I am in no means a bible scholar. Nor am I a historian or an authority of the Jewish traditions of betrothal and Jewish weddings. I am simply someone who asks questions. I search and seek answers to my own questions. I don't apologize for asking questions as this is exactly what the Lord says that I should do. I should seek! I should ask! And HE tells me that HE does not want me to be ignorant. HE tells me not to lean on my own understanding but to acknowledge HIM in all HIS ways, and HE will direct my paths. So below, I will share with you what I have found when seeking answers to my own questions.
I had no idea that the Lord wanted to marry me. I had no idea that I would be betrothed to HIM. In other words I had no idea when seeking answers to my questions that I would realize that Jesus and I are actually engaged to be married. You might be thinking, "Oh that is ridiculous! Why would you say such a thing?" I am about to explain and show you how I have arrived at that conclusion.
When did my engagement start?
My engagement started when I gave my heart to the Lord Jesus:
I admitted I was a sinner and I came to believe that Jesus was the Son of the ONE and ONLY living GOD who was sent to me to save me from this sinful world and save me from my own sins by taking on my sins. I believe HE paid the price for my sins through His crucifixion on the cross, took away the keys of eternal death for me and rose again into Heaven where He now is seated at the right hand of God the Father. I declared this in front of witnesses. Afterwards in love and in desire, I was baptised in water that represented the washing away of my old self and rising out of the water into my new birth, forgiven and sparkling clean.
I was born again of the Spirit, and because of who HE is I am now able to enter into a true, and loving relationship with HIM. When Jesus did this, the New Covenant became into effect. It was by the blood of Jesus, that the NEW Covenant was sealed. I believe that when I was born again, I became betrothed to my Savior, Jesus Christ. When Jesus suffered on the cross, HE suffered for the sins I committed and do commit. I am forgiven by Him because Our Father God has given HIS Son the authority over Heaven and Hell, over life and death. Jesus took away the power of death over me. Since His resurrection there is no death, no hell for those who believe and have professed in front of a witness their belief in HIM (Jesus), therefore those who have done this are born again. It is their testimony of their belief in Jesus, who HE is and what HE has done, that one can be judged under the New Covenant. Only through Jesus and HIS Testament of instituting the New Covenant, has man received the gift of eternal life.
Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ, was born a Jew when He walked this earth. He was schooled and trained and raised in the Jewish "school" of the law. He not only knew prophecy, but HE is prophecy. Much of what Jesus spoke of was about tradition and the law. (Old Testament). Jesus lived under the Old Testament law while on earth, but He taught of Himself and that is the New Testament. He taught HIS followers exactly what that meant then and forever more. Jesus spoke about His Father's house. He not only spoke of the many rooms, but within His revealing He was referring also to the preparations of the Bride (church and the believer). By looking at the betrothal and the ceremonies and stages of the "engagement period" for the Jewish wedding, we can rightly comprehend what we as believers and as HIS church can come to expect. So let us now, take a look at just what a Jewish betrothal of marriage entails and what the Bride and Groom do in participation of the marriage ceremony.
Jesus was well aware of what HE was about to experience and why. He was soon to be crucified on a wooden cross. But Jesus also knew the sorrow and fear that His disciples would experience and so Jesus gathered them all together and spoke to them of what would soon take place. To comfort them He made this promise:
"Let not your heart be troubled: you believe in God, Believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions (rooms) 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 unto myself; that where I am, there you may be also." (John 14:1-3.)
This promise removed the fear of his disciples. His disciples knew exactly what Jesus was referring to. In our times, that scripture is a hard understanding unless that is we are accustomed to the Jewish traditions that are followed in the betrothal process of the marriage covenant.
The prospective bridegroom would travel from his father's house to the home of the prospective bride. There he would negotiate with the father of the young woman to determine the price (mohar) that he must pay to purchase his bride. Once the bridegroom paid the purchase price, the marriage covenant was thereby established. The young man and woman were regarded to be husband and wife. From that moment on the bride was declared to be consecrated or sanctified, set apart exclusively for her bridegroom. In our present culture our traditions in America and other parts of the world, the prospective groom gives his "fiance'" an engagement ring. Afterwards, a date for the wedding is set and the wedding plans begin. But this is not the process of a traditional Jewish betrothal and marriage.
In the Jewish tradition it is understood that as a symbol of the covenant relationship that had been established, the groom and bride would drink from a cup of wine over which a betrothal benediction had been pronounced.
After the marriage covenant had been established, the groom would leave the home of the bride and return to his father's house. There he would remain separate from his bride for a period of twelve months. This period of separation afforded the bride time to gather her trousseau and to prepare for married life. The groom occupied himself with the preparation of living accommodations in his father's house to which he could bring his bride. Often the prospective groom and with the help of his father, would construct and make ready additional rooms added onto the father's house. Often times these additional rooms would be built upon the flat rooftops of the house, constituting a second household. Additionally a new rooftop would contain a meeting room and a garden area. Often stairs that led to the 2nd floor of the houses were located on the outside of the building. It can be seen that ground floors were also used for housing produce, storage or flocks. This was the traditional architecture of the Jewish home. Generations lived in the same house separated by rooms, "levels or floors."
When Jesus spoke of the Parable of the 10 Virgins, he was referring to the Traditional Jewish betrothal and marriage process. When He spoke this parable, his disciples understood and could comprehend the words of Jesus. These words were one of reassurance to them. When we as citizens of this century read these words at first, we may not understand or exactly comprehend the meaning of them. Looking back at Jewish tradition, we can come to understand and again be comforted by His words.
At the end of the period of separation the groom would come to take his bride to live with him. The taking of the bride usually took place at night. The groom, best man and other male escorts would leave the groom's father's house and conduct a torch light procession to the home of the bride. Although the bride was expecting her groom to come for her, she did not know the exact time of his coming. As a result the groom's arrival would be preceded by a shout. This shout would forewarn the bride to be prepared for the coming of the groom.
The Parable of the Ten Virgins
25 “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.
6 “At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’
7 “Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’
9 “‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’
10 “But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.
11 “Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’
12 “But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’
13 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.
In the Parable of the Wise and Foolish Virgins in (Matthew 25:1-13) a cry awakens all 10 Virgins. In Jewish Tradition it is the friend(s) or "best man" that goes to announce the Groom is on his way and nearby. He announces with a shout. ( a quick blast of the shofar or trumpet). The virgin hears the cry (trumpet or shofar), and she leaves her father's household (world) wandering through the darkened paths/streets at night to meet her bridegroom. She seeks him. She has no idea exactly the minute or the hour that she will see His face. She only knows He is coming very quickly and on His way "even at the door." As the announcement was made.As she is watching and looking for him, the Bridegroom comes and snatches her away, and she sees Him face to face. He takes her to his father's house where there are many mansions (rooms). They will begin their life together in celebration.
Jesus distinguishes His parable for us in the differences between the five wise virgins and the five foolish ones. Five wise virgins have enough oil in their lamps (vessels or body and spirit)to light the way as they look for Him and watch for His face. Their path is well lit. Their lamps burn the oil that shines brightly. They have trimmed the wicks in their lamps so that the vessel's flame burns clean and purely with oil that causes the light to shine around them. There is no mixture of soot (sin) in the flame. The fuel is the oil. The Oil is the Holy Spirit. Trimming the wick is cutting off of sin and continuing in clean and good living behavior (harboring the fruits of the Holy Spirit), and the repentance of sins committed. The wise virgins can contiue and press onward.
The Foolish virgins may have trimmed the wicks, but they haven't enough oil. It isn't simply by clean apparel or good behavior that declares a virgin as wise, so the foolish virgins' lamps go out. They do not have enough oil to light the entire way. They are unable to press on. While they are seeking for more of the oil, (indwelling and leading of the Holy Spirit) as fuel for their lamps or "oil", Jesus (the bridegroom) returns.
When the celebration begins, the foolish virgins knock on the closed door. Jesus does not recognize them as His bride. This is unlike the wise virgins who are already inside the door. And now begins the marriage ceremony and the marriage supper or banquet.