To understand Bible prophecy, we must first understand a single event – a Galilean wedding.
Jesus and His disciples were Galilean Jews. This meant that many of the parables, sayings, and customs that Jesus spoke to His disciples would have to have Galilean roots. One of the main topics of parables involved a wedding. A Galilean wedding was a special thing. Jesus specifically used Galilean wedding symbolism in parables and end-times discussions. So, what was involved in a Galilean wedding, and how can we glean incite from this event that will help us understand Bible prophecy better?
The Cup of Joy
Witnesses were gathered before a Galilean wedding while an agreement was read aloud. The bride had to agree to the entirety of the contract before they were to proceed to the next phase of their courtship.
Enter the “cup of Joy.”
The groom would hand his bride a cup of wine at this point. This was done after the exchange of gifts, which were costly. At this moment, in front of witnesses, the bride would either reject or accept his proposal. If she accepted, she would drink from the “cup of joy,” which would set in motion a series of events that both the bride and groom would do to prepare for the wedding. This custom was unique in Galilee, as it was not seen – the bride having a choice – in surrounding cultures.
After she drank, the groom would seal the covenant by saying, “You are now consecrated to me by the laws of Moses, and I will not drink from this cup again until I drink it with you in my father’s house.”
Sound familiar? It should, as Christians have heard this many times before.
The groom would purchase costly materials to build on his father’s house. The groom and groomsmen would not know the day or the time he would be allowed to collect his bride, but only the groom’s father would know and tell him (sound familiar?)
The bride would buy quality garments and prepare for when her groom would come and collect her – usually in the middle of the night. She was to be ready, as well as her bridesmaids.
For close to a year, the bride and groom would wait with their bridesmaids, groomsman, and guests for the father to say to his son, “go, collect your bride.”
“Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” ~Matthew 26:27-29.
This “cup of joy” was to mark the acceptance of not only the disciples to “marry” the groom (Jesus/God) but all of us. The marriage of the groom to his bride was sealed with a covenant, and Jesus said what was said at every Galilean wedding — “I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s house (Kingdom).” The price (costly gifts before the cup of joy) was the shedding of Jesus’ blood at the cross to “buy back” his bride from Satan.
The disciples understood what Jesus meant because they were all Galileans. They understood (as we should) that the “New Covenant” was not the casting off of the Jews but a seal between husband and wife with a promise to later return to collect His Bride.
“Go, Get Your Bride.”
After the cup of joy, the bride and groom go their separate ways to prepare for the wedding. The groom adds to his father’s house an area where they will live. The bride spends a great deal of time and cost gathering cloth to make her wedding gown. In today’s world, we could gather all the materials in a single weekend, but during the time of Christ, it took more time.
Fast forward to about a year after the agreement, everything is in place. The addition has been finished, and the bridal gown has been made. Now, both parties, including the guests, await the groom’s father. The father is the one who has the final say to the groom whether or not things are “finished.” During this period, the groom, groomsmen, bride, bridesmaids, and guests have everything ready to go at a moment’s notice. This means that the couple even sleeps in their wedding clothes.
Finally, the father looks around, looks at his son, and says, “go get your bride.”
The groom and company will get the notice around the early morning hours, usually around midnight. They walk through the Galilean town, sounding the horn to wake up the bride, company, and guests. The bride and company have their lamps prepared (trimmed) with enough oil to see their way to the awaiting groom. When the groom sees her waiting for him, she is lifted and seated on a chair where she is carried away to the father’s house (“flying to the father’s house” was the saying). Once they arrive, along with the prepared guests, they have the wedding feast, which lasts seven days and nights. Once the door is closed, no one can come in or out until the feast is completed.
Bible prophecy and the rapture of the church.
At the last supper, Jesus gave his convent to His new bride. “Then He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” ~Matthew 26:27-29. The disciples would have understood this as an agreement to be “married” to Christ through the price of the dowery – his blood at the cross.
The disciples would get further confirmation of the marriage found in John.
“and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may also be.” ~John 14:3.
Jesus is preparing a place for each of us, but he doesn’t know when He will be coming for his bride.
“But concerning that day and hour, no one knows, not even the angels of Heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” ~Matthew 24:36. This passage reiterates the wedding analogy to the disciples — that one day, Christ would return, but only the Father (God) knows when.
We are to be spiritually prepared, eagerly anticipating the groom’s call. We are to have oil in our lamps so we won’t be shut out of the marriage supper (Matthew 25:1-14). To miss the supper means you endure the tribulation (7-day wedding feast – 7-year tribulation).
The bride “flies to the father’s house” is probably the essential part of HOW we will meet our groom. It demonstrates that we – the bride – will be “lifted” (raptured) and taken to the Father’s House in Heaven to avoid the 7-year tribulation that will be visited upon the Earth. The Groom (Jesus) comes to get His bride (the true church) and takes her to her new home.
Once you understand that Jesus – a Galilean – was speaking to His disciples – also Galileans – using wedding phrases that they would have understood, the message is more apparent to all of us. Jesus will be coming soon to collect (rapture) His bride.
We celebrate communion (“common union”) each time we gather to remember Christ. We take the cup representing His blood to reflect the wedding covenant he made to us before His betrayal. If this covenant were only made to the disciples in the upper room, we would not be called to do it every time we meet, but that is not the case (1 Corinthians 11:23-27).
Do not be caught off guard, for if we continually expect the groom, He (Jesus) will not be like a thief in the night but a long-awaited call to come to our new home in the Father’s House.