A Wedding and A Feast, #4
by Connie Chamberlain
Those who have stayed the course while watching and waiting for the Bridegroom’s return, appropriating His gifts by remaining full of the anointing of His Spirit, will not be disappointed in their quest. “Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.” (Prov. 8:34)
Coming for to Carry Me Home
When the Father has seen fit that the appointed time has come, the Bridegroom sets out for the Bride’s home to “catch away” His sanctified Bride. He may even come at midnight, to “steal” her away. “And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming, go out to meet him.’” (Matt. 25:6) His arrival will be announced by a shout, followed by a blast from the ram’s horn. Many times the bride was accompanied by family and friends in a kind of torchlight procession to the bridegroom’s home.
This type and shadow of the Jewish wedding now begins to prophetically foreshadow future events, beginning with the rapture. This is evidenced by the following passages of scripture authored by Paul, who was no doubt very familiar with the wedding customs of his people in his day.
No, the word rapture is not found in scripture, but yes, the act of being caught up and snatched away is clearly noted. The Greek translation for caught up is harpazo, while the word raptura is found in the Latin Vulgate.
Realizing that there are varying views on God’s timing of events in the last days, I tend to side with the “pan-trib” faction—it will all pan out in the end! However, we will see that the Jewish wedding type does present strong evidence and an arguable case for a pre-tribulation rapture.
“For the Lord Himself will descend with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ shall rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” (! Thess. 4:16:17)
Christ will come down from the Father’s house (heaven) not to earth itself, but into the earthly atmosphere to lift up His bride and receive her to Himself. His shout is more like a command and a call to action. If words were given to this shout, I imagine it might be something to the equivalent of, “Let’s go!” We then hear the voice of the archangel, who is believed to be Gabriel, as he is seen in his role of messenger.
If that didn’t get our attention, the trumpet blast surely will. One of the reasons in scripture for the blowing of trumpets was to assemble the people, and we can see by this trumpet blast that God’s people, representing the harvest, are being gathered in. The dead in Christ will hear and be lifted up (John 5:25), followed by the living believers. Just as Christ, our example and forerunner, physically ascended into the clouds (Acts 1:9), so will we.
“Behold, I tell you a mystery: we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed—in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at that last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” (1Cor 15:51, 52)
The rapture is often associated with the Feast of Trumpets (Rosh Hashanah). It is interesting to note that Jewish writings have made reference to this feast as being called the “Wedding Day of Messiah” as well as the “Day of Our Concealment.”
Even though this event will most certainly become a physical reality, we can begin now to experience this meeting the Lord in the air (in the spirit). When we listen for those same words that He spoke to John, “Come up here,” (Rev. 4:1) we can be transported into the spirit realm by our desire and devotion. Developing this intimacy with the Lord is an ecstasy that we don’t have to miss out on while we wait for that great and glorious day to take place.
Under the Bridal Canopy
The bride and groom will then enter the wedding chamber that has been prepared, and the marriage will be consummated. An intimate encounter with the Lord such as we have never previously known will be experienced. I will know Him fully and I will fully be known by Him, The Hebrew word for bride is kallah, meaning to complete or make perfect, and the realization that “you are complete in Him” (Col. 2:10) will become an irreversible fact.
“For this reason shall a man shall leave his father and mother, and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” Eph. 5:31-32
They would spend seven days in that chamber, comparable perhaps to a honeymoon. I believe Jesus, who “delivers us from the wrath to come,” (1Thess. 1:10) will separate his Bride from the rest of the world and conceal her from what will take place concurrently on earth. While the Bride is happily ensconced in the bridal chamber, the earth will be experiencing the time known as the “Great Tribulation”, the seven days representing the seven years of tribulation. This relates to the final, or 70th, week of years referred to in Daniel 9:24-27.
“Come, my people, enter your chambers, and shut your doors behind you. Hide yourself, as it were, for a little moment, until the indignation is past.” (Is. 26:20)
The Hebrew word for chamber is “chuppah” (hoopa), meaning a canopy or covering. It can consist of a sheet, or the tallit (Jewish prayer shawl) held up on four poles. The chuppah is the most distinctive feature of the Jewish wedding today. It is symbolic of the groom’s home and represents the presence of God over the covenant of marriage. Heaven is also a type of chuppah.
“Let the bridegroom go out from his chamber (chuppah), and the bride from her dressing room.” (Joel 2:16)
“In them (the heavens), He has set a tabernacle for the sun, which is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber (chuppah).” (Ps. 19:5-6) Here, the sun which is the source of all living things is compared to a bridegroom coming forth with all the radiance and brilliance of his glory on the occasion of meeting his bride.
We will further elaborate concerning the Bride’s destiny at the end of the age in the next post. It has been said that before He comes for us, He will come to us. In preparation for this awesome union with our Bridegroom in the not-too-distant future, let us continue to seek to come under His spiritual canopy as we hear Him say, “Come up here.”