The New Testament scriptures state that the Bride of Christ is the Church (those who believe and are saved), and that Christ is the Pursuer of the Church (Rev 21:1-4). The Bridegroom has redeemed His bride by offering up His entire life at the cross.
I’d like to take you back to ancient Israel in order to understand the depths of this divine romance and the significance of Christ’s role as the Bridegroom, the Pursuer.
Before a marriage process can even begin, a great deal of commitment and faith must already be established between the man and woman.
The father would normally arrange a bride for his son when he felt the time was right. In fact, he would have been looking for a bride long before his son had even thought about marriage. It was the father who ultimately chose the household and daughter they’d approach in order to acquire a bride for his son (Gen 22:20-24).
If the son approves of a daughter after they meet, the son would travel to her home and meet with her father to discuss details. Daughters were almost always exchanged for a price because they were considered a financial loss to their families. Also, back then, daughters were not given away by their fathers; they had to be first redeemed, then captured. Negotiations would go on for hours with questions, pledges, promises and arguments. The daughter would have no say in any of this.
Once everything had been settled between the bridegroom and bride’s father, they would record it in a document; a marriage contract consisting of the bridal price, pledges and promises of the groom as well as the rights of the bride. The bride would then be informed of the offer at the table and would be given a chalice with wine. If the bride accepts the offer, the groom would drink from the cup and pass it to the bride to drink from it as well. Once she drinks from the cup, the contract between the two is sealed.
The groom would then give the bride something valuable to represent his sincerity and promise to her and their covenant. The bride would then undergo a baptism of water as an immersion ritual of cleansing and purification. It symbolized a separation from her former way of life in preparation for her new life with her husband.
After a while, the bridegroom would leave to his father’s house and begin working on their home in preparation for their wedding. He would leave her with the statement, “I go to prepare a place for you” (John 14). The bride and the bridegroom could never truly be together unless the home has been prepared.
In the meantime, the bride would wait in her father’s house and prepare herself. Whenever she went out in public, she would wear a veil to cover her face. This would signify that she’s been taken and is not available for any other man. Veiled women were called set apart, sanctified, or bought with a price. Her beauty was reserved for her groom only. The bride was responsible for maintaining an attitude of readiness as it was not known when the groom would come to get her after the household is prepared. The father of the son would be the one who would inspect the dwelling of the household and tell the son when he believed he was ready for his bride.
The father would then give his approval to his son and tell him to go get his bride. The bridegroom would gather his friends and plan their departure so that they arrive at her place in the night as a surprise. As they approach the city, they would sound a trumpet to alert the bride as a sign that the bridegroom was near. The friends would prepare a path for him outside the bride’s front door and call to her, “Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!” (Matt 25:6).
The bride’s family would go out and check to see if this was the right guy calling her. After confirming his identity, the bride was left to depart with the bridegroom. The bride would have already prepared her oil lamp as she approaches her bridegroom in the night. The bridegroom would take her to his father’s household and spend the next seven days in the bridal chamber behind a sealed door.
After the seven days, the bride would remove her veil and the marriage banquet would begin.What a glorious and romantic reflection of Christ and His bride.