More about Christ as Bridegroom and Israel’s Wedding Traditions
Of the many symbols used in the scriptures to teach of Jesus Christ, the most pervasive and the most precious is as “Bridegroom.”
The Lord gave witnesses of this concept from the very beginning. Through Adam He taught us of the precious Oneness He, as Bridegroom, desired to have with His Eve — His “Someday Covenanted People.” The Apostle Paul explained this, saying Adam was a “figure” of Christ (Romans 5:14-23). Paul equated the “Oneness” desired in marriage to the Oneness of Christ and His People (Ephesians 5:23-32).
When Jehovah covered Adam and Eve, it foreshadowed the covering He would give as Groom.
Because “would-be bridegrooms” Isaac, Jacob and Moses all met their brides at Wells, that also foreshadowed Christ. Jacob and Moses even rolled away stones that the bride might water her flocks, which witnessed of what Jesus would do when He fulfilled His Bridegroom role.
This imagery was heightened when Jesus met the Samaritan woman, not accidentally, at Jacob’s well. At that time, He gave her water from the well, and from the things He said and did, she knew He was the Messiah and thus Bridegroom. For though she had had five husbands, none of them were True. Her great desire then, was to spread the word that the Bridegroom had come.
The time when Jesus actually removed the covering of the well so that His “Bride” could water the flocks, came as He arose out of the Tomb of the Rock. Thus He enjoined His Covenanted People, or “Bride,” to water the world with the news of His Resurrection and its now outflowing of Eternal Life.
When Jehovah gathered His people to Sinai, and covenanted with them, the covenant was recognized as a “betrothal, and the Ten Commandments as the Wedding Contract. Thus, when Israel was false to that covenant, God’s prophets correctly called them “Adulterers!”
Through Nahum (3:5) God warned He would remove the covering of His skirt, that the world may see their nakedness.
Because Yahweh’s Covenant was clearly presented as a betrothal, Israelite wedding traditions were derived from the concept of Yahweh as Bridegroom.
Those Wedding Traditions Included:
*The Bridegroom paid a Bride price for the Bride.
*The Bridegroom provided a covering for the Bride; he wrapped his cloak around her.
*The Bride showed her acceptance of the Bridegroom’s offer of marriage by drinking from a cup he offered, thus acknowledging she was willing to take upon herself his name.
*Part of this Bride Price included an Endowment — a gift from Bridegroom to Bride, to make her more beautiful and glorious.
*The Wedding was held under a canopy with lights representing stars or the stars themselves, which signified God’s promise of “seed without number.”
Jesus fulfilled most of these Bridegroom roles when He came, with promise of completion at His Return. He made it clear in all He said and did He was indeed that very personage!
* John the Baptist identified himself as the “friend of the Bridegroom.”
*Jesus’ first miracle was to provide wine at a wedding feast, anticipating the wine [blood] He would offer at His-own-soon-to-be pre-Wedding Feast.
*Jesus’ parables spoke clearly of His role as Bridegroom, though He often changed the role His people fit— from bride, to wedding guests, to bridesmaids.
* When He gathered His disciples to the Mount, and gave them His New Law, He was openly showing His New Betrothal — given on a Mount.
* At the realized time of the betrothal, the Disciples drank from a cup to show their willingness to accept His New Covenant, to take upon themselves His Name; as true disciples do now.
* Jesus purchased His Bride through His blood (Gethsemane, Calvary), and thus paid the most costly of Bride Prices.
* Jesus provided His Bride with His ultimate Covering. Our nakedness is covered through His own scourged flesh. “Atonement” means “to cover.”
* What He said after “the New Betrothal” fulfilled Bridegroom concepts. Tradition was that after the Betrothal, the Bridegroom went to prepare a home for His Bride in His Father’s Compound.
Thus Jesus said, “In my Father’s house are many mansions; I go to prepare a place for you.”
It was also the tradition that because the Bridegroom may be too anxious to return to fetch His Bride, only the Father could determine the time all would be ready, and the Bridegroom could return. Thus Jesus said, “My Father only” knows the time of His Return.
*John’s “Revelation” is steeped with imagery of that Return, as Bridegroom!
There are many symbols which help to understand the role of Jesus Christ, but the most pervasive and the most precious is as “Bridegroom.” The Lord consistently couched His covenants in terms of this most intimate human relationship. In doing so, He portrayed the deepest love, the awesome beauty, and the breathtaking equality offered in His great work of salvation.
The Restoration of the Fullness of the Gospel in the Latter-days, and the Temples of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, further utilizes and enlightens His role as Bridegroom.