Yeshua/Jesus consistently sounded the “Wedding theme” throughout His ministry time with us — and since. His ministry even began with His “turning water into wine” at a wedding celebration in Cana, even though this was apparently unplanned. Marriage is a powerful picture of oneness. Of our becoming worthy to be citizens of His kingdom. Of the deep love of a “Bridegroom” who longs to see His “bride” appear spotless and beautiful before Him.
In ancient Hebrew culture, marriage was surrounded by a rich, if somewhat folksy, tradition. The young man who had identified the young woman with whom he wanted to share his life would gather his financial resources. He would go to the young woman’s home. He would take wine with him. He and the young woman would often be seated at a table. He would pour a glass of wine and extend it to her. If she chose to drink it, this indicated her acceptance of his betrothal. The prospective groom would then make arrangements with her father for a gift of money or other valuable items that the bride’s father would receive. But if she chose not to “drink the cup,” the young man would gather his things and leave.
We remember Yeshua’s asking His disciples, “Are you able to drink the cup that I drink?” He framed this question in Jewish wedding-tradition language.
If the young woman accepted the young man’s proposal, he would return to his father’s house and begin preparing her a place — often not more than a room added to his father’s home. But this room was sometimes referred to as their “mansion”! The prospective groom might have been overly hasty in his enthusiasm for his new life, so only his father could say when the addition was complete and sufficiently well done that his son could bring his bride.
During the time that it was being built, when people would inquire about when they would be married, the groom would reply, “Only my father knows.” The groom often went to claim his bride in the middle of the night! This practice increased the suspense and excitement. The bride-to-be, assisted by her wedding “party,” had to be ready to depart for her new life with her groom at a moment’s notice.
When disciples of John the Baptist asked Jesus why His disciples didn’t fast, as they and the Pharisees did, He answered by characterizing Himself as “the bridegroom”! “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.”
Like the prospective groom’s giving his prospective bride’s father a gift of money or other valuable items, the apostle Paul tells us that we are “bought with a price.”
It’s well known that the Church is figuratively described as the “Bride” of Christ. Yeshua tells us that we are to be ready — to know the signs and seasons of His return. He tells us that He will come for us at a time that we don’t expect Him! He tells us that, like the groom of old, He is “going to prepare a place for” us. That “In my Father’s house are many ‘mansions.’” Like a trustworthy bridegroom, He reassures us, “If these things were not so, I would have told you.” And when asked about the timing of last-days events, He replies, “Only the Father knows.”
Jesus sounded the Wedding note from that first wedding at Cana throughout His ministry on earth. And finally in Revelation, His angel speaks of the coming marriage supper of the Lamb!
Hebrew scholar Dr. Karl Coke has said that a closer translation of the familiar “My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?” that Jesus said from the cross, in part to remind us that He was fulfilling the words of Psalm 22, would be: “My God, My God, why have You bachelored me?” Dr. Coke explained, “He saw that He wouldn’t have His ‘bride’ until He got to the other side of the cross.”
In John 17 we find Jesus speaking less figuratively about the wedding. Having responded to a questioner earlier in His ministry to the effect that in heaven we won’t marry, His prayer offered shortly before the crucifixion, in John 17, speaks plainly of oneness. This is one of the precious places in Scripture where we are told that we have the opportunity to become like Him! His prayer here is that we in all ways — with everything we have — will join Him.
Liberty Counsel is asking youth around the nation to participate in the annual Day of Purity on February 14th. According to their website:
The Day of Purity is a day when youth can make a public demonstration of their commitment to remain secularly pure, in mind and actions. Today’s culture encourages youth to become sexually active at a young age and to experiment with sexual preferences. The Day of Purity offers those who strive for sexual purity an opportunity to stand together in opposition to a culture of moral decline. When you stand up for sexual purity you send a message to parents, churches, communities, legislators, and the media that you want a better world. Now is the time to let your voices be heard. Be a part of the “counter-culture” – – be politically incorrect. It’s time for a change. You can make a difference.
In part of an answer to the question “Why a Day of Purity?”, Liberty Counsel had this to say:
“The fear of the religious right is that the schools of today will be the governments of tomorrow. And you know, they are right. If we do our jobs right, we’re going to raise a generation of kids who don’t believe the claims of the religious right.”
–1999 GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network)
One freshman health text told students that “Testing your ability to function sexually and give pleasure to another person may be less threatening in your early teens with people of your own sex. . . . You may come to the conclusion that growing up means rejecting the values of your parents.” (emphasis added). A school survey in another district asked students what “caused” their heterosexuality, and whether they were heterosexual because they “feared” the same sex. PFLAG (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) tells young students that “one or two sexual experiences with someone of the same sex may not mean you’re gay. . . . Your school years are a time of figuring out what works for you, and crushes and experimentation are often part of that.” In fact, the push to experiment at a young age has led to a nationwide phenomena among teen girls known as “bisexual chic” – declaring themselves bisexual for attention and because it’s cool. Experimenting with sexuality may be seen as “cool” but what’s not cool, and in fact, not even discussed, are the devastating consequences of sexual activity outside of marriage.
All questions regarding the positive and negative attributes of the so-called “religious right” aside, it is clear from what GLSEN and PFLAG are trying to accomplish, that their effort to keep youth with same-sex attraction safe from bullying has ventured into territory that they have do not have the moral authority to tackle. We pray that the Day of Purity and other attempts to show the world that purity is beautiful and valuable succeed in their attempts to do so.
Here’s a sign that was held at a Boston Gay Marriage Protest from a few years ago:
Here’s the biblical text the sign is referencing in its entirety:
If any man takes a wife and goes in to her and then turns against her, and charges her with shameful deeds and publicly defames her, and says, ‘I took this woman, but when I came near her, I did not find her a virgin,’ then the girl’s father and her mother shall take and bring out the evidence of the girl’s virginity to the elders of the city at the gate.
The girl’s father shall say to the elders, ‘I gave my daughter to this man for a wife, but he turned against her; and behold, he has charged her with shameful deeds, saying, “I did not find your daughter a virgin.” But this is the evidence of my daughter’s virginity.’ And they shall spread the garment before the elders of the city.
So the elders of that city shall take the man and chastise him, and they shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver and give it to the girl’s father, because he publicly defamed a virgin of Israel. And she shall remain his wife; he cannot divorce her all his days.
But if this charge is true, that the girl was not found a virgin, then they shall bring out the girl to the doorway of her father’s house, and the men of her city shall stone her to death because she has committed an act of folly in Israel by playing the harlot in her father’s house; thus you shall purge the evil from among you.
How would you respond? Here are some thoughts Dr. Brown shared on the subject:
There were certain laws that God gave to ancient Israel before Jesus came into the world in order to maintain certain standards of purity and in order to keep Israel separate from the nations. Those laws are not applicable to Christians today. There were other laws based on universal principles of morality and holiness, including the prohibition against murder, the prohibition against child sacrifice, and the prohibition against homosexual practice. Those laws are still in full force today.