She Will Hear the Shofar
In eternity past, before time began, God planned everything (Isaiah 46:9-10). Included in His plan was to choose some people as a bride for His Son (Ephesians 1:4; Revelation 19:7-8). Those chosen were the Father’s, for He chose them; and now they are the Son’s, for the Father gave them to Him (John 17:6, 12). Marriage in Bible times was arranged by the father of the groom. He would select a bride for his son. Love usually followed the marriage, but there were exceptions like Jacob (Genesis 29:18), who loved Rachel at first sight, but as you remember, Rachel’s father gave him Leah.
The Jewish marriage would begin with a betrothal. The groom’s father would pay the bride’s family a dowry (mohar), and an exchange of gifts would take place (mattan).
On occasion the bride was covered by the skirt of the man’s cloak as a sign of his care and protection over her (CF Ruth 3). The woman would go back to her father’s house after a betrothal was signed and witnessed as a legal contract. It was as important as marriage itself. Unfaithfulness during this time (approximately a year) was considered adultery and punishable by death (Deuteronomy 22). A dowry was considered compensation for the loss of their daughter’s labor caused by the marriage.
Afterwards, the dowry often was shared with the daughter (CF Genesis 31:15). The betrothal was more than engagement in that it was binding. The betrothal is a covenant (ketubab) (Malachi 2:4). The ceremony of betrothal saw the families of the bride and groom meeting with witnesses. The young man would give the young woman a gold ring or some article of value. He would say to her, “See by this ring, thou are set apart for me according to the law of Moses and of Israel.” She would then drink of a cup of wine, which sealed her part of the marriage covenant, and the covenant was signed. It was during this betrothal year of the wedding that Mary was found to be with child of the Holy Spirit.
When it was time to go to get his bride, the groom dressed like a king as much as possible. If he was rich enough to afford it, he wore a gold crown. His garment had fresh flowers and smelled of frankincense and myrrh. His sandals would be carefully laced. He would wear a loose robe (Isaiah 61:10). The bride’s adornment was very costly (Ezekiel 16:11-12). Even her complexion was glossy like marble. Precious stones were worn for this occasion. The son had spent the betrothal year building them a house and waiting for his father to say it’s time now to go and get your bride, for only he knew and declared the hour (Matthew 24:31). The son would blow the Shofar and shout loudly, alerting the entire town and his bride that he was on his way to her house. His groomsmen would accompany him. When he arrived at her house, she would be swept away (called the flying of the bride). The ten virgins of Matthew 25 were waiting, but only those with enough oil were able to enter in to the wedding feast. Along the road to the groom’s home were men playing musical instruments and others dancing. All was a voice of gladness.
Arriving at the house of the groom was the most important moment of the entire marriage festivity. Now they are in their own home. Now they are together. Now is full joy and dreams being fulfilled (Psalms 45:14-15). They were together to hear the benediction given by their fathers followed by really long festivities. Every guest in attendance was to wear a wedding garment (Matthew 22:12). Wine was served for all (John 2:8-9).
After the wedding feast was over, the husband was escorted by his friends into the bridal chamber, where his wife had previously been conducted by her friends.
At some point God the Father will say to His Son, “Go get your bride.” Jesus is the bridegroom. The church is the bride of the bridegroom. Those who are the chosen and have said yes to the proposal are the betrothed to Him. From the moment the covenant was made, our groom was committed to His bride. He is at this very moment at His Father’s house preparing a place for us (John 14:1-4). Soon His Father will say, “Go get your Bride,” and He will shout and blow the trumpet. His bride will “fly away” to meet her groom in the air and go the Father’s house (1Thessalonians 4:6-17). There at the Father’s house will be a wedding feast called the marriage feast of the Lamb. Music will be heard on the street of gold, and rejoicing with the bridegroom will be everywhere in Heaven.
Are you in eager anticipation of the sound of the Shofar? The joy that will fill the streets will fill our hearts to overflowing. He will hear from His Father, “Go and get your Bride.” Then we will hear a shout: “Come up here!” Perhaps a shout of command. Perhaps the voice of the Archangel. Perhaps He personally joins in the gathering of the bride, the elect of the Father, assuring none will be forgotten or missed.
“’Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.’ And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then He said to me, ‘Write: “Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!”’ And He said to me, ‘These are the true sayings of God.’” Revelation 19:7-9