Sandra Jean (1 Nov 2010)

 Risen to Return (4/3/1988)
... A Jewish wedding had three parts, the contract, the betrothal and the wedding. ... House,
just like they did in the Jewish wedding, to dwell in the Father's house. ...

Secondly, as a major point, God's program demands it, God's program demands that Christ return. First of all, His program for the church demands it, His program for the church demands it. Let me see if I can explain this to you very briefly. In 2 Corinthians 11:2, Paul says, "I'm jealous over you with a Godly jealousy, for I have espoused you to one husband that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ." Paul says, "I see my responsibility to bring you, the church, as a chaste virgin to Christ, to present you to Christ as a chaste virgin." What is he saying here? What is the imagery here? What is this all about? Let me explain it to you.

A Jewish wedding had three parts, the contract, the betrothal and the wedding. Part number one was the legal part. Two sets of parent who determine that their children should marry got together. They negotiated a contract which meant that the man had to pay a dowry to the family of the girl, and that was negotiated dependent upon their economic status, and the estimated value of the girl. So, the parents got together and they negotiated a contract. The price at that point was paid, and the daughter was purchased to be a wife. Then later on after that came phase two, the betrothal. We would call it the engagement. The ceremony was always held in the home of the bride, and guests came over and it was what we would call today an engagement party. And there was a public announcement that the two were going to be wed. Gifts were given, there was a time of joy, rejoicing as they were formally engaged. About a year later, came phase three, the wedding. This was held always when the groom came to the bride's house, got the bride and took her to the father's house for the wedding. Now follow that part.

In Revelation I wanna show you something, something beautiful, 19:7, "Let us be glad and rejoice and give honor to Him for the marriage of the Lamb is come and his wife hath made herself ready, and to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white, for the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints." Now, listen, that's the marriage. That's the marriage of the bride, the church, and the bridegroom, the Lamb, the Lord Jesus Christ. That's the consummation.

At Calvary, when Jesus died on the cross, He purchased the elect, the contract was written in His blood. Phase one of our union with Christ was at the cross where in death, He fulfilled the contract and paid the price for His bride. When you believed and I believed, who are the elect, at that moment the engagement took place, and we received the gifts, the Holy Spirit, and the other gifts of grace that come to believers. And we even received the Spirit who it says, "is the ourabund," the word is earnest translated in English. The Greek word ourabund means engagement ring. So, the engagement occurred when we believed. The purchase price was paid at Calvary, before we believed. The contract was made then. But we received the engagement ring and the gifts and the celebration took place when we were saved. But beloved, we're still waiting for the wedding. We're still waiting for the wedding. And if this is all there is folks, then Jesus Christ is an unfaithful bridegroom who paid the price and went through the engagement, and never showed up at the wedding and stood up the bride, if there's no second coming. You see, the program for the church demands it, and that's why Revelation 7 says the marriage of the Lamb has come. And when Jesus returns, the wife is ready and the bridegroom is ready and the marriage takes place, and what does He do? He takes us to the Father's what? House, just like they did in the Jewish wedding, to dwell in the Father's house. That's the program for the church. That's not complete without His coming to get His bride from her house and take her to His house.