reply to post by Deetermined
Marriage is one of the most important Jewish acts because it fulfills a command by God in Genesis "to bear fruit and multiply." Marriage is
regarded as the cornerstone of both family and community life. Celibacy is considered unnatural..
In Judaism, marriage is viewed as a contractual bond commanded by God in which a man and a woman come together to create a relationship in which
God is directly involved.[Deut. 24:1] Though procreation is not the sole purpose, a Jewish marriage is also expected to fulfill the commandment to
have children.[Gen. 1:28] The main focus centers around the relationship between the husband and wife. On the spiritual level, marriage is understood
to mean that the husband and wife are merging into a single soul. This is why a man is considered "incomplete" if he is not married, as his soul is
only one part of a larger whole that remains to be unified
Now that we've established that marriage and reproduction is required by Jewish law, lets look at the customs of marriage, in those days.
The bride anticipated the return of the groom, the exact time of which she did not know, and which could occur at any time. Her experience during
this time must have included some doubt and anxiety that the groom might not return for her.
The bride would ensure every night before retiring that she had an oil lamp prepared, in case her groom returned for her at night (cf. the Parable of
the Ten Virgins, Matt. 25). Since grooms often returned at midnight to surprise the bride, and since the journey back to the nuptial chambers through
the dark streets of a Israelite village could be hazardous, the bride would continually have an oil lamp ready, in preparation for the return of the
This ritual is steeped in Jewish symbolism. Jesus didn't originate this metaphor. It is part of Jewish law and tradition. It has to do with the
"rapture of the heart" and quickening and the union of body and soul. As above, so below.
Jesus was explaining how ritual imitates a divine way, set by the law, for the benefit of the people's well being, ie: salvation.
Does this mean that Jesus is going to come with and entourage to surprise and literally sweep his bride, the body of his followers, off their feet and
into ceremony, some 2000+ years later?
Did Jesus mean that was telling his followers that he was the ultimate bride groom? Jesus never said, I am the bridegroom, and you are my brides. I
think his apostles would have balked at such a statement.
Some will take it to mean just that. But as for me, I believe it to be a teaching metaphor relating to the quickening of the spirit into
enlightenment, like an expected surprise, to those that are prepared and watching. Jesus gives his insight the understanding of the sacred
relationship of the spirit to the body, and spirit to spirit. Not a definition of the role of Jesus, but an example of a method of attaining unity
through the Holy Spirit, which is mankind's divine spark.
In my humble opinion.