By Jim Barfield and Jared Sturgill
The bible tells us that there are seven feasts and festivals that God gave to mankind. You can find the listing of these festivals in Leviticus chapter twenty-three. The festivals are as follows: Passover, Unleavened bread, Pentecost, Feast of trumpets, Day of atonement, Feast of tabernacles, and the Sabbath. The festivals of God are set in such a way that they resemble an ancient betrothal and wedding. The Passover teaches the first step of the Betrothal, the bride accepting the proposal. Pentecost tells us of the agreement of the Wedding Vows. The Feast of Trumpets teaches of the Wedding of the King. The Feast of Tabernacles teaches of the Wedding Feast when God will dwell with us. The Sabbath teaches of the 1000 years of peace that Yeshua will reign with his Bride. We, the bride of the Messiah, anxiously await his return when he will take us, wed us and dwell with us, all of which are taught by the Festivals of the Bible.
These are the set times of the Lord, the sacred occasions, which you shall celebrate each at its appointed time: In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight, there shall be a Passover offering to the Lord. (Leviticus 23:2 )
Many believers teach the many qualities of the story of the Exodus, but they forget that the redemption of the Israelites was “the bride price” that was paid for God’s beloved, Israel. Just as God redeemed Israel from a life of bondage, Yeshua redeemed us as well from the bitter bondage of sin. In the story of the Exodus, Moses repeatedly warned Pharaoh to let God’s people go so that they could meet with God and celebrate a feast to him in the desert and begin Israel’s time of separation to prepare herself as his beloved. Pharaoh refused God’s command and the people of Egypt paid a very high price.
When Yeshua walked the Earth, he did not neglect the Passover commandment. His Last Supper with the Disciples was a Passover Seder. During that time, Yeshua revealed a significantly deeper meaning of the feast, beyond a simple recognition of God’s deliverance of His people from bondage in Egypt. It is no coincidence that the Passover became the setting for the crucifixion. The plan of God was laid from the foundation of the world and the disciples were well aware of the story of Passover, having celebrated it each year of their lives. But on that particular night, they came to fully understand that their friend and teacher was the Lamb of God, who had come to take away the sins of the world. He was soon to leave them, and would return in power to redeem His people in a way they could not imagine.
Through the Passover He betrothed Himself to us and promises that upon His return we will become His bride. Let’s consider the stages of the ancient Hebraic wedding: courtship, betrothal, marriage process.
In the courtship, the father of the groom selects a bride for his son, then the father of the groom sets an appointed time when they are to meet to see if the young lady would accept the proposal of the groom as her future husband. After a time of discussion between the Fathers, and an opportunity for the young lady to get a look at the future Groom the groom-to-be prepares for the moment of truth. He will slowly pour a glass of wine and set it before the lady, waiting for her response. This glass of wine is called the cup of acceptance, the Kiddush Cup, which means to be Holy or set apart as a bride is set apart to her Groom. If she does not approve of the young man, she does not drink from the glass and all hopes of a marriage vanish.
After the drinking the Kiddush Cup the bride begins preparing herself for her wedding contract by reflecting on what a great price the man has paid. Realizing that when the contract is agreed upon, she will be endued with the power given to her by her husband. Paul said in the book of Corinthians, “For he who was a slave when he was called by the Lord is the Lord’s freedman; similarly, he who was a free man when he was called is Christ’s slave. You were bought at a price; do not become slaves of men.”
Once betrothed, the man will give precious gifts to his beloved and will rise and declare to her that he will return for her after a place is prepared. He then departs from her presence. He goes away to prepare a place for her. Literally, he is building on to his father’s house where they will live for a time as husband and wife after the wedding. This building project however, is closely supervised by the groom’s father.
“Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. And where I go you know, and the way you know.” (John 14:1-4)
Pentecost tells us of the final agreement of the Wedding Vows. In orthodox teachings they teach that the nation of Israel was literally “under the mountain” when they received the Ten Commandments. The Huppa today represents that mountain and God’s protective covering. Moses played the role of the friend similar to the matchmaker that arranged the exchanging of the wedding contract. After the final agreements were made, Moses went down to the people and asked them if they would accept the terms of the contract and in one voice they said “we hear and we will obey”, they were saying the very first “I do.” The Ten Commandments were a copy of the wedding contract that was to have gone to the bride. But when Moses was bringing down the Brides copy he saw them engaging in adultery.
Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words you are to speak to the Israelite. So Moses went back and summoned the elders of the people and set before them all the words the LORD had commanded him to speak. The people all responded together, “We will do everything the LORD has said.” So Moses brought their answer back to the LORD. (Exodus 19:5)
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them. Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. (Acts 2:1-5)
Passover, First Fruits and Pentecost, which are called the Spring Feasts, have been completed in Yeshua’s first coming. Yet there remain three prophetic feasts to be fulfilled. The Feast of Trumpets is the first of the Final Three. Yeshua spoke of these in the parables that he gave the disciples many times.
The Bride has been endued with power and authority and awaits the return of her groom. When the appointed time comes, his father makes the proclamation, GO AND GET YOUR BRIDE, he will then return to claim his bride with a shout and the call of the Trumpet. As she waits and prepares herself, the Bride is always listening for this trumpet that announces the arrival of her beloved.
This romantic imagery is portrayed at the time that the groom comes for his bride. The lady has been waiting for the appointed time that her groom would come for her and that time is always at night. The groom gathers his friends and journeys to the home of the bride, she and her brides maids knew the season but they do not know the day or the hour that he is to come, so they must stay ready. When the procession nears the bride’s home there is a great shout and a trumpet blast announcing that the groom has arrived. The bride and her bridesmaids are startled and awakened. Hopefully she and her bridesmaids have made themselves ready for that day and they go out to meet him. When the groom sees her he snatches away his bride and carries her to a place prepared for the wedding.
Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Now five of them were wise, and five were foolish. Those who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them, but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. But while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight a cry was heard: ‘Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to meet him!’ Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise answered, saying, ‘No, lest there should not be enough for us and you; but go to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, Lord, open to us!’ “But he answered and said, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ ” (Matthew 24:5-12)
Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And He will send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they will gather together His elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other. (Matthew 24:30-31)
The young man cannot return for his bride until his father declares that his building project is completed. Thus, only the father of the groom knows the day or hour that the groom will return for his bride. “No one knows the day or the hour” is a common idiom for the Feast of Trumpets which is traditionally observed for two days, but is considered to be one long day. The thing about it is, in ancient times “two witnesses had to note the sliver of the new moon and report it to the governing counsel to start the holiday so no one new when it was to start, or… “no man knew the day or the hour.” Oddly enough, the Feast of Trumpets is the day that the Kings of Israel were to marry their Brides.
During this season of Passover, we drink from the cup he has set before us, just as Yeshua sat the cup before his disciples almost two thousand years ago at the last supper. The bridegroom has gone to his father’s house to prepare a place for us. He waits for the day that his father will say, “The Appointed time has come, go and get your bride for the wedding feast of the Lamb.” With a great shout and trumpet blast we will know that he has come. Do you have oil in your lamp; are you ready?
Jared Sturgill is the website designer and SEO expert for The Jerusalem Connection. Visit him on the web: www.sturgillstudios.com