The Bride and Pentecost

This feast is the insurance policy for the Bride of Christ

Pentecost is not just a feast in remembrance of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem, but it is also a feast that helps us to be expectant about the future. It holds a promise.

The feast of Pentecost is connected with the ancient Hebrew wedding ritual. In essence, this earthly wedding ceremony – in its original form – is a shadow of a heavenly blueprint of the covenant between the heavenly Bridegroom and the earthly Bride [1]. Paul compares the community of followers of Christ also with a bride.

Stages of the Wedding Ceremony

The wedding ceremony of groom and bride is taking place in different phases. After the boy and the girl have met each other for the first time and both are positive about their acquaintance, a meeting takes place in the house of the bride’s family. While there, during a meal, negotiations take place for future marriage. If the negotiations go well between both families, they sign the ketubah. This document states that the groom offers protection and security to the bride. The bride must personally agree to the intended marriage and will also prepare for it with specific tasks. Although this is only a preliminary phase of marriage, the bride and groom are already connected through the ketubah. The bride not only becomes the name bearer of the bridegroom but from that moment on she also has become an heir. The final marriage covenant will be settled at a later stage. This illustrates how the believers in Christ are connected to Him, although the great day of the Marriage Covenant is still in the future.
When the ketubah is signed and the bride and groom have drunk the wine together, as a sign of their covenant, they will not see each other for a long time. The bridegroom indicates that he will no longer drink from the cup until they are together again. He then leaves with one goal: he will prepare the bridal room (‘the Chupah’) in the house of his father and work to prepare the future home.

But how does the bride know her groom will return when he is gone for so long? Will she wait for nothing? What gives her certainty? Well, the groom does not leave without assuring the bride that he will come back to get her for the big day of the wedding. First of all, he has signed the ketubah, by which he shares all his possessions with the bride as his heir. In addition, he has paid a ransom to the family of the bride. Moreover, the groom also leaves gifts for the bride to show her how much she means to him. You could say that he has connected himself to his bride with his whole soul and delight.

Paul rightfully states that the congregation of believers in Christ represents a bride; when Jesus was on earth, He as the Bridegroom gave His life to acquire his Bride from this world. The heavenly Bridegroom gave His life and signed with His own blood the ketubah for His Bride. Likewise, during the Last Supper, Jesus announced that the wine symbolized His blood that sealed the New Covenant. [2] This (Seder) meal also fitted the pattern of the ancient marriage ritual. The disciples would have understood very well what He was referring to when Jesus said that He would no longer drink the wine until He would drink it anew with them in the Kingdom of His Father. The disciples were familiar with the images of the marriage ritual and this must have spoken volumes. [3]


The Bride and Pentecost – Looking Forward to the Wedding

When the Bridegroom told them that He was departing from this earth to prepare the many rooms in His Father’s house, the picture was complete. [4] Jesus pointed out that His ascension and Second Coming had to be understood by the earthly shadow that God had incorporated in the marriage ceremony. Finally, marriage is a God-given covenant between man and woman. If you do not understand the spiritual meaning behind this, you can easily come to the conclusion that there are all sorts of diversities of living together, but these corrupt the image of the heavenly Bridegroom and Bride.

How did the disciples know for sure that He would come back one day to get His followers to participate in that great Wedding? Because the heavenly Bridegroom also left a Gift as proof that the bride belongs to Him. That very great gift came at Pentecost when the Spirit of God Himself was poured out over the Bride who had entered into the covenant with Him. Paul says that the Bride consists of those who believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God who died and rose again to save people. That Bride will one day stand radiant before the Bridegroom when He comes to bring His Bride to the bridal chamber in the house of His Father.

The outpouring of the Holy Spirit over the Bride is for that reason, it is not a luxury. Neither is it just another historical event in Jerusalem on Pentecost, but a certainty that He will return and the proof that Bridegroom and Bride are already bonded as one. Therefore, the believers in Christ are able to say that they are the Body of Christ and that He is the Head, just as the man is the head of the woman. [5] The relationship between man and woman is thus a shadow of the heavenly and that image starts before the wedding day.

Prior to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, Pentecost was celebrated for almost 1500 years as a harvest festival of wheat. It was a reminder that God joined the people of Israel at Mount Sinai in the ‘ketubah’ where He wrote His instructions on stone tables. From that moment on God walked with them in a pillar of fire. But 10 days after the Ascension of Christ, on the day of Pentecost, God’s glory returned to human temples that would form a people worldwide. God’s Spirit came ‘as a pillar of fire’ on His Bride as a guarantee that He will surely come back to get His Bride. In this way, the Bridegroom and Bride have already spiritually joined.


The Bridegroom Returns to Get the Bride

Therefore, the Bridegroom will return on a day in the future to get the Bride for the wedding. You can recognize a similar pattern within the Biblical festivals. Remember that a long dry summer follows in Israel after the annual Pentecost, before the next festival begins in the Autumn. This is the Feast of Trumpets. In reality that long summer lasted almost two days of a thousand years after His Ascension. This is the reason why we look forward to the day that the last Trump will sound and this feast will also be fulfilled through the return of the Bridegroom, to get His Bride. The real Bride will be prepared for His coming and it is her desire to be without spot or wrinkle. Until that day comes, we have received the Holy Spirit to help us and who is pointing us to His New Covenant. The Holy Spirit is also enabling the true Bride to resemble the heavenly image of the Bride and Bridegroom. [6]

For this reason, we celebrate at Pentecost that Bride and Groom have entered into a covenant and remain bonded with each other through His Spirit – until He comes. Pentecost indeed means that we can look forward with expectancy to that future glorious day.

[1] A detailed description of this wedding ceremony can be found in Chapter 6 of Wake Up! God’s Prophetic Calendar in Timelines and Feasts.
[2] Matt. 26: 27-29
[3] In turn, the disciples drank wine as a sign that they accepted the ketubah of the New Covenant. Christ showed them how Covenant, Seder meal and marriage ceremony are all connected.
[4] Joh. 14: 1
[5] See, among other things, 1 Cor. 12: 12-13
[6] 1 Cor. 12: 6 & 15: 47-49