“While the bridegroom is with them, the attendants of the bridegroom cannot fast, can they? So long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast. But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast in that day.” Mark 2:19, 20
Here, Yeshua gave a message for the Pharisees then and to all who are familiar with their Bibles. Messiah, the Bridegroom brings us to something very significant, to yet another major declaration of His very nature.Israel has been yearning for millennia to meet her bridegroom. We see this reflected in a Targum interpretation written just before the time of Yeshua, from the Book of Song of Songs (Shir ha-Shirim). Song of Songs has long been considered symbolic of the love between God and the Jewish people.
It is said that in total there are ten songs relating the history of Israel. The ninth is the Book of the Song of Songs, and the tenth and last song is found in Isaiah 30 which describes the 2nd coming. Up to today, this relationship is reflected through a ceremony in Jewish weddings. Just as God who is the Bridegroom will come forward to receive Israel who is the bride, it became customary for the groom to take his place under the wedding canopy first, so that he can welcome his bride as she walks down the aisle. But do you see that in the Hebrew Scriptures, the Bridegroom is Jehovah?
In our text today, Yeshua declares Himself as the Bridegroom disclosing and confirming His unity in nature with the Father. Just like in the previous verses we have studied, the revelation about His identity continues to increase. We saw earlier that only God can forgive sins, yet Yeshua forgave sins. We saw earlier that although only God can read man’s thoughts, Yeshua reads them as well. We read earlier that, as the Book of Revelation described the Son of Man and the Ancient of Days as one, so Yeshua claimed that same place of majestic authority, for He said He was the Son of Man.
Now we see Yeshua claiming the status and privilege of being the Bridegroom, a function given only to the God of the Hebrew Scriptures. Yeshua is the Bridegroom of all believers. At the very end, He will come back to wed His bride who are the believers within both Israel and the nations. It is in Revelation 19:7 where we read, “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the Lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready.”
The same promise is given in the Hebrew Scriptures where Jehovah is the Bridegroom. Speaking of the establishment of the Messianic Times we read in Isaiah 62: 5b, And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, So your God will rejoice over you.
Does God Have Two Wives?
On another note, some have complained that God appears to have two wives, Israel and the Church. How can God have more than one wife? The answer is that there is only one God and there is only one wife. The difficulty comes in when we recognize the sad truth that Israel has always been pushed out into oblivion and her status within the Church was demoted. However, it is so important to recognize that the Church was formed by a remnant of Israel. In the beginning, the Church was completely made up of Jewish people.
Afterwards, along with the remnant of Israel, people from the nations came along and were grafted into the olive tree. They joined the Jewish Church which is Jewish at its roots. This is how the biblical Church was and should still be defined: being made up of the remnant of Israel and the remnant of the Gentiles. Just as true Israel is made up of those who know Yeshua, so the true Church should not only include but also realize that its very roots are founded within true Israel.
The tragedy is that Israel has been kicked out, expelled, and dismissed from the Eklesia by those who thought they had the keys to the kingdom. But we have come back. It’s quite something to consider that around the mid 1800’s, we see a resurgence of Jewish believers claiming their faith and position in the Body of Messiah. Dr. Alfred Edersheim is one noted messianic scholar of the time. You also had at that time the fervor to return to the land of Israel with such names as Hertzl (later 1800’s) and the Gentile believer William Blackstone. That resurgence continued until the establishment of the nation of Israel some 75 years ago, which then set the stage for the end time miracles. It’s also interesting to note that in the mid 60’s and early 70’s there was another resurgence of growth in the Jewish messianic community which continues to grow today. At the same time, we have that desire resurfacing in diaspora Jews to return to the land, many emigrating for various reasons, including antisemitism or just because they love the Land and its history. And now that the Jew is back in place, both in the Body of Messiah and in the physical land of Israel, this will hasten all the events leading to the second coming of Messiah.
Husband and Bridegroom
But let us go back to the theme of the bridegroom and weddings. There is something very nice found in biblical Hebrew. The term bridegroom is the same word for a son-in-law. It is hard to conceive, because once married, the bridegroom should then be called the husband and not bridegroom. But the term bridegroom was kept even for a married man, perhaps to remind them that God is indeed, both the Husband of Israel and the Bridegroom to come.
In this way, we see Yeshua and Yahweh as both Husband and Bridegroom, maintaining that same role to love, protect, and keep His eternal covenant alive with all those who are His. Paul puts it so well in 2 Corinthians 11:2: For I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy; for I betrothed you to one husband, so that to Christ I might present you as a pure virgin.
Did you know you are engaged to be married to one husband? In the Bible, an engagement or a betrothal is as valid as a marriage. That is the relationship we have with God, that of Bridegroom and bride. It is the strongest bond of unity. God Himself who created marriage gave these powerful words in Genesis 2:24: Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
Describing one flesh, the Hebrew word echad is used, the same word used in the shema describing the relationship between God and Yeshua. So, we are engaged to be married and once married, to remain that way forever and forever. This is such a great source of encouragement that must be reflected in the way we live. Have you ever asked yourself how our relationship with God is reflected in our lives, in our desires, and in our conversations with others?
Let me tell you a story. One day, there was a boy dressed in rags, with no shoes, hungrily looking inside a pastry shop. A nice woman noticed him, brought him inside the bakery and bought him more that he could eat. Then she brought him to a shoe store and then to a clothing store to dress him up. At some point, the young child asked the nice lady, “Are you God’s wife?”
The lady was a believer, and she remembered all the verses about the Bridegroom and the bride, but while she pondered these things, the boy said, “I knew you were, you are so kind.”
The point is that we who trust Yeshua are the bride, the beloved of the Bridegroom, the Messiah. Our bond with Him not only brings great blessings and joy, but demands great responsibilities as we are to reflect this relationship in our walk with the Lord.