Caught Up In His Love
It's interesting that the word "rapture" has been used to define the catching up of the body of Christ. In The Random House Dictionary, the definition of rapture is, "the state of being carried away with deep emotions, esp. joy or love." And it is in terms of love and marriage that God and Yeshua (Jesus) describe this event.
Many rituals in our society are very different than they were during the time Yeshua walked the earth. Take weddings, for example.
In today's society men and women are free to choose a marriage partner for themselves. Once they have found that special someone that they simply cannot live without, they decide to marry. Both the bride- and groom-to-be take an active role in planning for the wedding ceremony, reception and honeymoon. Usually the best man and maid-of-honor are also involved in the preparations to a greater or lesser degree. Oh yes, and if the parents live nearby (and aren't too intrusive) they can lend a hand as well.
As the fateful day approaches nerves are frazzled and tempers may flare, but the happy couple know that it will all be over soon -- on the day that they have chosen for their wedding day.
But what would it be like to know that you are engaged to be married, yet have absolutely no control over any aspect of the wedding -- save preparing yourself for the event?
Well, in Scriptures we see that this is exactly the situation in which young couples found themselves. They knew that they were betrothed and that there would be a wedding one day, but the ultimate decision to proceed was left up to the groom's father. This couldn't have been easy on the young couple, but that's just the way things were.
In Genesis 24, we read of the account of Isaac's marriage. Isaac's father, Abraham, sent his servant to find a bride for his son. In verse 16 we are told that the girl, Rebekah, "was very beautiful and attractive, chaste and modest, and unmarried." When Abraham's servant was certain that this was indeed the girl the Lord had chosen to be Isaac's wife, and her family consented, "he bowed himself to the ground before the Lord. And the servant brought out jewels of silver, jewels of gold, and garments and gave them to Rebekah" (vs. 52 & 53). Then Abraham's servant brought Rebekah back to Isaac.
During the time between betrothal and marriage, the time when the bride- and groom-to-be waited and prepared themselves for their wedding day, one of the tasks the groom was undertaking was the preparation of the "home" where he and his future bride would dwell. This home was normally an extension built on to the father's tent within that family's compound. When the new home was ready, and the father knew the time was right, he would send for the bride.
If we look at the account in Genesis 24, we can see some interesting similarities between Abraham, Isaac, the servant, and Rebekah, and God the Father, Yeshua, the Holy Spirit and the bride of Christ -- Father God sending the Holy Spirit forth to seal those who come into the body of Christ, lavishing us with spiritual gifts, and helping us prepare ourselves for our Bridegroom, Yeshua. Surprised?
God often refers to His bride, even in the Old Testament. In Hosea 2:19-20 we read, "And I will betroth you to Me forever; yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in steadfast love, and in mercy. I will even betroth you to Me in stability and in faithfulness, and you shall know (recognize, be acquainted with, appreciate, give heed to, and cherish) the Lord."
In Matthew 25:1-13, Yeshua teaches of the ten virgins. These virgins were responsible for meeting the bridegroom when he came to get his bride. They were to be prepared for his coming even though they did not know when he would come. This parable illustrates that the bride knows not when the groom will come for her. We, as believers in the Messiah, must be as the five wise virgins who were continually prepared for the coming of the bridegroom -- and heed Yeshua's warning in verse 13, "Watch therefore [give strict attention and be cautious and active], for you know neither the day nor the hour when the Son of Man will come."
We don't know when our Lord will come for us, but does He? According to Matthew 24:36, no! "But of that [exact] day and hour no one knows, not even the angles of heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father." Just as bridegrooms of old knew not when their fathers would send them to fetch their brides, neither does our Bridegroom! But He is not sitting idly by while waiting for that day.
In John 14:2-3, Yeshua says, "In My Father's house there are many dwellings places (homes). If it were not so, I would have told you; for I am going away to prepare a place for you. And when (if) I go and make ready a place for you, I will come back again and will take you to Myself, that where I am you may be also."
Even now, as we wait to be caught up to meet our Bridegroom Yeshua in the clouds, He is preparing our future home! But what should we be doing? In Revelation 19:7 we read, "Let us rejoice and shout for joy [exulting and triumphant]! Let us celebrate and ascribe to Him glory and honor, for the marriage of the Lamb [at last] has come, and His bride has prepared herself." We are to prepare ourselves for that glorious day when Yeshua comes to take us home! We are to make ourselves spotless -- "She has been permitted to dress in fine (radiant) linen, dazzling and white -- for this fine linen is (signifies, represents) the righteousness (the upright, just, and godly living, deeds, and conduct, and right standing with God) of the saints (God's holy people)." -- Revelation 19:8.
It is by the Blood of Yeshua that we are saved from sin. But it is then our responsibility to keep ourselves "pure" (free from the filth of the world) for our Bridegroom (2 Corinthians 7:1). But we can't do it without yielding our lives to God. Only then can we prepare ourselves to be united with our Bridegroom on that day when we will be caught up in His love!