In John chapter fourteen the Lord told the disciples that He was going to leave and it dismayed them, so He assured them (and us) that everything would be well.
He shared some wonderful and amazing things that we shall investigate especially the place He is preparing for us.
This "place" is very real. It has physical dimensions and is measurable. The house Jesus spoke of is not just a "room" as often described, but speaks of an inheritance...
In this presentation, we look at those matters and more. Some include an analysis of the "last supper" It is really what we have been traditionally taught, or is ther some other significance.
We also look at bethrothal, weddings and marriage in general and how it applies to us today.
We hope you are blessed,
We shall actually start in John chapter eleven when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead after four days in the grave and this 4-day “delay” may have been a deliberately orchestrated prophetic fulfillment of biblical typology .
A change in His approach to ministry appears to have happened. He had started to withdraw somewhat from public appearances and was now looking towards entering Jerusalem—and Calvary. Six days before Passover, as He was having a supper, Mary anointed Him with oil and He said that she had done that in preparation for His burial.
What happened next is important.
Now there were a number of foreigners from among the nations who were worshipers at the feast. They went to Philip (who came from the village of Bethsaida in Galilee) and they asked him,“Would you take us to see Jesus? We want to see him.” So Philip went to find Andrew, and then they both went to inform Jesus. John 12:20-22
A diverse mixture of people mostly comprising Jewish pilgrims had arrived in Jerusalem for this week long feast according to God’s commandment. Many of them came to see the Lord. Everything we do and say should be aimed at revealing Jesus.
He then hid himself from the crowd and His last publicly recorded words followed.
“To believe in me is to also believe in God who sent me. For when you look at me you are seeing the One who sent me.
Jesus and the Father worked as one in total unity of mind and purpose. He only said what He heard the Father say and did what He saw the Father do. He was in essence working to a set plan and timetable. He was circumcised on the 8th day, dedicated to God at age 12 and attended the Feasts of the Lord at the appropriate season or moed and in this instance, it was the Jewish feast of Passover.
In Luke 22:7 it states it was the day of unleavened bread when the passover had to be killed and when He later joined Peter and John there, He said that he craved with a great craving for that moment.
passover & the last supper
When reading such accounts, we tend to separate them by chapter and verse to facilitate reading, but in most instances, there was a series of events flowing naturally and unbroken from one to another. We need to look at it this way. Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead in John 11 and went to Ephraim for a while to avoid the religious Jews. It was then 6 days before Passover and the entire festival took place over a 7-day period. If we look more into this, it is quite possible that there were two Sabbaths involved in the events of the crucifixion. One was the normal Shabbat that was observed every seven days and the other was the special sabbath involved with Passover.
Exodus 12:16-17 states that there were to be two special days!
You shall celebrate a sacred occasion on the first day, and a sacred occasion on the seventh day; no work at all shall be done on them; only what every person is to eat, that alone may be prepared for you. You shall observe the [Feast of] Unleavened Bread, for on this very day I brought your ranks out of the land of Egypt; you shall observe this day throughout the ages as an institution for all time.
It was just before the festival of Pesach, and Yeshua knew that the time had come for him to pass from this world to the Father. John 13:1
John said that they were at supper and Jesus washed the disciples’ feet and then returned to the table. Tradition tells us that the “last supper” was held at a long straight table with the Lord sitting in the middle, but tradition is not always right!
They were reclining, not sitting! The table may have actually been “U-shaped”.
“Truly, truly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master, nor is an emissary greater than he who sent him.
By reclining, or laying on the side, John would have been closest to the Lord and able to lean on Him. If Peter was on the other side of the Lord, he would have been facing away. The others would have been located on either side of each of them, but this introduces a problem.
Peter could have been beside John, reclining on his own side and thus unable to hear the words clearly.
Was this really “the last supper” or was it really the Passover meal? If it was, then why would the disciples wonder if Judas was sent to buy what was needed for the festival? According to Mark 14:12-16 and Luke 22:7-13 everything was already there:
...he will shew you a large upper room furnished and prepared: there make ready for us.
The Passover festival, Pesach or feast of unleavened bread (chag ha matzos) occurs over a 7-day period starting from sundown and concludes at nightfall. The lamb was chosen on 10 Nisan—4 days beforehand & set apart. It is slaughtered, roasted and eaten on 14 Nisan according to Exodus 12. If everything was prepared in advance, there was no need for Judas to buy what was required!
A traditional Passover today involves several aspects that might differ slightly from the original of Jesus’ day, but the core meanings or symbolism remain the same. The Seder plate (ke’arah) is the focal point of the proceedings on the first two nights of Passover. It contains matzah (unleavened bread), the zeroa (shankbone), a boiled egg, bitter herbs, charoset and karpas (vegetable). I have attended a Jewish Passover in large synagogues (not a church version) and struggled with tears as the meal is “so close” to Christian beliefs it is not funny. After this “Passover meal” a full meal was served, so there were "two meals” in the gospel account.
This brings me now to another aspect to the Judas account. John said that Judas left immediately after receiving the sop from Jesus and it was after that when Jesus spoke about His Father’s house. We really do not see much of Judas until he appeared in the garden when Jesus was arrested and this poses another question. Did Judas really partake of “the last supper” or not? I doubt it.
While they were eating, Yeshua took a piece of matzah, made the b’rakhah, broke it, gave it to them and said, “Take it! This is my body.” Also he took a cup of wine, made the b’rakhah, and gave it to them; and they all drank. He said to them, “This is my blood, which ratifies the New Covenant, my blood shed on behalf of many people. Yes! I tell you, I will not drink this ‘fruit of the vine’ again until the day I drink new wine in the Kingdom of God.” After singing the Hallel, they went out to the Mount of Olives.
From what I can ascertain, Judas had already left before they sang the hymn (Hallel).
It was during this supper when Jesus spoke of his death as seen in John13 and it disturbed them. Jesus then comforted them in John 14:1-4, telling them that He was going to prepare a place for them—but He knew that Judas would not make it! Judas was not going to be included. We are!
This place is reserved for the groom and his bride and we shall now look at the fascinating Jewish customs regarding marriage.
I called them customs, because the bible does not give a definitive description of a wedding. There are many references of course to weddings. For example the wedding at Cana does not tell us anything about the actual ceremony, clothing or gifts and the parable of the ten virgins gives us a peek into the some of the customs.
Jesus left His Father’s house in heaven and traveled to the “home of His bride to be—His Church”as we see in Ephesians 5.
For what I received from the Lord is just what I passed on to you—that the Lord Yeshua, on the night he was betrayed, took bread; and after he had made the b’rakhah he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this as a memorial to me”; likewise also the cup after the meal, saying, “This cup is the New Covenant effected by my blood; do this, as often as you drink it, as a memorial to me.” For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the death of the Lord, until he comes
1 Corinthians 11:23-26
This cup may not only represent His shed blood, but also be a symbol of a wedding covenant entered into.
The Jewish groom entered into a covenant and paid a price to purchase his bride.
Jesus entered into a covenant and paid a price to purchase His bride.
don’t you know that your body is a temple for the Ruach HaKodesh who lives inside you, whom you received from God?
The fact is, you don’t belong to yourselves; for you were bought at a price 1 Corinthians 6:19-20
The Jewish bride was declared to be sanctified or set apart exclusively for her groom once the marriage covenant was established.
The Church has been declared to be sanctified or set apart exclusively for Christ (see Ephesians 5:25-27; 1Corinthians 1:2; 6:11; Hebrews 10:10; 13:12).
There was a period of separation between the groom and his wife for 12 months.
The Church is also living in a period of separation.
The Jewish groom prepared living accommodations for his bride in his father’s house during the time of separation.
Jesus has been preparing living accommodations for the Church in His Father’s house in heaven during His separation from His Bride.
The Jewish groom came to take his bride to live with him at the end of the period of separation.
Jesus will come to take His Church to live with Him at the end of His period of separation from the Church (John 14:3).
The Jewish groom was accompanied by a procession to the home of the bride to receive her.
Jesus will be similarly accompanied.
...For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a rousing cry, with a call from one of the ruling angels, and with God’s shofar; those who died united with the Messiah will be the first to rise; then we who are left still alive will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and thus we will always be with the Lord. So encourage each other with these words.
The Jewish groom’s arrival was heralded by a proclamation from the watchman, usually accompanied by a particular shofar blast.
Jesus’ arrival will be heralded by a proclamation, the sound of the last trump.
If there is a last trump there must be a first trump—possibly more in between.
Trumpet calls or blasts on the shofar had different meanings or purposes—summoning people to receive a proclamation; a call to war; a signal to the camp that the glory cloud was moving, or indicating a seasonal change of some kind. Whilst they have a Jewish implication, they do relate to us. It behooves us to be attuned to these things, else we be found asleep when the bridegroom arrives.
The Trumpet call:
Jesus was about to begin a new season which brings us now to John 14.
In My Father’s House:
Some commentators of John 14 call it a room, but it is more than that. The word for house is οἶκος. It means much more than a house as such—it refers to a deceased person’s entire estate. According to protocol, Prince Charles should become king and he inherits everything. The Queen may however appoint William as her successor.
Whoever sits on the throne inherits Buckingham Palace and the other buildings and everything else—the entire estate.
Please consider that she could be the last Queen ever. We are in an historic season.
We have an inheritance because of Jesus and do inherit some things, but we need to remember that The Lord also has an inheritance. We are His inheritance. That reference to my Father’s house means much more than you may have imagined.
Jesus said in verse 3 that He was going to receive us unto Himself. This has several meanings that include—to take over, to take into a fellowship and to take over an office such as a priest—and it also refers to inherit.
He is also making us to be priests and kings. 1 Peter 2:9-10; Revelation 1:6; 5:10.
We now come to the word mansion (μονή pronounced monee) and immediately think of a literal building such as a mansion.
I have seen mansions in heaven, one of which the Lord said was mine and it is amazing. It looks a little like the house seen in the movie “Gone with the wind” starring Clark Gable and has a huge staircase inside the entrance foyer that towered so high above me, I had to crane my head higher than normal to see it.
There are other buildings there also. Some are like city high-rise buildings, many of which have amazing colouring.
Other buildings are like country cottages with beautiful gardens, one of which had a fruit tree in the back yard and I was able to pick one and eat it.
I never entered the city, but saw it from a distance. Ahead of me at the time was a sea of molten liquid gold that looked as if it had a glass top and on the distant shore was this city, behind which and seeming to emanate from inside it was a brilliant light that was too bright for me to look at it. It was but a fleeting glimpse, but it is indelibly imprinted in my inner being.
You will see such things one day and whilst we tend to think of our home in heaven and rightly so—we should remember that God thinks of dwelling with us now. What we presently experience could be like preparing us for what comes later. The Tabernacle expresses His desire, where He said:
Adonai said to Moshe, “Tell the people of Isra’el to take up a collection for me—accept a contribution from anyone who wholeheartedly wants to give. The contribution you are to take from them is to consist of gold, silver and bronze; blue, purple and scarlet yarn; fine linen, goat’s hair, tanned ram skins and fine leather; acacia-wood; oil for the light, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense; onyx stones and other stones to be set, for the ritual vest and breastplate.
This is not the only time God talks of this:
And I will dwell among the children of Israel, and will be their God. And they shall know that I am the Lord their God, that brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, that I may dwell among them: I am the Lord their God. Exodus 29:45-46
Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And the heathen shall know that I the Lord do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore. Ezekiel 37:26-28
Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion:
Zechariah 2:2 says that somone was measuring Jerusalem. It has physical dimensions! Revelation chapter 21 gives a somewhat detailed description of Jerusalem, giving the dimensions and the materials of which it is constructed including the purest of gold and precious gemstones. On one of my visits to heaven, I saw a tree that was made of such precious gemstones. The last verse clearly tells us that only those people whose names are recorded in the Lambs book of life will get there! Is yours?
John described it thus:
Then in a vision I saw a new heaven and a new earth. The first heaven and earth had passed away, and the sea no longer existed. I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, descending out of the heavenly realm from the presence of God, like a pleasing bride that had been prepared for her husband, adorned for her wedding. And I heard a thunderous voice from the throne, saying:
Our ultimate home is in heaven. It is physical and it is spiritual. We also have to factor in the temple of God in the here and now
because 1 Corinthians 3:16 says that we are His temples. Paul also says in Ephesians 2 that we are part of a building project in which God is transforming each of us into the Holy of Holies, His dwelling place, through the power of the Holy Spirit living in us. See also 1 Timothy 3:15; Heb. 3:6; 1 Peter 2:1-55.
This brings us now to the word Place that Jesus used.
The word for place is topos and it speaks of physical territory or a literal physical place that has dimensions. The word topography is derived from this and it refers to the land. Topographical survey maps are examples of its use and they reveal the contours of the land, show various positions and dimensions and so on. Surveyers use them often. The Lord said that He was going to prepare A Place for us, so this is a literal, physical place. One day we shall be in that place.
He said Where I am—we may be also. The word used here is καί is speaks of a relational position—and a physical location.
During a Jewish wedding, the bride was carried under a canopy painted with gold crescents; later the newly married pair would sit under this canopy during the festivities. The book Song of Solomon is often misunderstood and I shall not comment on that, but there is a verse there that has great significance. It reads:
He brings me to the banquet hall; his banner over me is love. Song 2:4
Can we liken this to the Jewish wedding custom whereby the bride was escorted to the huppah (bridal chamber)? Paul spoke of a bride in 2 Corinthians 11:1-2:
Now, please bear with some of my “craziness” for a moment. Yes, please be patient with me. You need to know that God’s passion is burning inside me for you, because, like a loving father, I have pledged your hand in marriage to Christ, your true bridegroom. I’ve also promised that I would present his fiancée to him as a pure virgin bride.
Much talk abounds about the Bride of Christ. Although it relates to Israel and Jerusalem in Jeremiah 2:1-3, it does touch on this.
The word of the Lord came to me, saying, Go proclaim to Jerusalem: Thus said the Lord:
Much symbolism exists when we think of marriage and brides and the phrase the bride of Christ comes to mind.
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the last seven plagues came to me and said, “Come. I will show you the beautiful bride, the wife of the Lamb. Revelation 21:9
Ezekiel 16:6-14 speaks of this:
“Then I bathed you and washed off your blood, and I rubbed fragrant oils into your skin. I gave you expensive clothing of fine linen and silk, beautifully embroidered, and sandals made of fine goatskin leather. I gave you lovely jewelry, bracelets, beautiful necklaces, a ring for your nose, earrings for your ears, and a lovely crown for your head. And so you were adorned with gold and silver. Your clothes were made of fine linen and costly fabric and were beautifully embroidered. You ate the finest foods—choice flour, honey, and olive oil—and became more beautiful than ever. You looked like a queen, and so you were! Your fame soon spread throughout the world because of your beauty. I dressed you in my splendor and perfected your beauty, says the Sovereign Lord.
Paul talks about it in Ephesians 5:15-33:
...be very careful how you live, not being like those with no understanding, but live honorably with true wisdom, for we are living in evil times. Take full advantage of every day as you spend your life for his purposes. And don’t live foolishly for then you will have discernment to fully understand God’s will. And don’t get drunk with wine, which is rebellion; instead be filled with the fullness of the Holy Spirit. And your hearts will overflow with a joyful song to the Lord Jehovah. Keep speaking to each other with words of Scripture, singing the Psalms with praises and spontaneous songs given by the Spirit! Always give thanks to Father God for every person he brings into your life in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. And out of your reverence for Christ be supportive of each other in love.
For wives, this means being supportive to your husbands like you are tenderly devoted to our Lord, for the husband provides leadership for the wife, just as Christ provides leadership for his church, as the Savior and Reviver of the body. In the same way the church is devoted to Christ, let the wives be devoted to their husbands in everything.
And to the husbands, you are to demonstrate love for your wives with the same tender devotion that Christ demonstrated to us, his bride. For he died for us, sacrificing himself to make us holy and pure, cleansing us through the showering of the pure water of the Word of God. All that he does in us is designed to make us a mature church for his pleasure, until we become a source of praise to him—glorious and radiant, beautiful and holy, without fault or flaw.
Husbands have the obligation of loving and caring for their wives the same way they love and care for their own bodies, for to love your wife is to love your own self. No one abuses his own body, but pampers it—serving and satisfying its needs.
That’s exactly what Christ does for his church! He serves and satisfies us as members of his body.
For this reason a man is to leave his father and his mother and lovingly hold to his wife, since the two have become joined as one flesh. Marriage is the beautiful design of the Almighty, a great and sacred mystery—meant to be a vivid example of Christ and his church. So every married man should be gracious to his wife just as he is gracious to himself. And every wife should be tenderly devoted to her husband.
Scriptures talk much about love and marriage. It symbolizes the relationship God desires with us and I am convinced that this is one reason why marriage is being attacked. I speak of marriage between one man and one woman, not what is happening today.
In many countries, including my own, what I say could be termed hate speech and you understand my meaning. God commanded man to multiply and replenish the earth and so He created male and female. Adam and Steve cannot reproduce! Eve and Evelyn cannot reproduce. It is contrary to natural laws as well as Divine law. God clearly created specific genders. A male is a male and a female is a female, end of story and I had better stop there.
God uses marriage to represent His desire for intimacy of relationship with us and often regards Himself as a husband to us and Hosea is a good example. He regards improper worship as both idolatry and adultery. He wants to be a father to us and a lover to us and the best expression of the latter I know of is how Jesus thinks of His Church...His bride.
Weddings in the Bible were often lavish, noisy and costly–much as they are today. The bride and groom both wore expensive clothing, and were the center of attention. Guests and family were expected to give gifts to the young couple, and the families of the bride and groom also had obligations. Marriages were pre-arranged, so most people already knew their future spouse. That last point is extremely important.
Arranged marriages exist in different societies around the world and I cannot imagine marrying a perfect stranger, because I believe that in most weddings, the bride and groom already knew each other and chose to be married.
Jesus chose us, saying:
I have chosen you and taken you out of the world to be mine. John 15:19
...abandon every form of evil, deceit, hypocrisy, feelings of jealousy and slander. In the same way that nursing infants cry for milk, you must intensely crave the pure spiritual milk of God’s Word. For this “milk” will cause you to grow into maturity, fully nourished and strong for life—especially now that you have had a taste of the goodness of the Lord Jehovah and have experienced his kindness.So keep coming to him who is the Living Stone —though he was rejected and discarded by men but chosen by God and is priceless in God’s sight. Come and be his “living stones”who are continually being assembled into a sanctuary for God.
For now you serve as holy priests, offering up spiritual sacrifices that he readily accepts through Jesus Christ. For it says in Scripture:
The more I look at such things, the more I can confidently say that only those who have an intimate relationship with the Lord will make it at the end of time. They will “marry Him”.
Someone may know a bride and groom and be invited to their wedding, but not have an intimate personal relationship. This groom makes a home for his bride and provides for her, protects her, shelters her and nurtures her, but not for anyone else.
Intimacy of relationship with the Lord is therefore essential, for without that, He can quite correctly say, “I never knew you”.
Please make sure that you are in a relationship—an intimate relationship.
There is much more to share yet and this message is already large. Jesus told us that He is preparing a place for us and that when it is completed, He will come for us. From what he has been saying to my wife and me, it may be likened to the final touch-up stages like the painting and laying the carpets that we do when we build our own dream home. It's that close!
I am on alert to hear the voice of the watchman cry out, “He’s here” and the shofar blast to herald His approach.
Perhaps I should bring a follow up message along those lines–a message about the “rapture”. That is when He will come for His wife...
Barukh ha-ba (Blessed be the one who comes)
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