The Groom Returns For His Bride

Kathy Overshiner


When I was a small child at Christmas time, I would thumb through the pages of the Sears, JC Penny and Montgomery Catalogues.  I was looking at the Christmas toys. My eyes would focus on the doll section and one particular doll. I admired the beautiful bride doll.  My heart was set on this doll. There was a time that I had to leave during the middle of school as I was ill and I had to go to my great grandmother’s for her to take care of me until it was time to go home.  During my visit with my great grandmother, she took me to her neighbor. This lady made dolls. I was taken into her crafts room and to my surprise the room was filled completely of dolls.  It was a little girls dream.  On each wall there were many shelves that went to almost the ceiling and on each self, there were dolls that lined it. But once again, my eyes and heart focused on the bride doll. There was only one there.  A year or two later, my great grandmother asked my parents if she could see me. So my folks took me to her. She was by then in a wheel chair. She told me she had something for me that I had wanted.  She looked for it, but she could not find it. The only thing that I remember wanting was the bride doll.  I never was told what she had wanted to give me.  I am left with the mystery, was it the bride doll I had been waiting for? 

There is also a mystery foretold of the rapture of believers, Jesus coming for his bride-the church. It is likened to a Jewish wedding in which after the betrothal, the groom would return to his father’s house to prepare the wedding chamber.  Because the groom could return for his bride unexpectedly, the bride had to be ready at all times.  When the groom returned, he would take the bride back to his father’s house and be closed in the chambers for seven days. When they emerged, a great wedding feast would be celebrated, Matthew 25: 1-13; Matthew 24: 36-44; Matthew 24.  As the groom waited for his father to prepare the wedding chamber,  and give his okay to go take his bride, so too only the Father knows when the time of Christ’s return for his bride the church saints.  Jesus statements of his coming have a double reference to his coming in the first stage, the rapture of the church, and the second stage his coming after the tribulation.

John 14:3 And I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going. Revelation 3:10 Since you have kept my command to endure patiently, I will also keep you from the hour of trial that is going to come upon the whole world to test those who live on the earth. John 14: 1-4; Luke 12: 35-36.

The word “rapture” is derived from the Latin word “raptu,” which means “caught away or caught up.” This Latin word is equivalent to the Greek word “harpazo translated as caught up.  1 Thessalonians 4:17;

1 Corinthians 15: 51-53 Listen, I tell you a mystery. We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed- in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet.  For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.  For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”  This refers to the catching up of the church (believers) from the earth to meet the Lord in the air.  It involves the faithful of Christ’s churches. Believers will be united with loved ones who died in Christ.  They will be removed from all distress.  2 Corinthians 5:2, 4; Philippians 3:21. Christ will deliver us from the coming wrath.  1 Thessalonians 1: 10 And to wait for his son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead-Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath. 

1Thessalonians 4:14-18 Paul inspires us with hope and for us to encourage each other and tells us not to prepare for martyrdom during the time of “the day of the Lord,” tribulation but by telling us about the rapture, and knowing this, we will be encouraged. 

1 Thessalonians 5: 1-6 Now, brothers, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape.  But you brothers are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.  You are all sons of the light and sons of the day.  We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. So then, let us not be like the others, who are asleep, but let us be alert and self- controlled.

Like a thief in the night is a metaphor and means that the time of the Day of the Lord when it begins is uncertain and unexpected.  There is no way that one can date the timing of the Lord’s returning for the church.   Peace and safety- it is the unbeliever who will be saying peace and safety. This may mean the world is expecting hope and peace when the day of the Lord and its world- wide distress will suddenly come upon them dashing all hope of peace and safety.  The day will not overtake faithful believers like a thief.  Believers are appointed to receive salvation, not wrath, they will be alert and self- controlled , living in faith, love and righteousness.  I do believe that believers will be taken out in the rapture.  Just as Noah and Lot were protected, so will the believers.  Enoch was raptured out and can be likened to the church just before Noah’s time.  Noah and Lot were protected and can be likened to some of the tribulation saints during the tribulation that will be protected.  What groom would beat up his bride, and afterwards take her for his wife? It would not make common sense for the Lord to abuse his bride and then take her for his own.   

Titus 2:13 While we wait for the blessed hope- the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.

There are obvious signs all about us that we have entered the end days.  Israel is compared often to the fig tree and on May 14, 1948 Israel became a sovereign nation. Prophecy had come true. In June 1967, Jerusalem was regained by the Jews in the six day war. Jerusalem remained under gentile rule 1,897 years and the gentile age ended June 1967.   

Romans 13: 12-14 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.  We all must be spiritually ready and put aside our deeds of darkness and repent, accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior for forgiveness of sins, and enter in fellowship with our Lord.