"In Jesus’ growing influence, John found his own joy fulfilled. He illustrated this for his disciples by referring to a custom at Near Eastern weddings. The friend of the bridegroom was only an assistant, not the main participant in the marriage. The assistant acted on behalf of the bridegroom and made the preliminary arrangements for the ceremony."
The Biblical theme of the "Divine Wedding" was used by God to portray His redemptive purposes in the Bible. In a more specific way, we want to see how this overall theme applies specifically to understanding the identity of Jesus Christ in John 3:22-36.
1. The Old Testament's use of the "bridegroom theme"
Old Testament books like "Ruth" unite the marital language of the Old Testament with the concept of a "Kinsman Redeemer" who takes on a bride that was married to a near blood-relative that passed away so as to preserve that man's bloodline (see Deuteronomy 25:5-10). In such ancient contexts, widows had no way of redeeming themselves, and so not only did the "law of the kinsman-redeemer" preserve the dead man's lineage, but also protected the living widow. Such marital language is used in the Old Testament's pointing forward to Jesus, who came to redeem for Himself a bride that, metaphorically speaking, was formerly married to the deadness of sins, trespasses and the kingdom of darkness (see Ephesians 2:1-4 and 5:22-25).
3. The Tragedy and Triumph of the Bridegroom in redeeming His people
4. The surprising climax of the Bridegroom redeeming His people
A. The Bride is being prepared for her groom, (with Israel being set aside at this present time) - Romans 11.
B. The Bride will be presented to the Son as His bride in heaven the rapture - 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 19:6-7.
C. The Bride will be presented here on earth at His second coming (at which point He will restore Israel) - Matt 25:1-13; Rom 11:25-26; 1 Thess 4:13-16.
D. The Groom will reign on earth with His Bride the church, along with Israel who will be folded into His bride to be at the end of His reign on earth - Revelation 20.
E. The Groom and Bride will be married for all eternity, thus completing God's purposes in presenting a bride, composed of all of those whom He chose, called and were converted by faith to His Son - Revelation 21-22.