Part Seven of Eight: Preparation
Preparation of the Groom
During the betrothal the bridegroom would spend his time in preparation building an extension onto his father’s house for them to live. Since customs forbade premarital sexual relations before the nuptials, they would spend a year apart while the bridegroom built their house. This mandatory time apart would prove the purity of the bride and that no sexual relations had taken place, because if they had relations, she took a chance on becoming pregnant.
Once the bride accepted the groom’s proposal, he would make the journey back to his father’s house to start construction on their new home. As stated earlier, this was usually an extension of the father’s house.
Parallels to the Church…
At His death, Christ traveled back home to his Father’s house from whence He came to prepare a home for us, his new Bride. It is my contention that as Christians, we are the temple of God  making us the many mansions that Christ spoke of in John 14:2. Christ, through the person of the Holy Spirit, is spiritually preparing each of our temples for His return and dwells within each of us. There are many Scriptures that speak to our growth in Christ .
Then when we accept the proposal of Christ through the communion, verse three of John 14 reminds us that Christ will come for our spirit  at the rapture . Then, as Christ stated in John 14:3, “. . .and will receive you into myself, that where I am, there ye may be also.”
Preparation of the Bride
The preparation for the bride was a time of separation, purification, anticipation, and preparation for the groom’s return. The bride would take what they called a mikvah, which is a bath of purification. Even today, Jewish brides need to obtain a certificate to show that they have acquired the ceremonial mikvah.
Parallels to the Church…
The mikvah is the washing of the Word . We are to remain pure to Jesus and not fornicate ourselves to other god’s and committing spiritual adultery . Spiritual adultery would not only be adultery with other gods , but is the act of loving and even spending more time with anything or anyone more than we do with God. Chapter five of Ephesians tells us about the parallel of mikvah to the church.
v25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her
v26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the Word,
v27 and to present her to Himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless [Ephesians 5:25-27 NIV].
v11 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God [1 Corinthians 6:11 NIV].
The mikvah is also the baptism of water either through immersion or by sprinkling. There is a baptism of the Holy Spirit as well.
v19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: [Matthew 28:19]
v16 Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost [Acts 11:16].
The parable of the ten virgins  tells us always to be ready with our flasks of oil and to be continually full and prepared for the trip. The oil is always representative of the Holy Spirit of God. So be sure that we replenish daily with the infilling of the Holy Spirit. Mortify the flesh daily .
Do not be like the five unwise virgins whose flasks were empty, but always to be ready for His return, for we know not the hour of His return . We should make certain that our light shines  before the world and that we are always ready to give an answer for the hope that is within us .
Our focus should be on Jesus Christ and His return, not the world’s plan. God changes not and what Christ wrote will stand and will happen. So let the world worry about the last days and we can prepare ourselves for the return of our husband.
As the bride of Christ, how can we prepare ourselves for His coming? The baptism of water is the act of separating ourselves from the world and setting ourselves apart. Being in our prayer closet, every day is prudent. Reading His Word daily and going to church regularly is a good way to prepare for His return.
We can use our spiritual gifts for the edification of the body and for our own growth. Fulfilling the great commission given to us by our Lord  is the last thing God told us to do, so we should continue to do so.
 1 Corinthians 3:16
 2 Peter 3:18; Ephesians 3:17-19; 1 Peter 2:2; Colossians 3:16; 1 Timothy 4:15 just to name a few
 Ecclesiastes 12:7
 1 Thessalonians 4:17
 Ephesian 5:26
 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Romans 2:1-25; 1 Corinthians 5:1-13; Romans 1:18-32; Matthew 12:43-45; 2 Peter 2:20-22; Jude 1-25; Revelation 21:8
 Exodus 20:3; Deuteronomy 6:14, 8:19; Jeremiah 25:6
 Matthew 25:1-13
 Romans 8:13
 Matthew 24:42
 Matthew 5:16
 1 Peter 3:15
 Mark 16:15