As a Jewish believer in Yeshua there are treasures I see in the marriage supper of the Lamb, which I would love to share with you. You can listen along to this teaching on our YouTube channel here:
Key Verse: “Come up here, and I will show you what must happen after these things.” At once I was in the Spirit, and I saw a throne standing in heaven, with someone seated on it. The One seated there looked like jasper and carnelian, and a rainbow that gleamed like an emerald encircled the throne. Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and on these thrones sat twenty-four elders dressed in white, with golden crowns on their heads.” (Revelation 4:2-3)
Firstly, we need to quickly establish that the 24 elders are the Bride, to grasp the Messianic Jewish beauty of what I am about to share with you:
“The twenty-four elders are described as human. They are distinct from angels in other places in Revelation (7:11). They are in heaven and wear white garments, something that symbolizes God's righteousness. (Revelation 3:5, 18; 19:8). They also wear crowns (Revelation 4:4), something not said of angels in Scripture and which believers are said to receive (1 Corinthians 9:24-25; 1 Thessalonians 2:19; 2 Timothy 4:8; 1 Peter 5:4; Revelation 2:10). Based on these descriptions, the twenty-four elders represent those who worship the LORD (Revelation 4:11). More specifically, they may either represent 1) the church, 2) representatives of Israel, or 3) the twelve patriarchs and twelve apostles (Matthew 19:28). One variation of these views is that the use of twenty-four elders may come from 1 Chronicles 24:1-5 in which the priests were organized into twenty-four groups. If so, this "kingdom of priests" represents the bride that dwells in heaven with the LORD during the tribulation period. This would also help alleviate the concern of Israel being represented in heaven during the tribulation period when Israel had not yet believed in the LORD on a large scale. Further, it would remove the problem of these elders representing the apostles since John himself, an apostle, was the one having the vision (Would he have seen himself as one of the twenty-four elders and not mentioned it?). The information in Scripture most likely identifies these twenty-four elders as those who will dwell with the LORD worshiping Him after escaping the tribulation as a result of the Rapture, while God's judgments take place on the earth (John 14:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; 1 Corinthians 15:51-58).” (Compelling Truth)
So, the 24 elders are the Bride of Yeshua who has been raptured out of the Great Tribulation. But, have you ever wondered why 24 elders and 24 thrones, instead of say 12? Or 10? What's significant about 24? In the Jewish faith the number 24 has immediate Biblical bridal symbolisms, which I have never heard taught to the church:
The Tanach (the Old Testament in Hebrew) consists of twenty-four books. In the original Old Testament, we don't divide Samuel, Kings or Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah are one book, and the twelve minor prophets are also one book. The Old Testament, in the Jewish world is understood to be: "united in the twenty-four, which unifies the books, forming them into a single entity.” (betemunah.org means House of Faith) And the Bride unifies to form one single entity on her 24 thrones.
A traditional Jewish Bride has 24 ornaments for her wedding: This is found in two places in the Hebrew Scriptures, one in the open, one hidden in the Hebrew. Firstly in Isaiah 3:17-23, which says the daughters of Zion were adorned with: (“…the anklets, and the ribbons, and the crescents; the pendants, and the bracelets, and the veils; the headdresses, and the armlets, and the sashes, and the corselettes, and the amulets; the rings, and the nose-rings; the aprons, and the shawls, and the hair-coverings, and the girdles; and the robes, and the fine linen, and the headscarves, and the mantles, perfume, a belt, and hair curls”) giving us a total of 24 ornaments. But, also in Isaiah 3, the LORD takes away these bridal ornaments because of her PRIDE: “Because the daughters of Zion are haughty - walking with heads held high…” (Isaiah 3:16) Yet, Yeshua is the Head of all things, not our selves. A bride of Christ is one with no belief in her own self-righteousness. He is the Lifter of our head, not ourselves (Psalm 3:3).
Does He give these 24 ornaments back to His humble bride after the Rapture? Does she sit on the Thrones of the 24 Books of the Old Testament? I wonder, because it is understood in the Jewish world that the 24 books of the Old Testament are also the spiritual ornaments of a Jewish bride who loves His Word.
The second Biblical place in which my Jewish community understand the number 24 relates to a bride is in the Garden of Eden, before the fall, between God, Adam and Eve in Genesis 2:22. That is because the numerical value of the bridal and romantic phrase "and He brought her" to Adam is 24. [va ye vi'eha / וַיְבִאֶ֖הָ ]
So, the number 24 in the Jewish faith shouts "Word of God, Bridal Ornaments, a bride being brought by God to meet her groom in Eden."
Here are some more Messianic insights into a Jewish wedding:
The Yichud Room: Yichud means to "become one together" and reminds me of His Words: "I have given them the glory that You gave Me, that they may be one as We are one - I in them and You in Me - so that they may be brought to complete unity.” (John 17:22) The Yichud Room is central to the Jewish wedding, which sees the purpose of a wedding as immediate intimacy of the Groom and bride, not the entertainment of the guests: “The symbolic consummation of the wedding takes place in a private Yichud room straight after the ceremony. This is a firm requirement of Jewish law. When the couple emerges from yichud, they are man and wife. The yichud should be arranged for in advance. The private room should contain food, as the couple has been fasting. Eating together in private is one of the functions of this privacy. The process of the bride’s moving to her husband’s home is itself also a sign of marriage. The seclusion of the couple in the yichud room should be witnessed by two witnesses waiting outside, specifically appointed for this task.” (Chabad.org) While the Groom – Yeshua – and His bride enjoy the seclusion of "becoming one together" in their Yichud room of the Rapture, the two witnesses are 'outside' on earth in the tribulation, witnessing to those left outside the locked room. (Revelation 11) By Jewish Law, the Yichud room must be able to be locked from the inside! “Those who were ready went in with Him to the wedding banquet, and the door was shut. Later the other (foolish) virgins arrived and said, ‘Lord, lord, open the door for us!’ But He replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you.’ [By the way, the word for "know" in Hebrew - yada ידע - is the word given for a man knowing his wife, all through the Hebrew Scriptures) Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.” (Matthew 25:10-13)
Seven Days: after the Groom and bride emerge from their Yichud Room, the celebrations continue for seven days! By contrast how many years are Jacob's trouble?
The Folded White Cloth: In Jewish tradition, when a man and woman became betrothed, he went away to prepare their future home. But to assure her that he would be coming back, it was traditional for him to give her one specific item of his – a folded white cloth handkerchief: “…and the handkerchief that had been around His head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded together in a place by itself.” (John 20:7) Yeshua is using a traditional Jewish signal to His bride that He’s coming back to get her.
The Thrones: the Biblical word for "chair" and "throne" is exactly the same (כִּסֵּא) In the Jewish wedding the Groom and bride are lifted up on chairs (thrones) to dance together. The word for "chair/throne" also means "authority" in Biblical Hebrew. It’s as if the bride is sitting down on the "authority/24 thrones" given to her via her Bridegroom's Scriptures.
Crown: In Biblical Hebrew, crown (עָטַר) also means “wreath”! and comes from the verb root: "to encompass, to surround": “Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and on these thrones sat twenty-four elders dressed in white, with golden crowns on their heads.” (Revelation 4:3) His bride crowns Him with her encircling love and adoration, in turn with crowns on her own head, given to her by Him in degrees of response to her love; intertwining encirclings of love.
The Beauty and the Heartache:
My Jewish people liken the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai to a wedding: “The giving of the Torah is the marriage contract (ketubbah) between God (the groom) and the Jewish people (the bride); the flow of the Torah's divine insight and wisdom from God to us is analogous to the flow of vital seed from the groom to the bride on the wedding night.” (Chabad.org) Indeed, Hosea (2:19-20) prophecied: "So I will betroth you to Me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in loving devotion and compassion. And I will betroth you in faithfulness, and you will know the LORD.” Now imagine the heartache of missing one's own Jewish wedding?! Is this the quickest way to collapse self-righteous pride into repentant humble love? The tribulation will be a love-rival pain like no other for my Jewish people. But to be included in the bride of Yeshua, one cannot be an antagonising love-rival to His Jewish people. Why? Consider these two verses:
(1 Samuel 1:6 - two fellow-wives) “…her rival (צָרָה) would provoke her and taunt her viciously”
(Jeremiah 30:7) “How awful that day will be! None will be like it! It is the time of Jacob’s trouble (צָרָה), but he will be saved out of it.”
Do you see the same Hebrew word צָרָה in the original Hebrew? That's because "rival" also means: "a distresser, trouble, tribulation." How many times has an arrogant distresser 'church' said to the Jewish people throughout history: "You are nothing, we are the wife now; you are rejected by God your Husband, we have replaced you.” I believe these unbiblical, proud hearts will be left behind to learn righteousness, because a distresser belongs in the Tribulation, because that is what the word means. But Who offers the possibility, to Jew and Gentile, to be saved out of the Tribulation ?
"Saved" in the above verse (יִוָּשֵֽׁעַ) is the same verb root as Yeshua (יֵשׁוּעַ) !!