We have a custom in which, on the day of a wedding, the bride and groom cannot see each other until the ceremony. Have you ever wondered where that custom came from?
In the ancient Jewish wedding, once there was a covenant of marriage and the redemption price was paid for the bride (“it is finished”), the bridegroom would announce to his bride that he was going to build a dwelling place for them at his father’s house—their abode would simply be an addition onto his father’s house, as entire families generally lived in one location.
Once the bridegroom departed to begin work on building their dwelling place, it began a mandatory period of separation. The bridegroom could no longer have direct contact with his bride, and she would be veiled whenever she went out into public. The two were legally married, but the marriage was not physically consummated yet. They were betrothed, which had far more legal weight than simply being engaged today. To separate from the betrothal, the two would have to legally divorce.
It was the bridegroom’s father who would determine when the couple’s living quarters were sufficiently complete, and then he would tell his son to go and get his bride to bring her back to the dwelling place to consummate their marriage. The bridegroom would take his best man with him, usually during the night, and the best man would announce the bridegroom’s arrival, go and get the bride, and then bring her out to the bridegroom.
They would journey back to the father’s house, and after a ceremony, the two would enter the wedding chamber (chuppah) to consummate the marriage. The best man would wait outside the wedding chamber listening for the bridegroom’s call that the marriage had been physically consummated. Guess what John 3:29 is speaking about.
Once the best man heard that announcement, he would go and inform the rest of the wedding party to start preparing the wedding feast, and while the bridegroom would emerge from the wedding chamber, the bride, who had been veiled since the betrothal, would not be revealed until the wedding feast. She would remain in the wedding chamber.
You have just read exactly how prophecy is being lived out between Messiah Yahoshua and His bride. No, nobody on the earth has direct, physical contact with Christ, as christians often claim (it is not unheard of for christians to claim that Christ appeared to them privately), as that would be a direct violation of the wedding traditions.
And no, the bride cannot be on the earth when Messiah returns in judgment at the end of the tribulation, for that would be a violation of the wedding traditions, which mandate that the two cannot have direct contact until they come together to consummate the marriage. If part of the bride were in heaven, and part on earth, how could the consummation take place at the Father’s house?
And again, no, the bride will not be on the earth during Messiah’s millennial reign, as the wedding feast doesn’t occur until after that, when the new heavens and new earth are created. That thousand years on earth will be as a day in heaven, and then, once the new heavens have been created, the wedding feast (eternity) begins, and the bride is finally revealed, which is what we see in Revelation 21:2.
For more information: Will There Be a Pre-Tribulation Rapture?