Thursday, January 4, 2018
The Jewish Wedding and Its New Testament Correlation
You’ve made a wonderful decision to choose Yeshua whose name means Salvation in Hebrew. Your new life in Christ has now begun but you need to be guided…to walk that walk and become a disciple who will then go into the world and tell other the wonderful news of the saving Messiah.
Though there are many aspects to this walk, it is not difficult. Remember you have the Holy Spirit to guide you. You have now become the Bride of Christ. You’re a part of the body of believers…you are “spiritual Israel” because you’ve made the wise choice to follow Yehsua…joining those citizens of Israel…God’s Chosen people and its citizens who have knowledge of the saving grace of Yeshua and have received Salvation because they too believe that Yeshua is the Son of God.
The Jewish wedding and its correlation to the modern-day believer’s submission to Yeshua is the process of being sanctified. There are ancient rituals associated with the Jewish wedding that are rich in spiritual truths that remind Israel…of their covenant with Elohim and HIS love for them.
God has made Covenant with His set-apart/Sanctified people. These Covenants are never initiated by man, but by Elohim.
The Marriage Covenant is a culmination of three Covenants and is the core of everything Elohim ordained. Blood Covenant/Servanthood represented by red light; Salt/Friendship Covenant by yellow light and the Sandal/Inheritance Covenant represented by the blue light. Each covenant extends onto the previous one and when combined these colors produce a pure white light which is the color of Elohim.
At the wedding feast all must wear white signifying that all covenant relationships have been honored. Matthew 22:11-12
In the Scriptures Yeshua identifies Himself as the Bridegroom and all who enter into all three forms of Covenant as the bride. In ancient Hebrew culture the wedding was a significant social and religious event. It was also part of the process involving commitment and covenant and could take several years to complete.
As we choose to grow in our intimacy with Elohim, we become conduits of His light thereby reflecting more and more of His Divine nature. Elohim’s desire is not for us to remain servants, friends or children but to become His bride. First we must be redeemed by going through the process. We have to make ourselves ready.
The consent of the bride to the proposal of marriage in ancient Hebrew times is equivalent to Yeshua’s invitation for the believer to receive Salvation and the believer accepting. The Hebrew bride can accept or reject the offer even though it was arranged just as the believer can reject the invitation for salvation knowing what Yeshua suffered, the shedding of His Blood, to save the believer from sin.
There are three steps in the process. The first step is the shiddukhin or arrangement. The groom’s father would select a bride for his son even as he was still an infant. Love, as we define it, was secondary. Once the
bride has been chosen, the next step is the Ketubah or formal, written contract which details the provisions and conditions proposed for the marriage. The groom promises to support his wife-to-be while the bride stipulates the contents of her dowry. To prepare for the betrothal ceremony, it was customary for the couple to separately take a ritual immersion in water (mikveh) and was symbolic of spiritual cleansing just as the believers’ baptism by immersion in water symbolizes the believer dying to himself/herself and beginning their new life in Yeshua, in preparation for His return.
Eyrusin (betrothal) is the second step where the couple appears under the huppah (canopy) in a public ceremony wherein they make known their intention to become engaged. Kiddukshin (sanctification or set-apart) describes the engagement or betrothal period. It is all about setting themselves aside for one another for the covenant marriage. This correlates with the believer’s promised sanctification, after accepting the offer of salvation and has set himself/herself apart in preparation for the wedding…Yeshua’s second coming.
The huppah is symbolic of a new household being planned. Items of value are exchanged and cup of wine is drunk to seal the eyrusin vows. The couple is considered to have fully entered into the agreement of eyrusin for one year. Though considered married during this one year period, they were not allowed to cohabit… no consummation… and they lived in separate dwellings just as Yeshua returned to the Father and believers live on earth. In comparison, modern day engagement or betrothal is not binding as the eyrusin. The eyrusin was so binding that the couple would need a religious divorce or “get” to annul the contract and was only given to the husband. Disobedience caused Yeshua to reject the believer who broke covenant. Revelation 16:15, 22:7, 10-11. The wife had no say in this decision. The couple each had their respective responsibilities during this period. The groom used this time as a time of preparation, such as preparing a dwelling place for his bride and future children. Usually accomplished by adding another room to the family’s existing home. Yeshua said “in My Father’s house are many mansions…” John 14:2-3. The bride, in the meantime, focuses on her own personal preparation, including consecrating herself just as believers are to be consecrating themselves in preparation for Yeshua’s return Luke 21:34-36. For both bride and groom it was to be a year of introspection and contemplation readying themselves for this holy covenant of marriage.
The Nissuin culminates the process of the Jewish wedding ceremony… the bride waits, for the groom to carry her away to their new home. The groom’s, and the wedding party’s, time of arrival was a surprise that he, the groom, didn’t know because it was determined by his father just as Yeshua warned that we are to be prepared because only the Father knows the day and the hour of the groom’s coming. It was therefore the bride’s, as it is every believer’s, who has consecrated him/herself to be prepared for the Bridegroom’s, Yeshua’s, arrival Mark 13:32-33, Matthew 25:13, if the year-long betrothal period was taken seriously and is expecting the Bridegroom. The bride/believers should be anticipating the Bridegroom’s arrival even into the late night. A member of the groom’s party would run ahead and shout/announce that the groom is coming and the shofar was sounded to proclaim this special event Revelation 22:20. The bridal party was to keep the oil lamps filled burning just in case the wedding was to begin. We are reminded in the parable of the ten virgins that only five had oil in their lamps. The other five went to buy oil and returned to find the doors locked Matthew 25:10-13. They were turned away by the groom because they had not kept their covenant. At the sound of the shofar the groom would lead the wedding party through the streets to the bride’s house. The groomsmen would carry the bride back to the groom’s house where the huppah/canopy was set up. The couple would yet again say a blessing over a cup of wine. It was not the same cup used at the blessing of the betrothal the previous year. This ceremony is the culmination of the earlier promises and vows. The earlier promise was now consummated in this, the nissuin ceremony.
The celebration was continued with the marriage supper which could last many days and involved not only eating and drinking, but music, dance and other festivities. The new husband is now free to take his bride to their new home and to live together within the full covenant of marriage.
I found that reading about the traditional Jewish wedding…the marriage covenant and all it entails…and the believer’s covenant with Yeshua are exactly the same. As believers we are to consecrate ourselves, be set apart from the world so that when Yeshua returns we will be prepared, dressed in our white garments Revelation 16:15 ready to go with Him and not be as the wedding guest who was rejected because his garment was not white Matthew 22:11-13.
Four cups of wine are directly related to the Covenants. God established four cups of wine as milestones to signify exactly where the betrothal parties were in their negotiations. Each cup corresponds to a covenant. My focus is on the third cup of wine.
The third cup of wine corresponds to the cup Yeshua shared with His disciples during the Passover feast…the Last Supper when He washed their feet John 13:5 and thus transferred His inheritance to them (sandal covenant). Yeshua also made further reference to His coming marriage to “His called out ones”, knowing that it was customary for the Bridegroom not to drink wine again until the wedding ceremony. It explains why He said He would not touch the fruit of the vine again until He could do so with them in the Kingdom of Heaven Mark 14:25, Luke 22:30 and why He refused the pain-numbing wine that was offered by the Roman soldiers as He hung on the cross Matthew 27:34, Mark 15:23. It is important that believers, as we partake in the communion ceremony, remember that we are reaffirming our commitment as Yeshua’s bride. The communion in the Upper Room is a picture of the Covenant sequence except that Yeshua reversed the sequence. He first removed His disciples’ sandals and washed their feet John 13:9 (inheritance); He then broke bread, I Corinthians 11:24 (friendship) and passed a cup of wine I Corinthians 11:25 (service). Finally, a few hours later, He went on to shed His blood on the Cross in the ultimate blood covenant. Believers must recognize at every communion occasion, what Yeshua did on the cross.
Holy Communion is a very solemn experience and should be reverenced by those partaking of the Communion table. It is important that we remember that we’re making a re-commitment to pursue Him, our friendship with Him and to be good stewards of all that He has given us. We must be cognizant that each time we partake of the cup, we are recommitting to serve Him, obey Him, to follow His rules and ordinances. We must walk in Torah. The commitment we make at communion is the same as what a bride and groom make to each other. Believers are in covenant with Yeshua. It is binding. Believers and the church or church leadership do not have the option of restructuring that relationship to suit ourselves. The cups of wine of the betrothal covenant overlay and therefore reinforce the individual covenants in the sequence. This was purposely done in order for Yeshua to build a seamless mosaic of concepts that will ultimately establish and maintain a relationship leading to marriage, Lost In Translation, vol. 1 …a marriage between Yeshua and His bride, the church.