|Vickie and Ed Gabler taught Friday’s Bible study. They are a dynamic team teaching pair.Vickie chose the images of Jesus in First Century Jewish Wedding Customs because this is the month of June and the time of many weddings.
She said that God had many names for his people, not all flattering. Names like dumb sheep, foolish, vipers, but he also had wonderful names for us: sons and daughters; joint heirs in Christ; beloved; child; and the Bride of the Lamb.
Who is the Bride of Christ, the Jewish believers and the Church are the Bride of Christ. The Jewish people would be familiar with the customs so these parables and examples would speak volumes to them.
John 14:1-3 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father’s house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”
After the bride and groom were espoused, the groom would go and prepare the house for the bride (usually took one year), and then he would return to pick her up. Imagine in 2000 years how our house will look when Jesus comes for us.
When a Jewish man wanted to marry a particular woman, the groom’s father would come and talk with the father of the potential bride. They would discuss the price for the bride, the conditions of the union, and then the two men would seal the agreement with a toast of wine. Then the potential bride and the hopeful groom would enter the room. He would propose to her, and if she accepted, he gave her a gift in the presence of two witnesses. The gift was usually a ring, and he would say, “Behold you are consecrated unto me with this ring according to the laws of Moses and Israel.”
Then there would be arrangements made concerning the marriage, a written contract that listed the time, place, and size of the wedding, and the dowry and terms for the marriage were all written out. This is called a “Ketubah” and the bride kept this contract in her possession until the consummation of the marriage. This first part of the two-part ceremony was concluded with a toast of a glass of wine. The ceremony was called the “Shiddukhin” or engagement. And the Bride and groom were now in the status of espousal or betrothal. They were as committed to each other as two married people, but would not live together as a married couple until the “Huppah” ceremony. But the betrothal was considered so binding that the only way to break it was a bill of divorcement.
The groom would depart, after assuring his bride that he would build a home and return to complete the marriage ceremony. It usually took a year to prepare the new home which was an addition onto his own father’s house.
We too have a marriage contract, a Ketubah – we call it the Bible, and it details all the conditions of our marriage to the Lamb, and assures us that our Lord is preparing a place for us. It will be some place, because He has taken 2000 years to prepare it. Not only that, but given the earth is but a type and shadow of Heaven, it will be very spectacular.
The bride was to remain true to her groom, and prepare herself and her trousseau. She waited ready for his return, which would be indicated by a shout for the wedding party. The wedding usually took place at night, and when members of the wedding spotted the moving torches of the groom’s approach a shout went up, “The bridegroom is coming.”. The bride would drop everything, get in her wedding dress, and complete her final preparations for the marriage.
The groom did not enter the bride’s house, the bride came out to meet him. They accompanied the wedding party to the grooms home for the marriage ceremony. After the public ceremony, the bride and groom went into the bridal chamber to be intimate for the first time. Then the groom came out and said, “Our marriage is consummated.” The wedding party would begin a festive, seven day celebration – if it was the first marriage of a virgin girl. They couple stayed in seclusion for the 7 days, then they came out and joined the wedding feast with the guests.
Ephesians 1:4 “just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame for Him in love.”
The wedding price was settled by God before He even created the world. God is the Father of the groom, and since Jesus is the creative person of the Godhead, He stands in as the father of the bride. This love was not an afterthought of God, because Jesus is referred to as Rev. 13:8 “the lamb slain from the foundation of the world.”
We must realize that God loved us so very much, that the bridal price was costly, the Blood of his Son, Jesus. 1 Cor. 6:20 For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in you body and in your spirit which are God’s.
The proposal of salvation, Jesus gave us is for all mankind. When we say “Yes” to His proposal, we are His betrothed, and we are secured by the Holy Spirit which protects His purchased bride until Jesus comes. Ephesians 1:13-14 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of all our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.
To read more about the Kinsman Redeemer you may want to read the book of Ruth, which describes it fully.
The Bible is our Ketubah. Jeremiah 31:31-33 Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them says the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD, I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
The night before the crucifixion Jesus drank a last cup of wine with his disciples, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.” Luke 20:21 and Matthew 26:29 But I say to you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.
Oh how we are waiting for that glorious day. The communion that we take, rather than taking it with glum faces, should be a celebration of that glorious betrothal that we have of Jesus and a reminder that He will come and share the wedding cup with us.
1 Thes. 4:16-18 This passage is part of the description of the rapture, but notice how the Lord comes, “For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.”
When Jesus comes as a shout, we must be prepared – the parable of the virgins and their lamps and many other parables of Jesus talk about being prepared for we will not know the time when He will come. Just like the bride did not know the time when her groom would come for her, so she lived in a constant state of preparation.
We are going to be in a seven day marriage celebration with the Lord (Chapter 5 of Revelation the Lamb takes the scroll and breaks the seals) the Bride is in heaven worshipping God for the week (during that time, the tribulation will be occurring on earth which is Revelation 6-19 which culminates with the Marriage supper of the Lamb in Heaven.) Revelation 19:7-9 Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready. And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. Then he said to me, “Write, Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb” Then after the marriage supper, they will go forth on white horses, to reclaim the earth for the Millennial reign.
The Jewish wedding is a perfect picture of Jesus’ love for the believers.
Hope you enjoyed this teaching. Tomorrow I will share what Dr. Ed spoke about Genesis, and tied that into the marriage as well.
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