Ancient Paths - Jewish Wedding Customs

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told!

•The greatest love story of all ages…created in the heart of God.
•This love story belongs to the Bride of Christ. She is on a prophetic journey preparing to meet her heavenly bridegroom. 
•We are all individually invited (thru the gospel) into a holy romance with the "King of Kings".
•It is the story of God’s longing  for the companion who will become like Him and the great sacrifice He is willing to go through to obtain this love and devotion…
•The love the Bride has for Him demonstrated by her devotion and obedience to the marriage covenant
 
Eph 5:27 - …that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing
 
You may access the Powerpoint slides for this study at:
 
 
 

Jewish Wedding Customs in Light of the Scriptures

•Song of Solomon (Song of Songs) – is an allegory that reveals God’s passion for His church, His bride…and what our attitude as the Bride should be toward Him!

•According to Jewish tradition, along with commandments, God gave wedding customs, service, and ceremonies to the Jewish people (Rom 9:4)
–Oral law – communicated to Moses and passed down thru the generations…written in Talmud and Mishnah
•Customs – the how to! 
•Notice how customs support and help bring out the beauty and the and genuineness of the scriptures

Jewish Wedding Customs

The Beloved speaks… 

7 You are all fair, my love,
      And there is no spot in you.

9 You have ravished my heart,
      My sister, my spouse;
      You have ravished my heart
      With one look of your eyes,
      With one link of your necklace.
       10 How fair is your love,
      My sister, my spouse!
      How much better than wine is your love,
      And the scent of your perfumes
      Than all spices!
       11 Your lips, O my spouse,
      Drip as the honeycomb;
      Honey and milk are under your tongue;
      And the fragrance of your garments
      Is like the fragrance of Lebanon.

…What does this tell us about our heavenly Bridegroom?

Jewish Wedding Customs

•He is a God of passion…our God is a romantic when it comes to His Bride…!
•His Spirit is in the process of “wooing” us:
–Persuading, pursuing, flattering, courting, dating!

The Shulamite speaks…

•SoS 2:8 The voice of my beloved!
      Behold, he comes
      Leaping upon the mountains,
      Skipping upon the hills.
       9 My beloved is like a gazelle or a young stag.
      Behold, he stands behind our wall;
      He is looking through the windows, Gazing through the Lattice…Rev 3:20

1) Selection of the Bride

•The bride was usually chosen by the father of the bridegroom.
–The father would send his trusted servant, known as the agent of the father (matchmaker), to search out the bride.
• An excellent example of this can be seen in Genesis 24.
–In this chapter, Abraham (a type of God the Father) wishes to secure a bride for Isaac (a type of Messiah) and sends his servant Eliezer (a type of the Holy Spirit [Ruach HaKodesh]) to do this task (Genesis 24:2-4; 15).
 
•It is the role of the Holy Spirit to convict the world of sin and lead them to God (John 16:7-8). Just as the bride was usually chosen by the father of the bridegroom, so the believers are chosen by God (John 15:16).
•The bridegroom lavished his love upon her and she returned his love. This can be seen in Ephesians 5:25, as it is written, "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself for it.

Selection of the Bride (continued)

–Abraham is a type of the Father
–Eliezer, whose name means “comforter” represents the Holy Spirit
–Rebekah is a type of the Bride of Christ
–Abraham sends his servant Eliezer back to his home in Ur of the Chaldees (Babylon) – a type of the world
–Abraham’s new home in Canaan (promised land) is a type of…our heavenly home
–Isaac is a type of the Bridegroom!
•Tradition has it that the King (Bridegroom) is in the field during month of Elul – preparing to meet His bride!
•Gen 24:64-65 
•Also look at 1 Peter 1:8 and Eph 5:25; John 15:16 and 16:7-8

Selection of the Bride (continued)

•15 And it happened, before he had finished speaking, that behold, Rebekah, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, came out with her pitcher on her shoulder. 16 Now the young woman was very beautiful to behold, a virgin; no man had known her. And she went down to the well, filled her pitcher, and came up. 17 And the servant ran to meet her and said, “Please let me drink a little water from your pitcher.”
•18 So she said, “Drink, my lord.” Then she quickly let her pitcher down to her hand, and gave him a drink. 19 And when she had finished giving him a drink, she said, “I will draw water for your camels also, until they have finished drinking.” 20 Then she quickly emptied her pitcher into the trough, ran back to the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels.
•What does this tell us about Rebekah’s character?

2) A Bride Price (Mohar) was Established

•Gen 24:53 - Then the servant brought out jewelry of silver, jewelry of gold, and clothing, and gave them to Rebekah. He also gave precious things to her brother and to her mother.

 •The bride price was paid to show how much the bridegroom loved and valued the bride (Be'ulah): means - -"owned one." A woman had much value – in the Hebrew culture the bridegroom would be getting a skilled homemaker and helper.

A bride price (mohar) was established (continued)

•Of course the Mohar that Jesus paid for us was His life!
–…for God so loved…!
•I Peter 1:18-19, "For as much as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.“

 •I Corinthians 6:19-20, 19What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?

•"For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's."

3) The Bride and Groom are Betrothed

•Betrothal legally binds the bride and the groom together in a marriage contract, except they do not physically live together. Historically, God betrothed Himself to Israel at Mount Sinai (Jeremiah 2:2; Exodus 19).
–Similar to our engagement period but much more binding.
•When we are born again of water and the Spirit, we become betrothed to Him while living on the earth…we say “I do”…we take on His Name!
•"I am my Beloved's and my Beloved is mine"

 

4) A written document is drawn up, known as a ketubah

•The ketubah is the marriage contract that states the bride price, the promises of the groom, and the rights of the bride. The word ketubah means "that which is written”.
•The Bible is our marriage contract!
•II Cor 1:20 – “For all the promises of God are in Him yea and amen”!
–They are legally ours…we just need to claim them!

5) The bride must give her consent!

Rebekah had to give her consent to go with Eleazer (Gen 24:58)…we must also give our consent

–What is the gospel anyways?  Is it not a marriage proposal.  The Holy Spirit comes to each of us and asks the same question – will you come with me? Will you agree to the terms and conditions of the marriage contract (the written Word)?
•We have been invited…

...the bride must give her consent!

•Rebekah (Rivkah) consented to marry Isaac (Yitzchak) even before she ever met him.
•As believers we consent to become the bride of Jesus even though we have never seen Him.
•First Peter 1:8 speaks of this, as it is written, "Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory."

6) Gifts were given to the bride (Gen 24:53)

•The rite of betrothal is completed when the groom gives something of value to the bride and she accepts it. The gift most often given today is the ring. When the groom places the ring on the bride's finger, the rite of betrothal is completed. This completed rite is known in Hebrew as kiddushin, which means "sanctification."
The gifts to the bride are symbols of love, commitment, and loyalty. The gift God gives to those who receive Him is the Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) (John 14:26; 15:26-27 – which of course is supposed to lead to our sanctification(2 Cor 7:1)

We are circumcised in our

Hearts by the Holy Ghost! Romans 2:29 –

The sign of the (eternal) Covenant!  

For the Jews, Physical Circumcision was a sign of their covenant relationship with God! In the new covenant, it is the circumcision of the heart…the cutting away of the flesh from our lives.  The circle is a symbol of completeness, and of eternity…w/o beginning or end. The Jews circumcised on the 8th day because it is the number of completion and of eternal covenant with the Lord.  Six days for man to work or 6000 yrs, the 7th to rest (millineum period), 8th day is eternity…completion…the plan of God will come full circle back to His original plan in the garden

 

A cup called the cup of the covenant was shared between the bride and the groom!

•The blessing of the cup of wine is an important element of the ancient and modern Jewish wedding. The Bride and groom share the cup, symbolizing the shared life (covenant agreement) that would be theirs.
–If  the Bride drank from the cup…she was considered betrothed (could only be broken by a writ of divorce)
•Jesus shared the cup of the covenant with His disciples in Luke 22:20 saying:  “this is the cup of the New Covenant in My blood which is shed for you”.
•This marriage contract was first promised to the House of Israel then to who-so-ever will (Jer.31.31-34)

...the Shared Cup!

•A second cup of wine would be shared in the future. This is the cup of joy!
•This second cup would be shared at the actual homecoming of the bride; the bride of Christ will one day drink a cup with Jesus in person at the second part of the marriage ceremony (the Marriage Supper).
•Matt 26.29 -  But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.

7) The bride had a mikvah (baptism in water), which is a ritual of cleansing

•Mikvah is a Hebrew word that means "pool" or "body of water."
•Mikvah is a ceremonial act of purification by the immersion in water. It indicates a separation from a former way to a new way. In the case of marriage, it indicates leaving an old life for a new life with your spouse (identifying with Jesus)
 

The Bride's Preparation!

John 14:26
But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things…
•Eliezer and Rebeka in their journey home…(we are strangers and pilgrims)
–Finding out about our heavenly Bridegroom!
•What does He like, what does He not like!
•This is her time of beautification. For 12 months she takes beauty treatments
–While waiting for the bridegroom to return, she finds in him perfect contentment
–She fills her heart with songs. They think constantly of one another.
•Look at Esther chapter 2:9,12,15

The Bride's Purification!

•In ancient times myrrh was used to soften hard dry cracked skin and restore it's suppleness.
–Type and shadow of the softening work of the Holy Spirit in us

Beauty treatments of the heart

8) The bridegroom departed, going back to his father's house to prepare the bridal chamber

•At this point, the bridegroom leaves for his father's house to prepare the bridal chamber for his bride.
•It was understood to be the man's duty to go away to be with his father, build a house, and prepare for the eventual wedding.
•Before he goes, though, he will make a statement to the bride. "I go to prepare a place for you; if I go, I will return again unto you.“
• This is the same statement Jesus made in John 14:1-3 before He went to His father's house in Heaven:
•Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Fathers' 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 again, and receive you unto Myself that where I am, there ye may be also (John 14:1-3).

Not less than a year but no more than two

Continued on next page....

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