We’ve been learning about the Ancient Jewish Wedding, the various elements that made up this tradition and how each element was fulfilled by Jesus our Messiah.
As mentioned before, the three main characters in this tradition were;
The Father: This is reflected in God the Father
The Groom: This is reflected in the person of Jesus
The Bride: This is reflected in the church; the Bride of Christ
The Ketubah, being the wedding contract that detailed how much the groom was willing to pay for his bride and how valuable she was to him.
The Acceptance, which was done through the giving and receiving of a glass of wine. Accepting the wine made the betrothal or engagement as legally binding as marriage, but without the physical union.
The Gifts, were given by the groom to his betrothed so she would remember him during the separation which would take place until they were finally actually married.
The Separation, a period of between one and two years typically, during which time the groom made preparations for their future home and the bride made preparations for herself and for her future home and life. The only person who knew when the time of the wedding would take place was the father.
The Surprise Arrival
When the bridegroom’s father deemed that all was ready and up to his standards and acceptibility, he would tell his son to go and get his bride. The bridegroom would arrive unannounced to kind of ‘abduct’ his bride secretly, like a thief in the night and take her to the wedding chamber. As he approached the bride’s house, he would shout out loud and blow the shofar (rams horn) so that she would have at least some small warning to gather her prepared belongings to take with her. The bridegroom and his friends would come into the bride’s house and get the bride and her attendants.
In the same way, Jesus our Bridegroom, will come for us at a time not of our knowing, but He will come like a thief in the night, He will “…descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord.” (1 Thess 4:16-17)
The Huppah and Seven Days of Celebration
Once the groom receives his bride, the now much bigger bridal party make their way to the father’s house where the wedding guests have assembled and are awaiting the arrival of the happy couple. Shortly after arriving, the bride and groom are escorted by their attendants to the wedding chamber, also known as the Huppah and during all the proceedings up to this point, the bride is veiled so that no one can see her face. While the attendants remain outside, the bride and groom enter the Huppah alone and in the privacy of this place, they consummate their marriage with physical union, the ultimate sealing of the marriage covenant that was entered into one or two years earlier. Once consummation has taken place, this is announced by the groom to his attendants, upon which the happy news is relayed to the guests who then begin their celebrations which will last seven days and during this week, the bride and groom remain hidden away together. When the seven days are complete, the groom emerges from the Huppah to present his wife, introducing her to the community.
Many believe that Jesus, our Bridegroom, will also keep His Bride secreted away during a seven year time of testing on the earth, such as has never been seen before. If this view is correct, then during this time of great trouble and distress, the righteous will be protected because they will be in the wedding chamber with the Bridegroom. After this time of testing, Jesus will emerge and will return with His Bride to earth at His second coming.
To us, this part sounds a bit dodgy. The time of consummation is private…why would such a thing be publicly announced or even be part of this wedding celebration? Remember the joining of a husband and his wife makes the two individuals, one flesh.
Echad. A unity. What does this unity represent?
The Trinitarian nature of God is echad, a unity.
God the Father took Israel as His wife; echad, becoming a unity.
God the Son took the church as His wife; echad, becoming a unity.
God through the redemptive price paid by His Son, broke the dividing wall of the Law that separated Jew and Gentile, to make one new man, echad, becoming a unity.
Ephesians 5:22-32, ‘Wives be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Saviour of the body. But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.
Husbands love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the Word, that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless.
So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, because we are members of His body.
For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.’
This is why the first relationship God established on the earth, was the relationship of marriage between a man and a woman. It’s the original relationship and it’s the one relationship under the greatest threat today.
Next time we’re going to begin looking at another incredible prophetic book of the Bible that provides us with an extraordinary picture of everything we’ve looked at regarding God’s relationship with man; God’s relationship with Israel; Jesus’ relationship with the church; God’s plan of redemption for both Jew and Gentile together.