The Tower of Babel

After the worldwide flood, Genesis gives us the genealogy of Noah’s sons: Japheth, Ham, and Shem.  Genesis then focuses on Nimrod, the son of Cush who was the son of Ham.  According to Genesis 10:8, Nimrod was the first powerful ruler on earth and a mighty hunter before the Lord.  Even though the Bible doesn’t give a lot of detail about Nimrod, we can learn more about him from the Book of Jasher. 

Jasher 9:20-22 reveals Nimrod’s involvement in the building of the tower of Babel:  “And king Nimrod reigned securely, and all the earth was under his control, and all the earth was of one tongue and words of union. And all the princes of Nimrod and his great men took counsel together; Phut, Mitzraim, Cush and Canaan with their families, and they said to each other, Come let us build ourselves a city and in it a strong tower, and its top reaching heaven, and we will make ourselves famed, so that we may reign upon the whole world, in order that the evil of our enemies may cease from us, that we may reign mightily over them, and that we may not become scattered over the earth on account of their wars. And they all went before the king, and they told the king these words, and the king agreed with them in this affair, and he did so.”

From this passage we can learn several things:

  • There was only one language when Nimrod controlled all the earth.
  • Nimrod was influenced primarily by the descendants of Ham to build a tower in the plain of Shinar (Babylon).
  • They didn’t just want to be free of the evil of their enemies but to be famous and reign mightily over their enemies as well.
  • They didn’t want to be scattered over the earth as a result of wars.

As I pondered these things, I wondered if there was more to the story of the tower of Babel than is found in Genesis.  Jasher 9:25-26 continues:  “And the building of the tower was unto them a transgression and a sin, and they began to build it, and whilst they were building against the Lord God of heaven, they imagined in their hearts to war against him and to ascend into heaven. And all these people and all the families divided themselves in three parts; the first said We will ascend into heaven and fight against him; the second said, We will ascend to heaven and place our own gods there and serve them; and the third part said, We will ascend to heaven and smite him with bows and spears; and God knew all their works and all their evil thoughts, and he saw the city and the tower which they were building.” 

Jasher goes on to say that they actually attempted to attack those in heaven with arrows and God let them think they killed the heavenly host by covering the arrows with blood before they fell back to the ground.  I don’t know about you but I think making war with God is a mighty foolish thing to attempt!  Thinking you can kill God and His heavenly army and then replace the Creator of the universe with powerless gods of wood and stone which are created by man is even more ridiculous.  It’s no wonder God ended up coming down to interrupt this project, confuse their language, and scatter them throughout the earth. 

Foolish as all this may sound, this has been attempted several times since the building of the tower of Babel and is being attempted again today because there is nothing new under the sun.  We may not be shooting arrows into the sky but certain people desire to take over and rule the world.  Man has managed to overcome language differences by using interpreters or by being multi-lingual.  Even now, the nations of the world are seeking to be as united as they were when the tower of Babel was built.  People are trying to “kill” God by denying His existence or by erasing God and Jesus’ name from every facet of society.  The laws that gave us freedom of religion are being used by God’s enemies to advance the supremacy of their own god.  These gods are not just idols or gods of other religions but also include materialism, wealth, and power.  Surely unseen powers play a role in motivating man to do this.  God intends to allow all of this and to let man think he will accomplish his goal for now in order to fulfill prophecy.  Eventually, one world religion will come to the forefront and be enforced, many of God’s people will be martyred, an abomination of desolation will be set up in God’s temple, and a mere man will declare himself to be God!  One day, Jesus will come down with His army to take care of this foolishness and destroy His enemies.  Instead of God’s people being scattered over the face of the earth, His angels will gather them from the four corners of the earth to bring them home, and there will be only one language in the land. 

In order to learn a more personal lesson here, there are several questions that need to be asked…

Do you ever find yourself at war with God?

Do you try to rule over your enemies or do they rule over you?

How does God want you to live among men? How can that be accomplished?

When is it proper to submit to the authorities over you or to obey God rather than men?

Should you spend your time seeking fame and glory or something else?

What does God want from you?  Is God leading you to work on a project or be involved in something that would bring honor and glory to Him?  Is His desire to work only on you for a time or to use you to minister to those around you?  Either one is equally important.  Sometimes both can be accomplished at the same time.

Advertisements

Noah

Up until recently I had not spent much time reading extra-biblical sources, however I’ve been reading the Book of Jasher [Yashar] because this book is mentioned in Joshua 10:13 and 2 Samuel 1:18. Today I will share some tidbits from Jasher that will shed some light on the pattern of Noah as it applies to the latter days.

Before I do that, we need to consider other information from the Book of Jasher– particularly the genealogy of Noah who descended from the righteous line of Seth.  See Genesis Genealogy.

  • We must be careful not to confuse Noah’s father Lamech, the son of Methuselah with Lamech, the son of Methushael who descended from the line of Cain.
  • It is also important to point out that Noah married Naamah, the daughter of Enoch.  This Enoch was the son of Jared and not Enoch, the son of Cain.  This is not the same Naamah who was the daughter of Lamech of the line of Cain.

What we see here is that Cain’s lineage is a counterfeit of Seth’s.  God intended Seth’s descendants to remain after the flood, not Cain’s.  It is no different today.  Satan continues to counterfeit everything that God does and people will be led to follow the false prophet and worship the beast of Revelation instead of God.  Having said this, let’s see what else we can learn about Noah from Jasher and Genesis.

Here’s a basic sequence of events from Jasher 5 and 6:

  • God commanded Noah and Methuselah to speak to the wicked and urge them to repent of their unrighteousness when Noah was 480 years old.
  • Noah married Naamah, the daughter of Enoch when he was 498 years old.  Shortly thereafter, he begot Japheth, Shem, and Ham.
  • Noah began to the build the ark when he was 595 years old and finished in 5 years.   During this time, Noah took wives for his sons from the daughters of Eliakim, the son of Methuselah.
  • According to the book of Jasher, Methuselah died when he was 960 years old.  The Bible is probably more accurate by saying he died when he was 969 years old because he was 369 years old when Noah was born.
  • The righteous line of Seth died out the year prior to the flood so they would not see the destruction of their relatives.
  • The animals began to come to Noah two weeks prior to the flood and the flood began when Noah was 600 years old.  Only Noah, his wives, sons and their wives, and these animals were spared.

One of the first things that caught my attention in this account from the Book of Jasher was that God used Noah and his grandfather Methuselah to call the wicked to repentance.  If you are starting to think in terms of Biblical patterns, your mind should be thinking about the two witnesses mentioned in Revelation 11!  Remember, Jesus said that just as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be when He returns (Matt. 24:37).

Another important thing that is emphasized in the Book of Jasher is that the righteous died prior to the flood.  When thinking in terms of patterns, this may cause you to think of the rapture theory.  Based on the information from the Book of Jasher, many righteous people will not be raptured but will probably die of various causes prior to the tribulation or they will be martyred before the two witnesses begin their ministry mid-way through the tribulation period.  In fact, more people than the 144,000 of both houses of Israel will be brought through the tribulation.  Give me more time and I’ll explain why.

Since God does things according to His patterns, destruction must come upon the unrighteous after they’ve been given the fair opportunity of 42 months to repent.

According to Revelation 6:8, one fourth of the world will be killed by war, famine, plagues, and wild animals during the fourth seal.  Revelation 11:7 tells us that seven thousand will die during the massive earthquake that will take place.  I suspect that not only will the wicked die but righteous people will die too.  Of course many non-believers will die during the Battle of Armageddon.

You may suggest that all of the wicked will be destroyed if God follows the original pattern of Noah but let’s take a closer look at the Biblical account.  The Bible says God gave Noah detailed instructions on how to build an ark that would protect him and his family and the chosen animals from the utter destruction that was about to take place.  Many would be tempted to think that Noah and his family didn’t amount to much in terms of numbers but we must not forget about the animals because they are significant!

There were seven pairs of each kind of clean animal and 1 pair of each kind of unclean animal.  I think we can safely assume that what remained of the flesh of the foolish people and the dead animals was most likely eaten by birds of prey and other unclean animals after they came out of the ark because that’s the kind of thing they eat.  That’s why the raven Noah released didn’t come back.  It had a lot of food to feast on.  The dove is a clean bird and it didn’t have a place to rest or food to eat so it came back to Noah.  Some of the clean animals were offered as sacrifices to God after Noah and his family came out of the ark.  The clean animals were also given to man to be eaten as food.

To what can we compare Noah’s family and these animals?

  • Noah’s family can be compared to the 144,000 of the whole house of Israel.
  • The clean animals can be compared to God’s faithful who are too many to count from every nation, tribe, and language.
  • You might initially think that the unclean animals refer to all Gentiles but in Peter’s vision, God made it very clear that He considered God-fearing Gentiles to be clean (Acts 11:9)!
  • The unclean animals can be compared to those throughout the world who do not know Jesus as their Bridegroom.

What do you think of this concept?

Remember, in Genesis 9:11, God promised to never again kill all flesh and destroy the whole earth by flood but the earth’s end will come quickly “like a flood.”  During Christ’s millennial reign there will still be unfaithful people living in the world until the Battle of Gog and Magog just as there were unclean animals alive after the flood came.

Just as birds of prey ate the dead flesh of the wicked after the flood, they will do so after the Battle of Armageddon and again after the Battle of Gog and Magog.  By the time the new Jerusalem comes down to a renewed earth, all of the unrighteous will have been thrown in the lake of fire.  Those who remain after the Battle of Gog and Magog will be like the clean animals.  Even now they are supposed to be offering themselves as living sacrifices to the Lord.

Will you be one of the 144,000 or one of the clean animals after their kind?

Cain and Abel Approached God With Offerings

After Adam and Eve were exiled from the Garden of Eden, Eve conceived and gave birth to Cain and Abel.  When Cain and Abel grew up, Cain worked the ground and Abel kept sheep.  It is obvious that God taught the first family how to approach Him after Adam and Eve sinned in the garden because of the kind of offerings (sacrifices) Cain and Abel offered to God.

Abel’s offering was from his flock. It was probably a sin offering or a peace offering since these can be female lambs (a bekorah is a female firstling) whose fatty portions are burned on the altar.  The Hebrew Scriptures specifically say Cain brought a minchah or grain offering to the Lord from the produce of the land.  The Bible doesn’t say much about the quality of Cain’s offering but Jasher 1:16 indicates it was from inferior fruit of the ground.  By offering something inferior, Cain did not “do well.”

It is clear that God did not respect Cain’s offering.  As a result, Cain got angry and his countenance fell.  God told Cain that if he did well, he would be accepted.  If he did not do well, sin would be at his door.  This is a lesson we all must learn.  Sin wants to consume and control us but we must overrule it by choosing how to properly behave.

So what should we do?  The Levitical offerings have been temporarily suspended and we must now offer ourselves as living sacrifices to God (Rom. 12:1-2).  Most of all, we should be very concerned about the quality of our offerings.

Sin and Trespass Offerings:

  • We should seek forgiveness and be reconciled with those we have trespassed against and make restitution if possible before attempting to approach God (Matt. 5:23-24).
  • We should confess our sins to the Lord so that we can be forgiven and cleansed from unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

Whole Burnt Offering:  We should not conform to the immoral ways of this world (live like the world) because we are not of this world (Rom. 12:2).  Instead, we should be conformed to the law of the Lord (Ps. 148:6).  By putting to death the deeds of the flesh in our lives and walking according to the Spirit, we can be clothed in righteousness (Col. 3:5).

Grain Offering:  We should trust God as we endure trials and tribulations and encourage others who are experiencing trials (2 Cor. 1:4-6; 1 Peter 1:7).  We should offer thanks and praise to the Lord regularly with all sincerity (1 Thess. 5:18; Heb. 13:15).

Peace Offering:  We should attempt to live at peace with all men (Heb. 12:14) but that does not mean we shouldn’t call sin what it really is.  We need to stand for righteousness and remain separate.

We must remember that God’s commandments are laws regarding our interaction with Him and man.  How we treat others is how we treat God (Matt. 25:37-40).  We should not be jealous of the gifts and talents God has given to other believers nor should we be jealous when God accepts the offerings of others but not our own.  We need to find out what’s not acceptable and correct it.  We should be aware that if we’re not careful, sin can creep into our lives.

Remember, if Cain had reconciled with Abel instead of fighting with him, Abel wouldn’t have died prematurely and Cain’s relationship with God could’ve been better too.

How do you approach God?  Is the quality of your living sacrifice an acceptable offering to the Lord?

Creation

When I attended a secular university many years ago, I took a class on the book of Genesis.  The professor quickly pointed out that there were two very different accounts of creation.  That really shook my faith.  It would not be until twenty years later that I would learn that Genesis 1 and 2 are really part of a chiastic structure.

For those who aren’t familiar with this kind of literary structure, let me say there are tons of them throughout the Bible.  These structures are written so that themes, statements or events lead up to a central point, then they are rewritten in reverse order.  The central point is the most important part of the whole structure.  Sometimes the second portion of the chiasm is the same event written in reverse order or it is comprised of the effects or results of the original event described in the first portion.  Sometimes they are written for emphasis.  Other times they simply show cause and effect.  These structures can be very small such as only one or two verses or as large as several chapters long.  They can even be embedded within larger ones.

The first two chapters of Genesis contain a thematic chiasm that teaches us how God created the heavens and the earth.  Initially, the earth was essentially barren.  For the first three days God separated His creation.  Starting on day four, God began filling His creation with what He saw fit.  Eventually He gave man a place to live and a purpose for his life.  In addition, God gave His creation a source of sustaining life.  After that God rested on the Sabbath which was the peak of the creation account.  Many fail to see that these themes were then presented in reverse order in Genesis chapter 2.  Please understand, Genesis chapter 2 was not intended to be a parallel account of creation.

This process seen in the beginning of Genesis continues throughout our physical lives.

  • People are given the ability to procreate.
  • Initially two people (a man and a woman) are barren.
  • They are separate creations yet they can usually produce life when they come together.
  • Eventually they may begin to “fill their home with children.”
  • Each person develops their gifts and talents and finds purpose in life.
  • They survive on food and drink.
  • Once they’ve lived a good life, they rest until the appointed time of resurrection.

Amazingly, Jesus was planted in a “barren” woman named Mary.  After He was born, He quickly learned to separate Himself from unrighteousness.  When it was time, Jesus was filled with the Holy Spirit.  He began to carry out the Father’s purpose for His time on earth.  He explained to those who would listen that He was the source of life.  At the appointed time, He rested (died) and was resurrected so that He could present Himself to the Father as first fruits from the dead.

There is also a spiritual side of this in our lives.  Initially all people are spiritually barren.  They seek to fill the void they sense in their hearts with food, drink, drugs, material possessions, relationships, false religions, and other various experiences.  They need to understand that only Jesus can fill the emptiness in their lives.  Some eventually come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior —as their marriage partner.  When that finally takes place, God’s people are then filled with the Holy Spirit.  They receive various manifestations of the gifts of the Holy Spirit for the common good.  As the Holy Spirit works in their lives, they begin to produce fruit and lead others to know Jesus.  Each person develops the gifts and talents they possess and perform good works as God purposed for them to do.  They mature as they eat and drink the spiritual food found in the Scriptures.  If they have the proper foundation, each week they rest on the Sabbath in celebration and in anticipation of the final rest that awaits them.  When the time comes, they die so they can be in the presence of the Lord.  When the day of resurrection comes, they will finally experience God’s rest that was foreshadowed long ago.

Have you considered your spiritual state?  What are you attempting to fill the void in your heart with?

Do you have the spiritual foundation that God gave to His people on Mt. Sinai?

Are you living in obedience to God’s commands?  In case you didn’t know, these are the first kind of “good works” you should be doing.

Are you anticipating the rest of the Sabbath?

Remember Hebrews 4:9-11 says:   So there remains a Shabbat-keeping for God’s people. For the one who has entered God’s rest has also rested from his own works, as God did from his. Therefore, let us do our best to enter that rest; so that no one will fall short because of the same kind of disobedience.  CJB

This is the central emphasis of the creation chiasm.

The Dispensation of Grace

I often hear people talk about grace.  They say that now is “the dispensation of grace” and because of that we are not “under the law.”  Although what is being said is true, I cringe because I know they don’t understand it the way I do based on other things they say.  In fact, I’ve heard this mentioned several times recently by different groups of people so I thought I’d give my understanding of the subject. 

The phrase “dispensation of grace” comes from Ephesians 3:2.  Most use this phrase as if it were referring to an era of grace that formerly never existed.  The word “dispensation” means “the act of dispensing.”  Some versions use the words administration or stewardship instead of dispensation.

Paul was telling the Ephesian Gentiles that God gave him grace to dispense or pass on to them.  Paul explained that a mystery had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit.  This mystery is that the Gentiles were to also experience God’s grace and to be able to become joint-heirs with the Jews.   This was God’s plan all along.  We have seen snapshots of it in the Old Testament but may have missed its significance.  According to Paul, it was time for God to begin bringing His mysterious plan into its fullness. Despite Paul’s past and horrible treatment of the Jewish people who were coming to faith in Christ, God showed grace to Paul so that this same grace could be passed on to the Gentiles through Paul’s preaching.  

Many times when people hear the phrase “dispensation of grace,” they assume that this is only a New Testament concept and that God never showed or dispensed grace to the people of the Old Testament.  This idea couldn’t be further from the truth.  God extended grace to people throughout the entire Bible.  Are you shocked to read this?  Most would be but please give me a chance to explain further.

Most Christians are familiar with Ephesians 2:8-9:  “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”  [NKJV]

The Greek word for grace in this verse is “chariti” which is the dative case (used as indirect object) of “charis” (NT: 5485).  “Charin” (NT: 5484) is the accusative case (used as direct object) of “charis.”  Charin is found in the Greek Septuagint (Greek version of the Old Testament) 69 times and it always refers to the grace God extended to man or the grace man extended to other men. If you read a large portion of these verses, it is clear that this particular word for grace usually meant favor.

What complicates the study and understanding of grace is that English Bible translators have translated other Greek words as grace, kindness, mercy, and goodness interchangeably.  This really causes confusion for someone trying to do a word study on “grace” using only a regular Strong’s Concordance.  It is easier to use an Englishman’s Concordance once you have the correct Strong’s number from Ephesians 2:8-9 or to use a Strong’s Complete Word Study Concordance.  It is also important to use an interlinear version of the Greek Septuagint in order to see the continuity of Scripture. 

I’ll describe the process of how to do this in order to equip you to be able to do it for yourself.  It’s much easier to use a Bible Software program but the task can still be accomplished with a little more effort by using the proper reference books. 

  1. Look up Ephesians 2:8 in an interlinear Greek New Testament. 
  2. You can see that the Greek word for grace is chariti (dative case) with Strong’s number NT: 5485.  Depending on how your software works, you can continue by double-clicking on 5485, it will take you to the definition and nominative case of that word in the Strong’s concordance.
  3. If we scan an interlinear Greek Septuagint for NT: 5485, we discover it’s not there but charin (NT: 5454) which is the accusative case (direct object) of charis is there.  I found charin by arrowing up in Strong’s concordance.   [I do not have the Greek Septuagint as part of my software program and have to look in a separate pdf file.]
  4. By looking up verses where charin is used in the Greek Septuagint and looking for those in the Hebrew Interlinear Bible, we see that chen (OT: 2580) is the Hebrew equivalent of charis.  It means favor.  
  5. Don’t always be too quick to accept a Strong’s definition.  I have learned through experience that you can’t always accept all of Strong’s definitions and that it’s sometimes important to confirm through context.  Sometimes we also need to leave cute acronyms like “God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense” behind to properly understand words found in Scripture.  Acronyms  are not always correct and often keep us from seeing the continuity in Scripture.  This is very true of grace.
  6. We can then use an Englishman’s Concordance for chen (OT: 2580) to find that Noah, Moses, and others experienced the same favor or grace that we experienced upon salvation despite the sins and foolishness they committed. 

Now let’s look at the following verses to see how chen was used:

  • Genesis 6:8 – But Noah found grace [chen] in the eyes of the Lord. (KJV)
  • Exodus 33:13 – Now therefore, I [Moses] pray thee, if I have found grace [chen] in thy sight, shew me now thy way, that I may know thee, that I may find grace [chen] in thy sight: and consider that this nation is thy people.  (KJV)
  • Psalms 84:11  – For the Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace [chen] and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. (KJV)
  • Proverbs 3:34  – Surely he [the Lord] scorneth the scorners: but he giveth grace [chen] unto the lowly. (KJV)
  • Jeremiah 31:2  – Thus saith the Lord, The people which were left of the sword found grace [chen] in the wilderness; even Israel, when I went to cause him to rest. (KJV)

These verses show us that people in the Old Testament received grace (favor) because of their faith in God and because of their obedience.  Am I saying they earned God’s favor or salvation?  NO.  I’m saying that even though they weren’t perfect, God was pleased with their obedience and because of that He showed them His favor.  We’re not perfect, yet we can even find favor in the eyes of men.  Aren’t you glad that we can even find favor in the eyes of God? 

What else did these people who experienced God’s grace have in common with believers today? 

As I see it, they did two other things:

  • From the time of Adam to the time of Christ’s death and resurrection, they trusted that their sins and trespasses were covered by the blood of sin and trespass offerings.  Since Christ’s death and resurrection, Christians have trusted in the blood atonement of Christ which was foreshadowed in the original offerings.
  • They also have showed love for God by obeying His commands.

God had another role in the process of dispensing grace.  According to the Jewish wedding traditions, God chose the Bride of Christ before He extended His grace to her.  Even if we don’t fully understand this, we must still accept it because it is a result of God’s choice and favor that we are saved today.  It is obvious that God saw something in His choice that pleased Him. 

Once we accept the terms of God’s marriage covenant with Jesus, we are no longer under the curse of the law which is the second death.  This is in line with the pattern of the sacrifices:  the wicked will burn in the lake of fire while God’s people will be plucked from the fire.  All the other curses of the law still apply in order to discipline us when we go astray and to bring us back to the terms of the marriage agreement. 

Remember, the law itself is not a curse.  It is the marriage covenant!  Even the apostle Paul said the Torah was holy and good so let’s understand it for what it is (Romans 7:12). 

Does this make sense to you?

The New Marriage Covenant

Finding the Jewish wedding tradition in the Torah gave me further incentive to find it in the new covenant. Did you try to discover it for yourself? Let’s compare our findings:

1.  Traditionally the Jewish father chose the bride and sent a friend or servant to come to terms with her parents.

  • In John 6:44-45, Jesus reveals to His disciples, “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.”
  • God used John the Baptist, the friend of the Bridegroom to prepare the way of the Lord.
  • Today, God uses His children to invite others to enter into a marriage relationship with Jesus Christ.

2.  A written marriage contract called a ketubah was drawn up complete with promises of support for the bride and expectations for the bride. A bride’s price (mohar) was agreed upon.

  • Jesus used the same ketubah of the Old Covenant for the New Covenant because Jesus said it would not pass away until heaven and earth pass away (Matt. 5:17-19).
  • Jeremiah said the same laws of God would be placed in the hearts of those who believe in Jesus as Lord and Savior (Jer. 31:31-33).  The bride is expected to obey the terms of this marriage agreement.
  • Jesus, God’s only son agreed to pay the bride price with His own life. (1 Peter 1:18-19, 1 Cor. 6:19-20)
  • His death would be the bride price for all who would accept Jesus as Lord.
  • The blood from the crown of thorns, the nails in His hands and feet should remind you of the blood that was put on Aaron’s right ear, thumb, and toe during His consecration ceremony.
  • This is the cup Jesus had to drink (John 18:11).

3.  If the bride agreed to the covenant, the bridegroom would pour a glass of wine and if she drank it, it meant she had accepted his proposal of her own free will.

  • This was the cup of wine that the disciples drank after the supper—the cup of the New Covenant. (Mark 14:23-25, John 6:53-54)
  • This cup is also known as the cup of the Lord’s Supper.

4.  At this point a groom and bride were considered legally married but did not have sexual relations. They continued to live separately. Gifts were given to the bride.

  • Before Jesus’ death, Jesus had been interpreting Torah for His disciples, teaching them, and interceding for them.  After Jesus’ resurrection, He breathed on His disciples and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”
  • The gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out on the Jews at Pentecost and later on the Gentiles as well.
  • Today the Holy Spirit lives within all believers and leads us into truth. (Exodus 19:3-6, John 20:22, Acts 2:33, 10:46, 19:6)

5.  Prior to the betrothal, the bride and groom commonly performed a ritual immersion symbolic of ritual cleansing.

  • Jesus was baptized at the beginning of His ministry.
  • New believers are baptized in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit when they enter into the marriage agreement of the New Covenant. (Ex. 19:9-11, Matt. 3:16, 28:19-20)

6.  The groom promised to prepare a place (bridal chamber) for his bride and to come back and get his bride after the bridal chamber met the father’s approval.

  • After Judas Iscariot left to betray Him, Jesus promised to prepare a place for His disciples and to come back for them.
  • Right now, Jesus is building the New Jerusalem which is the also the Bride of Christ.
  • Only the Father knows the exact hour of Jesus’ return. (Mark 13:32-33, John 14:1-3, Is. 26:20-21, Rev. 21:9-10)

7.  The bride waited for the groom to return.

  • The feast of Unleavened Bread took place for seven days after Jesus’ death.  According to the first chapter of Acts, Jesus’ appeared to His disciples after His resurrection over a period of forty days in order to give proof of His resurrection.  According to 1 Corinthians 15:6, He was seen by more than 500 brothers at one time.  He told His disciples to wait for the promised baptism of the Holy Spirit in Jerusalem.  In Acts 1, He was taken up to heaven before their eyes and hid by a cloud and an angel promised that Jesus would return in the same manner they saw Him go into heaven.  Eversince then, the Bride of Christ has been waiting for Jesus’ return.

8.  The groom came like a thief in the night preceded by his friends who blew horns made from kosher animals (shofars) to announce his coming (Matt 25:6).

  • It is significant that both Moses and Joshua returned to a noisy camp from Mount Sinai because Moses is a type of Jesus for His first advent and Joshua is a type of Jesus for His second advent.
  • The Jews weren’t ready for Jesus’ first coming and most of the world won’t be ready for His second coming either. When Jesus returns, Israel’s enemies will be celebrating what they’ve had a chance to do to Jerusalem as described in Zechariah 14:2-3: “For I will gather all the nations against Yerushalayim [Jerusalem] for war. The city will be taken, the houses will be rifled, the women will be raped, and half the city will go into exile; but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city.” 3 Then Adonai [the Lord] will go out and fight against those nations, fighting as on a day of battle.” (CJB)
  • First Thessalonians 5:2 tells us that Jesus will come like a thief in the night and 1 Thessalonians 4:16-18 clarifies the coming of the Lord, “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a rousing cry, with a call from one of the ruling angels, and with God’s shofar; those who died united with the Messiah will be the first to rise; 17 then we who are left still alive will be caught up with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air; and thus we will always be with the Lord.” (CJB)

9.  Vows and promises were finalized with a ceremony including a shared cup of wine.

  • In Matthew 26:29, as Jesus’ last supper came to an end and before they left for the Mount of Olives, Jesus said, “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.”
  • As we drink the cup of the Lord’s Supper, we are supposed to remember the Lord’s death until He comes but we should also anticipate eating and drinking with Jesus at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.
  • Be assured that before this takes place, God’s enemies will also drink a cup in the future. Jeremiah 25:17-26 prophesies: “Then I took the cup from the Lord’s hand, and made all the nations drink, to whom the Lord had sent me: 18 Jerusalem and the cities of Judah, its kings and its princes, to make them a desolation, an astonishment, a hissing, and a curse, as it is this day; 19 Pharaoh king of Egypt, his servants, his princes, and all his people; 20 all the mixed multitude, all the kings of the land of Uz, all the kings of the land of the Philistines (namely, Ashkelon, Gaza, Ekron, and the remnant of Ashdod); 21 Edom, Moab, and the people of Ammon; 22 all the kings of Tyre, all the kings of Sidon, and the kings of the coastlands which are across the sea; 23 Dedan, Tema, Buz, and all who are in the farthest corners; 24 all the kings of Arabia and all the kings of the mixed multitude who dwell in the desert; 25 all the kings of Zimri, all the kings of Elam, and all the kings of the Medes; 26 all the kings of the north, far and near, one with another; and all the kingdoms of the world which are on the face of the earth. Also the king of Sheshach shall drink after them.”
  • In Revelation, God commands us to come out of Babylon the Great or else we’ll receive her plagues.
  • Zechariah assures us the Lord will fight against the nations that intend to take Jerusalem for themselves. He tells us Jesus will come back on the Mount of Olives, split it in two, and that His people will flee to Him through the valley created by His coming. Revelation warns us that Babylon’s plagues and destruction by fire will come in one day.

10.  The bride and groom entered the bridal chamber to consummate the marriage.  Once the groom notified the best man when the wedding had been consummated, the blood stained sheet was presented indicating the bride’s purity and the blood covenant. After that, the 7day wedding feast would begin.

  • In the future, Jesus will set aside His blood-stained clothing and the Feast of Tabernacles will be the time of the marriage supper of the Lamb.