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.