JEWISH MARRIAGE CUSTOMS

Part Two of Eight: Arranged Marriages

In our last lesson, we left Christ in front of Pontius Pilate waiting for the Governor to pass judgment upon Him. He was just hours away from going to the Cross. It would soon be time for Christ to die.

As Jesus hung on the Cross, one of His final phrases [1] to the world was, “It is finished [2].” Although Christ came to Earth in bodily form to accomplish many things, the main reason He came was for His Bride [3].

At the zero hour, Christ’s death on the Cross forgave Adam’s sin, laid the groundwork for the redemption of mankind, and paid the bride price in full. His physical stay here on Earth was truly finished.

According to Jewish marriage customs, the Mohar was mandatory by law and had to be of high value [4]. No doubt about it, Christ had just paid the ultimate price for His Bride on the Cross. This says allot about Christ’s love for us [5].

For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s [1 Corinthians 6:20 KJV].

We do not want to get ahead of ourselves so let’s temporarily digress and first ask a few questions. For instance, what brought Christ to the Cross to suffer the worst kind of death known to man? Where did this all start? Where did His love begin? Of course, the biggest question right now for our study is what did any of this have to do with Christ’s last words to His Disciples in the upper room?

In other words, what are the mansions that Christ talked about in John 14:2? Again in John 14:2, where did Christ go to prepare a place for them [6]? When is He coming back as in John 14:3? How can man even be a bride in the first place? There are so many questions.

God gave His written Word to show us how to live, how to grow, and how we figured into His plan. So, how do we figure into God’s plan for mankind? To learn the answer, we first need to learn what that plan is, and the best insight as to how we figure in is by studying the Jewish marriage customs and traditions.

As I studied the Bible in terms of Jewish marriage customs and traditions, certain parallels became very clear and evident to me throughout God’s Word. Studying those customs and traditions of ancient days can help us better understand the Bible, its meaning, and context. God’s Word will then begin to take on a completely different perspective when you look at it in the context in which God inspired the text. We must keep all scripture in the proper context because context is everything.

The Old Testament scriptures [7] refers to Israel as the Bride of the Lord [8] and the New Testament characterizes the church as the bride of Christ [9]. Many parallels exist in the Old and New Testament scriptures concerning the Bride. Here is where things get interesting and fun. So, if this is interesting to you, please keep reading as we learn together about the Jewish Marriage Customs and the Bride of Christ.

ARRANGED MARRIAGES (Shiddukhin)

It was customary according to Jewish marriage customs and traditions that the father of the groom arranged the marriages [10]. However, the Jewish people sometimes used other avenues in which to initiate and arrange a marriage. Sometimes an interested man would just ask his father to seek out a particular woman for her hand of marriage [11]. It was always possible that the father considered the choice of the bride [12], although not necessary. Mothers could even play a role in the choice [13], but the father could act alone [14].

New Testament Parallel. . .

Today, Christ acts at the behest of His Father [15] and the Holy Spirit is His agent [16]. The Father is the one that draws all men to Jesus Christ and all who are born again are born through the power of the Holy Spirit [17].

Just as they did not discount the personal feelings of the bride [18] and groom [19] with regards to choice, neither is our feelings discounted when it comes to that same free will choice. God has given us free will to choose with whom we will follow and serve [20]. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord [21].

Jesus wants us to love Him of our own volition; otherwise, we would be nothing more than puppets or robots, just waiting for God to pull our strings. Put yourself in Jesus’ shoes. Would you want your spouse to live with you if he or she did not love you? It would be a life of nothing but conflict, bitterness, and resentment. Without choice, you render love meaningless.

We can feel lucky in the world today because most of us can arrange our wedding and make our own match as to whom we want to marry. In biblical times when Christ physically roamed the Earth, the father, mother, or matchmaker made the matches for them either at birth, or by request.
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[1] According to the Gospels, Jesus said seven things on the Cross
[2] John 19:2
[3] Ephesians 1:9-14
[4] This was to compensate the family for her upbringing. Inheritance went to the son.
[5] John 10:18
[6] Let me direct you to my Website where you can find my book, Back to Eden. There it tells of how and why God created man and explains in more detail John 14:1-4. You have the choice of a printed copy and an Ebook copy formatted for Kindle (.mobi for Amazon) and Nook (.epub for Barnes and Noble).
[7] Same as the Jewish Tanakh
[8] The Bible has many scriptures to this affect but here’s just a few of them: Jeremiah 3:14; 31:31; Isaiah 54:5
[9] Again, there are many scriptures but here are a few examples for study: Matthew 9:15; John 3:29; Romans 7:4; 1 Corinthians 6:15; Ephesians 5:23-33; Revelation 19:7-9; Revelation 21:2
[10] Jeremiah 29:6; Children were under the complete control of the parents.
[11] Genesis 34:3-6
[12] Genesis 24:5, 58
[13] Genesis 21:21; 27:46; 28:1
[14]Genesis 38:6
[15] John 5:30
[16] 1 Corinthians 2:10; Galatians 4:6
[17] John 6:44
[18] 1 Peter 1:8
[19] John 15:16
[20] Genesis 2:7c; Deuteronomy 30:19, 20
[21] Joshua 24:15

JEWISH MARRIAGE CUSTOMS

Part One of Eight: The Upper Room

Ever since God banished Adam and Eve away from the Tree of Life, mankind has been in a fallen state. However, for man to become the Bride of Christ, he had to be in a sinless state. The Bible says “. . .what fellowship does righteousness have with unrighteousness. . .[1]?” Through Adam, man inherited the sin-nature.

Because of man’s fallen nature, becoming the Bride of Christ was impossible. God’s plan required that mankind needed forgiveness before he could become the glorious Bride of Christ [2]. Therefore, the Father sent His Son to forgive mankind of Adam’s sin. This laid the groundwork for the forgiveness of man’s inherited sin nature but only through the acceptance of Christ and the repentance of sin.

Christ forgave mankind through His Blood and on the Cross at Calvary. With the sin nature forgiven, forgiveness is now waiting for all of mankind through repentance and acceptance. Once someone accepts Christ, God forgives the repentant man’s sins. However, man still has the sin nature.

Four-thousand years later after the Garden…destiny called. We find Christ and His disciples in the upper room taking communion at the Last Supper. This moment in history was predestined and Jesus knew He was about to die and had been warning the disciples of His impending death. This upset the disciples, greatly [3].

To comfort His Disciples [4], Jesus gave them a promise analogous to Jewish marriage customs of the day. This promise was to touch and encourage the souls of the entire world and encourage all those who were yet to come. Jesus told His disciples,

v1 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.
v2 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.
v3 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 KJV].

Christ told them in a way that they could understand. In Jewish marriage customs [5] it was customary that once a man and woman [6] were betrothed, the groom would travel back to his father’s place and prepare living quarters for them [7] and when his father approved of the dwelling, he’d give the son the go-ahead to go get his bride.

When Christ and His disciples drank of the wine in the upper room, it was a betrothal of marriage [8]. The communion in church is for the purpose of betrothal to Him. Christ was telling them that he had to leave in order to build a place for them to live, and that He’d return for them so they could live together forever. God created mankind to acquire a bride [9], and all of scripture points to this truth. Israel and the disciples did not have the ears to hear this during Christ’s physical stay on earth.

From Eden to Golgotha, Genesis to Revelation, nothing speaks to this fact like the Jewish Marriage Customs. The Bible is replete with references to them. God’s Word is a love affair between Christ and His Bride. This love affair culminates in the Book of the Revelation at the Marriage Supper of the Lamb [10].

While on Earth, Christ used marriage metaphors to teach His disciples about His Kingdom, all of which came from the early scrolls that we call the Old Testament Scriptures [11]. When we put these marriage metaphors beside the Christian Church, we see a parallel that we cannot deny.

To grasp the meaning of Christ’s promise to His disciples and to the world, as written in John 14:1-3 above, it would behoove us to study the steps of the Jewish Marriage Customs. This will keep His promise in context, because when studying the Bible, context is everything. Not only will this help us understand Christ’s promise, but it will help us understand the entire Bible and Scripture will jump right off of the pages. What was once difficult for us to understand will be academic when we grasp the steps of the wedding customs?

Before the foundation of the world, God formulated His plan and in the end, Christ would come to purchase His Bride and make us His own. As Christ prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane, He was just hours away from paying the ultimate price for His Bride.
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[1] 2 Corinthians 6:14
[2] 1 Peter 1:16
[3] John 16:6, 20-23
[4] Luke 22:14-21 Judas had left to betray Jesus.
[5] Practiced even today by the orthodoxy.
[6] Galatians 3:28
[7] Since we are the temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16), it is us who He is going to prepare for His return.
[8] Matthew 26:26-29
[9] Ephesian 1:9-14
[10] Revelation 19:9
[11] Christ taught from the Scrolls of the Old Testament era

Be still and know that I am God

A couple months ago, I was feeling very tired and listless. I talked to sis about my lethargy and how I should probably seek out a doctor for a checkup. She said that there seems to be a lot of that going around, how several of her friends felt the same way.

I told her that I really didn’t feel sleepy but I was tired all the time. I said, “I don’t know what I was so tired about because I really hadn’t done much to feel that way. While I sat in my chair at my apartment, I saw things that need to be done, but I just didn’t have the energy to get up and do them.”

I knew I wasn’t depressed because I’d been there and done that. Depression cost me my marriage, so I knew that I wasn’t depressed.

Sis and I finished our little talk and I went home to my apartment, plopped in my chair, and spent some time with the Lord. Many things came to my remembrance as I prayed and talked to Him.

While sitting in my chair, all but about dozing off to la-la land, an image of my dad came to me just as I remember him, sitting in his wheel chair with his chin resting on his chest. This was pretty much what he did all day, every day for the last couple weeks of his life. It bothered me because I knew his body was beginning to shut down.

The Hospice nurse confirmed this to me and she said that during this withdrawal, he was going through a transitional period from the natural realm into the spiritual. He was reconciling everything in his mind.

Well, all truth is parallel. I believe that the Lord is trying to tell me (us) that the body of Christ is going through a period of spiritual transition, into a period of change and direction. The world is changing fast and not for the better. Like dad. the body is reconciling everything scripturally but also looking for guidance in these times. It was like the Lord was saying, “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths [1].”

There is going to be a great awakening, a soon coming outpouring of the Holy Spirit and what the body is going through right now is just a transitional period from the natural into the spiritual. God is about to hit His people with Himself and we have to be ready. We are in the early stages of that awakening now.

v2 For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee [Isaiah 60:2 KJV].

This is NOT a time to be fearful, fretful, impatient, restless, and seemingly unaffected by the judgments of God. We should be concerned about what is going on in the world but only in the context of using this time as a time of harvesting the fields. . .as they are white unto harvest [2].

Psalms 46:10 says to be quiet and easy, and resign ourselves to the will of God. Do not worry because the troubles of today have not caught God off guard. He is still in control. Psalms 37:12, 13 says, “The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnasheth upon him with his teeth. The Lord shall laugh at him: for he seeth that his day is coming.

The body needs to seek His face and humble themselves and pray [3]. We should live in an assured expectation of the appearance of Jesus Christ and that His will “shall be done.” The Lord would say to you,

There is coming times of great distress, none like has been or will ever be again, but do not fear because I have overcome the world. Prepare yourself and fill your lamps with the oil of my Holy Spirit. I love you my children and I knew each of you before the foundation of the world. I have even numbered the hairs on your head, so focus on me during these times. Look up, because your redemption draws nigh my Bride. Be still, and know that I am God and your soon coming husband.

NOTE: Next Monday I will start a 15 (or less) part series on the Jewish marriage customs. This study technique has made the Bible come alive for me. I pray that it helps you in understanding Scripture. I welcome any comments and thoughts. God bless each and every one of my readers.
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[1] Proverbs 3:5, 6 KJV
[2] John 4:35 KJV
[3] 2 Chronicles 7:14 KJV