JEWISH MARRIAGE CUSTOMS

Part Six of Nine: Marriage Contract and Cup of Acceptance

The Ketubah is a written contract between the bride and the bridegroom and was the groom’s responsibility to draft. It contained the bride price, the promises of the groom, and the rights of the bride. The covenant’s purpose was to lay down the terms of the union. The Ketubah is the Old Testament scriptures [1] and literally means, “A written instrument.”

Parallels to the Church…

The New Testament Ketubah is the New Covenant prophesied in Jeremiah 31:31-33, revealed in Matthew 26:28 and fulfilled when Jesus hung on the Cross in Matthew 27:45-50. The New Covenant is the atoning Blood of Jesus Christ that He paid for His bride when He died on the Cross. The new covenant gave us access to the Holy of Holies and the presence of God.

It is important that we list Jeremiah 31:31-33 because it is a promise from God to us toward the coming of the Lord and a new covenant.

v31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
v32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
v33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people [Jeremiah 31:31-33].

You might say, wait a minute; didn’t God already make a marriage covenant with His bride through Abraham [2] and Moses [3]? Yes He did. However, one of the reasons that Jesus could make a new covenant with Israel is that He had divorced her from the old covenant. Israel had broken the covenant a number of times and the Lord put her away [4]. So then, how could Jesus make a new covenant?

The argument is that when entering into a contract, if there are any changes, it takes the signature of both parties to make it legal. Since Abraham and Moses were dead when Christ fulfilled the New Covenant, many postulate that the new covenant is “null and void.”

However, without going into a complete Greek word study, suffice it to say that the term “will make” means “to complete that which already is,” and the word “new” means “to make better in quality,” not to “make new by changing.” The new covenant was not changed. Christ made it better.

CUP OF ACCEPTANCE

Once all the negotiations had taken place, the contract and bride prices given, the groom would offer a cup of wine to the prospective bride. If she drank of the cup, it would signify that she accepted his proposal of marriage [5]. Once they drank from the cup of acceptance, Jewish law [6] considered the marriage ceremony legally sealed.

Parallels to the Church…

When Jesus offered the cup at the Last Supper He was proposing to all of the saints. When we take communion and drink of that cup, we are saying, “Yes Lord, I accept your proposal and wish to become your bride. I accept everything that you are to me and I put my trust in you. I believe in you Lord. Your death my husband, will not be in vain because I recognize and covet everything that you have done for me and everything that you are to me.”

Once we accept that cup of communion, we are betrothed and have accepted His proposal of marriage. Our marriage to Christ is sealed.

v29 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 [Matthew 26:29 KJV].

Matthew 26:29 tells us of the second cup, which we will drink at the marriage ceremony with Christ.

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[1] Mosaic Covenant (Named after Moses) Exodus 19-24. . .God reminded the people in Exodus 19:5 and the people complied in Exodus 19:8
[2] Abrahamic Covenant/acceptance
[3] Mosaic Covenant/outgrowth of Abrahamic believers by faith
[4] Jeremiah 3:8
[5] http://www.biblestudymanuals.net/jewish_marriage_customs.htm
[6] Halakha

JEWISH MARRIAGE CUSTOMS

Part Five of Eight: The Betrothal (Kiddushin)

In part one I listed John 14:1-3 where Christ not only promised the Disciples that He’d go and prepare a place for them, but that He’d also return for them. They knew what Jesus was talking about in terms of the Jewish marriage customs but they knew not that it was a spiritual promise and that He would return for their (our) spirits [1] as His Bride.

Neither did they realize that we are the many mansions that Christ talked about in our John 14 Scripture. Mansions refer to the 1 Corinthians 3:16 Scripture that says Know ye not that ye are a temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? Christians, whether Messianic or gentile, are the mansions (temples) that Christ is going to prepare.

v5 ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ [1 Peter 2:5 ASV].

John Gills exposition of the entire Bible says this about 1 Peter 2:5:

Ye also, as living stones, Saints likewise are compared to stones; they lie in the same quarry, and are the same by nature as the rest of mankind, till dug out and separated from thence by the powerful and efficacious grace of God, when they are hewn, and made fit for the spiritual building; where both for their ornament, beauty, and strength, which they receive from Christ, they are compared to stones, and are lasting and durable, and will never perish. . .

Jewish marriage customs hinged upon two ceremonies: the betrothal and the marriage ceremony. The Kiddushin (formally the Erusin), or the betrothal, is less than a marriage but more than an engagement. In biblical times when a Jewish couple entered into a betrothal, the Halakha [2] considered the marriage to be legal and binding. In fact, when they entered into a betrothal, it was so strong and binding that if the bridegroom died, they considered the woman to be a widow.

The bridegroom brought three things to the house of the prospective bride: a marriage contract (Ketubah), gifts for the bride (Mattan), and the bride price (Mohar). The father of the bride also gave his daughter a dowry (Shiluhim). In lieu of an inheritance, the father gave the daughters a dowry to show his love for her as well because it was the son who inherited the land and the father’s fortune.

Parallels to the Church…

Just like the groom left his father’s house and traveled to the bride’s house for the purpose of betrothal, so did Christ travel from heaven to the earth for the purpose of betrothal and marriage to His prospective bride [3]. The main reason behind Christ’s coming was to establish a marriage covenant with His bride, the church.

The Veil (Jewish customs)

The woman, upon her betrothal would henceforth cover her face with a veil whenever she went into the public arena. When the woman veiled her face in public, it meant that she was unavailable and that she was setting herself aside for the one who had just bought her for a price. It meant that she’s chosen and consecrated unto her bridegroom.

Parallels to the Church…

The veil is symbolic of separation or setting oneself apart [4] for Christ. Before the Cross, it was separation from God. After the Cross, it is the separation from the world, which has to do with our consecration to God.

v19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you [John 15:19 KJV].

When we veil our faces, we are saying to the world that we are unavailable and are staying true to Jesus and not committing spiritual adultery by choosing any of the world’s ways. Christians are the light of the world [5] and we need to stop our unholy actions and alliances. We need to veil ourselves by consecrating unto the Lord Jesus Christ, our soon coming husband [6].

v15 Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in them [1 John 2:15 NIV].

During the time of our betrothal to Christ and wearing our symbolic veil, false teachers are not to distract us [7]; neither should worldly things distract us [8]. We are in the world, but we are not of the world [9].

Remember that the groom brought three things to the betrothal ceremony at the bride’s house. We’ve already learned of the two spiritual gifts given to the prospective bride by the groom and the dowry given by the father. The third item that the groom brought to the prospective bride’s house was a contract of marriage. The Jewish (Hebrew) language, calls this the Ketubah.
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[1] Ecclesiastes 12:7
[2] Jewish law
[3] Ephesians 1:9-14
[4] 2 Corinthians 11:2; 1 Peter 15:1
[5] Matthew 5:14
[6] Hosea 2:16 Ishi means “my husband” and Baali means “Lord”
[7] 2 John 7:11
[8] 1 John 2:15
[9] John 17:14

A STUMBLING BLOCK

Today I was again reflecting on the world and the absolute total chaos and societal breakdown in which America finds herself. It saddens me that the greatest nation in the history of mankind is collapsing (by design) in front of my very eyes and there is nothing I (or anyone else) can do about the outcome. I thought to myself, this will never happen Lord. This is America and it will never happen.

I have personally tried very hard not to worry or think about the destruction of my country, but to focus solely on Christ. However, I am human just like the rest of you. It is one thing to read about the end times, to prophesy about it, and to study it, but it is quite another to go through those times in question.

The Bible prophesied and foreordained these times of mankind’s  history  [1]. Does this mean that Christians ignore the collapse of society and focus solely on evangelism? Many believe this unbiblical view, as God has called us to be the salt and light of the world [2]. Does this mean that we embrace the decline of society by getting into bed with it by endorsing immorality and combining different faiths in the name of tolerance? I emphatically say no to both. Both views are not biblical. Embracing it is not the essence of Christianity to help others to sin.

As I sat there in my recliner communicating with the Lord, He quickly grounded my thoughts and reminded me of an encounter that He had with Peter 2000 years ago. As you remember, Christ had just told His Disciples of His impending death [3], to which Peter rebuked the Lord saying, “Never Lord. . .this shall never happen [4].”

v23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, Get behind me Satan! You are a stumbling block to me. You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men [Matthew 16:23 NIV].

Peter’s remarks were exactly what I was saying about America. In my soul, I felt the Lord repeating those words He spoke to Peter. Was I allowing the enemy a foothold in my soul to be a stumbling block to Jesus and to His prophetic fulfillment?

I can understand the heart of Peter, for he loved the Lord with all he had in him. I love the Lord as well with everything that is within me, but as a Patriot, I also love my country. I struggle with those two aspects of my psyche daily. America’s Founders gave me (us) total and real freedom [5] to pursue my dream and happiness. America was a gift from God and He allowed us to escape the religious tyranny of Britain and with a handful of farmers and Patriots was able to defeat the whole of the British army and navy. This is my heritage, of which I am very proud. I would die for her.

However, Satan momentarily blinded Peter and tried to thwart God’s plan of salvation for the world by using his heart and twisting his good intentions. Satan momentarily blinded me as well and tried to thwart God’s plan of a Bride for Christ by using my heart and twisting my good intentions. All Peter heard was that his friend, teacher, and Rabbi was going to die. All I heard was America is going to die, and she is going to die.

So. . .what to do?

A biblical response to the collapse of our society is to take a stand for righteousness. There are other ancillary responses to this but we are basically to take a stand for righteousness. We are to get radical in our boldness in presenting the Gospel, but with love and by not being obnoxious about the presentation [6]. We need to take as many with us as we can.

We should be bold prayer warriors and pray for one another and for America. The last great anointing will be that of prayer. Men and women of prayer and faith need to be totally committed to the Lord [7] and again, to be bold in our faith [8], strength [9], and power [10] for Him. Men and women of faith need to be Elijah’s of the day.

We need to pray with boldness and confidence in our God that He WILL answer those prayers, as did Elijah. God brought down fire from heaven [11] and He also stopped the rain [12] through Elijah’s prayers to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God is the same yesterday, today, and forever [13].

The Lord is searching the Earth for hearts that belong to Him in these days. The Lord is calling His people together and is aligning us into an army of prayer warriors [14]. He is creating divine connections amongst us to battle what is to come. There is coming an awakening and an outpouring of the Holy Spirit [15]. I can feel it in the air as we speak. Christians all over the world can feel the tide going out as we witness the persecution of the church and of Christians worldwide. Persecution IS coming to America. In fact, it has already arrived.

So my brothers and sisters take heed: Take a stand for righteousness, pray for revival and for America, commit our lives to holiness, share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and put your trust in Jesus alone because He is the only hope for America. . .no, the world. Jesus is coming soon. He is coming to pour out the wrath of God on those who have rejected His grace, mercy, and love. It is up to us to stand against the oppression of tyranny and socialism. Then after having done all, to stand, and out of which will come a great awakening. . .a revival.

So brothers and sisters, coupled with the five things above. . .

1. DO NOT FEAR: Do not fear those things that are coming upon the Earth [16]. Be prepared for our husband’s return. Also. . .

2. GET YOUR EYES OFF OF THIS WORLD: The Word of God is clear, our hope and call is not in this world. God has not called us to restore or save the world [17]. Our focus will be on Christ and on the lost and dying world as we discern the lateness of the hour. We are to occupy and not comply with anything unrighteousness demanded of the leaders above us. Finally. . .

3. SET YOUR EYES ON THE SKIES: The world sees the same crisis as we do only they will look to themselves to build a New Age of Peace and Prosperity. Whereas, we will look for a new heaven and a new Earth and will look to the skies because our redemption is nigh at hand [18].

We cannot and should not be silent anymore. There is a dying world out there. We must discern the signs of the times, and realize the hour in which we stand. We must cry out My anguish, my anguish! I am pained at my very heart; my heart is disquieted in me; I cannot hold my peace; because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war [19].

*     *     *

You might also be interested in reading another blog I wrote recently and what the Bible says about occupying and civil disobedience. Is it biblical [20]? Many of you will be surprised at the answer. This should answer any other questions about what we are to do in this hour. Be prepared saints of God for the hour that comes. We have been in the last days for 2000 years and the signs of the times say that we are in the last of the last days. God bless each and everyone of you and “Look up.”
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[1] Habakkuk 1:2-4; Romans 8:29, 30; Ephesians 1:11 to name a few
[2] Matthew 5:13-16
[3] Matthew 16:21
[4] Matthew 16:22 NIV
[5] DOI: A government of the people, by the people, and for people.
[6] Proselytizing through personal experience and sharing what the Lord has done for us as opposed to pointing fingers and beating people up with the Amplified Bible.
[7] In Christ
[8] Hebrews 11:6
[9] Psalms 28:7 and others
[10] 2 Timothy 1:7
[11] 1 Kings 18: 25-38
[12] 1 Kings 17:1
[13] Hebrews 13:8
[14] 2 Chronicles 7:14
[15] Joel 2:27, 28; Acts 2:17
[16] Matthew 24:6 (Also Mark 13:7 and Luke 2:19)
[17] 2 Peter 3:10-13 (Also Colossians 3:2)
[18] Luke 21:28 (Also Colossians 3:1-3)
[19] Jeremiah 4:19 ASV
[20] No Great Power

JEWISH MARRIAGE CUSTOMS

Part Four of Nine: The Bride price

The Bride Price (Mohar)

According to Jewish marriage customs, the Mohar was mandatory by law. The groom’s father or representative negotiated and paid a price to the father of the bride. This price was normally in the form of currency and was compulsory. The bride price was high so as to compensate the parents for the raising of that female child and as an indication of the value that the groom placed on her.

Sometimes the bride price was sheep or it could very well have been anything that they agreed upon [1] and I mean anything, as 1 Samuel 18:25 declares. David doubled that and instead gave Saul 200 [2] of them. I am guessing it was an “in your face type of thing,” because the price was to render David dead. However, David was alive and well and a man after God’s own heart [3].

Parallels to the Church…

As stated above, it was legally binding and mandatory that the groom negotiated and paid a price (Mohar), to the father of the bride. I bet that everyone caught this one. (You guys are catching on.) Jesus has bought us for a price [4], as required by law [5], and the currency with which He paid, was His own life [6] and the Blood of the Covenant. He has paid for us in full [7]. We are not our own [8]. Jesus must place a high value on His bride [9] that He would pay for her with His own life [10].

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]

Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men. [1 Corinthians 7:23]

Gifts for the Bride (Mattan)

The bridegroom gave gifts to the bride. However, the Mattan (love gifts) were not mandatory or prescribed by law. It was only customary and was a gesture to show the love that the bridegroom had for the bride.

Parallels to the Church…

Jesus gave His bride the gifts (Mattan) of eternal life [11], peace [12], and anything else that she might ask Him for in His name [13]. Christ gave us so much more, too numerous to list.

The Father’s Dowry (Shiluhim)

The father of the bride also gave a dowry (Shiluhim) to the daughter to take with her into the marriage as a part of her inheritance to help equip her in her new life. The idea behind the Shiluhim (dowry) was a settlement in lieu of the daughter’s inheritance because Jewish customs dictated that the sons would succeed their fathers.

Parallels to the Church…

The Father’s dowry to us is the giving of the Holy Spirit, the gifts of the spirit, a pledge of the spirit in our hearts, a measure of faith, grace, five-fold ministry, and the ability to speak and minster through the manifold grace of God. The Father has given us so much more as well. God the Father is our spiritual daddy. He is our “Abba Father” [14].

We can find and study the dowry gifts (Shiluhim) in some of the following scriptures: John 14:16, 17; 1 Corinthians 12-14; 2 Corinthians 1:21, 22; Romans 12:1-8; Ephesians 4:1-16; 1 Peter 4:8-11.

I highly recommend that all believers take a spiritual gift class, no matter how old we are in the Lord. It might even be interesting to take the test periodically to see how the Lord is working in our lives and in what direction He is leading us. I would guess that there are many “on fire” Christians out there who have become unmotivated because they are not serving in an area of gifting or passion. Plus:

v29 …the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable [15].

v21 Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God;
v22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts [16].

Jewish marriages hinged upon two ceremonies: the betrothal (Kiddushin) and the marriage ceremony (Nissu’in). The betrothal [17] is less than a marriage but more than an engagement. The Kiddushin means sanctification or set apart.

It looks like we’re half way through our study on the Jewish Marriage Customs. Our study is just an overview to spark your interest into further study that will open up the Bible to you in ways that will bless you.

We’ll come back to this series in two weeks.
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[1] Genesis 24:53; 29; 34:12; 1 Samuel 17:25; 18:25; Hosea:3:3
[2] 1 Samuel 18:27
[3] 1 Samuel 13:14
[4] 1 Corinthians 6:20
[5] Romans 8:3, 4
[6] John 3:16; Mark 14:36
[7] 1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Peter 1:18
[8] 1 Corinthians 6:19
[9] John 3:1
[10] Ephesians 5:25
[11] John 10:27, 28
[12] John 14:27
[13] John 14:13
[14] Mark 14:36; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6
[15] Romans 11:29
[16] 2 Corinthians 1:21, 22
[17] Jeremiah 2:2; Hosea 19:20

JEWISH MARRIAGE CUSTOMS

Part Three of Nine: Bloodlines

So, from what pool did the representatives of the groom search for his bride? How did they make their choice? We’ve previously learned that only three people could have had a hand in choosing the bride: the father, the mother, or the matchmaker.

It is not biblical but there is a secular expression that says, “Birds of a feather flock together [1].” In other words, the law of like kind [2] says that people with similar characteristics and interests will compatibly spend quality time together and will be well matched in a harmonious relationship.

Nothing ties a people closer together than faith or bloodlines.

Bloodlines
In biblical times, once the groom and/or representatives found the match, they had to make arrangements between them. However, what was the criterion for that perfect match? Faith and bloodlines were the main reasons for choice and were very important to the Jewish people. . .very important. It was highly discouraged, and in many cases, forbidden to marry outside the Jewish faith [3] and ethnicity.

When the Jewish people covenanted marriages within the tribe, this left the bloodlines, traditions, and the faith uncorrupted and pure. Israel was worried about the absorption of other faiths, because there were tribes that did not serve the God of Abraham, but instead, served Baal and other gods.

Parallels to the Church…
Jesus said, “. . .I have chosen you. . .

v16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you. . .[John 15:16 KJV]

The Halacha (Jewish Law) says that Christians are Jewish. The shed Blood of Jesus Christ adopts us into His kingdom. This makes us the inheritors of the promise [4] and of the Abrahamic blessings [5].

Jesus holds an importance to faith and bloodlines as well. His Word exhorts us not to unequally yoke with unbelievers.

v14 Be ye not unequally yoked with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness [2 Corinthians 6:14 KJV]?

Christ warns us also that many will try and pull us away from Him [6] to unequally yoke in the spirit world as well. If we have accepted Christ as our Lord and Savior, then we belong to Him as His betrothed and should not stray away from Him with any other [7]. (We’ll look at this a little more on another step.) However, when we sin, we are prostituting ourselves with the enemy (if we are a believer).

Continuing though with our steps, with the bride chosen, the arrangements made, and the match negotiated, what was the next step in the groom acquiring his bride? Remember when we left Christ hanging on the Cross back in part one of our series and we stated that He had paid the ultimate price? This is the next step. . .the Mohar.
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[1] This expression seems to have first surfaced in the 16th century as a literal translation of Plato’s Republic. In 1545, William Turner wrote a version of the expression in The Rescuing of Romish Fox: “Byrdes of on kynde and color flok and flye alwayes together.
[2] Genesis 1:24
[3] Numbers 36:6; Nehemiah 13:27; John Gills Exposition of the Entire Bible, Jeremiah 29:6 commentary
[4] Romans 8:17
[5] There were 60 blessings in all. You can find them in the following Scriptures: Genesis 12:1-3; Genesis 13:15-17; Genesis 15:1-21; Genesis 17:1-22; Genesis 22:16-18.
[6] Matthew 24:11; Mark 13:22; 2 Corinthians 4:4
[7] Revelation 2:4