JEWISH MARRIAGE CUSTOMS

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March 30, 2015 by James Lindquist

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.

________________________
[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

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