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The Greatest Love Story Ever Told - God's Love For His Bride

March 21st, 2018 at 11:22 pm

https://pearlofgreatprice.weebly.com/-the-marriage-covenant.html

 

{This is the best explaination of the Bible story I have found to date.  You MUST go to this website and read it all.  The bible outlines the Hebrew wedding process.  Messiah, as the Bridegroom, has fulfilled much of the process.  It is so beautiful!  Don't miss out. - Kathy Folden}

  1. The combined family history of the bride and groom which included detailed family trees and anecdotes.
  2. A personal and family history of the bride including her family tree and anecdotes.
  3. The personal and family history of the groom including his family tree and anecdotes.
  4. The story of how the bride and groom met with related anecdotes.
  5. A final section detailing the bride and groom's responsibilities before and after the wedding. 

There is a significant parallel here where the first five books of the Bible (The Torah) correspond to the five sections of the ancient Hebrew Ketubah.

  1. Genesis provides the combined family history of the bride and groom.
  2. Exodus gives the personal and family history of the bride.
  3. Leviticus provides the history of God's family, the Levites.
  4. Numbers tells of God's love affair with His people in the wilderness and records His joys and sorrows as he reached out to His bride.
  5. Deuteronomy specifies the responsibilities that both bride and groom must fulfil. 
So, here we have the first five books of the Bible written as a marriage contract between God and His people.

When all the details and conditions of the coming marriage were recorded in writing, the Ketubah required 'seven signatures' or 'seals'.  These came from the bride and groom, the two fathers, a scribe (or in modern times, a Rabbi) and two witnesses.  So figuratively we have the following signatories:
1. & 2. Adam and Noah were the two witnesses
3. Abraham, the father of many nations, was also depicted as the father of the groom
4. Jacob was the father of the bride
5. Moses was the scribe (he wrote down the Torah as God dictated)
6. David, often called God's beloved, was the bride
7. Jesus representing redemption (salvation) was the groom.

The Book of Revelation introduces the concept of seven seals in a way that directly refers to the Hebrew Marriage Ketubah.

Returning to our Ancient Jewish betrothal process...
The prospective groom and his father would let it be known that a formal proposal could be forthcoming, and on the chosen day of the official proposal, the prospective groom and his father would visit the intended bride's home carrying a betrothal cup, wine and the anticipated bride price in a pouch. On arrival they would knock on the door - before answering the door, the prospective bride's father would peer out of a window, identifying the visitors to his daughter and seek her confirmation whether he should 'open the door!'  If she agreed, then that was confirmation that there was a commitment to work through the betrothal process towards a fully functional marriage. The issue was that there would be a marriage subject to the terms being worked through.
So, opening the door signalled the first major step towards making a marriage.  This is exactly what Jesus was saying in Revelation 3:20, we open the door and He comes in and the restoration process is under way.

Revelation 3:20

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At that point we have salvation, but beyond that Jesus is asking us if we will enter into the covenant of betrothal with him.  Will we walk in a loving relationship with Him as the bridegroom?

The significance of this verse is that we have a choice and the choice is ours, exactly the same as the ancient Hebrew bride who could choose to either ask her father to open the door, or leave it shut!  If she refuses to allow her father to open the door, the groom and his father then leave the threshold and return home.

The application for the church is that God the Father, as the Father of the groom (Jesus) made the arrangements and paid the bride price - the Blood of His son Jesus.  See Ephesians 5:25b ...Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.  And John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.
By giving up the Son and shedding the blood of the Son, the bride price was paid and the arrangement sealed with Blood!

If the prospective bride agrees and her father opens the door, then the initial agreement to be married would be worked out through intense and animated discussions which would be formalised in a written contract (Ketubah).  The prospective bride was the only one who could back out of this agreement right up until the very instant of the marriage being consummated.

She could stop the process in a moment and she didn't need any special reason!  However, once his initial proposal had been made and accepted, the groom was totally committed and only by a writ of divorce on extremely limited grounds could he ever back out.  If he died before the marriage was consummated, she inherited his estate.

The period of betrothal could last for at least a year, maybe many more if the couple were children when the Ketubah was drawn up.  This is the time of preparation, where the bride is prepared and trained to take on the role of a wife.

2 Corinthians 11:12

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I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy.  I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.

The Apostle Paul states that the church has been espoused or betrothed to one husband, Jesus her Messiah, and Paul records this in this verse.

The church is currently in the period of preparation to become a fitting bride for her Messiah, a pure virgin on her wedding day.

 

Four Cups of Wine

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Covenants are progressive in nature and do not cancel each other out.  There are four cups of wine established as markers signifying where the betrothal parties are in their negotiations.  Each cup corresponds to a covenant representing something that all participants had to physically grasp, consume and make a part of themselves at each step of the way, or the process would break down.  In Revelation 3:20 when Jesus invites us to open the door of our heart and let Him in to dine with us, he is also referring to the next stage of the betrothal process.
Once the prospective groom and his father had completed the details of the wedding, they would eat a meal with the bride's family.  Members of each of the two families would also drink three of the four betrothal cups of wine, one cup at each point throughout negotiating process.


  1. The Cup of Sanctification = Servanthood = Blood.  This cup was taken by all present and embodies the concept of being 'set apart' for God.  Just as God sanctified the nation of Israel, the families do the same in respect to each other.  They are sanctified to becoming one large family.
  2. The Cup of Betrothal = Salt Covenant = Friendship. This cup is consumed by the bride and groom and the two fathers only. The families are covenanting to become eternal friends with their son and daughter and with each other.
  3. The Cup of Redemption = Sandal Covenant = Inheritance. This signifies the shared inheritance of the marriage partners. This cup is drunk at the end of the meal by the bride and groom only and symbolises their exclusive commitment to each other.  It also officially seals the marriage agreement.

They are now officially married, even though neither the ceremony, nor consummation has taken place. The third cup also corresponds to the cup that Jesus shared with his disciples during Passover when he washed their feet and thus transferred his inheritance to them (sandal covenant).  He also refers to his coming marriage to his church (Kehilah = 'called out' or 'set apart' ones) knowing the custom of the groom not to drink wine again until the wedding ceremony.  This explains why he said "...He would not touch the fruit of the vine again until He could do so with us in the kingdom of heaven."   He kept to that vow on the cross when he refused the wine that the Romans offered him to numb the pain.  Each time we take communion, we should remember we are reaffirming our commitment to be Jesus' bride.  Weddings and Passover are parallel celebrations in which God emphasises the sanctity and intimacy of our earthly unions and our heavenly union with Him.  God offered mankind a betrothal contract beginning over 6,000 years ago, he sealed the terms of that contract a little over 2,000 years ago.  If you have allowed Jesus to knock at the door of your heart and have invited him in, in the days that follow, you may be anywhere from grasping the doorknob to drinking from the third cup of wine.  Wherever you are, as long as you remain committed, you are in exactly the right place.  Once you let Jesus into your heart, you are saved and God will direct you towards greater intimacy with him. That will take place in His time as you are transformed by the renewing of your mind.  When God is ready for you to take the next step and partake of the fourth cup, he will make it very clear to you and give you his direction through His Holy Spirit.  Don't be comparing yourself to other people, keep your eyes on Jesus and He will direct your path.

Returning to our ancient groom's story...

John 14:2

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After sealing the deal with the third cup, the Groom now departs to go to his father's house to prepare a 'bridal chamber' (Chupah) for his bride.  The groom's father decides the time for the wedding to take place, which will be when he - the groom's father judges the preparations to be completed to his satisfaction. During this time the bride is 'set apart', she behaves in the manner of a married woman and wears a veil in public.  She spends this time preparing her 'trousseau' which will include 'swaddling bands' for her first child.

Matthew 24:36

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The bride doesn't know when the groom will come to claim her, although traditionally it will be at night!  She watches and waits with her female attendants and together they busy themselves with preparations.

The groom doesn't know the day or the hour when he can come and claim his bride, he continues to 'prepare' a place for her and it is only when his father is satisfied that all is ready for the bride, will he go to claim her.  His father announces NOW! The groom's attendants let out a shout and blow the shofar (ram's horn) to announce the coming of the groom and together with the groom, his friends and some musicians they make a joyful procession to the bride's house.

Matthew 25

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The bride's attendants hear the shout and the sound of the shofar and go out into the street with their lamps to show the groom the way to the bride. The groom 'snatches' the bride from her father's house (carries her away in a romantic type of abduction - see 1Thessalonians 5:2).  He and his noisy friends carry her triumphantly through the streets back to his father's house

 

 

 

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Tags: Greatest Love Story, Bride of Christ, Bible, Hebrew Wedding, Christ fulfilled the role of the Groom, Pearl of Great Worth