Whether we realize it or not, the giving of both Old and New Covenants was patterned after the traditional Jewish wedding traditions. There are two parts to the Jewish wedding traditions: the betrothal (Kiddushin = sanctification or setting-apart) and the wedding ceremony (Huppah). Currently the Bride of Christ is in the betrothal stage and is awaiting the actual wedding ceremony.
- Traditionally the Jewish father chose the bride and sent a friend or servant to come to terms with her parents.
- 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. This was the law that was given to Moses. The bride’s price was paid by Jesus’ death on the cross.
- 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 is the Lord’s Supper.
- 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. Believers have received the gift of the Holy Spirit.
- Prior to the betrothal, the bride and groom commonly performed a ritual immersion symbolic of ritual cleansing. This is believers’ baptism.
- 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.
- The bride waited for the groom to return.
- The groom came like a thief in the night preceded by his friends who blew shofars (horns of kosher animals) to announce his coming.
- Vows and promises were finalized with a ceremony including a shared cup of wine.
- The bride and groom entered the bridal chamber and consummated the marriage. The groom then notified the best man that the wedding had been consummated. The blood stained sheet was presented indicating the bride’s purity and the blood covenant. The guests then celebrated seven days after which the marriage supper would begin.
Both the Old and the New Covenants followed this pattern. The children of Israel were betrothed to God at Mount Sinai and the Bride of Christ was betrothed to Jesus during the Last Supper prior to Jesus’ crucifixion. Take time to go through Exodus and the gospels to see if you can identify each step. You may be surprized at what you find because it’s not only historical but prophetic. Since Jesus’ resurrection, every generation that celebrates the Lord’s Supper betroths itself to Jesus the Messiah whether it realizes it or not.
Do you believe that the children of Israel came to God in a completely different manner than Christians do today or do they come to Him by following the same pattern of redemption? Why?