Sunday, October 23, 2011




The first thing that we notice is that the Old Testament referred to [Israel] as the Bride of the [Lord]. The next thing that comes to mind is the fact that the New Testament frequently characterizes the [church] as the Bride of [Christ] [1]. However, many Jewish people did not understand this dynamic of their betrothal to Jesus Christ, because many did not believe Him to be the Messiah. They understood the marriage customs but not Christ being their husband [2]. It's hard for men to grasp this concept.

Once the groom found and chose a bride, he had to arrange a marriage between them. We will cover the coming of Christ, and end in His departure back to heaven as He prepares for His return. But first, the match.

The Match (Shiddukhin)

According to Jewish marriage customs, the fathers of the groom arranged most the marriages [3]. There were many avenues in which the Jewish people could use to negotiate and make their matches for marriage. The mother sometimes had a hand in choosing a bride [4] but the father could act alone [5]. However, more times than not, an interested man would just ask his father to seek out a particular woman for her hand in marriage [6]. (The choosing of the bride by the groom did not happen much.) If there were an interest all the way around, negotiations would start.

Friends from either party, or a matchmaker could also negotiate a match [7]. These matchmakers had to be of strong character, high integrity, and had to be highly trusted. It was not necessary for the bride to give her consent, but most generally, they asked her [8].

Parallels to the Church. . .

Jesus chose us [9] but did not act on His own initiative [10]. The Holy Spirit is the matchmaker today and the agent of the Father who negotiates for the bride of Christ [11]. It is the Holy Spirit that draws all men/women to Jesus Christ [12]. All who are born again are born through the power of the Holy Spirit [13]. Once that someone becomes a believer, that person becomes part of the Bride of Christ.

Fathers in the Old Testament did not discount the personal feelings of the bride or groom with regards to choice, neither is our feelings discounted when it comes to that same free will choice. Our Father in heaven gave us free will to choose with whom we will follow and serve [14]. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord [15].

[1] 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
[2] Galatians 3:28
[3] Genesis 34:3-6; 38:6; Jeremiah 29:6
[4] Genesis 21:21; 27:24
[5] Genesis 38:6
[6] Judges 14:1-10
[7] Genesis 24:2-4
[8] Genesis 24:5, 58
[9] John 15:16
[10] John 5:30
[11] 1 Corinthians 2:10; Galatians 4:6; 1 Peter 1:12; Romans 8:16
[12] John 6:44
[13] Luke 1:35
[14] Deuteronomy 30:19, 20
[15] Joshua 24:15; 1 Peter 1:8


Thursday, October 20, 2011



The following is the first of 16 installments covering the Jewish Marriage Customs. I pray that it blesses you all. God bless each and every one of you.

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]? Because of man’s fallen nature, becoming the Bride of Christ was impossible. Therefore, God’s plan required that mankind needed forgiveness before he could become the glorious Bride of Christ [2].

Four-thousand years later…destiny called, and 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.

To comfort His remaining disciples [3], 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,

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.

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.

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 [4].

Christ was telling them that he had to leave in order for Him to build a place for them to live, but that He’d return for them so they could be together. The reason why Jesus came to earth was for the forgiveness of man and for a bride. God created mankind to acquire a bride, 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 [5].

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 [6]. 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 the world, as written in John 14:1-3, then it would be prudent for us to study the steps of the Jewish Marriage Customs. This will keep His discourse in context, because context is everything. Not only will this help us understand Christ’s promise, but it will help us understand the entire Bible.

Once we get the idea of Jewish Marriage Customs, the Scripture will jump right off of the pages. What was difficult for us to understand before about God’s Word will be academic to us when we grasp the steps of the wedding customs? Before the foundation of the world, while God formulated His plan, Christ desired a bride. He was just hours away from paying the bride price for her.


[1] 2 Corinthians 6:14
[2] 1 Peter 1:16
[3] Judas had left to betray Jesus.
[4] John 14:1-3
[5] Revelation 19:9
[6] Christ taught from the Scrolls of the Old Testament era.