The dating scene in America circa 1991 versus the culture today or of the days of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are to say the very least…..different! I had always been the one to pursue relationships and being a typical American male I chose a certain “look” and “style” of woman. This “look and style” woman was based more off of the image the world had portrayed as ‘beautiful’ than that of what YHVH sees as beautiful.
Having had several dating relationships (a point of contention to my future in-laws) in which few lasted more than a couple of months until I finally had one last 3 years, only to end very bitterly. I was broken mentally, spiritually, as well as, financially and I actually professed to my friends I was now the president of the woman haters society.
Realizing that, in my life, desperately wanting to have a lifelong companion and having seen the broken relationships of my parents, I had missed the reality of building a committed relationship.
Finding out who each other is at the core of their being is the goal of the process of dating to find a mate, yet so many are dating with the companion mentality over the commitment mentality. They will spend many hours and fists full of money on going to the club, the movies, out to eat and to events. While entertainment is needed within a relationship, it is hardly the place to really find out about the beliefs and dreams of your future lifelong partner.
This is where I did what I should have done from the very beginning and that was to trust YHVH. Thinking (which can get me into trouble) that YHVH had brought about the other relationships in my life there must be something wrong with me, or women, or both. Then He spoke to me, telling me He had a plan and if I would just get out of the way things would be different.
So I prayed “Lord you are the creator of the universe and I am an idiot. Your word says you know my innermost being and that you knit me in the womb. I have not been trusting of you and I ask for forgiveness. I see in your word also that you recognized Adam was without a helpmeet and you created Eve to fit him perfectly. I am asking you to do the same for me. Amen.” Despite my weak relationship at that time with YHVH, He was faithful and true to the mustard seed of my faith.
Let’s look at step 6 in the marriage
6. Gifts were given to the bride from the groom’s family and a cup called G4221 ποτήριον poterion or “the cup of the covenant” was shared between the bride and the groom. The definition of poterion is “the contents thereof, a lot or fate”. In a modern wedding ceremony the toast between the bride and groom is similar in nature. This is an outward display of an internal desire to be linked together in life and for life. The rite of betrothal (erusin) is completed when the groom gives something of value to the bride and she accepts it.
There are a couple of very interesting ‘cups’ for us in scripture. This cup is the valuable promise of the blood of salvation for all who believe. Remember in part one when I said the breaking of this marriage covenant was harsh.
The prophet Isaiah warns in 51:17 “Wake up! Wake up! Get up, O Jerusalem! You drank from the cup the Lord passed to you, which was full of his anger!” We know that YHWH is an all-consuming fire, as the Messiah consumed the cup of wrath, that wrath consumed our sin without the price of our soul, and sealed for us the covenant of Salvation.
Matthew 26:39 “Going a little farther, he threw himself down with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if possible, let this cup pass from me! Yet not what I will, but what you will.”
So many people watched “The Passion” in theatres and on DVD, the devastating torture that Jesus went through in bringing about salvation. In my own mind I thought that it was more than likely ever more brutal than what was shown. When the Bible tells us ‘by His stripes we are healed’ we must allow our minds to reach back to the visuals of the movie and render the truth of how valuable a sacrifice it truly was. If you haven’t seen it, do so, it can be found free of charge on many cable and internet sources. I am not committing to it being 100% scripturally correct, just that it will give you some point of reference to the gift and the cup.
7. The bride had a “mikvah” or (water immersion), which is a ritual of cleansing. Mikvah is a ceremonial act of purification by the immersion in water. It indicates a separation from a former way to a new way. In the case of marriage, it indicates leaving an old life for a new life with your spouse.
We are called to the exact same behavior, to leave the worldly actions we have been taught, and move on to the instructions of the groom Jesus Christ. We take the contract which is the Bible and we learn from it and separate ourselves from the world and its sinful nature.
This is Paul’s instruction in Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” The ONLY way we will ever know the will of God is through the daily ‘washing’ in the Word according to Ephesians 5:26. That is why immersing in the mikvah is considered an outward display of our spiritual rebirth.
Here too, we get a better picture of the interaction of Jesus and Nicodemus. John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Nicodemus was polluted by the traditions of the Pharisees and syncretism (the mixing of pagan and the faith) that had taken over the teachers and the people. Jesus was asking him to walk away from the paganism and man-made beliefs and to focus on the wishes of the Father.
8. The bridegroom departs: At this point, the bridegroom leaves for his father’s house to prepare the bridal chamber for his bride. It was understood to be the man’s duty to go away to be with his father, build a house, and prepare for the eventual wedding.
The bridal chamber will be an extension to the grooms housing. This will their home and yet it is a special portion of the house designed and intended for the bride. This must pass the inspection of the father (and most likely mom will have a thing or two to comment on as well) this is a reflection of the groom’s family and their hospitality of the new family member.
Before he goes, though, he will make a statement to the bride. “I go to prepare a place for you; if I go, I will return again unto you.” This is the very same statement Jesus made in John 14:1-3. It was not accidental nor was it random, it is the fulfillment of the marriage covenant.
9. Consecration of the Bride and the acceptance of the bridal chamber.
The bride was to wait eagerly for the return of the bridegroom and in that time she would make the needed adjustments in her life for the future, that being, the future of living with her husband and his family.
The bride may have been from an agricultural family and the groom could be a herdsman. There were tent makers and fishermen we know from the gospel accounts, so she may have had to learn to sew, make nets or care for livestock. The point is, we too, have to prepare ourselves for living with the Fathers family. What are the customs and requirements to live in harmony with YHWH? Consecration is the action of making or declaring something sacred.
In the mind of the bride, the bridegroom could come at any time, even in the middle of the night or at midnight. Therefore, she had to be ready at all times. Jesus tells us the parable of the Ten Virgins in Matthew 25:1-13 to example this very issue.
“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him. Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
And the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. But the wise answered, saying, Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.”
These 10 virgins are believers – because atheists aren’t waiting for this Bridegroom! Believers are the only ones eligible to enter the Wedding Feast of the Lamb. But notice some went in and some did not.
Oil in scripture is connected to anointing and truth. The Word of God is the Oil of truth. John 17:17 “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” When the 5 wise tell the 5 foolish to go and buy oil they are telling them to go to the teachers of the Torah and learn of the truth. Torah has often been labeled as “Law”, while this seems to be the most widely accepted definition, we can see it better defined in the Hebrew as “instructions”.
The best interpretation of the word Torah is to break it down into the Paleo Hebrew, or pictographic Hebrew language, and it is described Torah as “The Covenant of The Nail is the Head of Revelation”
In order to consecrate ourselves, or declare ourselves as ready for the grooms return, we must allow YHWH to sanctify us with his truth – Torah, the Instructions, the “Old” Testament (a term created by Tertullian in 220 AD not God).
10. The time of the return of the bridegroom
When the bridegroom came, he came with a shout (Matthew 25:6) and with the blowing of the trumpet and then the marriage will have a sacred procession. 1st Thess. 4:15-17 “For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep (already died). For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout (trumpet blast), with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up (gathered NOT raptured) together with them in the clouds (this word in Greek is “nephelee” or cloudiness which is derived from “nephos” a large, dense number of people.), to meet the Lord in the air (Greek word “aer” which means ‘as naturally surrounding’): and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
This coincides with 1st Corinthians 15:52 “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” This LAST trumpet is the 7th and final trumpet of the tribulation. For further witness to this truth, and to the dismay of many teaching falsely a pretribulation “rapture”, we see the words of Jesus in the gospel of John.
John 6:44 “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him (chosen): and I will raise him up at the last day.” As well we see Martha knew this as truth in John 11.24 “Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” The last day and the last trumpet being synonymous.
Now then, the bridegroom will enter the chuppah (marriage canopy) first. When the bridegroom approaches the chuppah, the cantor chants, “Blessed is he who comes.” Jesus tells the disciples exactly this in Matthew 23:39 “For I say unto you, You shall not see me henceforth, until you say, Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.”
The question for all of us “are you ready?” Have you washed yourself in the water of the word, renewing your mind and sanctified in His truth? Just like driving off in the car covered in ribbons, tin cans trailing from the bumper, and a line of cars sounding their horns in modern weddings. We who are in Christ at the end will be shouting for joy and sounding the trumpet making a righteous noise for our groom!
We will finish steps 11 and 12 in part 3 of this series…. Shalom