Torah Portion: Exodus 18:1 – 20:23 Haftarah: Isaiah 6:1-7:6, 9:5-6
New Testament: (suggested) Matthew chapters 5-7
Many Christians, upon beginning to examine the Hebrew roots of their faith, are surprised to learn that devout Jewish people understand themselves to be betrothed to God. Our appetizer this week from Ray Gardner’s notes for this torah portion, includes fascinating insight into the 12 steps of a Hebrew wedding taken from Eddie Chumney’s Seven Festivals of Messiah, pages 125-135.
Steps of a Hebrew Wedding
- The selection of the bride (chosen by the father). The father would send his trusted servant to search out the bride (like Abraham sending Eliezer who was a type of Holy Spirit, Genesis 24, John 15:16 “You have not chosen Me, I have chosen you.
- The bride’s price (mohar) was established. Yeshua paid His life for the body of believers. I Peter 1:18-19 For as much as you know that you were not redeemed with corruptible things as silver and gold, from your vain conversation (way of Life) received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Messiah, as a lamb without blemish… This price was established 430 years before with Abraham in Genesis 15
- The bride and groom are betrothed (kiddushin) to each other. This is legally binding the bride and groom. A divorce would be required if they wanted to end this contract. The betrothal is taking place at Mount Sinai. (left Ram’s horn Genesis 22:13)
- A written document (ketubah) is drawn up. This states the price of the bride and the rights of the bride. The groom promises to support her, provide food for her, clothing and necessities and to live with her as husband and wife. YHWH’s word is our ketubah m are yes, and in Him Amen.”.
- The bride must give her consent. “Everything that YHWH has spoken we will do.” Exodus 19:8. “that if you shall confess with your mouth Jesus Christ (Adonai Yeshua), and shall believe in your heart that the Lord has raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved.” Romans 10:8-9
- Gifts were given to the bride and a cup called the cup of the Covenant was shared between bride and groom. If a ring is given then this step is completed when it is placed on her finger. We receive the Holy Spirit as a gift beginning on this same day of the year in the first century at Pentecost. Acts 2:38, Ephesians 4:7-8, I Corinthians 12:1-28. Jeremiah 31:31-33, the cup in Luke 22:20 Messiah gave 3rd cup His blood and body
- The bride has a taval in a mikvah (water immersion) which is a ritual cleansing. This indicates the beginning of a new way of life… from single to married.. from sinfulness to purity… This immersion is considered a spiritual rebirth. Acts 19:4 immersed in the Name of Yeshua.
- The bridegroom departs, going back to his father’s house to prepare the bridal chamber. “I go to prepare a place for you; if I go, I will return again to you… that where I am there you may be also.” John 14:1-3
- The bride was consecrated and set apart for a period of time while the bridegroom was away building the home. It was the father who declared that the final bridal chamber was finished. The bridegroom did not know when the father would declare the bridal chamber fit and send him to get his bride. “But of that day and that hour knows no man, no not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. Take heed, watch and pray: for you know not when the time is.” Mark 13:32-33. The bride had to be ready at all times because she did not know when he would return to take her away.
- The bridegroom would return with a shout “Behold the bridegroom comes” and the shofar (ram’s horn) would be blown. For the Lord (Yeshua) Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the shofar of Elohim: and the dead in Messiah shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord (Yeshua) in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord(Yeshua). I Thessalonians 4:16-17 (Right Ram’s horn)
- He would abduct His bride, usually in the middle of the night, to go to the bridal chamber where the marriage would be consummated. This is the full marriage known in Hebrew as nesu’in. They would stay for seven days.
- Finally there would be a marriage supper for all guests invited by the father. On the wedding day the bridegroom is seen as a king and the bride is seen as a queen. “You shall also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of Your Elohim. You shall no more be termed forsaken; neither shall your land any more be termed desolate: but You shall be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah: for the LORD delights in you, and your land shall be married. For as a young man marries a virgin, so shall your sons marry you: and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your Elohim rejoice over you.” Isaiah 62:3-5.
Finally, as I was reading the Scripture this week, I couldn’t help but notice the numerous similarities between Moses and Yeshua, which might be a good topic of discussion for families or study groups. An Internet search revealed more than 20 striking comparisons and I noticed several others, including a few connected with Tzipporah and the Bride of Yeshua.
Until next week, shalom!