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  • Writer's pictureMichael Filipek

Prophetic Mysteries of the Ancient Hebrew Wedding (Part 2)

Updated: Jan 27


Prophetic Mysteries of the Ancient Hebrew Wedding (Pt. 2)

In our "Part 1" of this article series, we began to examine the typological treasures hidden in the wedding rituals of the ancient Hebrews, which God instituted. It is astonishing to recognize that everything that God has said about His marriage to His bride, the Church, was anticipated thousands of years earlier in the institution of these customs. That fact is a profound piece of evidence that the author of the Bible is not bound to the constraints of time as we are. Rather, it is profound proof of His reality, and demonstrates His origin to be from outside of time.


The Hebrew wedding involved a number of important rituals typologically correlating with the marriage of Christ and the Church. We are investigating seventeen of them in these articles. While these are not necessarily in strict order, they do follow the general process of the ancient Hebrew wedding. Let’s continue our examination of these astonishing parallels.


5.) The Ketubah – The Marriage Covenant


Once the bride price was paid, and the bride had accepted, the marriage covenant (ketubah) was established. The ketubah included documentation of the mohar, dowry, and the mutual obligations between the bridegroom and bride. [1]


The ketubah also details the husband’s obligation to provide his wife with the necessities she needs – food, clothing, shelter, etc. These are obligations originally demanded in the Torah (Exodus 21:10). [2] Additionally, the ketubah lays out the financial resources and possessions each person brings into the relationship, the responsibilities of each family to the other, and finally the penalties to be paid should either side break off the covenant. [3]


We understand that the Old Covenant, or giving of the Mosaic Law to Israel on Sinai, was a marriage covenant or ketubah. So then, we understand that the New Covenant (or New Testament – the B’rit Chadashah) acts as the ketubah for Christ’s bride the Church. Let's examine how.


Jesus Himself sets the conditions for the marriage:

If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. -John 15:10-13

Jesus speaks of the required obligations:

A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. -John 13:34

Jesus outlines His commitment to the relationship:

Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen. -Matthew 28:20

These are only a few of the many elements contained within the New Testament – our betrothal contract – that Jesus gave to His bride.


Key Parallel:


  • The ketubah was the marriage contract that contained details regarding the mutual obligations of the bridegroom and bride.

  • As a Bridegroom, Christ gave the Church a legal document containing all of the provisions of the New Covenant – the contract detailing our marriage relationship with Him.


6.) Kiddushin – Sanctification


From the establishment of the ketubah and forward, the man and woman were regarded legally as husband and wife, although the marriage ceremony had not yet been performed and therefore the marriage could not yet be consummated (Malachi 2:14; Matthew 1:18-19). [4] At this time, the bride was declared to be consecrated or sanctified – set apart – exclusively for her bridegroom. This is reflected in one of the Hebrew words for betrothal – kiddushin, which literally means sanctification or consecration. [5] [6]


In the same manner, the Church has been declared as being consecrated, sanctified, and set apart exclusively for Christ.


Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. -Ephesians 5:25-27

Key Parallel:


  • From the time the marriage was covenanted at the establishment of the ketubah, the woman was considered consecrated, sanctified, and set apart only for her bridegroom.

  • The Church, as the bride, is declared to be sanctified, cleansed, and set apart exclusively for her bridegroom Christ.


7.) Kesef – Bought With A Price


Within the Hebrew tradition, being “bought” is not thought of as though the woman was being purchased like property, but rather the transaction is meant to confer a “change of status.” There are two ways of purchasing something in Jewish law: by cash (kesef) or by barter (chaliphin). When something is purchased by barter, what has transpired is simply an exchange of property. However, when a transaction is made for cash, the transaction can also affect a change of status. The Talmud records emphatically that a woman cannot be married through a barter transaction, because this would imply a change in ownership, and would give the woman the status of a chattel (a possession, or personal property). [7]


However, for a cash (kesef) transaction, one does not actually have to use cash. Any article of value can be used, such as a coin, a ring, a jewel, etc., and it must be given for its monetary value and not as barter. The bridegroom is changing the bride’s status from that of a single woman to that of a married one. The money is merely a legal consideration that makes the woman’s new status binding. [8]


Jewish tradition teaches that in God’s marriage to Israel in the Old Testament, the wealth of the Egyptians was the “cash” used to seal the betrothal upon the exodus from slavery (Exodus 12:36). Here too, God was not “buying” the Israelites, but transforming their status to that of the Chosen People. [9] So, during the betrothal period, the Hebrew brides were considered to be “bought with a price” (the bride price, or mohar). [10]


In like manner, the Church is considered “bought with a price,” that price being the perfect blood of the atoning death of Christ.


For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s. -1 Corinthians 6:20

Key Parallel:


  • The ancient Hebrew brides were considered “bought” with the mohar – the bride price – once the ketubah was agreed upon.

  • The Church, as the bride of Christ, is considered “bought with a price,” that price being the spotless, sinless blood of our Bridegroom Christ.


8.) Mattan – Love Gifts


During the betrothal period, it was common for the bridegroom to present his future bride with special gifts (mattan), displaying his appreciation for her. They were also intended to help her remember him while he was away during the long betrothal period. [11]


Ask me never so much dowry and gift [mattan – Strong’s # H4976], and I will give according as ye shall say unto me: but give me the damsel to wife. -Genesis 34:12

In like manner, Jesus presented His bride, the Church, with a number of unique gifts only applicable to her. Some of the gifts that Jesus gave us are the nine Gifts of the Spirit that are accessible only to those who are filled with the Holy Ghost (1 Corinthians 12). These gifts given to the Church are of a supernatural nature, reminding us of the supernatural marriage to be performed one day with a supernatural Bridegroom.


Key Parallel:


  • During the long betrothal separation, the ancient Hebrew bridegrooms would present their future brides with special gifts that showed his affection for her. They would help her to remember him while he was away making preparations for the wedding.

  • Jesus, our Bridegroom, left His bride the Church a number of supernatural gifts that only she has access to. These gifts help us operate in the Spirit during the long betrothal absence, and will stay with us until He comes for us again.

 

[1] Aryeh Kaplan, Made in Heaven: A Jewish Wedding Guide, Brooklyn, NY: Moznaim Pub., 1983, pp. 95-99.

[2] Ibid., pp. 113-114.

[3] Avi Ben Mordechai, Signs in the Heavens, Millennium 7000 Communications, Int’l, 1996, p. 272.

[4] The Jewish Encyclopedia, Vol. III, ed. Isidore Singer, New York: Funk and Wagnalls Co., 1907, pp. 126, 127.

[5] George F. Moore, Judaism, Vol. II, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1946, p. 121.

[6] Kaplan, p. 173.

[7] Kaplan, pp. 45-46.

[8] Ibid.

[9] Ibid, p. 46.

[10] Richard Booker, Here Comes The Bride: Jewish Wedding Customs And The Messiah, Houston, TX: Sounds of the Trumpet, 1995, p. 7.

[11] Louis M. Epstein, The Jewish Marriage Contract, New York: Jewish Theological Seminary of America, 1927, pp. 78-79.


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