by the Book
Have you ever been asked, "Are you happily married?" For me, the answer is yes and no. Yes, I am happy and presently married in the flesh. In the Spirit, however, I am only engaged to be married. A scriptural study concerning marriage tradition in the past reveals many interesting ideas for our future marriage.
Marriage in the Bible was arranged by parents. Abraham sent his servant to find a wife for Isaac from among his kindred (Genesis 24:4). Isaac sent his son Jacob to his kindred to find a wife (Genesis 28:1). Moses was given Zipporah in marriage by her father, Reuel (Exodus 2:21). Samson asked his father and mother to get a Philistine woman for his wife (Judges 14:2). John the Immerser was sent by Yahweh to make straight the way of Yahshua (John 1:23, Luke 3:4), to prepare a marriage pathway through repentance.
Perhaps, as a throwback, the marriage officiator today asks during the ceremony, "Who gives this woman in marriage?" and her father or some relative says, "I give her."
Spiritually, Yahweh spoke about marriage through Hosea, saying, "I will betroth you to me forever; I will betroth you in righteousness and justice, in love and compassion. I will betroth you in faithfulness and you will acknowledge Yahweh. In that day, I will respond to the skies, and they will respond to the earth; and the earth will respond to the grain, new wine and oil, and they will respond to Jezreel. I will plant her for myself in the land; I will show my love to the one I called 'not my loved one.' I will say to those called, 'not my people,' you are my people; and they will say, 'You are my Elohim'" (Hosea 2:19-23).
COUPLE TO WED IDENTIFIED
The bride and bridegroom are identified or engaged. Isaac's bride, Rebekah, was identified as she provided water to Abraham's servant and camels (Genesis 24:12-21). Jacob's bride, Rachel, was identified as she came to water her dad's flock at the well (Genesis 28:9-10). Moses was identified to Reuel as he defended and watered Reuel's flocks (Exodus 2:16-21).
The Messiah was identified by a sign from Yahweh as He was immersed in water (Matthew 3:13-17). Similarly, we the bride of the Lamb are identified through water immersion commanded by the Messiah (Mark 16:16). Further, Passover represents the identification time of the Messiah. Passover's focus is on the sacrificial sheep and its blood (Deuteronomy 16:1-8).
When Yahshua died, He qualified to be our Passover sacrifice, High Priest and Bridegroom of the assembly (1 Corinthians 5:7, Hebrews 9:11-12, Ephesians 5:25-33). During the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the assembly or bride is identified. A person is identified as he tries to purge sin from his life, symbolized by eating unleavened bread and not leavened bread (1 Corinthians 5:4-6).
According to Jewish tradition the couple would drink a glass of wine together at the engagement and would not drink wine together again until after their marriage.
During the Last Supper, Yahshua drank from a cup and said, "I will not drink with you again until I can drink anew with you in my Father's Kingdom" (Matthew 26:29).
A gift was given to the bride anciently. Abraham's servant gave Rebekah and her family gifts of jewelry (Genesis 24:53). Jacob worked seven years for Rachel (Genesis 29:20). Shechem promised gifts to Dinah's family for her marriage (Genesis 34:12). Boaz gave Ruth six measures of barley (Ruth 3:15). Yahshua told His disciples to stay in Jerusalem until the time the gift should come from the Father (Acts 2:1-7).
At Pentecost Yahshua's disciples received the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-7). The Holy Spirit would allow one to prophesy, see visions, dream dreams, and be saved if one called on the Name of Yahshua (Acts 2:7-21).
According to Jewish tradition, a bride had full right to the groom's possessions and name—after the engagement or promise of marriage—not by waiting until after the wedding. For example, Lot called two men his sons-in-law who were pledged to marry his daughters (Genesis 19:14). Engaged women were treated under the law as married women (Deuteronomy 22:22-28).
We also have full authority being engaged to the Messiah to call upon His Name to cast out demons, speak in tongues, take up serpents, and more (Mark 16:17-18).
THE CALL TO THE WEDDING
The wedding parties anciently and today, spiritually, must be brought together. Laban brought the people of the place and gave a feast for Jacob and his bride (Genesis 29:22). Samson gave a feast, which was customary for bridegrooms, and was given 30 companions (Judges 14;10-11).
Preceding the marriage of Yahshua and the assembly there will be a roar of a great multitude (Revelation 19:1) and the sound of the seventh trumpet (compare Revelation 19:1-8 and Revelation 11:15-18 for similarities). The trumpet sounding is to call the community to assemble, to call Yahweh's people to follow, to call Yahweh to remember His people, and to call for rejoicing (Numbers 10:1-10).
Similarly, Yahshua spoke of His future return, "At that time the sign of the Son of Man will appear in the sky and all the nations of the earth will mourn. They will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of the sky with power and glory and He will send His angels with a loud trumpet call and they will gather His elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other" (Matthew 24:30-35.In similar words, Yahshua referred to the Kingdom of Heaven in a parable of wheat and weeds. At harvest time the angels will weed out the evil ones by pulling them up and burning them so that the righteous will shine (Matthew 13:24-30 and 36-43).
The Feast of Trumpets occurs in the Biblical seventh month at the end of the fall harvest. Yahweh commanded the blowing of trumpets during this feast (Numbers 29:1). The trumpet blast calls together the assembly (bride) to follow Yahweh, to be married so that Yahweh can fulfill His past promises, and to rejoice (Genesis 12:2-3, 2 Samuel 7:12-16).
THE BRIDE PREPARES
The bride prepares herself by washing and dressing in her best clothes. Naomi told Ruth to wash and perfume herself and put on her best clothes before she would lie down at the feet of Boaz (Ruth 3:3). Later that day they were married.
Yahweh gave these words to Ezekiel in describing Jerusalem, "I bathed you with water and washed the blood from you and put ointment on you. I clothed you with an embroidered dress and put leather sandals on you. I dressed you in fine linen and covered you with costly garments" (Ezekiel 16:9-11). Ezekiel 16 describes how Yahweh took Jerusalem from an infant and made her His queen.
On the Day of Atonement, the first duty required of the high priest before entering the sanctuary area was to bathe himself in water before he put on the sacred garments (Leviticus 16:4). Hebrews 9:7 explains that the high priest's purpose for entering the sanctuary area was to offer a sacrifice for himself and for the sins of the people committed in ignorance.
These animal sacrifices did not cleanse the worshipers (Hebrews 10:2-3), however, but faith in Yahweh through Yahshua our High priest will "have our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from guilty conscience and have our bodies washed with pure water" (Hebrews 10:22).
Through this faith the bride has made herself ready so that bright, clean linen can be given her to wear at the Messiah's wedding (Revelation 19:7-8).
A JOYOUS FESTIVAL
Next comes the marriage banquet or festival. Yahshua said, "The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son" (Matthew 22:2). Laban had a feast for Jacob's wedding (Genesis 29:22), and there was a feast for Samson's wedding (Judges 14:10).
Yahshua attended a wedding that was at least three days long (John 2:1). Traditionally weddings were seven days long. Jacobs wedding was referred to as a bridal week (Genesis 29:27) and Samson's wife cried the seven days of their wedding (Judges 14:17).
During the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles choice fruits from trees and palm fronds, leafy branches, and poplar were to be taken and the people were to rejoice and celebrate a festival (Leviticus 23:40).
Similarly during the wedding of the Lamb, we are to rejoice (Revelation 19:7) and be invited to the wedding supper (Revelation 19:9). Both the wedding festival and the Feast of Tabernacles traditionally last seven days. Both command rejoicing.
According to Jewish tradition, and sometimes today, the bride and bridegroom stand under a chuppa (Canopy or tent) during the wedding ceremony. Joel 2:16 connects the canopy or tent theme with the wedding: "Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber [chuppa]." Also, Isaac and Rebekah were married in a tent (Genesis 24:67).
The wedding couple go to their home. On the last and great day of the Feast of Tabernacles Yahshua spoke, "If anyone is thirsty let him come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will from within him, (John 7:37-38).
Similiarly, after the marriage of the Lamb, New Jerusalem will appear (Revelation 22:1-6). Yahshua spoke, "In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were not so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you, (John 14:2).
MARRIAGE BINDS TWO TOGETHER
The marriage unites the bride and bridegroom into one flesh and spirit. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife and they will become one flesh (Genesis 2:24, Malachi 2:15; Matthew 19:5; Mark 10:7-8; 1 Corinthians 6:16; Ephesians 5:31). Being one, they cannot be separated. Yahshua said, "For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man's enemies will be the members of his own household" (Matthew 10:21, 35-36;Micah 7:6; Mark 13:12-13; Luke 12:51-53). Yahshua did not speak about conflict between husband and wife.
An interesting related Scripture is the Sadducee's question to Yahshua concerning the woman who was married successively to seven men. They asked, "At the resurrection whose wife would she be?" (Luke 20:33)
Yahshua replied, "The people of this age marry and are given in marriage. But those who are considered worthy of taking part in that age and in the resurrection from the dead will neither marry nor be given in marriage, and they can no longer die; for they are like the angels. They are Yahweh's children, since they are children of the resurrection," (Luke 20:34-36).
If one is living in the kingdom age, resurrected from the dead and considered a child of Yahweh, then he is married to the Messiah. Therefore, if one is married, one cannot be given in marriage nor marry again.
FEASTS SHOW MARRIAGE PLAN
Some groan over Yahweh's feast days when they are reminded of their sin, the covering for sin, the sacrifice for sin, or are told of the command to observe them. Yet the feast days parallel and graphically explain the spiritual marriage of the Lamb.
Passover identifies the bridegroom. The Feast of Unleavened Bread identifies the bride. Pentecost represents the gift given to the bride's family. The Feast of Trumpets represents the call to gather the attendees to the wedding. The Day of Atonement represents the purification of the bride. The Feast of Tabernacles represents the wedding feast. And the Last Great Day represents the groom taking the bride to his home. "And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem, shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, Yahweh of Hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles (Zechariah 14:16). By observing His days, we prepare ourselves to be Yahshua's bride.