Rosh Hashanah: The Wedding of the Messiah
The Bible is a marriage covenant. Both the Old Testament and the New Testament describe how God through the Messiah (Jesus), the Bridegroom, is in the process of marrying His bride, the believers in Him who will ultimately live and dwell with Him forever.
God ordained and established marriage and its divine sanctity in the Torah, the very first book of the Bible, Genesis, when He brought Adam and Eve together to become one flesh (Genesis 2:21-24). In doing so, we have a vivid foreshadowing of the Messiah being married to those who would believe upon Him.
The Scriptures liken God to a bridegroom and Israel as His bride in Isaiah 54:5-6, “For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name; and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer, the God of the whole earth he is called. For the Lord has called you like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit, like a wife of youth when she is cast off, says your God.” In Isaiah 62:5, we read: “For as a young man marries a young woman, so shall your sons marry you, and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you.” There are many other Scriptures that support this. In Hellenistic times Jews considered the Song of Solomon an allegory that illustrated the love between God and His Bride, Israel.
God gave the wedding customs, service, and ceremonies to the Jewish people to teach us about the Messiah. It also gives a perfect picture of the Rapture or the Bridegroom catching away His Bride. The ancient Jewish wedding ceremony God gave to the Jewish people to teach us about the wedding of the Messiah consisted of 12 steps.
- The selection of the bride.
The bride was usually chosen by the father of the bridegroom. The father would send his trusted servant, known as the agent of the father, to search out the bride. An excellent example of this can be seen in Genesis 24. In this chapter, Abraham (a type of God the Father) wishes to secure a bride for Isaac (a type of Messiah) and sends his servant Eliezer (a type of the Holy Spirit [Ruach HaKodesh]) to do this task (Genesis 24:2-4; 15:2). It is the role of the Holy Spirit to convict the world of sin and lead them to God (John 16:7-8). Just as, the bride was usually chosen by the father of the bridegroom, so the believers in the Messiah are chosen by God (John 15:16). The bridegroom chose the bride and lavished his love upon her and she returned his love. This can be seen in Ephesians 5:25, as it is written, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave Himself of it.” In Genesis 24, Rebekah consented to marry Isaac even before she ever met him. Today, the believers in the Messiah Jesus consent to become the bride of Messiah even though we have never seen Him. 1 Peter 1:8 speaks of this, as it is written, ” Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,”
- A bride price was established.
A price would have to be paid for the bride. The agreed upon price was called a mohar in Hebrew. Jesus, being our bridegroom, paid a very high price for His bride, the body of believers. The price He paid was His life. Jesus considered the price He had to pay for His bride before His death as He went into the Garden of Gethsemane to pray in Matthew 26:39, as it is written, ” And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”” Jesus was, in essence, saying, “Father, You have chosen this bride and I have agreed to the terms, but do you realize the price that is being asked for her?” Our mohar, our bride price, was His life. 1 Peter 1:18-19 says, ” knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” In 1 Corinthians 6:20 it is written, ” for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”
- The bride and groom are betrothed to each other.
This is the first stage of marriage known as kiddushin. It is the betrothal stage. Betrothal is the first of two steps in the marriage process. Betrothal in Hebrew is known as erusin or kiddushin. Betrothal legally binds the bride and the groom together in a marriage contract, except they do not physically live together. Historically, God betrothed Himself to Israel at Mount Sinai (Jeremiah 2:2; Hosea 2:19-20). Whenever you accept the Messiah into your heart and life, you become betrothed to Him while living on the earth.
- A written document is drawn up, known as a ketubah. This betrothal contract is called, in Hebrew, a shitre erusin.
The ketubah is the marriage contract that states the bride price, the promises of the groom, and the rights of the bride. The word ketubah means “that which is written.” The groom promised to work for her, to honor, support, and maintain her in truth, to provide food, clothing, and necessities, and to live together with her as husband and wife. The ketubah was the unalienable right of the bride. The ketubah must be executed and signed prior to the wedding ceremony. God offers Israel the betrothal contract in Exodus 19:5 and Israel accepts it in Exodus 19:7-8. The Bible is the believer’s ketubah. All the promises that God provided for the believers in the Messiah are legally ours, as it is written in 2 Corinthians 1:20, ” For all the promises of God find their Yes in him. That is why it is through him that we utter our Amen to God for his glory.”
- The bride must give her consent.
God betrothed Himself to Israel at Mount Sinai as stated in Jeremiah 2:2. Israel consented to the marriage proposal from God and said, “I do,” as it is written in Exodus 24:3, “Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the rules. And all the people answered with one voice and said, “All the words that the Lord has spoken we will do.”. Likewise, the personal application to those who desire the Messiah Jesus to come into their hearts and lives is to accept His invitation to do so by faith, as it is written in Romans 10:9: “because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” So, even today, to become the bride of Messiah you must still say, “I do” to Him.
- Gifts were given to the bride and a cup called the cup of the covenant was shared between the bride and the groom.
The rite of betrothal is completed when the groom gives something of value to the bride and she accepts it. The gift most often given today is the ring. When the groom places the ring on the bride’s finger, the rite of betrothal is completed. This completed rite is known in Hebrew as kiddushin, which means “sanctification.”
The gifts to the bride are symbols of love, commitment, and loyalty. The gift God gives to those who accept the Messiah is the Holy Spirit (John 14:26; 15:26-27; Acts 2:38; 2 Corinthians 1:21-22). When Jesus ascended to Heaven, He gave gifts to men (Ephesians 4:7-8). These gifts included righteousness (Romans 5:17-18), eternal life (Romans 6:23), grace (Romans 5:12,14-15), faith (Ephesians 2:8-9), and other spiritual gifts (1 Corinthians 12:1,4). These included wisdom, knowledge, healing, the working of miracles, prophecy, the discerning of spirits, tongues, and interpretation of tongues (1 Corinthians 12:8-11), as well as the gifts of helps and administration (1 Corinthians 12:28).
In addition, at this time the cup of the covenant was shared and sealed between the bride and the groom with the drinking of wine. In doing so, the couple drinks from a common cup. The cup is silver (silver represents redemption) and first given to the groom to sip, and then is given to the bride. This cup, known as the cup of the covenant, is spoken of in Jeremiah 31:31-33, as it is written:
“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, 32 not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. 33 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people
Jesus spoke of the cup of the New Covenant in Luke 22:20, “ And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.”
- The bride had a mikvah (water immersion), which is a ritual of cleansing.
Mikvah is a Hebrew word that means, “pool” or “body of water.” 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 (Genesis 2:23-24; Ephesians 5:31). Immersing in the mikvah is considered spiritual rebirth. The reason is that a mikvah has the power to change a person completely. Concerning the marriage to Israel at Mount Sinai, God said in Ezekiel 16:8-9, as it is written, ““When I passed by you again and saw you, behold, you were at the age for love, and I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness; I made my vow to you and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Lord God, and you became mine. Then I bathed you with water and washed off your blood from you and anointed you with oil.” The washing, or immersion, here refers to that of Israel before the people received the Torah when God betrothed Himself to Israel at Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:14-15). Yeshua spoke to the Pharisee, Nicodemus that he must be born anew (immersed) to enter into the Kingdom of God (John 3:1-7). The believers in the Messiah are to be immersed in the name of Jesus (Acts 19:4). The Holy Spirit is the immerser of God (Luke 3:16; Acts 1:5; 11:15-16).
- The bridegroom departed, going back to his father’s house to prepare the bridal chamber.
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. 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 same statement Jesus made in John 14:1-3 before He went to His father’s house in Heaven, as it is written:
“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me.In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.
The son does not see the Bride again until the Father tells him to go get her. So we see that Matthew 24:36, when Jesus says, “But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only.” He is speaking broadly of His return for his Bride. During the time of the building of the home, if and when a friend or family member would ask the groom when he is going to get his bride, it was a customary response by the groom to reply, “Of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but my father only.” Now that’s what I call exciting!!!
- The bride was consecrated and set apart for a period of time while the bridegroom was away building the house.
Before the bridegroom could go and get the bride, the groom’s father had to be satisfied that every preparation had been made by the son. Only then could he give permission to the son to go and get the bride. In other words, while the bridegroom was working on the bridal chamber, it was the father who “okayed” the final bridal chamber. The bridegroom did not know when his father would declare the bridal chamber fit and send him to go get his bride. This is exactly what Jesus was referring to in Mark 13:32-37.
Meanwhile, the bride was to wait eagerly for the return of the bridegroom. 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 referred to this in Mark 13:32-37, ““But concerning that day or that hour, no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come. It is like a man going on a journey, when he leaves home and puts his servants in charge, each with his work, and commands the doorkeeper to stay awake. Therefore stay awake—for you do not know when the master of the house will come, in the evening, or at midnight, or when the rooster crows, or in the morning— lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake.” and Matthew 25:1-13 (The parable of the ten virgins). While waiting for her bridegroom to come, the bride had to have thought to herself, “Is he really coming back for me? Is he really going to keep his word?” This was the thought that Peter answered in 2 Peter 3:1-13, “This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires.”
- The bridegroom would return with a shout, “Behold, the bridegroom comes” and the sound of the ram’s horn (shofar) would be blown.
The time of the return of the bridegroom was usually at midnight. When the bridegroom did come, he came with a shout (Matthew 25:6) and with the blowing of a shofar (trumpet) (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Revelation 4:1). The marriage between the bride and the groom will take place under the chupah or wedding canopy. Since Heaven is a type of chupah, we can see that when Jesus gives a shout for His bride, accompanied by the blowing of a shofar (trumpet), the marriage between Jesus and His bride will take place in Heaven.
The marriage ceremony will have a sacred procession. For this reason, the bridegroom (Jesus) will be led to the chupah first. When the bridegroom approaches the chupah, the cantor chants, “Blessed is he who comes.” “Blessed is he who comes” is an idiomatic expression meaning “welcome.” Jesus said that He would not return for His bride until these words were said Matthew 23:39, “For I tell you, you will not see me again, until you say, ‘Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.’”. The groom is greeted like a king under the chupah. During this time Jesus, the bridegroom, will be crowned King under the chupah, which is Heaven.
- He would come for 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.
The bride and groom will go to the wedding chamber, or chadar in Hebrew, where the marriage will be consummated. They will stay in that wedding chamber for seven days, or a week. At the end of the seven days, the bride and groom will come out from the wedding chamber. This can be seen in Joel 2:16, “gather the people.
Consecrate the congregation; assemble the elders; gather the children, even nursing infants. Let the bridegroom leave his room, and the bride her chamber.”
The word week in Hebrew is shavuah. It means a “seven.” It can mean seven days or seven years. An example of the Hebrew word for week (shavuah) meaning seven years can be found in Daniel 9:24, as it is written, “Seventy weeks [shavuah, 490 years] are determined upon thy people…” and in 9:27, “And he [the false Messiah known as the antichrist] shall confirm the covenant with many for one week [shavuah, seven years]….” The week referred to in Daniel 9:27 is known to Bible believers as the tribulation period. The Jewish people understand this time to be the birth pangs of the Messiah known in Hebrew eschatology as the Chevlai shel Mashiach. This is taken from Jeremiah 30:5-7. From this we can see that the believers in the Messiah will be with the Messiah in Heaven for His wedding while the earth will be experiencing the seven-year tribulation period, or the Chevlai shel Mashiach, in Hebrew.
- Finally, there would be a marriage supper for all the guests invited by the father of the bride.
The bride and the groom would be in the wedding chamber for seven days. When the bride and the groom initially went into the wedding chamber, the friend of the bridegroom stood outside the door. All the assembled guests of the wedding gathered outside, waiting for the friend of the bridegroom to announce the consummation of the marriage, which was relayed to him by the groom. John the Immerser (Baptist) referred to this in John 3:29. At this signal, great rejoicing broke forth (John 3:29). The marriage was consummated on the first night (Genesis 29:23). The bloodstained linen from this night was preserved. It was proof of the bride’s virginity (Deuteronomy 22:13-21).
On the wedding day, the bridegroom is seen as a king and the bride as a queen. During the consummation of the marriage, the bridegroom (Jesus) will be crowned King over all the earth and the bride (the believers in Jesus, the Messiah) will live with Him and rule with Him forever. The crowning of the King and the marriage can be seen in Isaiah 62:3-7. At the end of the week (seven-year tribulation, or birth pangs of the Messiah), the marriage supper will take place. The marriage supper will not take place in Heaven. After the marriage, the bride and Groom will return to earth. The marriage supper will be taking place on earth and only the invited guests of the Father of the Groom (God the Father) will be present at the banquet meal. This can be seen in Revelation 19:7-16 and 20:4. Jesus spoke of the marriage supper and the banquet in Luke 12:35-38 and Matthew 8:11. The wedding supper is a theme of the festival of Sukkot, The Feast of Tabernacles. During Sukkot, the people were instructed by God to build a temporary shelter. One of the things God instructed the people to do is eat there. When they eat, they are to set a plate for seven different people. Among the seven whom a plate is set for are Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This is what Jesus was referring to in Matthew 8:11.
The unbelievers in the Messiah will attend a separate banquet where the fowls of the air will eat their flesh. This can be seen in Revelation 19:17-18.
The home of the bride was Jerusalem and it was the bridegroom who came to the bride to dwell with her. It is from Jerusalem that the believers in the Messiah during the Messianic age, or Millennium, will reign with the Messiah. This can be seen in Revelation 21:1-3; Ezekiel 43:1-2,7; Isaiah 2:2-4; Micah 4:1-5; and Zechariah 2:l0-12.
So this is our final idiom regarding the Feast of Trumpets or Yom Teruah. Tonight at sundown begins Elul 29 (in Jerusalem it has already begun at about 11:45 am EST) or the Day of Release. Tomorrow’s sundown will begin the Feast of Trumpets (it will begin in Jerusalem at 11:48 am EST). May you have a good inscription!