An Israeli Love Story
by Zola Levitt
When a first century Jew saw the girl he wanted, he would speak first with his own father, then visit the girl's father and do three things:
1. Pay the bride price (to her father)
Mt 26:39 - O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. 1 Pet 1:18 - You know that it was not with biodegradable things such as silver and gold that you were redeemed, but with the precious blood of Christ...
John 19:30 - "It is finished" "Paid in full" Tetelesti!
2. Sign the marriage contract with her
Jer 31:31 "I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel...33 I will put my laws in their minds, and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people...They will all know me...for I will forgive their wickedness, and will remember their sins no more." (Heb 8:8-12).
3. Drink a cup of wine with her to seal the contract
Matt 26:28 - This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. I tell you I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.
[The Passover had several cups of wine. One cup, which had a hidden piece of bread (sop) in it, they call the cup of redemption. They all drank that one. Another cup was the cup of judgment, which they would tip over, or flick out on the tablecloth. No one would drink it. The cup of the curse! That was the cup Jesus meant when he said "Let this cup pass from me..."]
Then he would make a little happy/sad speech to the bride. The custom was that he would return to his father's home and build a new room, a bridal chamber for her, where they would have their first coming together. So his speech would go something like this:
John 13:33 - I will be with you only a little longer. You will look for me. 36 Where I am going, you cannot follow me now, but you will follow later. 14:1-4 Do not let your heart be troubled. Trust me. 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. And if I go to prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you with me, that you also may be where I am.
It would take a while. The room had to be approved by his father, and stocked with everything they would need for the seven day honeymoon. It had to be beautiful. If anyone asked "When will you be married?" he would have to say: Matt 24:36 "I don't know. No one knows, except the Father."
From that day on the girl would wear her veil whenever she went out, so no other man would try to initiate a contract with her. She was set apart, consecrated, bought with a price. contracted to her bridegroom. 1 Cor 6:19-20 You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honour God with your body.
And she waited at home every night. She certainly didn't want to be caught away from home when the bridegroom came. The tradition was that he would come at night, even at midnight, and try to take her by surprise. Matt 24:42-44 Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. You must be ready, for the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.
The bridesmaids would be waiting too, and her sisters, and whoever she wanted to take into the wedding party with her. They would all have oil in their lamps in case the groom should choose to come at night. Matt 25:1-13 The kingdom of heaven is like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. Five took lamps; five took lamps and oil. At midnight the cry rang out "Here's the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!" The bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut. Therefore keep watch, for you do not know the day nor the hour. The Menorah branched lamps were lit once, but replenished continuously, like the Holy Spirit in us.
Yes, suddenly one night the groom would come. The bride's father and brothers would ensure it was the man with the marriage contract, then look the other way while the two of them and all their friends eloped! They were all whisked away into the into the night to begin the reception.
Matt 24:40-41 - One will be taken, and the other left; therefore keep watch.
1 Thess 4:17 - After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever.
Would they have no warning at all? Well, just this much. When the groom's party was close, they would shout; and when the bride heard that shout, she knew she was as good as married.
1 Thess 4:16,17 - For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God!
Matt 25:6 - At midnight the shout rang out!
[Trumpet sounds at the end of harvest: the Feast of Trumpets, Rosh Hashanah; Lev 23:22-24 When you reap the harvest of your land...on the first day of the seventh month, have a day of rest, commemorated with trumpet blasts.
Jer 8:20 - The summer is ended, and we are not saved.
Trumpets to mark the beginning of the year of Jubilee:
Lev 25:9ff - Sound the trumpet throughout your land. Consecrate the 50th year and proclaim liberty throughout the land to all its inhabitants.
Josh 6:5 - Shouts, trumpets at fall of Jericho for entering the first promised land under their leader YESHUA]
There would be a large crowd of the groom's friends, waiting.
1 Thess 4:16 - The dead in Christ shall rise first. The OT saints.
The bride and groom would go straight into the wedding chamber, while the wedding party waited outside. Waiting for what? Waiting till the groom passed word to a trusted friend that the marriage had been consummated.
John 3:29 - The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.
It was the Best Man's task to secure the bride for the bridegroom, starting from the first initial approach. To ensure she was a virgin, that she had all she needed, and that she got there on the day. Jesus on earth had one Best Man - John the Baptist. Jesus ascended has hundreds - people who are part of his Bride, but also committed to making the Bride complete.
The consummation - is there a parallel?
2 Cor 5:9,10 - We shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. You say that's a strange way to describe a honeymoon - judgment day. No secrets. Not sins punished, but work rewarded.
Then the celebration would start, the couple inside, and the family outside. It would often go on for a week. The next time the guests would see the bride, at the end of the seven days, she would have her veil off, and her gold on. She would be a wife, not a bride. They would spend the whole week celebrating. Sometimes they ran out of wine - John 2.
Matt 9:15 - Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them?
At the end, the man and wife would come out, and there would be a grand marriage supper.
Rev 19:7-9 - Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear, that stands for the righteous acts of the saints. Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!"
WHAT SHOUD WE DO THEN, AS AN EXPECTANT BRIDE?
Be ready! Keep the veil - don't let the world's values claim your allegiance. Keep the oil forever replenished.
Watch! Matt 24:42
WHAT SHOULD WE DO AS FRIEND OF THE BRIDEGROOM?
Luke 19:13 Occupy till I come. Prepare the bride. Reach the unreached. Tell the untold. and:
Luke 21:28 - Rejoice, for your redemption is drawing near.
This article was written by a Messianic [Christian] Jew. Courtesy of Zola Levitt Ministries
This page was created on 12 April 1998
Last updated on 12 April 1998