Paul Wilson (14 Apr 2012)

If you go here for $20 you get the DVD which reenacts the Jewish wedding.
Sandra Jean (11 Apr 2012)

I. The Four Stages of a Jewish Wedding.

    A. The Betrothal
      The betrothal was binding and could only be undone by a divorce with proper grounds, such as the bride being found not to be pure, (see Joseph and Mary - Matt 1 v18-19 ) The young man prepared a Ketubah, (Kit to bah) or marriage contract (or covenant) which he presented to the intended bride and her father. Included in this was the " Bride Price ," which was appropriate in that society to compensate the young woman's parents for the cost of raising her, as well as being an expression of his love for her.
    B. Acceptance
      To see if the proposal was accepted, the young man would pour a cup of wine for his beloved and wait to see if she drank it. This cup represents a blood covenant. If she drank the cup she would have accepted the proposal and they would be betrothed. The young man would then give gifts to his beloved, and then take his leave. The young woman would have to wait for him to return and collect her.
    C. The wedding chamber and the Chuppah (Chup-pa)
      Before leaving the young man would announce, " I am going to prepare a place for you ", and "I will return for you when it is ready". The usual practice was for the young man to return to his father's house and build a honeymoon room there. This is what is symbolized by the chuppah or canopy which is characteristic of Jewish weddings. He was not allowed to skimp on the work and had to get his father's approval before he could consider it ready for his bride. If asked the date of his wedding he would have to reply, "Only my father knows." Typically it would be a year before he came for his bride.

      Meanwhile the bride would be making herself ready so that she would be pure and beautiful for her bridegroom. During this time she would wear a veil when she went out to show she was spoken for (she has been bought with a price)

    D. The Wedding
      When the wedding chamber was ready the bridegroom could collect his bride. He could do this at any time so the bride would make special arrangements. It was the custom for a bride to keep a lamp, her veil and her other things beside her bed. Her bridesmaids were also waiting and had to have oil ready for their lamps.

      When the groom and his friends got close to the bride's house they would give a shout and blow a shofar to let her know to be ready.

      When the wedding party arrived at father's house the newly weds went into the wedding chamber for a seven day honeymoon and the groom's best friend stood outside waiting for the groom to tell him that the marriage had been consummated

      Then all the friends really started celebrating for the seven days that the couple were honeymooning. When the couple emerged there would be much congratulation and the Marriage Supper could begin.

II. The Jewish Wedding Paralleled in Salvation.
    A. Betrothal pictures salvation. Like the Jewish marriage custom the betrothal begins with a contract presented by the Bridegroom.
      1. Jesus Christ is the Bridegroom and He presents to all men His contract of salvation and He pays the price. The price for the redemption of bride was His suffering and sacrifice on the Cross.
        1 John 2:2 "And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." Propitiation means full payment.

        Matt.  26:28 "For this is my blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins." This covenant was not the one He made with Israel, but a new covenant made with those who would believe in Him in this age.

        Hebrews 8:6 explains this covenant. " But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises."

      Jesus gave us a better covenant with better promises.

      2. To Israel God promised the coming of the Messiah and the Messiah's kingdom where Israel would be a peace and prosper. He promised them they would finally have the land that he gave to Abraham that extends from the Nile river in the south to the Euphrates in the north.

      3. To believers saved in the Church Age Jesus has promised something much better.

      4. The Gospel is God's proclamation of the this new covenant. Jesus further revealed this New Testament or covenant when He gave us the Lord's Supper:

        1 Corinthians 11:25 "After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me."
      The word "testament" means a contract or covenant.
    B. Jesus then offers people in this present age, which began at Pentecost in Acts 2, a new testament.
      1. We are saved just like people in the Old Testament which was by faith in God's revealed promises. They looked in faith to the coming of the Messiah Jesus Christ and we look back on the finished work of Christ and the cross where Jesus paid the sins of the world....past, present and future.

      2. The New Testament is not a new way to be saved, but a new promise in what our salvation would bring. We become the body and Bride of Christ. We have a special close relationship with Him now and in eternity. There is no relationship closer than that of a husband and wife.

        1 Corinthians 12:12-14 explains this saying "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many."

        Ephesians 4:12 also states this: "For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ."

    C. Jesus' promise to His Bride.
      1. Galatians 3:22 tells us: "But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe."

      2. Writing to the Ephesians Paul tells them and us of this promise. Here he says we are sealed...with the holy Spirit of promise. Ephesians 1:13-14 "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

    D. Therefore Jesus Christ the Bridegroom has offered to us covenant, a proposal of salvation. But we will see that the proposal is conditional.
III. The acceptance of the proposal.
    A. There would be no wedding if the bride did not respond to the offer of marriage. The bride would be offered a cup of red wine.
      1. The young man would pour a cup of wine for his perspective bride. This clearly symbolizes Jesus' blood that He poured out for our sins. Once again we go to the Lord's Supper to see this truth.
        Jesus said as recorded by Matthew 26:28 "For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins."

        Luke makes it even clearer, " Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you." (Luke 22:20)

      2. Paul writes in Titus: Titus 3:5-7 "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life."

      In other words all the bride has to do is accept the proposal of marriage.

    B. Remember what John 3:36 said? "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him."
      John 1:12 "But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name."

      When a person by faith receives Jesus Christ as their Savior it is a picture of the bride accepting the proposal of the Bridegroom.

    C. The Bridegroom's promise:
      1. John 14:1-3 record the very words spoken by the Bridegroom to His bride.
        John 14:1-3 "Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."
      2. The Bridegroom goes prepares the wedding chamber and the Chuppah. . As in the Jewish wedding the Bridegroom leaves to prepare the new home for His Bride.

      3. Notice that He promises to come again and receive her unto Himself, that where the Bridegroom is so will be the bride.

      4. The proposal of marriage is made to the Father, the bride accepts the proposal and officially the couple is betrothed. The bride is now "sanctified" or set apart to her husband. The only way to break the covenant was divorce and the only grounds for divorce was that the bride, had deceived the bridegroom and was not pure.

        We see the example of this when Joseph found out that Mary was with child. Matthew 1:19 says, " Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily." To "put her away" meant to divorce here.

        Yet, in the marriage of a believer to Jesus Christ there can be no divorce, because the only grounds of divorce, which is completely removed by Jesus Christ. The believer is forgiven of all their sins and given eternal life.

      5. The Bridegroom must also have the approval of his father, which he received prior to making the marriage proposal. The wedding chamber and the Chuppah (huppa) was built on the bridegroom's father's house. It would be where he would live with his new bride. This being his Father's home...the Father was the one who would say when the wedding chamber was ready and when the marriage might take place.
        Today the Chuppah is a canopy placed at the Father's house under which the couple stand and the marriage vows are stated. In Bible times it was the home that the bridegroom prepared for his bride in his father's home.

        If someone would ask the Bridegroom when was the day of the wedding he would reply "Only Father knows."

    IV. The Bridegroom comes for His bride.
      A. At the proper time appointed by the bridegroom's father a messenger would be sent to announce the bridegroom's coming and the bridegroom taking his wife.

      B. The bride not knowing when the bridegroom would come was to keep herself ready at all times.

        1. In Matthew 25 Jesus gave the parable of the ten virgins who were called to a marriage supper. These virgins when they heard the Bridegroom was coming would go to meet him and light the way with their lamps.
          The groom, best man and other male escorts would leave the groom's father's house and conduct a torch light procession to the home of the bride.

          The groom's arrival would be preceded by a shout. This shout would forewarn the bride to be prepared for the coming of the groom. The guests would be invited to the wedding. In the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, Israel is the invited guest to the ceremony and feast.

        2. Once the Bridegroom arrived the wedding ceremony would take place and the bridegroom would spend their honeymoon night together in the home provided by the bridegroom.

        The bride would be adorned in her "wedding garments."

        3. Shortly after arrival the bride and groom would be escorted by the other members of the wedding party to the bridal chamber (chuppah). Prior to entering the chamber the bride remained veiled so that no one could see her face. While the grooms men and bridesmaids would wait outside, the bride and groom would enter the bridal chamber alone.

      C. Following the marriage there would be a seven day honey moon in which the bride groom would be together. At the end of the seven days the couple would emerge and the invited guests would have a "marriage supper."