Bride of Christ (Part 1)
Junior Level

Today we are going to be studying the parallels of The Ancient Jewish Wedding Tradition and the Marriage of the Church to JESUS CHRIST!  I get excited just typing that!  I pray that all who read will be as blessed by this as I have been while studying this.  If you are born again, washed in the Blood of The Lamb, if you have accepted JESUS CHRIST as LORD and SAVIOR, you are married to HIM!  Did you know that?  Perhaps you have heard it said that The Church is the Bride of Christ, but have you ever thought about what that means personally?  Today we are going to get some insight about what it means to be married to The LORD JESUS CHRIST.  I pray your hearts will be blessed and encouraged.  God bless you all. :O))

Handout: Bride of Christ

Bride of Christ (Part 1)

To begin this lesson, we have to start in the Old Testament.  The Old Testament and the New Testaments fit together.  Some say it like this and it’s true.  “The Old Testament is New Testament concealed, and The New Testament is the Old Testament revealed.”  Never think that one is more important than the other.  God gave us both, we need both!  So in order to see how this all fits with us today, we must first learn where it all began.  
The Old Testament of God’s word teaches us about His relationship with Israel, who are His chosen people.  God started the nation of Israel through a man named Abraham.  He called Abraham out of a land of idol worshippers, by grace and made a covenant with him if he would obey.  God loves Israel.  In fact He loves the nation of Israel so much He stated that this contract He made with them, is a marriage contract.  He referred to Himself as Israel’s husband. 
Isaiah 54:5 “ For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.”
Jeremiah 31:32 “ Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:”
Jeremiah 3:14 “Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:”
So by these verses, and let me add there are more, we have established that God announces HIMSELF the husband of Israel.  So how did this come to be?  God looked down on the earth, and by grace called out a man named Abraham from among his people, and said to him, Abraham if you will follow me, I will make of you a great nation!  God had chosen His bride.
In the Ancient Jewish Marriage Tradition, there are 2 Stages. The first stage consists of the Betrothal Contract.
1.  Betrothal Contract or The Ketubah.
 When a Groom has chosen a bride, a marriage contract, known in Hebrew as the Ketubah is established, and the two must agree on the terms therein. 
The Ketubah between Israel and God is the Torrah or what we know as the first five books of the Bible.   The covenant that God made with Israel in Exodus 19 was a marital contract.  He chose them, gave the stipulations, and Israel accepted the engagement!  How exciting!  Let’s read!  (I’m jumping up and down inside!!!)
Exodus 19:7-8  7And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him. 8And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.  
God basically said to them, I will give you my promises, and you will give me your heart, soul, mind, your love and you will serve me with everything that is within you.  Israel agreed to these terms.  The acceptance of the Ketubah, meant that Israel was in agreement that they would enter this contract with Almighty God. 
Next they had to be Set apart.  Praise the LORD!  They had to be Sanctified or Separated by the washing of water.  In the Ancient Jewish Wedding before the ceremony the bride would dip or wash in the Mikvah to sanctify or purify herself. Let’s keep reading on how this began.
Exodus 19:10-11 “ 10And the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes, 11And be ready against the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai.
Exodus 19:14 “And Moses went down from the mountain unto the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes.”
Now would come the beginning of the Second Stages of the Ancient Jewish Wedding.  The Formal Ceremony under the Nisuin, known as, The Entering of the Chuppah.
The Chuppah is the canopy or covering where the groom and bride meet to make the marriage public and official. 
Exodus 19:16-17 “And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a THICK CLOUD upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled.  17. And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount.”
God came down in that thick cloud, according to  Jewish Rabbis, this was the Chuppah!  The cloud over them as they came out of Egypt was not just to lead them, because at one point they stayed in the same place for many years. The cloud was the covering!  Praise the LORD!  God is so good to His people!
Now that we have looked at the basics, we can begin to go with a more in depth study of how this ties in with the relationship of the Church to Jesus Christ and how it is a picture of prophecy.  I hope that you have been blessed with this portion of the lesson and that you always remember that God loves His people and that God will ALWAYS remain faithful to those He has chosen and entered into everlasting covenant with! 
Dear Righteous Heavenly Father…
Thank YOU so much for Being our Sovereign God!  You are Holy, You are Righteous, and You are worthy to be praised…You are Worthy of ALL praise.  Father we thank You that You have chosen us and that You have chosen Your people Israel.  We pray for the peace of Jerusalem and that You will raise up leaders who will follow Your will.  Help us to always love, respect and pray for Your people, because we know that You have said, You will bless those who bless Israel, and curse those who curse them.  We love You and we will every praise You in the lovely name of Jesus we pray…Amen.

October 27, 2012