A good background for this article is “The Kiddushin” article on this site. It will give you more information on the Ketubah and it’s signing. This article will focus more on what it means to the Bride.
Our God is an awesome God who not only loved us enough to pay the mohar, bridal price, for His bride. He also wanted her to be able to remember all He has done for her. In order to do that He left her with His Ketubah or marriage contract, The Scriptures.
When a Jewish man and woman were betrothed they would have the signing of the Ketubah. That’s right, this took place at the betrothal ceremony, or Kiddushin, not the actual wedding. Today the actual Kiddushin and marriage ceremony have been combined, including the signing of the Ketubah. This was done between the 11th and 12th century due to persecution.
When the Ketubah is signed by the witnesses it is literally handed to the bride. It is hers. It is hers to read as often as she likes in order to remember and cherish the promises of her bridegroom. John 17:17 again says, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”(NIV) The marriage contract is truth. Our Bridegroom came to fulfill His Ketubah. When all may be falling apart around us that contract is still true and binding. He has and will fulfill it’s terms. His contract has set her apart just for Him.
I heard a story once of a lady whose house had burned down and she ran into the burning house to retrieve one thing, her marriage license. The Word of God is our marriage license. If your house ever burns down this is what you run in to get, your marriage license. The Scriptures, the Ketubah is the Brides prized possession. Isn’t He awesome? He left something with us that we could read every day if we want to, to remind us of Him. To remind us of our husband, our bridegroom.
I know we are discussing many terms that may be foreign to you. If that is the case the best thing I could recommend for you to do is to go back to the beginning of this topic and read your way to this one.
In Jewish weddings today one thing that you will see is that when the veil is pulled back it is often the mother of the bride and the mother of the groom that pull back the veil. It is the groom that actually covers her before the ceremony. They do this in remembrance of Jacob and Rachel. Can you think of why that may be? Maybe if Jacob had done it himself, he wouldn’t have gotten fooled by Laban. Who knows? But if we go back a generation we see Isaac and Rebekah again. Rebekah veiled herself when she saw Isaac, we veil ourselves with our sin, don’t we? Who would have unveiled her? Isaac, her husband.
In II Corinthians 3:7-18 it says, “Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”(NIV)
Tell me, what word do you see over and over again in this passage? “Glory”! Still many of the Jews today have not recognized the Bridegroom that the whole Covenant is talking about. They are reading their Ketubah and don’t even know the Bridegroom who gave it to them. That’s why their hearts are still veiled. We are unveiled when we come to Christ, to Messiah. The awesome thing to understand today is that many Jews are coming to faith in Messiah. Their veil is being pulled back by their Bridegroom. What a blessed day in which we live. Many in church history longed to see this day and that privilege is ours.
Let’s discuss that word “glory”. Glory means brightness, splendor, radiance, dignity, and honor. When we are unveiled we reveal His glory, splendor and radiance with ever increasing glory. When a bride is unveiled today everybody says, “Oh, look isn’t she so pretty, she’s so beautiful.” It’s all about her. But when we are unveiled it is not our glory we reflect, not our radiance. It is His. It is His glory, with ever increasing glory.
So now we share in His glory, the radiance of the Father. Now where did I get that? From Hebrews 1:2&3 which tells us that the Son is the very radiance of God. In John 17:5 Jesus talks about the glory (the radiance) He had before creation. Then in John 17:22 Jesus says, “I gave them the glory you gave me.”(NIV) Where did His glory come from that He gave to us? It came from the Father. Do you see that oneness, from the Father, to the Son, to the Bride? “I gave them the glory you gave me.” Romans 8:17 says we share in His glory.
You see only by the Lord Jesus the Messiah can the condemnation and the sentence of death announced by the law on the lawbreaker for breaking the Old Covenant be annulled and replaced by the free and life giving grace of the New Covenant in which He places His Covenant on our hearts and minds. We are unveiled by Him and are free to live life reflecting His glory. So let us live in the freedom of being unveiled and let His glory, His ever increasing glory, shine through us.
I know we are discussing many terms that may be foreign to you. If that is the case the best thing I could recommend for you to do is to go back to the beginning of this topic and read your way to this one.
That leads us to step five. Here comes the Kiddush, the cup. Remember our Kiddushin consists of the Ketubah, the Kiddush (the cup), the Mohar, and the seal. This is the Kiddush. In I Corinthians 11:25 it says, “In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.””(NIV) The blood of the New Covenant; that purchased us without money, this New Covenant is a Covenant of marriage.
I know we have already gone over it, but at this point we need to cover it again. Isaiah 54:10 says this, “Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.”(NIV) Then in Isaiah 55:3b it says, “I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.”(NIV)
I want to talk to you about that Covenant of Peace. The Hebrew word “shalom” means peace. It can also be translated wholeness or oneness. This is a covenant of oneness. “And a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and the two will be one.” A covenant of oneness was always God’s plan. This is a covenant of marriage, a covenant of oneness with Him, which is true peace.
The Kiddush or cup not only speaks of the Mohar or the sacrifice He made, yes we are to remember His Mohar when we take the cup because that is what purchased us, but it is also the New Covenant or Marriage Covenant, His Covenant of Peace. Remember it’s the “New Covenant” in His blood. He says that first, He reminds us of the New Covenant first, of His Marriage Covenant first. Then He says, “Do this in remembrance of me.” So remember the price I paid for you. This is a covenant of marriage and I purchased you. So when you take that cup remember my purchase, remember my love for you.
John 17:19 says this, “For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.”(NIV) If He is already holy then He is not making Himself more holy, so what is He saying? He is setting Himself apart for us. He is telling His Father, “For them Father I have set myself apart that they too may be truly set apart. I set myself apart for them so that they can truly be set apart for me.” And right after this prayer we see Him, that very night, being arrested and giving His life. Spilling the blood of the Mohar, the blood of the cup.
In taking the cup we are accepting once again His offer of marriage and declaring ourselves set apart specifically and only for Him. As we remember the price He purchased us with. We are once again accepting that offer and continually declaring ourselves set apart for Him. Maybe that’s one reason why we do this more than once. We have communion in our churches all the time, don’t we? After all, we don’t just do communion once and that’s it. It reminds us that we are set apart for Him because of the price He purchased us with.
And then of course there is the blessing of the cup. “Holy One of Blessing your presence fills creation forming the fruit of the vine.” This is the blood of the covenant. And then the Birakat Eurasim or the Betrothal Blessing “Praised are you Adonai, Ruler of the Universe, Who have made us holy through your commandments and commanded us (the warning to the men) concerning sexual propriety forbidding us women who are merely betrothed, but permitting to us women who are married to us through Huppah and Kiddushin. Blessed are you Adonai, who makes your people, Israel, holy through Huppah and Kiddushin.
This is His marriage ceremony and we live out every day, especially when we partake in communion. Of course, with the drinking of the cup the veil has to come back. We will talk about this next time.
When we accept His pursuit and His Mohar, when He places His Name on us and seals us with His Holy Spirit we then find ourselves in the waters of the Mikvah. In coming to the mikvah we are accepting His pursuit of us and telling Him that we are willing to follow, to take up our cross and follow Him daily as Luke 9 tells us to do.
Romans 6:3-4 says, “Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.”(NIV) For Jesus it was Him telling His Father, “I’m ready to pursue this course of marriage. I’m ready to pursue my Bride and I’m ready to pay the Mohar. I know where it goes, it goes to me paying the Mohar and I’m willing to follow”. That’s why the Father could say, “This is my Son, whom I love, with Him I am well pleased.” John let’s us know that the reason the Father loves Him is because He laid down His life. He was willing to pay the Mohar.
For us though, remember, it’s all about our response to Him because we cannot come to Him unless He draws us. So everything we do is in response to Him. I Peter 3:20b-22 “In it only a few people, eight in all, were saved through water, and this water symbolizes baptism that now saves you also–not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, who has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand–with angels, authorities and powers in submission to him.”(NIV) Our Mikvah is not about clean verses unclean, not the removal of dirt from the body. Do you remember as we accept His Mohar, remember from Hebrews 9, His Mohar redeems us and cleanses our conscience. Only with that good conscience can we respond in any way to Him.
I want to talk to you about that phrase, “pledge of a good conscience” because it is essential, it is the whole crux of the matter. The word “pledge”, if you have a different translation you might see the word “response” or “answer”. That word in the Greek literally means “question”. What question might that be? Take a wild guess. Will you marry Me? Will you marry Me? What we do is a response to His question. It is our pledge, our vow, our answer and our response. It is our “yes” to Him.
It’s important that you let your yes be yes. Numbers 30 let’s us know that vows and promises and pledges are irrevocable. They’re forever binding. So we give Him our “yes” in the waters of the Mikvah. We give it to Him out of the good conscience He has given us, the conscience that He purchased for us. Did you catch that? We give Him our “yes” through the waters of the Mikvah, that physical act, out of that good conscience that He purchased for us.
There is a second part, though, to our Mikvah. Do you know that when we come to Christ were entering a nation? We are acknowledging our rebirth into the nation of Israel by the Name of Jesus. I want to share with you what happens when anyone converts to Judaism to this day. A convert to Judaism, whether male or female, is required to immerse themselves in the mikvah waters two or three times marking their rebirth as members of the people of Israel. Isn’t that interesting? Are you aware that in very early Christian history it was very popular that when one was baptized they would be immersed three times, in the Name of the Father, in the Name of the Son, and in the Name of the Holy Spirit and some denominations still practice that? Upon doing so, they exit the waters as a Jew, a citizen of the nation.
Unfortunately, the Christian church has distanced itself from it’s heritage and roots in Judaism. Even though the Old Testament is still read and preached, the church has in a lot of ways removed itself from that same Old Testament. Yes, we are under the New Covenant, but that New Covenant writes the Old Covenant on our hearts. To say it another way, it writes the Israelite Constitution on our hearts. Therefore, we are exiting the waters of our mikvah as citizens of God’s Kingdom, members of God’s household.
This leads us to Acts 2:38-39 where Peter responds to the people on the day of Pentecost when the people ask the disciples, “What shall we do?” “Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off–for all whom the Lord our God will call.”(NIV)
In other words, go through the waters of the Mikvah, everyone of you. You see, on this particular day and in very early church history there was no separation in the accepting of the pursuit, the accepting of the Mohar, the coming of the Holy Spirit and going through the waters of the Mikvah. Today, we tend to think of those as separate steps or stages. But for them, it was all one fluid motion.
Whereas, we tend to dissect it into different pieces, making salvation more about us getting the steps right than on the work of the Messiah and God’s ability to call us and justify us through His Holy Spirit. Upon exiting the mikvah waters they had re-identified themselves with Yeshua and the New Covenant. They became true citizens of the Kingdom of God, God’s Israel, God’s Royal family (His princes and princesses) under King Yeshua, God’s Ambassadors, God’s Holy Priesthood under His High Priest Jesus Christ.
We also find in Isaiah 44:3-5 the following words: “For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour out my Spirit on your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They will spring up like grass in a meadow, like poplar trees by flowing streams. One will say, `I belong to the LORD'; another will call himself by the name of Jacob; still another will write on his hand, `The LORD’s,’ and will take the name Israel.”(NIV)
All who go through this process of Kiddushin, go through the waters of the Mikvah and receive the Holy Spirit, it’s all one fluid motion, remember that. Don’t try to divide it in your head like we often do today. It is all one fluid motion. Those who do that, who receive the Spirit, look what it says, one will say I belong to the Lord, another will call himself by the name of Jacob, still another will write on his hand ‘the Lord’s’ and will do what, will take the name Israel. Those of us who are not Jewish by birth, we have to take on that name because it is completely foreign to us. We take on the name of Israel. Therefore our Mikvah gives Jesus our pledge or our answer to His marriage proposal and confers our citizenship as part of Israel.
I know that the book of Romans can be a very deep, deep theological book, but I am going to attempt to sum it up in just a few sentences to show how it fits our theme here. First of all we are dead in our sins in need of a redeemer. We call on the name of the Lord and we are baptized, we go through the water of the Mikvah in the name of Christ and receive and live according to His Spirit, the Seal. We are brought into the nation of Israel and made God’s children and heirs of His promise. And Israel lives how? According to the Spirit by giving sacrifices acceptable to God, living sacrifices. That’s the book of Romans. If you ever wondered why that talk of Israel is right in the middle of the book, that’s why. Because when we call on the Name of Jesus and go through the waters of the Mikvah we are entering the nation. The blessed nation of Israel.
I want to make it very clear that I am in no way advocating Replacement Theology in any way, shape, or fashion. I do not believe the “church” replaces Israel and God still has some very specific promises for the land of Israel and the Jewish people. However, we are now included in those promises in the way God sees fit because we have been grafted into that nation and those Jews who place their faith in Yeshua will also be grafted back into that nation. We are all one nation. There is not one way of salvation for the Jew and one for the Gentile, but one way for all, Jesus Christ. My Jewish brothers and sisters in the faith have their part to play and I have mine as a non-Jewish believer and God decides what those will be. The “church” does not become the new Israel, but upon belief Jews enter into God’s true Israel – the Assembly of the Saints. To say the the “church” becomes the new Israel separates the Old Covenant from the New and thereby separates God’s story into two stories. God’s story is one story. It is one truth and Jesus/Yeshua is the center of all of it. You see, all of the Bride awaits the same beloved Bridegroom!
To accept His pursuit and His Mohar is to call on the Name of the Lord and, of course, everyone who calls on the Name of the Lord will be saved. When we believe and confess and call on His Name He gives us His promised Holy Spirit, the promised seal. Again, let’s look at Ephesians 1:13-14 “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in Him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, 14 who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession–to the praise of his glory.”(NIV)
II Corinthians 5:5 puts it this way, “Now it is God who has made us for this very purpose and has given us the Spirit as a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come.”(NIV) What is to come? There is more yet to come. He is not done with us yet. Our seal, the Holy Spirit, is our deposit guaranteeing what is to come.
There is something else that is important for us to see. His seal is connected to His Name. We see in I Kings 8:10-11 when the ark of the covenant was brought into Solomon’s Temple it says, “When the priests withdrew from the Holy Place, the cloud filled the temple of the LORD. 11 And the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled his temple.”(NIV) Now let’s look at I Kings 9:3 where the Lord is responding to the prayer of Solomon dedicating the Temple, “The LORD said to him: “I have heard the prayer and plea you have made before me; I have consecrated this temple, which you have built, by putting my Name there forever. My eyes and my heart will always be there.”(NIV) Where did He put His Name? On the Temple!
In I Corinthians 3:16 it says, “Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?”(NIV) That cloud was God’s presence that filled the Temple. Yes, His Spirit filled the Temple. He made it Holy and placed His Name upon it. Again, later in the book Paul writes in I Corinthians 6:19-20, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”(NIV)
Your not your own, you’ve been bought with a price and your very body is a temple. II Corinthians 3:18 says, “And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”(NIV) What did He fill the Temple with? His Spirit. It was called His Glory in I Kings. The Glory that comes from the Spirit, which is in us, and He is giving us an ever increasing Glory, He continues to fill us with His Glory. With ever increasing Glory, that’s what He’s doing in us. If that doesn’t excite you I don’t know what will. So be filled with the Spirit.
Alright, Revelation 2:17 says, “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.”(NIV) What might that white stone be? A seal. We receive that name. He is going to give to us a new stone, a white stone, a pure stone, with a name on it. When we receive Him, when we receive His Holy Spirit He literally marks us with His Name, the Name upon which we call upon. He Marks us with His Name.
And of course, that Spirit according to II Thessalonians 2:13 sets us apart for Him, “But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth.”(NIV) The Spirit continues to sanctify, it continues to set us apart.
Remember our Kiddushin, it is a ceremony and period of sanctification. He sanctifies. We who are believers in Yeshua the Messiah are living our lives in a period of sanctification. That is where we are at, we are being set apart for that awesome day. That day when our faith is made sight and we see face to face our beloved Bridegroom.
So let’s recap this amazing segment. When we accept His pursuit and His Mohar He seals us with His Holy Spirit and His Name so that our future is guaranteed. That future is with our Beloved Bridegroom forever and we will forever bare His Name.
We have already discussed how Jesus went through the Kiddushin, the ceremony and period of sanctification or a time of setting oneself apart for another. As we said the Kiddushin consists of the Ketubah (marriage contract), Mohar (bridal price), Kiddush (the cup), the seal (The Holy Spirit), and the removal of the veil. Remember that for us the order is a little different and this post will begin the process of us looking at our part of the Kiddushin.
Our first step within the Kiddushin is our response to Yeshua’s Mohar, His bridal price. We must accept His acquisition, His payment, in order for it to be applied to our lives. We see this played out in Genesis when Rebekah had to be willing to accept the price offered for her and go with Abraham’s servant to her husband Isaac.
Jesus has bought us with a price and it was not a price of money, yet it cost Him everything. Remember, we have already looked at Isaiah 52:3, which tells us we were redeemed without money.
In Hebrews 9: 12 & 14-15 it says, “He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption…How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God! For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance–now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant.”(NIV)
When we went through these steps as Yeshua our Messiah went through them we spoke of the communion cup that He gave to His disciples and that it was the third cup, the cup of redemption. We are all guilty of breaking the first covenant with our sin and so there needed to be a new covenant for everyone, Jew and Gentile alike. I Peter 1:18-19 told us that He redeemed us with His blood and Romans 3:22-25a again said, “This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood.”(NIV)
We must have faith in His blood. We must accept His Mohar. We must believe in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus Christ. We must believe in Him!
Galatians 3:14 says, “He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.”(NIV) Also, in Romans 10:13 it says, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”(NIV)
Therefore, when we accept His Mohar it redeems us and cleanses even the filthiness of our conscious. We then receive the inheritance promised to those who believe and are saved. Never forget, that without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sin (Hebrews 9:22 & Leviticus 17:11). So that by faith, by calling on His Name we (both Jew and Gentile) might receive the Spirit. The Spirit is our seal. This leads us directly into our next post where we will be discussing The Seal.
So how do we respond to those steps that He took as the Bridegroom? How do we respond? Who are we? How do we accept this offer of marriage? Well, as you might guess, because He loved us first and because we would not have known how to love Him without that, our steps are a little bit different than His. The same, but a little varied.
The first one, of course, is that we must accept His pursuit. Remember, there was a pursuit set in motion. We must accept that pursuit. In other words, sooner or later, it’s got to grab our attention. We must accept the fact that He is pursuing us. John 6:44 says, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.”(NIV) The Father makes the arrangements, the Father calls the Bride to the Son.
We also see that in Isaiah 54:5&10; 55:1-8 scripture says, “For your Maker is your husband–the LORD Almighty is his name–the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. The LORD will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit–a wife who married young, only to be rejected,” says your God. “For a brief moment I abandoned you, but with deep compassion I will bring you back. In a surge of anger I hid my face from you for a moment, but with everlasting kindness I will have compassion on you,” says the LORD your Redeemer. “To me this is like the days of Noah, when I swore that the waters of Noah would never again cover the earth. So now I have sworn not to be angry with you, never to rebuke you again. Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you….”Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David. See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander of the peoples. Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations that do not know you will hasten to you, because of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor.” Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.”(NIV)
Do you see the pursuit? The invitation and the pursuit. God pursued the nation of Israel, His people, after they had abandoned Him and made them a Light to the nations. His Son, the Son of David, is His ultimate Light. He is in pursuit of a people, a people to call His own. He is in pursuit. In pursuit of a Bride for His Son. We have to recognize His pursuit and follow. Come to me while I may be found.
And, of course, we know that when Jesus went to His disciples in pursuit He said, “Come follow me.” Come you who are thirsty, come drink from the waters of life, come follow me. There is a pursuit set in motion. Therefore, our first step is to accept His pursuit when He calls us to follow Him. For today is the day of salvation. (2 Cor. 6:2)