The betrothal ceremony is known as the Kiddushin, which is both a ceremony and period of sanctification. It is a legal ceremony. It is the legal ceremony. The betrothal designates the bride and groom only for each other and forges the connection between them.
Many of us know that Joseph and Mary were betrothed and would have needed a certificate of divorce in order to break it off. Why? Because they were betrothed. Since this betrothal was a legal action and not just a promise of marriage, as we think of an engagement today, it was legally binding. Once they went through the kiddushin they are legally husband and wife.
So let’s learn what all this Kiddushin entails, shall we? The first part of the Kiddushin, or betrothal ceremony, is the signing of the Ketubah. The Ketubah is the contract for the bride, the bride that was chosen by the father of the groom.
In the mind of the Jews, the Torah, the books of Moses, is a marriage contract between God and the people of Israel.
Now isn’t that interesting? They see the Old Testament as a marriage contract between God and His people, Israel.
In Matthew 5:17-18 Jesus says this, “”Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished.”(NIV)
He is saying “I did not come to abolish my Ketubah. I came to fulfill it. It’s mine. My contract for my bride. It’s mine! And I came to fulfill it. I am under contract to do so.” You see He came to fulfill His Ketubah.
Consider if Jesus had come to abolish the Law and the Prophets. He would require a certificate of divorce. He would be breaking His covenant, unwilling to fulfill His role as the Bridegroom. If that were the case, there would be no need for the Cross!
Let’s take a look at Jeremiah 31:31-34 where it says, “”The time is coming,” declares the LORD,”when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. “This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,” declares the LORD. “I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, `Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.””(NIV)
Not only did Jesus come to fulfill His Ketubah, He also came to write a new one. A new covenant that would be precious and holy. In John 17:17 Yeshua says this, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth.”(NIV) Now the word “sanctify” means “to make holy”. It also means “set apart”. Jesus is asking that we be set apart by our Ketubah, by His word. Set His Bride apart for Him.
This new covenant would allow the old covenant to be written on our hearts. Remember He did not come to abolish but to fulfill. Also remember that on the road to Emmaus He spoke of how the Old Covenant was really about Him. The New Covenant would take the Old and put it on the hearts of His people thereby sanctifying them, setting them truly apart for Himself.
The signing of the Ketubah is also very important because it has to be witnessed. It is not valid if He only signs it Himself. It has to be signed by witnesses, ie. He has to have co-signers.
Look at John 5:31-39 where Jesus says, “”If I testify about myself, my testimony is not valid. There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is valid. You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light. I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me. And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me.””(NIV) (The KJV uses the word witness instead of testify).
So in the signing of the Ketubah, the witnesses testify in essence saying, “This is who your bridegroom is, this is the one your Ketubah is about.” As we see in the text, the two witnesses are John the Baptist and the Father Himself.
John the Baptist was strictly for our benefit. He is the one, as far as earthly terms are concerned, that helped start the story of the bridegroom. So, that is the first part of the Kiddushin, the Ketubah or the marriage contract and it’s signing.
The second part is the Kiddush, you can see where they got the word Kiddushin, from the Kiddush or the cup. The cup is a prayer of sanctification.
Remember the Kiddushin is a ceremony and period of sanctification. The cup is actually a prayer of sanctification. What’s the cup all about? His blood. His blood.
So let’s take a look at the cup. Exodus 24:6-8 talks about the blood of the covenant, the Old Covenant. The blood of the Old Covenant was the blood of goats and calves.
But God said that the Old covenant was broken. So He was going to make a New Covenant. Oh the precious cup that it will take to bring sanctification.
Matthew 26:27-29 states, “Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 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 on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father’s kingdom.””(Matthew 26:27-29 NIV)
In this passage, Jesus is referring to the third cup of the Passover meal which is called the cup of redemption.
The 4th cup is the cup of Praise. Jesus had to fulfill the cup of redemption first. It was the blood of the Covenant. His blood is the foundation of the Covenant. Hebrews 10:29 tells us that the blood of the Covenant sanctifies, it sets apart.
However, within the Passover ceremony – which Yeshua was celebrating that particular night – there is also a cup of sanctification. Remember, the Kiddushin is a ceremony of sanctification or a setting apart, complete with the cup of sanctification, the Kiddush. This is the first cup.
The cup of Plagues – representing the judgement of sin – is the second cup. The cup of sanctification, the first cup, is the one in which Jesus says, “Take this and divide it among you. For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”(Luke 22:17-18 NIV)
At this time of the Kiddush, at the taking of the cup, they have the blessing of the cup and it reads like this within the Kiddushin ceremony:
Holy One of Blessing, Your presence fills creation forming the fruit of the vine.
And then directly following that is the Birakat Yirusim or Betrothal Blessing and it reads:
Praised are you Adonai, Ruler of the Universe, Who has made us holy through your commandments and has commanded us concerning sexual propriety (a warning to the husbands) forbidding women who are merely betrothed, but permitting women who are married to us through Huppah and Kiddushin. (This is the part I love) Blessed are you Adonai, Who makes Your people Israel holy (sets them apart, makes them holy) through Huppah and Kiddushin.
At this point, finally at this point, we have the actual drinking of the cup. There is the cup of sanctification with the blessings and after the blessings comes the drinking of the cup or the taking in of that prayer of sanctification, that is only accomplished by His blood.
And of course, I’m going to say a word at this point about the Bride because it is at this point that the veil comes back. She has to drink of the cup and so the veil must come back. Guess what… we have an unveiling and there is someone specific who does it.
II Corinthians 3:13-16 says, “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.”(NIV)
Jesus removes the veil. That is His privilege. And of course, as soon as He died on the cross and shouted, “It is finished. Father into your hand I commend my spirit.” The veil at the holy of holies was ripped in half, literally ripped in half.
He removed the veil. So that when we come to Scripture, when we read our Ketubah, it’s precious to us, it is now a part of us and on our hearts and minds. It’s our marriage contract that He must fulfill, that He will fulfill. Not only is it precious to us, but He has also given us the ability to understand it. The veil no longer covers our hearts.
So we see that the Kiddushin so far includes the signing of the Ketubah, the Kiddush (the cup of sanctification), and the removal of the veil. We have two more parts of the Kiddushin to look at. We will do so in two separate posts.