The Wedding Part 1

There is a reason that I gave you information on the Jewish feasts because we are headed for a Jewish Feast. You see, Passover, was when our Lord died and paid the Mohar. He was offered as a guilt offering. Then we had the feast of Unleavened Bread, He is the unleavened bread and that bread was buried. It was on First Fruits that He rose from the dead. He is the first fruit. The day of Pentacost was the first official harvest on the Jewish calendar and the day of Pentacost we had the first official harvest. Next, on the Jewish calendar comes the feast of Trumpets.

 

Let’s look again at John 14:1-3 1 “”Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me. 2 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. 3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”(NIV)

 

He’s coming back. Hallelujah! And He is not just coming back; He’s coming back with fanfare. It’s going to be a really big deal when He comes back. Let’s look at I Thessalonians 4:16-18 16 “For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 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. 18 Therefore encourage each other with these words.”(NIV)

 

These are encouraging words. He’s coming back with a shout, the voice of the arch angel and the trumpet call of God. As you can see Paul believed He was in the last days and I don’t think there has been a generation since who hasn’t believed the same thing. It is that eager anticipation, that eagerness that aches for our husband.

 

That brings us to the Jewish wedding, to Nissuin which is derived from the verb nasa, and it means to carry or lift. We are going to get carried away and lifted off our feet. Nissuin can also mean elevation and connects husband and wife to God Almighty. We will be elevated as husband and wife to God. The legal ceremony has already occurred, it’s the Kiddushin. The wedding is the lifting away. All that’s left is for Him to come get His precious wife. Remember Jacob said, “Give me my wife” and when Yeshuah comes for His we’ll be gone.

 

I Corinthians 15:51-53 51 “Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed– 52 in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. 53 For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality.”(NIV)

 

Paul likes mystery, have you noticed that? Did you know that our husband and our oneness to Him is the greatest mystery this world has ever seen? That moment when we are lifted up off this earth, we’ll be changed. Why? We are going to see Him in all His glory. He will transform us to be like Him in an immortal body.

 

In Revelation 19:6-9 It says, “Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. 7 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. 8 Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” (Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of the saints.) 9 Then the angel said to me, “Write: `Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’ ” And he added, “These are the true words of God.””(NIV)

 

The word we translate bride in our translations is actually “wife” in the Greek. I think we translate it “bride” because of how we think of a wedding, it has to have a bride. The day will finally come when the wife has made herself ready and our place in heaven is prepared and the Father says to the Son, “Go get your wife”. He’ll come down with a shout at the last trumpet call of God and He is going to lift us away and we’re not only going to get a new body, we’re going to get a beautiful robe. This robe stands for the righteous acts of the saints. We must be about His work, Amen.

 

I keep going back to how we started and what He said at His mikvah, “We must do this to fulfill all righteousness.”(NIV) He started the pursuit first, we didn’t. He had a desire for a wife, we had no desire for a husband. This was all His idea.

 

Isaiah 61:8b-10 says,  “In my faithfulness I will reward them and make an everlasting covenant with them. 9 Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the LORD has blessed. 10 I delight greatly in the LORD; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”

 

I love that verse. Do you believe you will be beautiful on that day. How’s your robe coming together. You see when a Jewish man and woman would go through the Kiddushin, He would leave and go prepare a place, but guess what she set about doing? She began to make her wedding dress. She began to make her robe. How’s your robe coming together? How’s that wedding dressing looking? Are you about done? You ready for Him? Of course, He gets to put the finishing touches on it, we understand that. I want to look a passage that became very dear to me when I was leading an Esther study.

 

It is Psalm 45, it’s a wedding Psalm. Beginning in verse 2 it states, 2 “You are the most excellent of men and your lips have been anointed with grace, since God has blessed you forever. 3 Gird your sword upon your side, O mighty one; clothe yourself with splendor and majesty. 4 In your majesty ride forth victoriously in behalf of truth, humility and righteousness; let your right hand display awesome deeds. 5 Let your sharp arrows pierce the hearts of the king’s enemies; let the nations fall beneath your feet. 6 Your throne, O God, will last for ever and ever; a scepter of justice will be the scepter of your kingdom.  7 You love righteousness and hate wickedness; therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions by anointing you with the oil of joy. 8 All your robes are fragrant with myrrh and aloes and cassia; from palaces adorned with ivory the music of the strings makes you glad. 9 Daughters of kings are among your honored women; at your right hand is the royal bride in gold of Ophir. 10 Listen, O daughter, consider and give ear: Forget your people and your father’s house. 11 The king is enthralled by your beauty; honor him, for he is your lord. 12 The Daughter of Tyre will come with a gift, men of wealth will seek your favor. 13 All glorious is the princess within her chamber; her gown is interwoven with gold. 14 In embroidered garments she is led to the king; her virgin companions follow her and are brought to you. 15 They are led in with joy and gladness; they enter the palace of the king. 16 Your sons will take the place of your fathers; you will make them princes throughout the land. 17 I will perpetuate your memory through all generations; therefore the nations will praise you for ever and ever.”(NIV)

 

Did you catch where we are? We are at His right hand as He is on the right hand of the Father. We are going to marry the King.

 

Nissuin came to be called within Jewish culture, Huppah. Huppah means to cover. It can be translated canopy, chamber, or closet. It is the bridal chamber where the marriage is consummated or made complete. You see we have the legal documents and now we are waiting for that completion when those documents are going to be made fact. Scripture says, “Our faith will be sight.” We are waiting for that completion.

 

In Joel 2:16 we see, “Gather the people, consecrate the assembly; bring together the elders, gather the children, those nursing at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber.”(NIV) The word “chamber” here is the word Huppah.

 

Another example of this is found in the book of Isaiah where it says in Isaiah 4:5, “Then the LORD will create over all of Mount Zion and over those who assemble there a cloud of smoke by day and a glow of flaming fire by night; over all the glory will be a canopy.”(NIV) Where will is this?   It is over all of Mount Zion, which is in Jerusalem. The center piece of Jerusalem is the Temple and the greatest place there was the Holy of Holies. The Holy of Holies, His chamber, is where we will come together under the Huppah of God’s Glory as husband and wife before God the Father. And because we are lifted up with Him in the Nissuin this is the Holy of Holies in Heaven the one true Tabernacle.

 

Nissuin is accomplished by a means of a symbolic act of intimacy that demonstrates the couples’ intention to create a new home and new life. It’s far less tangible than Kiddushin, it’s sealed not with documents, but with actions. It literally gives the Bride  and the Bridegroom to each other. Nissuin consists of the Sheva Birkat or the Seven Blessings and the Yichud or time of seclusion. The major themes of the blessings are Creation, Eden, Zion, Redemption, Bridegroom, and Jerusalem. From beginning to end.  We will look at these next time.

Awaiting our Bridegroom,

Vicky

The Seal and The Name

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.

In His Blessed Name,

Vicky

For The Fear of The Jews

In the ten months that followed the issuing of the second edict there was a great time of rejoicing within the Jewish community.  It was such an outward expression of joy that it was clearly seen by their friends and neighbors, even by those who had before wanted to attack them.  After the second edict came a time of gladness a time when their light of that joy shined onto those around them.  They became a witness to the power of God, a light to the Gentiles.

I believe this to be an initial fulfillment (the ultimate fulfillment of the following passage I believe will be fulfilled in the end) of Zechariah 8:23 which says, “This is what the Lord almighty says:  “In those days ten men from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘ Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.'””(NIV)  It is interesting to note that Zechariah was written in the time of Xerxes father Darius and even in the early part of Xerxes reign.

This is what the ancient world was seeing.  Many peoples were coming to the Jews and following their God.  God had made it obvious that He was with His people and the Gentiles did not want to be caught on the wrong side.

Remember that the first edict was sealed with the king’s signet ring, but so was the second.  The people now had a choice as to which edict they would follow.  Before the second edict came out there was but one choice and it had to be obeyed.  Now, however, there was hope.  Hope in the God of the Jews.

Here is where most people miss the blessing of the book of Esther.  It is not just that God rescued his people through Mordecai and Esther, but that He used them to also start a chain reaction, so to speak, that overflowed to the rest of the peoples of the kingdom.  It is clear that because of the fear of the Jews many became Jews.  Yes, it does take looking beyond the surface to see the object of that fear.  It is God Himself.

Remember that even Haman’s wife knew that his downfall began with parading Mordecai, a Jew, through the streets of Susa.  Because the King’s honor went to a Jew, she knew he would surely come to ruin.  She knew who truly lead the Jews, it was their God.  It was their God that caused her to predict the ruin of her own husband.

Here too, we see the peoples of the kingdom understanding that the fear of the Jews is God.  Their only hope was in trusting in this God of the Jews and thereby becoming Jews themselves. We must not think that becoming a Jew was a casual thing.   It was not and is not.  It involves, and did then as well, a public ceremony declaring your allegiance to the God of the Jews, immersion (called mikvah) for both men and women, and circumcision for the men.  It is and was no small thing to become a Jew. 

What we see at the end of chapter eight is a mass revival.  We see people from different tongues, tribes and nations coming to God through the joyful witness of His people.   We see the heart of God giving us a glimpse of what he would one day do.

Why do I say it like that?  Because this was a short lived revival, it only lasted one generation.  After the death of Xerxes, his son, Artaxerxes would declare Zoroastrianism the official religion of the kingdom.  It is important to remember here that it was the Zoroastrian priests who helped conspire against Xerxes and largely gave direction to the coup against him that put Artaxerxes on the throne.  One must ask the question why?  Why would the priests feel the need to do that?  Perhaps Xerxes himself turned and followed the God of his new adopted family.  He had publically aligned himself to that family and perhaps, we can hope, to their God.

Either way, God had moved among the nations and given His invitation to the peoples of the Persian Empire just as He had with Egypt (The Exodus), Assyria (Jonah), and Babylon (Nebuchadnezzar’s turning to God).  God’s heart has always been that His people, Israel, be a light to those far away so that they can be brought near. 

Let us also not forget that the Northern Kingdom of Israel was dispersed into this area by the Assyrians.  They may very well be a part of this revival.  We think of them as lost, but God never lost them and never stopped wanting them back.  We see in Ezekiel 37 that God would once again bring the house of Israel and the house of Judah back together to be one.  This event in Esther may very well be that event or at least a part of that process.  Remember Ezekiel was a prophet during the time of the Babylonian exile about 100 years before the account of Esther. 

We also know that by the time of the first century that the Jews once again saw themselves as the twelve tribes.  We see this in the opening verse of James where he addresses his letter “To the twelve tribes scattered among the nations”(NIV).  The scattering James is referring to is not the exile but the diaspora in the first century after the stoning of Stephen.

Here in Esther we see God once again drawing people to Himself.  This is the heart of our Father.  We should never neglect to see the working of His might Hand.

For The Fear of our God,

Vicky

 

Mordecai is Honored by the King

After the banquet Xerxes was unable to sleep.  We could speculate that perhaps he was wondering what his bride would request of him because obviously this was not going to be a small thing.  However, Scripture does not tell us why he could not sleep, but it does give us the result of that insomnia.  Xerxes has the chronicles of his reign brought in to be read.  Perhaps he was hoping he would find it easier to sleep after listening a while or perhaps he thought he might as well get some work done.  Either way it was read that Mordecai had saved his life.

Notice that Xerxes is the one who asks if Mordecai had been honored for saving his life.  When the answer of “no” comes back to him he genuinely  desires to honor Mordecai.  He also wants to make sure he does just the right thing to honor him.  He wants some input and ideas from others.  So he asks if there is someone in the court and, of course, Haman had just entered to ask if he could hang Mordecai.  However, unbeknown to Haman he will indeed be discussing Mordecai, but in terms of honoring him not executing him.

Xerxes wants an honest opinion to his question of how to honor someone that the king delights to honor; so he does not give Haman the name of the man.  Haman being an egotist thinks that naturally the king is meaning him and so gives the king a very elaborate plan for honoring someone.

Xerxes knew he could count on Haman for this and likes his idea.  Here’s the kicker to Haman’s gut, the man the king delights to honor was not him, but his enemy Mordecai.  Not only did Haman come up with the idea of how to honor Mordecai, but he would be the one to carry it out and parade Mordecai through the streets.

I love the sense of humor of our God.  Remember, that Haman is the antagonist in our story.  Haman had intended to make an example of Mordecai with an execution.  Instead, he would make an example of him as someone honored by the king.  God is very capable of turning the enemy’s plans upside down  and making His people shine as the stars instead of being extinguished by the enemy.

The enemy here is humiliated by having to parade Mordecai on the king’s horse while wearing the king’s robe.  But that was not all.  Haman himself would robe Mordecai.  In other words, he would serve Mordecai.  What a humiliation.

As we study this we must understand the theological truth within this passage.  For the hearer it seems like all is lost.  Haman is about to get his way and kill Mordecai.  It is at that moment that the king steps in to honor him.  Our King wants to see His people robed for His glory.  He wants us to shine and be the light of the world, because the light we reflect is His.

Let’s break this down.  We are to put on our new selves or the Lord Jesus Christ.  Just as Mordecai was clothed in the king’s robe so when we put on our new selves we are putting on Yeshua our King.  We are made into His image in righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4 & Colossians 3).  We are then lead  by God Himself “in triumphal procession in Christ” (II Corinthians 2:14).

Mordecai is led through the streets in the name of the king.  Granted, Haman leading Mordecai is not the same as God leading us, but then again even though we see truths in this account it is not a perfect parallel.  I believe for Haman this was part of God making him His footstool (Psalm 110).  For Haman set a trap that he himself was falling into and he would fall hard (Psalm 57:6 & Proverbs 28:10).  The one who set out to destroy the Jews, God’s people, was indeed to be made the servant of God’s people, a sign of cursing.

This was a sure sign that God was working and about to deliver His people. But notice that Mordecai does not proudly declare victory yet among his people.  Instead he returns to the city gate where he had gone to fast, pray and mourn.  He did not stop appealing to God, but persevered in his appeal.  Allow me to give an example.  Let’s say you are in a strange town with your family and having car trouble.  Your husband must go into a potentially dangerous situation to get the car to the place that can help, so you begin to pray.  Once you hear from him and know that God is answering your prayer for his safety do you stop praying or continue until you see him walk in the door?  You continue to pray for God’s protection until he walks in the door.  That is what Mordecai is doing.  He does see God working, but still continues to pray and watch.

Meanwhile, Haman and those connected to him definitely see the writing on the wall.  They know the reputation of the God of the Jews and know His hand is against Haman.  Here we see the enemy experiencing the fear of the Jews and knowing he is in real trouble and will come to ruin.  When something happens in the book of Esther through God’s people, the Jews, it is clear that it is God doing the work.  Again, God’s people are a reflection of the One True God.  Their actions, the actions of God’s people, are not seen as their own, but as those of their King. 

And the king’s eunuchs come and quickly take Haman into the presence of the king.

May We Truly Reflect His Glory,

Vicky

My Thoughts

My family and I took a trip to Nashville this past Saturday and worshiped our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ/Yeshua the Messiah, with Kol Dodi Messianic Congregation.  It was a heart warming experience.  Heart warming because the people of Kol Dodi were very loving and welcoming from the first Shabbat Shalom to the last goodbye. 

We spent six hours with them and by the end of our time with them felt like we were one of them.  The first two hours were spent in worship with songs in both Hebrew and English, readings from Scripture, teaching, communion and prayer.  I have to tell you it did not seem like that much time went by. 

Our daughter spent the teaching time with the children after a blessing upon the children was given under a prayer shawl/canopy.  While with the children she made a pottery communion cup and met a new friend.  One of her teachers has a son who helps with the BCM here at our local university, what a small world.

It was a congregation made up of both Jew and non-Jew.  A congregation worshiping in the Hebrew way together with the walls of hostility gone in the Name of Yeshua.  It reminded me of the passage in Zechariah 8 where God says that ten men would take hold of one Jew because they know the Lord is with him.  What an awesome sight to see Jew and non-Jew worshiping together and being a part of it. 

The rabbi’s wife was very welcoming at the picnic as we talked and she invited me to visit with the other ladies and introduced me.  I thought, “this is how it should be”.  It was a great honor to visit with those ladies and hope to do so again soon.  

The mikvah was amazing and started with the call of the shofar.  We stood on the bank of a creek as two children and two women went into the water to be baptized in the Name of Yeshua.  The two women gave awesome testimonies, one even including a confession that was something only God could accomplish, I pray she will continue to allow God to change her and transform her into the image of His Son.

I could not recommend more highly that each of us find a Messianic Congregation in our region to visit, worship with and participate with in their work.  It will bless your heart and you will be awestruck at what God is doing in His Bride.

Shalom,

Vicky

To the Praise of His Glory

EPH 1:11 In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, 12 in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. 13 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)


OR


11We have also received an inheritance in Him, predestined according to the purpose of the One who works out everything in agreement with the decision of His will, 12 so that we who had already put our hope in the Messiah might bring praise to His glory. 13 When you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed in Him, you were also sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. 14 He is the down payment of our inheritance, for the redemption of the possession, to the praise of His glory.(HCSB)


Our last post was our first discussion on the “mystery”, making us one with each other and with Him — or bringing “all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.”  Then comes verses 11 through 14.  What I want to do is connect these verses to what came before them.


If you noticed the versions above start out different.  One uses the word “chosen”, while the other uses “inheritance”.  The more accurate word is “inheritance”, which connects it to the word that comes next, “predestined”.  Remember “predestined” had to do with adoption in our earlier content and one who is adopted does receive an inheritance. The latter part of these verses also speaks of inheritance, but we will get to that in a minute.


That inheritance they were predestined for as adopted sons was according to the plan and purpose (or decision) of His will.  It was going in a direction of working out everything to that end, the plan an purpose of His will.  So that those who already believed in Christ, in the Messiah(Jews) might be to the praise of His glory.  But Paul does not stop there, he goes on to say that the believers in Ephesus (Gentiles) were also included in Christ, in that inheritance, when they heard the word of truth and believed.  Paul says they too received or were marked in Christ with a seal, the Holy Spirit.


The Holy Spirit is God’s down payment of “our” inheritance.  Notice the word “our”.  Paul is not speaking in terms of “we” and “you” or Jew and Gentile any more, but bringing the two groups together by the seal of the Holy Spirit, the promised Holy Spirit.  Together, as God’s possession, they will all be redeemed, to the PRAISE OF GOD’S GLORY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  What an awesome direction we are moving in.  Don’t you think?


Praise be to God our Father and Jesus our Messiah!


Vicky