The Wedding Part 2

If you remember from last time we discussed the Wedding up to the Seven Blessings.  Blessings are very important in Jewish life and they are very significant in Scripture.  If stands to reason that the Wedding ceremony would include a complete number of Blessings.  The themes of the Blessings include: Creation, Eden, Zion, Redemption, Bridegroom, and Jerusalem.

They are:

The first Blessing: Blessed are you, Adonai or God, King of the Universe who created the fruit of the vine. (The fruit of the vine represents the blood of Christ, the blood of the Lamb, the blood of redemption. The redemption cup was planned before Creation.)

The second Blessing: Blessed are You, Adonai our God, King of the Universe, who created everything for Your glory. (Creation! The idea of the blood came first, then the creation.)

The third Blessing: Blessed are You, Adonai our God, King of the Universe, shaper of humanity. (Basically we have here the creation of humanity with the first wedding because you can’t have humanity with just the man, you have to have the wife too.)

The forth Blessing: Blessed are You, Adonai our God, King of the Universe, who has shaped humanity in Your image, patterned after Your image and likeness, and enabled them to perpetuate this image out of their own being. Blessed are You, Adonai, shaper of humanity. (Again we see the creation of humanity, but this time specifically spoken of in terms of being created in His image. That image is still within us today. Only it’s been twisted and marred. Therefore, we need a Kiddushin, we need sanctification, we need to be made holy and set apart because our sin has corrupted the image. You see that sanctification puts us back into the likeness of the Son, unmarres that image. Isn’t that a beautiful picture, unmarres that image, until we become more and more, with ever increasing glory, more and more like our Husband.)

The fifth Blessing: May the barren one exult and be glad as her children are joyfully gathered to her. Blessed are You, Adonai, who gladden Zion with her children. (This comes right out of Isaiah 54 through 56. It’s the future glory of Zion with many children. Does Zion have many children? Does Israel have many children? We a members of the nation of Israel. We are her children.  Then one day the borders of Zion will expand to cover the whole earth.)

The sixth Blessing: Grant great joy to these loving companions as You once gladdened your creations in the Garden of Eden. Blessed are You, Adonai, who gladden the bridegroom and the bride. (The final wedding leads to the wedding feast.  It leads to the ultimate wedding celebration.)

The seventh Blessing: Blessed are You, Adonai our God, King of the Universe, who created joy and gladness, groom and bride, merriment, song, dance and delight, love and harmony, peace and companionship. Adonai our God, may there soon be heard in the cities of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem the voice of joy and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the rapturous voices of the wedded from their bridal chambers, and of young people feasting and singing. Blessed are You, Adonai, who gladden the bridegroom together with the bride.

The blessings begin and end with the wine. You see it is at this point in a Jewish wedding once the blessings are spoken that the wine is taken in. Remember this is the cup of the wedding, not the Kiddushin.  Remember at the Passover meal He said to His disciples that He would not drink of the fruit of the vine again until when? Until it finds fulfillment in His Father’s Kingdom.  The next cup is the cup of Praise. The Blessings begin and end with the wine, which represents the blood of Christ.

It says in Isaiah 62:1-5 & 11-12, “For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her righteousness shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch.  The nations will see your righteousness, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the LORD will bestow.  You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God.  No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate.  But you will be called Hephzibah, and your land Beulah; for the LORD will take delight in you, and your land will be married.  As a young man marries a maiden, so will your sons marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you…The LORD has made proclamation to the ends of the earth:  Say to the Daughter of Zion, ‘See, your Savior comes!  See, his reward is with him, and his recompense accompanies him.’  They will be called the Holy People, the Redeemed of the LORD; and you will be called Sought After, the City No Longer Deserted.”(NIV)

Along with the bride, the body, and the temple there is also the picture of the bride as the New Jerusalem or Zion. When you got married did you get a new name? I did. When you get married you get a new name. Now my NIV translates that word “Builder” as “sons”, “builder” comes from the text note. But it makes much more sense because the “young man” is the “builder” and the “young man” whose the “builder” is the “bridegroom” and the “young man” whose the “builder” whose the “bridegroom” is “God” the Son. You see this is Jewish poetry and they do not rhyme there poetry by sound, but with thought.  Because of that I think it is appropriate to use the word ‘builder”.   Is the redeemed of the earth not us? Jerusalem’s builder will marry her, Israel’s builder will marry her.  He will give His Son in marriage to the one He has prepared for Him, the pure spotless Bride.

Then comes the time of the Yichud, it is the time of isolation. That time when traditionally bride and bridegroom spend some time alone together for the first time as husband and wife. This is just my opinion, but I truly believe this is when the Day of Atonement begins. Because it is going to begin with us at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Remember the wedding is the Feast of Trumpets. Next comes the Day of Atonement when the judgements are meeted out and I do believe it will begin with us at the Judgment Seat of Christ when all is laid bare between us, everything. And nothing ever again will divide us. We have to go to that Judgment Seat of Christ, don’t we? It must be. We must see what acts were righteous and what acts burn away. When all is laid bare, when we have that time, just us, as husband and wife. That time of consummation. Consummation means bringing to completion. We will be made complete.  We will then return with Him dressed in white linen robes.  Only righteousness is left.

Yichud is when the symbolic act of Huppah is brought to completion. We cannot side step the Judgment Seat of Christ and then, of course, there is the rest of the Day of Atonement and the rest is called Armaggeden when God judges this world, when Christ comes and judges this world. When judgment is made and judgment is passed and the books are closed, that is the Day of Atonement.  That old Jewish question of why do the wicked prosper will be answered on that day. Scripture also calls it the Day of the Lord, when all is made right. Then we get to start our Wedding Feast.

We have been to the Judgment Seat of Christ, the Day of Atonement has come, judgment has been passed and the Feast begins. The Feast of Tabernacles is the Wedding Feast. It is also known as the Feast of Ingathering, Feast of Booths, or simply The Feast. Now if you and I were asked which is the most significant feast on the Jewish calendar we who come from a Christian background would probably say the Feast of Passover. Not so. The largest feast on the Jewish calendar is the Feast of Tabernacles. It’s the final harvest. It’s their time of Thanksgiving that’s why it’s known as “The Feast”. That’s what they call it, “The Feast”.  In Deuteronomy 16:13-15 13 “Celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days after you have gathered the produce of your threshing floor and your winepress.  Be joyful at your Feast–you, your sons and daughters, your menservants and maidservants, and the Levites, the aliens, the fatherless and the widows who live in your towns.  For seven days celebrate the Feast to the LORD your God at the place the LORD will choose. For the LORD your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete.”(NIV)

Did you catch it that the final harvest is that of the threshing floor and the winepress. That is the wedding feast, the Feast of Tabernacles, the time when our joy is made complete after the final ingathering of the threshing floor and the winepress and, of course, you know what that represents, the wine and the bread or the blood and body of Christ. We are that harvest. And at the celebration of that harvest our joy will be made complete. Now you may say to yourself, “Now Vicky, how do you know this is the final feast?” Look at Zechariah 14:16-19, “Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, and to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.  If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD Almighty, they will have no rain.  If the Egyptian people do not go up and take part, they will have no rain. The LORD will bring on them the plague he inflicts on the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.  This will be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.”(NIV)

This is when Christ is on His thrown on this planet. It is the millennial reign of Christ. Do you get the feeling that the Feast of Tabernacles is important. Do you get the feeling that we should know a little bit about this Feast because it’s coming, right at us. We are running smack into it. Nice to know it’s coming. Yes, this is the wedding feast. This is the time when our joy will be made complete.

After the wedding feast comes the New Heaven, the New Earth, and the New Jerusalem, adorned as a bride for her Husband. That’s our new home. We mentioned the intention of a husband and wife to have a new home and life together. The new Heaven and New Earth, the New Jerusalem, that is our new home. And we will dwell together with our Husband as Husband and wife with our God. He will be the Temple. God Almighty and the Lamb will be the Temple. And we will be at His right Hand (Psalm 45), His wife. He will be our God and we will be His people.

God set out to make Himself a people, but not just a people, He wanted a wife for His Son. Us in Christ, Christ in God, the covenant of peace, the covenant of oneness, the everlasting covenant. And so we shall ever be with the Lord.  There will be oneness in that garden, in that city for eternity. That oneness ended in the first garden because of sin. It will never end in the final garden. From wedding to wedding that is our story.  I don’t know of a greater story God could tell to the heart of a believer. One day we will all stand together at the right side of our Husband and we will be made one and our joy will be made complete.  We will be His people and He will be our God!

Longing for “The Feast”, Longing for our Husband,

Even So, Come Lord Jesus Come!

Vicky

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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

What Does Unity Look Like? Part 2

There is another symbol in Scripture for the bride, we have already talked about it some, and that’s the Temple.  Ephesians 2:19-22 says, “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.  In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord.  And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”(NIV) 

Jesus is our chief cornerstone, that first stone, the main stone, without that stone there would be no foundation.  The temple raising up off the chief cornerstone and the foundation of the apostles and prophets. 

How many temples is He making?  One.  Only One.  Not the Baptist Temple, not the Methodist Temple, Not the Presbyterian or Luthern Temple or the Church of Christ Temple or the Catholic Temple or the Messianic Temple, I don’t care what you call it, there’s just one.  One Temple and that is all.

I Peter 2:4-10 states, “As you come to him, the living Stone–rejected by men but chosen by God and precious to him– you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.  For in Scripture it says:  “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”  Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe, “The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone,” and, “A stone that causes men to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.”  They stumble because they disobey the message–which is also what they were destined for.  But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.  Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”(NIV)

We have received mercy, but when we argue with our brothers and sisters in Christ, even over doctrine we are not giving them mercy.  We are a precious, precious Temple to Him.  In Solomon’s Temple there were walls, doors, courtyard, and pillars, yet only one Temple.  If we were to pull out a pillar and let it stand by itself it could not be the Temple, instead we would call that a ruin.  We need each other.  We have to have each other because we are one Temple and we must all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God.

Here is my next question.  Do you believe the time is coming near for our husband, our bridegroom to return for His bride?  Do you believe that?  We are built on the cornerstone and foundation and if He is about to come that means He is about to put in the final piece.  He is the final piece.  He is not only the cornerstone, but also the capstone.  The capstone was the final piece that held the arch in place.  He is the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega.  So if we are close to being done shouldn’t it be obvious as to what we are?  Shouldn’t it be more and more obvious as to what we are? Or are we still a wall over here and a pillar over there and you can’t really tell what it is yet?  But if we are getting close to being done shouldn’t it be obvious as to what we are?

Let’s go back to I Corinthians 3:9-11, 16-23 where is says,  “For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.  By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it.  But each one should be careful how he builds.  For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ…  Don’t you know that you yourselves are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit lives in you?  If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him; for God’s temple is sacred, and you are that temple.  Do not deceive yourselves.  If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise.  For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight. As it is written:  “He catches the wise in their craftiness”; and again, “The Lord knows that the thoughts of the wise are futile.”  So then, no more boasting about men!  All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future–all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.”(NIV) 

From God the Father, to God the Son, to His precious Bride.  All are yours. 

I think we are seeing some improvement in the body of Christ in the sense that we don’t mind getting together with other believers from other denominations as much as we did 30, 40, or 50 years ago.  We are also seeing more and more Jews believing in Messiah and therefore more believers are coming to understand the Jewish Roots of the faith.  But there is still need for improvement, isn’t there?  We have come far, but we must keep pressing on. 

In II Corinthians 6:16b Paul says, “For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”(NIV)  He so desires to be our God and for us to be His people, for us to be able to walk hand and hand with His beloved Son.  However, we can’t do that if we don’t even take the hand of one another, across whatever lines you want to draw within orthodoxy.  We must realize that all are ours. 

You see my Methodist sisters, you’re my sisters.  My Presbyterian sisters, you’re my sisters.  My Lutheran sisters, you’re my sisters.  My Catholic sisters, you’re my sisters. My Messianic sisters, you’re my sisters.  We are supposed to be one together.  Even in thought.  Isn’t that what Paul says in verse one of I Corinthians?  “Perfectly united in mind and thought.”(NIV) Hard words to hear since we have become so divided and comfortable in that division. Again, we have come a long way, but still have a long way to go.

But let’s face it we have to have walls, we have to have pillars. Each part has to do it’s work. I did not come to Christ in the Southern Baptist Convention. God brought me into this convention to use me where He wants me in the time He wants me here.  Period.  Nothing else matters except living the life He has called me to live.  Living the life He has called each and every one of us to live.  This is our period of sanctification when we must completely set ourselves apart. 

I have another question for you.  What is the single most said complaint by people outside the church about the church?  Too many hypocrites in the church, I don’t want to go there. They’re no different from me.  What do they have that I don’t?  That’s what they see, isn’t it?  Because unfortunately, we talk the oneness talk, but we don’t live the oneness life.  Yet our unity would speak volumes to the world that is lost apart from our beloved Bridegroom. 

Our next post will be about how we become one.  It really isn’t as hard as our minds try to make it.  Remember we are not to think and act as mere men, but as His Bride!  In the mean time, let’s be more mindful of building up each others walls as part of the one temple rather than tearing them down.

Your Sister in Messiah,

Vicky

The Heart of God

This is where we live.  This chapter is all about today.  Not about what He did 2000 years ago. Not what we accepted when we came to Christ, but how we live in Christ today.  Because, obviously, He did not take us home when we said, “I do”.  So He expects some things out of us during this period of sanctification, during our period of Kiddushin, He expects some things out of us. 

This is where we are and so it is a matter of upmost importance.  This is the very heart of God for His wife, for His people, for His temple today.  I want to start by looking at a passage out of Ezekiel 37:15-28:

“The word of the LORD came to me:  “Son of man, take a stick of wood and write on it, `Belonging to Judah and the Israelites associated with him.’ Then take another stick of wood, and write on it, `Ephraim’s stick, belonging to Joseph and all the house of Israel associated with him.’  Join them together into one stick so that they will become one in your hand.  When your countrymen ask you, `Won’t you tell us what you mean by this?’ say to them, `This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I am going to take the stick of Joseph–which is in Ephraim’s hand–and of the Israelite tribes associated with him, and join it to Judah’s stick, making them a single stick of wood, and they will become one in my hand.’  Hold before their eyes the sticks you have written on and say to them, `This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone.  I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land.  I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms. They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and vile images or with any of their offenses, for I will save them from all their sinful backsliding, and I will cleanse them. They will be my people, and I will be their God.  `My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees.  They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your fathers lived. They and their children and their children’s children will live there forever, and David my servant will be their prince forever.  I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant.  I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever.  My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people.  Then the nations will know that I the LORD make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever.’”(NIV)

The nations will know.  I will make the two one, I will make a covenant of peace, an everlasting covenant with them.  This is what I believe is the very heart of God, oneness with His people.  He wants to be our God and for us to be His people and He accomplishes that through the marriage of His Son to His people. 

As we start to look in the New Testament and our early church history, we see that the church was first thought of as a Jewish sect.  That’s what we were.  Most believers in that early first century were Jewish, they were Jews who recognized their Melech Yeshuah H’Messhia, their King Jesus the Messiah.  So in that first century as Gentile believers started coming into the nation there had to be discussion about Jew and Gentile and so that is where we are going to start. 

Ephesians 2:11-19 says, “Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (that done in the body by the hands of men)– remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.  But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ.  For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.  He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near.  For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.

Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.”(NIV)

Members of God’s people, of God’s household.  Church hear me, the word ‘church’, the Greek word for ‘church’ in the Greek Septuegant, which is the Greek translation of the Old Testament, is used in talking about the congregation of Israel.  It is not exclusively a New Testament term.  The church is the congregation or assembly of Israel.  God seeks to make all His children, whether Jew or Gentile, one.  That is His purpose, to create in Himself one man out of the two.

I want to say very clearly at this point, I know there is a lot of talk out there in theological circles about replacement theology, which says that the church replaces Israel.  That is NOT what I am talking about.  I want to make that very, very clear.  The church did not replace Israel.  We have the awesome privilege of being brought into citizenship in Israel and to share in their covenant promises. 

Romans 9:6b states, “For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel.”(NIV)  What Paul means by that is that just because one has the physical lineage of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob does not make them a member of the Spiritual nation of Israel.  Because only in Christ, only in Messiah, does that happen.  Even Jews must recognize their Melech Yeshuah H’Messhia, they must recognize their Messiah.

Romans 10:11-13 reiterates this, “As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”  For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile–the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.””(NIV)  He takes the two and makes them one.  Remember we are talking about the heart of God and what God desires for His own people.  This is God’s desire for us as we live out this life of following Him and awaiting Him.

We then find in Romans 11:12 & 15-21 & 23-26a, “But if their transgression means riches for the world, and their loss means riches for the Gentiles, how much greater riches will their fullness bring!… For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?  If the part of the dough offered as firstfruits is holy, then the whole batch is holy; if the root is holy, so are the branches.

If some of the branches have been broken off, and you, though a wild olive shoot, have been grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing sap from the olive root,  do not boast over those branches. If you do, consider this: You do not support the root, but the root supports you.  You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I could be grafted in.”  Granted, but they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but be afraid.  For if God did not spare the natural branches, he will not spare you either…. And if they do not persist in unbelief, they will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again.  After all, if you were cut out of an olive tree that is wild by nature, and contrary to nature were grafted into a cultivated olive tree, how much more readily will these, the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree!  I do not want you to be ignorant of this mystery, brothers, so that you may not be conceited: Israel has experienced a hardening in part until the full number of the Gentiles has come in.  And so all Israel will be saved”.

All Israel, the holy assembly of God’s people whether Jew or Gentile will be saved.  The heart of God, oneness among His people.  We have to be careful, the church has become awefully Gentile in the last 2000 years.  True?  True!  But we must not forget our roots, remember it was already mentioned that in the first century we were Jewish.  The church was Jewish.  The Apostles kept going to the Temple, they continued to celebrate the Feasts.  However as we became more and more Gentile we lost connection to the root.  We must remember and not stand on arrogance that we are the Church.  But remember that we stand on a root and they are our root and one day those branches that were broken off will be grafted back in.  You see there are not two trees of the church and Israel.  There is but one tree.  And we will all stand together in that oneness and in His covenant of  peace before God Almighty and marry His Son, those who have called on the Name of the LORD.   

Later in that Romans 11 in verses 30-32 we find, “Just as you who were at one time disobedient to God have now received mercy as a result of their disobedience, so they too have now become disobedient in order that they too may now receive mercy as a result of God’s mercy to you.  For God has bound all men over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.”(NIV)  Jew, Gentile it doesn’t matter.  We all broke the first covenant.  We are all in need of a new covenant, every one of us.

A Citizen of Israel,

Vicky

The Bride Waits

Now to the final segment from the Brides perspective.  You remember His final step was leaving to go prepare a place for us, to intercede for us, to talk to the Father about us saying, “When is it time Dad, when is it time?”  And so for the Bride, our last step is longing for Him.  Do we ache for Him? Do we?  Do we literally ache to see His face? 

Can you imagine a young engaged girl kissing her finance goodbye as he goes off to war and then her not constantly asking, “when are you coming home?”  Can you imagine a young engaged girl not doing that for the man she loves?  Aching for him. 

Our Betrothed did not go off to war, He went to prepare a home for us.  But He’s coming back, He told us He would and He’s under contract to do so.  Do we ache for Him as if it could be this very day?  Do we look to the skies and go, “Come on, come on.  Father give the word I’m ready to go home.  I’m ready to see my husband.  I can’t wait to see Him.”  We long for Him.  II Timothy 4:8 says, “Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day–and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.”(NIV)  How is it possible to not long for Him?  If we are His and He is ours how can we not long for Him?  How is that even possible?  If we are truly living in the fullness of the Spirit, it is not!  It is not possible.

 In I Peter 5:4 Scripture also tells us that we have a crown of glory that never fades waiting for us on that day.  The day when our royal position is solidified.  The day He literally puts the crown on our heads. 

II Corinthians 5:1-4 states, “Now we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.  Meanwhile we groan, longing to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling,  because when we are clothed, we will not be found naked.  For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.”(NIV)  One day His ever increasing glory will so over take us that it will completely transform us.  We long for that heavenly dwelling and to be home with our husband. 

Philippians 3:20-21 says, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.”(NIV)  We will look on His glory one day and it will completely overtake us.  Completely!  We won’t just have a face that shines.  It’s going to be completely overtaking.  Completely! 

Then Hebrews 9:28 reads, “so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”(NIV)  We wait for the completion of our salvation.  We wait for our wedding day when we will enter the Huppah and be complete in Him.  We share in His glory having been set apart for Him through Kiddushin and now we await, we long for, His appearing when our faith will be sight and we will see Him face to face, our glorious Bridegroom. 

Because we long to be with Him we are compelled to persuade men through our ministry of reconciliation.  In Christ they too can be a new creation and God makes His appeal through us. 

Therefore we implore all who do not believe, all who have not called on His name, to be reconciled to God who longs to be reconciled to them.  Scripture says that today is the day of salvation.  Today is the day you can say yes to that awesome marriage proposal.  Be reconciled to God.  To the one who redeemed you, who purchased you, the very one who asked you to marry Him, to be your husband, and so forever to be with you.  Ever to be with His wife, ever to be with His Bride.

 Now, how do we live as we long to see Him face to face?

Longing for our Bridegroom,

Vicky

The Ketubah goes to the Bride

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.

He will fulfill His Ketubah,

Vicky

The Removing of the Veil

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.

 

In His Unveiled Glory,

Vicky