In Part 2 of this series, we will begin by examining the various steps and phases contained within a Jewish betrothal/marriage process. From there we will look at God’s OT betrothal and marriage to Israel, God’s divorce and putting to death of Israel and then His promises of a coming New Covenant betrothal and marriage to the Church (the remnant, Samaritans and Gentiles).
Jewish Views of Betrothal and Marriage
A Jewish betrothal or marriage period would begin with the groom presenting the bride and her father with a ketubah or covenant which would include the dowry price. The covenant would include that the groom would provide food, clothing, and sexual satisfaction to the bride, and that she would not seek these from any other or give her husbands provisions to another man.
The groom would pour his potential wife a cup of wine (which represented blood or a oneness of flesh and covenant) and if she drank from it, she agreed to become his wife – or to become one with him.
During this time the groom and the bride would be baptized (a ritual called mikvah) based upon their new status and the covenant they agreed to. The bride was in a transition state from being under the headship of her father to her new husband.
The bride would wear a veil to show that she was spoken for and would take it off when she consummated her marriage union with her husband.
The groom would give the bride “gifts” as a confirmatory token of his love that guaranteed he indeed would return for her.
When people would ask the groom when the wedding was to take place, he would answer, “Only my father knows” for the decision was in his hands. When all the father’s provisions and plans were set to take place, he would then give his word to his son to go and get his wife.
The groom was to go and “prepare a home” or honeymoon suite onto his father’s house.
The betrothal period could last up to a year and there could be up to two groomsmen that would mediate issues between the bride and groom during this time.
When the father decided it was time, the groom came with his party with a “shout” and the sound of a trumpet to get his bride. She and her bridesmaids were to always be prepared for the journey to the groom’s father’s house by having lamps and oil next to their beds. When the groom did come to the house of the bride’s father, often times it was agreed upon that the consummation would take place there. A bloody sheet would be hung the next day indicating and proving she was a virgin.
From there the groom’s party and the bride’s party would travel to the groom’s father’s house where they would engage in a seven-day honeymoon period.
The celebratory wedding feast would follow. There were usually two aspects to the wedding invitation – one that you agreed to come, and then the other at a latter time indicating when the feast would take place.
The reader at this point is buzzing with NT references to fill in the above concepts. I’ll do just that in a bit. But first let’s see where we might find the betrothal process in the OT and review God’s marriage, divorce and promises of remarriage
God Married Israel – Exodus to Entrance and Possession of the Land
Israel’s Betrothal Period
According to Hosea 2:15, Jeremiah 2:2, and Ezekiel 16:3, God’s marriage covenant begins with Him delivering Israel from Egypt and extends to her entering the land of Canaan. The betrothal period probably begins as far back as God approaching and expressing interest in Father Abraham and his descendants in Genesis 12-22. But due to unbelief, there is a delay in the honeymoon period or in reaching the Father’s House which would be entering, taking possession of all the land, and establishing the Temple. Conquering the land and establishing the Temple would equate to consummation.
The marriage match and betrothal begins with God approaching Father Abraham in Genesis 12-22. In these chapters God seeks to marry Abraham’s offspring by creating a great nation or bride through him miraculously. Abraham agrees to fulfill his part of the covenant by moving to the land of Canaan and believing that God is capable of raising his son Isaac from the dead in order to fulfill God’s promise. The covenant sign of the coming marriage is ratified in blood (oneness) through circumcision. It will take many years before the marriage takes place.
Moses and Aron and then Moses and Joshua are the groomsmen mediating and preparing the bride for God.
Again the coming marriage is ratified in blood through the Passover lamb delivering the bride from the slavery of Egypt.
The bride undergoes a baptism through the Red Sea symbolizing her coming change of status from a daughter to a coming wife.
The insurance or dowry price for the bride seems to be both the blood of the Passover lamb and the land of Canaan.
In Exodus 19-24 we see a contract of marriage and an agreement taking place. The betrothal ceremony included a feast and this is what we see when the 70 elders and Moses (representing Israel) eat a mean with God at Mount Saini — confirming the covenant. Others see this as the actual wedding and Israel’ saying “I do” and perhaps the wedding feast? Possible, but I tend to think we are still in the betrothal period at this point.
The marital gifts may be the Law and the Prophets and the confirmatory miracles worked through them. There were roughly 65 years of miracles performed through Moses and Josuah, and then another 65 years or so of miracles from Jesus’ birth to His parousia in AD 70 performed by the foundation of the Church – the Apostles and Prophets.
Again, because of Israel’s unbelief, the journey to the Father’s house (Canaan) to consummate the marriage is delayed.
Review of Israel’s Marriage to God and a Coming New Covenant Marriage Under Messiah
The ancient marriage contract was based off of Exodus 21:10-11 and Ezekiel 16
In Exodus 21:10-11 we learn that the law stated after taking a second wife, a husband remained obligated to fulfill his marital covenant to his first wife which was threefold: 1. feed, 2. clothe, and 3. satisfy her sexually. If he neglected to fulfill his covenant with the first wife, she was “free to go” (and marry another). The man’s role was to financially provide the wife with food and clothing and she was expected to help prepare meals, make clothing, satisfy her husband sexually, and not to give these to any other man. It was debated on how long one could refrain from sex to his or her partner – some Rabbis said one week, others said two. If the man failed to meet his covenant obligations in these three areas, the wife was “free to go” and marry another. If the wife sought a combination of these three conditions of the covenant from another man or gave her husbands provisions to another man, she would be stoned or divorced by the husband.
God is Faithful to the Covenant
In Psalm 132:13-14 we see God faithful to His marital covenant when it says that the Lord ‘desires’(sexually) Jerusalem, and that he ‘clothes’ her priests, and ‘satisfies her poor with food’.
While Hosea 2:3-13 informs us that God gave Israel food and clothing, Ezekiel 16:10, 13 states that He did this in abundance: “I clothed you with an embroidered dress and put leather sandals on you. I dressed you in fine linen and covered you with costly garments.” “Your food was fine flour, honey and olive oil.”
Even during the wilderness wandering God miraculously gave manna as food, caused their sandals to not wear out, and provided His intimate presence in their midst through the cloud and tabernacle.
When the Kingdom is eventually split the marriage is described as God being faithfully married to two adulterous sisters (Israel and Judah).
But Since Israel is Unfaithful to the Covenant, God Divorces Her While He Remains Faithful to Unfaithful Judah
In Ezekiel 16 we not only learn of God’s faithfulness as a husband, we also learn of Israel’s unfaithfulness as a wife in that she takes the costly cloth and food God provided for the both of them and she uses it to make clothing for her idols and gives the food as a sacrificial offering to them. She also withholds her affection from God and commits adultery with these idols and false gods – thus violating all three aspects of the marital covenant. In Hosea we learn that since Israel has abused God’s marital provision, He will cause her to fall prey to famine and nakedness (Hos. 2:3-13).
In Isaiah 50 and Hosea 1 we are informed that God never gave Judah a certificate of divorce (as He did to unfaithful Israel) and therefore He remained married to her. For after all Messiah would come through her. God did judge her unfaithfulness through the Babylonian captivity, which is described not as a divorce, but a temporary separation.
Judah’s actual divorce according to Hosea 6:7f. would come in Israel’s last days when at the same time a remnant would be saved / transformed or remarried. The divorce would be through captivity and slavery just as Israel had gone through a divorce when God caused the Assyrians to take them captive. This time God would send the Idumean and Roman armies to desolate, cause her to fall by the sword and be taken captive in AD 70. In both cases the divorce is a national and covenantal death/destruction. In the OT law the unfaithful wife of a Priest was to be both stoned and burned. In Revelation, the unfaithful Harlot City of Babylon (OC Jerusalem where Jesus was slain 11:8) is both destroyed by stoning and burned while the NC marriage with the Church or New Jerusalem is consummated and the feast enjoyed. All this would be fulfilled “shortly” in AD 70 (Rev. 1:1—-22:6-7, 20).
There is a promise of remarriage and unity of the two into one bride or Nation again in Israel’s “Last Days”
Hosea and the OT prophets message is about God divorcing and killing (spiritually and covenantally) Israel through the Assyrian captivity with a promise of remarriage and resurrection coming for her in her last days (not the last days of the Church age) under Messiah. Hosea, Jeremiah and Ezekiel prophesy that in the “last days” and in “the day of Jezreel,” Israel and Judah would once again be united into a single nation or wife under the New Covenant that Messiah would bring in and therefore they once again would call God “my husband” (Hos. 1:11; Hos. 2:14-23; Jer. 3:18; Ezek. 37:15-6). It would be at this time that Isaiah predicted that Israel would see God/her Groom “eye to eye” or “face to face” (Isa. 52:8).
The doctrine of the eschatological marriage is interconnected with the time of the resurrection. The destruction (killing and divorce) of OC Jerusalem takes place when her “power is completely destroyed” (Dan. 12:2-7).
In Part 3 of this series we will look at Jesus as the Messianic Groom beginning to introduce and fulfill His betrothal/marriage/resurrection promises to Israel (who became the Samaritans) and OC Jerusalem and how He begins uniting the two into one NC bride.
To View or Read This series:
My First Lecture of the PPW 2017 Conference Part 1: The Problems For Postmillennialism – My Approach and Methodology http://fullpreterism.com/my-lecture-on-the-problems-of-postmillennialism-at-the-2017-ppw-conference-the-wedding-and-resurrection-motif/
My First Lecture of the 2017 PPW Conference Part 2: The Problems For Postmillennialism – God’s Divorce, Re-marriage and NC Betrothal http://fullpreterism.com/my-lectures-given-at-the-2017-ppw-on-the-problems-with-postmillennialism-wedding-resurrection-part-2-gods-ot-marriage-divorce-betrothal-and-remarriage-promises/
My First Lecture of the 2017 PPW Conference Part 3: The Problems For Postmillennialism -Wedding and Resurrection (Jn. 4-5) http://fullpreterism.com/my-2017-ppw-lecture-on-the-problems-with-postmillennialism-wedding-resurrection-part-3-john-3-5-and-nt-betrothal-and-marriage/
My First Lecture of the 2017 PPW Conference Part 4: The Problems For Postmillennialism – Wedding and Resurrection (Mt. 8:10-12/Mt. 22:1-14/Mt. 25:1-13) http://fullpreterism.com/my-2017-ppw-lecture-on-the-problems-with-postmillennialism-wedding-and-resurrection-part-4-mt-810-12-221-14-251-13isa-256-9/
My First Lecture of the 2017 PPW Conference Part 5: The Problems For Postmillennialism – The Parable of the Wheat and Tares and the Resurrection (Mt. 13:39-43/Dan. 12:2-3) http://fullpreterism.com/my-2017-ppw-lecture-on-the-problems-with-postmillennialism-in-the-parable-of-the-wheat-and-tares-the-end-of-the-age-and-the-resurrection-mt-1339-43dan-122-3/
My Second Lecture of the 2017 PPW Conference Part 1: The Problems For Postmillennialism – The Olivet Discourse (Mt. 23-24; Mt. 24:3, 14/Acts 1:8-11) http://fullpreterism.com/lecture-2-at-the-2017-ppw-problems-for-postmillennialism-in-the-olivet-discourse-house-divided-the-break-up-of-postmillennialism-and-the-formation-of-full-preterism-taking-its-place/