by Messianic Rabbi Eric Carlson
What is the origin of the biblical wedding? There is so much information on this subject that I will begin with the origins of the wedding and the wedding contract. I will continue on this subject for several articles. The wedding begins in the following scriptures:
And the Lord said to Moses, Behold, I come to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and believe you forever. And Moses told the words of the people to the Lord. And the Lord said to Moses, Go to the people, and sanctify them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes, And be ready by the third day; for the third day the Lord will come down in the sight of all the people upon Mount Sinai.
And you shall set bounds to the people around, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that you go not up into the mount, or touch its border; whoever touches the mount shall be surely put to death. There shall not a hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live; when the trumpet sounds a long blast, they shall come up to the mount. And Moses went down from the mount to the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes. And he said to the people, Be ready by the third day; do not come near a woman.
And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the sound of a shofar exceedingly loud; so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the lower part of the mount. And Mount Sinai was altogether in smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount trembled greatly. And when the voice of the shofar sounded long, and became louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by a voice (Exodus 19:9-19).
The ancient Rabbis teach that God reached out from the heavenlies at Mt. Sinai and kissed the face of Israel under God’s Chuppa (marriage canopy) which is what the thick cloud hovering over Mt. Sinai represented. The marriage canopy or Chuppa is what Jewish people get married under in a traditional Jewish wedding. The Chuppa symbolizes God’s covenants, promises, and covering. The following chapter, Exodus 20, recounts the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai under this heavenly Chuppa. The Torah is the first five book of the Bible and is considered a wedding contract as well as the Word of God! Let’s Study:
The Ketubah – Marriage Contract
The Ketubah is Hebrew for a marriage contract and has been a tradition since Mt. Sinai and the giving of Torah. The intent of this tradition is powerful and universal. The word “Ketubah” comes from the root Kaf-Tav-Bet, meaning writing. The ketubah is the marriage contract between a man and woman. The ketubah spells out the husband’s obligations to the wife during marriage and is a binding document of confidence, trust, conditions of inheritance, and obligations regarding the support of children.
The “Ketubah” (marriage contract) is read aloud before the marriage ceremony just as Moses did with the Torah after Mt. Sinai. Exodus 24:3 “And Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments; and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the Lord has said will we do.” The signing of the Ketubah shows that the bride and groom see marriage as more than a physical and emotional joining, but as a legal and moral commitment according to biblical law and customs.
The same is true with the Word of God, the Bible! The Bible is God’s promises of how He will provide and support us, the bride, in truth and the instructions to us concerning how we are to live and remain pure for our betrothed! How will that promise be fulfilled? Through the groom, the Son of God! Yeshua! How does the giving of the word prove this? Let’s look at the physical construction of the Torah!
A Torah is made up of lamb skins and take approximately 4-5 years to construct. The Torah is written by a specially trained scribe on approximately 80 sheets of meticulously prepared lamb parchment. The lamb skin is soaked in lime water to remove hairs and then stretched over a wooden frame to dry. When dried, the scribe cuts the lamb skin into a rectangle. The scribe then makes lines for writing on the parchment with a stylus, which makes a mark in the skin similar to running your fingernail across a sheet of paper.
The scribe then prepares (freshly made daily) hand mixed ink by combining powdered gall nuts, copper sulfate crystals, gum arabic, and water. Using a quill pen, the scribe writes one letter at a time on the Torah while singing the letter over and over again out loud until the letter is complete. This prohibits errors in his Holy Work. More than 5 errors on one Torah and the entire scroll is thrown away! When the parchments are complete, they are pierced on the ends and sewn together with lamb sinew called giddin. Then the completed scroll is sewn onto wooden rollers called Eitzei Chayim (Hebrew for “trees of life”).
What an incredible God we serve! The entire universe is orchestrated and created to reflect and honor Yeshua! The Torah is striped and pierced lamb hanging on the Tree of Life! The Torah is a photo of the groom, Yeshua who was the word and who is the word! The Torah itself is a foreshadow of what was and is to come! The Torah is the introduction of the Messiah to the world. God had an arranged marriage and at Mt. Sinai we were given a photo of the groom, the Lamb, the Son of God, Yeshua! We are His betrothed bride. The Torah is God’s Ketubah, the wedding contract and the groom!
Every legal procedure in Jewish life is corroborated by two or more witnesses. The witnesses vouch that all aspects of the marriage are in accordance with biblical understanding. Two witnesses are called upon to stand under the Chupah and witness the marriage procedures. Let’s go back to the original wedding in Exodus 19:16-18:
And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the sound of a shofar exceedingly loud; so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the lower part of the mount. And Mount Sinai was altogether in smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire; and its smoke ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount trembled greatly.
The entire Nation of Israel was called to be the witness of God’s holy betrothal on Mt. Sinai. NO OTHER RELIGION HAS BEEN REVEALED BEFORE WITNESSES HINDU-ISLAM- MORMANS etc… The founders of these religions had an individual encounter, alone by themselves and are false. God works in the open and with witnesses. At Mt. Sinai the entire nation of Israel witnessed this momentous wedding occasion. When Yeshua was crucified, all of Jerusalem could see and there were many witnesses 1 Corinthians 15:3-8:
I passed on to you what was most important and what had also been passed on to me that [Messiah] died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said. He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day, as the Scriptures said. He was seen by Peter and then by the twelve apostles. After that, he was seen by more than five hundred of his followers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have died by now.
Then he was seen by James and later by all the apostles. Last of all, I saw him, too, long after the others, as though I had been born at the wrong time.” Yeshua’s resurrection was witnessed by at least over 500 people as attested to in this scripture. God shows His glory to everyone so He gets the credit and not man!
From Sid, Myself, and the Staff here at Messianic Vision, Mazel Tov!
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
Messianic Rabbi Eric Carlson and his wife Rabbitzin Barbara of Newport News Va., have been called to spread the Good News of Messiah Yeshua’s Grace and Glory in the United States and in the countries of the Former Soviet Union (having performed Gods work in Hungary, Russia, and the Ukraine).
Active in Aliyah, the world wide exodus of the Children of Israel back to Israel as prophesied in the Bible, Zion’s Sake has sponsored the return home of over 2,269 Jewish people from Russian and the Ukraine. Through a prophetic vision from God, they were called to spread the “Good News’ of the Jewish Messiah according to the Law of Evangelism; To the Jew First. To provoke the Jewish people to jealousy. To reach the lost and hurting through the Love of Messiah and to feed the starving and clothe the naked in Newport News, Virginia, America, and the Nations.
Rabbitzin Barb Carlson Leads the Zion’s Sake dancers, a “One New Man” (Ephesians 2:15) Messianic Jewish Dance Team. They are dedicated to restoring Jewish and Davidic Dance. Many of their dances consist of the “circle dance” which represents unity. It is also traditional Judaic beliefs that demonic forces cannot penetrate a circle. They dance before the Lord, sowing praise and worship unto the God of Israel!