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Archive for April, 2012

Greetings…

Are you ready for another blog post?

Well, before we get to that, I haven’t asked in a while…if you are receiving an email of these posts and would no longer like to receive such, just let me know and I’ll take care of that. No problem-o!

Please remember, that this blog is simply…well…it’s simply my blog…it’s Kevin Brown’s personal thoughts and represents no one or anyone else, group or institution. It just represents good ole me! That is why my blog is listed on the wonderful, world-wide web as: DKEVINBROWN.wordpress.com. The thoughts and perspectives that I offer are mine. I put them forth like anyone who does a blog…for anyone to read, or chose not to read. The definition of a blog is: A website on which an individual or group of users’ record personal opinions, reflections, information, etc. on a regular basis.

So, my thoughts and viewpoints are simply that. They are my own. You may not agree. You might not like them or even think they are valid and that’s ok. But, remember as you read…my thoughts are the thoughts of a man. So, don’t take them as Gospel, unless I’m sharing Scripture (then that is THE Gospel). Ok…now, we’ll get on with the post. I just needed to share that since I haven’t said that in a while. Thanks! 🙂

Now, in this post, I want to share some really cool information from Messianic Jew, Dr. Zola Levitt. http://www.levitt.com/

As I’ve been studying about Biblical marriage and relationships, I’ve been amazed at the parallels in Scripture between Jesus and the Church (his bride) and marriage between a man and a woman. Levitt’s descriptions of Hebraic marriage customs in first-century Israel is fascinating and offers great insight into what we’ve been thinking about over the last couple of entries.

This is a lengthy post and will be like three in one. Normally my posts are about 1,000 words. This one is close to 3,000. So you might choose to read it over a more lengthy time frame. But, I felt it important to get you all this information at once for clarity.
Marriage as Man knows it will not exist in heaven.

Matthew 22:30 At the resurrection people will neither marry nor be given in marriage; they will be like the angels in heaven.
The Elect will be the Bride of Christ.

The reason people in heaven will neither marry nor be given in marriage is that the elect will be the bride of Christ.

Revelation 19:7, 9 [7] Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride [the elect] has made herself ready. [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.”
Jesus’ courtship and marriage to His Bride to be, the Elect, generally follows first-century Jerusalem’s marriage tradition.

The first-century marriage contract and the “bride price.”

When a Jewish boy decided he wanted to get married he would go over to the girl’s house with a contract of marriage and the “bride price.” That would be the first “date.”
Jesus’ compliance with the tradition — the new covenant was the Marriage Contract.

Jesus followed the tradition. He came from His Father’s house to where we live, the earth. He brought a contract, or covenant: the New Covenant, i.e., the New Testament. (Contrary to common belief, the word “testament” has nothing to do with “testimony.” In King James’ time the word “testament” was a synonym for “covenant” or “contract.”)
The price Jesus paid for His bride was death on the Cross.

Jesus paid a dear price for his bride: the life of an innocent man on the Cross.
The Proposal — offering and taking the cup of wine.

In the course of the evening, the suitor would pour a cup of wine; which was the act of a proposal. This would be done in the presence of the suitor’s family as well as that of the young lady. She would accept the proposal by picking up the cup and drinking it, or she could push the cup away and thus reject the proposal.

1 Corinthians 11:25 In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
The groom’s preparation for the wedding.

If she picked up the cup and drank it, the groom would respond, “I go to prepare a place for you.” The man would return to his father’s home and begin building a wedding chamber for himself and his bride-to-be.

John 14:2-3 [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.
The bride’s lifestyle during the engagement.

Now that the woman was betrothed, she was called “consecrated, set apart, bought with a price.” She was no longer her own. If she went out during the day, she would wear a veil, to indicate that she was “betrothed.”

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 [19] 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.
The time of the groom’s return was uncertain.

Under the betrothal contract, the fiance (young man…the groom) could come back and claim his bride anytime, without notice. (The groom would come back when he had completed preparing a place for them to live…showing that he could provide for her.)

Matthew 24:37, 39, 42, 44 [37] As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. [39] and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. [42] Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come. So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

When the bridal chamber was finished, the young man would go to pick up his bride and they would have the wedding night and begin their new life together.
The groom’s father chose the wedding date.

John 14:3 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.

Obviously, if it were up to the young man, he would put something together as fast as possible, to get to the wedding night. Therefore, the father of the groom would decide when the wedding chamber was ready. Because a new daughter would be joining the family, the father would want to make sure that she had a decent place to live. Hence, only the father would know the time when his son would return for his bride. In many instances, this could be months.

Obviously, from time to time the young man’s friends would come around and ask “So, when is the big day?” His reply would be “Only my father knows.”

Matthew 24:36 No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.
On the wedding night the groom arrived unexpectedly.

Typically, the bridegroom would come to pick up his new bride at night, usually around midnight. Because no one knew what date this would be, the prospective bride would sit in joyful anticipation by her window night after night, perhaps for months. In some cases she would not see her betrothed at any time between the proposal and the marriage night.

Israel has some very rough terrain, and many areas got very dark and there were no paved roads. It became a tradition for the prospective bride to keep a lamp filled with oil by her bedside, to avoid injury when her new husband showed up and took her to their new home. The fact that she had the lamp ready showed she was waiting as she had promised to do when she accepted the proposal.

Finally, the groom’s father would announce that the marriage chamber was ready, and he would tell him “Go and get your brothers and your groomsmen and go and get your bride.”

That night, the groom and his friends would sneak over to the bride’s house around midnight to surprise her. This is documented in the Parable of the Ten Bridesmaids, (called the Ten Virgins in many translations.)

Matthew 25:6 At midnight the cry rang out: “Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!”
The groom’s arrival was announced with a shout.

The custom was that, when the group got relatively close to her house, the groom’s friends would give out a shout, to make sure she would be ready.

1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 (KJV) [16] For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: [17] then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Matthew 24:31 And he [the Son of Man] will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

At this point, the bride-to-be would have a few minutes to get her veil on (she was not married yet) and light her lamp.

Matthew 24:33 Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door.
The wedding party would bring lamps for the trip to the groom’s house.

When the groom’s party arrived they would rush in; they could also take any girls with lamps, e.g., her sisters, her bridesmaids, etc., making sure, of course, to get the one with the veil. 🙂 The bride would then be taken off with her new husband for the wedding night. This is described in the following:

Matthew 25:1, 5-7, [New English Bible] [1] … There were ten girls, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. [5] As the bridegroom was late in coming they all dozed off to sleep. [6] But at midnight a cry was heard: “Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!” [7] With that the girls all got up and trimmed their lamps.
Neighbors learned later who got married.

The neighbors would see a group of people and they would know a wedding was taking place, but they wouldn’t know who was getting married. If they waited seven days until the honeymoon was over they would see the bridesmaids, etc., returning and they could find out who got married.

The analogy is that unbelievers see Christians and do not understand why we behave the way we do. When we return with the King in at Christ’s Second Coming it will become clear.
The “best man” would announce the marriage to the guests.

On the wedding night the “best man” would wait outside the wedding chamber for a signal from the groom. When the groom told him the marriage had been consummated, the “friend of the bridegroom” would announce the marriage to the guests.

John 3:29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.
John the Baptist’s announcement of Jesus’ marriage with the believers.

Asked if he was the Messiah, John the Baptist identified Him and announced His wedding:

John 3:28-29 [28] You yourselves can testify that I said, `I am not the Christ but am sent ahead of him.’ [29] The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom’s voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.
The significance of the bridal chamber in the wedding analogy.

In the case of the Messiah, the bridal chamber is the Judgment Seat of Christ. In the bridal chamber, the groom removes the bride’s veil and sees her as she truly is, without cover or pretense. We may make pretenses to the outside world, but the Lord knows us as we truly are.

Revelation 19:7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride [the Elect] has made herself ready.
The two stages of the marriage ritual.

In the custom, after the marriage was consummated the husband would come out with his new bride and the wedding reception, called the “wedding supper” or the “wedding banquet” in the Bible, would begin. I believe the next prophetic event to take place is the Rapture, when Jesus returns to receive His bride in the air. The second stage of his coming will occur when the King returns with His saints.

Revelation 19:9 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.”

In the tradition, the groom’s father was the only one who knew the time of the marriage, so he was the one who chose the guests.

In the tradition, there would be a week-long celebration by friends and family of the bride and groom. The wedding at Cana in John’s gospel was one such celebration.
The fate of those who do not attend the King’s banquet.

Obviously, it would be a sad day for a bride-to-be who was not ready when her intended husband came calling.

Matthew 25:1-12, [New English Bible] [1] When that day comes, the kingdom of Heaven will be like this. There were ten girls, who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. [2] Five of them were foolish and five prudent [wise]; [3] when the foolish ones took their lamps, they took no oil with them, [4] but the others took flasks of oil with their lamps. [5] As the bridegroom was late in coming they all dozed off to sleep. [6] But at midnight a cry was heard: “Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!” [7] With that the girls all got up and trimmed their lamps. [8] The foolish said to the prudent, “Our lamps are going out; give us some of your oil.” [9] “No,” they said; “there will never be enough for all of us. You had better go to the shop and buy some for yourselves.” [10] While they were away the bridegroom arrived; those who were ready went in with him to the wedding; and the door was shut. [11] And then the other five came back. “Sir, sir,” they cried, “open the door for us.” [12] But he answered, “I declare, I do not know you.”

Matthew 22:1-14 [NIV] [1] Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying: [2] “The kingdom of heaven is like a king who prepared a wedding banquet for his son. [3] He sent his servants to those who had been invited to the banquet to tell them to come, but they refused to come. [4] “Then he sent some more servants and said, `Tell those who have been invited that I have prepared my dinner: My oxen and fattened cattle have been butchered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding banquet.’ [5] “But they paid no attention and went off — one to his field, another to his business. [6] The rest seized his servants, mistreated them and killed them. [7] The king was enraged. He sent his army and destroyed those murderers and burned their city. [8] “Then he said to his servants, `The wedding banquet is ready, but those I invited did not deserve to come. [9] Go to the street corners and invite to the banquet anyone you find.’ [10] So the servants went out into the streets and gathered all the people they could find, both good and bad, and the wedding hall was filled with guests. [11] “But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. [12] `Friend,’ he asked, `how did you get in here without wedding clothes?’ The man was speechless. [13] “Then the king told the attendants, `Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ [14] “For many are invited, but few are chosen.”

So, there you have it. Biblical parallels to Christ, the Church and marriage. Fascinating! Blessings to all!

By the way… a big “Happy Birthday” to my wonderful daughter, Clara! She’s 7 today!

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What does the Bible say about dating?

Nothing.

Zip.

Zero.

Nada.

Dating and the practice of it, simply doesn’t exist in Scripture.

Boy, this is such an important topic because it will affect every single person as they grow up. Every single one! For instance it’s prom season right now and everyone is scrambling around for a “date.” They’ve GOT to have someone to take to the prom or take them to the prom, as the case may be. And if they don’t, then they are deemed unpopular and a “nobody.” Why? Because it’s a culturally “rite of passage.”

How was the prom for you? Are you married to that person you took the prom. I’m not. I was caught up in the same scene that many of you are and/or your children. The dating scene. Oh, if I only knew then what I know now.

2011 Central High School prom

Nobody taught this stuff to me when I was a kid. Nobody looked at Scripture and said, “What does the Bible say about relationships and how a person gets married.” It just wasn’t discussed. So, what did we do? We got us a little boyfriend or girlfriend in the second or third grade and off we went. And where does it lead? Broken relationships, broken hearts and a trail of emotional baggage, not to mention the physical…

We’ve been talking about marriage, relationships and dating over the last several posts and we’ll continue to look at what the Bible says. Not what the culture says…but what the BIBLE says. You know the B- I- B- L- E…that’s the book for me…(remember singing that as a kid). Well…if it’s our guide for all of life…(and it is)…shouldn’t it be our guide for how we handle relationships? I think so.

We’ve talked about how a man, according to Scripture, must pay the “bride’s price” in order to be considered qualified to marry a young lady. Quite simply, he must be able to provide for her. In other words, he needs to have a job and be able to put a roof over her head, clothes on the young ladies back and food in her mouth. Who’s been doing this up to now? Her Dad. Her Dad will hand her off to the young man at the altar after he gives her away in marriage. You know the “her mother and I” part in the wedding. That’s Scriptural. He’s handing off to his son-in-law the responsibility of being the young lady’s:

Provider

Protector

Spiritual Leader

Those are the things he’s been doing, as the Father and so, he’s handing her (literally…giving her hand) to the young man in marriage. And what does he do? He backs away. He goes and sits down, right? “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and cleave (that means be glued to) his wife and they wll becme one flesh” (Genesis 2:24).

Here’s a picture of some “dad’s” (including me), who promised our daughters that we would protect them and protect their hearts and make certain we hand them to their future husbands with their purity and their “emotional hearts” intact.

Here are the daughters who participated. Don’t they look lovely!

Let’s dig deeper, shall we?

Why do we get married? What’s the purpose? According to Scripture, the purposes of marriage are both companionship and procreation. Eve, (woman) was created because “It is not good for a man to be alone.” (Genesis 2:18) In addition, marriage enables fulfillment of the first commandment: “Be fruitful and multiply.” (Gen. 1:28)

Now in the Bible, in the Hebraic form of marriage, the institution of marriage was considered holy and purposeful and was literally a contractual agreement between two people with legal rights and obligations. A Hebrew couple would sign a “Ketubah” together. Which is the marriage contract and this would happen at betrothal. Here’s a picture of one. You would hang this on the walls of your home as a keepsake and reminder of your wedding vows.

File:V03p128a01 Ketubah.jpg

The Ketubah explains the basic material, conjugal and moral responsibilities of the husband to his wife. It is signed by the groom, as well as two witnesses, and given to the bride during the weeding ceremony. One of the main purposes of the Ketubah was to protect the woman’s rights during the marriage and in case she was divorced or widowed. It made sure that it was defined how she’d be provided for. Isn’t that wonderful? A so respectful and gracious! A whole lot better than a prenuptial agreement, if you ask me.

It was forbidden for Jewish couples to live together without a Ketubah. (Boy how things have changed!) If the Ketubahwas lost, a new one had to be written, again…for the protection of the lady (who was under the provision of the groom/gentleman). The Ketubah protected the lady and served as a disincentive for the husband contemplating divorcing his wife, because he would have to pay for the provision of her which was part of the bride’s price, he originally agreed to pay.

Sound to “stuffy” and “legal” to you? Maybe. But, folks…this is a big deal! Marriage is a big deal and we are so flippant about marriage and how we get to the altar in our culture. Marriage has become a joke in America. Over half of the 20-something’s living together in this country are NOT married. Why do they need to be? There is no stigma attached to it anymore. We’ve got parents allowing their sons and daughters to have sex in their own homes and let the couple live with them “unmarried.” Amazing!

Is there any wonder we have such an amazingly high divorce rate? We are the most “divorced” nation in the world. Did you know that? So sad!

In Scripture, a young man and young lady would see each other in the community and they would become attracted to each other and they would discuss this attraction with their families (unlike today, where parents are simply “informed” on who their son or daughter is dating). It’s funny. A dad will help his daughter pick out her first car and help her decide which college to go to…but has almost zero “say” in who her boyfriend is. Amazing! We’ll kick the tires on a car…but, not on the man who might be her husband. Wow!

As time, went along the fathers of both families would discuss along with the son/daughter the relationship and if all agreed, ultimately, when a young man wished to marry a particular young woman, it was customary for the prospective groom’s father first to approach the girl’s father with the proposal of marriage. The two men would discuss this possible union including the price offered by the groom for the bride (the bride’s price…showing he could provide for her). If the girl’s father agreed to the suggested amount, the two men sealed the agreement with a toast of wine.

Now, the young lady would then enter the room where the prospective groom proclaimed his love and asked her to be his bride. All of this was done with the blessing of both families. If the young woman wished to be his wife, she accepted his proposal at this time. The validation of the agreement made by the engaged couple was the presentation of a gift by the groom. He offered it in the presence of at least two witnesses. As he gave the gift, he said to his intended bride, “Behold you are consecrated unto me according to the laws of Moses and Israel.”

Arrangements were also made right then concerning the terms of the marriage and written in the “Ketubah.” This is what is called the “espousal or betrothal.” Remember, Mary was betrothed to Joseph in Matthew, chapter 1.

This espousal/betrothal meant that the two people were committed to each other as much as a married couple would be. You could only break the betrothal with a certificate of divorce. Remember, Joseph was going to “divorce her quietly,” when he found out marry was pregnant (not by him).

The groom then departed, but not before he assured his bride with the promises of building a home for her and returning to complete the marriage ceremony. He usually took a year to prepare her new home which often consisted of an addition built onto his own father’s house.

The bride was expected to remain true to her groom as she prepared herself. She lived for the day of his return for her which would be heralded by a shout from the members of the wedding party. The impending return of her groom was a time of great excitement for the bride to be.

The typical Jewish wedding took place at night. As soon as any members of the wedding party spotted the moving torches signaling the groom’s approach, their cry echoed through the streets, “The bridegroom is coming.” The Wycliffe Bible Encyclopedia tells us, “Mirth and gladness announced their approach to townspeople waiting in houses along the route to the bride’s house.” Upon hearing the announcement, the excited bride would make her final preparations and dress in her finest.

Rather than the groom entering the bride’s house, the bride came out to meet him. The two, accompanied by their wedding party, returned together to the groom’s home for the marriage ceremony. Following the public ceremony, the newlyweds entered their bridal chamber to be intimate with each other for the first time. This was where the marriage was consummated. After this union, the groom came out and announced to the wedding guests, “Our marriage is consummated.”

Upon receiving the glad news, the wedding party began a “festive” seven-day celebration. The celebration lasted seven days only if this was the first marriage of a virgin girl. During this time the bride and the groom stayed with each other in seclusion. At the end of this time of privacy, the groom would present his unveiled bride to everyone in attendance. The newlyweds then joined in the wedding feast with the guests.

So there you have it. That’s the Scriptural process of relationships and marriage. What are your thoughts?

Old fashioned?

Won’t work in our society?

Not appropriate for our culture?

Well, those are valid concerns. But, let me ask you something. Aren’t believers in Christ called to be different? To be peculiar people? Aren’t we going to be persecuted for doing the right things? Sure we are. So, you and I have a choice. We can “walk the narrow way” or we can go the “broad way that leads to destruction” and a 50% failure rate. You decide.

More later in the week on how the marriage customs of Scripture match exactly what the relationship will be like and is between Christ Jesus (the groom) and us (the Church). This will be fascinating.

Stay tuned!

Reminder…I’ve got 91 people receiving the daily devotion emails. If you’d like to be added…just drop me a line at kevin@mpbc.ws.

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