Ancient Galilean Wedding & Bride of Christ!

Shalom Partner and Friend of Israel,

Is our Lord Yeshua (Jesus) coming back? If so - when is He coming? The answer to the first question is YES, but the answer to the second is that no one knows for sure as only God the Father in Heaven knows when that day and hour will be upon us. Unfortunately, many people and even some believers today DON’T believe that the Lord WILL return soon…and even among those who DO believe that He will return, there is NO consensus on whether the Rapture "Catching Away" - will happen; prior to, during, or after a 7-Year period of the Great Tribulation.

There are clear "signs" of the Lord’s Return even happening in our generation today – those born to see 1948 when Israel became a Nation again. And throughout the Bible we read about these events. We MUST watch and pray! There is one "sign" though - before our Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) does return to "catch away" the true believers with Him, there will be "a great falling away" from faith!

Living in Galilee along the shores of the Sea of Galilee we have often wondered what life must have been like 2,000 years ago during our Lord’s time …and how the Galilean people lived here two Centuries ago… Did you know that our Lord was well aware of the customs of the people in Galilee and used language associated with the Galilean customs? And so, the people of those days understood what He was saying to them? Yeshua (Jesus) was a Jew from Galilee as were all 12 of His Disciples, and therefore in most of His teachings He used; words, symbols, analogies and Parables that the Galileans would easily understand. Because of this, it is often easier to interpret the meaning of what He said by looking at it through the eyes of a Galilean.

Why is this important? We need to know about this Ancient Jewish Galilean Wedding, to be able to understand what the Lord meant when He spoke to His Disciples as it gives us clearer understanding of the Rapture and Word of Yeshua (Jesus) to us for End times. The love stories of the Galilean people make every other love story looks pale in comparison. The Church in the New Testament is depicted as "the Bride of Christ" and is waiting and yearning for the Coming of the Bridegroom. The Church is not just a religious institute but rather, it refers to "born again" individuals that put their trust in Christ …and are the true believers!

Let’s examine what an Ancient Galilean Wedding would look like through the procedure as follows;

(1) Shiddukhin - The father chose a bride for his son.

(2) Consent - The bride’s consent.

(3) Mohar - The price negotiated for the bride.

(4) Ketubah - The marriage contract.

(5) Dabar - A glass of wine to seal the contract.

(6) Eyrusin- The betrothal.

(7) Matan - Presents for the bride.

(8) Mikveh - An immersing cleansing bath.

(9) Chuppah - Preparation of the wedding chamber.

(10) Nisuin - Lifted up and carried away (Final step)

(11) Chattunah – The wedding celebration.

(12) Chattan (Groom) – Kallah (Bride)

The Shiddukhin – the father chose a bride for the son… In the Old Testament we read that Abraham sent his servant Eliezer to find a bride for Isaac; "But you shall go unto my country, and to my kindred (family/homeland), and take a wife for my son Isaac." - Genesis 24:4. The servant is nameless, thus typifies the Holy Spirit. So, we see that in the New Testament the Holy Spirit goes out to choose the bride for Christ; "…for many are called, but few are chosen!" - Matthew 22:14. In the Old Testament Rebekah had NOT first seen her future husband Isaac when agreeing to be his wife; "Then they called Rebekah and said to her, "Will you go with this man?" And she said, "I will go." - Genesis 24:57-58. The same way in the New Testament we confess Yeshua’ Name even though we don’t see Him; "Though you have not seen him, you love him.  Though you do not see him now, you trust him…" – 1 Peter 1:8.

The bride’s consent - “Mohar…. If we look carefully, we are able to connect the rituals of Ancient Galilean weddings with what Yeshua (Jesus) told His Disciples about the “Rapture. During the 1st Century AD Galilee betrothals between a young man and his future bride often took place near the Gates of the City because that’s where the Elders usually were and where contracts were signed. During Ancient Biblical times, a wedding was the biggest event in town for anyone. Everyone would rush to the betrothal at the main gate …whether you were invited or not, everyone will participate! The bride receives the covenant or proposal - an agreement stating that the couple would soon be wed was ratified and read aloud followed by an exchange of gifts, including a dowry (the MOHAR - an amount of property or money brought by a bride to her husband on their marriage). In the Old Testament the bride’s price was negotiable, but it raised her status, and it set her free of her current household. The groom had up to seven years’ time to raise it; “And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had for her.” – Genesis 29:20. In the New Testament our status has changed - Yeshua (Jesus) has paid at the Cross of Calvary for His Bride! The Apostle Paul reminds us that we were bought with a price and that Christ paid for our Redemption with His Blood; “Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's. - 1 Corinthians 6:20.

The Dabar – a glass of wine to seal the contract… After the covenant, gifts are exchanged, the Groom offers the bride a “Cup of Joy.” The bride then has the power to accept or reject the offer of the Groom. The bride needs to drink from the cup of wine for the betrothal to progress. But, if she rejects the cup, the betrothal cannot be completed! If she accepts the cup and drinks from it, it is “a sign” of her acceptance of the betrothal!

The bridegroom then takes a sip from the cup, solidifying their Covenant. Then the Groom seals with this; You are now consecrated to me by the laws of Moses …and I will not drink from this cup again UNTIL I drink it with you in my father’s house.” If this sounds familiar, it’s because it is remarkably similar to what Yeshua (Jesus) told His Disciples during “the Last Supper” when He poured wine into a chalice for them to drink from; “But I say to you, I will NOT drink of this fruit of the vine from now on UNTIL that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” - Matthew 26:29.

The KetubahWhile the exchange of Covenant Vows between a man and woman who love each other is a blessing in any culture, there are aspects of the Jewish wedding celebration that are rich in spiritual truths. Signing the “KETUBAH” (marriage contract) in Ancient times protected the rights of the bride by specifying the groom’s responsibilities in caring for her, and the amount of support that would be due her in the event of a divorce. In the Old Testament the Ketubah- Marriage Contract stated the promises of the groom, and the rights of the bride. The bride’s father, the groom, and the Synagogue kept a copy – with a seal – only a judge could break. “You ask, “Why?” It is because the Lord is the witness between you and the wife of your youth. You have been unfaithful to her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.” - Malachi 2:14.

The New Covenant is our contract is sealed with the Blood of Yeshua - Jesus Christ. The Bible is the "document" that states God’s promises to us, and our rights as "His Son Yeshua’s Bride – the true Church." (Hebrew 12:24).

The Eyrusin – the Betrothal In the Old Testament there was a legal bond between the betrothed couple. Even though, they did NOT yet live together the bride belonged to the groom and only a divorce could annul the contract (Leviticus 19:20). In the New Testament - the Church belongs to Christ even though we don’t live together yet, we belong to Him; "For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ."- 2 Corinthians 11:2. 

The Matan – Presents for the brideThe Galilean bride would receive gifts to remind her of the bridegroom’s love for her during their separation; "I adorned you with jewellery putting bracelets upon your hands, and a chain on your neck, a jewel on your forehead, and earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown upon your head." - Ezekiel 16: 11-12. In the New Testament the bride (Church) received the gifts of the Holy Spirit while we are waiting; "There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them." - 1 Corinthians 12:4.  

The MikvehIn the Old Testament times the bride and groom is immersed in a cleansing bath a "Mikveh." This is a symbolic sign of "spiritual cleansing" before the wedding took place (Leviticus 15:18).In the New Covenant we are baptised in Christ that He might sanctify His Bride; "…to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless." – Ephesians 5:26-27.

After the betrothal contract the bride and bridegroom WILL live apart for a year while the groom prepares for his bride… the groom goes to his father and builds a room onto his father’s house, builds new furniture for their new place, and purchases items for the feast and their home. He will prepare the “wedding feast” with oil lamps, and rugs that will take place in the new home. And, while the groom is preparing the Feast and their new home, his bride is busy making her wedding gown. This period of preparation during an Ancient Galilean wedding traditions of a long period wait and aligns with another statement Yeshua (the Bridegroom) told His Disciples (His Bride) during the Last Supper; I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” - John 14.2-30.

Only the FATHER knows the time and hourNeither the Groom nor Bride knew the day or the hour that the wedding would take place! The Bride ALWAYS had to be ready. This may seem bizarre but it’s part of the Ancient Galilean Wedding tradition. No one in the entire town knew when the wedding would take place, except for one person, the Father of the Bridegroom! Only Galilean weddings had these customs. To them, it was a surprise wedding! The Father makes the announcement the day and the hour; “Son, go get your Bride.” The Father makes the final inspection if all is ready for the bride. Only He knows the day or the hour.

In the Ancient Galilee Wedding tradition, scholars have found that the hour of the wedding would be in the middle of the night! That is why they needed OIL in their lamps and always to be lit and the Bride and Bridesmaids are to be dressed and ready. Then the Groom would come for His bride in the night. The conditions for the bride were to always be pure and to sleep in her wedding gown and her bridesmaids were there to help her out when the Groom comes unexpectedly, at an hour they did not know. They were to always be ready! Yeshua warned His disciple to be ready for His Second Coming in 1 Thessalonians 5:1-2. Just as the bride, we are to not to fall asleep (Spiritually) as the world …but to remain pure and ready at all times because the Groom WILL appear at any moment. Of course, the Lord’s Bride isn’t just the 12 Disciples present at the Last Supper …but ALL true believers. Since ONLY the father of the bridegroom in the ancient times of Galilean weddings “knows the day or hour” that the bridegroom can go retrieve His bride both the bridegroom and bride MUST be prepared.

In the same way only our Heavenly Father “knows the day or hour” when He will tell Yeshua (Jesus) “go forth” and fetch Your Bride – the Church. And, just as the Bride of Christ (like the bride in a Galilean wedding), we shouldn’t concern ourselves with the date of when our Bridegroom comes for us, but instead, we should focus on the preparation for His arrival and make sure we are ready to go with Him. From that moment on, we will always be with the Lord just like the bride and groom will be together forever. Are you ready? “For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and His bride has made herself ready …Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” - Revelation 19:7, 9.

The Lord promises that He WILL return and take His Bride – (the true believers) to where He is so we WLL also be! This introduces the Rapture to us. Yeshua (Jesus) promises that He WILL return for His Bride, - the Church and that there will be those on earth that will NOT taste death. But until the Bride is reunited with the Groom, much has to take place. The Bride must prepare for hour of the coming of the Groom. Materials and fabrics had to be bought for the bride’s wedding dress and this took lots of time in the 1st Century. And the Bride is to be pure and vigilant as she waited for her Groom - regardless of how long it took for His return. Just like the Ancient Galilean bride and bridegroom we too MUST wait until the FATHER says it’s time!

There is excitement as the bridegroom is preparing and as the bride awaits always prepared for her Groom… Here are some extracts from the Bible that tell us what that Ancient wedding was like; the bridegroom wore a crown or garland on his head;Go forth, O daughters of Zion, at King Solomon, at the crown with which his mother crowned him on the day of his wedding…’ - Song of Solomon 3:11. We must like Israel be seen greatly rejoicing in this Prophetic verse; “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.”- Isaiah 61:10. It is the remnant of the faithful in Israel who are depicted as rejoicing in the Lord because their time is coming when their (and our) promised Messiah - Yeshua WILL come to “tabernacle” among His people and will lead God’s Covenant Nation in joyful praises.

“Go forth, daughters of Zion” - those who claim the Name of the God of Israel and dwell in His City…” go forth” and see the royal procession bearing the king and his bride! See the crown upon his bead, and rejoice in his rejoicing! This crown was apparently not a symbol of king Solomon’s power, but it was the marriage crown, a garland of flowers and greens tied together with ribbons that was always worn as part of the marriage celebration until the time of Vespasian. The joy was in his marriage: in the public and permanent union of his bride with himself. Notice how perfectly parallel this presentation is with our relationship to our Lord: we are united with Him by the rebirth, but we are not publicly and everlastingly reigning with Him …until by faith we leave our “honeymoon cottage” (where He has dwelt in our hearts and prepared us for service) and abandon ourselves to Him, ever after sitting at His side, attending His will.

The Chuppah - Preparation of the wedding chamber… The groom went back to his father’s house to prepare the "bridal chamber," called a Chuppah. It meant building onto the family’s house, preparing a place for his bride, to live with him; "Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber (chuppah), and rejoices as a strong man to run a race." – Psalm 19:5. Interesting; The bride could only upgrade to a better home …and Rabbis were called in to check it!  In the New Covenant - Yeshua (Jesus) is in Heaven preparing a place for us, His Bride.  "In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you." - John 14:2. Interestingly same parallel to the Galilean wedding; When the time came the FATHER gave permission to his son to fetch his bride.  The groom never knew the day nor the time; "But of that day and that hour knows no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the son, but the father." - Mark 13:32. (see also Matthew 25:13)

In the Ancient Galilean Wedding, the FATHER makes the decision that it is time. He wakes up the son - the groom and groomsmen and says; "Go get your Bride, now is the time." He blows the shofar/trumpet and blasts to wake up the whole village. At the sound of TRUMPET, the Bride and her bridesmaids wake up and execute their preparedness. The "trumps" wake up the bride and the town, but only those who are prepared will attend the wedding banquet. After a year of waiting and preparing, the bride and groom are finally together, reunited, forever. The bride is then carried in "a canopy" to the Groom’s house "lifted into the air," off the ground and escorted back to the father’s place. All she had to do was to be ready in her wedding attire as the bride wouldn’t know ahead of time that he was coming but she would be waiting expectantly, fully prepared with some of her maidens. When she heard the sound of the SHOFAR those who were ready would arise with her to meet her groom. We too are waiting for the SOUND of the TRUMPET! 

When the father gives the okay, the groom would arise immediately at what could be midnight to fetch his bride and the wait was finally over! Those who are awake would be ready for the bridegroom’s return for his bride and would join the procession. The groom, accompanied by his male friends (Judges 14:11), would go to the house of the bride at midnight, making a parade with torches through the streets. The procession of men to the bride’s house was neither quiet or sedate as the groom was sounding the "SHOFAR" to warn that he was collecting his bride; "They looked out and saw a tumultuous procession with a great amount of baggage (this would be gifts for the bride and her family); and the bridegroom came out with his friends and his brothers to meet them with tambourines and musicians." (1 Maccabees 9:39). Meanwhile, the bride was always waiting and longing for her groom while lavishly attended by female friends and relatives. Her face was completely covered with a veil, which would stay in place all through the wedding festivities; it would only be removed when the young couple went to the bridal chamber; "…how beautiful you are, my love, how very beautiful! Your eyes are doves behind your veil…" - Song of Solomon 4:7.

The Nisuin “Lifted up” and carried away to the Wedding Banquet and place prepared… The bride was “taken” in procession to her new husband’s house; ‘…In many coloured robes she is led to the king; behind her the virgins, her companions, follow. With joy and gladness, they are led along as they enter the palace of the king.” - Psalms 45: 13-15. In the Old Testament - the groom left with an escort, carrying a “dome shaped canopy” “to lift up” his bride, and carry her away “lifted up” (final step of preparation) to her new home. And, with the sound of the “trump” (Shofar) he announced his arrival in the middle of the night. In the New Testament - Yeshua (Jesus) will come to “Rapture” us away, meeting us in the clouds, and carrying us to our new home; “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump.” - I Corinthians 15:52. This sort of wedding procession is still common in the Middle East today. The bride carried under a canopy painted with gold crescents; later the newly married pair would sit under this canopy (Chuppah) during the festivities and there was a great feast, which could several days. 

The 10 Bridesmaids in the night were to be prepared with OIL in their lamps kept burning and waiting for the arrival of the Groom. In Matthew 25 our Lord gives us; “The Parable of the 5 Wise and 5 Foolish virgins.” The OIL represents the Holy Spirit. Why was the OIL in the lamps always needed to be filled? The bride knew the groom would come at any time even during the night, and she needed to always have enough oil for her lamp! Many teach that the 10 Bridesmaids to Israel during “the Great Tribulation” - some Jews are saved, and some Jews will not be saved. However, this parallel is for the TRUE Church (One New Man – saved Jews and Gentiles). The Groom (Yeshua) appears and finds some believers being born again and longing for His return …BUT sadly some nominal believers who are not! This is symbolic of the return of the groom in the Ancient Galilean wedding when he went to fetch his bride …some bridesmaids were found WITHOUT oil in their lamps and fast asleep …and so they were SHUT OUT from the Wedding Banquet even as the DOORS closed and locked from inside so nobody could get in. In the same way when Yeshua (Jesus) returns “at midnight hour” for His Bride and when least expected the Bride of Christ MUST be ready always and NOT asleep! Some WILL be “left behind” because they were NOT ready and their lamps not filled with the OIL of the Holy Spirit when the BRIDE (the true Church) is finally “lifted up” and carried to meet her BRIDGEGROOM in the air – the same way as the Bride is escorted to the Father’s House to the Wedding Banquet! (Revelation 19:7) Maranatha Yeshua!

The Ancient Galilean Wedding is symbolically the same way the Church will be “lifted up” and escorted to the Father’s house in the “Rapture.” All we must do is be pure and ready for the return of our Groom. All 10 bridesmaids get up …BUT only 5 have enough oil and are prepared. The Father’s house in the Ancient Galilean Wedding is where the “marriage supper” banquet takes place with all that have heard and beckoned to the call in the “darkness of night.” Many will be left behind and the door will shut them out of the Feast (Isaiah 26:19-21). If locked out, there was NO getting in

The Marriage Supper of The Lamb! Everything on Earth is “a fore-shadow” of what is to come! We are chosen as the Bride of Christ, and we are meant to dwell with Him for Eternity. The Father’s house in the Galilean wedding is the perfect picture of Heaven. The Groom gathers His Bride, brings her to the Father’s house for the “Marriage Supper of the Lamb.” Married forever! Yeshua (Jesus) will marry His Bride at the time of the Rapture. Every Galilean wedding lasted 7-Days, but that of a king lasted 7-Years. At the same time, the earth will go through the terrible 7-Year Tribulation. Many will be left behind in the Rapture and shut out of the Marriage Supper and destined to God’s wrath on the world. This is the only love story that truly ends with; “and they live happy for ever and ever.” Therefore, take heed, be pure and be ready for the soon coming of our Lord.

God’s Word is true! He IS watching to see how the nations are treating His people – Israel. God will have mercy on Israel through Gentile believers acting as mediators towards them! This is one of the most amazing revelations ever given to the Church – an opportunity to do something that carries the highest priority in the heart of God. Yet, sadly, so few have seen the potential and the rewards of serving God in this manner - as agents of mercy to Israel and the Jewish people! Israel was and still is despised today and a despised nation continually turning away from God BUT nothing ever altered the purpose of God for that nation. The despised element is always a noticeable element in the purpose of God. When the Saviour of the world came, He came of that despised nation; like IsraelHe Himself was; “despised and rejected by men,”and there is that despised element; “…things that are despised God has chosen,” 1 Corinthians 1:28. Now, more than at any time is the time to support Israel and the Jewish people - the Lord’s Brethren! We are witnessing the nations and people turning their backs on Israel. Thank you for your prayers and generous financial support especially during these very difficult times. With “lockdown” and difficult “recovery” still lying ahead we ARE reminded that the Wuhan Corona Virus has caused many dire needs and continue to increase here in Israel upon the already most vulnerable! Once again – Thank you!

We hope that you enjoy and become more informed by our work. We serve an awesome God and we are humbled by this opportunity to bring you this information. With Shalom to you and your family always,

Alf & Julie Saunders

01st July, 2021

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