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Marriage, Communion and the Bride of Christ

April 5, 2012

Marriage, Wedding, Communion, Covenant, First Century Marriage Tradition, Groom and The Bride of Christ

“Many people have asked for my notes to the sermons I preached this past week at The Beautiful Mess Church, Wednesday service at Eugene First Baptist and Eugene House of Prayer so I thought I would just post them on here. These are 80% of my notes the rest I have not been able to type up yet. This is simply the wedding tradition of 1st century weddings in Israel and in between the steps of the wedding I have added a verse or two that could relate. I hope this blesses you and opens your eyes. May God’s Word land on the good soil in your heart.” – Ethan Holub


Ethan Holub’s Marriage, Communion sermon notes (4-1-12)


Three Steps to Marriage in 1st century Israel: 



3rd-The Wedding feast and Banquet



  • Ephesians 5:25-32 – “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her  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.  In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 After all, no one ever hated their own body, but they feed and care for their body, just as Christ does the church— for we are members of his body. “For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church.”


  • 1 Corinthians 11:25-26 – “In the same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new covenant in My blood. This do, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of Me. For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till He comes.”





  • Betrothal is/was the establishing of a marriage covenant.
    • Hosea 2:19 – I will betroth you to me forever;  I will betroth you in[a] righteousness and justice, in[b] love and compassion.


  • Intense bargaining between the father of the groom and father of the bride.


  • Set a price (usually the cost of a home)
    • 1 sam 18:25 – Saul replied, “Say to David, ‘The king wants no other price for the bride than a hundred Philistine foreskins, to take revenge on his enemies.’” Saul’s plan was to have David fall by the hands of the Philistines.
    • Romans 6:23 – For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.


  • Father sends groom to the brides family
    • John 12:49 – “For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken. 50 I know that his command leads to eternal life. So whatever I say is just what the Father has told me to say.”


  • Son may choose or reject the bride, son would take the initiative.
    • 2 Thess 2:13-15″But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. And it was for this that He called you through our gospel that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. So then, brethren, stand firm and hold fast to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.” 
    • 1 Thess 1:4 – We know, dear brothers and sisters,[b] that God loves you and has chosen you to be his own people
    • Every time someone is given the opportunity to accept Christ is like a marriage proposal. 


  • Bride could reject son if she wished
    • Luke 20:17 – Jesus looked directly at them and asked, “Then what is the meaning of that which is written: “‘The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone’?
    • Matt 21:42 – Then Jesus asked them, “Didn’t you ever read this in the Scriptures? ‘The stone that the builders rejected has now become the cornerstone. This is the LORD’s doing, and it is wonderful to see.’


  • Dowery is paid
    • Romans 3:24 – Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins.
    • 1 Corinthians 6:20 – for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.
    • 1 Corinthians 7:23 – God paid a high price for you, so don’t be enslaved by the world.


  • Bride and Groom break bread and share a glass of wine. Witnesses would pronounce publically the Betrothal. This is the engagement and is as serious as being married. This wine represented the promise of a marriage covenant. they were at this time considered husband and wife.
    • Matt 26:26-29 – While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you. 28 This is my blood of the[a] covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins. 29 I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.”
    • Mark 14:22-24 – While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it. This is my blood of the[a] covenant, which is poured out for many,” he said to them.
    • Luke 22:14-20 – 4 When the hour came, Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table. 15 And he said to them, “I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer. 16 For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God. After taking the cup, he gave thanks and said, “Take this and divide it among you. 18 For I tell you I will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes. And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me. In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.


  • They were not yet married, but the bride was considered consecrated, and set apart for the groom. she was off limits to anyone else.
    • 1 Thess 4:3 – It is God’s will that you should be sanctified:








  • Groom goes back to his fathers house to build on/prepare rooms for himself and his bride and their family.
    • John 14:1-4 – Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God[a]; believe also in me. 2 My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that 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. 4 You know the way to the place where I am going.”


  • The bride and groom do not see each other for this time.


  • This time was at least 12 month/1 year, but the exact time when the groom would go back was determined by his father, when his father believed the preparation was complete


  • The bride was to get her wedding gown made and perfect. It could take six plus months to make, with all the detail and work that went into it. It was to be kept white. She was to also prepare herself to leave her family, for marriage, married life, all the skills marriage and mother hood would entail. 
    • Rev 19:7-9 – 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. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.”(Fine linen stands for the righteous acts of God’s holy people.)Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”


  • The bride was to keep her mind set on her groom and not be enticed to flirt, fall in love or cheat on him during his absence. Whenever she would drink wine or break bread she was to remember him and talk about him to keep her mind and heart focussed on him. (Many times the bride would fall in love with another during this year)
    • Romans 12:1 – Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.
    • 2 Corinth 11:2-3 – 2 I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him. 3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
    • Exodus 22:16 –  “If a man seduces a virgin who is not pledged to be married and sleeps with her, he must pay the bride-price, and she shall be his wife.


  • She was to be ready at any moment for the grooms return. She was to have her life, things, servants, etc. ready. She was to have an oil lamp because the groom traditionally came at night, she was to be ready to go with him to a new life, new family and many times a new city/village at the drop of a dime. 
    • Matt 25:1-13 – The Parable of the Ten Virgins. “At that time the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went out to meet the bridegroom. 2 Five of them were foolish and five were wise. 3 The foolish ones took their lamps but did not take any oil with them. 4 The wise ones, however, took oil in jars along with their lamps. 5 The bridegroom was a long time in coming, and they all became drowsy and fell asleep.“At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here’s the bridegroom! Come out to meet him!’“Then all the virgins woke up and trimmed their lamps. 8 The foolish ones said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil; our lamps are going out.’“‘No,’ they replied, ‘there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves.’“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.“Later the others also came. ‘Lord, Lord,’ they said, ‘open the door for us!’“But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I don’t know you.’“Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or th


  • She was to be the grooms glory and honor back with his family, friends, etc
    • Proverbs 12:4 – A wife of noble character is her husband’s crown,
         but a disgraceful wife is like decay in his bones.
    • Isaiah 61:10 – 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 his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.






The Wedding feast and Banquet

  • The “taking of the bride” or return of the groom usually took place at night, as it was to be a great surprise to the bride. 
    • 1 Thess 5:1-2 – Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night.


  • The groom, best man and male escorts would take torches and begin a precession from the fathers house to the brides house.  


  • The bride was expecting the groom to come, but only the grooms father would decide the exact time and date so she was to be ready with all her skills, wedding gown, a lantern, bags packed, servants ready to go.
    • Matt 24:36 – But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son,[a] but only the Father.
    • Matt 25:1-13 – Ten Virgins


  • Because it would be a surprise the groomsman would go before him to warn her with a shout. This shout symbolized the groom was arriving within minutes and she must be ready with lantern lit.
    • 1 thess 4:16 – For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command/Shout from the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.
    • Matt 25:1-13 – Ten Virgins


  • After the groom received his bride together with her female attendants, the large party would head back to the grooms fathers house.
    • 2 thess 2:1 –  Concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered to him, we ask you, brothers and sisters, 2 not to become easily unsettled


  • Upon there arrival the wedding guests would have already arrived and be prepared for the ceremony.


  • Shorty after they arrived the bride and groom would be escorted to the bridal chamber. 


  • Prior to entering the the chamber the bride remained vailed so no one could see her face. The groomsmen and bridesmaids would wait outside as the groom and bride would enter into physical union for the first time, therefore completeing the marriage that had been covenanted earlier.


  • After the marriage was consummated/complete the groom would announce it to the groomsmen waiting outside the bridal chamber, they would then announce it to the guests and the wedding guests would feast  and celebrate for the next seven days
    • Psalms 19:5 – It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
    • 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.
    • Joel 2:16 – 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.


  • For seven days of feasting and celebrating the bride would remain hidden in the bridal chamber. Then at the end of the seven days the bride would come out with her vail off for everyone to see who she was.
    • Rev 21:1-4, 9-14 – Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,”[a] for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’[b] or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”The New Jerusalem, the Bride of the Lamb9 One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.” 10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God. 11 It shone with the glory of God, and its brilliance was like that of a very precious jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal. 12 It had a great, high wall with twelve gates, and with twelve angels at the gates. On the gates were written the names of the twelve tribes of Israel. 13 There were three gates on the east, three on the north, three on the south and three on the west. 14 The wall of the city had twelve foundations, and on them were the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.








  • Rev 22:17 – And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.



1.”Marriage,” The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, ed.Isaac Landman (New York:Universal Jewish Encyclopedia Co., Inc.,1948), 7, 372.

2. David R. Mace, Hebrew Marriage (New York: Philosophical Library, 1953), p.167.

3. “Marriage,” p.372.

4. “Betrothal,” The Jewish Encyclopedia, ed. Isidore Singer (New York: Funk and Wagnals Company, 1907), III, 126-26.

5. George F. Moore, Judaism (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1946), II, 121.

6. “Marriage” p.373.

7. George B. Eager, “Marriage,” The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, ed. James Orr (Grand Rapids: Wm. B.Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1957), III, 1998.

10. Emma Williams Gill, Home Life in the Bible (Nashville; Broadman Press, 1936), p.20.

11. James Neil, Everyday Life in the Holy Land (New York: Cassell and Company, Limited, 1913), p.251.

12 J. Jeremais, Theological Dictionary if the New Testament, ed. Gerhard Kittel, trans. and ed. Geoffrey W. Bromiley, IV (GrandRapids: Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1967), pp. 1099-1100.

13. “Veiling of the Bride,” The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, ed. Isaac Landman (New York: Universal Jewish Encyclopedia Co.,Inc., 1948), 10,339.

14. “Marriage,” p.373.

15. “Huppah,” The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, ed. Isaac Landman (New York: Universal Jewish Encyclopedia Co., Inc.,1948), 5, 504.

16. Donald G. Barnhouse, God’s Freedom (Grand Rapids: Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1961), p.191.

20. Alfred Edersheim, Sketches of Jewish Social Life in the Days of Christ (Grand Rapids: Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Company,1964), p.148. Printed by Cross Currents International Ministries of the U.S.A. 1st C.C.I.M. printing of 10,000 printed in England. P.O.Box 40, Bristol, BS99 7EF. P.O.Box 1310, Pietermaritzburg 3200, Natal, South Africa.

One Comment leave one →
  1. David permalink
    April 5, 2012 11:03 pm

    This is great stuff. What’s you resource for the wedding tradition of 1st century weddings in Israel? I’d like to read more about it.

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