The Jewish Wedding and Jesus – The Ceremony on Mt. Sinai

The Jewish Wedding and Jesus – The Ceremony on Mt. Sinai

The Jewish Wedding and Jesus – The Ceremony on Mt. Sinai

“In the third month after the children of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on the same day, they came to the Wilderness of Sinai. For they had departed from Rephidim, had come to the Wilderness of Sinai, and camped in the wilderness. So Israel camped there before the mountain.” (Exodus 19:1-2).

Match Made in HeavenThe Ten Plagues of Egypt served as the Lord’s way of wooing the bride, of preparing the Israelites to be His Chosen People, His bride. He freed them from bondage in Egypt to become His betrothed. The miracle of the Red Sea certified the Lord’s intentions, and made it possible for the Israelites to be ready for their marriage covenant with Yahweh, her soon-to-be Husband. The Lord got their attention, and now they have the freedom to choose the Lord in a special relationship. (Exodus 6-14).

The KetubahThe ultimate wedding ceremony between God and His Chosen People, His Bride. All Jewish weddings since that time were intended to be a reminder of this wedding, this ketubah, the time of God’s marriage covenant.

The Wedding Place: On the holy mountain selected by Yahweh, the same mountain, Mt. Sinai, where Moses first met Yahweh in the burning bush forty years earlier.

The Husband’s Proposal“Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel: ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” (Exodus 19:3-6)

The Bride’s Acceptance“So Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before them all these words which the Lord commanded him. Then all the people answered together and said, ‘All that Yahweh has spoken we will do!’ So Moses brought back the words of the people to Yahweh.”  (Exodus 19: 7-8).

The Marriage Ceremony“So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and sanctified the people, and they washed their clothes. Then it came to pass on the third day, in the morning, that there were thunderings and lightnings, and thick cloud on the mountain; and the sound of the shofar was very loud, so that all the people who were in the camp trembled. And Moses brought the people out of the camp to meet with God, and they stood at the foot of the mountain. Now Mt. Sinai was completely in smoke, because the Lord descended upon it in fire. Its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly. And when the blast of the shofar sounded long and became louder and louder, Moses spoke and God answered him by voice. Then the Lord came down upon Mt. Sinai, on the top of the mountain, and the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.” (Exodus 19:14, 16-20).

The Best Man at the Wedding: Moses. “Now all the people witnessed the thunderings, the lightning flashes, the sound of the shofar, and mountain smoking; and when the people saw it, they trembled and stood afar off. Then they said to Moses, ‘You speak with us, and we will hear; but let not God speak with us, lest we die.’ And Moses said to the people, ‘Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin.’ So the people stood afar off, but Moses drew near the thick darkness where God was.” (Exodus 20:18-21).

The Wedding Vows: The vows are contained in Exodus 20:1-23:33. These are basically household agreements, the formal part of how to run the new household. Various marital duties on the part of the bride include such duties as the Ten Commandments, and various instructions regarding such things as the holy altar, treatment of servants, violence taboos, animal control, property rights, moral principles, equal justice, the Sabbaths, the three annual Feasts, and the promise of a special Angel to guide them. Yahweh now makes an astounding promise to the Israelites. He is sending a special Messenger, the Angel of Yahweh, to walk before them on their journey, to bring them into the Promised Land. Yahweh referred to this Angel when He said, “My name is in Him.” (23:21). This Messenger is to be obeyed, they are to follow His guidelines and direction. They are not to provoke the Angel in any way. “So you shall serve Yahweh your God, and He will bless your bread and your water.” (23:25). In other words, the Israelites will be serving Yahweh by obeying the Angel of Yahweh. This Angel is God’s representative throughout their journey. The Angel is acting on God’s authority. This Messenger is Jesus Christ, for He bears the name of Yahweh, the Great I Am.

The Bride Affirms the Vows: “So Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord and all the teachings. And all the people answered with one voice and said, ‘All the words which the Lord has said we will do… We will hear and we will do!’ Then Moses took the Book of the Covenant and read in the hearing of the people. And they said, ‘All that the Lord has said we will do, and be obedient… We will hear and we will do!’”  (Exodus 24:3,7).

The Wedding Memorial“And Moses wrote all the words of Yahweh. And he rose early in the morning, and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars according to the twelve tribes of Israel. Then he sent young men of the children of Israel, who offered burnt offerings and sacrificed peace offerings of oxen to the Lord.” (Exodus 24:4-5).

Final Marriage Confirmation“And Moses took the blood of the sacrifices, sprinkled it on the people, and said, ‘This is the blood of the covenant which the Lord has made with you according to all these words.” (Exodus 24:8).

Making the Husband’s Home: Yahweh intends to remain with His bride, to be present with them, never wanting to leave her side. So the Lord instructs the Israelites on how to make a home for Him with the people on their journey to the Promised Land, in Exodus 26.

Honeymoon. “… The idea of the desert as a honeymoon in which God and the people imagined as bridegroom and bride, were alone together, consummating their union in love. The wilderness was seen by the biblical prophets as a kind of alone-togetherness, in which the people and God bonded in love.” (Rabbi Jonathon Sacks).

The Lord Considered Himself a Husband to His People: “For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of Hosts is His name; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth.” (Isaiah 54:5); “Return, O backsliding children,’ says the Lord; for I am married to you. I will take you, and I will bring you to Zion.” (Jeremiah 3:14); “…not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt. My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord.” (Jer. 31:32); “Thus says the Lord: ‘I remember you, the devotion of your youth, how as a bride you loved Me and followed Me through the wilderness.” (Jer. 2:2); “I will betroth you to Me forever; Yes, I will betroth you to Me in righteousness and justice, in lovingkindness and mercy; I will betroth you to Me in faithfulness, and you shall know the Lord.” (Hosea 2:19); “As the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, your God will rejoice over you.” (Isaiah 62:5).

This ketubah on Mt. Sinai is a picture of the wedding that will take place at Jesus Christ’s Second Coming. The Mt. Sinai wedding anticipates the Wedding of the Lamb between Christ and His Bride, His community of believers. Just as God’s covenant with His bride was eternal, this marriage in heaven will be eternal. God will continue to be a Husband, and His people will continue to be His Bride.

“Then I heard what sounded like the roar of a huge crowd, like the sound of rushing waters, like loud peals of thunder, saying, ‘Hallelujah! Lord, God of heaven’s armies, the Lord of Hosts has begun His reign! Let us rejoice and be glad! Let us give Him the glory! For the time has come for the wedding of the Lamb, and His Bride has prepared herself – fine linen, bright and clean has been given her to wear.’ The angel said to me, ‘Write this down: How blessed are those who have been invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb!’” (Revelations 19:6-9).