Kingdom Wedding

Matthew 25:1 compares the Kingdom of Heaven to ten girls waiting for their wedding. This post continues the ideas in the Ten Virgins Who Woke Up by examining components of a Jewish wedding. Marriage and the Wedding are core to the Kingdom of God. It is the third thing that God provided to Adam in the Garden-a place to live, a way to support himself, and a wife (life is a given). Genesis 2:24 is the first explanation or commentary in the Bible. The verse explains the “why” for the first recorded words of any man: “bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh”. Yes, Adam spoke names of animals, but they are never listed. This shows the importance of marriage. Because this joining reflects how God wants us to relate to Him, is there any wonder why marriage between a man and a woman is being attacked? The serpent’s assault on the Kingdom in the Garden is intended to separate mankind from God and to tear apart the union of Man and Woman. What if Adam never ate the fruit? Eve was deceived, but sin entered when Adam followed his wife in eating the forbidden fruit. How would things look now if Adam followed God’s voice and instructions? Okay, back to the symbolism in a Jewish wedding. 

In Luke 2, Mary is betrothed to Joseph. This part of the wedding is the erusin and, according to custom, they are bound to each other. Joseph’s father paid the mohar or bride’s price to Mary’s father (Exodus 22:16). This money should follow Mary into the marriage, but the money or services belonged to Mary’s father. I am sure that the money became part of Joseph’s concern when he found out Mary was with child. Father God paid the mohar; Jesus came to earth and died for us to pay the price. Our erusin began when we choose to accept that payment of Jesus’ blood and the work of the cross.

The mattan are the gifts given to the bride by the groom over and above the mohar. This thought is overwhelming! Jesus sent the Holy Spirit and with Him are the gifts. Charis is the Greek word used for the gifts of the Spirit and for grace. Are you picking what part of the mattan you want and fits in your BOX, or are you taking all the Gift? 

For the next parts of the wedding, I will list and explain as I see them and how they fit into the Kingdom.

  1. In the erusin, the groom is to prepare a place for the bride to live (John 14:2+3). Search in Bible Gateway for-prepare a place. The results are interesting. https://www.biblegateway.com/quicksearch/?quicksearch=prepare+a+place&resultspp=100&version=NIV
  2. The bride (and the groom) are to wash in a mikveh. This is a spiritual preparation. A mikveh is a pool of living (moving) water. I will equate the washing to baptism, but there are many types and reasons for washing in Jewish customs. 
  3. Nissuin is the wedding, and a part of this is a colorful parade. This procession is in the parable of the Ten Virgins. The Bride was never sure when the groom would come, so they had to be ready. The Father of the groom decided the exact time for the procession. Jesus said this in Matthew 24:36. I did not find this in my current research, but I believe the nissuin was two parades, one going to get the Bride and one going home. If that is the case, I would like to call the Palm Sunday ride into Jerusalem the first parade and the second parade is yet to happen.
  4. The chappah is what the Bride stands under, and that symbolizes the marriage chamber. May I offer the tongues of fire when they settled above the disciples’ heads on the Day of Pentecost as the chappah? They represent the glory of Heaven as first seen on Mount Sinai
  5. The Bride has responsibilities and duties during the erusin. Her price has been paid, and she is now married (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). The free.messianicbible.com site uses the Parable of the Virgins as its focus, so I am good with that. Again, I don’t have sources, but many of the things they say I have heard/read in other places. The bride had to be ready and part of that was a lamp filled with oil. She was to be concerned about her clothing and ornaments. She needed to be listening for the shofar (the trump) that will announce the groom’s coming. In our current customs, the bride and her family are busy doing all the work for the perfect day. That is not what it looked like in the first century. The groom handled the marriage feast.

Another post will focus on verses in the Bible about this topic. They are surprising. Psalm 45, which is labeled a wedding song, will provide a new twist on Kingdom, weddings, and brides. 

https://www.chabad.org/library/article_cdo/aid/465162/jewish/The-Jewish-Marriage-Ceremony.htm

https://www.biblegateway.com

myjewishlearning .com

jfedgmw.org

free.messianicbible.com

I apologize about the URL for the last three websites. All deal with ancient Jewish wedding practices. Facebook is creating links that I did not wish to have in my post.

The Garden and the Thousand Year Reign

The thousand-year reign of Revelation 20 and the Garden of Eden may sound like two strange concepts to put together, but this is today’s study. (SPOILER ALERT – this a study, only a study.)  The question that inspired this study was – Why was Satan to be bound and then released?  (Revelation 20:2,3, and 7 NIV).  So, I am not questioning what is going to happen in that thousand-year period but why a thousand years.

Since I have been musing on the Garden I have noticed many connections between Genesis and Revelation. Things from the Garden show up in both – the Tree of Life and the River.  So, the thousand-year reign also stirred my interest.  Was this another thing that had its foundation in the Creation story?

Psalm 90:4 and 2 Peter 3:8 are used frequently to speak of an eternal God and His idea of time.  One thousand years equals a day in the sight of God is not a new in theology or eschatology.  For me they are a reminder of just how limited I am compared to God.  Pulling this thought into Revelation 20 does not seem right, so I will leave it alone.  But that still left me with – why bind Satan for thousand years and then release him for a short time? 

Having noticed so many similar things in Genesis and Revelation, I have to wonder if the first Adam (and Eve) had a thousand years in the Garden before the Tree of Knowledge.  One thousand years of just pure fellowship with the Eternal Father and spending time under His rule and reign.  Just man and God walking in the Garden.  It could possible follow a pattern that some have seen in the Creation story – chaos, peace/Creation, and chaos.  I will try to explain that last statement.  Genesis 1:2 has a formless earth that is empty and dark, followed with God casting His light over everything; then to have the deception in Genesis 3. In Revelation it may look like the Antichrist, the thousand years, Satan loose, the eternal Kingdom of God.

Was the Tree a test for Adam and Eve?  Job’s story could loosely fit into the scenario of peace, chaos, and then peace.  That would then lead to the question of – Did Satan have to get permission to trouble Eve?  That thought might have you look at Revelation 20 as a thousand-year reign, Satan loose and deceiving people again, and then his last judgment.  Which ushers in the Father/Jesus’ Kingdom.

Man’s freewill is the issue here.  Eve, then Adam, choose knowledge over fellowship.  Abraham had knowledge and choose faith over doubt.  Judah and Israel were split on what to choose, some choose God, some did not.  People today, especially the Church, are in that same Garden.  Do I really choose Jesus and His way, or do I choose knowledge and its way?  The Father’s Kingdom will only have people that truly chose to fellowship with Him.  Will it come down to Revelation 20:6 (the Garden) or 20:7 and chaos.  Your choice!

Pic is from http://clipart.christiansunite.com

Tree of Knowledge – Trees and Garden in Ezekiel

In this post, I will focus on the trees in chapter 31 of Ezekiel.  In studying the topic of trees in the Book of Ezekiel I saw four groupings of trees throughout its chapters:

  1. Chapters 6 – 20 – are a mixture of unfaithfulness and judgment. 
  2. Chapter 31 – Pharaoh and his hordes being compared to Assyria.
  3. Chapters 34 and 36 – a promise of provision and “more than enough”.
  4. Chapters 40 and 41 – palm trees (art) in the new temple.

Fact – Bible Gateway (NIV) has Ezekiel with thirty verses that have the word trees in it.  That is more verses with the word “tree” than any other book in the Bible.

Chapter 31 starts with a timestamp of the “eleventh year, the first day of the third month” and verse 29:20 has the “eleventh year, the seventh day of the first month” so some background is in order.  I will digress and talk about world events outside of this chapter to help explain what we are reading.  The two timestamps are Ezekiel’s time in exile with King Jehoiachin (see 1:2) and possibly referring to the Hebrew calendar.  So first, it is after Passover and in the time of the “Counting of the Omer” that leads to what Christians call Pentecost (see Leviticus 23).  This is from the month and day portion of the timestamps.  The eleventh year is placing this just before the fall of Jerusalem (Jeremiah 39:2).

The Other Prophets – A part of this study that has been eye-opening is that Zephaniah, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, and Daniel where all alive at this time.  Jeremiah was nearing his death and the fall of Jerusalem.  Daniel was in the time period of his first four chapters – the fiery furnace, golden statues, and dreams interpreted.  (Like Jeremiah, I do not believe that Ezekiel and Daniel are in chronological order within their chapters.)  I wonder just how much of their doings and prophecies were known to the others?  We know from Daniel’s fast that he was aware of the seventy-year exile that was spoken by Jeremiah. Zephaniah may be the oldest of the group but little of his background is known except that he was active during the reign of Josiah (1:1). 

World Events – This will be a brief placement of Tyre, Assyria, Babylon, and Egypt in context with Ezekiel 28 through 31.  You will need to do your own searches on these topics as I am not giving references.  There are too many and they seem to overlap or not go far enough on any one topic. 

  1. Tyre – In chapter 28 the king of Tyre is given the characteristics of Satan and his fall into pride is discussed (See the Bad Guy post).  Tyre was destroyed by Babylon, even though it was on an island.  It was part of the Assyrian Empire and is associated with Lebanon. 
  2. Assyria – This is the nation that defeated and exported Northern Israel and brought the “Samaritans” to take their place.  By Ezekiel’s time, Assyria had been defeated by Babylon, so they were a good object lesson. 
  3. Babylon – They are a good/evil tree in the history of mankind.  In their day they were a chosen instrument to do the bidding of God, unfortunately, they took things to unneeded levels and reaped that reward.  But the empire did do much for humanity.  The use of Babylon as an example goes all the way into the book of Revelations.
  4. Egypt – The focus of Ezekiel 29 through 32 is Egypt.  By this time, they had been defeated by Nebuchadnezzar at Carchemish.  Josiah had been killed in the fighting with Neco, as he was going to Carchemish.  Neco also changed who was king in Israel setting the stage for Jerusalem’s fall.  They are given to Babylon as plunder in 29:17. This verse’s timestamp seems out of place!  The twenty-seventh year may refer to his age but that still is out of place (1:1), or this was his very first word from the Lord. Very little of Egypt’s and Israel’s interactions could be considered good.  Starting with Abraham Egypt has been a snare for Israel and all of the words from the Lord are about to be fulfilled.  Egypt would still be a “player” but never the world power that it had been.

 Trees and the Garden – The analogy of Pharaoh and Assyria uses the metaphor of trees to explain the fallen angels and Satan with the men/nations who supported them.  I am going on the premise that the “garden of God” and “garden of Eden” are being used to separate the ideas of angels and men.  To me the trees in the “garden of God” in verse eight are angels and a transition occurs in verse nine to bring both realms together, and then in verses 16 – 18 it shifts to the men who are the allies.  The end results of these comparisons were that Babylon did humble Assyria and that Egypt would fair no better.  

In the Bible – The Book of Jonah was written about the city of Nineveh, which at that time was the capital of Assyria.  

The words to Ezekiel are not done with the enemies of God before He sets up the New Jerusalem.  The “unfaithful shepherds”, Edom, and Gog are still to be dealt with before the “valley of dry bones” becomes God’s army and the new Temple comes.  Edom is the land of Esau, Jacob’s brother.  Gog has been referenced as Russia or China, but I am starting to think that it is Europe and the coalition of the Beast.

So, starting with the trees of the garden in chapter 31 I wonder if the rest of the Book is a “timeline” of events before the return of Jesus?

pic ; http://clipart.christiansunite.com/Bible_Characters_Clipart

Joel – The Land

If asked, before this study, I would have said the key feature in the Book of Joel is the locust; now I would say it is “the land” or “His land.”  The reason for the locust came was to distress the people and clean the land. Sometimes our English translations don’t do the Hebrew text justice.  Joel used specific words when he talked about valleys and mountains that change the mental pictures of his prophecy.  He does the same thing when he is writing about land or ground; most of the time the word is erets, but twice the word adamah is used.

David states in Psalm 24:1 “the earth is the Lord’s and everything that is in it.”  Joel is writing to the “elders” and “the all” that live in THE LAND.  In 1:6 and 3:2 Yahweh refers to this piece of real estate as “My land” and Joel in 2:18 calls it “His land.”  The word is erets and refers to earth or by extension all of the earth is His because He made it.  But that little sliver of land we call Israel is very special to Him.  It is no mistake that he led Abram there and promised it to his yet unborn children.  New Jerusalem will be placed there and some Bible teachers will make the argument that is where the Garden of Eden (2:3) was.  Those locusts were sent to strip the fields and pastures and so cover the mountains and valleys in order “to clean” it off.  This, in turn, produced the anguish/repentance that was needed.  The army of locust/army of people will be judged for what they do in Israel.

Adamah the word for ground/earth is used in 1:10 and 2:21, and it refers to red or productive ground and is the ground that Adam came from.  This term is important because it is a promise for us; when we are obedient the ground is productive, but rebellion will hinder that productiveness.  1:10 is dealing with the rebellion/loss of production and 2:21 is when Judah is promised blessings again.

The razing of the land talked about in Joel sounds like the destruction that the Roman army brought when they destroyed Jerusalem in 70 A.D.

God is the Master Gardener; He is letting us use His earth we need to take care of it as best we can.

Joel – Mountains

To do a post on valleys and not one on mountains does not seem right.  The Hebrew word har is used six times in Joel.  A word for hill is used once in 3: 18, but depending on the translation you may read “hill” even though it is the word Har. (Got to love translators and their work.)

Three times in Joel Har is used with the word Zion or holy (2: 1, 32; 3: 17).  The other three times the NIV adds an “s” making them plural, so to me, that makes them all the other mountains in Israel.  Mountains in Israel and other places are often sacred places.  Strong’s Concordance states they are often associated with deities and serve as symbols of strength.  Israel did have problems with using mountains as worships sites for other gods throughout its history.  If you read this thought (what we think as strong or wrong gods) into the verse when you read 2: 2, 5, and 3: 18 it transforms the verses into statements of God’s greatness and blessings over and above the gods that would war against Him and his people.

In 3:18 it is the mountains and hills that are giving the wine and milk.  These are the “areas” above the valleys where I would normally think of when it comes to food production.  I will let you draw your own conclusions here but it should give you another look into the greatness of our God.

Reference – Strong’s/Vine’s Concordance