END TIMES: Ancient Jewish wedding customs and the Holy Spirit




I am betrothed to Jesus. His engagement ring (the Holy Spirit) is not around my finger, but wrapped around my heart as I wait for His return.

This ‘ring (see note #1, below) is not only a reminder of who it is that I belong to; it is also a pledge and a promise of my future inheritance, much like a deposit or partial payment of the full blessing to come. The Holy Spirit is my comforter, counselor, teacher, protector; a seal of my redemption as He guides me into all truth and transforms me to become more like Jesus.

A bride-to-be looks at her ring and it directs her thoughts to the one who loves her…the one she loves. It brings her joy as she thinks of the new life that awaits. Likewise, the Holy Spirit points us to Jesus.

Ancient Jewish marriage customs regarding a couple’s betrothal were much different from our own modern day ideas about engagements.  A bride price would be paid by the parents of the groom. There was also a binding contract that was agreed upon.

Even though the wedding ceremony and consummation would not happen for perhaps a year (*see note #2, below) during which time they did not live together, the contract would take effect immediately and the couple would be considered married during this interval. That is why we see the word ‘divorce’ used when we read in the Bible that during the time when Joseph and Mary were betrothed, he considered divorcing her when he found out that she was expecting.

As a believer, I have of my own free will accepted Jesus’ offer – His ‘proposal’ (Rebecca was not forced…she was asked if she wanted to go with Abraham’s servant, to marry Isaac) . We are presently in the betrothal period (the interval). Jesus has gone back to the Father’s house to prepare a place (this was also part of the ancient custom). The bride price was paid with His precious blood and He gave me the Holy Spirit, a gift of great value which is much like an earnest deposit or engagement ring, until the ‘deal’ is finalized. One day He will return for His church – the bride, and similar to the old wedding customs, it will be at an unknown time and hour decided by the Father of the Groom. (But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father. Matthew 24:36) This is why the bride and her bridal party were always to be ready. Another custom was that one of the groom’s party would go ahead of the bridegroom, leading the way to the bride’s house – and shout, “Behold, the bridegroom comes.” This would be followed by the sounding of the shofar, a ram’s (or other animal’s) horn that is blown like a trumpet).

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 1 Thess. 4:16

The bride will be lifted up or ‘caught up’ (in some traditions, the bride was lifted by poles to the ceremony in a carriage. (Some Jewish wedding celebrations still dance the ‘Hora’, where the bride and groom are lifted up in chairs by the guests). Another part of the ancient ceremony – nisuin or huppah –  is also called the ‘hometaking’. ‘Nisuin’ is from the verb – nasan ‘ which means to lift up or carry.

Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.                            1 Thess. 4:17

It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye, when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed.

                                                                                                        1 Corinthians 15:52

A Jewish wedding is a time of joy.  In Hebrew, it’s called a simcha (a joyous occasion). Likewise, Christians look forward to the Marriage of The Lamb as a time of great joy.

What a day that will be!

as the song by Jim Hill says:

What a day that will be,
When my Jesus I shall see,
And I look upon His face,
The One who saved me by His grace;
When He takes me by the hand,
And leads me through the Promised Land,
What a day, glorious day that will be. 

To listen to this song, go to youtube. Posted by Aaron Brown.

The Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life.                    – Revelation 22:17 NIV


note #1:    Regarding the word earnest as an engagement RING or deposit:

From: Vine’s Expository Dictionary of NT Words

And in Him, having heard and believed the word of truth— the gospel of your salvation— you were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, 14. Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.   (Ephesians 1:13, 14)

1: ἀρραβών
(Strong’s #728 — Noun Masculine — arrabon — ar-hrab-ohn’ )

originally, “earnest-money” deposited by the purchaser and forfeited if the purchase was not completed, was probably a Phoenician word, introduced into Greece. In general usage it came to denote “a pledge” or “earnest” of any sort; in the NT it is used only of that which is assured by God to believers; it is said of the Holy Spirit as the Divine “pledge” of all their future blessedness, 2 Corinthians 1:22 ; 5:5 ; in Ephesians 1:14 , particularly of their eternal inheritance. In the Sept., Genesis 38:17,18,20 . In modern Greek arrabona is an “ENGAGEMENT RING.”

  2 Corinthians 1:22      (From 3 different Bible versions:)

He has also put his seal on us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a down payment.  (Christian Standard Bible)

(He) set His seal of ownership on us, and put His Spirit in our heartsas a deposit, guaranteeing what is to come       (New International Version)

…and He has identified us as His own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything He has promised us.                                                                                              (New Living Translation)

*note #2:   Does the APPROXIMATE ‘year’ spent in waiting for the return of the groom represent the 1,000 years interval we are NOW spending between the time that Jesus came, shed His blood and paid the bride price and enacted the new covenant…..and the time when He will return for His bride & the Marriage of The Lamb will be finalized?

As we read in 1 Corinthians 15:52, the rapture or catching up happens at the LAST trumpet…..wouldn’t this be the end part of the tribulation period? as opposed to when the tribulation is just beginning?  If we are betrothed now, and the ‘consummation’ is at the rapture, when the Bridegroom comes and some of the virgins who did not have their lamps filled with oil were SHUT OUT, does that sound like they will have a 2nd chance while they are left on earth during a tribulation? Will there be TWO WEDDING FEASTS, then?

6 At midnight the cry rang out: ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him? 7 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.. 9 No,’ said the wise ones, ‘or there may not be enough for both us and you. Instead, go to those who sell oil and buy some for yourselves. 10 ‘But while they were on their way to buy it, the bridegroom arrived. Those who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet, and the door was shut. 11Later the other virgins arrived and said, ‘Lord, lord, open the door for us!’ 12 But he replied, ‘Truly I tell you, I do not know you. 13 Therefore keep watch, because you do not know the day or the hour.  Matt. 25:6-13 BSB





‘Because you have kept my word about patient endurance, I will keep you from the hour of trial that is coming on the whole world, to try those who dwell on the earth.’ Rev. 3;10


20 Now He was questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, and He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with signs that can be observed; 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is in your midst.”  Luke 17:20,21 NASB



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s