Below is a partial study done by Bruce Allen. This study was presented at an End Time Prophetic conference in Spokane WA. These are very interesting notes and we are seeing a fulfillment of so many things spoken of prophetically over the last 2,500 years since before the birth of Christ till today.
I found the study to be profound and wanted to share them with you as Bruce and I have compared notes, visions and prophecies. Bruce is a mighty man of God that travels extensively worldwide. Take a read and enjoy.
Known (1097) = Know, Perceive and Understand
Luke 12:54-56 (NKJV)
“Then He also said to the multitudes, ‘Whenever you see a cloud rising out of the west, immediately you say, ‘A shower is coming'; and so it is. And when you see the south wind blow, you say, “there will be hot weather'; and there is. Hypocrites! You can discern the face of the sky and of the earth, but how is it you do not discern this time?”
John 6:13 (AMP)
But when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth- giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth). For He will not speak His own message [on His own authority]; but He will tell whatever He hears [from the Father; He will give the message that has been given to Him], and He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come [that will happen in the future
Ezekiel 12:21-25 (NKJV)
“And the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 22 Son of man, what is this proverb that you people have about the land of Israel, which says, The days are prolonged, and every vision fails ? 23 Tell them therefore, Thus says the Lord God: I will lay this proverb to rest, and they shall no more use it as a proverb in Israel. But say to them, The days are at hand, and the fulfillment of every vision. 24 For no more shall there be any false vision or flattering divination within the house of Israel. 25 For I am the Lord. I speak, and the word which I speak will come to pass; it will no more be postponed; for in your days, O rebellious house, I will say the word and perform it, says the Lord God.”
Genesis 6:3 (NKJV)
And the Lord said, “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years.”
120 x 50 = 6000 years!
Strive (1777) = to act as judge, to plead the cause, requite, vindicate
Daniel 9:24 (NKJV)
“Seventy weeks are determined for your people and for your holy city. To finish transgression, to make an end of sins, to make reconciliation for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy, and to anoint the Most Holy.”
Weeks (7620) = 70 Feast weeks (70 x 50 = 3500 yrs)
Most people are unfamiliar with the concept of Shemitah cycles, but it is a most important pattern established on the first week of creation – the patter of sevens. In the case of the Shemitah cycle, it is a pattern of seven years.
Just as every seventh day from the beginning of Creation is a Sabbath day, every seventh year is a Sabbath year – a year of rest. All of these are a foreshadowing of a certain day – the Seventh Day from Adam – (2 Peter 3:8) – or the Seventh Millennium.
These Shemitah years are then counted seven times and after the seventh Shemitah year is a Jubliee year. This is how the Creator gauges time, and it is this calculation of time which is imbedded within the Covenant relationship with Jehovah.
Therefore, every Jubliee cycle contains seven Shemitah Cycles each consisting of seven years. The seven Shemitah cycles, totaling 49 years, are followed by one Jubliee Year. These 50 years from a Jubliee cycle.
According to the Dead Sea Scrolls, 1 QapGen Col. 6, the flood was to occur in the year that followed a Shemitah cycle. This would have either been Year 1 of a new Shemitah cycle or a Jubliee Year. The point is Jehovah had Noah counting Shemitah cycles. The Shemitah count was and remains extremely significant when examining time and creation.
Once again we find ourselves in the “days of Noah” according to Mathew 24. We MUST understand these cycles to understand the season we are in!
Through this system of reckoning time it was actually revealed how much time man would be given on Earth. The Scriptures record that when Jehovah saw the condition of things He declared: “My Spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty (120) years.” Genesis (Beresheet) 6:3.
Many believe that Jehovah was giving a limit to the number of years that individual men would be allowed to live, but that is clearly not the context, nor is it true since men were recorded as living far longer than 120 years after that declaration. Jehovah was speaking of mankind and indicated that He was not going to allow their existence to continue forever.
Clearly men were rebellious and He was not going to contend with them forever. He was establishing a limit and it would be within that period of time He would gather His chosen into His Kingdom through His covenant. The 120 “years” that Jehovah was referring to are actually 120 “cycles” – more specifically – Jubliee Cycles. Since a Jubliee Cycle is 50 years we can discern that Jehovah was giving mankind 6,000 years.
This pattern was, of course, established during the first week of creation. As a result, many understand that Jehovah would allow men 6,000 years until He would establish His Sabbath reign – the millennial Kingdom.
1967 – 50 (jubliee yrs) = 1917 The end of the Ottoman Rule (400) and Balfor declaration
Taken off of website “The Division of Israel Foreign Ministry
1967 + 50 = 2017
From the going forth of the commandment to restore, 70 years were given to mak na end of sin and to anoint the Most holy.
2017 – 70 yrs = 1947
Nov 29, 1947 “Moved to action by the horrors of the Holocaust, the U.N. voted to divide Palestine into Jewish and Arab States. Jerusalem, it said, will belong to the world.”
The Fig Tree Nation (Matt 24:32-34 “Now learn this parable from the fig tree (Israel): When its branch has already become tender and puts forth leaves, you know that summer is near. So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near – at the doors! Assuredly, I say to you, this generation (ours) will by no means pass away (70 years) till all these things take place.”
The commandment went forth on Nov 29th. The action took place May 1948
Is This Possible? If so, what should our response be?
By JOSEPH FARAH
“Several years ago, Ludwig Schneider, a German-language scholar, discovered an amazing prophecy dating back to 1217 by a scholarly and highly respected rabbi by the name of Judah Ben Samuel.
He was quite famous in his time as the initiator of the Chassidic Ashkenaz, a movement of Jewish mysticism in Germany. He founded a yeshiva in Regensburg and secured many pupils. Legend has it that, as a young man, he was an excellent bowman but knew little or nothing about daily prayers. But once he got serious about his faith, legend has it that he performed many miracles. It is also reported that he was given a prophecy about the exact year of Israel’s rebirth as a nation and its redemption.
So renowned was his work, the Bishop of Salzburg asked him to serve as his personal seer.
Because most of his writings were published so long ago – before the invention of the printing press – and in German, few copies have survived. But Schneider has a copy of Judah Ben Samuel’s prophecy about the nation of Israel and the messianic era and has translated the highlights of it into English and other languages for the magazine Israel Today.
The prophecy involves the Jubilee Year cycle every 50 years. I should point out there’s much controversy about pinpointing Jubilee Years because they have been observed in Israel since ancient times, while no one is 100 percent certain about when they should occur on the modern Hebrew calendar.
However, in the year Judah Ben Samuel died in 1217, he prophesied that the Ottoman Turks would rule over the holy city of Jerusalem for eight Jubilees. Now, keep in mind, he made this prediction 300 years before the Turks seized control of Jerusalem in 1517. In fact, the Ottoman Empire, as it would become to be known, did not even really exist yet in 1217.
According to Judah Ben Samuel, 1217 was a Jubilee Year. If he was right, that would also make 1517 a Jubilee Year.
Exactly 400 years after the Ottoman Turks took control of Jerusalem in 1517, they were driven out of the city and the Holy Land in 1917 by the Allied forces under the command of Gen. George Allenby – on Hanukkah, by the way.
But it gets more interesting still.
The rabbi also prophesied that during the ninth Jubilee Jerusalem would be a ‘no-man’s land.’ This is exactly what happened from 1917 to 1967, due to the fact that the Holy Land was placed under British Mandate in 1917 by the League of Nations and literally ‘belonged’ to no nation. Even after Israel’s war of independence in 1948-49 Jerusalem was still divided by a strip of land running right through the heart of the city, with Jordan controlling the eastern part of the city and Israel controlling the western part of the city. That strip of land was considered and even called ‘no-man’s land’ by both the Israelis and the Jordanians.
It was not until the Six Day War in 1967 when the entire west bank of the holy land was conquered by the Israeli army that the whole city of Jerusalem passed back into the possession of Israel. So once again the prophecy made by the rabbi 750 years previously was fulfilled to the letter.
It certainly would be significant if indeed both 1917 and 1967 were Jubilee years considering the significance of what happened in Jerusalem on those years. But it gets better.
The rabbi also prophesied that during the 10th Jubilee, Jerusalem would be under the control of the Jews and the Messianic ‘end times’ would begin. The 10th Jubilee began in 1967 and will be concluded in – 2017.
What should we expect to happen in 2017? I will leave that to your imagination.
But one thing is certain: Judah Ben Samuel made some truly remarkable prophecies that came to pass. We’ll have to wait about four more years to see if his final prediction does as well.”
What Is a Ketubah?
Ketubah is the Hebrew word for “marriage contract.” The terms of the contract were worked out between the two families during the meal they shared together. When both sides were satisfied they brought in a scribe or a rabbi to write the actual document itself, which had five parts.
• First came a combined family history of the bride and groom, which included detailed family trees and anecdotes.
• Second came a personal and family history of the bride, with a detailed family tree and anecdotes.
• Third came a personal and family history of the groom, also with a family tree and anecdotes.
• Fourth came the story of how the bride and groom met, with related anecdotes.
• Fifth came a final section detailing both the bride’s and the groom’s responsibilities before and after the wedding.
Many researchers point out that the first five books of the Bible correspond to the five parts of the ancient Hebrew ketubah.
• Genesis provides the combined family history of the Bride and Groom.
• Exodus gives the personal and family history of the Bride.
• Leviticus provides the history of God’s “family,” the Levites.
• Numbers tells of God’s love affair with His people in the wilderness and records His joys and sorrows as He reaches out to His Bride.
• Deuteronomy specifies the responsibilities that both Bride and Groom must fulfill.
So what am I saying here? The first five books of the Bible are written as a marriage contract between God and His people. We’re not even talking “analogy” here – that’s what they are!
When all these details and conditions of the coming marriage were recorded in writing, the ketubah required seven signatures, seven “seals.” These came from the bride and groom, the two fathers, a scribe (or, in later times, a rabbi), and two witnesses.
In my opinion, in the Torah those seven signatures come from seven major players. Remember that our covenant patriarchs play a very important role in this ketubah, this marriage contract.
Figuratively, they become the signatories as follows:
• Adam and Noah were the two witnesses.
• Abraham, the father of many nations, was also father of the groom.
• Jacob was the father of the bride.
• Moses was the scribe (he wrote down the Torah as God dictated).
• David, often called God’s beloved, was the bride.
• Yeshua, representing salvation, was the groom.
A Word About Covenants
We must establish the fact that a covenant is not a testament. A testament is a Greek legal document that defines the lawful rights of all those to whom it applies. A Last Will and Testament, in which someone details his wishes for the disposition of his property after his death, is a prime example. In Such a case, the Greek practice of giving greatest weight to the most recent such ‘testament’ makes good sense. Legally, any new testament makes null and void the previous (i.e., “old”) testament by the same party. A newer Will always super cedes an older Will.
By contrast, the word covenant defines an ongoing relationship with no appointed end. Rather than being a legal document, a covenant is a commitment to develop a certain kind of continuing relationship. By its very existence it implies a dynamic interaction between partners, a growing organic process.
Given this understanding, there’s really no legitimate way to use the words “new covenant” to imply that you are somehow trotting out a new one to replace an old one. You can adapt an existing covenant by adding additional conditions, but you can’t terminate it (i.e., declare it null and void) and replace it with a different (or “new”) one.
So forget the “new” concept. The Hebrew name for the Gospels and the books that follow (i.e., from Matthew through Revelation) is B’rit Hadashah (Jeremiah 31:31-34).
The Hebrew word B’rit means “covenant,” which is further defined as “to eat together, to share food, to prepare a banquet.” The ancient Hebrews recognized their responsibility to provide a meal whenever a guest entered their homes. They were also responsible to protect the life and possessions of anyone who came inside their home, as demonstrated so poignantly in the story of Lot and the two angelic strangers he entertained in Genesis 19:1-3.
B’rit also means, “to cleanse or make pure,” and “a son of the sign.” When God called Abraham into a deeper relationship, He asked him to circumcise himself as a sign of the covenant relationship between them (Genesis 17:11) Circumcision was also an outward sign of the purity (i.e., the holiness) that God imputed to Abraham at that time. Thus, Abraham and his descendants become “sons of the sign.”
In Hebrew, hadashah means “renewed” or “a cycle of restoration,” or “to return to a previous state.” The same word is also used in reference to the lunar cycle, meaning that we don’t get a new moon every month – the old one just gets restored to a previous condition. The same thing is true of B’rit Hadashah, meaning that somewhere in the history of covenant we’ve been here before!
Therefore, a more accurate title for the New Testament would be “Renewed Covenant,” or “Renewed Relationship,” not “New Covenant” as the original Hebrew in Jeremiah 31:31-31 is commonly mistranslated.
So our arbitrary attempts at organizing Scripture into two halves have no real significance whatsoever. From God’s perspective there is no such thing as what we call the Old Testament and the New Testament. He created Scripture to define His all-inclusive, all-encompassing plan of redemption as an ongoing covenant between Himself and us. The defining document for that single, unified, divine plan is the Holy Bible. Period.
So, we’ve learned a couple of things about covenants:
1.First, since the nature of covenant is never to become null and void, each “renewed” covenant includes everything that came before. God’s promises are eternal. So a new or renewed covenant (e.g., the so-called “New Testament”) does not invalidate those that preceded it (e.g., the so-called “Old Testament”); it simply includes and expands them.
2.Second, when a covenant is renewed it may then contain additional and/or expanded provisions, but they are folded into existing covenant, which (of course!) still remains in force.
Defining Covenant Types
In Exodus 23:31 – 24:8, God referred to the first five books of the OT (Torah) as the “Book of the Covenant” (Exodus 24:7). In Torah, God enumerates seven progressive and inclusive covenants as a pattern of restoration for mankind. The following four fundamental covenant types represent these seven covenants.
1. Blood Covenant
The first covenant understood as “entering into a relationship of servanthood,” requires the shedding of blood by sacrifice and must be renewed daily. As Paul said in 1 Corinthians 15:31: “I affirm, brethren, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.”
Adam and Eve, in effect, were in a marriage covenant with God. When they disobeyed they effectively handed God a writ of divorce. In response, God sought to restore His highest-level covenant with them, in step-by-step fashion, as we will discover, first by shedding the blood of an animal to make clothes for them. Animal sacrifice, as defined by ancient biblical Hebrew culture, was also a symbol of restoration and purification.
Thus, the initial covenant relationship that God established with Adam and Eve, and Noah, was a blood (service) covenant (Genesis 9:7-17 and Genesis 3:17-22), the first step on their pathway to restoration.
Jehovah was conveying to Adam and Eve that the beginning of their restoration involved going back to the beginning – servanthood and obedience.
Likewise, Noah made a blood sacrifice after the Flood waters receded. In so doing he fulfilled man’s half of the original blood covenant between God and mankind. God originated it; now man reciprocated. Noah is an obvious example of the faithful servant who did what God required.
In other words, by asking us to enter into a servant relationship with Himself, God is asking us to serve and obey Him. (Luke 17:10)
It’s worth noting that wine is considered an acceptable Hebrew alternative to shedding blood; it’s the “blood of the grape.” That explains why we currently observe communion as we do. Through the wine we are constantly renewing the blood covenant that God initiated with Adam so many year ago, and renewed with the death of Yeshua.
2. Salt Covenant
The second type of covenant is called salt covenant. In contrast to the blood covenant (wherein Paul died daily), this is an eternal covenant. Once you make it, it’s “made” forever and doesn’t have to be renewed constantly.
Its name comes from an ancient practice. Each Hebrew person carried a small pouch of salt. When two or more men wanted to enter into this type of relationship with each other, the parties to the covenant would mix their salt in a common bowl, break bread, dip it into the salt, and eat it. When they were finished they would redistribute the salt into their pouches.
At that point, the only way to break the covenant would be to separate each grain of salt from the others and return it to its original owner. Since this was impossible, the established bond had to remain forever.
Salt covenant, also called both the “covenant of hospitality” and the “covenant of friendship”, was represented by the breaking of salted bread, and by fellowship. God wants to restore the lost friendship and closeness this type of relationship offers. When we enter into a salt covenant with God, He expands on the servanthood covenant (i.e., blood covenant) and rewards us with more of Himself.
When Abraham welcomed the Lord and broke bread with Him (Genesis 18:1-15), he was modeling the salt covenant. As with the blood covenant, the salt covenant begins at God’s initiation. God pursued Abraham and gave him a unilateral promise. But at the same time, God still required Abraham to do certain things. And Abraham was still modeling servant (i.e., blood) covenant when he raised the knife and almost sacrificed Isaac.
This again demonstrates the progressive, cumulative nature of covenant. Abraham’s original blood covenant with God (Genesis 15:5-21) wasn’t cancelled or replaced by his salt covenant with God. For once you enter salt covenant you become a friend of the one you’re in covenant with, but you also continue to be a servant. Abraham was called a “friend of God” but he never stopped being a servant.
3. Sandal Covenant
The third type of covenant is sandal covenant, also called the covenant of inheritance. The ancient Hebrews used worn-out sandals to mark the boundaries of their property. They partially covered them with rocks to hold them in place against the natural elements.
However, any such “weighing down” was not intended to hold the sandals in place against human interference. Moving boundaries was strictly forbidden by divine command as set forth in Deuteronomy 19:14.
Over time, sandals themselves came to represent the inheritance concept. Thus the sandal covenant is a picture of the relationship of sons and daughters with their parents.
Along with the privilege of inheritance comes the responsibility to maintain the servant covenant as well. In ancient Hebrew households, during the day you could not tell the sons and daughters apart from the hired help. But at dinnertime (marriage supper of the Lamb?!) the difference became obvious; the sons and daughters were the ones sitting with the parents at the family table.
Inheritance also requires us to be a good steward of our Father’s estate. This was God’s original intent for Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. They were given the authority and responsibility to manage the garden and the earth, but lost out through disobedience.
To take an example from B’rit Hadashah, the story of the rich young ruler (Matthew 19:16-29) shows us what Yeshua is looking for in someone who aspires to be both a servant and a friend. The young man was obedient to God’s commandments, but he found it difficult to enter into Yeshua’s offer of a deeper relationship.
Yeshua basically said, “You are already my servant and my friend; now come and be my son.” But the young man wasn’t quite ready to trade his earthly inheritance for an increased share in the heavenly kingdom. Therefore, his poor decision prevented him from entering into a deeper relationship and getting any farther than the friendship (salt) covenant.
This does not mean that the rich young ruler “lost out” on what he had settled with God up to that moment. His salvation was never in question. But like so many believers today, who are called into deeper relationships, the rich young ruler simply failed to draw closer when the opportunity came.
Once again, bear in mind that the first step in each covenant always comes at God’s initiative. The second half comes when man reciprocates, which doesn’t always happen immediately.
On a more human level, an earthly parent models the same series of covenants through his or her growing relationship with a son or daughter. If the parent does a good job of training a child in obedience (blood covenant), the child will become a friend (salt covenant). A son or daughter who matures and becomes a responsible adult eventually qualifies for an inheritance (sandal covenant).
Likewise in our evolving covenant with God the relationship offered by each of the preceding covenants makes the next covenant possible. And all of this leads into a major point, repeated many times already: As we enter into each new or “renewed” covenant with God we do not leave behind the responsibilities – or the benefits – of the preceding one.
To illustrate this literally recall the Last Supper in the Upper Room, as described in John 13:4-14. Yeshua offered the inheritance of His heavenly kingdom to His disciples. By removing their sandals and washing their feet He was giving them a new inheritance – His own! He was establishing a relationship of purity without manmade barriers, at the same time fulfilling the promise in John 1:12-13: “To them He gave power to become sons of God …”
Some of the disciples protested at first, but His response was very clear: “If I don’t do this you’ll have no part of Me.”
Today many believers think you can get saved and have all the intimacy you’ll ever need by accepting the free gift, with no additional effort on your part. But salvation is only the beginning – it’s only the first step toward establishing the intimacy that God desires. At the moment (or very soon thereafter), God gives to each one of us the choice of increasing the maturity and intimacy of our relationship with Him. This is the reality that many seem to miss.
Philippians 2:12 says, “work out your salvation [literally, ‘work out our success’; terms of relationship, or obligations of covenant; i.e., purity] with fear and trembling [earnestness and urgency].” All of this takes on a whole new meaning when you begin to understand covenant.
The Lord will give us a step-by-step increase of His kingdom in our lives if we choose to walk out our faith. But we have to consciously make that commitment to move beyond basic salvation and enter into true covenant relationships with Him. When we do, He will give us the strength, the knowledge, and the stamina to move continually forward. As we show that we can be faithful with one step, He will show us the next one.
The final step in the process of restoration is the hand of the bridegroom alone. Why marriage? Because that is the ultimate fulfillment of all the covenants. God’s goal for us is a marriage relationship with Himself, involving complete intimacy. Marriage is the renewed relationship He desires.
However, not everyone who accepts salvation will aspire to be His bride. Like the rich young ruler, many will consider the price too high. But that will not leave them out in the cold – many people besides the bride and bridegroom will attend the wedding of the Lamb (Matthew 20:1-16, Matthew 22:1-14, Matthew 25:1-13, Revelation 19:5-9).
They just won’t be part of the bride because you can’t be married without being completely in covenant. Only when you’ve entered all three preceding types of covenant are you ready for marriage. And as you might expect, since the number represents biblical perfection, “perfect” covenant requires seven covenant phases, the six we’ve described and the ultimate marriage covenant itself.
4. Betrothal or Marriage Covenant
As stated, marriage is the culmination of the three previous types of covenant: servanthood, friendship and inheritance. That explains why the marriage relationship is so central to everything God ordained. In scripture after scripture the Lord compares all those who enter into all three forms of covenant with Him as the Bride. His own references to that fundamental image fill the Old Testament from the stories of the patriarchs to the words He put in the mouths of His prophets.
Yeshua, John, Paul and all the other Hebrew writers continued the same pattern all the way through B’rit Hadashah. References to the Hebrew marriage covenant, and to the members of Christ’s “church” as either being part of the bride or having the opportunity to become part of the bride (“many are called but few are chosen”), rise to a crescendo in Revelation.
Just as you can’t know Scripture if you don’t know covenant, you can’t truly understand covenant – and certainly not the book of Revelation – if you don’t understand the ancient Hebrew marriage rituals and ceremony. So let’s consider how it all works.
First of all, ancient Hebrew marriages were “arranged” but the ancient Hebrew bride and groom had more choice in the matter than many of us might realize. Parental approval was essential but the initial impetus often came from the young people themselves, who frequently knew exactly what (and whom) they wanted.
Often, the families tentatively identified a match as a mutually desirable outcome, sometimes years before the actual betrothal. However, any such “silent agreement” was not legally binding and was always subject to the would-be bride’s approval. But eventually, if all signs were “go” the prospective groom and his father would let it leak out to the bride’s family that a formal proposal would soon be made.
On the day the prospective bridegroom made his first official move, he brought his father to the intended bride’s house. They carried a betrothal cup, wine, and the anticipated bride price in a pouch. When they got there they knocked.
The prospective bride’s father would be on the other side of the door, but before he opened it he would peek out through a little window, identify the visitors, then look to his daughter to confirm what, in most cases, she had long since settled in her own mind. Should she open the door?
Revelation 3:20 “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”
If she said yes, for all practical purposes the commitment to work through the betrothal process and arrive a fully functioning marriage was made at that moment. Therefore, hers was not a lightly made decision, for the issue was not, “Can we have a wedding?” Once the door was opened the only remaining question was, “We can have a marriage if we can work out the terms, so what will they be?”
Opening the door was the first major step toward making a marriage, which is precisely what Yeshua is saying in Revelation 3:20. You open the door, He comes in, and the restoration process begins. At that point you have salvation. But beyond that, He is asking you if you will enter into the covenant of betrothal with Him. Will you walk in a loving relationship with your bridegroom?
Even after the bride opened the door she could end the whole process at any stage. In fact, once the initial agreement to be married was “darashed out” (i.e., worked out through intense, animated discussion) and formalized in a written contract, the bride was the only one who could still back out, right up to the very instant of marriage consummation. She could stop the whole process at any moment, and she didn’t even need any special reason!
At the same time, once the groom’s initial proposal had been made and accepted, the groom was utterly and totally committed. Only by a writ of divorce, on extremely limited grounds, could he ever back out.
We can accept eternal salvation and even avail ourselves of all the benefits of a servant covenant with Him without ever moving beyond that. In fact, if we decide to go further than simply opening the door, we might even be able to establish and maintain the servant covenant, then the friendship covenant, and perhaps even the inheritance covenant.
Becoming the actual bride of Yeshua requires a committed, intimate relationship with Him that goes well beyond all the preliminaries. How many of us are willing to separate or distance ourselves from those things of this world that are not pleasing to God?
Even so, if we do desire to take the betrothal step we can still back out at any time, and many of us do. Yet the invitation to be part of the bride is always there, except for those times when we give back the free gift of salvation. As it says in 2 Timothy 2:11-13 (NIV):
“If we died with Him, we will also live with Him; if we endure, we will also reign with Him. If we disown Him, He will also disown us; if we are faithless, He will remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself.”
Think once again in terms of the four types of covenant. Remember that they are progressive in nature, meaning that you must enter into the first three covenants, in order, before you can enter into number four.
Remember also the names and the implications of each one, for you’re about to see how the servant, friendship, and inheritance covenants are woven into covenant number four. Each on helps to establish, to support, and to reinforce the ancient Hebrew betrothal contract. In turn, the progression of commitments about to take place during the betrothal process, beginning on the evening when the groom comes and knocks, mirrors the sequence of commitments in the four covenants.
In His capacity as the Ultimate Master of Symbolism, God established four cups of wine as milestones, or “markers,” to signify exactly where the betrothal parties were in their negotiations. Each cup corresponded to a covenant, but it also represented something that all the participants had to physically grasp, to physically consume and make part of themselves. It goes without saying that each person would also have to participate mentally and spiritually at each step of the way, or the process would break down.
Now, refer back to the reference to “sup with him” from Revelation 3:20, for it has to do with what traditionally happened next. Once the prospective groom and his father were inside the prospective bride’s home, as they worked out all the details of the wedding they would eat dinner together with her family.
Members of the two families would also drink three of the four betrothal cups of wine, one cup each at certain well-established points throughout the negotiating process.
Cup Number One
The first cup was the Cup of Sanctification, which equated to a servant (blood) covenant between the two families. This cup was consumed almost as soon as the door closed. The groom, his father, and every member of the bride’s family above the age of accountability participated, for each member of each family was agreeing to serve the other family.
Sanctification embodies the idea of setting ourselves apart for God. Just as God sanctified the nation of Israel, these two families were making a sacred commitment to become on giant family, each person to unilaterally serve all the new members.
Cup Number Two
The second cup was the Cup of Betrothal, Cup of Plagues, Cup of Bargaining, or the cup of Dedication, which represented a salt covenant between the families. The bride and groom and their two fathers consumed this cup only. The two families, represented here by the fathers, were covenanting to become eternal friends with their joint son and daughter, and with each other.
As they ate, the members of both families haggled over the details of the marriage contract. This is usually where the negotiations would break down if they were ever going to. But if they managed to surmount all the difficulties, the families entered into a friendship covenant even as they established the terms of the upcoming marriage. In similar fashion, we are admonished to “…work out you salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12) when we accept the Lord’s offer of servanthood, which then matures into friendship.
Cup Number Three
The third cup was the Cup of Redemption, or the Cup of Inheritance, which represented a sandal covenant and signified the shared inheritance of the marriage partners. This cup was drunk at the end of the meal, but the bride and groom only, to symbolize their exclusive commitment to each other, along with their increasing level of intimacy.
It also officially “sealed” the marriage agreement between them. Once the bargaining was over the families brought in a scribe, who wrote out all the terms of the marriage covenant in a formal agreement, called a ketubah. Probably the scribe, knowing that he was about to be called on, had most of the “boilerplate” (e.g., the histories of the bride and groom’s families, and perhaps even some of the stipulations) written out in advance. Beyond that he simply added the specifics of each situation.
At that point the young men of the family would hit the streets and blow their ram’s horn trumpets (shofars), announcing to all the world that the marriage contract had been signed. For all intents and purposes the bride and groom were now officially married, even though neither the ceremony nor the consummation had yet occurred. Nevertheless, from that moment onward, if either one died the survivor would fully inherit the deceased partner’s possessions.
The third cup also corresponded to the cup Yeshua shared with His disciples during the Passover feast, or the Last Supper, when He washed their feet and thus transferred His inheritance to them (sandal covenant). He also made further reference to His coming marriage to His kalah, His “called out ones,” knowing that it was customary for the groom not to drink wine again until the wedding ceremony. That explains why He said He would not touch the fruit of the vine again until He could do so with them in the Kingdom of Heaven. He even maintained this vow as He hung on the cross, when He refused the pain-numbing wine that the Roman soldiers offered.
Each time we take the communion we should remember that we are literally reaffirming our commitment to be Yeshua’s bride. Indeed, the communion in the Upper Room is a picture of the covenant sequence, except that Yeshua reversed it!
• First He removed his disciples’ sandals and washed their feet (inheritance).
• Next, He broke bread (friendship) and passed a cup of wine (service).
• Finally, He then went on to shed His blood on the Cross a few hours later, in the ultimate blood covenant.
In view of all this, when we take communion we also need to recognize, every single time, what He did on the cross. But it’s equally important to remember that we’re making a re-commitment to pursue Him; to wrestle with Him; to be His friend and manage His estate. When we take the cup we are committing again to serve Him, to obey Him, to follow His rules and ordinances, for the commitment we make at communion is the same as what a bride and groom make to each other.
Once we’re in covenant with Yeshua we don’t get the option of restructuring that relationship to suit ourselves. Yet sadly, the modern church has altered the very fabric of the Hebraic relationship that God began with Adam and Eve. We have literally thrown away our understanding in favor of “doing it our own way.” We are too used to doing our own thing and believing we don’t have to do things by any means other than what we, ourselves, choose.
Yet God has shown us very clearly how He wants to be approached. It’s not our option to say that we, on the contrary, have a better idea. God says, “This is how you go about mending and restoring your relationship with Me. No other way will work.”
From God’s perspective, neither is the meaning and import of any of the four covenant types up for discussion. God offered mankind a betrothal contract starting 6,000 years ago, and sealed the terms 2,000 years ago.
It’s also not accidental that the cups of wine of the betrothal covenant overlay (and thus reinforce) the individual covenants in the sequence. All this happens on purpose, for God was building a seamless mosaic of concepts that has, at its foundation, a commitment to establish and maintain a relationship leading to marriage.
Note: In ancient times, the price for breaking the marriage covenant was death by hanging, stoning, the sword, or the fire. For us, none of those options might seem to apply. On the other hand, the eternal price could actually be much higher.
Cup Number Four
The fourth cup of wine was the Cup of Praise, shared between the bride and groom only during the wedding ceremony itself. This fourth cup also awaits all those who are chosen to be the bride by Yeshua. It will be taken on the wedding day and will forever seal Yeshua’s union with His beloved.
We become eligible for the fourth covenant only after we’ve met all the previous requirements by entering into the first three. The decisions to do so are ours alone.
To continue the sequence of betrothal events, by the time the happy couple had drunk the third cup of wine, only three more “milestones” remained.
1.First, the groom had to pay the bride price (which he’d brought with him, equaling thirty pieces (shekels) of silver in Yeshua’s time. It was 100% refundable if the bride turned out to be impure. This specific amount was also the price of a male bondservant (Exodus 21:32) and came to symbolize the redemption price of a bride (Leviticus 27:4)
2.Second, the groom now had the sole responsibility to go and prepare a home (see the familiar “I go to prepare a place for you” in John 14:1-3) where he would live with his bride, which was often (but not necessarily) an extension on the home of his own father. The building and furnishing process itself could take a year or two, during which the bride and groom had very little direct contact with each other. In this enterprise the groom was under the ironclad rule of his father, who was the only person empowered to judge when the groom’s bridal preparations (as per the ketubah) were sufficient and complete. Likewise, in Mark 13:32 Yeshua says, “But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.”
3.Third, as the groom finalized his preparations he would let the word slip out that the wedding day was near. Meanwhile, the bride’s family and friends would begin preparing for a feast. The bride and bridesmaids would buy enough oil to keep their lamps lit for at least two weeks (2 days – on the 3rd day the bride groom would come). The bridesmaids’ job was to watch for the groom’s arrival. When they saw him coming for his bride, their lamps would show the way. They were also expected to warn the bride, a small but very important job (Matthew 25:1-13.
The groom could come anytime between 6 pm and midnight, on the second through the fourth day of the week. When he did so he had to see his bride’s welcoming light in her window. If she let it burn out he would take that as a sign that she had either changed her mind or simply didn’t care anymore, and he would turn away and leave her in darkness.
The Wedding Party
When the groom arrived, late in the evening, he would be accompanied by a crowd of groomsmen, all of whom he would have selected well in advance, usually while building a residence for his bride. All would be males, all were virgins, and all would have close relationships with him. Their job was to guard him and announce his coming by blowing trumpets.
Meanwhile, the bridesmaids would warn the bride that her suitor was coming – as if she couldn’t tell for herself. As soon as they got there the group would whisk the bride away. At that point, her bridesmaids would hurry to the wedding site. There they would light it up with their lamps and make final preparations. Then, as soon as all was ready the groom would take his bride’s hand and lead her to the celebration site.
Through the rest of the night the wedding couple and their attendants would celebrate, with roast lamb, freshly baked bread, and plenty of wine. They would also enjoy the music of flutes, lyres, harps, and cymbals. This special event would be for the bridal party alone. The wedding would be held on the next day, with guests and relatives coming from all over.
A few hours before dawn, the groom and his men would leave the bride with her bridesmaids. Her friends would lead her to the mikveh, a ceremonial bath where she would be bathed in running (“living”) water. As in every Hebrew mikveh, or baptism, she would bow forward into the oncoming stream, facing the source as an act of love and submission to God, the source of all life.
The ancient Hebrews knew full well where life came from. Therefore, by honoring God through the mikveh, by submitting and subjugating their lives to Him, they brought into play another major symbol of covenant and purification.
Just as there were four cups of wine in the betrothal process there were also four general types of mikveh. You could mikveh into repentance, into a deeper dedication to God, into ministry and into marriage.
John the Baptist offered a mikveh into repentance; Yeshua offered the remaining three. His life, and His frequent admonitions to His disciples, all demonstrated that a servant of the kingdom, who has entered into all their covenants, ministers to servants, friends and other sons and daughters. And the best way to do that was to serve them.
Covenant Cups Mikveh
Blood Servant Repentance
Salt Friendship Dedication
Sandal Inheritance Ministry
Marriage Marriage Marriage
Following the mikveh, the bride’s attendants would anoint her with fragrant oils, and she would return home to rest for a few hours before the morning. As her wedding day dawned, the bride would return to the place of the previous night’s festivities. There her groom would be waiting, wearing pure white garments woven with threads of gold, and fragrant with the scent of myrrh, cassia, and frankincense.
As he escorted her to the chuppah, (a dome of bright crimson cloth, its color symbolizing their covering by a blood covenant), the groom would also be wearing a wreath of fresh myrtle and roses, thorns included, a symbol that their love would bring him both joy and pain (Does any of this sound familiar?). Somewhat earlier, a broad circlet of gold, shaped into the silhouette of the city of Jerusalem, would have been placed on the bride’s head.
The couple would perform the wedding ceremony themselves, during which the groom would pronounce his bride pure, holy, and set apart for him alone. They would speak seven blessings over each other and vow their eternal faithfulness and love. After completing their vows they would share the fourth cup of wine together, the final step in the long betrothal process, which began with the groom’s proposal perhaps more than a year ago.
When they finished this fourth cup the groom the groom would place it on the ground and put his foot on it. The bride would rest her foot on his and together they would stomp the cup to pieces, assuring that no one else would ever drink from it, thus signifying the exclusivity of their relationship.
Next the bride and groom would take a triple-braided loaf of challah bread, bless it, break it, dip it in salt, and feed it to each other as a further pledge of their friendship and a renewal of the salt covenant. Then the groom would give his bride a new inheritance by removing her old, worn-out sandals, washing her feet, and putting on a new pair of sandals. Both of these customs clearly reinforce the pillars of covenant, the foundation underlying ancient Hebrew marriages.
At that point the bride and groom would sometimes exchange rings, placing them on their right hands. The bride and groom were considered a king and queen for a week, starting with their wedding day. As the queen stands at the king’s right hand, so the bride must always symbolically be at her groom’s right hand.
Let me give you a fuller explanation of an extremely familiar verse in Matthew 23:37 which says:
“O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!”
Most of us understand this verse on the simplest level, as saying that He loved them and still loves us, as a mother hen loves her chicks. But from a Hebrew perspective this verse means much more. Remember; Hebrew scripture works on four levels! The Hebrew word translated as “wings” is kanaf and can mean wings, but here it is also used to describe the corners of Yeshua’s prayer shawl, His talit. Hanging from the corners of the talit are the tzit-tzit, what most people call “fringes” but which are actually four cords doubled over and knotted in a distinct pattern, numerically spelling out the name of God.
Yeshua Himself provided the “hen” metaphor, but in addition He was referring to what a loving groom would do for his wife. At the end of a Hebrew marriage ceremony he would spread his arms around her and wrap her up in his talit, thus protecting her but also making them as one, even as he “covered” both of them with the name and the word of God.
Thus He was also saying in Matthew 23:37 how much he yearned to be in a marriage relationship with His people.
Yeshua, our Kinsman Redeemer
After the ceremony itself came the moment of yachid, or physical unity. The parents of the bride would invite the guests to enjoy the feast. The music would swell, the dancing would begin, and the wine would flow for the first of seven days.
Meanwhile, the ride and groom would slip away to a private room, set apart from the noise and provided especially for them. Soon their marriage would be complete in every sense.
On the other hand, if the groom discovered that his bride was not a virgin, (or, worse yet, discovered that she was already pregnant) the whole situation would immediately change. Within the ancient Hebrew culture, the groom had four choices:
1.He could let her pay the price for her unfaithfulness, which was death.
2.He could quietly give her a writ of divorce and walk away, which is what Joseph started to do with Mary before the angel intervened. But this approach was risky for her; later on, if other witnesses came forward to accuse her of adultery, the law would still require her to pay the death penalty (Matthew 1:19).
3.He could pretend that the child was his. If he discovered the truth before the wedding, he could forfeit the ceremony and simply begin living with his new wife, who was already married to him anyway from a legal point of view. This is essentially what Joseph did with Mary, although the trip to Bethlehem and the subsequent two-year sojourn in Egypt among strangers pretty much allowed the two of them to escape any immediate social fallout from what might have looked like the premature birth of Yeshua. This option, however, is not available to our Redeemer Bridegroom; our God requires that His son’s bride be pure and holy.
4.He could choose to be her goel (redeemer) and take her punishment upon himself. In the case of sexual impurity, he would pay her fee – death.
The groom could also redeem his bride for violating Torah in other ways as well, whatever her violations might involve, including monetary debts of all kinds. The biggest drawback in this approach was the groom could never again refuse to pay for any “required redemption” as long as they stayed married. He’d establish a potentially harsh precedent; once he’d redeemed her even on time he had to pay the same price every time she violated Torah after that, as long as she was his wife.
Now consider the scriptural parallels. Way back in the Garden of Eden, Yeshua was faced with a bride who had rejected Him. Yet He still made a commitment to pay her bridal price. He also began immediately the complicated process of remarrying humanity, starting with the first blood sacrifice (Genesis 3:21). The Hebrew text describes the garments of skins that God provided Adam and Eve as katanot, the first layer of the Hebrew bride’s wedding attire.
In other words, God was clothing Adam and Eve in bridal garments. In essence He was saying, “Here, I can solve this problem; will you take the first step in re-marrying me?” He was also saying, “Will you accept me by serving and obeying my principles of restoration?” even as Adam and Eve saw the blood that was spilled and responded in the affirmative.
This was the first step in the process of wooing mankind back to the kind of ultimate relationship that God has wanted to have with us since we were created. Through covenant He chose to provide a means by which His bride could be healed and mended so her groom could see her as pure, not because she was pure but because He had paid her price!