And Jesus said to them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.“[Matthew 9:15]
Over the last few installments in this series, I have established how the covenant at Mt. Sinai was nothing short of a marriage contract.
The LORD God chose for Himself an elect bride — Israel — to be His own treasured possession from among all the nations of the earth. God brought His chosen bride to the holy mountain and proposed a covenant of betrothal. He would be their God and they would be His exclusive people. After making vows, all of Israel unanimously said “yes” and “we do,” and the covenant was sealed in blood.
Israel’s perpetual unfaithfulness, however, put God in an impossible position. For generations, Israel broke her vows, forsook her Husband, and went after other gods, until finally the LORD had enough. He could no longer ignore the brazen adultery of His chosen bride, and so God reluctantly issued the house of Israel a certificate of divorce and cast her out of her homeland, where she would be scattered to the four winds and absorbed by the Gentile nations.
NOTE — Although the house of Judah was even worse than her sister Israel (Jeremiah 3:6-11), the LORD preserved a remnant of the Jews for the sake of the promise He had made to David — see Hosea 1:6-7, 2 Kings 8:19
In the severity of His divine chastisement, however, God promised that one day — somehow — He would make a new marriage covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. This new covenant would provide the means for forgiveness and the pathway to restoration.
The only problem, however, is that in order to establish a new marriage covenant, God first had to cancel the original marriage contract made at Sinai. But in order to annul the first covenant, the Bridegroom God had to do something so profoundly radical that it would transcend all reason and exceed all expectation.
The Bridegroom God had to die. But how could God die? That would be impossible, right?
YESHUA — THE ELECT BRIDEGROOM GOD
Yeshua — aka Jesus — is called the Elect of God — God’s Chosen One — His Beloved Son. The Father elected the Son to fulfill His destiny as the Messiah of Israel and the Savior of the whole world. As John says, “The Father loves the Son and has given all things into his hand” [John 3:35]. Isaiah speaks often of the Messiah as God’s chosen.
Behold my servant, whom I uphold,[Isaiah 42:1]
my chosen, in whom my soul delights;
I have put my Spirit upon him;
he will bring forth justice to the nations.
Yeshua is God the Son, and He is the image of the invisible God — the exact imprint of His nature expressed in physical form. Whoever has seen the Son has also seen the Father.
When the LORD God came down on Mt. Sinai in power and glory, He did not show His form to the congregation of Israel, knowing man’s tendency to fall into idolatry [see Deuteronomy 4:15-19]. However, the LORD did reveal Himself to Moses in physical form, speaking to him face to face as a man speaks with his friend. The anthropomorphic language in Scripture clearly conveys the idea that God manifested to Moses in human form, even inscribing the 10 Commandments in stone with His own finger. Even the elders of Israel saw and beheld the God of Israel in physical form on the mountain [Exodus 24:9-11].
The significance of this cannot be overlooked or underestimated. If God the Son — Yeshua — is the image of the invisible God and the exact physical expression of the Father, then one must conclude that it was Jesus Himself with Moses on Mt. Sinai. If Jesus was the One who stood before the people of Israel and wrote the vows of the original marriage contract, then that can mean only one thing …
Yeshua is the Bridegroom God, and Israel is His chosen bride.
NO OTHER WAY
And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”[Matthew 26:39]
Jesus is the Bridegroom God who entered into a marriage covenant with the people of Israel on Mt. Sinai. Once the contract was ratified in blood, it was forever binding as long as both shall live. Israel, however, persisted in unbelief and adultery until God finally resolved to write her a certificate of divorce and release her to go into the nations and worship their gods. Judah too repeatedly broke her covenant with the LORD, resulting in exile to Babylon, but the LORD preserved the remnant of Judah to represent the whole house of Israel, knowing that the Messiah — Son of David — must come through the house of Judah.
And in the fullness of time, God sent forth His Son — the promised seed of the woman — born of the house of Judah in the line of David, to redeem and restore God’s people by renewing the old covenant with both the house of Judah and the house of Israel [Jeremiah 31:31-34].
Few could have predicted, however, just how the Bridegroom God would redeem His wayward bride and the price He would be willing to pay to demonstrate the depths of His love for Israel.
UNTIL DEATH DO US PART
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.[Ephesians 5:25-27]
God’s law — His Torah — is eternal and forever binding, and therefore God has bound Himself to His own word. God takes marriage very seriously, as the original institution of man and the foundation of every other social structure. If marriage is profaned so is the family. If the nuclear family disintegrates, then society is sure to crumble. Knowing this, God put many important laws in place to protect and promote the sanctity of marriage.
Although divorce was never God’s original intent, He did permit divorce because of the stubborn and rebellious hearts of sinful men. The Torah allowed for divorce in extreme cases of sexual immorality, but also as a legal means of protection for wives who would otherwise be subject to social suicide if cast out by their husbands [see Matthew 19:3-9].
This is where things get interesting.
According to the Torah, if a man divorces his wife and she remarries another man, she can never return to her original husband.
When a man takes a wife and marries her, if then she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, and she departs out of his house, 2and if she goes and becomes another man’s wife, 3and the latter man hates her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter man dies, who took her to be his wife, 4then her former husband, who sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after she has been defiled, for that is an abomination before the LORD. And you shall not bring sin upon the land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance.[Deuteronomy 24:1-4]
This is precisely what happened to Israel. Yeshua the Bridegroom God sent Israel away with a certificate of divorce because of her unfaithfulness, and she went after other lovers and served and worship other gods. At that point, it was impossible for Israel to return to her first Husband, even though she presumed otherwise.
She shall pursue her lovers[Hosea 2:7]
but not overtake them,
and she shall seek them
but shall not find them.
Then she shall say,
“I will go and return to my first husband,
for it was better for me then than now.“
“If a man divorces his wife[Jeremiah 3:1]
and she goes from him
and becomes another man’s wife,
will he return to her?
Would not that land be greatly polluted?
You have played the whore with many lovers;
and would you return to me?”
declares the LORD.
As one can see, there seemed to be no hope for Israel — no way back to God. It was impossible for faithless Israel to return to her first husband according the God’s eternal decree.
Yet that which is impossible for man is possible with God.
There was only way for Israel to be released from the original marriage contract and be legally freed to remarry her first husband.
The Bridegroom had to die.
This of course still would not fully resolve the problem for obvious reasons, unless somehow, someway the Bridegroom was able to die to annul the original marriage covenant and then miraculously come back to life to establish a new covenant!
Or do you not know, brothers — for I am speaking to those who know the law—that the law is binding on a person only as long as he lives? 2For a married woman is bound by law to her husband while he lives, but if her husband dies she is released from the law of marriage. 3Accordingly, she will be called an adulteress if she lives with another man while her husband is alive. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law, and if she marries another man she is not an adulteress.4Likewise, my brothers, you also have died to the law through the body of Christ, so that you may belong to another, to him who has been raised from the dead, in order that we may bear fruit for God.[Romans 7:1-4]
What an amazing God we serve!
Not only was Jesus the Bridegroom God willing to give His own life and take the punishment we deserved for all of our sin and idolatry, but also He was raised in the newness of life in order to renew the covenant in His own blood! Yeshua is the same Bridegroom God of Israel, but having died He now legally is free to remarry His bride Israel under a new and better covenant [see Ezekiel 36, Isaiah 54, Jeremiah 31, Hosea 2]!
Yeshua the Bridegroom God made a willing choice to lay down His life for His chosen bride in order to bring her back into a new covenant relationship that can never be broken! This is the amazing grace of God! The only condition required is faith in Yeshua so that whosoever believes in Him — whoever chooses Christ — will be given the right to become sons of the the living and the beloved Bride of Christ.
Amen and Hallelujah!