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Shemot/Exodus 31:18 And He gave to Moshe, as He finished with him ... the two tablets of witness
The word translated "as He finished with Him", , is in defectiva spelling, without a to carry the holem vowel between the and the .Rashi points out that with a change of only one vowel the word would have been , which means "like His bride". This could suggest that HaShem gave Moshe, as the representative of the people, the two tablets as a ketubah - or marriage contract - following a marriage: between Israel and G-d as bride and groom. Chazal say that Moshe achieved the closest possible relationship between man and the Torah, like that of man and wife (Tanchuma 18).
Working with the picture of Israel as Adonai's bride, the Rabbis saw great significance in the last phrase of the verse "As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels" (Isaiah 61:10, NASB). The jewels, they explain, are the twenty four books of the Tanakh - and a Torah scholar is to be familiar with all the parts of the Tanakh, as Israel is to adorn herself with the jewels of G-d's word; the Torah itself being the crown (Tanchuma 16). The prophet goes on to say, "And as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so your G-d will rejoice over you" (Isaiah 62:5, NASB). As G-d's people study His word and put it into practice, as we demonstrate our commitment to Him, spending time with Him, working on our relationship with Him, so He delights in us and rewards us with His presence.
As the pages of the Bible turn, into the gospels that tell us of Yeshua, we find Yochanan the Immerser talking about Yeshua: "The bridegroom is the one who has the bride; but the bridegroom's friend, who stands and listens to him, is overjoyed at the sound of the bridegroom's voice. So this joy of mine is now complete" (John 3:29, CJB). Yochanan is clearly identifying Yeshua as the bridegroom. But who is the bride now? Who is to be the bride of Messiah?
Rav Sha'ul answers this question in his letter to the Ephesians when he talks about the relationships between husbands and wives, drawing his analogy from Messiah and His bride, the Body: "Husbands, love your wives, just as the Messiah loved the Messianic Community, indeed, gave Himself up on its behalf, in order to set it apart for G-d, making it clean through immersion in the mikveh, so to speak, in order to present the Messianic Community to Himself as a bride to be proud of, without a spot, wrinkle or any such thing, but holy and without defect" (Ephesians 5:25-27, CJB). We are the bride of Messiah, being prepared in this time of betrothal, having been given the Ruach HaKodesh as our ketubah (Ephesians 1:13-14) until the great marriage feast when Yeshua returns for us (Revelation 19:7-9).
Further Study: Matthew 25:1-12; Ephesians 5:21-32
Application: During the time of betrothal, a bride-to-be prepares for marriage. She gets ready all that she will need to start being a wife to her husband when they are married. How are we preparing for the time of Yeshua's return when He comes back to claim His bride?
© Jonathan Allen, 2005
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