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Saturday, March 10, 2012

What Constitutes a Biblical Marriage Covenant?

By Maria Merola אריאל
© Copyright Double Portion Inheritance, December 2011

Back in the year 2002, I was lead supernaturally by the Heavenly Father into a deeper understanding of the Mosaic Law (Towrah) than what I had been traditionally taught in the Christian Church. Since that time, I began to encounter many others who were also being lead in the very same way, to embrace the Hebraic Roots of our faith in Messiah.

But just like every other move of the Ruwach haQodesh (Holy Spirit), the devil wants to sabotage this movement by causing a plethora of false teachers to infiltrate. As a result, we see all kinds of extreme new doctrines beginning to creep in, thereby discrediting the entire movement.

One of these false doctrines that I see lately within the Hebraic Root’s Community is very alarming, because it is leading couples to believe that they can just “shack up” or live in fornication without going through a proper marriage ceremony.

The justification for this seems to be with one isolated passage of scripture where Rebekah and Isaac went into the tent, in Genesis 24:67. These rationalize that Rebekah and Isaac were instantly married the moment they had sexual intercourse, hence there is no need for taking vows or signing a written ketuwbah.

Most people reading this account of Rebekah & Isaac assume that there was no wedding ceremony that took place in front of witnesses, and this is their justification for living in fornication. This false conclusion is leading people to believe that they can just have sex and “voila!” they are then suddenly and instantly married! 

These same people erroneously call this a “biblical marriage,” but beloved, if a man and a woman have sexual union without a wed-ding ceremony, this is nothing more than fornication unless the biblical pattern is followed. Let us read this passage that is being used to justify fornication or pre-marital sex:

Bereshiyth (Genesis) 24:67 And Yitzchaq (Isaac) brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent, and took Ribqah (Rebekah), and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Yitzchaq (Isaac) Isaac was comforted after his mother’s death.

Just because the scriptures do not give the details of the wedding ceremony between Isaac and Rebekah, people often-times assume that all they did was have sexual union and they were instantly married. But in order for a covenant to be valid in the eyes of YaHuWaH, there has to be the biblical pattern of “three witnesses” which are shown to us in scripture. 

We have already been given the pattern from the Towrah (Mosaic Law) showing us what constitutes a valid marriage covenant. These three witnesses point to the marriage covenant between Messiah and his bride, and they are what makes a marriage covenant legitimate in the eyes of our Heavenly Father, YaHuWaH. 

In this study, I aim to show that there is much more to a marriage covenant than simply having sexual union. To assume that all one has to do in order to enter into a “biblical marriage” is to “consummate” (have sexual union) is to negate the deep spiritual meaning behind the original wedding between YaHuWaH and his bride Yisrael on Mount Sinai. 

Webster’s Dictionary defines the word “FORNICATION:”

Fornication: noun: voluntary sexual intercourse between two unmarried persons or two persons not married to each other.

As you can see, pre-marital sex is “fornication,” which is not the same thing as adultery. Adultery means to have sexual union with another while you are already committed in marriage. In other words, it is cheating on your spouse. But fornication means to have sex outside of the bonds of marriage. So how do we know what makes a legitimate marriage covenant in the eyes of our Creator? We are going to see patterns in scripture for a legitimate covenant being made with three witnesses: Spirit, Water & Blood.

This illustration below shows Fire (the Spirit) the Menorah (the lamp of the Word) and the Lion (the blood sacrifice of Messiah).

In 1st Yahuwchanon (John) 5:7-8 it says: 

“For there are three that bear record in heaven: The Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are ONE. And there are three that bear witness in the earth: the Spirit, the Water and the Blood, and these three agree in one.” 

When YaHuWaH “spoke” the marriage vows to Yisra’el “by his voice, breath or Spirit” at Mount Sinai that was the witness of the “Spirit” (Exodus 19:18-20). YaHuWaH himself descended onto Mount Sinai in the form of fire, and this happened on the Feast of Shabuwoth (Pentecost). This was the same feast wherein Messiah himself poured out his Ruwach (Spirit) on the set-apart ones in the second chapter of Acts in the form of “tongues of fire.” Mosheh commanded the people to wash their clothes with water and to sanctify themselves for the wedding ceremony on Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:10-14). 

Mosheh then went up to Mount Sinai to commune for forty days with YaHuWaH to receive the “written marriage covenant” on stone tablets. The Hebrew word for “written” is “kathab,” and that is why in a traditional Hebrew wedding, the bride and the groom sign a “ketuwbah,” which is a written marriage agreement.

The written marriage agreement represents the witness of the “water” (the word) because the word of YaHuWaH is likened unto “Living Water” and our Messiah is the “WORD” who became flesh (John 1:1). He is the bridegroom who sanctifies his bride “by the washing of water by the word” (Ephesians 5:26). After the covenant was presented to the nation of Yisrael, Mosheh also sprinkled them with the blood of sacrificed animals to signify that the covenant was being sealed in heaven. 

When a bridegroom and a bride consummate their marriage, this is the same thing as the witness of the “blood,” because ideally, both the bride and the bridegroom should be virgins on their wedding night if this is their first marriage. 

When the bride and the bridegroom “consummate” after they have taken vows in front of witnesses, the witness of the “blood” seen in 1st Yahuwchanon (John) 5:8 is what this typifies. The witness of the “blood” correlates the Father, because in Zechariah 12:10 YaHuWaH says: “they will look upon ME whom they have pierced and they will mourn for HIM as one mourns for his only son.” 

This tells us that it was the Fathers blood that was in Messiahs veins! This is the same thing as when the sacrificial system was set up in the Tabernacle and when our Messiah offered up his blood for us (the Father’s blood was in his veins). The marriage is only valid when these three witnesses are present: 

#1.) The Holy Spirit (taking vows orally) before witnesses. 
#2.) The signing of a “written marriage agreement” called a ketuwbah in Hebrew (symbolic of the written Towrah). 
#3.) And finally there must be a “consummation.” In other words, the shedding of blood is symbolized by the sacrifice of the Lamb. 

It is not a valid marriage covenant unless these three things are present:

1.) Vows (the Spirit or Fire).
2.) Written Towrah or Ketuwbah (the Water of the Word).
3.) Sacrifice or Consummation (the Blood).

If a man married a woman and he thought she was a virgin, but he found out on the wedding night that she was not a virgin, he could legally divorce her according to Towrah (see Deuteronomy 24). But if he still loved her any way, he could kill a lamb and then smear the blood of the lamb on the bed sheet and bring that out to the wedding guests to display it before the crowd!

That is exactly what our Messiah Yahuwshuwa did for his backsliding whoring bride Yisra’el! He covered her sin with his blood making her a pure virgin again! Now if a woman is no longer a virgin because she is a widow or divorced by her husband, then she can apply the blood of Messiah to their union as “the blood of the lamb.” This will be the third witness needed to make the marriage legitimate!

In a legitimate Hebrew Wedding, the man who escorts the bride to the bridegroom and gives her away is “Mosheh” (Moses) who represents the Towrah (Mosaic Law):

Galatiym (Galatians) 3:24 Wherefore the Towrah (law) was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Mashiyach (Messiah), that we might be justified by faith.

But once the bride has been handed over to the bridegroom, then the the bridegroom takes over from there, and it is he who teaches the bride to be obedient to the marriage covenant. He does this by demonstrating his sacrificial love for her. He not only gives her a written marriage agreement with the instructions on it, but he demonstrates to her what the marriage covenant looks with his actions:

Ephsiym (Ephesians) 5:

25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Mashiyach (Messiah) also loved the qahal (assembly), and gave himself for it;

26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,

27 That he might present it to himself a glorious qahal (assembly), not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be qodesh (holy) and without blemish.

28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves himself.

Once the bride sees that her husband is self-sacrificing, she has no problem submitting to him:

Ephsiym (Ephesians) 5:

22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto YHWH.

23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Mashiyach (Messiah) is the head of the qahal (assembly): and he is the saviour of the body.

24 Therefore as the qahal (assembly) is subject unto Mashiyach (Messiah), so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

Shemoth (Exodus) 32:

32 Yet now, if you will forgive their sin---and if not, blot me, I pray you, out of your book which you have written.

33 And YHWH said unto Mosheh (Moses), Whosoever has sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.

What is also interesting is that the name Mosheh means “to draw out from the water,” and so it is fitting that he represents “the washing of water by the word” (Ephesians 5:26) as the Towrah (the word) is what washes the bride and makes her ready to meet the bridegroom. 

This is also the reason why Mosheh was used by YaHuWaH to give to Yisrael “water out of a rock” (Numbers 20:10) at Meribah. 

The WORD came to them in the form of LIVING WATER symbolic of our Messiah who is that Rock! (1st Corinthians 10:4). 

And then there is the “best man” who is called “the friend of the bridegroom.” He is typified in the prophet  Eliyahuw (Elijah) who is symbolic of the “fire” of the Holy Spirit. Eliyahuw was “taken up” into a chariot of fire which pre-figures the bride being “caught up” to meet the bridegroom in the air in 1st Thessalonians 4:17. The “friend of the bridegroom” in a Hebrew Wedding stands outside the door while the bride and the bridegroom go into the bridal chamber called a “chuppah” in Hebrew (see Psalms 19:5 & Joel 2:16). 

While the bride and groom are in the chuppah, the friend of the bridegroom is supposed to stand guard to make sure that nobody disturbs them. During the consummation of the marriage, the friend of the bridegroom is supposed to “listen for the voice of the bridegroom” to hear him “consummate” the marriage! 

When the “friend of the bridegroom” hears the voice of the bridegroom consummate with his bride, he then notifies the wedding guests outside who are waiting to celebrate and they all shout for joy! This is when the bridegrooms friend has his own joy fulfilled:

Yahuwchanon (John) 3:29 He that has the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice: this my joy therefore is fulfilled.

Yahuwchanon (John) the Immerser (Baptizer) came in the “Spirit of Eliyahuw” (Elijah) and he is the one being called “friend of the bridegroom” because he came as a representative of the prophet Eliyahuw or Elijah. 
Luqas (Luke) 1:17 And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Eliyahuw (Elijah), to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for YHWH.

Back in 2007 when I was in a time of intense prayer and fasting, the Spirit of YaHuWaH came to me and said “Maria, the double portion anointing is that of Mosheh & Eliyahuw,” and as he said this I had a vision of Yahuwshuwa Mashiyach (Messiah) at the Mount of Transfiguration with Mosheh &  Eliyahuw (Moses & Elijah). 

I suddenly realized that our Messiah Yahuw-shuwa operated in both types of “anointing” in his life which are Law (Moses) and Prophets (Elijah). In other words, the two witnesses in Revelation 11:4 are typified in these two witnesses that are symbolized in an Ancient Hebrew Wedding. Most Christians believe that the indwelling of the Holy Spirit has now replaced the need for the Mosaic Law in our lives. But after this vision, I suddenly realized that both they go “hand-in-hand.”

We are told many times in scripture that a covenant or a matter is established by the “witness of two or three.” (Deuteronomy 17:6, 19:15, Joshua 7:3,  2nd Kings 9:32, Isaiah 17:6, Amos 4:8, Matthew 18:16, 18:20, John 2:6, 1st Corinthians 14:27, 14:29, 2nd Corinthians 13:1, 1st Timothy 5:19, 1st John 5:7-8, Hebrews 10:28). 

And so in order for a marriage covenant to be truly “biblical” we must have “two or three witnesses:”

1.) Mosheh (the written Towrah) = the ketuwbah or the written marriage contract signed by both the bride and the groom.

2.) Eliyahuw (the spirit of the prophets or the fulfillment) = the oral vows exchanged between bride & groom and this happened at Mount Sinai and also on the day of Shabuwoth (Pentecost) when YaHuWaH orally gave his Towrah to his bride (Exodus 19 & Acts 2).

3.) Yahuwshuwa Mashiyach (the blood) = the atonement of the Messiah is the consummation.

And so we see a pattern in scripture wherever covenant is established we ALWAYS HAVE THREE WITNESSES:

1.) The Father (the blood).
2.) The Word (the water).
3.) The Holy Spirit (the spirit).

Moses represents the “Water of the Word” (the Towrah) because his name in Hebrew “Mosheh” means “to be drawn from the water.”

Eliyahuw means “YaHuWaH is my El” and this is the fulfillment for when we are baptized in water, we declare that YaHuWaH is our Mighty One!

Yahuwshuwa the Mashiyach represents the Father (for the Father & the Son are one) and his blood makes atonement which “consummates” the marriage!

Hence we need all three elements to form a legitimate marriage covenant:

Father = blood
Word = water
Holy Spirit = spirit

In an earthly marriage we also need these three witnesses:

Written Ketuwbah (written marriage contract) = water of the word
Oral Vows = spirit
Consummation = blood

And these three elements (ketuwbah, vows and consum-mation) must be witnessed not only by three heavenly witnesses (Father, Son & Holy Spirit) but also by three earthly witnesses (Mosheh, Eliyahuw, Yahuwshuwa).

This means that the bride and groom first “sign the ketuwbah” just like Miryam (Mary) and Yahuwceph (Joseph) which means that they are legally “engaged” (espoused) once they do this. Then the next step is to take vows in front of two or three witnesses. And then once they do that, they may “consummate” (have intercourse).

Mattithyahuw (Matthew) 1:

18 Now the birth of Yahuwshuwa Mashiyach was on this wise: When as his mother Miryam (Mary) was espoused to Yahuwceph (Joseph), before they came together, she was found with child of the Ruwach ha’Qodesh (Holy Spirit).

19 Then Yahuwceph (Joseph) her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privately (privily).

Now what you will notice in the above verse is that Miryam and Yahuwceph were engaged to be married (espoused) and they had not “come together” (consummated) yet because they had not had the wedding ceremony where they exchanged vows in front of two or three witnesses!

Then, Yahuwceph was going to put her away privately because he thought that she had committed adultery on him. Why would he think this if they had already been sleeping together? If he thought that the baby was not his, that proves that they had not consummated (had sexual union) yet! They were engaged (espoused) but not legally married yet!

Another thing which proves that sexual union alone does not constitute a legitimate marriage, is in the account where our Messiah was speaking to the Samaritan woman at the well. Listen to what he says to her in this account:

Yahuwchanon (John) 4:

16 Yahuwshuwa said unto her, Go, call your husband, and come hither.

17 The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Yahuwshuwa said unto her, You have well said, I have no husband:

18 For you have had five husbands; and he whom you now have is not your husband: in that you said truly.

As you can see, if this woman had five husbands previously, and now she was living with this man in sin, why didnt her sexual union with him qualify that as a marriage? Why did our Messiah recognize the other five marriages that she had been in, but he did not recognize the relationship that she was currently in as a legitimate marriage? It is because sexual union alone does not constitute a legitimate marriage! 

The other two elements must be present first before the consummation, which are the oral vows in front of witnesses and also the written agreement signed between the bride and the groom in front of witnesses. The two witnesses are typified in Mosheh  (Moses) and Eliyahuw (Elijah) The pattern has already been set forth for us in the scriptures.


  1. I really enjoyed your post and wisdom of the combination, sanctity. Looking forward to your additional posts :)

  2. YAH TO ANSWER TO 62 And Yitsḥaq came from the way of Be’ĕr Laḥai Ro’i, for he dwelt in the South.
    63 And Yitsḥaq went out to meditate in the field in the evening. And he lifted his eyes and looked and saw the camels coming.
    64 And Riḇqah lifted her eyes, and when she saw Yitsḥaq she dismounted from her camel,
    65 and she had said to the servant, “Who is this man walking in the field to meet us?” And the servant said, “It is my master.” So she took a veil and covered herself.
    66 And the servant told Yitsḥaq all the matters he had done.
    67 And Yitsḥaq brought her into his mother Sarah’s tent. And he took Riḇqah and she became his wife, and he loved her. Thus Yitsḥaq was comforted after his mother’s death. 20 So Ya‛aqoḇ served seven years for Raḥĕl, and they seemed to him but a few days because of the love he had for her.
    21 Then Ya‛aqoḇ said to Laḇan, “Give me my wife, for my days are completed, and let me go in to her.”
    22 And Laḇan gathered all the men of the place and made a feast.
    23 And it came to be in the evening, that he took Lĕ’ah his daughter and brought her to Ya‛aqoḇ. And he went in to her.
    24 And Laḇan gave his female servant Zilpah to his daughter Lĕ’ah as a female servant.
    25 And in the morning it came to be, that see, it was Lĕ’ah. So he said to Laḇan, “What is this you have done to me? Was it not for Raḥĕl that I served you? Why then have you deceived me?” VOWS NUMBERS 30 1 And Mosheh spoke to the heads of the tribes concerning the children of Yisra’ĕl, saying, “This is the word which יהוה has commanded:
    2 “When a man vows a vow to יהוה, or swears an oath to bind himself by some agreement, he does not break his word, he does according to all that comes out of his mouth.
    3 “Or if a woman vows a vow to יהוה, and binds herself by some agreement while in her father’s house in her youth,
    4 and her father hears her vow and the agreement by which she has bound herself, and her father has kept silent towards her, then all her vows shall stand, and every agreement with which she has bound herself stands.
    5 “But if her father forbids her on the day that he hears, then none of her vows nor her agreements by which she has bound herself stand. And יהוה pardons her, because her father has forbidden her.

  3. (correction add to the end) only has YAH to answer to

  4. @Ysrael ben yahudah, Another thing which proves that sexual union alone does not constitute a legitimate marriage, is in the account where our Messiah was speaking to the Samaritan woman at the well. Listen to what he says to her in this account:

    Yahuwchanon (John) 4:

    16 Yahuwshuwa said unto her, Go, call your husband, and come hither.

    17 The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Yahuwshuwa said unto her, You have well said, I have no husband:

    18 For you have had five husbands; and he whom you now have is not your husband: in that you said truly.

    As you can see, if this woman had five husbands previously, and now she was living with this man in sin, why didn’t her sexual union with him qualify that as a marriage? Why did our Messiah recognize the other five marriages that she had been in, but he did not recognize the relationship that she was currently in as a legitimate marriage? It is because sexual union alone does not constitute a legitimate marriage!

  5. I didn't realize that the Marriage Covenant began at Mt. Sinai and the 10 Commandments! Thank you for this study!! I learned a lot from this article. There are a few things that is confusing. The consummation is in the future. The marriage is in the betrothal stage. (Hosea 2:19-20 and Jeremiah 2:2). And Deut. 24 is not referring to fornication at all or even adultery. Please see my Word Study on Deut. 24, "uncleanness." DEUT. 24:1 What does uncleanness mean? The report of fornication (Z'nut) is found in Deut. 22:13-21.

  6. @Sholan, here is the Hebrew meaning for the word "uncleanness" in Deuteronomy 24:

    #6172 `ervah er-vaw' from 6168; nudity, literally (especially the pudenda) or figuratively (disgrace, blemish):--nakedness, shame, unclean(-ness).

    As you can see it has a variety of applications such as nakedness, nudity, blemish of any kind and this would of course also include adultery.

  7. Maria-what if you dont have the 3rd witness (the blood) due to it being a remarriage? Deut allows remarriage if the 1st husband finds no favor in her. She would not be a virgin, nor would a widow be if she remarried. What did they do then, to have the 3rd witness in order for it to truly be biblical? If a couple is married at the justice of the peace, and one of them writes vows, vowing to Yah, to allow Yahushua to be in the center of the marriage, is that "good enough" in Yah's eyes as far as making vows? When a man or woman makes a vow to Yah, they are bound to it. Just trying to understand.

    1. Lovecrossgifts, the third witness is the blood of Messiah who cleanses us from guilt when we confess our sins and repent.

  8. Thanks for sharing. I also recently listened to your radio broadcast of you and Gary sharing your testimony, and enjoyed the explanation of Deuteronomy 24 and the "putting away." That it is ok to remarry as long as there has been written dissolution of the previous marriage. This is going to free alot of people from unnecessary guilt.

  9. As far as the ketuwbah goes can you further explain this please ? Is that for the JewISH people or for his set apart children of Israel ?