Christian marriage is a covenant partnership, not just a contract. As a result, many of today’s Christian wedding ceremonies include symbols of God’s covenant with Abraham. The still-practiced Jewish ritual of starting the wedding with the creation of a marriage contract dates back to the first century BC.
The Covenant Ceremony
According to “Easton’s Bible Dictionary,” the Hebrew word for covenant is berith, which originates from the root meaning “to cut.” A blood covenant was a formal, solemn, and binding agreement—a vow or pledge—made by “cutting” or splitting an animal into two pieces between two persons.
The blood covenant began with animal sacrifice in Genesis 15:9-10. The animal halves were put opposite each other on the ground after being carefully cut in half, creating a passage between them. The covenant would be formed by the two parties walking from opposite ends of the walkway and meeting in the middle.
The meeting ground of animal pieces was considered hallowed ground. There, the two people would slash the palms of their right hands and then link them together as they vowed a vow, promising each other all their rights, assets, and benefits. The two would then switch their belts and outer coats, taking some of the other person’s names in the process.
The wedding ceremony is a representation of the blood covenant. Let us take a closer look at the biblical significance of many of today’s Christian wedding practices.
Seating of Family on Opposite Sides of the Church
To represent the cutting of the blood covenant, the bride and groom’s family and friends are seated on opposing sides of the church. These family, friends, and guests are not only witnesses but all participants in the wedding covenant. Many others have made sacrifices to assist the couple in preparing for marriage and supporting them in their sacred union.
Center Aisle and White Runner
The central aisle depicts the meeting place or road between the animal pieces, where the blood covenant is formed. The white runner represents the hallowed ground, where God unites two lives into one (Exodus 3:5, Matthew 19:6).
Seating of the Parents
In biblical times, the parents of the bride and Groom were ultimately responsible for understanding God’s will about their children’s choice of a spouse. The wedding custom of placing the parents prominently is intended to acknowledge their role in the couple’s wedding
Groom Enters First
According to Ephesians 5:23-32, worldly marriages represent the church’s connection with Christ. God established the bond through Christ, who sought and found his bride, the church. Christ is the Groom, who established the blood covenant that God began. As a result, the Groom is the first to enter the church auditorium.
Father Escorts and Gives Away Bride
The father’s responsibility in Jewish tradition was to offer his daughter in marriage as a pure virgin bride. The father and his wife accepted responsibility as parents for accepting his daughter’s choice of a partner. A father adds, “By leading her down the aisle, “I have done everything in my power to present you, my daughter, as a pure bride. I approve of this man as your husband-to-be, and I now introduce you to him.” When asked, “Who gives this woman?” the father replies, “Her mother and I.” The bride is given away to demonstrate the parents’ blessing on the union and the transfer of care and responsibility to the Groom.
White Wedding Dress
The white wedding gown serves two functions. It represents the wife’s purity of heart and soul and her devotion to God. It also represents Christ’s righteousness, as mentioned in Revelation 19:7-8:
As a robe of “the finest of spotless white linen,” Jesus Christ dresses his bride, the church, in his righteousness.
The bridal veil not only represents the bride’s modesty and purity, as well as her regard for God, but it also recalls the temple veil, which was torn in two when Christ died on the cross. The veil removed the barrier between God and man, allowing Christians to enter God’s presence. Because Christian marriage represents the unity of Christ and the church, the removal of the wedding veil is another manifestation of this relationship. The couple now enjoys complete access to one another due to their marriage (1 Corinthians 7:4).
Joining Right Hands
The two people would connect the bleeding palms of their right hands in the blood covenant. When their blood combined, they would exchange a pledge, eternally promising each other their rights and resources. When the bride and Groom face each other to utter their vows, they join right hands and publicly dedicate everything they are and everything they have to a covenant relationship. They abandon their family and all others to become one with their lover.
Exchanging of Rings
While the wedding ring represents the couple’s internal relationship, expressing the eternal aspect of love with an endless circle, it means even more in light of the blood covenant.
As a seal of authority, a ring was utilized. The impression left an authoritative seal on legal papers when the ring was pushed into hot wax. As a result, a couple who wears wedding rings shows their submission to God’s rule over their marriage. The couple acknowledges that God brought them together and is intimately involved in all aspects of their covenant relationship.
A ring can also symbolize money. When a couple of exchanges wedding rings, it represents the union of all their resources—wealth, goods, talents, and emotions. In the blood covenant, the two partners exchanged belts that, when worn, create a circle. As a result, exchanging rings is yet another manifestation of their covenant bond. Similarly, as a sign of his covenant with Noah, God picked a rainbow that forms a circle (Genesis 9:12–16). HolyArt has top notch rings, icons and arts that can be used in the wedding settings.
Pronouncement of Husband and Wife
The declaration legally declares the bride and Groom to be husband and wife. This moment marks the precise start of their covenant. In God’s eyes, the two have become one.
Presentation of the Couple
When the minister introduces the couple to the wedding guests, he emphasizes their new identity and name change due to marriage. Similarly, the two partners swapped some of their names in the blood covenant. In Genesis 15, God changed Abram’s name to Abraham by combining letters from his name, Yahweh.
A ceremonial supper was frequently included as part of the blood covenant. Guests at a wedding reception share in the couple’s covenant blessings. The celebration also depicts the wedding feast of the Lamb, as mentioned in Revelation 19.
Cutting and Feeding of Cake
The cake cutting is a visual representation of the covenant being cut. When the bride and groom share cake, they demonstrate that they have given everything and will care for each other as one flesh. The cutting and serving of cake at a Christian wedding can be done enthusiastically, but it should be done graciously and reverently, honoring the covenant partnership.
Throwing of Rice
The throwing of seeds was the genesis of the rice-throwing practice at weddings. It was intended to remind couples of one of marriage’s fundamental goals: to raise a family that would serve and glorify the Lord. As a result, guests throw rice as a symbol of blessing for the marriage’s spiritual and physical fruitfulness.
Your special day will be more meaningful if you discover the biblical significance of today’s wedding practices. Are you thinking of how to get amazing wedding gifts that are channeled toward Christian doctrines? Then, Holyart website is your best bet for quality arts, icons, symbols etc.