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In June, we began to learn about the Meanings of Wedding Traditions. Today, I want to continue sharing two more deeply meaningful symbols of God’s covenantal relationship with us through the blood of Christ, which are exemplified in the wedding ceremony. This has been a fascinating study for me, and has deepened my appreciation for, and enjoyment of, the wedding ceremony.
First, let me encourage you to go back and read Part 1 by clicking on the link above! Second, allow me to remind you where in the Bible we see some of the symbolism of the marriage covenant. Did you realize that marriage is not a contract, but a covenant, and a picture of the covenant between God and His Bride, all those who are saved by faith in Jesus Christ? In Genesis 15, we see the picture of a covenant. The word “covenant” comes from a word which means to cut. When God made a covenant with Abraham, He made an animal sacrifice, and cut the animals in half and placed the two halves opposite each other, leaving an “aisle” between. That ground in the middle, that path, was considered “holy” ground. God initiated the unbreakable covenant with Abraham, by walking between the two parts, down the aisle. That is where the blood covenant is established and where the union is made.
Today I want to tell you the Biblical meaning of two traditions which have, in many modern weddings and marriages today, been tossed aside as unnecessary and archaic, or inconvenient, at least. I hope you will agree with me after reading that they are deeply meaningful and symbolic of essential Truths of Scripture!
The Bridal Veil
The veil actually has deep significance and symbolism, and it gives me chills just thinking about its meaning! Let me share with you. It first of all symbolizes modesty and the virtue of purity of the bride, completing the white wedding dress. The bridal veil also symbolizes a Biblical veil, that veil or curtain found in the Temple of Old Testament worship, which was there to prevent anyone from entering into the presence of the Holy of Holies, where the presence of Almighty God resided. Only the High Priest could enter at certain times and after significant ritual cleansing. If one entered into the presence of the Most High God, the Holy One of Israel, they would die. This Temple curtain was torn in two from top to bottom when Christ died, symbolizing what was accomplished on the cross: God removed the barrier forever between His Bride and Himself through Jesus Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection. The veil was removed! God was the Only One who could accomplish this, as it was enormously heavy, thick and tall. We now have full access to God through faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross. The lifting of the bridal veil says there’s nothing between the bride and groom, they have full access to each other, and symbolizes that we can now enter boldly into the presence of a Holy God, because of what Christ has done for us.
The Presentation of the Couple
When the minister introduces the couple to the wedding guests, he is drawing attention to their new identity and the name change brought about through the marriage. Similarly, in the blood covenant, the two parties would exchange some part of their names. In Genesis 15, God gave Abram a new name, Abraham, by adding letters from his own name, Yahweh. The presence of a breath of air (the ‘h’) into his name symbolizes the presence of the Holy Spirit inside of us when we believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and are saved. We have a new name–we are called by His Name–when we become His and become one with Him at salvation. God gave Abram a new name, Abraham, signifying the new covenant He had made with him, and their oneness. We are changed when the Holy Spirit comes into our lives, and we are called “new creatures” when we become Christ’s Bride! This is the Biblical symbolism behind why the bride takes on the name of the groom, and not the other way around. This is why the bride doesn’t keep her own name.
Stay tuned for more Meanings of Wedding Traditions to come!
(For these and more, visit http://christianity.about.com/od/weddingceremony/a/weddingtraditions_2.htm)