There was a wedding at Cana and the wine ran out. Mary said to Jesus, “They have no wine.” He replied, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.” She said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” Why this curious exchange? Here’s the answer.


The beginning of Jesus’ public ministry starts at a wedding as accounted here in John 2.

John 2
1 ¶ On the third day there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there.
2 Jesus also was invited to the wedding with his disciples.
3 When the wine ran out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.”
4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what does this have to do with me? My hour has not yet come.”
5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.”
6 ¶ Now there were six stone water jars there for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons.
7 Jesus said to the servants, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim.
8 And he said to them, “Now draw some out and take it to the master of the feast.” So they took it.
9 When the master of the feast tasted the water now become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom
10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now.”
11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him.

I have read this over many, many times in my life, and was preparing to teach John 2 to my smallgroup. After once again stubbing my toe on this section, I finally had to ask the why question. “Why did Jesus respond to his mother about his ministry when she was obviously interested in the lack of wine at the wedding?”

This incongruence between Mary’s question and Jesus’ answer is very, very intriguing. Like many others, I’ve offered the usual response that Jesus knew what was coming eventually, so by giving us this response he is fulfilling the prophecy of his coming officially.

While that is certainly true, careful study shows that there is much, much more to this than just that. Why does Jesus use the wedding, and the water, and the wine to make that announcement? It doesn’t take much imagination to think that somehow this event is related to Jesus’ communion supper in the upper room just before his seizure and execution. But is his ministry somehow related to the wedding?

Ancient Jewish Weddings

Jewish weddings today are perhaps closer to western tradition than they used to be. Certainly the context of Jesus’ remarks must be carefully examined with the understanding of marriage in those times before John’s account. My use of the term “Jewish wedding” will be from that ancient Jewish context.

First and foremost, Jewish weddings were contractual and both morally and religiously so recognized by the families of the bridegroom (called the chatan) and the bride (called the kallah) as well as the local synagogue. The bridegroom or his father or representative (as in the case of Isaac in Genesis 24:1-4) would initially approach the father of the woman he wished to marry. The conversation centered around the legal and practical matters attached to a potential marriage union.

In those ancient times, taking a bride meant transferring her economic benefit from her father’s house to that of her husband. While certainly there were some tangible things that the bride would bring with her, that was not the dowry. The bridegroom or his father had to reimburse the bride’s father for the economic loss of his daughter.

Further to that, was the question of just what would happen to the bride in the event of a divorce? The bride had to be protected. Once she was married, there would be no going back to her father’s house. Divorce could relegate her to a condition of poverty or worse, unless the divorcing husband were required to provide her with economic relief.

The Shiddukin

The first part of a Jewis marriage is called the shiddukhin. It is a legal agreement. After negotiating the bride’s price called the mohar, and the amount that would be paid to her in the case of a later divorce. Both the bridegroom and the bride together in the presence of their fathers sign a written document called the ketubah. There are three sealed copies. One goes to each family and the other to the synagogue.

From the point of the signing, the bridegroom and the bride are legally and religiously married. This is today what we think of as the betrothal (before the troth).1

Following the shiddukhin, they are husband and wife, but have no physical connection. The bridegroom lives in a room attached to his father’s house and the bride in her father’s house. The bridegroom does not yet pay the bride’s price and neither does he sexually consummate the marriage yet. Revoking the ketubah requires a divorce. A divorce requires that the bridegroom pay the bride the amount specified by the ketubah.

Let me reiterate two points because they will be very important later. At the signing of the ketuba, the bridegroom does not pay the bride’s price to her father, and the husband and wife, though they are legally and religioiusly married, do not sexually consummate. {Note: I suggest that you watch The Nativity for a better appreciation of what this meant in Jewish society at the time of Mary and Joseph.}

One might think that the bride has no say in the arrangement. While often could be the case, it was traditional in the accounts we have in the bible for the bride’s father to consult her before consenting to the offer of marriage. Thus while the marriage was arranged, it was arranged with consent.

The Erusin

The shiddukhin, or betrothal period which lasted from one or two years and sometimes up to seven years, is followed by the erusin,or engagement period. At this point, the husband and wife who have been living apart and have had no sexual intimacy, will consummate their marriage.The erusin is somewhat analagous to the troths, or vows, that are often exchanged in western wedding ceremonies.

The erusin is initiated by the father of the bridegroom. At any moment, he could tell his son to go to his wife’s father’s house and consummate the marriage. Together the bridegroom and bride enter the bedroom called the chuppah chamber where they have their first sexual encounter called the chuppah. While they are in chuppah chamber consummating, they have witnesses standing and waiting outside. The witnesses are analagous to bridesmaids and groomsmen.

When the husband and wife enter the chamber, they take a white cloth, called the chuppah cloth. The wife will lie on that cloth. As they engage in intercourse, her hymen will tear and some amount of blood will spill onto the chuppah cloth. When the husband sees the blood he begins rejoicing loudly so that the witnesses can hear. Outside the chuppah chamber they have been waiting for his cry of delight and when they hear it, they join in this shouting exuberation.

Upon exiting the chuppah chamber, the husband presents the bloodied chuppah cloth to his wife’s parents. They keep the cloth safely stored away because it is the legal evidence of her purity that protects there be a divorce her. The one to two year lapse between the shiddukhin and the erusin and the blood-stained chuppah cloth prove that the bride is not pregnant and that she is indeed a virgin. It demonstrates that she is pure.

There is nothing in the erusin that apparently tests or questions the husband’s faithfulness. During the shiddukhin, though he still lives with his father, he almost certainly has been building a dwelling for them. It is assumed that his is pure.

The Nissuin

The nissuin is the public celebratory feast and is the final part of Jewish weddings. The feast declares to the whole community that the marriage of the husband and wife is legally, religiously, and socially established. From then on they will dwell together in their own household, raise a family, and participate as any other married couple in the community.

Modern Jewish weddings have altered the nissuin to include a representation of the chuppah cloth. At the nissuin, there is a white cloth spread across four poles under which the bridegroom and the bride stand. The significance of the chuppah cloth will become more apparent as you continue to read.

Comparison of Jewish weddings with traditional marriages is helpful. In the west, we tend to view any texts in the Bible that include weddings from the social lens of our traditional wedding order. Here we first have the wedding ceremony (nissuin), then the signing of the marriage license (ketubah), followed by the initial sexual encounter of the wedding night (chuppah).

Because of that western traditional wedding lens, significant appreciation for all things pertaining to weddings in scripture can escape us. That is particularly so in John 2 when we read the conversation between Mary and Jesus about the wedding wine.

At first blush, it almost seems like Jesus is in some way even being disrespectful to his mother. But that simply is not the case. Why this brief interaction is even accounted in scripture should raise a red flag as to the importance of the whole scene, from the water, to the wine, to the jars, to the servants, to the guests, and even to the very relationship between Jesus and Mary.

Remember that Mary, above all others, has raised Jesus with an awareness of who he is. We can only imagine the frank discussions they had during this time, and the non-verbal cues that passed between them. One thing is for sure. Mary was used to keeping her thoughts close to herself, and that is the reason I think their conversation is not more detailed.

Luke 2
¶ When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”
16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.
17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.
18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.
19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.
20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.

The Baptism of Jesus

Matthew’s parallel account of John 1:29 through 32 gives much more information. The fact that these details are so accurately dovetailed gives high credibilty to what Matthew and John observed. Most focus on the Holy Spirit that descends on Jesus like a dove.

John 1
29 ¶ The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!
30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’
31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.”
32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him.

Matt. 3
13 ¶ Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to John, to be baptized by him.
14 John would have prevented him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”
15 But Jesus answered him, “Let it be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.” Then he consented.
16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him;
17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

But that is not what really catches my attention.I want to now why John was baptizing, and why did Jesus need to be baptized in the first place?

Jewish mikvah is a ceremonial washing and not a hygienic cleaning. In preparation for the mikvah, a person was to have bathed and removed all the sweat and dirt accumulated from their daily activities. John’s baptism is a mikvah, but what he is doing causes the priests to come and ask him what he is doiing and if he is the messiah. Important to Jewish custom is that mikvahs were done preferably in fresh flowing water as opposed to stagnant pools.

Mikvahs also preceeded the signing of the ketubah, the chuppah, and the wedding ceremony itself. John’s mikvah is in preparation for the messiah, the bridegroom. The “bride” is already being baptized when Jesus comes to John a the Jordan. This is John’s work of preparing the way before the Lord. While Jesus does not need the mikvah, he is baptized and fulfills his own word.

Those at the baptism also are strikingly analagous to elements of a Jewish wedding. God the Father, who is the father of Jesus, is the bridegroom’s father. John the Baptist is the figura umbra2 of the father of the “bride.” The river Jordan is where the bridegroom and bride sign the ketubah. The Holy Spirit as the dove seals the ketbbah.

The seal of the Holy Spirit is no small thing because the copy of the ketubah that was kept in the synagogue required a seal. It is the authoritative marriage document. God swears by none higher than himself,[[1.Heb. 6:13-15 ¶ For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” And thus Abraham, having patiently waited, obtained the promise.]] so God the Holy Spirit must be the seal.

It is at his baptism that Jesus irrevocably signs his marriage ketubah. The price of his bride was agreed upon before the creation of the world. The only problem is that his bride is not pure—not even close. At the erusin, how will she prove to her bridegroom that she is pure?

Signing the ketubah without being pure means her certain death by stoning.

The Last Supper

It is 14 Nisan, the Day of Preparation of Passover. More than three years later, Jesus and the twelve disciples enter the upper room where they will share a meal. This is Jesus’ last meal. By dusk that begins 15 Nisan, he will be dead, wrapped in white linen cloth, and lying in another’s man’s grave.

At the very first, Jesus does something very unusual. He washes his disciples’ feet. Once again this is not a hygienic washing, but a ceremonial mikvah, because Jesus only washes their feet, not their whole bodies. He is telling them that this meal is special. He has their undivided attention.

At one point at the end of the regular meal, Jesus does something new. He knows he will not share the Passover with the disciples—this is not the Passover meal because this is the Day of Preparation of Passover before Passover. Mark and Luke’s account relates Jesus’ clarity.

Mark 14
¶ And as they were eating, he took bread, and after blessing it broke it and gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.”
23 And he took a cup, and when he had given thanks he gave it to them, and they all drank of it.
24 And he said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many.
25 Truly, I say to you, I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”
26 ¶ And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.

Luke 22
For I tell you that from now on I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
20 And likewise the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup that is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.

The new covenant has a very specific order. The bread is broken first, and then the wine poured. The bread of course represents Jesus’ own body. It is the mohar, or bride’s price, that he agreed to at the ketubah signing at the Jordan River. Why does he give that?

Just as God swears by himself because there is none higher, there is nothing more precious to us that he has other than himself. Like the bread, his body is broken so our body can be whole. Though a mikvah cannot make us into new men, Jesus himself can.

The cup of wine is like the wine at the wedding in Cana. The pots that were filled with water were not for drinking. They were for mikvah. Six pots each holding thirty or perhaps forty gallons of water were all turned to wine. Were there so many guests at Cana that they needed that much wine?

At this last meal one cup of wine will be enough—more than enough. They have seen amazing things over the last three years, but nothing like this. Not till three days later does this moment’s deeper meaning sink in. Jesus changes these men forever.

The Cloth and the Blood

While the mohar will make his bride a new person, what hope is there unless her chuppah cloth is stained with blood. Without the bridegroom’s own blood, the unchaste bride can never prove her virginity.

Three days after his crucifixion, Jesus’ body rises from the dead. The mohar has now been paid and the bride is his. Jesus’ own blood now applied to her chuppah will the testify that she is pure.3

The Mattan

While not a scripturally mandated law, the bridegroom commonly bestowed gifts on the bride called mattan. The mattan is not the same thing as the mohar, or bride price. The mattan embodied the tangible expression of bridegroom’s emotional love for his bride.

Once the chubbah ceremony is complete and the bride proven pure, the bridegroom would again go back to his father’s house. The mattan was not only a parting gift, but a token of his return. The bridegroom and bride would again be parted, each to their fathers’ houses. The bridegroom’s return to take his bride away would come only again at his father’s command.

After Jesus rose from the dead,4 he revealed himself to hundreds of people over the next forty days. He was taken away in a cloud and then on the day following the last day of the Feast of the First Fruits, the Holy Spirit came to dwell within believers.

Acts 2
¶ When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place.

2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting.
3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them.
4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.

The Holy Spirit is the bridegroom’s mattan to his bride. What his body has bought and his blood has purified, the Holy Spirit will now sanctify. While the bride waits patiently and expectantly, the mattan reminds her of the bridegroom’s sure coming. The bridegroom’s thoughts are ever on his bride as he pursues final preparations to take her away to their new house.

At this point, their marriage ketubah is almost complete. The mohar has been offered, accepted, and finally paid. The purity of the bride has been established once for all time. The mansions are being built while the bride waits for the bridegroom, and the bridegroom for his father. Only his father knows when he will tell his son to go and take his bride away.

The Taking of the Bride

What does it mean when we say “I’ve accepted Christ as my Lord and Savior?”

It is as though we are back at the River Jordan signing our name to the ketubah. Baptism now is a mikvah that publicly declares we have joined the body of the Church. Jesus’ mohar pays our bride price, his blood purifies our chubbah cloth, and the Holy Spirit indwells and sanctifies us. The ultimate end in becoming a believer in Christ is to be united with him forever.

At this point in history, the Church has experienced everything from the shiddukhin ketubah signing to the mattan of the erusin. The term nissuin refers to the taking of the bride by the bridegroom to be with him always. This final part of marriage between Jesus Christ and his followers is anxiously anticipate even now two thousand years after his death. Jesus was very clear about what the his taking of his bride will be like in Matthew.

Matt. 25
1 “Then the kingdom of heaven will be like ten virgins who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom.

2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise.
3 For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them,
4 but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps.
5 As the bridegroom was delayed, they all became drowsy and slept.
6 But at midnight there was a cry, ‘Here is the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’
7 Then all those virgins rose and trimmed their lamps.
8 And the foolish said to the wise, ‘Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’
9 But the wise answered, saying, ‘Since there will not be enough for us and for you, go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’
10 And while they were going to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut.
11 Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, ‘Lord, lord, open to us.’
12 But he answered, ‘Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’
13 Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour. …”

This scripture represents the ten virgins as individual members of corporate church that is the bride. Both the Old Testament and New Testament agree on what this means.5 6

In modern western culture, the taking of the bride into the wedding ceremony is scheduled on a calendar. This is not true in Jewish weddings as understood when Jesus told this story. The virgins are waiting because the bridegroom doesn’t know when he is coming until his father has sent him as Jesus explained.

Matt. 24
¶ “No one knows about that day or hour, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.

37 As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
38 For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark;
39 and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.
40 Two men will be in the field; one will be taken and the other left.
41 Two women will be grinding with a hand mill; one will be taken and the other left.
42 ¶ “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.
43 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what time of night the thief was coming, he would have kept watch and would not have let his house be broken into.
44 So you also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.

The Second Coming of the Christ

A clear appreciation for how Jesus’ ministry is analogous to the Jewish wedding prevents confusion about the second coming of Christ when Jesus’ feet will touch the Mount of Olives. The term rapture is not in scripture, but it does refer to the taking of the bride in Matthew.  Zechariah describes the second coming of Jesus very differently than the taking of a bride. One is very obviously public and unassailable while the latter, as described in Revelation, will be a mystery to the world,.

Acts 1
And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight.

10 And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes,
11 and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
12 ¶ Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away.

Zech. 14
¶ Behold, a day is coming for the Lord, when the spoil taken from you will be divided in your midst.

2 For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women raped. Half of the city shall go out into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city.
3 Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle.
4 On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives that lies before Jerusalem on the east, and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley, so that one half of the Mount shall move northward, and the other half southward.

Revelation and 1 Corinthians describe the mystery of the taking of the bride into the wedding ceremony which will not be visible to the world. Notice how the chuppah cloth and the taking of the bride are clearly apparent in the passages below. The shofar sounds and in a split seond the bride is gone, taken to a private wedding ceremony.

Rev. 19
¶ Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting:
¶ “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns.

7 Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready.
8 Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.”
9 ¶ Then the angel said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’” And he added, “These are the true words of God.”

1Cor. 15
¶ I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,
52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.
53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.
54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
55 “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”
56 ¶ The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.

57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Five Foolish Virgins

Why does Jesus describe five foolish and five wise virgins waiting for the taking of the bride? All of these women were aware that the bridegroom would show up at any moment. Yet the foolish among them are lazy in their preparations. Paul’s letter to Timothy describes those like this even in the Church today.

They have a form of Godliness but deny the power of it. They have works but no faith. When the shofar sounds and the bridegroom takes the bride into the nissuin, the doors will be shut and they will be left outside. There will be no light from their empty lamps. The tragedy is that they will know what has happened and that is why there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

2Tim. 3
¶ But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.

2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,
3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good,
4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
6 For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions,
7 always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.

Matt. 24
But if that wicked servant says to himself, ‘My master is delayed,’

49 and begins to beat his fellow servants and eats and drinks with drunkards,
50 the master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not know
51 and will cut him in pieces and put him with the hypocrites. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

The olive oil lamp is present in the Tent of Meeting described in Exodus. It stood in the Holy Place in sight of the veil that hung in front of the Holiest of Holies and burned from dusk to dawn. Aaron and his sons tended it so that its flame burned continously.

Ex. 27
¶ “You shall command the people of Israel that they bring to you pure beaten olive oil for the light, that a lamp may regularly be set up to burn.

21 In the tent of meeting, outside the veil that is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall tend it from evening to morning before the Lord. It shall be a statute forever to be observed throughout their generations by the people of Israel.

When the bridegroom takes his bride, those wise virgins will take their lamps too. The foolish virgins will sit outside in the dark unable to gain entrance to the ceremony.

The Broken Wine Glass

The crushing of the wine glass is not described in Biblical Jewish weddings. It’s only bee since the time of the Talmud that the crushing of the wine glass has had various meanings in the wedding ceremony. This tradition reflects a Jewish understanding of marriage that escapes western thinking. Reflected in the broken glass is the idea that a broken wedding contract is irreversibility.. Once the bride price has been paid and ti cannot be retrieved and the contract between the parted husband and wife cannot be restored.

Without understanding the relationship between Jesus’ purpose and the Jewish wedding, the scripture in Hebrews is difficult to reason. Like the wine glass, once Jesus’ bride price of his broken body is paid, and his blood spilled for our chuppah, there is no recourse. What other sacrifice is there that will bring us back to him.

Heb. 6
For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit,

5 and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come,
6 and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt.

There are certainly those who have clearly and publicly accepted Christ only to then publicly turn away from him. Charles Templeton,7 one of Bill Graham’s very good friends and a fellow pastor in his early years, did exactly that. Lee Strobel interviewed Templeton before his death and told his story on the video The Case for Faith.8 Templeton also wrote a book about leaving his faith called Farewell To God: My reasons for rejecting the Christian faith [[1.]]

At what point would a professing Christian like Templeton really have broken his marriage covenant with Christ? Did he actually ever accept the Lord in the first place? These are valid questions to contemplate.

Clearly just like breaking a marriage covenant, walking away from Christ is not the same as working through your salvation daily. Abandoning your faith and divorcing God takes determined effort. It is not like sin that so easily besets us all. This divorce is spiritual and only God is privy to the heart of one who chooses it.

We have confidence that confessing our sins to him results in his forgiveness because we are still committed to the marriage. Until our bodies are made like Jesus’ body, we will all sin, and our Hope looks to the day when he will make us truly incapable of sinning.

1John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

One thing is for sure. That person who abandons their faith and divorces Jesus Christ has no way to reinstate that marriage contract. Jesus would have to come and die all over again. As it is said, that shipped has already sailed.

Our Hope

Earthly commitment between husband and wife is a figura umbra9 of Christ and his Church. Just like marriages everday, one or the other spouse will fail incident by incident. Our relationship with Christ is so sure that not only will our failures not cause him to cast us away, but that he promises to finish the work in us that he started.

Phil. 1:6 And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.



Show 9 Footnotes

  1. The troth is the exchange of vows where each pledges the other than they have been, and are pure and faithful. Example: I Eric take thee Andrea to be my wedded wife, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death us do part, according to God’s holy ordinance; and thereto I plight thee my troth.
  2. figura umbra; type or shadow, latin for shape of the shado  
  3. gk H3196 | s H2889 & 2890   rwøhDf   t√aœhor   96x a. [3197]. clean, pure, flawless, free from impurity; moral or ceremonial purity as a fig. extension of an object being free from defect or filth. : clean; pure. 
  4. Jesus was raised on the the first day of the seven Feast of Weeks, which is called the Feast of the First Fruits
  5. gk H4374 | s H3947   jåqDl   laœqahΩ   967x: v. [root of: 4375, 4376, 4917, 4918?, 4920, 5228, 5229]. Q to take, receive; Qp to be led away; N to be captured, taken away; Pu to be taken away, brought; Ht to flash back and forth; by extension: to gain possession, exercise authority; “to take a woman” means “to marry a wife”. : accept; capture; choose; deprive; get; grasp; marry; receive; seize; take.
  6.  gk G3284 | s G2983   lamba¿nw  lambanoœ 258x. to take, take up, take in the hand, Mt. 10:38; 13:31, 33; to take on one’s self, sustain, Mt. 8:17; to take, seize, seize upon, Mt. 5:40; 21:34; Lk. 5:26; 1 Cor. 10:13; to catch, Lk. 5:5; 2 Cor. 12:16; to assume, put on, Phil. 2:7; to make a rightful or successful assumption of, Jn. 3:27; to conceive, Acts 28:15; to take by way of provision, Mt. 16:5; to get, get together, Mt. 16:9; to receive as payment, Mt. 17:24; Heb. 7:8; to take to wife, Mk. 12:19; to admit, give reception to, Jn. 6:21; 2 Jn. 10; met. to give mental reception to, Jn. 3:11; to be simply recipient of, to receive, Mt. 7:8; Jn. 7:23, 39; 19:30; Acts 10:43 : get; receive; seize; take. 
  9. latin for shape of the shadow
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