She was a Jewish woman born between the 19th and 20th century in the Middle East, most likely a marriage arranged by her father. I wonder her thoughts as she was preparing for her wedding day. Was there hope of the future? Fear of the unknown?
Her hard work this past year was evident in the ornate wedding gown in front of her. A gorgeous dark purple velvet, the complex gold stitching cascading over the shoulder and down the sleeves. Its long train boasts of royalty – a transitory piece of clothing.
This mystery woman did not know what the future held, but in good faith began the traditions of her ancestors. The first step to getting dressed for her wedding day was putting on a linen shroud.
It is truly remarkable to view in person, but what left me awestruck was the description. Both bride and groom wore a linen death shroud under their wedding attire. It brought new meaning to “’til death do us part. ”
In traditional Jewish culture a linen shroud was worn at death. It was a simple garment. No buttons, zippers or pockets so that nothing could be carried with them.
Thought to be fitting for someone who was about to stand before the Living G-d.*
Priests were known to wear similar linen garments at the time of their service in the temple.
After more thought, it seems fitting for two people about to stand before the Living G-d and make a covenant of marriage to be dressed in their death shroud. Not in a morbid way, but in a humble, holy-moment kind of way. Marriage covenants were more than just a contract. They were (and are still) a solemn promise intended to be upheld until death.
Another thought entered my mind: Yeshua/Jesus wore a linen death shroud when His body was placed in Joseph of Arimathea’s tomb in Jerusalem.
His life and death on the cross initiated the New Covenant that G-d promised to His people in Jeremiah 31. He would deal with sin once and for all and give them a new heart and establish a New Covenant (Ezekiel 11:19).
When Jesus’ disciples came to the tomb, all that was left was His death shroud – evidence that His Covenant wasn’t bound by death.
Death was conquered. The Lamb of God had taken away the sins of the world just as the Law and the Prophets foretold.
We have entered into a strange place of waiting. His Kingdom is right now and also not yet.
It’s like an engagement. The Living promise has been given; the commitment is established by the King of Heaven.
Our time is now given to preparing for the wedding.
Revelation 19:7-8 speaks of that day: “Let us rejoice and be glad and give the glory to Him, for the marriage of the lamb has come and His bride has made herself ready. It was given to her to clothe herself in fine linen, bright and clean; for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.”
A fine linen garment awaits those who are His.
Our mystery Jewish woman faced a future of unknowns, as do we . . . except for one thing – believers in Yeshua have a sure hope to one day be married to life.
Have we made ourselves ready? Have we loved Him well? Do our righteous acts prove our commitment to Him?
– Kori, LIFE Staff Member
*In Jewish culture, it is common to omit vowels in God’s name out of reverence.