When sin entered the world…
After “Adam sinned, sin entered the entire human race. His sin spread death throughout all the world.” (Rom. 5:12 TLB)
As the human race proliferated, so did sin, and the great wickedness grieved His heart that He had created mankind. (Gen. 6:6)
…cleansing became necessary. So, God sent a purifying flood to cleanse the earth, which destroyed all life except for Noah, his family, and a remnant of animal life.
Yet, God reached out with open arms and gathered man back to Himself. And He brought about new life.
Cleansing for the bride in the Hebrew betrothal tradition is analogous.
During the time of the bridegroom’s absence, as he built the couple’s future home, the bride readied herself by learning the things necessary for her new role as wife and by following the traditional Jewish ritual of purification in a mikveh.
Mikveh (or mikvah) is a Hebrew word meaning pool or body of water and is a ceremonial act by immersion in water, which must be pure, flowing water in order to cleanse.
Done with special baths and ointments, the Law stated that, for twelve months, the bride experienced cleansings: six months with oil of myrrh and six months with fragrances and preparations. Leaving sweet scents upon her.
For the bride’s body to become totally immersed, she needed to remove all articles such as jewelry and hair accessories. (In today’s society, even bandages and nail polish are removed.) This assured that no barrier existed between the water and any part of her body.
After the bride undressed, her companions combed her hair and removed any loose hairs from her body.
As she immersed herself in the mikveh and came to a complete, upright position in the water, her companions recited a blessing over her, “Blessed art Thou, Lord our God, King of the universe who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us concerning the immersion.”
Mikveh is not only a source of purification but is also a tradition of being reborn. Still considered a spiritual rebirth, it represents death to an old way of life and birth into a new way of life, allowing the bride-to-be to enter her marriage in a state of purity and freeing her of past sins. A separation from the old, exiting the mikveh brings rebirth.
And the Bride needed cleansing.
Does the purification process of mikveh, with its freeing of past sins and new way of life, sound familiar?
The Bible says when we confess our sins and ask the Lord to remove them from us, “He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9 NKJV), that we might be cleansed “with the washing of water by the word.” (Eph. 5:26b NKJV)
Mikveh is the picture of baptism after accepting the cleansing of sin and new life in Christ, as Scripture says, “You were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with Him you were raised to a new life.” (Col. 2:12a NLT)
The mikveh bath of baptism, God’s cleansing, has washed us, the Bride, and, in essence, left the sweet scent of eternity upon us.
One day, I received an ad in the mail, one of those perfume samples that you pull the flap back to get a whiff of the scent. This one tickled my funny bone, for on the flap was written, “Open for Eternity”!
As several images danced through my head, I thought, “How appropriate, to have the sweet scent of Eternity upon me,” for “As far as God is concerned there is a sweet, wholesome fragrance in our lives. It is the fragrance of Christ within us.” (2 Cor. 2:15 TLB)
“Beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness
of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”
(2 Cor. 7:1 NKJV)
May you know the cleansing mikveh and have the sweet fragrance of eternity upon you always…Lynn
If you’d like to follow the series:
Come…I will show you the Bride
The Bride of Choice
The Price of the Bride
Two bound together as one
that which is written
Being Called by That Name
What is the Bridegroom’s Gift?
And the Bridegroom Departed