THE SANCTITY OF MARRIAGE
By: Gary L. Rodgers
The sanctity of marriage is an interesting study when cross-referencing it with a study on the ancient Jewish marriage custom.
I would like to begin my study in Genesis 2:22 in the last part of the verse where it says “And brought her unto the man.” In Genesis 2:18 – 25, we find the story of Adam falling into a deep sleep and God took from his side a rib and formed a woman. Unlike Adam who was formed from the dust of the earth Eve was formed from the very flesh and bone of Adam himself thus making their unity a very personal one flesh tie between the two of them. Think of it; two human beings made from the flesh and bone of one. After Eve had been formed it was God who brought her to Adam. This is a picture of a father bringing his daughter and presenting her to her husband. After Adam met Eve and rightly so Adam was able to say that the woman was now bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh, Adam was the means that God used to give Eve the bride her physical body. Equally interesting is that Christ (the second Adam – 1 Corinthians 15:45) died on the cross (fell into a deep sleep – John 11:11 – 14) and from His pierced side issued blood and water (John 19:34); Christ gave His bride a living spiritual body. (1 Corinthians 15: 35-55)
In the wilderness the rock was struck and it issued out life-giving waters to the saving of the physical body. (Exodus 17:6) On the cross Jesus Christ (The rock of our salvation – Psalm 95:1) was struck to justify us by His blood and sanctification through the water by the washing of regeneration. (John 7:38 & 39, John 19:34, Titus 3:5)
ANCIENT BIBLICAL MARRIAGE CUSTOMS
In studies that I have made in the past on the ancient custom of marriage in biblical times I thought that it revealed some interesting facts. I have since long misplaced my notes and references on the matter but recall much of what I had found on the subject and will try to make biblical and/or historical reference to the same.
- The first step in the Betrothal was to settle the matter of the Bride Price (Dowry – Exodus 22:17) In I Corinthians 6:19 & 20 we are told that we have been bought with a price. The dowry that Christ gave for His bride was His shed blood, and the water that issued from the wound in His side was to purify His bride. Ephesians 5:25 & 26.
- During the Espousal or Betrothal period the bride and groom made a commitment by covenant (Malachi 2:14, Ezekiel 16:8) to one another during a special ceremony that so united the two together that nothing could break this covenant other than death or a writing of divorcement. The consummation of the marriage did not take place at this time. There were other preparations that needed tending to before this could happen.
- The bride would remain in her parent’s home where she would be in waiting (the period of grace – the bride being set apart or sanctified – redeemed by the groom) until her husband came back for her to take her to their final home.
- The groom would then make preparations for him to receive his bride during the espousal period. By custom the groom would add onto his father’s house where he and his bride would live. (John 14:2 & 3) “In my Father’s house are many mansions:” – “I go to prepare a place for you ………………”)
- The espousal period generally ran for a one year time period and sometimes longer than that. The bride was to keep herself faithful to her groom and always in readiness since she had no idea when her Husband (Lord) would come for her. (Matthew 24:36 & 44, Matthew 25:13, Mark 13:32 & 33,)
- During the espousal period the groom would send his friend (friend of the bridegroom – The best man by today’s understanding) to speak with the bride to make sure that all of her needs were met and that he (The friend of the Bridegroom) would bring back word from her regarding any needs that she may have while she was in waiting. All of this is a picture of the working of the Holy Spirit and the active prayer life of the Christian. The Holy Spirit works in our lives and takes the prayers that we offer up to God and presents them to God with groanings which cannot be uttered.
Romans 8:26 Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.
- At a set time (traditionally at night) the groom and his entourage would go to receive his bride. While in route to receive his bride the bride would hear the sounding of trumpets and a shout (“Behold the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.” Matthew 25: 6, I Thessalonians 4:16) that the groom was on his way and the bride with her maidens (five wise virgins – Matthew 25:1 – 13) would prepare themselves and then she (the bride) would go out in all of her wedding apparel and jewelry and meet with her groom. (This pictures the Rapture of the Bride the church to come up hither – Revelation 4:1 – Raptured away). A snatching away in a moment in the twinkling of an eye. The Groom would come at a time when no one expected him and he would call out to his wife to come out (set yourself apart) from among them and be ye separate.
- A second ceremony would occur at the home of the Bridegroom where the marriage was consummated (Genesis 29:23) and a great feast would begin (Marriage supper of the Lamb) and the bride and groom from that point on would remain together forever. ( I Thessalonians 4:17, John 14:3)
Note: In Matthew 1:18 the verse says that “Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together,” This coming together would have been during the second half of the marriage where consummation was permitted. In ancient Jewish weddings when the groom came for his bride she was escorted to the grooms home that he prepared for his bride, it was the parents of the bride that took her to the bridal chamber (Chuppah) where the bride and groom would consummate their marriage.
I would like to insert a note here regarding Job and the one flesh relationship. We find in the story of Job that Satan came before the Lord and the Lord asked Satan if he had considered His servant Job that there is none like him in the earth? And Satan said “does Job fear God for nought?” You have built a hedge about him and have protected him on all sides. We are held in the hand (security and protection) of our Lord and no one is able to remove us from His mighty power. (John 10:28 & 29) Thank God for His power and protection, (thy rod and thy staff they comfort me) which preserves us. Not only will He protect and keep us by His might (Rod), but He will lead us into righteousness with reproof and the chastisement of our peace (His staff of guidance) will comfort us.
Notice how Satan tempts the LORD in his words “Put forth thy hand now, (remove the hedge that protects him) and all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. (Job 1:11) So the LORD told Satan that all that Job had was in his power, “only upon himself put not forth thine hand.” (Job 1:12) As we read on we find that all of Job’s wealth was taken from him, and he lost his children as well. What a horrible day for Job, yet Job maintained his integrity and “sinned not, nor charged God foolishly”. (Job 1:22)
SATAN’S SECOND ATTEMPT TO SWAY JOB TO CURSE GOD
And again we read where Satan came before the presence of the LORD and again the LORD asked Satan if he had considered His servant Job? A perfect and upright man, one that feareth God and avoids evil. Satan goes on to say “touch his bone and his flesh (Job 2:5) and he will curse thee to thy face.” So again the LORD told Satan that Job was in his (Satan’s) hand “save (except for) his life.” (Job 2:6) The spiritual life of the believer is preserved forever, and our physical life comes under the protective hand of God Almighty. As for the believer, we must become aware that the continual un-confessed sin of any believer who will not repent and turn from their wicked ways places them in physical danger. There are no free rides with sin! Our body is the Temple of The Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19 & 20) and if any man defile this temple him will God destroy. (1 Corinthians 3:16 & 17) The physical body can be permitted to become destroyed that the spirit may be preserved. (1 Corinthians 5:1-5)
There are some wonderful points in the book of Job that I would like to bring to light:
- The beauty of knowing that God has a hedge of protection built around us. (Job 1:10) We are held in God’s hand like a precious jewel. He will never leave us nor forsake us, and no one is able to take us from Him. (John 10:28 – 30)
- The only way that Satan can touch us is if God allows it. (Job 1:12, 2:5 & 6)
- Not everything bad that happens in our life is because we have committed some sin. And in the story of Job this becomes evident in the questioning accusations of Job’s friends. Often our faith and trust in God is tested that we may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:2) Paul also touched on this in his letter to the Romans in chapter 7:14 – 25.
- The one point that I would like to make is this. As a provider for my family and as a father it would have hurt me as the supporter and protector of them to lose the financial means of their support, but it would have cut me to the very core of my heart to have lost all of my children in one sweeping blow. What a heartbreaking challenge for Job to face! But even more difficult than that would have been for me to lose my wife! The very thought that someday my wife and I may part from one another in death is most troubling for me and very hard to bear. It is my earnest prayer that we will live to be raptured out together from this present life.
Notice a very curious thing that Satan said to the LORD in Job 2: 5
“But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face.” What did Adam say when God brought Eve to him in Genesis 2:23? “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh:”
So the LORD says to Satan in the story of Job:
- “only upon himself (Job) put not forth thine hand.” Job 1:12
- “Behold, he (Job) is in thine hand; but save (except for) his life.” Job 2:6
Of all the things that Satan was permitted to do, he could not so much as put a scratch on Mrs. Job. To do so would have meant that Satan had touched the very life of Job himself, something that God would not allow Satan to do. That one flesh relationship between a man and woman is so intermingled and binding that you cannot touch the life of the one without touching the life of the other.
In all of his wicked craftiness Satan tried to get The LORD to touch the very life of Mrs. Job; thus touching the life of Job him-self. If Satan is not afraid to tempt the very person of God, then surely he is not afraid to tempt us! That is why the Christian armor is so important to us. (Ephesians 6:10 – 18) We are continually in a spiritual battle and we need the armor of God to help us in our offence and defense against spiritual principalities, and powers, and the rulers of darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. (Ephesians 6:12)
But the Tempter failed in his miserable plan against Job and praise God we will someday be rid of Satan forever.
When I am tested I pray that I will be able to say like Job “the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” (Job 1:21) And also in Job 13:15 where we find these words “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him: but I will maintain mine own ways before him.” In all areas of our life we need to keep our ways (testimony) firm before the Lord.
Marriage is not something that should ever be entered into lightly. And it should not be entered into unless both parties are saved born again believers in Christ. (2 Corinthians 6:14 -18) If marriage is a picture of the unity between Christ and the church then it is even more important that we are equally yoked together in Spirit and Purpose.
This Is a Special Day to Remember
(A wedding poem)
By: Gary L. Rodgers
This is a special day to remember, a day in which a man and a woman are bound together by covenant as one. From the side of man close to his heart, bone of his bone was taken and a woman was formed; and in man’s side there still remains a void, an emptiness that can only be filled by receiving unto him that which was taken from him: And they being two shall become complete as one.
This is a special day to remember, a day where two shall be coupled together in heart, in spirit, and in purpose; a day where two shall be poured together into a vow to become united as one. Like two glasses of water having been poured together, who can separate the one without touching the other?
This is a special day to remember, a day where a promise to stand together through all of life’s joys and struggles shall be shared as one; where the commitment to love, to cherish, and to honor one another will strengthen the very foundation of your bond.
This is a special day to remember, a day wherein the instruction of your mother and father shall be magnified by your loyalty and obedience to each other; nurtured and sanctified by forgiveness and understanding.
This is a special day to remember, a day where you will come together as one. From the time of your birth, through childhood and adolescence to this very day that was set aside as your special day; a day where your promises to each other have been witnessed, sealed in heaven, and written upon your hearts. This is, a special day to remember!
AN INVITATION TO THE MARRIAGE SUPPER OF THE LAMB
Christ our Redeemer stands upon the threshold of His coming for us in the Rapture. It could happen at any moment. Will you someday be seated at the Table of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb? Or will you be one of those on the outside where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth? (Matthew 22:9-13)
Christ went to the cross for a reason. That reason was you and me. When He hung on the cross He looked down through the centuries at all of the faces of those that He was dying for. He saw your face and He saw mine. He paid the penalty for our sins because He loved us. The choice to be saved is yours. No one can make that decision for you. Won’t you come and be a part of this great celebration? If your answer is yes then please bow your head in prayer and repeat the following words.
Dear Lord, I confess that I am a sinner. Please forgive me for all of my sin and wash them away with your blood. I believe and trust you with my eternal life. I know that you died on the cross for me personally. I know that you were buried in a tomb and I believe that you resurrected from the dead and are now seated at the right hand of God the Father. Please come into my heart and be my Lord and Savior. May the Holy Spirit teach me, guide me, and empower me in the way that I should go. Amen!
If you made a decision to pray and ask Christ to forgive you, and to wash away all of your sin with His blood, and to come into your heart to be your Savior, then we praise God for you.
You should write down the:
of your decision. Record this information in your Bible as a record of that decision. It is part of your testimony.
Please contact us through Myerstown Baptist Church, 59 N. Ramona Road, Myerstown PA. 17067, or visit our website at http://www.myerstownbaptistchurch.com/ to let us know that you have made a decision for Christ so that we can pray for you and rejoice with you. We would like to send you some information to help you get started in your Christian walk and answer any questions that you may have.
Thank you, and may the Lord richly bless you!