By Brian C Thomas
The concept of marriage has been around for thousands of years. To find the beginning of marriage, we have to go all the way back to the days of Adam in Genesis 2. After God formed woman from a rib, Adam spoke the following, “…This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” – Genesis 2:23.The scripture continues as, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” – Genesis 2:24.
Most people view marriage as a sacred and holy event with weddings typically performed before a minister and in a church. Most also realize that marriage should be honored and cherished and that unfaithfulness to your spouse is forbidden. But did you know that marriage is also sacred because it directly symbolizes the relationship between Christ and His followers? The vows exchanged during a wedding ceremony are usually similar to the following:
I, (Bride/Groom), take you (Groom/Bride), to be my (wife/husband), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part.
These vows are given to express one’s commitment to another, to show that the marriage is an exclusive relationship like no other. The reason that we choose to marry is driven by love. Love is a powerful emotion because God Himself is love, “He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.” – 1 John 4:8. When love is treated with sacredness, it is the most wonderful and powerful emotion on earth. When we give the vows of “…to love and to cherish, from this day forward…” we should also have Christ in mind. That is how He feels about us and we should make the feelings mutual when we accept Him as our Lord and Savior. The typical bride/groom vows could be tweaked as follows,
I, (Christian), take you (Jesus Christ), to be my (Lord and Savior), to have and to hold from this day forward, for better or for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish; from this day forward until death do us part. (Jesus promised that He would never leave us nor forsake us, so death will never do us part)
The Apostle Paul gave the following instructions, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;” – Ephesians 5:25. God made the greatest sacrifice ever known to man when He came to earth in the form of a man (Jesus Christ) and died for our sins. God instructs the husband to view his wife in the same manner. It does not mean that husbands must literally be killed in order to fulfill this commandment. It simply means that husbands must be willing to sacrifice whatever is necessary for the sake of his wife. By doing this, husbands would be showing the same type of love that Jesus has for His followers; the same love that Jesus displayed by dying on the cross. This is very important instruction and a huge responsibility that God gave to husbands. The role should not be taken lightly. Just as Jesus is the head of mankind, the husband is the head of the wife, “But I want you to know that the head of every man is Christ, the head of woman is man, and the head of Christ is God.” – 1 Corinthians 11:3. Some people misinterpret this scripture to mean that a man controls his wife but that is not the case. Although Christ is the head of us all, He still gives us free will to make our own decisions. He does not force us to follow Him, He just guides and encourages us to do what is right and exhibits love and compassion when we fall but go to Him for repentance. A husband should view his wife in the same manner and wives should be accepting of the husband’s Christ-like guidance.
Further evidence of the sacredness of marriage is found in the book of Revelation, “And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.” – Revelation 19:9. This is referring to the event that will occur in heaven when Christ returns for those who have accepted Him as Lord and Savior. When Jesus returns for us, He will take us into heaven where we will all feast in the greatest wedding reception of all time. The celebration will be for the marriage between all believers and the Lord that has just taken place. We will live in His presence forever. After we enjoy the marriage supper in heaven, we will return to earth with Jesus when He comes to defeat Satan and his army of demons. Satan desires to prevent as many as possible from attending this marriage supper by stealing souls from Christ.
This is why marriages are constantly under attack, Satan hates what it symbolizes.
John of Patmos made an analogy of marriage when he described New Jerusalem, “Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” – Revelation 21:2. There are many more accounts in the Bible in which Jesus is referred to as a husband coming for his bride. “Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls filled with the seven last plagues came to me and talked with me, saying, “Come, I will show you the bride, the Lamb’s wife.”” – Revelation 21:9.
Women typically go through several months of planning in order to make their wedding day perfect, the day that they have so long dreamed of. We should also make the same effort in preparing ourselves for the wedding day with our Lord, “Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.” – Revelation 19:7.
As we can see, God placed great emphasis on marriage between a man and a woman as a foreshadow of spiritual union with Him. Your earthly marriage should always be treated with honor, respect, and sacredness. Even when times get tough, continue to honor your union just as Christ honors His sacrifice with us when we stumble and fall. He continues to show love and forgiveness. Before deciding to neglect your spouse or be unfaithful to him or her, remember what your marriage represents. When we fail to view our marriage as the sacred union which it is, we are exhibiting behavior that is symbolic with taking Christ for granted or rejecting Him altogether. Therefore always honor marriage as it represents your union with Christ.
With the same eagerness and anticipation that we enjoy for our earthly wedding day, we look to the soon heavenly marriage with our Lord. Until then, Blessings to Israel and to the only wise God, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.