THIS IS A GREAT MYSTERY
By D. P. Grafton
Edited; Corrected and Supplemented by JAH
I. FOR THIS CAUSEa) "but from the beginning"
b) Codified Law
c) "a help meet"
d) Human authority and submission
II. A BILL OF DIVORCEMENTa) "some uncleanness"
b) "for every cause?"
III. DIVINE MARRIAGEa) "put my name on them"
b) "Israel committed adultery"
c) "I will betroth thee"
IV. HIS BODYa) The Community
b) "caught up together"
V. MAY BE ONE IN USa) "Till all be fulfilled"
b) "reigned with Christ"
c) "the Bride, the Lamb's wife"
THIS IS A GREAT MYSTERY
Paul, the mighty expositor of Divine Will is declared by the Risen Son to be "a chosen vessel unto me to bear my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel," (Acts 9:15) and this man, chosen and commissioned by the Lord, has this to say. "By one man sin entered into the world and death by sin: and so death passed upon all men for that all have sinned." (Rom. 5:12) He states that restoration of sinning mankind is "through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. Whom God hath sent forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God." (Rom. 3:24-25)
We are thereby told that the opening chapters of the book of Genesis are Divinely inspired in recording man's fall from grace and his promised salvation.
In his second letter to Timothy, Paul says, "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness." (2 Tim.3:16) By "all Scripture" Paul is of course referring to the Old Testament, so that this "chosen vessel" of the Lord is claiming for the books of Genesis to Malachi, their "inspiration of God".
In these books, the "profitable" doctrine and the "instruction" in righteousness is taught by precept and example, and therefore we must see in them a Self Revelation of the Godhead and His Purpose.
The prime example shown man is in the Israel nation. Formed by the LORD for this express purpose, the Divine Law given her reveals in its outworking the Doctrine of Righteousness, of which one of the great examples is the series of Feasts of YHWH - "I AM". Another is the family relationship of husband and wife in which the marriage bond teaches by Law and demonstration the relationship between God and His creatures. Yet another is in the teaching that the body of believers the Assembly or Community is the Body of Christ.
Paul in his letter to the Ephesians (5:21-32) brings these last two points together, and argues that our Lord is both "head of the Community" the Body, and that believers are united to Him as is a wife to her husband. "This is a great mystery" Paul claims, and indeed it is. Wonderful; Mystical, yet in this unity of the created with the Divine is the whole message of the Scriptures.
As a first step then in attempting an understanding of the "great mystery" it is necessary to look in detail at God's physical Marriage Laws in considerable depth, in order to understand their spiritual teaching.
I. FOR THIS CAUSE
a) "but from the beginning"
The first statement concerning marriage and the family unit is given in Genesis 1:27-28. Here we have the fact of the creation of man and woman and the power vested in them, but it is in Genesis 2:18-24 we have the detail.
The man is a solitary being, possessing dominion over all other life on Earth, but "the LORD God, said, It is not good that man should be alone: I will make him a help meet for him". So, from the bone of man the very foundation of his body was brought forth his "help meet" (i.e. a companion suitable for him, a helper to help him, not to be his equal) and Adam named her "Woman, because she was taken out of Man".
The announcement is then made. "Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother: and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh". We are thus shown that a whole man is man plus woman. A unity of bone and flesh one body.
This unity of man plus woman receives Divine Blessing and Command. "God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth and subdue it". From this union the males and females would continue the pattern of I+I=I, and be the way of life under Edenic conditions with the unity of man and woman spiritually at-one with God.
The Son, co-eternal with the Father and Holy Spirit, when questioned by a group of Pharisees concerning divorce, answers by citing the above passage from Genesis, and so doing confirms Divine Authority of the statements. "Have you not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female. And said, For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and they shall be one flesh?"
This is fundamental Law of the LORD. It is His Will, and is both factual and symbolic.
When by disobedience man separated himself from the Godhead, he spiritually as well as physically put himself out of Eden. This sinning degenerate creature, unable by his own efforts to regain spiritual understanding; unable to regain knowledge of Divine Law, must continually and totally act according to the power of anti-God into whose hands he had placed himself. But, if that man accepts the Divine Redemption offered him, then he will seek to be obedient to Divine Law in all things, including the marriage bond.
This is explained by our Lord to the Pharisees thus. "Whosoever shall put away his wife, except [it be] for fornication (NOT adultery), and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.." That is, the marriage law of one man plus one obedient woman. Thus whoever of degenerate, sinful man, will accept the "I AM"'s Redemption, "the redemption that is in Christ Jesus," will be so strengthened and enlightened that he will "be able to receive it" - the message about the three types of eunuch. In other words, Divine Law can only be practised by God-fearing men and women, who are born again as their spirit-Being.
Matthew 19:9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except [it be] for fornication (NOT adultery), and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.
19:10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with [his] wife, it is not good to marry.
19:11 But he said unto them, All [men] cannot receive this saying, save [they] to whom it is given.
19:12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from [their] mother's womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the Kingdom of heaven's sake. He that is able to receive [it], let him receive [it].
b) Codified Law
At Sinai the descendants of Jacob-Israel accepted to be the "I AM"'s Servant nation. In the world of anti-God systems, they would be a working model of the Power and Beneficence of the "I AM", and show that peace, plenty and kindliness was His Will for mankind.
What had been a loosely knit tribal community, was soon to be a nation, settled in her own territory and therefore requiring a uniform, or central government, with a Law to deal with personal; national and international life at every level. And so, this new nation Israel, received from the "I AM" God, His codified Law, the foundation of which was the Ten Commandments. (Ex. 20:1-17)
It is the 7th, "Thou shalt not commit adultery" and the 5th, "Honour thy father and mother" of these Commandments on which rest the inter-relationship of the family unit, and which concern us most in this enquiry.
In the context of the 7th Commandment, Israel were given rules of conduct, and warned against certain practices enumerated in Leviticus 18. Verses 6-23 state the relationships within which marriage is forbidden, and rules against homosexuality and intercourse between man or woman and beast.
These were not academic conditions which might occur. On the contrary, they were practised by all the peoples the Israelites had lived among, and would continue to be close neighbours of. The ultimate horror in these nations was surely that of human sacrifice, when children were sacrificed in burnt-offering to the fire-god, Molech, as a propitiatory act. (Lev. 20:1-5)
This same chapter 20 of Leviticus contains the judgments for breaking The Laws we have mentioned, to the end that the nation be clean in the sight of the "I AM". Thus aliens within the nation were subject to exactly the same Law as the Israelite born. This was essential if the nation be an example to unregenerate mankind, and is expressly stated in Lev. 18:26-27. "Ye shall therefore keep My Statutes and My Judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations: neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you: (For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled)."
How different would have been the history of mankind had that Command been obeyed. But in after years, Israel permitted alien customs and heathen worship to take place in her midst, and brought on herself judgment by deportation.
c) "a help meet"
At the time of creation of woman, the suitable companion for Adam, it should be noted that woman is to be man's helper. The one is the complement of the other, therefore they are a perfect unity, under Divine direction.
But after their act of disobedience, that unity is lost; the harmony between them becomes discord, and they no longer have confidence in each other. The man blames the woman for his state, and she blames the power that tempted her. But, it could well be that in time; rather than acknowledge her crime and accept her own responsibility for it; she would blame the man for not preventing her action, so that a growing tension between them is inevitable.
Divine intervention with Law for this new condition of the sinning creatures, places authority in the man, and the woman hears the pronouncement, "thy desire [shall be subject] to thy husband, and HE SHALL RULE OVER THEE". (Gen. 3:16)
A supreme authority there must be to maintain order. When the unity of man and woman was obedient to the "I AM", there was peace on Earth, the ultimate authority resting on the One Source.
But in discord between man and woman and between that unit in separation from the "I AM", restoration of law and order must be movement from the Godhead to the creatures. So the demonstration of this is set up by the "I AM" proclaiming that in the first being (man) remains Authority, whether in Divine Presence or degraded, sinful humanity.
Obedience then to Divine Law is the means whereby the man and woman recover their contact with the "I AM", and is also the means of bringing peace between themselves. Thus unity, harmony and peace are again shown to be in obedience to Divine Authority.
Excerpt from Philip's Gospel
When Eve was in Adam there was no death; but when she was separated from him death came into being. If she go in again, and he take her to himself, death will no longer exist. For this reason a man and woman will leave their parents and cleave one (the woman) to the other (the man) becoming one flesh.
She or he who loves anyone or anything more than me and being part of me (Christ) and allows them, or it, to come in between is unworthy of me and will die.
If the woman had not separated from the man, and had not gone apart from him to talk to Satan, deciding to believe Satan in preference to God, thereby calling God the liar, she would not die with and have caused the man to die. His separation through worshipping the woman first rather than God became the beginning of death. Because of this Christ came, in order that he might remove the separation which was from the beginning, and again unite the two; and that he might give life to those who died in the separation, and unite them (in serving God). But the woman is united to the man in the "Bridal Chamber". Only those who have united in "The Bridal Chamber" (of God) will no longer be separated. Because of this Eve separated from Adam, because she was not united to him in the "Bridal Chamber" of God, and went to serve Satan in his world where he comes between man and woman and between both of them and God.
He whom the woman loves, those whom she will bear are like him: if her husband (or God), they are like her husband (or God); if it is an adulterer (or Satan), they are like the adulterer (or Satan). Often if a woman sleeps with her husband of necessity, but her heart is with the adulterer (or Satan) with whom she is wont to consort (in his world), then what she bears she bears in the likeness of the adulterer (or Satan). But you who are with the Son of God, love not the world but love the Lord, that those you bring forth may not be like unto the world but may be like the Lord.
Man mixes with man, horse mixes with horse, ass mixes with ass. The kinds mix with those of like kind. So also spirit is wont to mix only with spirit and the Word to consort with the Word and the Light to consort with the Light. If thou become man men will love thee. If thou become spirit the Spirit will be joined to thee. If thou become (and not just speak) the Word, it is the Word which will mix with thee. If thou become Light, it is the Light which will consort with thee. If thou become one of those who belong above, those who belong above will find their rest in thee. If thou become horse or ass or bull or dog or goat or any other animal of those outside and those below (or as in the case of some people all of them), then neither man nor Spirit, nor the Word nor Light, nor those above nor those within will be able to love thee. They will not be able to find rest in or with thee and thou hast no part in them.
He or she who is a slave against his or her will will be able to become free. He who has become free by the favour of his master and has sold himself again into slavery to his master's enemy will no longer be able to be free. (Seven devils enter the clean house and he is worse then than he was in his first state).
End of the excerpt from the Gospel of Philip which is contained in "The King of kings' Bible" - by JAH
From our researches so far, we see that The Law codified at Sinai was not original Divine Will, but that given to sinful man to be as Paul says, "our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith". (Gal. 3:24)
We see also that when our Lord told the questioning Pharisees to read again the opening statement in Genesis, that, "at the beginning" man and wife was a unity, therefore "let not man put asunder" the original perfect and yet ultimate Law was His reference.
d) Human authority and submission.
The power possessed by one human+being must not be used to dominate or oppress another, but to guide, instruct and discipline in accordance with Divine Will. All other conduct is anti-God. Thus Ex. 13:8-16 instructs parents it is their duty to teach their children in the things of the "I AM", and this continuing generation by generation would be the safeguard of the sure knowledge of the "I AM"* having application to every aspect of personal and national life.
* Hosea 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of My Knowledge: because thou hast rejected My Knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to Me: seeing thou hast forgotten The Law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.
Deut. 21:18-21 lays down that the reprobate child, defiant of father and mother, be brought to trial, and if the case be proved, then the death sentence be passed. This makes absolutely clear to parents and children alike, that obedience to the "I AM"'s Command is essential for life.
Exodus 20:12. This is the 5th Commandment. Children are to honour their parents, "That thy days may be long upon the land which the 'I AM' thy God giveth thee". Obedience to the teaching of the Truth of the "I AM" is the pre-requisite of remaining at peace with God. The parents to teach this Truth; the children to be obedient and learn that Truth, so that an entire nation is aware of and believing (by-live - living by) Divine Will (in Arabic - Islam).
How right Paul was in speaking of The Law as our "schoolmaster". In the responsibility of parents to teach, and obligation of children to learn, the "schoolmaster" would keep order within the nation, and bring the individual soul to a true understanding of his "redemption that is in Christ Jesus".
And again it is Paul, when writing to the Colossians, (3:18-22) who summed up obedience to The Law. "Wives submit yourselves unto your own husbands . . . Husbands love your wives . . . children obey your parents . . . Fathers provoke not your children to anger . . . Servants obey in all things your masters according to the flesh".
The home is then seen to be the unit of Divine Instruction with responsibility vested in the father as head of the family. Yet all are inter-responsible one to another, to be obedient in and because of the Love of God, that the Love of God may be seen to be working in and through the individual, family and nation.
II. A BILL OF DIVORCEMENT
a) "some uncleanness"
In Deuteronomy 24:1-4 is stated The Law on divorce. Permitted only if "some uncleanness" be found in the wife, and once a bill of divorcement has been given the ex-husband may not re-marry her.
That divorce should be permitted and legislated for is the measure of the Israelite's fall from true knowledge of the LORD. Detailed instruction in the marital relationship was therefore necessary in order to root out from the nation some abominable practices taken from heathen peoples. All too often a wife of those days was considered a chattel; a plaything to be discarded when tired of, with no provision whatever made for her future.
This word "uncleanness" in verse 1 has caused endless dispute, and lead eventually to opposing schools of thought.
1. The Shammai School held it meant unchastity only.
2. The Hillel School said it meant any and every cause that could be thought up.
The Hebrew word here translated "uncleanness" is from the root meaning "nudity; to be bare; leave destitute". Thus figuratively, nakedness; shame; disgrace. Generally it is translated "nakedness" as for example in Leviticus 18 and 20 when "uncover the nakedness" is repeated many times and implies either marriage or sexual intercourse. So the teaching of the Shammai School that unchastity was the only ground for divorce is in accordance with The Law.
Now, we can take this connection between "uncleanness" and "nakedness" meaning "shame; disgrace" a little further.
In their created state, the man and woman are pronounced to be "both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed". (Gen. 2:25) Here, "naked" has the meaning, "nude, either totally or in part". To say that this condition represents the age of innocence is only stating a fact, not arriving at an explanation of the condition itself, but if we relate this state of the man and woman to their condition immediately they disobeyed, we find a significant change.
"And they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves aprons". (Gen. 3:7) Here "naked", a different word means "to make bare" so we are shown that by sinning a "covering" which had been theirs disappeared; and becoming aware that a change from their state of being had taken place, to conceal this, they made themselves "aprons" or a covering.
What then was this original covering lost to them? John, in the opening chapter of his Gospel says of the Word, the Son. "All things were made by him . . . in him was life: and the life was the light of men", also that He was "the true Light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world". (vv. 3-9)
The Light, the Son, was the true life-force of man; the cause of his existence in that perfect harmony of being at-one with God. But only so long as he remained obedient to Command. The price to be paid for Command breaking was the "knowledge of good and evil", with the confusion that brought, which would cause spiritual death, i.e. separation from the Godhead. "thou shalt surely die".
Before listening to Lucifer, Satan the Devil (the source or tree of the knowledge of evil), Adam and Eve were told by God (the tree of the Knowledge of Good) that they were beings of light locked inside of and therefore covered or "clothed" by human bodies, so, in that state of being, they were not "naked". They were beings of light "clothed" by human bodies. Once they listened to Satan the Devil (Heb. liar) and believed his lie that they were only human, then in their minds they were no longer a being of light clothed by a human body but only a human body clothed by nothing. Therefore they knew that they were then naked and hid from God.
When Divine Law was broken, and "sin entered into the world" would not separation at once take place? Pure Light could not exist within a denying body, thus the Power of Life, which had enveloped, covered and maintained body existence, faded, and blood became the means of life. So, then, the man and woman were "made bare" naked stripped of the full power of the Eternal Light of Life. Leaving only a tiny spark within them.
That redemption lay on the sacrificial offering of this evidence of guilt the blood was made known to the man and woman when by the death of animals "the 'I AM' God made coats of skins and clothed them". (Gen. 3:21) The Garment of Righteousness thus provided was a cover for their "nakedness", "uncleanness", "shame" in the sight of the "I AM". Not by any covering of their own devising could they mitigate or redeem their position, only by being clothed in that Divinely Offered.
Also in the Fall from grace and expulsion from the Garden of Eden, the era of perpetual Summer turned into Winter and so they would need warm clothing rather than a fig-leaf.
This then is the connection between "uncleanness" and "nakedness" meaning shame and disgrace. The human body, wonderful as it is, is in reality the evidence of man's disobedience. It is unsanctified flesh, diminished in Spirit; "dead" in sin. The result of Satanic power, it is the medium through which he acts. The carnal man is at enmity with God - Romans 8:7-9*. Man, left in that power would progressively become more evil in all his ways, with the violation of the body and its utter debasement being the delight of the creature for its new master - Satan.
* Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind [is] enmity against God: for it is not subject to The Law of God, neither indeed can it be.
8:8 So then they that are in the ways of flesh cannot please God.
8:9 But ye are not of the flesh, but of the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you (Gal. 2:20). Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is not his.
This is the complete denial of the "I AM"'s role for man and woman, and the fidelity and honour they are called upon to give their bodies, created Temples in which the very Breath of Life was placed. Unless this "unclean" body is cleansed and its "nakedness" covered by the "redemption that is in Christ Jesus" it is without hope. That is why Christ said to Nicodemus that he must be born again as his spirit-being or he would never see the Kingdom of God; as is recorded in the Gospel of John ch. 3.
In order to bring the sinful human body, to the nearest approach to its original "very good" state, Divine Law was given. In obedience before the Fall, husband and wife were as one body, indivisible. In obedience afterwards, when the individual accepts "the redemption that is in Christ Jesus" then husband and wife are again as one body, indivisible.
Like the Pharisees, we too ask, "Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement and to put her (the wife) away?" And our Lord's answer is, "Moses, because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so".
Here, "hardness of heart" means destitute of the Spiritual perception from which flows compassion, and as we have noted above, Spiritual perception is acceptance that man is a sinful creature (Isa. 64:6) and that the Being within it can only be redeemed by the Sacrifice; teachings and the following of the example of the Son, through taking up the cross of "Self"-sacrifice (voluntary sacrifice of "Self"-interest and selfishness) DAILY (Matt.10:38; 16:24; Luke 9:23).
So we see that un-regenerate man in his "hardness of heart", his lack of Spiritual understanding, is unable to appreciate and accept the "in the beginning" state of man at-one with God, and be a unity with his wife. Therefore, in order to protect society and provide against just what the Hillel School taught, divorce for violating the one-man-plus-one-woman unit, was permitted. It is permissive law for the un-regenerate only. It would not apply to the Spiritually awake - those who were born again as their spirit-being.
b) "for every cause?"
Both Matthew and Mark record the incident of the Pharisees question to our Lord on divorce, but the two accounts are not identical in expression, and as with the meaning of "uncleanness" there has been endless argument and questioning. Look again at the two records.
Matthew 19:3 states. "Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?"
Mark 10:2 states. "Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife? tempting him."
At first sight the two questions do seem at variance, but bearing in mind the two schools of thought on divorce at that time, this is not so. Each question is in fact "which school do you say is the rightful teaching, Shammai or Hillel"? That our Lord understood this to be so, is clear from His answer, referring them to Moses, and which both Matthew and Mark record.
Only Matthew states "except it be for fornication" and again continuous wrangle and discussion centres around this statement. It is of course possible they are an interpolation, but even so, their inclusion in no way alters the teaching of our Lord. Having referred to Moses and The Law codified by him, which permitted a wife to be divorced for fornication, our Lord then returns to His earlier statement that "from the beginning it was not so" and adds, "I say unto you whosoever shall put away his wife and shall marry another committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery".
It would be well at this point to remind ourselves and underline, that although marriage at human level is symbolic of a relationship the "I AM" claims with His nation Israel, the physical meaning of adultery and fornication, harlot and whore naturally cannot apply. It is in their wider meaning of breaking promise that they parallel the Divine Marriage.
Thus the A.V. translation "fornication" as recorded by Matthew in the above quotation, is given as "unfaithfulness" by J. B. Phillips, and "unchastity" by Weymouth. Humanly speaking a faithless wife is one who breaks her marriage vow and will not obey her husband. The husband is then within his rights to divorce her.
When this law is applied to the relationship between the "I AM" and Israel, it is Israel's breaking of her vow to obey His Commands her unfaithfulness which brings about her divorce. For example.
a) Jeremiah chapter 5 records the "I AM"'s word concerning Judah, the Southern Kingdom. "How shall I pardon thee for this? Thy children have forsaken me, and sworn by them that are no gods: when I fed them to the full, they then committed adultery, and assembled themselves by troops in the harlots' houses . . . the House of Israel and the House of Judah have dealt very treacherously against me, saith the 'I AM'?"
b) Ezekiel chapter 16 records the "I AM"'s word concerning Jerusalem. "A wife that committeth adultery, which taketh strangers instead of her husband . . . I will judge thee as women that break wedlock and shed blood are judged".
c) Hosea's message and warning is to the whole nation. In chapter 1 verse 2 we are told, "take unto thee a wife of whoredoms . . . for the land hath committed great whoredom departing from the LORD". And at chapter 2 verses 5-13, "For thy mother hath played the harlot . . . I will go after my lovers, that give me my bread . . . water . . . wool . . . flax . . . oil . . . drink (the Babylonian market-system common-market) . . . she went after her lovers, and forgat me, saith the LORD".
A "nation" is a collection of individuals, therefore as the individuals act, so is set the national condition. The Israel individuals, collectively vowed, "all that the LORD hath spoken we will do". (Ex. 19:8) When then the individuals, collectively, "dealt very treacherously against" the 'I AM', by breaking His every Law and Command, it is with the nation, Divine Law must act. The "hardness of heart" of the nation, must be dealt with in the same way as with the individual. So, to return to our Lord's discourse on marriage and divorce.
In the Son (the Second Adam, who came to reverse the fall in Eden brought about by believing Satan's lie that man was only human and to show man The Way back into the Garden by being born again as his spirit-being) was Redemption, therefore His message must be to restore that which had been lost*, and dispel the "hardness of heart". That this was indeed so is clear from Matthew 5:27-28. "Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time. Thou shalt not commit adultery: but I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart". Our Lord was come to restore Spiritual perception; ability to understand Divine Will, therefore not only the deed but the thought would be judged by His Teaching.
* That which had been lost was the knowledge and understanding of the fact that the Being part (the soul) of a human+Being is not human at all, but is a spirit-being locked inside a human body, as explained by Jesus to Nicodemus in the Gospel of John chapter 3:3-12 .
It is significant that both Matthew and Mark record that the disciples further question our Lord on these statements when they are alone. According to Matthew the disciples had been incredulous at our Lord's replies, and said if that was the case. "it is not good to marry". (19:10) They are told, "All men, 'cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given". Meaning, only those who are led by the Spirit and have discarded their "hardness of heart" will receive the power to enable them to obey.
Mark tells us that it was "in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter" and that our Lord re-stated that "whoever divorced their spouse and married another committed adultery". (10:10-12) Thus confirming the Edenic unity of husband and wife.
One other point of Law. If a divorced woman be married to another man, and he either divorces her or dies, "her former husband which sent her away may not take her again to be his wife". (Deut. 24:4) This is a vital point in the "I AM"'s dealing with His divorced Wife, which we will consider in that context.
Now to sum up. The Edenic Law for obedient man and woman was that marriage was indissoluble. Woman taken from man was "bone of his bone" therefore the whole man was, man-plus-woman.
Post-Edenic Law for man in separation from the Godhead is in fact an interim law, a "schoolteacher" instructing in the way back to at-onement with the Godhead, and restoration of confidence between the human creatures.
This temporary law, codified by Moses must needs be because of sinful man, spiritually "dead" (Matt. 8:22), but the Son in His Incarnation taught of the Spiritual Law of the "I AM", to be practised by the re-generate creature accepting in faith the "redemption that is in Christ Jesus". Therefore His teaching was that of "in the beginning" when marriage was a union making of two, one body indissoluble.
III. DIVINE MARRIAGE
a) "put my name on them"
One of the mightiest figures in the pages of history is the man Abraham. Chosen by the LORD and called into His Service (Gen. 12:1-5) because, "I know him that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep The Way of the "I AM", to do justice and judgement". (Gen. 18:19)
Abraham was no petty tribal chief of some ancient decadent people whose life related only to his immediate family and descendants, He was the man the "I AM" appeared to, (Gen. 12:7) and called him "Abraham, my friend". (Isa. 41:8) A man of such faith that the Son could say of him, "Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it and was glad". (John 8:56; King of kings' Bible 8:47) The Covenant the "I AM" made with this man and his posterity was for the single purpose that "all families of the earth be blessed". The work therefore to be accomplished by the "I AM" through this man and his descendants was for ALL MANKIND.
Jacob, a grandson of Abraham, after being confirmed in Covenant with the "I AM" (Gen. 28:12-15) is marked by Him with a name showing the purpose of the Covenant. (Gen. 32:28) "Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men". The "I AM" God thus gives of His Own Name to this man. No longer simply, Jacob, but "Israel" meaning "Ruling with God" or "Champion of God". This was the name to be used by the nation separated to serve Divine Purpose. In this name was the Destiny of man, and the history of the nation bearing it is symbolic as well as factual.
The descendants of Jacob-Israel, some three million souls, on being released from bondage in Egypt following awesome revelation of Divine Salvation in the series of "plagues", came "into the wilderness of Sinai". (Ex. 19:1) Here, the "I AM" God covenants with them as a unit. "If ye will obey My voice indeed, and keep My Covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people: for all the earth is Mine: And ye shall be unto Me a kingdom of priests* and an holy nation". To this offer, the people give unanimous reply. "The people answered together, and said, All that the 'I AM' hath spoken we will do". (Ex. 19:5-8) And so the nation Israel was brought into being, bearing in her name Divine Signature, and called by the "I AM" His "peculiar treasure" or, "Mine Own possession".
* Purists. Note well that it was not to be only individuals within the nation but the whole nation.
Is not the official naming of this nation and the nearness of her relationship to her Creator seen in the Prayer of national blessing dictated by the "I AM"? "On this wise ye shall bless the children of Israel, saying unto them, The "I AM" bless thee and keep thee: The "I AM" make His face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The "I AM" lift up His countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. And they shall put My name upon the children of Israel: and I will bless them". (Num. 6:22-27)
"An holy nation" His Own possession. After the flesh this nation was descended from Jacob, whose name was changed. Changed to show by example both the spiritual strength of the man and the mission and Destiny of his descendants, Israel, "Ruling with God" to the end that carnal man becomes at-one with God, restored, redeemed. In the above Blessing, this changed name is officially placed on the national unit. Jacob-Israel had already under God's guidance given the birthright to Ephraim and his name Israel specifically to Ephraim and Manasseh alone - Genesis 48:16. The "I AM" is thus seen to have given His Name collectively to this people, calling them His "Own possession".
This relationship is even closer. Of this nation Isaiah records by Divine Inspiration, "For thy Maker is thine husband: the "I AM" Lord of hosts is His name". (54:5) Jeremiah receives similar revelation when the "I AM" promises a New Covenant to be made with this people but "not according to The Covenant that I made with their fathers . . . which My Covenant they brake . . . although I was an husband unto them saith the 'I AM'." (31:31-32) Jeremiah also records the "I AM"'S plea that His nation will repent of her backsliding ways "for I am married unto you". (3:14)
The "I AM" God is therefore by His Own revealing, the Husband of the nation Israel, and just as at human level a woman takes the name of and swears to obey her husband, so the "I AM" gave His Name to His chosen "Own possession" and expects His people to obey Him.
The marriage ceremony took place at Sinai, when as we have seen, vows were exchanged between the "I AM" and the Israelites. The proposal of union is made by the "I AM". "If ye will . . . ye shall be unto Me . . ." (Ex. 19:5-6) The prospective Bride accepts, and vows, "all that the 'I AM' hath spoken we will do". (Ex. 19:8) The engagement is sealed when on the third day following, "Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God: and they stood at the nether part of the mount. And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the 'I AM' descended upon it in fire". (Ex. 19:17-18)
The solemnisation of the marriage then follows. Moses, minister of The Covenant, recites the terms of the marriage contract: the Bride accepts and so the contract is signed and sealed, becoming binding on the "I AM" and His "peculiar treasure". (Ex. 24:1-8)
Note the order and arrangement of this service. Moses "builded an altar" and placed by it "twelve pillars according to the twelve tribes of Israel". Burnt-offerings and peace-offerings were made "unto the LORD" and the blood sprinkled on the altar; on the "Book of The Covenant" and on the people. Then followed the binding blessing. "Behold, the Blood of The Covenant which the "I AM" hath made with you concerning all these words".
The wife of YHWH ("I AM") was called to an exacting life. By her obedience to, and co-operation with her Husband, she was to show mankind His Very Nature. By her faithful carrying out of His Will, "all families of the earth" would learn to love and be obedient to Him, and receive the blessing of His Peace and Salvation.
As the human husband and wife have a home, a place of residence uniquely their own, so, too, we find the "I AM" had chosen a home for Himself and Wife. The "I AM" God, "possessor of heaven and earth", (Gen. 14:19) staked a small piece of Earth for His Homeland, and gave it, a wedding present to His Wife.
The promise of the gift was first told to Abraham, forefather of the Wife, "the LORD made a Covenant with Abraham saying, unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates". (Gen. 15:18) Many times in Scripture we find this area called by the Lord "My land". Take just two examples. Solomon is warned unless he and the nation remain faithful in all things, "I will pluck them up by the roots out of My land which I have given them". (2 Chron. 7:20) And where we have the confederacy headed by Gog addressed by the Lord "in the latter days I will bring you against My land . . . the land of Israel". (Ezek. 38:16-18)
In that selected land, we are told the "I AM" placed His Name on a city, and within that city allowed His House to be built. In Deuteronomy 12 we read of Moses re-telling the Israelites some of the conditions of their entry and occupancy of the land of Canaan, in particular of a place in which "the 'I AM' God shall choose out of all your tribes to put His name there, even unto His habitation shall ye seek". (v. 5) And the place? "I have chosen Jerusalem, that My name might be there". (2 Chron. 6:6)
Now "Salem" is an old name for Jerusalem, and means "Peace". Psalm 76:2 reads, "In Salem also is His Tabernacle", and Jerusalem means "founded peaceful". The only true PEACE is "the peace of God which passeth all understanding", (Phil. 4:7) and the only means of laying hold of that peace is through the "Prince of Peace", the Son. (Isa. 9:6) Truly then, the "I AM" has "put His name there" just as He gave His Name to His Wife Israel. What are we told of His House built in this chosen city, Jerusalem?
It was the wish of David, when at last resting after consolidating the nation, that he should build a permanent house to contain The Ark of The Covenant. When he asked Nathan the prophet the "I AM"'s decision on this desire, he was told, not he, but to his son had been appointed that honour. (2 Sam. 7:1-13) "He shall build an house for My name".
In due course Solomon causes the magnificent Temple to be built in Jerusalem. The Ark is brought in, and when "the glory of the 'I AM' had filled the House of the 'I AM'", Solomon delivered a prayer of dedication and a blessing, showing his profound insight into things Spiritual. Sacrificial offerings followed, and the whole nation rejoiced greatly. The "I AM" then appeared again to Solomon saying. "I have heard thy prayer and thy supplication, that thou hast made before Me: I have hallowed this house which thou hast built, to put My name there for ever: and Mine eyes and Mine heart shall be there perpetually". (1 kings 8 to 9:3)
Having noted that the twelve tribes descended from Jacob-Israel were chosen by the "I AM" as His Own Possession a "peculiar treasure" and His relationship to them to be analogous to human courtship, marriage and setting up of a home, we can now take this a little further.
From the first to last book of the Bible we read times without number the phrase, "the children of Israel". Why this, and not Israelites denoting the persons of the nation of Israel?
As the "I AM" chose to be in relationship as Husband to the nation, and called her His Wife, He is in relationship to the individual members of the nation as a father (Matt. 23:9).
Through Jeremiah the "I AM" makes this claim. "I am a father to Israel, and Ephraim is My firstborn". (31:9) And in Hosea 2:1-2 we read of the "I AM" proclaiming to the sinning men and women of the nation, "Plead with your mother: plead: for she is not My wife, neither am I her husband". There we see the family unit. Father; Mother; children ("honour thy Father and thy Mother", is a Commandment).
The ultimate object of the nation was to lead all people to the knowledge of the "I AM" and His Salvation. It is the individual within the mechanics of governing them, that must learn of the "I AM". The Son, in His Incarnation, taught of the Fatherhood of God. By His Death and Resurrection the Son gifted to all believers the relationship of sons-by-adoption through the indwelling Holy Spirit. (Gal. 4:4-7) Therefore the call throughout is to the "children of Israel" the individual souls forming the nation. It is the action of the "children" not an abstract "nation" which counts, and at the last, makes a nation exist and function.
What manner of individuals, "children", would this marriage of the "I AM" and His Spouse produce? Basic belief for each life would be the Ten Commandments. With each life God-centred, all His Commands would be the desire of the person, their joy and great reward. As the "I AM" God was Father to His creatures, the Source of their knowledge and understanding, so in the human father was vested the obligation to instruct and teach of the Heavenly Father.
b) "Israel committed adultery"
In the Divine Pattern for man's welfare, marriage was an indissoluble unity one body. To form such a unit, the man and woman must in the first place be seekers after Divine Will and desire to lead their lives according to that revealed Will (Arabic - Islam).
But to the unregenerate creature, the fleshly desires are paramount, and because of this, divorce for fornication was permitted. It is well to ponder that it is in the first place spiritual denial that leads to unfaithfulness and physical adultery. (under The Law the penalty for adultery is death)
Israel promised at her marriage to love, honour and obey the "I AM" God her Husband, but hardly had the ceremony been concluded than she began to complain, show disbelief, and in course of time, open defiance. This resulted in the whole adult generation released from Egypt, the signatories of the marriage contract, being barred from entry into their promised homeland. In the book of Deuteronomy, Moses, on the eve of Israel's entry into Canaan therefore recites to the young of the Israel nation, her history and expectations, reminding them of Divine Law and warning of Judgments which will follow disobedience.
In chapter 4 for example, Israel is told "ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall you diminish from it, that ye may keep The Commandments of the 'I AM' your God which I command you". (v.2)
All that has been revealed and explained of Divine Law, they are to "teach them thy sons and thy sons' sons: specially the day that thou stoodest before the "I AM" thy God in Horeb". (vv. 9-10)
They are warned against idolatry. "Take heed unto yourselves lest . . . (you) make you a graven image or any likeness of any thing which the 'I AM' thy God hath forbidden thee". (v.23) If in time to come they "do evil in the sight of the 'I AM' thy God to provoke Him to anger; I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that ye shall soon utterly perish from off the land whereunto ye go over Jordan to possess it: ye shall not prolong your days upon it, but shall utterly be destroyed". (vv. 25-26)
The Wife is thus made well aware of their responsibilities, and the fact that disobedience will bring retribution.
Note particularly the words "perish" and "destroy". The Hebrew word here translated "perish" means "to wander away, to lose oneself" and "destroy" means "to make desolate, overthrow, pluck down, bring to nought". In neither case does the word mean obliteration or genocide, but to be overthrown, removed from their homeland and caused to wander away.
That genocide could under no circumstances be envisaged is clear from Divine Mercy offered the Wife if she has to be chastised. "But if from thence thou shalt seek the 'I AM' thy God, thou shalt find Him . . . He will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget The Covenant of thy fathers which He sware unto them". (vv. 29-31) The word "destroy" here is different to that in v. 26, and means "cast-off, ruin, make waste".
So then, the "I AM" warns His Wife of her fate if she breaks her promise to be faithful to Him, and yet, should such a thing happen, His Promise ever stands inviolate, and He will not cause her utter ruin.
During a period of some 860 years, Israel the Wife, on a growing number of occasions was unfaithful to her Husband. There would follow a short-lived spell of repentance, but overall, the national desire was increasingly to disobey her Husband's Will, and follow the habits and customs of pagan neighbours. This amounted principally to breaking the First Commandment, and worship of heathen gods throughout the land was general, eventually splitting the nation into the House of Israel and the House of Judah, two Kingdoms.
In 2 kings 17:7-18 we are told of the idolatry, rejection of Divine warning delivered by the prophets, and disobedience to His Law by the House of Israel. "Therefore the 'I AM' was very angry with Israel and removed them out of His sight".
Jeremiah records, "When for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away and given her a bill of divorce: yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not but went and played the harlot also". (3:8) The whole nation, Israel the Wife, committed adultery so was divorced by her Husband the "I AM" God.
Now, a wife who is divorced has to leave her husband's estates, children and house, and generally no longer uses his name. How does this apply to this Divine divorce?
As we have seen, the warning had been given of expulsion from their homeland for disobedience. So, first the Northern Kingdom of Israel, then the Southern Kingdom of Judah were overthrown in battle and deported en masse by their conquerors Assyria and Babylon, till the land gifted at marriage was taken from them. The House of the "I AM", the Temple, and His City Jerusalem were likewise lost to them. The Israel nation, His "peculiar treasure" was made desolate, the children became homeless wanderers.
But more. They lost their name and were no longer called under His signature Israel "Ruling with God". From that time, all but a very small remnant move through the pages of history under many names, finally coming to rest as the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic peoples. The remnant, some 42,000 souls only, returned to Jerusalem after 70 years in captivity, were named Judaeans, then they too were cast out in A.D. 70.
Divorce for adultery resulting in loss of Husband's Name; loss of Husband's estates; loss of Husband's House. Thus did the Wife of the "I AM" suffer a parallel outcome to divorce at human level under God's Law.
c) "I will betroth thee"
It is to the prophet Hosea we now turn, because his whole message is of Israel, the Wife, divorced for adultery yet to be redeemed, healed, loved and restored.
In chapter 2:2 we read. "Plead with your mother, plead: for she is not My wife, neither am I her husband". The divorce is thus declared absolute, and verse 5 states the reason. "Your mother hath played the harlot". Yet the Father of the children of Israel appeals to them, "Plead with your Mother". The divorce though absolute has not meant the "I AM" will take no further interest in her welfare is thus clear.
Did not Moses record that should Israel be removed from her homeland and caused to wander away, due to her disobedience, even then if they sought the "I AM" God earnestly they would find Him, for "He will not forsake thee, neither destroy thee, nor forget The Covenant of thy fathers which He sware unto them". (Deut. 4:29-31)
Generations later this is repeated by the "I AM" to Hosea. "I will allure her and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her . . . I will make a Covenant with them . . . I will betroth thee unto Me forever . . . in righteousness judgment . . . lovingkindness . . . mercies . . . faithfulness, and thou shalt know the 'I AM' . . . I will say to them which were not My people, Thou art My people and they shall say Thou art my God". (14-23)
Isaiah is given this same message to deliver. "For the 'I AM' hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God. For a small moment have I forsaken thee: but with great mercies will I gather thee. In a little wrath I hid My face from thee for a moment: but with everlasting kindness will I have mercy on thee, saith the 'I AM' thy Redeemer". (54:5-8) A young wife "refused" or divorced, yet to receive Divine Mercy.
As always it is the "I AM" God Who must approach the sinner and make His offer of Restitution. And Hosea's message from the "I AM" is, "I will allure her, and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her". Divorced yes, but still the "peculiar treasure" in the Infinite Love of God. Therefore, it is by His Guidance; for His Purpose, that she is led to her appointed place in His Plan, and once there, He speaks "comfortably unto her", so that she turns to Him and listens.
Then Hosea speaks of another covenant to be made with her. "I will betroth thee unto Me forever" showing to you "righteousness", "judgment", "lovingkindness", "mercies", "faithfulness". Isaiah speaks of "everlasting kindness and mercy by the 'I AM' thy Redeemer".
A new relationship is thus to exist between the "I AM" and Israel that of betrothal under a New Covenant, and from Jeremiah, whose prophecy was written nearly 200 years after Hosea's, we learn the nature of the covenant. "I will make a New Covenant . . . not according to The Covenant . . . I will put My Law in their inward parts and write it in their hearts: I will be their God and they shall be My people". (Jer. 31:31-33)
The Covenant "they brake" rested on obedience. "If ye will . . . then ye shall be". (Ex. 19:5) Under this New Covenant there is no "if": it rests entirely on Divine "I will". "I will allure . . . betroth . . . write in their hearts . . . be their God and they shall be My people". Unconditional promises made by the "I AM" God.
What is the New Covenant? When celebrating the Passover Supper on the night of His betrayal, our Lord after breaking bread and giving it to His disciples, said, "Take eat: this is my body". Then "he took the cup and gave thanks, and gave it to them saying. Drink ye all of it. For this is my blood of the New Covenant which is shed for many for the remission of sins". (Matthew 26:26-28) The "new testament" or "New Covenant" then is the Sacrificial Blood of the Son, that the "Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel", shed for the remission of sins, and in this Covenant is the Betrothal.
By the Sacrificial Act of the Son, the Holy Spirit the Comforter, was gifted to man, to abide with him for ever, as teacher, remembrancer of all things concerning God. By His indwelling comes man's spiritual understanding, and restoration to communion with Father and Son by the Spirit. The Ordinances of The Law of the "I AM" are thus seen to have been our "schoolmaster" leading us to this greater appreciation of the Love of God to Redemption and Salvation. This insight into Divine Purpose now offered by Gift to the seeking creature is dealt with fully in Hebrews chapters 8 to 10.
Israel, divorced by the "I AM" because of her failure to keep faith with her marriage contract at Sinai, is no longer married; no longer a wife, but "betrothed", and the dictionary meaning of betrothed is, "bound by a promise to marry".
Read again Hosea 2:19-20 where the binding promise to marry is shown to be the revelation of the Nature of the Godhead.
1. Betrothed in Righteousness. The Righteousness of God is the Son, from whom man receives the Garment of Righteousness, the clothing of pure white linen, cleansed by His Blood and following His example.
2. Betrothed in Judgment. Sentence passed to satisfy legal requirements has been met in full by the Son on man's behalf.
3. Betrothed in Lovingkindness. "God so loved the world that He gave", that all might receive life.
4. Betrothed in Mercies. The Mercy of God is His taking to Himself the sin of man and paying in full measure judgment passed, so that the sinner is released, leaving the court-room a free man.
5. Betrothed in Faithfulness. "I change not". Divine "I will" is that one and only sure thing on which man may rest.
It is clear that in these promises is man's Redemption and Salvation. They declare the faith of Christ, and could only have been made with a Christ-believing people; therefore the period when the divorced Wife becomes the betrothed Bride is the New Testament or New Covenant period. And that is exactly what we find the Scriptures proclaim. No longer do we have the terms Husband and Wife, but the same people are called Bridegroom and Bride. And it is fitting therefore that the New Covenant closes with details of their wonderful Marriage scene.
The purpose of the "I AM" for His nation was that through them all families of the earth be blessed. The Blessing of man lies in his restoration to unity with his Creator, and that is by the Sacrifice of the "Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world". (John 1:29). Thus the Christian era, the period between the First and Second Advents and the following millennial period is the time when the Bride and Groom are betrothed, and the telling of this Redemption and Salvation is spread to the four corners of the globe by the Bride, the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic peoples from their appointed place, the isles north and west of Palestine, the British Isles. (2 Sam. 7:10, Isa. 24:15) Accordingly this is mirrored in Anglo-Saxon-Celtic tradition, where it is the bride and her family who announce the betrothal; make the wedding-arrangements and invite the guests.
But how can this be? How can the divorced Woman become the betrothed Bride? How can there be re-marriage with her first Husband? The answer is given by Paul in his letter to the Romans 7:1-4. Paul states his teaching here is for "them that know The Law", therefore they will be aware that a widow is free to marry being thus "loosed from the law of her husband . . . and is no adulteress, though she be married to another . . . my brethren, ye also are become dead to The Law by the body of Christ: that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead".
Here we take a further step into the depth of Divine Mind, and learn a little more of His Mercy.
In the first place, when created man and woman sinned, their only hope lay in the "I AM" God moving to them with His Promise of Salvation. So then when the relationship of Husband is declared to exist between the "I AM" and a particular people, the Husband is already committed to bring Salvation to sinning humanity, which includes the individual souls comprising the Israel nation who is His Wife. But the nation, the Wife, as an entity also sinned by disobedience, therefore stood condemned in Law and received her Legal Punishment, divorce. Yet the Love of God is such, that His Promise of Salvation to sinning mankind extends to the sinning Wife-nation, with the promise of her Redemption.
Both the Salvation of man and Redemption of the Wife lies in the Shed Blood of the "Lamb of God that taketh away the sins of the world". When therefore the Son dismissed His Spirit on the Cross at Calvary, the divorced Wife became a widow, the sins of those who grieved washed in His outpoured Blood.
The third day when the Son rose again, Salvation to Life was gifted to the individual believers and doers in all peoples and nations under heaven, but also equally, Redemption to Life to the Widow, if she grieved, repented and became re-betrothed to her husband.
Individuals and the nation are therefore brought into New Covenant with the "I AM", by the Blood of the Son, and this is the Great Mercy of God.
That is Paul's argument. The Son (Michael - Dan. 10:21; 12:1), "thy Redeemer, the Holy one of Israel" in Whom alone lies the power to remit sins, was incarnated inside "flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:14) that He could take into Himself all sin of individuals and nation-Wife alike, in order to satisfy the requirements of The Law and to be the Expiating Offering for their absolute remission, to the end that repented, cleansed and forgiven in this New Covenant in His Blood if we sign up to it, we should not be hearers only but also doers (James 1:22-25), that, "we should bring forth fruit unto God".
In other words, having been forgiven all past sins if we repent, and having been gifted the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to guide and teach all things, the individual, as well as the forgiven nation, must now go out into all the world and tell of the Wonderful Thing, and so bring a goodly harvest of souls to the knowledge and understanding of Divine Purpose. Was not this the commission of the Risen Son to His disciples? (And be it remembered that all were of Israel stock). "Go ye therefore and preach . . . I am with you alway even unto the end of the world". (Matthew 28:19-20)
The cleansed and forgiven Wife, who had been divorced then widowed, is now under this New Covenant, the betrothed Bride of the once Husband, dead, then Risen, and in New Covenant now the Bridegroom. And in this new relationship the Bride having received power to understand more deeply the Spiritual significance of her role (by the individual people being born again as their spirit-Being - John 3), and Nature of her Groom by the "abiding spirit" the Comforter, which was His betrothal gift to her, a long engagement period begins.
IV. HIS BODY
a) The Community
Paul's letter to the Ephesians (1:17-23) states that the "God of our Lord Jesus Christ . . . hath put all things under his feet . . . head over all things to the community which is his body". And in writing to the Colossians (1:18-19) he makes the same claim. What then is the community?
The Greek word "ecclesia" means "a called out assembly" and is not limited to spiritual gatherings. Any meeting of like-minded people gathered to further their common interest (in justice and righteousness), would be so named.
The first thing we notice then is that separation is involved: the setting apart from the rest of humanity of certain persons for a particular reason and purpose. In the Scriptures three such out-callings are to be found.
1. In the opening verses of Genesis 12, we have the record of the calling-out of Abraham from his "country . . . kindred . . . father's house", in order that the "I AM" make of him a "great nation" to take His blessing to "all families of the earth". This Covenant made by the "I AM" God with Abraham being Divine "I will" cannot fail. It is the structure on which at human level, the whole Plan of Salvation is built. Therefore, in Abraham, in his separation from the rest of humanity, to be brought "unto a land that I will show thee", and in the Divine Promises made with him, we have laid the pattern of the Community the Body of Christ.
2. Exodus 3:8 records the "I AM"'S word to Moses concerning His Plan to deliver the Israelites from Egyptian bondage. "I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land". When this out-calling will have taken place, we are told, "I will take you to Me for a people, and I will be to you a God". (Ex. 6:7) Then finally the severance of Israel from the rest of humanity. "Ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto Me above all people". It may not be popular to talk of "separated people" these days, but that does not alter facts, and it is this deliberate endeavour to ignore Divine Word and Purpose which is the root of all our troubles.
This people separated, called out by the "I AM" God to be His Own Instrument of Instruction to the rest of humanity, is called by Him, "a kingdom of priests* and a holy nation". (Ex. 19:6) That is, a body of people bound to Him by Covenant, over which He, the Godhead is both Head and God and also as we have seen, Husband.
3. Turning to the New Covenant, the word "ecclesia" wrongly translated "church" is first used by our Lord as recorded by Matthew. (16:18) Jesus Christ, the Rock, (1 Cor. 10:4) is proclaimed by Peter, (Petros "a little stone or pebble") to be "the Son of the Living God". This confession is the fact on which the Community is built. As Peter records (1 Pet. 2:5-10) "Ye also as lively stones are built up a spiritual house . . . acceptable to God by Christ Jesus . . . he that believeth him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious".
Believers that Christ is the Son, become the "lively stones" that built together, form a "spiritual house" on the foundation of the Rock, the Truth that Peter has spoken about him. This "ecclesia", called-out assembly, this separated people, form the Mystical Bride of Christ.
This same symbolism of "Rock" Petra, the Truth and Corner-Stone and "petros" a little stone, a believer of the Son, we see in the Israel nation the Instrument of Instruction as the "stone" (Christ) kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar's dream. (Dan. 2:34-45) The "Stone" (Christ) became "a great mountain (government) and filled the whole earth". This uniting of all believing and accepting humanity will come about when our Lord will "have delivered up the Kingdom to God, even the Father: when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet". (1 Cor. 15:24-25) This was the declared purpose of the "I AM" in calling-out a people to serve Him and witness to Him.
Paul says, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth: to the Jew first, and also to the Greek". (Rom 1:16)
The Community, the called-out from the mass of humanity, was in the first place the remnant of the Israel nation mostly of the tribe of Benjamin in Palestine at the time of His Advent. At the first Feast of Pentecost after the Death and Resurrection of our Lord, "to the Jew first" came the Holy Spirit to indwell man, with all the mighty Power of the "I AM", to bring him deeper understanding of Divine Purpose.
"And also to the Greek". Here, as it often does, the word "Greek" means, "non Jew", so Paul is underlining the point of universal Salvation in the Cross, "to everyone that believeth". But first of all those of the House of Judah, then those of the House of Israel and all other races and colours who confess Christ to be Son of God; Lamb of God and keep The Covenant.
Note particularly. The Community the Bride is formed of individuals who BELIEVE (by-live - live-by). It is not only to do with race or descent. The Bride, the Community, the called-out from all mankind, transcends political and geographical barriers. Their unity is Faith that Jesus was the Messiah, the Lamb of God taking away man's sin, and offering him LIFE, if he keeps The Covenant and learns the "New Song" (Rev. 14:3; 15:3).
The nation Israel under Covenant was called-out, separated from the rest of humanity at Sinai, to teach of this Divine Salvation and draw all men into herself. So, too, the Community fulfillment of the Tabernacle teaching under the New Covenant was called-out, separated at Pentecost to teach and draw all men into her. But the Israel nation was separated to become "a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation", (Ex. 19:6) and the teaching of the means to this end was the Tabernacle in her midst yet separated within the nation.
All the construction of, and ritual connected with, this building pointed to the coming Messiah and His Work. Therefore the wooden structure, the Tabernacle proper, was surrounded by the Court of the Tabernacle, formed by linen material more than seven feet high and having only one entrance, symbolic of our Lord, "I am the door". (John 10:9) The teaching here being that as "flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God" (1 Cor. 15:50; John 3:3-12)) even within the separated nation, a further calling-out from unregenerate man to form the body of believers was necessary, and that further separation was seen to be through, in and by the Son.
If the nation, herself a called-out assembly, had in her midst a further called-out assembly centering around the Tabernacle, then so that the Covenant with Abraham be fulfilled that "all families of the earth be blessed", this pattern must continue after Calvary when the Son had fulfilled the ritual teaching of the Tabernacle and in His Blood Redeemed the nation and ratified the Promise of Salvation to all who accept Him and follow His example. True to the commission given Abraham and renewed by the Risen Son, "Go ye therefore and preach unto all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, with the Holy Spirit, by the teachings of the Son", (Matthew 28:19) modern Israel has taken the Message to the four corners of the world.
Though a separated people, the nation is not yet "a kingdom of priests". To be so would mean a nation which WAS the Community, not as at present, when the Community, the body of believers is but a minority within the nation.
So then, the nation, cleansed in the Blood of the New Covenant becomes the betrothed Bride and she sends out the Message of Salvation to "all families of the earth" through the Community in her midst.
b) "caught up together"
Our Lord is "the head of the body." (Col. 1:18) When then does the union take place?
On the night our Lord celebrated the Passover Supper with His disciples for the last time, He had much to say to them of Divine Purpose. John records our Lord at one point showing great distress and sorrow when telling of His betrayal and the going out from their company of he who was to commit that deed, then of His speaking comforting words of assurance to those still with Him. "Let not your hearts be troubled . . . I go to prepare a place for you . . . I will come again and receive you unto myself: that where I am, there ye may be also." (John 13:21-14:3)
"I go" relates to the Sacrificial Death of the Lamb of God, terminating His First Advent. "I will come again" clearly indicates a Second Advent, and this is confirmed at the Ascension. After commissioning the disciples to take the Gospel to all the world, "a 'cloud' received him out of their sight. And while they looked . . . two men stood by them . . . Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing . . . this same Jesus (Saviour) . . . shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven". (Acts 1:9-11) As the Ascension was a witnessed departure at a specific point in time, so He will "come in like manner", also a witnessed event at a specific point in time. And why must He return? Our Lord Himself tells us, "that where I am there ye may be also".
By His Death and Resurrection, the substitute Death for all mankind, our Lord prepared "a place" for us in the Presence of His Father, and He will come again at the appointed time and lead all who accept His Sacrifice into that Presence. That is when the Community, the body of believers, the Mystical Body of the Son is united to the Son "head of the body".
The first letter Paul wrote to the Thessalonians contains the explanation of how this union will take place, so read 1 Thess. 4:13-18. What a day! "In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye", it will happen as he wrote to the Corinthians. (1 Cor. 15:51-54)
This Body of believers is the true Community, the "ecclesia" the "called-out assembly", the separated company of believers of all time, united to their Lord and God. No longer bound by humanity, but become immortal creatures, entered into the Presence of the Godhead.
But what of the rest of humanity both "dead" (Matt. 8:22) and alive on that day? The "dead" who believed not remain "dead", and await their call to enter "The Fire".
Now what we have noted of the history concerning the Body, the Community, is quite different to the history of the nation Israel, and no amount of "manipulation" with the facts and texts can make the two histories inter-changeable at any point.
Symbolism used by the "I AM" God to instruct mankind is entirely consistent, and holds unchanged from Genesis to Revelation, so that just as at human level a man does not marry his own body, neither in Divine symbolism does this happen. The body of believers, the Community, is His Body: the "peculiar treasure" the "Elect" of Israel is His Bride, so now we can look to the great day of the "marriage of the Lamb" (Rev. 19:7) when Bridegroom and Bride are made one.
V. MAY BE ONE IN US
a) "till all be fulfilled"
When through the mouth of Jeremiah, the "I AM" God proclaimed the New Covenant He would make with His divorced Wife, Israel, He made this statement. "Thus saith the "I AM" Which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinance of the moon and the stars for a light by night, Which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar; The "I AM" Lord of hosts is His name: If these ordinances depart from before Me, saith the "I AM", then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before Me for ever". (Jere. 31:35-36) So long as sun, moon, stars, sea, night and day are in being, then the "I AM" God's "peculiar treasure" the nation Israel must be in existence.
In the great Sermon on the Mount, our Lord stated, "Think not that I am come to destroy The Law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from The Law, till all be fulfilled. (Matthew 5:17-18) Just as in the record of Jeremiah, we have here the enduring heaven and earth named as witnesses to the Truth of God.
The Law our Lord refers to, is of course the whole body of Divine Law codified by Moses. That part which our Lord fulfilled at His First Advent was The Law of Ordinances, teaching of the Redeeming Sacrifice. (Ephesians 2:15) That the rest of The Law based on the Ten Commandments is for all time is perfectly clear from our Lord's statement that "one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from The Law till all be fulfilled". And that Law we remember is the day to day outworking of the Abrahamic and Mosaic Covenant which is the means of bringing Divine Blessing to all people.
We should also note that in the passage from Matthew 5 just quoted, our Lord declares the word of the prophets to be equally established with The Law, so it is to Micah we now turn to learn of the nation, the betrothed Bride under the New Covenant in the millennial period, and Micah 4:1-8 is our reference.
Mountains and hills are often symbolic of great and small governments respectively thus "the mountain of the house of the LORD" means His Israel nation, the betrothed Bride, the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic people, and their position is shown to be preeminent in the nations of the world. For this reason, "The Law shall go forth of Zion, and the word of the 'I AM' from Jerusalem" and "the 'I AM' shall reign over them in mount Zion from henceforth forever".
Why should The Law "go forth of Zion" and the "word" from Jerusalem? There is generally a certain amount of confusion between these two names, and a little history will explain the significance of each.
First of all Zion and Jerusalem are not the same place. Zion lies South-West of Jerusalem overlooking the Hinnom Valley, and was originally a castle or fort built on Mount Zion.
When David was acclaimed King of Judah, his seat of government was Hebron, because he was of the tribe of Judah, and Hebron lay in the territory of that tribe. When however some years later David was proclaimed king of all Israel, he set his heart on this fortress of Zion for his capital city, and in 2 Samuel 5 we read of his approach to the Jebusites then in possession, to acquire it by peaceful means. They refused, and David took it by force, and "David dwelt in the fort and called it the city of David". (2 Sam. 5:9)
How much David loved this place is shown from the many times he speaks of it in his psalms, calling it for instance "the perfection of beauty". (Psalms 50:2) To it he brought The Ark of The Covenant, and set it in splendour in a new tent. Here too he thought to build a permanent house for The Ark, but this was not to be, and he heard Divine Word that his son, Solomon, would be the builder of the Temple. (2 Sam.7)
When David sinned by taking a census of the population, and resulting plague raged through the land, it was only stopped when David offered penitent sacrifice on the outskirts of Jerusalem on the threshing floor he purchased for the purpose from Araunah. Years later, it was on this hallowed ground at Moriah that Solomon built the Temple. (2 Sam. 24 and 2 Chron. 3:1) In the latter reference "Araunah" is called "Ornan", and to it brought "up The Ark of The Covenant of the LORD out of the city of David which is Zion". (2 Chron. 5:2)
We see then that in Zion*, the fortress in the S.W. outskirts of Jerusalem was established the throne and seat of government for the nation Israel and it was Jerusalem the Holy city, wherein was the House of the "I AM" God, The Temple.
* Zion or Sion as in Psalm 2 means "Gathering" and refers to the seat of government and the gathering of Israel to that government, which can be in any location that God's government is extablished.
When the nation eventually split and both kingdoms were finally deported, the resulting wars caused very great damage to both Zion and Jerusalem. Under the decree of Cyrus, only Jerusalem and the Temple were re-built by the returning remnant, and the reason is surely this: there was no longer a king to occupy Zion, for the Royal House of David was even then being established in the Isles of the West, where the Stone of Destiny - the Throne of David and the "Tender Twig" (king Zedekiah's daughter Tamar "Teia" Tephi) had been taken and "planted" (Jer. 1:10) by Jeremiah the Prophet (the Ollamh Fodhla of Irish history). But Zerubbabel, a Prince of the Royal House, returned to Jerusalem as Governor and had a residence built for himself near to the re-building Temple, and called it Zion. Hence the oft confusion of the names Zion with Jerusalem, and the mistaken inter-changeability of the two Zions. In latter times, original Zion was included within the boundaries of Jerusalem, but the identity and symbolic meaning of the two remain distinct.
What was it Micah said? "The Law shall go forth of Zion and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem". The "Law" is representative of the state, the throne and seat of government; the "word" that of the Temple the seat of Spiritual instruction.
When Gabriel announced to the Virgin Mary that she would Mother the "Son of the Highest" he continued, "and the 'I AM' God will give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the House of Jacob for ever: and of his Kingdom there shall be no end". (Luke 1:32-33) The throne of David was established in Zion, therefore to Zion, the Son as King, "over the House of Jacob for ever" will return, and His Law go out from there. But the Son is also "head of the body, the community", established by Solomon in the Temple at Jerusalem, therefore the spiritual teaching will be issued by the Son from Jerusalem.
Do we not see here stupendous symbolic teaching? By causing the two bodies of Divine Law to proceed from separate centres, that which was fulfilled by the Son at His First Advent, The Law of Ordinances, the Sacrificial Law foreshadowing Calvary, could be graphically demonstrated to have been fulfilled and thus made obsolete, by removal from Jerusalem and the Temple, (the only place where sacrifice was legal) of all who continued to practise Judaism in rejection of Calvary. This happened in A.D. 70. Centuries before this, the Throne and Law temporal had been removed from Zion and become established in the appointed place, (2 Sam. 7) where even before A.D. 70, this people were embracing the Blood of the New Covenant. The people; the Throne; The Law; all that constitute the Bride. A living witness of the "I AM" God's Power and Truth.
Divine Law in its two parts is thus seen to continue in practice, so that our Lord's statement that "one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass . . . till all be fulfilled" is a verifiable fact.
b) "reigned with Christ"
When the disciples asked our Lord, "What shall be the sign of thy coming and the end of the age?", our Lord's reply was a synopsis of the entire period between His Advents, and makes sobering reading. (Matthew 24) No glorious building up of Divine Rule over all the world, quite the reverse. The picture is of mankind increasingly falling into the destroying ways of Satan, till a climax is reached and "except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved". (Matthew 24:22) This climax is spoken of by various names in Old and New Covenants including:- The "Day of the LORD" (Joel 2:1-12) "Armageddon" (Rev. 16:16) and the "Great Tribulation". (Matthew 24:21)
Here on Mt. Olivet our Lord tells His disciples: "Immediately after the tribulation of those days . . . shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven . . . watch therefore; for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come".
To reign is to rule, and to rule requires there be laws. So when the millennial reign of our Lord begins over all humanity at His Coming in power, Divine Law will gradually be put into practice throughout the world.
Already the bare structure of this Law is operative in Israel of the Anglo-Saxon-Celtic peoples, but over the years has become encrusted with very much alien thought and teaching. When this false teaching has been recognised and purged in a mighty act of repentance and cleansing, then these same people will take to the four corners of the world the pure Law, and so complete the task for which they were selected and ordained by the "I AM" God, that "all families of the earth be blessed".
The betrothed Bride, of the Israel nation of Anglo-Saxon-Celtic people at last united in thought with, and obedience to, her Bridegroom, will be eager to tell of Him to all people and teach by her living example, so that she will act out her name, "Ruling with God".
A mighty army drawn from all nations under Satanic control, enfolds Jerusalem "the beloved city" and takes it and the armies of Israel are sore pressed and defeated (Zech. 14:2; Rev. 11:7-13). But the end is swift. "Fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them". Satan is seized and "cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are", and the scene then moves to the last Judgment before the "great white throne". (Rev. 20:7-11)
Little detail is given of this Judgment, but the outcome is made absolutely plain. Placed before the Son-Judge are "the books" and another book, "the Book of Life", and Judgment is given according to the content of these books. Thus, all of humanity from Adam to that day of Judgment, are weighed against the Sacrifice of the Son, placing them either in the "Book of Life" or into the abode of him they chose to serve, Satan.
The returned Son, reigning in Divine Power and Majesty in Zion, and Jerusalem, with the resurrected His Body will send forth from Zion, Law relating to the daily lives of humanity. Commercial; industrial; agricultural; educational; medical; legal etc. From Jerusalem will go out the Spiritual instruction for mankind, the teaching of their redemption and salvation in the Sacrificed Son. And as generation follows generation, because of universal Divine Law in operation, and demonstrated through the betrothed Bride-nation, mankind will grow in bodily and mental health; wars cease and the Peace of God will be over all the world. Only one enemy being still operative that is physical death.
c) "the Bride, the Lamb's Wife"
What then is the position on earth following the final Judgment?
1. The source of evil Satan is eternally contained, and with him, all humanity who chose to serve him.
2. The "peculiar treasure", the original nation formed of the descendants of Abraham, the "friend of God", having run its course under a new name and a New Covenant, has drawn into herself all peoples and nations who accept Divine Salvation by the Sacrifice of the Son, and as Daniel revealed it would, has become "a great mountain and filled the whole earth". (Dan. 2:35)
The children of Israel, their mission of witness and teaching completed, after having become as the sand of the seashore for number, (Gen. 32:12) are prepared for the last great event recorded in the Bible, her marriage. "For the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife (the "Elect" out of the children of Israel) hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of the elect". (Rev. 19:7-8)
"Fine linen clean and white" is the Wedding Garment of the Bride, but she is only permitted to wear it because she first put on the Righteousness Garment that cleansed her in the Blood of the Son. (Gen. 3:21)
The opening verses of John's Gospel reminds us that all things were made by God the Word, and that He was the Light of the world, the true Light. The Incarnate Son stated He was "the Light of the world" (John 8:12; King of kings' Bible - John 8:3) and the Risen Son the Judge "he that sat upon the throne said, Behold I make all things new". (Rev. 21:5)
John on Patmos is given a vision of "all things new" and the picture is of the Bride-nation. "Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife . . . and he shewed me that great holy city, the New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God . . . her light was like unto a stone most precious . . . a wall great and high and had twelve gates . . . and names written thereon are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel . . . twelve foundations and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb . . . no temple therein: for the "I AM" God Almighty and the Lamb are the Temple of it . . . no need of the sun, neither of the moon . . . for the glory of God did lighten it and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it . . . and they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it anything that defileth . . . but they which are written in the Lamb's Book of Life . . . pure river of Water of Life clear as crystal proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb . . . His servants shall serve him; And they shall see his face . . . and he shall reign for ever and ever". (Rev. 21 to 22:5)
Now, why is the Bride-nation here called "New Jerusalem" and not Israel? Because as we have seen, her mission of instructing; witnessing; and serving being completed, and all rule being in the hands of the Son, she can no longer be "Ruling with God"; therefore, to call her "Israel" would be a misnomer. She is now become the Peace of God in which "the fearful unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars" have no place unto all time. Therefore her name is changed to New Jerusalem, "new founded Peaceful" in order to show her new state. Here the Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6) rules, and His Bride called in His name, Peaceful, in the place where the Peace of God is beyond mortal man's understanding.
So then, this New Jerusalem, bounded by the twelve tribes; resting on the foundation of the apostles; containing the Throne of the "I AM" God and the Son; peopled by only those names in the "Lamb's Book of Life" with neither Temple nor sun or moon, for the "I AM" God and the Lamb were the glory and light of it, this is the Bride shown to John. Completely cleansed and having taken into herself all peoples and tongues who confess and emulate Christ Crucified: Raised from the dead and gloriously "Alive for ever more", the Bride is married to her Redeeming Bridegroom.
The picture is thus of a Kingdom, a holy nation, with a throne. The Throne is that of "God and of the Lamb", and from it proceeds "the Water of Life clear as crystal". This Water of Life does not proceed from Temple or Church, because there is neither there, but from the Very Power of "the Lord God Almighty and of the Lamb" Who are the true Temple or Church.
Now we know the Temple Sacrificial Services, teaching of the to-come Sacrifice of the Son, ended for the believers with Calvary, and their continuance by Judaism ceased in A.D. 70. We know that the true Community is the Body of which the Christ is the Head, and that union is at the Second Advent.
The reason then why there is neither Temple or Church in the New Jerusalem is that the Risen Son, in the mystery of union with His Body the believers of Temple or Church has drawn them into the Light of Life which is Himself, and it is this Divine Power which shines in the New Jerusalem the Bride. The Temple and its successor the Community swallowed up, submerged into unity with the Son and set within the Bride-nation.
Gabriel announced to the Virgin Mary that the Son would reign forever on the throne of David, and His Kingdom have no end. That is just what John saw. The eternal reign in absolute Power, Majesty and Peace of the Son, "KING of KINGS and LORD of LORDS" (Rev. 19:16) in the midst of the nation made new.
But the Son, though KING and LORD, is also the Light and Life united with the Body. Thus we are shown a yet deeper Divine Mystery. The believers who become the Body of the Redeeming Son, must be taken by Him into His Kingship, so that in the Risen Son, the Bridegroom in Whom is the unity of Body and Head; He who is King and Lord, by His marriage with the Bride makes of two, "one flesh".
We see then both a total subjection of all creatures and powers to the Son as well as their union with Him, and this great Divine Mystery is thus a unity of:
1. The believing creatures, i.e. His Body, united to Him who is the Head.
2. The Temple and its successor the Community, as teaching instruments submerged in Him, the Body and Head.
3. The "peculiar treasure" the Israel (spiritual) nation's "Elect" become New Jerusalem, His Bride, united to Him in marriage, becoming "one flesh" with Him.
Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians (15:28) continues from this point when he says, "And when all things shall be subdued unto Him, then shall the Son also himself be subjected unto Him, (God), that God may be all in all". A profound, mystical union of Father; Son; Spirit; creatures.
Is not this the substance of our Lord's High Priestly Prayer immediately before His Passion? (John 17) "And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Christ Jesus, whom Thou hast sent . . . I pray for them . . . for they are Thine. And all mine are Thine, and Thine are mine . . . neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe me through their word. That they may be one; as Thou Father art in me and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us . . . that the love wherewith Thou hast loved me may be in them, and I in them".
Life eternal is the mystical union of the creature in the Godhead. So that "there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's then are ye Abraham's seed and heirs according to the promise". (Gal.3:28-29)
This is the eternal unity in Peace of the Godhead with His creatures. Never to be broken. This is the new heaven and new earth, with the Godhead in the midst of His creation, where there is no night; no curse, nor tears, nor death; nor sorrow nor pain, for "Behold I make all things new . . . He that overcometh . . . I will be his God, and he shall be My son". (Rev. 21:2)
How then does all this relate to human marriage?
1. The Christian man and woman, committed heart and soul to accepting the Sacrificial Blood of the Son, are by faith part of His Body, and in hope and assurance they look to the fruit of their faith life eternal.
2. a) The Bride in the act of physical union encompasses her husband, and his is the power which enlivens, to bring life within her.
b) The Divine Bridegroom in union with His Bride, is in her midst, and is the Power lighting her to give eternal Life to the lives within her.
3. a) In the act of physical union the bride is submissive; she is the receiver, so that the two bodies are again "one flesh". Thus we are brought back to the creation of the man and woman, when she "was taken out of man". (Gen. 2:23)
b) The Divine Bride submitted to the Divine Law of the Redemption in the Son, and received Him as Bridegroom into herself. As the Son was the creator of all things, "without him was not any thing made that was made", (John 1:3) it can be said the Bride, "was taken out of Man" the Son and in marriage they were again as "one flesh" one body.
4. a) Children of a human marriage are commanded to "replenish the earth" and be obedient to father and mother.
b) Likewise the Divine Marriage was to produce "fruit unto God" (Rom. 7:4) and in obedience bring many to know and receive Salvation, by honouring their Father (God) and Mother (Israel).
5. a) Headship of the human family was in the husband. Wife and children were provided by him with home, sustenance, education, etc. His was the authority and ownership also the responsibility.
b) Is not this the picture of the Divine Family unit? God the Father provider of all things requisite for very existence, so that all life is dependent on Him.
The God-fearing human family by their acceptance of Divine Law, Spiritual and Temporal, are gifted with the indwelling Holy Spirit, and are by faith at-one through the Son. The Son being "one with the Father" believing humanity by faith is even thus at-one with the Father.
We see then the Divinely ordained marriage of the human man and woman has within it the symbolism of their own re-union to "one flesh" and the great mystery of their re-union with Father.
It is our Lord's command that "what therefore God hath joined together let not man put asunder". (Matthew 19:6) Therefore who dare break the bonds of a truly God-based marriage? Surely the fault is not in the marriage bond "till death us do part", but by tying in Divine Bondage persons who are ignorant of the meaning of the plight they troth, before a God they know not.