Why has God chosen the analogy of a perfect marriage to portray the relationship between the Church brethren and His Son, Jesus Christ? The apostle Paul explains how Jesus Christ is entering into an eternal marriage vow with the true saints. The actual wedding of the Church brethren and Jesus Christ will not be consummated until the resurrection to Life has taken place followed by the marriage supper when Christ and the Church will have become, not one flesh, but one Spirit.
1Corinthians 6:17 He that is joined unto the Lord is one Spirit.
When a young couple marries they are perfectly together in heart, mind, hope and love. In the same way, without the picture that God gives us of the intense love and intimacy of an idealistic marriage relationship, we would not be able to fathom what “one Spirit” means.
Revelation 19:7-9 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife 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 saints. And He saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And He saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
The fine white linen wedding dress represents the preparedness of the saints because Christ’s righteousness has been imputed to them who are pure chaste maidens in waiting (Matthew 25:10). The beloved apostle John is telling us that the heavenly wedding ceremony is absolutely going to take place just as it is described here. At our initial conversion, our baptism vow included the terms of the New Covenant. Although we are not yet changed from man-kind to spiritual God-kind, as we will be for the heavenly wedding, we live according to the terms of the marriage contract even now because we are engaged to the Lamb of God. Paul says:
2Corinthians 11:2 For I am jealous over you with the jealousy of God: for I have espoused you in marriage to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
The chaste virgin honors her marriage vow to her betrothed before, during and after the courtship. The spiritual firstfruits, Christ and the Church brethren, are to wed one another (Exodus 23:16, Numbers 28:26). Jesus Christ will be the husband of the bride. Carrying the analogy further:
Isaiah 54:5-6 Thy Maker is thine husband; the Lord of hosts is His name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall He be called. For the Lord has called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou were refused, says thy God.
God described His relationship with Old Testament Israel, formed by that Old Covenant Marriage Vow, to Jeremiah when He said,
Jeremiah 11:4 I commanded your fathers in the day that I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace, saying, Obey my voice, and do them, according to all which I command you: so shall ye be my people, and I will be your God.
Notice the picture of the Wedding Covenant that takes place at the time of Pentecost, less than two months after Israel was delivered from Egyptian bondage by Jesus Christ. Israel replies, "I Do," in response to the terms of the Marriage Covenant.
Exodus 24:3-11 Moses came and told the people all the words of the Lord, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the Lord hath said we will do... And he took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people: and they said, All that the Lord hath said we will do, and be obedient. And Moses took the blood, and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant, which the Lord hath made with you concerning all these words.
The heavenly New Covenant when it will have come to fruition is so much more glorious than this Old Covenant that it is inconceivable. Paul explains:
2Corinthians 3:6 [God] also has made us competent ministers of the New Covenant; not of the letter, but of the Spirit: for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. But if the ministry of death [Old Covenant], written and engraved in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance [his face shone brightly]; which glory was to be done away: How shall not the ministering of the Spirit [of the New Covenant] be rather [so much more] glorious? For if the ministry of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministry of righteousness exceed in [splendid] glory. For even that [Old Covenant] which was made glorious had no glory [by comparison] in this respect, by reason of the glory that excels [of the New Covenant]. For if that which is done away was glorious [Old Covenant], much more that [New Covenant] which remains is superbly glorious.
In today’s sermon we will be comparing the old marriage vow— the Old Covenant—with the new marriage vow—the New Covenant, that will be extant in eternity.