(Sermon Notes) By Warren Zehrung 12/5/2020
It is most important that we in God’s Church understand why God instituted the Marriage Covenant. In today’s sermon we will expound upon why God has chosen the Marriage Covenant to represent so much of His Plan.
God created Marriage as an integral part of His Plan of Salvation. We should ask ourselves how marriage fits into the overall scheme of things when it comes to the Plan of God.
We live at a time when the institution of marriage is not held in the high esteem that it deserves. We have gotten to the point where even our leaders must give voice to perverted unions – or be drummed out of office.
The institution of marriage must be upheld in the highest regard that God intended. Marriage is the foundation of society, and with God, it is even more significant because marriage pictures an initial step in the Plan of God.
God is reproducing Himself in His called out sons and daughters. Very early in the creation process God established the foundational relationship in which mankind is to propagate and fill the earth. That foundational relationship is the Marriage Covenant.
God gave mankind the ability to reproduce, thus propagating his human characteristics from one generation to the next. We look and behave a lot like our parents.
That facility to reproduce is a picture of the Plan of God in that God is bringing many sons and daughters to glory (Hebrews 2:10). God is reproducing Himself, and He graciously gives us a part in the regenerative process. God gave mankind the gift of reproduction. Mankind reproduces itself. That is the way God designed it.
Genesis 1:27 So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created He them.
Brethren, be sure that none of us has yet to attain to the image of God. We are to be going on to perfection (Hebrews 6:1)
So, we are being told that both male and female are being created into God’s image.
Genesis 1:28 God blessed the man and woman, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.
This blessing bestowed on the family unit is a prophetic picture of God Himself. Paul tells us that it is possible to see the invisible hand of God at work in the creation of nature. The human family corresponds to the God’s Family.
Romans 1:20 The invisible things of God are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are created, even His eternal power and Divinity.
Creation itself reveals the Plan of God – if we are able to believe it. In the case of marriage, we find that God is replicating / reproducing Himself through mankind. That is the very reason He has established the proclivity in man to reproduce.
God’s Plan is to reproduce Himself by developing mankind into God-kind, placing them into His Family – the eternal Family of God. Paul said it like this:
Ephesians 3:14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,
Ephesians 3:15 of whom the whole Family in heaven and earth is named.
We are the children of God – even now!
1John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the children of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.
A covenant is a contract, a bond, an agreement between two parties.
God created and fashioned the Old Covenant as a “marriage” contract between Himself and the nation of Israel.
But, let’s not lose sight of the fact that the Marriage Covenant pictures the Plan of God whereby He is reproducing Himself through eternal sons and daughters.
It was God Himself who instituted the Marriage Covenant. Marriage is definitely not a creation or invention of man. Marriage is a window from which we are able to view the entire Plan of God. God is reproducing Himself, and He begins by giving us the Marriage Covenant.
We shall see how very prophetic the marriage institution is, by the significant language God has given us:
Genesis 2:21 The LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: [Adam was in a trance or a coma] and [God] took part of the man’s side and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
It was more than just a rib bone – there was a substantial amount of flesh also. From Adam’s body, God made Mother Eve genetically identical.
Genesis 2:22 God built up the rib which He had taken out of the man into a woman, and brought her unto the man;
Genesis 2:23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
Bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh – remember that phrase – because we are going to see it again later with reference to the Church of God.
Genesis 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
‘Cleave’ means to be irreversibly joined together – permanently bound – that is the Marriage Covenant.
Leave his father and his mother means that an entirely new family unit is created.
Adam and Eve (taken out of Man) were indeed one and the same flesh – same body—picturing Jesus Christ and the Church being one body and one spirit.
Paul shows us that Adam and Eve’s fleshly identity (one and the same flesh and bones) -> points directly to the spiritual reality of Christ and the Church brethren.
We are going to see a little later:
Ephesians 5:30 For we are members of [Christ’s] Body, of His flesh, and of His bones.
We can clearly see the Meaning of Marriage. Let’s look into 1Corinthians 12:
1Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
Ephesians 4:4 There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;
Ephesians 4:5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism,
Ephesians 4:6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.
When the marriage covenant is enacted, man and woman become one flesh, one entity. God is creating a Family modeled after His own image and characteristics.
The prophetic picture is developed throughout the Bible with God orchestrating the wedding ceremony between Adam and Eve; then marrying Old Testament Israel; and then finally, we will see that Jesus Christ takes the spiritual Church as His Bride.
An analogy is a figure of speech embodying an extended or elaborate comparison between two things or situations. God chose the analogy of an ideal marriage to portray the intimate relationship between the Church brethren and His Son, Jesus Christ—but the marriage of Jesus Christ to the Church brethren is not an analogy—but a reality that will take place.
The apostle Paul explains how Jesus Christ will enter into an eternal marriage vow with the true saints. The reality of this wonderful event will be greater than we can imagine! Try to picture the perfect marriage of fulfillment, love, happiness and faithfulness that will never be violated.
Is Jesus only toying with our affections by a promise of marriage? Is it an analogy – not to be taken seriously by us? We are told that we are to accept the words at face value!
Hosea 2:19 And I will betroth thee unto me forever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies.
Hosea 2:20 I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD.
Let’s always recognize that the Reality of Jesus’ words are Greater than any picture we have.
The actual wedding of the Church brethren to Jesus Christ will not take place until after the Resurrection to Life has taken place. Then follows 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 begin to fathom what “one Spirit” means.
Revelation 19:7 Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife has made herself ready.
Revelation 19:8 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.
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 virgins in waiting (Matthew 25:10).
Revelation 19:9 And he said unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he said unto me, These are the true sayings of God.
We will look at this a little closer. There is nothing allegorical about this marriage – it is absolute reality. This will take place when Jesus marries the Church.
In the Book of Revelation, the beloved apostle John is telling us that the heavenly wedding ceremony is absolutely going to take place—just as it is described here—these are the true sayings of God.
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 – we will be – at the first resurrection.
Philippians 3:20 For our citizenship is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ:
Philippians 3:21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto His glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.
Change our vile body means we will be changed from man-kind to spiritual God-kind. We will be God-kind spiritual beings 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 and marriage.
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 (Isaiah 54:5-6).
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 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…
Exodus 24:7 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.
Exodus 24:8 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.
Today we would “sign the marriage license in front of witnesses,” but the Marriage Covenant the LORD made was ratified [“signed in blood”] when Moses sprinkled the blood on the people.
The heavenly New Covenant, when it will have come to fruition is so much more glorious than the Old Covenant that it is inconceivable.
Genesis 1:26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.
Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created He them.
Genesis 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it:
It was fully God’s intention that mankind Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: But why?
Because God would call various men and women out of that pool of humanity to not only Children of God, but many were destined to be the wife of Jesus Christ in the first and better resurrection.
When God had all but wiped mankind off the face of the earth in the Noachian Flood, He again instructed mankind to Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it:
Genesis 9:1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.
Gen 9:7 And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.
The Lord God showed Himself as Old Testament Israel’s husband and foretold that He would one day soon enter into a new marriage covenant with Spiritual Israel. The New Testament reveals that Jesus Christ will marry the resurrected Church.
Jeremiah 31:31 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah:
Jeremiah 31:32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
Jeremiah 31:33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Jesus is going to marry His Bride – the New Covenant Israel of God.
Galatians 6:16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.
Revelation 19:1 And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honor, and power, unto the Lord our God:
Revelation 19:2 For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.
It is good and holy for God to recompense all those who would hurt the people of God. Too many of God’s people mix with the world:
Revelation 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
We have to prepare ourselves for the marriage of the Lamb!
Revelation 19:3 And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever.
Revelation 19:4 And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.
Revelation 19:5 And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.
The Marriage Supper of the Lamb
Revelation 19:6 And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigns.
Revelation 19:7 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.
The marriage of the Lamb is speaking of the resurrected Church of God brethren.
Revelation 19:8 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.
Revelation 19:9 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.
Is the Church of God REALLY going to enter into an eternal Covenant Relationship with Jesus Christ – or is this merely a sweet sentiment to help us understand that it is going to be nice? These are the true sayings of God.
Again, an analogy is a figure of speech embodying an extended or elaborate comparison between two things or situations. Godliness has power!
2Timothy 3:1 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.
2Timothy 3:2 For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
2Timothy 3:3 Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good,
2Timothy3:4 Traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God;
2Timothy 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
2Timothy 3:6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,
2Timothy3:7 Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.
2Timothy 3:8 Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.
In the last days there will be a watering down of God’s truth – perilous times.
The reality of the fulfillment will be so much greater than the picture we see.
When we read scripture of future fulfillment of God’s Plan – never assume that it is possible to grasp with our carnal minds – the awesome – majestic – in comprehensible – full meaning of what God has promised.
Matthew 5:16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.
Christ Came to Fulfill the Law
Matthew 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.
Christ is not selling us a bill of Goods. The fulfillment that Jesus speaks of will surpass our greatest anticipations. Let’s understand the Scriptures.
Romans 4:3 For what says the Scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.
Romans 4:13 For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.
It is the current of hidden truth that makes them MORE real than the words. Let’s always recognize that the Reality of Jesus’ words are Greater than any picture we have.
Scripture says to the converted mind – more than the words relate to the worldly mind.
Genesis 15:5 And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.
Genesis 15:6 And he believed in the LORD; and He counted it to him for righteousness.
‘He counted’ means that if God says something is so – let no man say that it is not so. Here is where we need to be really careful. Paul says we Put on Christ:
Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.
Romans 13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.
Let’s always recognize that the reality of Jesus’ words are Greater than any picture we have. Jesus entered into a marriage covenant with Old Testament Israel in the third month after coming out of Egypt: (Exodus 19:1)
God looked at His Old Marriage Covenant with ancient Israel as a marriage covenant or vow between Him and Israel.
Jesus was the husband and Israel was His wife. God said to Israel:
Jeremiah 3:14 … I am married to you.
Jeremiah 31:32 … I was an husband unto [Israel], says the LORD.
Marriage in the New Covenant and Church:
Ephesians 5:21 Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.
Ephesians 5:22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the savior of the body.
Ephesians 5:24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything.
Ephesians 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
Ephesians 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
Ephesians 5:27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
Ephesians 5:28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loves his wife loves himself.
Ephesians 5:29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourishes and cherishes it, even as the Lord the Church:
Ephesians 5:30 For we are members of His Body, of His flesh, and of His bones.
Ephesians 5:31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
Ephesians 5:32 This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the Church.
Ephesians 5:33 Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
We have taken a brief look today at the Meaning of Marriage as it was designed by God, instituted by God, governed by God, so that we can grow to be prepared to be the Bride of Jesus Christ.
END: The Meaning of Marriage