Mt 24:37-39 “But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. For as in the days before the Flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be.”
It is so good and encouraging to see some of the young adults here beginning to marry, or to headed in that direction. We can learn from this passage that marrying is something that has been since the beginning, and will be until the Lord returns. On the one hand, people are oblivious to the reality and judgment that is about to come; on the other hand, there is the desire until the end between men and women to marry and commit their lives to one another.
When did this begin? From the beginning: on the sixth day, YHVH God created the first man/male in God’s image and likeness, and called him Adam. He created male and female in His image on that day. (Gen 1:26-28; Mt 19:4-5) We learn from the next chapter that God made the woman/female from the man/Adam (Gen 2:18-25), created in the image and likeness of YHVH God, the Creator of the heavens and the Earth and the seas, and all that is in them. God gave the man/male the woman/female that was suited for him — both for companionship, and also for having children to fill the Earth and rule it under God’s authority. The marriage relationship comes from YHVH God, and not from another source. This is a great mystery, and it is about Messiah and the Church/Body of Christ/His Bride.
From the beginning it was God’s intention that a man should have one wife, and a wife one husband. This is not so apparent from the Old Testament, as we see that even the Law of Moses allowed for things not encouraged or permissible under the Law of Messiah in the New Testament. For example, in the Tenach we see before the Torah was given on Mt Sinai, men were marrying more than one woman, beginning with Lamech, a descendant of Cain. (Gen 4:19) Why did he think he could do that!? We also see that Jacob had two wives and two concubines; Abraham had one wife and a concubine, until Sarah his wife died. Under the Law of Moses there are instructions for those who did have more than one wife and concubines, so that there would be responsibilities on the part of the man in particular to take care of all of them.
Also, divorce was granted because, according to Yeshua/Jesus, the hearts of men were hard, but Yeshua strictly narrowed the ground for divorce to sexual immorality. (Mt 19:7-9) (If there is physical, emotional, or psychological abuse and threatenings, there may need to be a separation, perhaps even police intervention, until there may be true reconciliation.) In Judaism (and sadly even within Messianic Judaism to be “Jewish”) there is a marriage contract signed by the groom and bride that includes a paragraph on the possibility of a divorce! This is no way to have a wedding towards what is supposed to be a joyful life-time commitment to one another!
Adultery – unfaithful sexual relations while married — has always been sin, even before the Law (Gen 20:1-9), but it seems that fornication – sexual relations while not married — was “acceptable” (at least for a man) before the Messiah came and taught otherwise. (Mk 7:20-23) Love and faithful commitment was planted by God into the conscience of human beings from the beginning.
Before the gospel, for a woman not to be married was a shame and a reproach to her, or for a wife not to be able to have children; but the New Testament tells us that sometimes not to be married is preferable, but this is especially so for those who can accept that. (Mt 19:8-12; 1Cor 7:7-9, 32-33; 1Tim 4:1-3) In other words, being married is not the highest goal in life; and in the resurrection for eternity, there will be no marriage! (Mt 22:29-30) Love for one another in marriage also overcomes not being able to have children, whether it be from the wife’s side, or from the man’s.
Randi and I remember that in the beginning we did not want to have children. They would have “gotten in the way” of our free and independent lives; and, after we were first saved, we also did not want children because the world was getting worse. Neither of these reasons, actually excuses, are right in God’s eyes. They were selfish and self-centered. What if our own parents, after WWII, had thought the same, and acted on it?! Our motives need to be aligned with God’s, rather than justify our own sense of what is good and right. It is one thing not to be able to have children; it is another thing to make excuses for not having any, making void the wisdom and will of God. (The time may come, though, when it is actually better to not have children.) [Mt 24:15-22]
The standard for spiritual leaders in the churches is for the man to have only one wife, unless, in my understanding, his previous wife has died, or his unbelieving wife left him because of his living as a believer. (1Tim 3:1-13; Tit 1:5-9; 1Cor 7) Lawful marriage has always only been between a man/male and a woman/female. Marriage is honorable, and the marriage bed undefiled, but God will judge fornicators and adulterers. (Heb 13:4) We need the fear of God, which helps keep ourselves from evil. (Prov 16:6; Mt 18:8-9)
Communication between the husband and his wife must be respectful and honest, otherwise there will not be trust one for the other. Love does not harm another or give reason to be afraid of one another. (Rom 13:8-10; 1Cor 13) We learn from the experience in the Garden of Eden that the communication between Adam with his wife was not accurate, and caused harm to her, to him, to their relationship with God, to the rest of future humanity! God told Adam to eat freely from every tree in the garden, but not to eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. It seems that Adam, hoping to [over-]protect his lovely wife, added to God’s command by telling Eve not to even touch the fruit. No touch, no eat, no die! A hedge around the commandment to make sure that his wife would not disobey. God, in His wisdom, created us in His image, and wants us to learn to control ourselves responsibly, and not to be wise in our own understanding to do something else that makes us feel more secure, than simply believing, trusting, and obeying Him.
A good wife is hard to find, but is definitely from the LORD! (He certainly did that for me!) She is given to her “man” to be a helper (Pr 31:10-31): to help him be a man of God and to support him fulfill God’s call on his life. Under the first covenant, the wife was practically a slave of her husband, but under the new covenant, God has raised her status; and the husband is to realize, that as a believer in Jesus, she is a co-heir of the grace of life, of Kingdom of God and everlasting life as much as he is. Yet, the husband is still the head of the wife in the relationship and in the family. The husband represents Christ/Messiah; the wife represents the believer/the church/the Body of Messiah. The order of God remains intact: God was first, and then humans; Adam/the man was first, and then Eve/the woman. Jesus is our authority and Lord; we are His servants and Bride. The husband has authority over his wife; she is to submit to him as to the Lord. Jesus loves His bride, and trusts her with liberties; the husband is to love his wife as Messiah loves His bride, and trust her with liberties. When things are in good order, and there is love, all is well! We need to be mutually submitted, trustworthy and faithful in order to enjoy liberty. This will also give a godly example to our children. Praise the Lord!
The grace and love of God forgives much, and that is what a husband and a wife must learn and do, too. The grace of God does not produce legalism, but liberty to willingly obey with thanksgiving, and there is joy in the Holy Spirit.
What is the message here? Choose wisely whom you give your heart to. Once you give your heart to someone, it is difficult to take it back. It is a life-time decision of faithful commitment to do good for your wife and for your husband. In the world today we are witnessing a powerful attack on the integrity of a “normal” marriage and family.
The fear of God seems absent. The devil wants to completely overthrow the laws and ways of YHVH God who is love and holy. We are in a fight to hold onto that which is good, and to glorify our Father in Heaven and the Lord Jesus Christ. If we do love Him, and value the blood of the New Covenant shed on the cross which cleanses us from all our sins, the Spirit of God will certainly help us to overcome our fleshly desires and to rejoice in the goodness and righteousness of our God our Father and our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ/Yeshua the Messiah.