Joined in the flesh
Matthew 19:6 -
Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
Today in the evening I am to attend a marriage of a close Pastor and it is amazing we got this message today. In Matthew 19:4-6 Jesus talks of marriage and to understand it well let us look at marriage as seen by others.
Hindus consider marriage a spiritual relation; they take 7 rounds around a fire with the ends of their clothes tied. Hindus believe in reincarnation and when they get married they desire that the same couple remain husband and wife in their next life.
Firstly we know man does not reincarnate. When man dies a natural death even though his spirit lives yet he or she does not come back as another being. The Bible does speaks of certain persons coming back like Elisha came as John the Baptist and also of Enoch and of Jesus along with another person's, but that is not reincarnation. Among them leaving for Jesus the others (like Elisha and Enoch) did not die, they were lifted up thus they had to come back to die a natural death. These people were and will be born naturally like any ordinary person (Enoch is yet to come and will be one of the two witnesses before the end comes).
In the case of Jesus, even though He was God the Son who humbled Himself and came as man, He did not incarnate but humbled and took the form of man He lived a hundred percent human life. He did die a human death but since there was no sin in Him, He could not be kept in Hell so He resurrected and now is in Heaven. According to scriptures He will come back but not born again out of a human like He did but come with His Angels.
To understand marriage we to understand human life and why God created us in the flesh, even though in spirit we have no male and female gender and what happens to us in Heaven where we have no male and female gender but are like the Angels - Sons of God.
In today's message on marriage, we see Jesus emphasises certain points.
1) He first says God created man male and female in the beginning.
When we read Genesis 1:27 it says God created man in His own image, secondly He created male and female (both in general sense and not as individuals) and interestingly it says 'created He them'. Here the word 'them' is plural and is in the male gender. This chapter speaks of man - male and female in spirit being of one gender even though in the natural they are made differently. The uncorrupted image of God was in man in the spirit, in both male and female before they sinned.
Genesis 2:7-8,15,20-24 tells us how God created man in the flesh and how female was made out of man. It says God used only a bone of man and not the flesh of man to create the female. Bone symbolizes nature that is why no bone of Jesus was allowed to be broken. Flesh symbolizes earthly desires this was allowed to be hurt but not His bones.
So we see even though God made man and female same in spirit yet in the natural after He made man, out of the nature of man God made female.
2) He says 'for a reason man leaves his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'.
We see here the term leaves his father and mother does not really mean leave, since all the Men and Women of God in the Bible did keep their relationship with their parents even after marriage. As nomadic they lived in tents so would have lived in separate tents but lived together as a family along with their other near and far relatives, and their support teams like their servants and their families.
When God said 'leaves' it meant the relation of the male and female as husbands and wife superseded the relationship of a child with its father and mother. Father and mother are put in our lives as care takers when we are growing. Marriage is a stage that confirms adulthood and as adults the caretakers take a back seat and the relationship which Jesus says 'for a reason' becomes more important.
To understand the reason we need to read the letters of Paul. Paul compares marriage to a Church - our relationship with Christ. Paul a bachelor puts the husband as playing the role of Christ and the wife as the congregation. As Christ loved His people so also a man should love his wife. And a wife should love and respect her husband as a Church loves Christ. Yet Paul does not force all to get married. He says those who have the grace to not marry should not and should concentrate on doing God's work, which is bringing His people to Him.
This reason of marriage as compared to a Church as given by Paul is just stage 1 of the real reason which he says a person who has the grace should concentrate on, that is Christ and His Bride - His people. We know ultimately Christ came for His Bride and the Church is His Bride. In Heaven the marriage is not like earthly marriage.
Heaven is a spirit place and the Heavenly marriage means becoming one with the Son (God the Son) when Christ comes in His glory. The glory He had before the world was made. The glory He had before He humbled Himself and came as man.
Marriage is a Believer thing. It is an earthly enactment to understand the Heavenly marriage of the Lord and His people.
In today's scripture we see Jesus said they are 'joined in the flesh'. The word used as flesh is the same used for carnal nature. That does not mean it is an institute to enjoy one's carnal pleasures but like Paul says those who are weak in the flesh should get married. We see God in the books of Moses gave a commandment after marriage the honeymoon should be of one year, where the man does not work but spends all his time with his wife. Did God want man to be a carnal person enjoying the lust of the flesh? It was like God saying 'get over it and get on with life'.
Firstly Marriage is an institute that is connected with the flesh - carnal desires, not to grow in it but to overcome it. That is why Pauls says when a husband and wife gets tempted they should come together and pray after that. The praying is not to help them perform better the next time but to get them to fight the temptation of the flesh, thus gradually overcome it completely.
Secondly God made male and female not for sex but for reproduction. That is why Adam called his wife woman - man with a womb, mother of his seeds, his generations, that is why the greatest gift of a married couple is a godly child - child with a great mission, also known as an elect.
Thirdly and most important Adam and Eve did not have a ceremony when they called themselves husband and wife but did so when they came together in relationship as role players of the real wedding which will happen in Heaven when the Lord's people become one with the Lord.
Let us always remember the purpose we come together and not forget the roles we are playing. Most of all let not the role playing be greater than the real thing the 'reason', so let Christ and His people becoming one with Him be above all.
[ Prayer Starter ]
Lord, You created the institute of marriage to help man know and understand the Heavenly thing that are hidden from man. Lord, You also allowed our coming together during our times of weakness in the institute of marriage so that we overcome our carnal natures. Lord, the main reason You designed marriage is to bring souls to You, to be one in You. Lord, help us understand marriage better and live it better...
This prayer we make in Jesus' Name, Amen.
[ Reference ]
3 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?
4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.
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.
7 And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.
15 And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
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.
24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
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