“For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 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. THIS IS A GREAT MYSTERY, but I SPEAK CONCERNING CHRIST AND THE CHURCH” (Eph. 5:30-32) (all scriptural emphases mine).
Biblical marriage “is a great mystery,” so says the above-referenced scripture.
And what is so mysterious about biblical marriage?
A mystery can be defined as “an unexplained or inexplicable phenomenon.”
Biblical marriage is defined as such a mystery. Yet, despite the assertion of biblical marriage as a “mystery,” most of us read the subject of biblical marriage as a literal union of a natural man and woman. We read it to “mean what it says.”
Nothing could be further from the truth. This is not what biblical marriage is all about.
Not only does this meaning not make any sense when looking at the whole of Scripture; it also completely obscures the real meaning of the biblical Christ, who is the biblical “bridegroom.” Biblical marriage is the marriage of “Christ and the church.”
The concept of biblical marriage as marriage between men and women is based on the literal interpretation of the Holy Bible. Western religion identifies Adam and Eve as the first parents of human civilization. Of course, it is quite natural to see women and men in Scripture from the literal perspective. However, biblical marriage has absolutely nothing to do with the relationship between men and women. Biblical marriage is much more profound.
I’m sure many of you are wondering if I’ve completely lost all my marbles. What do you mean biblical marriage has nothing to do with men and women???
At the end of this article I have no doubt you will see this subject of biblical marriage in a completely different light.
The problem with the literal interpretation of biblical marriage, in particular, and of the Bible in general, is that the literal interpretation is a grossly disparate interpretation from the spiritual intent of the writers. The Bible is a book about the spiritual, NOT the natural. All of its messages, including the concept of biblical marriage, are concerned with the end result of our being created in the image and likeness of God, and it is not until that process is completed that “God rests.” Natural man is NOT “created in the image and likeness of God.” Natural man is “formed of the dust of the ground,” and then the creative process – the process of creating this “earth” into the image and likeness of God, begins. None of this is literal; it is all spiritual – it is all allegory. Biblical marriage itself is an allegory.
Let’s begin by taking a look at the scripture from which the opening scripture of this article derives, and we will begin to take this subject of biblical marriage apart and see what we come up with.
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cleave unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh (Gen. 2:24).
Important to note here is that biblically speaking, the command to “honor your father and mother that your days may be long upon the land that the Lord thy God giveth thee” has nothing to do with your natural parents, and so biblical marriage, which involves leaving mother and father, also involves a different kind of father and mother – your spiritual father and mother.
Think about it. Every human being that exists has a natural father and mother. My wife and I have been foster parents for almost 30 years, and we have witnessed firsthand the brutality some of these children face at the hands of parents that simply do not know how to care for their children. Many parents abandon their children for all kinds of reasons. Many children have honored their parents to the point of literal death.
I will be writing an article on the meaning of father and mother in the not-too-distant future. However, for purposes of this article, I offer here in short form the biblical definition of father and mother:
Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of ABRAHAM; WHO IS THE FATHER OF US ALL (Rom. 4:16).
But Jerusalem which is above is free, WHICH IS THE MOTHER OF US ALL (Gal. 4:26).
In these scriptures, the Bible is interpreting its symbols (codes), and thus is interpreting itself. Father and mother, in Scripture, are metaphoric of faith and law, the combination of which gives birth to Christ IN YOU, which Scripture describes as the hope of glory (Col. 1:27). This is very significant because as you come to understand the concept of Christ IN YOU, you are then well on your way to understanding the concept of biblical marriage. Again, as Scripture states, “[t]his is a mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the Church.”
Consider that if biblical father and mother is spiritual, and not literal, then the concept of “cleaving to wife” and “two becoming one flesh” is also spiritual. The concept of biblical marriage is the concept of the marriage of God and man. This will be made crystal clear by the end of this article.
For some of my current readers, this information will be very redundant, but bear with me while I seek to help my new readers to understand the vital concept of Christ IN YOU. Notice the following scripture:
To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory (Col. 1:27).
Notice this “mystery,” which is what the Bible calls “Christ IN YOU.” Pay attention to the “IN YOU” emphasis, because it is vital to your understanding of what the Scripture is saying.
Now we cross-reference this scripture with the following scripture, and the one that opens this article on biblical marriage:
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. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church (Eph. 5:31-32).
Notice the mystery in this verse. It is the same mystery, as you will see shortly. However, before we tie all of this together, we need to make clear just what the church is.
What is The Church
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you (1 Cor. 3:16).
YOU are God’s dwelling place. This is more of the scripture interpreting its symbols. The concept of the Old Testament temple is all allegory. The Old Testament temple – what we call “Solomon’s Temple” is a Bible codeword for YOU. The following scripture is a confirmation of this:
Now therefore YE ARE no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; (20) And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone, in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord (Eph. 2:19-21).
Yes, YOU are the temple of God. You are the building that is growing into a holy temple.
The Temple of God is the House of God
Let’s now look at some scriptures that confirm the temple of God (where God dwells) as the house of God (where God dwells). God dwells in his house, or in his temple, which is YOU.
And the house, that is, the temple … (1 Kgs. 6:17).
And the snuffers, and the basons, and the spoons, and the censers, of pure gold: and the entry of the house, the inner doors thereof for the most holy place, and the doors of the house of the temple, were of gold (2 Chr. 4:22).
One thing have I desired of the LORD, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the LORD, and to enquire in his temple (Psa. 27:4).
And here is a New Testament confirmation:
But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end (Heb. 3:6).
You can’t make it any plainer than that. You are the house of God – God’s dwelling place – and Christ is the son over his house.
But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15).
So the house of God (that’s YOU) is also the church of God. In other words, YOU are the church. Biblical marriage is between Christ and the church. The church is not a building. The sanctuary, the altar, the holy of holies – all of this defines your inner being. YOU are the temple/house/church of God. YOU are the “called out one,” which is the definition of “church” in Greek – “ekklesia” – called from “outside” to come “inside” – into the house, into the Church, into yourself.
Christ Comes In YOUR Flesh
The concept of biblical marriage — of Christ IN YOU — is that Christ comes IN YOUR FLESH. Once again, let’s let the scriptures decode themselves, as they do it a lot better than we can. Job says of “seeing” God
And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that IN MY FLESH I SHALL SEE GOD, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me (Job 19:26-27 NKJV)!
Of course, this has to be an allegory, because “God” cannot be seen with literal eyes. What Job is saying here is that he will see God in[side] his flesh. Now let’s let Scripture itself provide the exclamation point to this concept of Christ coming in YOUR flesh: The following verse is usually used to show that Christ comes “in the flesh.” People who read this verse usually interpret it to me that Christ literally comes back in flesh and blood. This makes no sense when you consider the context in which this next verse is written. This is actually so simple a child can understand it, and it is absolutely baffling how we come up with any other interpretation:
Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because …
… greater is he that is IN YOU, than
he that is in the world. (1 Jn. 4:2-4)
This is Reading 101, folks. Christ cannot be IN YOU if he literally comes in the flesh. No, the Scripture here is saying that Christ comes in YOUR flesh, and greater is he that is in your flesh, than he that is in the world. Again, this is the mystery of biblical marriage. It is the same mystery as Christ IN YOU, the hope of glory.
YOU Are the Flesh and Bones of Christ
Together, we call “the Father, the Son and the Spirit” the “trinity.” Indeed, they are a trinity in the sense that all three represent the Spirit of God in you. YOU are the house of God, which means the Spirit of God dwells IN YOU. Christ is also called “the spirit,” and the “inner man”:
That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man (Eph. 3:16).
Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (2 Cor. 3:17).
So God, as a trinity, is a spirit, as opposed to flesh and bones. What, then, represents the flesh and bones of Christ?
For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones (Eph. 5:30).
Indeed, YOU are the flesh and bones of Christ. Christ in a spirit inhabiting your flesh. YOU are where Christ dwells. Therefore, YOU are the flesh and bones of Christ.
The Kingdom of God is WITHIN YOU
Neither shall they say, Lo here! or, lo there! for, behold, the kingdom of God is within you (Lk. 17:21).
God, Christ and the Spirit are the threefold Godhead – the triune spirit – that dwells within you. Together they represent what the Bible calls the “Kingdom of God.” Again, YOU are the house/temple/church of God and the spirit of God dwells in you, not outside of you. The biblical hope of glory is Christ IN YOU, not Christ outside of you.
We are one with Christ in the same way that a branch is one with its vine. The branches grow out of the vine, and it is the branches, and not the vine, that bear the fruit. The branches cannot bear fruit without its connection to the vine. The vine and the branches are “one flesh – not two, but one.” This is thus the Christ allegory:
Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye [are] the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples (John 15:4-8).
The vine and the branches here symbolize man and Christ as one flesh. The branches can do nothing unless they are attached to the vine.
The Biblical Marriage Mystery Revealed
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? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 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? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder (Matt. 19:3-6).
This is the mystery of biblical marriage. Man and Christ, one flesh – NOT TWO, but ONE. It is all about Christ and man. Christ is the biblical bridegroom, while man is the bride. This marriage of bridegroom and bride is what constitutes biblical marriage.
And finally, let’s provide the coup de grâce to the idea of biblical marriage as being a relationship between a natural man and woman. It is so plain you will wonder why you’ve never seen it:
For 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. (Isa. 54:5)
You don’t get much clearer than that.
The exclusive goal of biblical spirituality is for you to become one with God. You and God – ONE FLESH. This is what it means for man to be created in the image and likeness of God. The spirit of anti-Christ (the spirit that says Christ is coming back in physical form) has dominated virtually the whole of religion, and has effectively concealed the real Christ nature by teaching a Christ “out there,” as opposed to “CHRIST IN YOU.”
Hopefully, you now understand the mystery of biblical marriage. I will reiterate the scripture here:
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. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church (Eph. 5:31-32).
Biblical marriage — It is all about the Kingdom of God.
Once again this is Paul Young saying, flee from the crowd and dwell with the Christ within you. Christ IN YOU, your hope of glory.