The Marriage of Jesus:
The greatest mystery is God saving lost humanity. And not just that—He has bound Himself to the human family with an eternal binding! It is a bond of love. Jesus prayed to His Father:
That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us. (John 17:21)
Marriage is a symbol of oneness. In the Garden of Eden God united two individuals as one in Marriage. “They shall be one flesh”, He declared (Genesis 2:24).
God adopts the symbol of marriage to show the oneness He desires us to have with Him. Look at Ephesians 5. Paul talks about this mystery of marriage. He is talking about the shadows and the substance—marriages on earth and the marriage of Jesus.
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 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. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 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. (Ephesians 5:22-32)
Paul is talking about a “great mystery”. He says it is Christ and the church becoming one. Husband and wife are symbols of it.
In a marriage the husband and wife are first for each other then for the rest. As it is written:
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)
The same way the church and the believers have to give their first allegiance to Christ. The Bridegroom made it clear:
He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10:37)
The believers are the church. We come from various backgrounds. All of us have various histories and, for sure, our histories are no good. It is written in the Word of God about all of us. It simply says:
For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23)
There is none righteous, no, not one: (Romans 3:10)
Who constitutes the church? It is the people who believe in Jesus. In the precious verse of John Jesus talks about the ones who will be saved:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
The people who form the church are, one different from the other, yet united like the various parts of our physical body. Paul used the human marriage and the human body as symbols of Christ’s Marriage and Christ’s Church. Paul said:
For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:12)
The body is the church. Various members are there with different backgrounds, and it is Christ that keeps us united as one. Though all have sinned He offers us a gift that we don’t deserve:
For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. (Romans 6:23)
He calls everybody to be a part of the holy bride. He said:
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28)
I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (Matthew 9:13)
He is calling everyone to be one with Him. And marriage is a symbol of oneness.
The Holy Spirit is the one who is uniting us to Christ. Those who are already a part of the body will be instruments of the Holy Spirit. Look at the final recorded invitation:
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. (Revelation 22:17)
The open invitation by the Holy Spirit and by God’s church is, “come”. Finally when Jesus comes, He takes all the saved ones to heaven. Revelation records the scene—and what is the picture presented?
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 (Revelation 19:9)
For the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. (Revelation 19:7)
It’s a marriage scene! Please notice that it is “wife” and not wives. It is in singular. The church, or the body, is always portrayed as “one” though there are many members.
That is the ultimate truth about marriage. It carries a gospel message in it. The marriage on earth of God’s people is basically a symbol of the real marriage—the Church with Christ!
When a symbol meets reality, it would have fulfilled it purpose, and therefore it ceases to exist. For example the sacrifices of the Old Testament were symbols of the sacrifice of Christ. And when Christ was sacrificed for our sins all sacrifices ceased.
The human marriage is the shadow of the marriage of Christ with His Church. And when the marriage of the Lamb finally takes place, the symbol ceases. Therefore Jesus said:
For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. (Matthew 22:30)
Paul also talks about the church being the virgin of Christ. He wrote under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit:
For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:2)
Yes, before the marriage actually takes place, God will have all His saints, pure and holy, washed in the blood of Jesus, because the Bridegroom is spotless!
Isaiah records the famous invitation from the Bridegroom to His bride:
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. (Isaiah 1:18)
That is how God is going to have a pure, holy, and spotless bride ultimately.
Remember that the bride was not holy, not pure, nor sinless from the beginning. “All we like sheep have gone astray”, says the Word of God in Isaiah 53:6. But God has called us and separated us. The church, in the Greek language is, “Ecclesia”, which means, “Called out”. He has called us from darkness into His marvelous light to be the bride of the Lamb, Jesus Christ.
In the next chapter we will discover why God permitted polygamy though it was not His will, and why God continued to bless the patriarchs in spite of their flawed married lives.