Monday, September 21, 2009

The Marriage Covenant - Introduction

Joseph Herrin (09-21-09)

Understanding God’s heart concerning sexual purity, the marital union, divorce and remarriage.

Note: Yahweh has been ordering my steps to consider this subject. Through subjects that have been brought to my attention by the leading of the Spirit, and through correspondence a sister in Christ who is deeply considering her walk with the Father and what He requires of her after experiencing divorce and remarriage, I have been led to a deeper consideration of these things.

I had previously posted a writing on the subject of divorce and remarriage. I have removed that writing as the Father has given me a better understanding of the matter. I believe a fuller teaching is needed, and as deeper understanding has come, my own thoughts on the topic have in some instances been corrected, and even overturned.

I ask you to please pray for me as I present this teaching. It is ever my heart to accurately represent the mind of Christ. I am inadequate to comprehend these matters on my own, recognizing a deep need of the anointing of the Spirit. Please pray that Yahweh might make known His mind and heart in these things.

INTRODUCTION

The outward life of Christians is a testimony to their inner spiritual life. Those who are righteous will manifest this righteousness in their life as it is observed before the world. Those who are unrighteous will likewise provide an outward testimony of their spiritual condition.

As one observes the church at large today, it is evident that the spiritual life of the body of Christ is at a very low state. Churches are increasingly enticing people into their embrace with entertainment, sports, music, feasting, and dynamic speakers. Church calendars would put to shame many a civic organization as they offer everything from ocean cruises to pilates work-out groups. Churches have leagues for golf, bowling, baseball, and basketball. They offer trips to the mall and outlet shops, as well as in-house banquets and concerts.

The message of the ministers is one of “Be fulfilled; Live your best life now; Don’t worry, be happy!” The message of self-denial, of the disciple’s cross, of being a bond-servant of Christ, has been replaced with a message of personal fulfillment and pleasure. The apostle Paul prophesied that this would be the condition of the church in the last days before the return of Christ.

II Timothy 3:1-5
But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, haters of good, treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; holding to a form of godliness, although they have denied its power; and avoid such men as these.

II Timothy 4:3-4
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires; and will turn away their ears from the truth, and will turn aside to myths.

This tragic condition of apostasy will appear on the earth, and be observed among the church, before the return of Christ.

II Thessalonians 2:3
Let no one in any way deceive you, for [the appearing of Christ] will not come unless the apostasy comes first...

What Paul described in II Timothy is this condition of apostasy. The word apostasy means “a divorcement from the truth.” Those who have fallen from truth have done so because they love their own lives. They want to fulfill their own soul’s desires, rather than to love God above all other things. The result is that they turn away from sound doctrine. Indeed, they will not even endure it. Instead, they have heaped to themselves teachers to proclaim the things their souls crave. They have embraced myths and fables.

This great fall of Christendom has certainly impacted the doctrines surrounding the sanctity and holiness of the marriage covenant. You will have noted earlier that I highlighted the word “treacherous” in Paul’s words to Timothy. This English word appears elsewhere in Scripture.

Malachi 2:14-16
Yahweh has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. But not one has done so who has a remnant of the Spirit. And what did that one do while he was seeking a godly offspring? Take heed then, to your spirit, and let no one deal treacherously against the wife of your youth. “For I hate divorce,” says Yahweh, the God of Israel, “and him who covers his garment with wrong,” says Yahweh of hosts. "So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously."

You will not find anyone in the churches today who will admit that Paul’s words concerning the state of the church applies to them. No one will say, “Yes, I love pleasure more than God. Yes, I am a lover of money, arrogant, and unholy.” Yet these same people have shopped around until they have found ministers who will proclaim the things they want to hear. Prosperity preachers are abundant in this hour. Why? Because men love money, and pleasure, and material possessions.

Neither will a man confess today, “Yes, Paul has described me perfectly when he said the church in the last days will be filled with ‘treacherous’ men.” Yet this very word describes one who breaks a covenant. To break faith is an act of treason. To divorce the wife of one’s youth is a treacherous act, and it happens with great regularity among Christians today.

Malachi stands as the oracle of God when he writes, “‘I hate divorce,’ says Yahweh God, ‘and he who covers his garment with wrong.’”

In Matthew 22:1-14 Christ speaks a parable of His return and the marriage supper of the Lamb. He speaks of a great king that is giving a marriage supper for his son. He describes guests who have been gathered together from throughout the earth. When the King came in to look over his dinner guests, he found one without a proper wedding garment. The garment that all must be arrayed with is the garment of righteousness. They must clothe themselves with righteousness and “put on Christ.”

Ephesians 4:24
Put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.

Romans 13:14
Put on the Lord Yahshua the Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.

Many will appear at the marriage supper of the Lamb without having a proper wedding garment. These will be cast into outer darkness (Matthew 22:13). Many are called, but few are chosen.

People of God, let no man deceive you. The one who practices righteousness is righteous. If you have been seeking the desires of your own soul, and have found comfort in hearing ministers proclaim the things you wanted to hear, you stand in a place of great peril today. The Son of God is very soon to return, and He will recompense every man and woman according to that which they have done.

Great error has gone forth concerning the doctrines of marriage and divorce. Every Christian who fears God should study this topic with great diligence. They must rightly divide the word of God, not searching for something to support the conclusions they desire to arrive at. This life on earth is very fleeting. The pleasure of the moment will soon give way to the judgments of the ages to come. Many will experience weeping, wailing, and gnashing of teeth as they are cast out from the presence of the Lamb and denied entry to the marriage supper.

The Spirit of Christ has been directing me to a study of a number of foundational subjects that are critical in understanding the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. These topics include understanding covenants. The Hebrew word for covenant literally means “a cut where blood flows.” A blood covenant is enacted whenever a man goes into his virgin bride. He literally enters between the divided pieces of flesh, as God did when He enacted His covenant with Abraham. There is much that is profound in this teaching, and those who understand it will never be able to treat virginity as a common thing. Those who love God and understand covenant will prize virginity, and desire to remain pure until they establish a life-long covenant with the one whom God has chosen for them to become “one flesh.”

Another related subject is that spoken of in the words, “the life is in the blood.” The word rendered as life is the Hebrew word nephesh and the Greek word psuche. Both are words that are equally rendered as soul. Yahweh has declared that the soul of all living things is in the blood.

Other than through the process of our conception and birth, there is no other time ordained of God that mankind passes blood from one person to another than in the act of sexual intercourse. God has given mankind strict prohibitions against partaking of blood, or eating blood. Only in the intimacy between husband and wife is blood transferred from one to another. In this way the soul of the man and the woman become mingled. There are tremendous and terrible ramifications when mankind is promiscuous. As the apostle Paul declared:

I Corinthians 6:18-19
Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body , but the immoral man sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own?

Consider what Paul is saying here. The body is intended to be a temple where the soul of man communes with the Spirit of God. There are to be no other entities encroaching upon this holy sanctuary. When a man marries a woman they become one flesh. This is a union set apart as holy by God, and therefore it does not defile the body. The man and his wife are considered as ONE, and the temple of the body remains pure.

When a man (or woman) has sexual relations with others that are not their spouse, they sin against their own body. They are treating the temple of God as an unholy thing. They are allowing access of foreign souls into their bodies, thereby defiling the temple of God.

Every disease that resides in another person’s blood is transmitted through sexual intimacy to their sexual partners. This is how HIV, herpes, and other sexually transmitted diseases that are blood-borne gain access into the body of another. This transfer provides evidence that there is a blood transfer. Diseases are in the blood, and so is the soul (nephesh). The souls of other people gain entrance into our own body through the act of sexual intercourse.

For those who have not studied this matter, it is no doubt a mystery. Yet it has great bearing upon the marriage covenant and reveals the great need to remain sexually pure.

A further related subject is that of the Hebrew wedding customs as revealed in Scriptures. The betrothal period, the absence of the bridegroom for a period of time, his sudden and unannounced return, and his examination of his bride on the wedding night to determine whether she has kept herself pure and chaste, all reveal precious truths about our relationship to Christ as well as Yahweh’s intended relationship between a husband and wife.

Some will immediately recognize that they have already failed in these areas. Questions will arise concerning what must be done to make things right before God and man. By the grace of God, these things, and others will be examined in this series of teachings.

May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.

Heart4God Website: http://www.heart4god.ws
Parables Blog: http://www.parablesblog.blogspot.com

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 5546
Macon, GA 31208

6 comments:

Kat said...

This is a truly amazing insight, Joseph. I want to point out one other thing about divorce (though this is far more than divorce). We are taught that we must not divorce, and that used to be a standard of righteousness. However, I think the proliferation of divorce is symptomatic of the treachery and the unrighteousness of many who self-identify as believers.

wendyworn said...

Thank you very much for adressing this subject. May God bless you in this. I look forward to the next teachings.

Anonymous said...

I have a question for you...what about verbal abuse, causing another to dispare in their spirit. Do I just separate, ask for divorce....I am not looking to remarry...too much damage was done...but want closure with this man. He says he has changed...but all his communications are still controlling and demeaning. He is very toxic for me. To be forced to reconcile with him would probably kill me from the inside out! What does God say about sick abusive people?

Joseph Herrin said...

Regarding remaining an abusive situation, I intend to address this issue and related issues as I go along. It is always helpful to lay a foundation first so that those inquiring will understand the basis for the counsel.

I have written of this elsewhere, however. I would recommend to you the writing "Sarah's Children" which can be found here:

http://www.heart4god.ws/id242.htm

The early chapters, in particular the chapter titled "The Bitter Cup" speak to this topic.

Anonymous said...

Joseph...after reading The Bitter Cup, I do not see Christ wanting us to stay in abusive, demeaning situation...how does it glorify God. All the verses you quoted were of Christs suffering for man's sin, to be reconciled to God. Women do not have to or can not suffer the abuse of men(or whoever)to be reconciled to God. I feel you have placed a burden on women that only Christ can bare. To stay is to allow the abuse to go on to the next generation. I may not be seeing the whole picture...please help.

Joseph Herrin said...

Dear Sister,

Yahweh has established His governmental order in creation to bring all mankind to embrace the cross. It matters not whether you are suffering for your testimony of Christ, or merely bearing up under an unjust master.

I Peter 2:18-3:2
Servants, be submissive to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and gentle, but also to those who are unreasonable. For this finds favor, if for the sake of conscience toward God a man bears up under sorrows when suffering unjustly. For what credit is there if, when you sin and are harshly treated, you endure it with patience? But if when you do what is right and suffer for it you patiently endure it, this finds favor with God. For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed. For you were continually straying like sheep, but now you have returned to the Shepherd and Guardian of your souls. In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives, as they observe your chaste and respectful behavior.

Note that the apostle is speaking of a situation that arises from normal governmental order. Servants and masters; husbands and wives. Each are to take Christ as their example in that He bore up while suffering unjustly, and God honored Him for His meekness and surrender.

Consider Joseph, sold into slavery. He was faithful wherever he was placed. He endured hardship and suffering, and great injustice. He bore these things patiently, and Yahweh exalted him.

Our trials, whether a woman has a husband who is disobedient to the word, and harsh and unjust, or whether we are under employers who are the same, are all designed to lead us to a cross that we might die to everything that pertains to self within our souls. We will be called to give and give and give, and get nothing in return. Yet, God will sustain us with His grace.

The cross comes to all the people of God in ways they seldom anticipate. The cross always seems obnoxious, and to be despised. If it were not so, it would not be a cross.

The church has conditioned Christians today to expect that things should always go their way. They have been taught that God will always work their situations out where they will be blessed in relationships and material situations. The influence of an apostate church is what makes it so difficult to discern that it is the will of God that we bear up patiently in those circumstances of suffering we encounter in life. As the apostle Paul said, “I die daily.”