And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. 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. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.(Genesis 2:22-25)
And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth. Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. 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 19:6-9)
There is a wedding at the beginning of the Bible, and another one at the very end. These are the two bookends of Salvation history.
The first wedding is told in the Creation story. It occurs before the fall of man, and comes about as an act of God. Marriage was ordained by God, and is a gift of the grace of God to man. The original and ultimate human relationship is man and wife, joined together, the two as one, in covenant with each other and God.
The whole purpose for it was to meet the first human need. Before there was a fall, or sin, there was a “not good”. God declared that it was “not good for man to be alone”. The man was not to be solitary, God would create a “help meet” for him, a companion and friend, to live with, and to help him to carry out his Divinely assigned task.
How does God turn a “Not good” into a “good” ? He does something that looks an awful lot like a death and resurrection.
The Lord put the man into a deep sleep, and extracted “the man’s side”, (The Hebrew Word means ‘side’ not ‘rib’). Out of that side the LORD formed the woman. He then presented her to the man, now awakening from the deep sleep and with the scar on his side, which the LORD had removed to form the woman.
There the man stood, in glad recognition of his counterpart, in the presence of His Creator, at the beginning of time. He prophesied, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh… , speaking not in terms of merely himself, but of Man in general.
*A new marriage will supersede all other previous relationships, even the closest bonds of all(Father and Mother). Primary loyalty must lie in each other within the bond.
*The two must continually cleave unto each other. That is, that they would exclusively hold fast to each other, physically, sexually, emotionally, in a lifelong committment to oneness.
*That God would make them “one flesh”, a term which includes the sexual union, but which goes much further. “One Flesh, means there is a sense in which the couple would become “One person”. The woman was taken out of the side of man, now in marriage, that which was ‘removed’ is re-united. The two make one, as it was earlier said,“Male and female created He them in His Image…”.
Paul the apostle points us to the revelation that marriage was ordained to point us to a greater reality, that is the ultimate joining of the final Bride and the original groom, that is the union of the Messiah, and the church which He redeemed by his own blood.
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;…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. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.(Ephesians 5:25-31)
Thus does the beginning correspond to the end in this too, as in so much else.
The earliest scene of human interaction in scripture, is that of a man, who was the son of God, newly awakened out of a deep sleep, but with a scar in his side,waiting to be presented with his Bride in a garden of God’s making.
This foreshadows another man, the Son of God, resurrected from the dead, with a scar in His side also…waiting to receive his bride. She will be the wife of the Lamb. Currently she prepares herself by faith, repentance, and patient endurance for the Truth’s sake, to “have and to hold” Him forever who loved her and washed her with His own blood, and who laid down his life for her.
The Marriage of the Lamb is nearing!
Most of the happier times I have experienced in this world of woe, have been at weddings, sitting around festive tables, laughing, rejoicing in the new life, the potential, the fulfillment of love. The couple are relieved in a way, because the period of preparation and trial are now over, and there is no more waiting, only joy and Holy anticipation.
Are you ready? Are you part of the Bride? Are you called to participate in the “Marriage supper of the Lamb”?