Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Study in Marriage Part 1 - Marriage Then And Now

Today people get confused about what marriage really is, and don’t even know it. In the beginning, marriage meant something completely different than it does today. First let’s take a look at what marriage is today:

Today marriage is an agreed upon union between a man and a woman (or a man and a man, or a woman and a woman, although today this is still debatable in society), along with a contract between the man, woman, and government, finalized in a ceremony preformed by a preacher or justice of the peace. The “contract” is the marriage license. Without a marriage license the government does not recognize a couple as married and the couple can then not get government benefits for being married such as tax breaks. Often times without a marriage license a couple cannot even get insurance together with “married” benefits. The government contract has become such an important part of marriage today, that even most regular US citizens do not consider you and your spouse married if you do not have a marriage license. So the three parts of marriage today consist of: 1) A contract between the couple and the government. 2) An agreed upon union. 3) A ceremony preformed by a pastor or justice of the peace.

Now let’s take a look at marriage in the beginning according to the Bible (KJV of course). Marriage then was very different. In the beginning, Marriage was solely between a man, a woman, and God. There was no ceremony preformed by a pastor or other government official, and there was no contract with any kind of government. How then were people considered married? In Genesis, God gives you His definition of marriage. Let’s take a look:

Genesis 2:24 “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”

The key words in this passage are “cleave” and “one flesh”. First a man leaves his father and mother. Next he cleaves to his wife and they become one flesh. When the KJV was translated “cleave” meant: “To unite or be united closely in interest or affection; to adhere with strong attachment,” (Websters 1828 Dictionary).“One flesh” is defined at the time as “intimate relations,” (Websters 1828 Dictionary under “Flesh”). So we see the Biblical version of marriage is also composed of three parts: 1) Leaving the father and
mother. 2) Man and woman “cleaving” together, otherwise committing to stick together. 3) Man and woman becoming “one flesh” (or having intimate relations, aka sex.). There was no ceremony, there was no contract, there was no preacher there to marry them. Adam and Eve, the first man and woman were married, and there was no other human there to marry them. Instead God brought them together as husband and wife.

Gen 2:23 “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.”
Gen 2:24 “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”
Gen 2:25 “And they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed.”

The above passage is clearly talking about Adam and Eve, and refers to them in Genesis 2:25 as “man and his wife,” after they have been “one flesh” in Genesis 2:24.

We also see how God performs the marriage ceremony himself in Matthew:
Matt. 19:6 “Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”

“What therefore God hath joined together…” this is very important. When a man and woman become “one flesh” together, God joins them together. Essentially God is marrying them just as a pastor or justice of the peace would do today.

We see examples of this in the Bible:

Genesis 24:67 "And Isaac brought her into his mother Sarah's tent, and took Rebekah, and she became his wife; and he loved her: and Isaac was comforted after his mother's death."

While Gen 24:67 doesn’t explicitly say that Isaac and Rebekah had sex, it does imply it by saying that he“took” her, together with the fact that he brought her into his mothter’s tent (a private place) to do so. This passage says that she became his wife after the fact of sex (“and took Rebekah, and she became his wife;”).

Today churches preach about not having “premarital sex,” and say that if you have ANY sex whatsoever before the traditional "man-made" wedding occurs, that it is "pre-marital." But if you look at the scriptures straight from the Bible and read them as is with no interpretation, you see that so long as you have left the parents, committed to one another, and had sex, you are married by God, even if you haven't been married by "man" in a man made ceremony. While what most churches teach about “premarital sex” is not Biblical at all, I can see why they started giving messages on it. Today you get the kids having sex without the commitment or without leaving the parents, or you get the adults who have left the parents, but have no comittment to their boyfriend/girlfriend. Sex has become a casual thing worldwide.

Marriage has changed into a sort of unholy union between a man, a woman, and the government rather than a man, a woman, and God. If the union was really between a man, his wife, and God, then the man and wife would forsake the government and not enter into a contract with it to declare their marriage valid.Unfortunately in the society we live in today, we must enter into this government contract to get the government benefits we deserve as a married couple.

Today marriages break up all the time and end in divorce. In Biblical times it wasn’t all that common to see divorce, but now divorce rates soar higher every year, not only because of problems in the marriage, but because of lack of commitment (cleaving together) on the couple’s part. Because marriage today is really only a contract with the government, people throw away marriages like a piece of trash and start over. Now don’t get me wrong, there are definitely reasons to divorce, but most couples in the US today enter into marriage thinking, “well, if it doesn’t work out I can always get divorced, no big deal.” In the Bible divorce was a very big deal and was only allowed under certain circumstances, because marriage was a union between man, woman, and God, and God put them together into marriage. Matt. 19:6 “Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” What God has joined together, let no man put asunder… including the husband himself or the wife… it was a holy union not to be thrown away so lightly, even if there were major problems. It was also not entered into so lightly as it is today. Today people flock to Vegas to get married spur of the moment… young teens get married only because they got pregnant, not because they are truly willing to “cleave” to each other for better or for worse, and other times people get married because they are pressured to by society because it is the “normal” thing to do to get married at a certain age and settle down and start a family. All of these things along with other factors have contributed to high divorce rates (essentially man putting asunder what God has joined together).

Now I’m not saying that all divorces occur because of lack of commitment or lack of having a union between the man and wife and God, but the above factors I have described have definitely contributed to a large percent of the divorces in recent years in the US. In a country that continually strives to move away from God and toward unholy unions with the government, it does not surprise me that churches started preaching on not having sex before the “government” marriage, in an attempt to stem the flow of divorces.Again, when they teach about not having premarital sex, there is no such thing provided you have left the parents, cleaved to your spouse, and then joined to become one flesh, but because “marriage” has changed and is something different today to man, premarital sex would occur before the “contract” is entered into with the government.

In conclusion, there are definitely two different kinds of marriage: 1) God’s definition of marriage, and 2) Man’s definition of marriage. Straight from the Bible we see God’s definition of marriage is when two people have sex and become “one flesh” and God joins them together. Man’s definition of marriage is some sort of ceremony preformed by a justice of the peace or man of the cloth along with a government contract and a high likelihood of divorce somewhere down the road.

NOTE: This post was not meant to offend anybody (as I’m sure it will) but is instead meant to inform. I am in no way saying that if you got a divorce that it was because of lack of commitment, or that if you were married with a government contract that you did not mean the marriage to be between you, your spouse, and God. If you feel like commenting on my post feel free, but before you do I ask that you simply read the scriptures as is without “interpreting” them your own way. We believe in taking God’s Word literally with no interpretation. Why? Because God won’t try to confuse us. It makes no sense for God to write one thing, and then mean something different than He wrote. God wants us to understand and there are very few things in the Bible up to interpretation. (Revelation for example, because John himself said he didn’t understand the things he saw, and was only writing them down to the best of his ability describing the things he saw the best he could). Like I said, read it literally, and then post any comments you may have.

A NOTE ON THE DEFINITIONS: I have given you definitions from the Webster 1828 dictionary because some words mean different things now than they did when the KJV was translated. The 1828 dictionary tells us what most words in the KJV meant when it was translated. I have heard people interpret the above scriptures differently because they did not know or understand the meaning of some of the words, which is why I have provided definitions.


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