What marriage is really all about
"Marriage is used to describe the relationship between God and Israel in the OT and between Jesus Christ and the church in the NT. Contemplating marriage deepens understanding of God’s love for his people; examining God’s covenant love for his people similarly enriches an understanding of marriage." (BibleGateway)It begins in Genesis 2, where God unites Eve and Adam as one flesh. He made Eve from Adam, as a helper fit for him.
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)
As we progress through the Old Testament, we see God declare He is "married" to Israel. God's marriage covenant with Israel is seen in Ezekiel 16:8-14, below. The covenant at Sinai was seen as a form of marriage. See also Jeremiah 31:32; Ezekiel 16:59-60.
God as Israel’s husband is also seen in Isaiah 54:5 and also Hosea 2:7; Joel 1:8.
8 “When I passed by you again and saw you, behold, you were at the age for love, and I spread the corner of my garment over you and covered your nakedness; I made my vow to you and entered into a covenant with you, declares the Lord God, and you became mine. 9 Then I bathed you with water and washed off your blood from you and anointed you with oil. 10 I clothed you also with embroidered cloth and shod you with fine leather. I wrapped you in fine linen and covered you with silk.[a] 11 And I adorned you with ornaments and put bracelets on your wrists and a chain on your neck. 12 And I put a ring on your nose and earrings in your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. 13 Thus you were adorned with gold and silver, and your clothing was of fine linen and silk and embroidered cloth. You ate fine flour and honey and oil. You grew exceedingly beautiful and advanced to royalty. 14 And your renown went forth among the nations because of your beauty, for it was perfect through the splendor that I had bestowed on you, declares the Lord God. (Ezekiel 16:8-14)
In the New Testament, we see frequent symbolism of Jesus as the Groom and the Church as His bride.
For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:2)
The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son, (Matthew 22:2)
We've seen the marriage theme in Adam and Eve, in Hosea, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Joel, and Jeremiah. In the New Testament we see the marriage theme in Matthew, 2 Corinthians, and other books, and now in Revelation.
"Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb." (Revelation 19:7)
We Christians long for the day when we are the wife, the glorified, perfected church, able to worship properly and perfectly, walking in true harmony with the Groom. As for the Bible, the marriage metaphor is sewn into the very heartbeat of scripture. It begins with a marriage, scripture showing that all marriages are the picture of Jesus and His redeemed and perfected bride, and the Bible ends with a marriage. The kingdom itself is a wedding feast!
Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, “Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb." (Revelation 21:9)
John MacArthur explains in his commentary that in Revelation 21:9 the church is referred to as the wife because the marriage has taken place in Rev 19:7. Oh what a day that will be.
The most important thing to remember is this: earthly marriage is a picture of the Church's marriage to Jesus. He as Head, lovingly guiding, shepherding, teaching, taking responsibility even though He never makes a problem. The Church as bride, loving her Groom, helping, submitting. Submission is a joyful following. As was stated in our sermon Sunday, a woman said regarding submission (which men are to submit also), "If submission to the Father did not ruin Jesus' dignity I don't suppose it will ruin mine."
Marriage does not exist to make you happy. Being happy has nothing to do with it. I'ts to love a married life (if you're called to it) in mutual submission, sacrificing for each other, and persevering for the long term. It is a picture of Jesus and His bide and personal happiness has nothing to do with it. Of course, if you're happy in your marriage, GREAT! But God did not design marriage for your personal happiness.
Since marriage on earth is a picture of Jesus and His spotless bride, then THAT is why satan works so hard to interfere with marriage. That's why it's under assault. It's why feminism arose, so the wife would be rebellious. It's why homosexuality arose, so men would not marry women and lead solid homes. And in case someone does not believe that marriage is 'one man, one woman, forever', think of this. When the Pharisees asked Jesus about marriage, Jesus explained it by going back to the Old testament and stood firm on Genesis 2:24, which says,
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
When the Pharisees tested Jesus on marriage, Matthew 19:4-6 says, He answered, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, 5and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? 6So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”
So Jesus stood on the OT picture of marriage and that has not changed. Satan tries his best but don't let him interfere with you wives by allowing your flesh to rise up and usurp the husband, or tempt you to a career choice that sacrifices the children.
The Bible begins with a marriage and it ends with one. Marriage is important.
PS: There are some women and men He has set aside (consecrated) for singleness. Apostle Paul calls this a gift. (1 Corinthians 7:6) For example, there will be 144,000 virgin men who will become super-evangelists during the Tribulation. Jeremiah never married, it's probable that John the Baptist never did either. In modern times, the famous preacher John Stott never married. Neither did missionary Gladys Aylward. If God has chosen you for singleness, it is a gift and He will sustain you throughout your celibate life for the ministry or task He has consecrated you to. Take heart! You're in good company!