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A DEFINITION of MARRIAGE

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The first mention of marriage in the Bible is during the transformation of the earth into a home for mankind when God brought a woman to His creature and introduced them to each other. 

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Genesis 2:

19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name [character and purpose] thereof [for he had a built-in knowledge].

20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field [in their pairs]; but for Adam there was not found a help meet [fit] for him [the absence was noted by the angels.]

21 And [then] the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and He took one of his ribs [from over his heart], and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 and the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made He a woman, and brought her to the man. [So now there was Adam-1 and Adam-2.] 

23 And Adam[-1] said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be [using his in-built knowledge] called ‘Woman [Hebrew = ‘Ishi’,

Adam-2]’, because she was taken out of ‘Man [Hebrew = ‘Ish’, Adam-1]’.

24 “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they shall be one flesh [again]”.

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There was no lengthy ceremony, simply a Father handing over His daughter into the care of His son.  But Adam-1 and Adam-2 now had separate existences and names (characters and purposes) and began to get to know each other in their new roles as Mr. & Mrs. Adam. 

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{PP 46.2 - 46.3} 

God Himself gave Adam a companion.  He provided “an help meet for him”-- a helper corresponding to him -- one who was fitted to be his companion, and who could be one with him in love and sympathy.  Eve was created from a rib taken from the side of Adam, signifying that she was not to control him as the head, nor to be trampled under his feet as an inferior, but to stand by his side as an equal, to be loved and protected by him.  A part of man, bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh, she was his second self, showing the close union and the affectionate attachment that should exist in this relation.  “For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it”. Ephesians 5:29.  “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife; and they shall be one”. 

God celebrated [led out in] the first marriage.  Thus the institution has for its originator the Creator of the universe.  “Marriage is honorable” (Hebrews 13:4); it was one of the first gifts of God to man, and it is one of the two institutions that, after the Fall, Adam brought with him beyond the gates of Paradise [it is the other side of the Sabbath, like Adam-1 and Adam-2]

When the divine principles are recognized and obeyed in this relation, marriage is a blessing; it guards the purity and happiness of the race, it provides for man's social needs, it elevates the physical, the intellectual, and the moral nature.

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Another mention of marriage is made in 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”. 

But here’s an important point:

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{In Heavenly Places 203.2}

I have often read these words: “Marriage is a lottery”. Some act as if they believed the statement, and their married life testifies that it is such to them.  But true marriage is not a lottery.  Marriage was instituted in Eden.  After the creation of Adam, the Lord said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help “meet – suitable -- for him”. When the Lord presented Eve to Adam, angels of God were witnesses to the ceremony. 

But there are few couples who are completely united when the marriage ceremony is performed.  The form of words spoken over the two who take the marriage vow [aka justification] does not make them a unit.  In their future life is to be the blending of the two in wedlock [aka sanctification].  

It may be made a really happy union, if each will give to the other true heart affection.

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Why was this ordinance given?

It was a special ritual with a special reason – to illustrate Gods’ way.

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{PP 44.3}

“So God created man in His own image;  . . .  male and female created He them [both in one body]”. [Genesis 1:27.] Here is clearly set forth the origin of the human race; and the divine record is so plainly stated that there is no occasion for erroneous conclusions.  God created man in His own image [male and female in one body].  Here is no mystery.

{1BC 1081.2} 

Infinite love--how great it is! God made the world to enlarge heaven.  He desires a larger family of created intelligences [to replace the defecting ones] (MS 78, 1901). 

{1BC 1081.3} 

All heaven took a deep and joyful interest in the creation of the world and of man.  Human beings were a new and distinct order.  They were made “in the image of God,” and it was the Creator's design that they should populate the earth [through marriage] (RH Feb. 11, 1902).

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But as time went on and mankind developed into tribes (extended families) they required legal documents to make sure of inheritances and successions, so the marriage ceremony lengthened.  Later still, the newly formed states wanted to know who belonged to them so they instituted a civil service, but originally it was simply a religious (family) occasion.

In the Hebrew economy, the wedding became a seven-day festival in which the legal portions were dealt with first before the bride was required to attend.  It was the groom and the two fathers who handled it all. 

And that is what happens in Christianity.

The Father and the Son and other important members of the heavenly family have been together since Oct 22, 1844 to handle all that legal stuff – also known as “the judgement”.  Because this is a godly “marriage” to the Heir of the world, a “stand-in” bride (a proxy) has been arranged (Revelation 21:2) to focus the spectators’ vision. 

This is the tabernacle/city, which has been a “help-meet” to the LORD since the foundation of the world, for it is a physical picture of the characters of it’s future inhabitants, as the temple in heaven is a physical picture of God’s mind.

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{1893 E J W[aggoner], GOSC [The Gospel in Creation] 9.1-17.1}

The first thing that Moses wrote [in the Torah], through the inspiration of the Spirit of God, was the story of creation.  That, therefore, is one of the things through which we are to receive hope and comfort.  Why is it that we can receive hope and comfort through the story of the creation? Because that story contains the Gospel.  A few words will serve to establish this fact before we proceed to study the lesson in detail. 

The declaration of the apostle, that the Gospel “is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth,” [Romans 1:16] is familiar to all who have ever heard the Gospel preached.  The Gospel is the manifestation of God's power put forth to save men.  The same thing is stated in substance by the Apostle Peter when he speaks of the inheritance reserved in heaven for those “who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation”. [1 Peter 1:5.]

But what is the measure of the power of God? Wherein is it seen in a tangible form? Read Rom.i.20 [Romans 1:20], where we are told that ever since the creation of the world the invisible things of God, even His eternal power and godhead, are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made.  It is in creation, therefore, that the power of God is to be seen by everybody.  But the power of God in the line of salvation is the Gospel.  Therefore the works of creation teach the Gospel.  This is declared in Psalm xix [19:1-4], where we read, “The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork.  Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night showeth knowledge.  There is no speech nor language; [yet] without these their voice is heard.  Their line is gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world”.

I have given the rendering of the margin, as conforming more closely to the original.  The idea is, that no matter what language a people speak, all can understand the language of the heavens.  Their message can be read much more easily than if they uttered an audible sound; for all people on earth cannot understand the same articulate [spoken] speech, but all who have reason can read the simple language of the works of God . . . 

{1893 EJW, GOSC 11.4}

The Gospel is the power of God, and the power of God is manifest in the things that He has made; therefore the Psalmist is speaking of the Gospel, which the heavens teach . . . 

 {1893 EJW, GOSC 16.2}

There has been a great deal of idle speculation as to which is the greater, redemption or creation.  Many have thought that redemption is a greater work than creation.  Such speculation is idle, because only infinite power could perform either work, and infinite power cannot be measured by human minds.  But while we cannot measure the power, we can easily settle the question of which is the greater, because the Scriptures give us the information.  Neither is greater than the other, for both are the same.  Redemption is creation.  Redemption is the same power that was put forth in the beginning to create the world and all that is in it, now put forth to save men and the earth from the curse of sin. 

The Scriptures are very clear on this point.  The Psalmist prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, and renew a right spirit within me”. [Psalm 51:10.] The apostle says, that “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature,” or a new creation. [2 Corinthians 5:17.] And again we read, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.  For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained, that we should walk in them”. [Ephesians 2:8-10.]

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Therefore the Sabbath and marriage are physical reminders of this, which should be observed by Christians as a witness to the ungodly around them.  Whatever form the ceremony takes, it signifies the beginning of “two” into “one”, and the separating of that “one” from all the others in that society. 

 

oooOooo 


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