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Author Topic: What Constitutes a Marriage Covenant Before God?  (Read 7379 times)

Larry

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Re: What Constitutes a Marriage Covenant Before God?
« Reply #15 on: October 02, 2009, 10:26:45 PM »
Shirley,

If the marriage is legal according to the laws of the government, then it is legal and binding. A Las Vegas marriage is legal and binding.


Thank you for your answer accrding to scripture John. I do have a question. If Marriage is a lifelong covenant binding that requires careful and solemn attention, as opposed to the frivolous ignorance of most marriages (your words), then why was the old testament saints allowed to divorce and it was biblical for them to do it?

  I think I can answer this one. It was because of the hardness of their heart.

 Matthew 19:7-8
 "They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?  He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so".


Margaret

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Re: What Constitutes a Marriage Covenant Before God?
« Reply #16 on: January 05, 2015, 10:24:18 AM »
Hi again,
   I was told that joining together in sex constitutes marriage. Is this true, and if so are we married to the first person we were with? Thanks in advance.

lpowell

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Re: What Constitutes a Marriage Covenant Before God?
« Reply #17 on: January 05, 2015, 09:22:46 PM »
Hi Margaret,
  Marriage on earth is created to be the picture of our eternal marriage to our savior, Christ Jesus.  Thus we should look into the process by which we are joined to Christ.

Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;
26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.
28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.
29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:

God purchased, cleansed, nourished and cherished us and so any earthly marriage ought to portray this.  Does sexual intimacy outside of marriage demonstrate any part of this?  We need to look at the Scripture to determine this.  The particular words for this in the Old Testament is zanah, usually translated harlot.  In the New, it is pornos, usually translated fornicate.  Everywhere they are used, they are considered sin, even to the point of requiring eternal judgment.  God's elect are represented as priests so as in the following verse, sex before marriage does great harm to the picture of God's bride, his people.

Lev 21:9 And the daughter of any priest, if she profane herself by playing the whore, she profaneth her father: she shall be burnt with fire.

We are all as an unclean thing, and so God must cleanse us from all filthiness before we can be brought near to him as in the Eph passage above.  With sex before marriage, there is no purchase price, no giving up your individual liberty, no til death commitment beforehand.  There is no cleansing out of any attraction to other lovers.

Heb 13:4 Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

With sex before marriage there is no nourishing.  It is usually a selfish taking to satisfy ones own hunger.  The Christian should build up the betrothed through reading the Word as they prepare for marriage.  And there is really no cherishing another as your own if the commitment has not been made in the sight of God and others.  And so, it is never too late to turn from sin and be married (as long as there was no previous marriage).

John 8:10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

Lloyd


Tony Warren

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Re: What Constitutes a Marriage Covenant Before God?
« Reply #18 on: January 06, 2015, 08:37:50 AM »
 )iagree( Lloyd makes some excellent points. Let me add that I don't think that we can have a marriage be defined by sex, because then it seems to me what we have would be confusion. That would mean that there is no fornication, only marriage and adultery. Since the first time anyone had sex, they'd be married so any other illicit activity would be adultery. But I don't think God defines fornication that way, nor marriage.

Other Christians claim that there is only one specific way to conduct a marriage ceremony before God, and I believe that is also unjustifiable. Because there were (and are) many different marriage ceremonies throughout the history of the world, in different nations and tribes, and they all constituted a legitimate marriage between a man and woman. So then the question remains, what constitutes a marriage?

I believe that marriage can be defined as a solemn covenant, or formal promise when joining two parties together before God. It doesn't matter how, where or when it's done, it is a valid marriage witnessed by God. This promise between the two is what joins a man to a woman, and is what is witnessed by God. It's valid in any country, in any culture, in any lawful ceremony. That's what Christ meant when He said "what God hath joined together, let not man put asunder." It's two people taking a vow before God establishing that they are now as one. As we see according to God, vows can't be taken lightly. Of course in our day, Christians take very few vows before God as seriously as they should. And that includes the marriage vow.

Numbers 30:1-2
  • "And Moses spake unto the heads of the tribes concerning the children of Israel, saying, This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded.
  • If a man vow a vow unto the LORD, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth."

Agreeing to a marriage covenant is taking a vow before God to cleave to your wife "as if" you are permanently glued together so that you cannot be separated. It's this promise/covenant that is witnessed by God and that should not be put asunder. Moreover, as stated before, it is the figure God uses for the promise of Christ to His own Covenant bride of never leaving nor forsaking her. It is a lifetime, inseparable binding of a man and a woman. And so what constitutes marriage is not specifically the sex act (as many believe) but the Promise/Covenant made before God. Marriage as defined by God is obviously much broader than a mere sex act, it's a recognition of binding of one to another that is as almost a old as the Word of God itself.

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."

Look at the language God uses of marriage saying a man leaving his father and mother to cleave (literally adhere) to his wife. That means to stick to her so that they become as one flesh, inseparable. In other words, this is God's recognition of the permanence of the marriage bond. A permanence that Christ explains more thoroughly and clearly in Matthew chapter 19:

Matthew 19:5-6
  • " And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
  • Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."

Again, the Greek word translated cleave there is [proskollao], which is the preposition [pros] meaning to, and the word [kollaˇ] meaning glue. Thus very literally, to be "glued to" or to be permanently joined together before God. This further reiterated and defined by Christ saying, let not man pull them apart. So though people sometimes "assume" that because this literally means to "glue to" or join before God, that it refers to the sex act, there is no actual evidence of that. And what they often fail to consider is that the scriptures make it clear that we "adhere" to or are joined together before God by the promise/covenant of marriage long before any intimate relations have taken place. It's the betrothal that joins you, not sexual relations. This can be readily seen for example in Matthew chapter 1 for example:

Matthew 1:18-19
  • "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
  • Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily."

In being betrothed, Joseph and Mary were already married in God's eyes, although they hadn't yet had sexual relations. So that when Joseph found that Mary was with child, and thinking that she had been with man for that to happen, he sought to divorce her according to the Jewish understanding of Old Testament law of putting away. You can't divorce someone who you are not married to, so obviously in God's eyes Joseph and marry were married though they had never come together in the sexual union. Thus clearly we see that sex is not the valid definition of marriage, because this was a valid marriage by the Promise/Oath/Covenant between them. So the assumption that marriage is validated by physical relations is fatally flawed.

Genesis 4:1
  • "And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD."

It doesn't say Adam knew Eve and then she became his wife, it says He knew his wife, meaning she was already His wife before they were joined together in sexual union. Some Christians look at the word cleave in Genesis and jump to the assumption that adhering means sex, when it means to stick fast. Plus they are completely ignoring the fact that the scriptures further defines this linking together as "God joined" (Matthew 19:5-6), which means it can hardly be represented simply by sex. Fornication is not marriage. Rather, this joining represents the righteous God ordained "Promise" or "Covenant" that two people make before God linking themselves as one. Moreover, this has to be the case because the Marriage Covenant/Promise between a man and a Woman are symbolic of the joining Covenant between Christ and His bride, the elect. A life long bond wherein Christ will never leave His bride no matter what error she falls into. We, like Christ, should enter into a Covenant marriage of Grace, not works. Because it is an unbreakable Covenant marriage, not one based on continuing good works or faithfulness. If it were, none of us would remain His bride.

"nosce te ipsum"
 
Peace,
Tony Warren
"Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant. -Malachi 2:14"

lpowell

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Re: What Constitutes a Marriage Covenant Before God?
« Reply #19 on: January 06, 2015, 10:51:55 AM »
Amen to that only hope, God's covenant, fully planned, fully committed.

Eph 1:4  According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

Lloyd

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Re: What Constitutes a Marriage Covenant Before God?
« Reply #20 on: January 06, 2015, 08:25:47 PM »
Interesting. Thanks to both of you.

Melanie

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Re: What Constitutes a Marriage Covenant Before God?
« Reply #21 on: April 01, 2018, 07:37:45 AM »
I was in a discussion on the Reformed forum site where it was stated by a couple church ministers that the word covenant literally means contract, and so the marriage covenant is a signed contract between two individuals. It sounds right and I couldn't refute them, so does covenant mean contract? Is a marriage by signed contract only. From this thread it doesn't appear to be, but if covenant means contract by two parties where does that leave me.

Jon Thomas

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Re: What Constitutes a Marriage Covenant Before God?
« Reply #22 on: April 01, 2018, 09:34:59 AM »
it leaves you with a dilemma, since I don't think Adam and Eve, naked in the woods, had pencil and paper to sign a marriage contract ;)

Wcjciech Semkowski

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Re: What Constitutes a Marriage Covenant Before God?
« Reply #23 on: April 02, 2018, 01:56:51 AM »
It sounds right and I couldn't refute them, so does covenant mean contract? Is a marriage by signed contract only. From this thread it doesn't appear to be, but if covenant means contract by two parties where does that leave me.

I don't quite understand. Are you married and wanting to know your status?

Melanie

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Re: What Constitutes a Marriage Covenant Before God?
« Reply #24 on: April 02, 2018, 10:36:48 PM »
It sounds right and I couldn't refute them, so does covenant mean contract? Is a marriage by signed contract only. From this thread it doesn't appear to be, but if covenant means contract by two parties where does that leave me.

I don't quite understand. Are you married and wanting to know your status?

Oh no, I'm not married. I used the word "me" only in the sense of where it leaves "us" Christians in regard to the idea that without a signed contract, it would not be a legitimate marriage. Seeing how some countries never had that I find it hard to believe they are not married. Sorry for the confusion.

Tony Warren

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Re: What Constitutes a Marriage Covenant Before God?
« Reply #25 on: April 12, 2018, 02:02:57 AM »
>>>
It sounds right and I couldn't refute them, so does covenant mean contract?
<<<

No, Covenant in the Bible literally signifies a oath or Testament, and concerning marriage a unconditional Promise/oath/Testament of lifelong union or attachment. In the Old Testament it is the Hebrew word [b'riyth], meaning to cut, and by extension to Testify, pledge or vow. In the New Testament it is the Greek word [diatheke], meaning to appoint, and again by extension to make Testify, pledge or promise. In fact, the word in the New Testament Bible is translated Testament specifically because a Testament is a testimony or oath. As for example in a "Last Will and Testament," which is a promise or vow to leave your inheritance of money or property to someone after your death. That's exactly what Christ did for us by His death, and His New Testament with Israel is His Vow/Promise of an inheritance in the Kingdom of Heaven. Covenant, Promise or Testament is actually synonymous regarding this relationship with Israel.

Galatians 3:17-18
  • "And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.
  • For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise."

The Covenant of Israel is not a contract, it is the fulfillment of a unconditional Vow/Testament made by God of a eternal inheritance.


Quote
>>>
Is a marriage by signed contract only.
<<<

No. Marriage is by Promise/Testament before God. The biblical definition of marriage is a Testament of a man and a woman joined together as one before God. No signed contract needed as God is the only witness necessary. We only get a marriage license to comply with local or national laws, as God instructs us to do. Marriage is the vow between a man and a woman before God.

Matthew 19:5-6
  • "And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
  • Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."

There's your definition of the marriage covenant. A man leaving father and mother and cleaving or being joined together with His wife before God. A joining that God commands should never be pulled apart by man. It s a command, not a suggestion, but it goes unheeded in the modern church of our day.


Tony Warren

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Re: What Constitutes a Marriage Covenant Before God?
« Reply #26 on: April 12, 2018, 02:06:47 AM »
>>>
 From this thread it doesn't appear to be, but if covenant means contract by two parties where does that leave me.
<<<

If Covenant means contract by two parties, then it can't be unconditional because "agreement" means the two parties were in accord, when God's word says that we were desperately wicked and at enmity with God, a evil people who could not come to Christ, and so the Lord had to draw/drag us to Him. That's not agreement made by two parties, that's non-agreement and unmerited favor when we didn't agree with God. That's salvation by a unconditional, un-agreed upon Testament or Promise. That's salvation by the will of God versus the will of man. A Last will and Testament, not contract. So if it is a contract, it's a contract that needs no agreement by the second party. In other words, a unconditional Promise. Am I splitting hairs? Perhaps, but I don't think so.

"nosce te ipsum"
 
Peace,
Tony Warren
"I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the Lord; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah. -Psalms 32:5"


 


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