Welcome to a series of thirteen lessons on “happy marriages.” The husband/wife team who authored them have contributed many helpful thoughts. The last lesson in the series is about “the marriage of the Lamb.” May our naturally inward-focused hearts be stirred to think of Him at last. The lady in Song of Solomon 5:2-7 who had gone to bed early and was annoyed by her Lover banging on her door represents the remnant church which has resented (in our history) the urgent appeals of our Lord to surrender to Him as a beloved surrenders at last to her husband-to-be. It is time for the world church to realize where we have come in history and who we are on the stage in the sight of the universe. Some questions:
Will God’s “Intended Ideal” in marriage ever be realized before Jesus returns?
For years the world church has had to wrestle with the popular doctrine that the answer must be No, that perfection of character is a “chimera,” an impossible-to-be-reached goal in this life so long as we humans are still possessed of fallen, sinful nature.
Seeking to defend Bible teaching, “the Lord in His great mercy sent” us the 1888 message of righteousness by faith in the light of the unique truth of “the cleansing of the sanctuary,” in this cosmic Day of Atonement. Yes, the great High Priest will Himself accomplish this work if we do not hinder Him; thus, happy marriages will be established in these last days.
Genesis 2:24, NIV: When, in God’s plan, do a man and a woman become “one flesh”? (The word “become” is a true rendering of the original Hebrew.)
The idea implanted in this scripture is that sexual intimacy is reserved for when the couple become married before God and before the world in a public, holy commitment. Such “marriage is honorable among all, and [then] the bed undefiled” (Heb. 13:4). Fornication before such “honorable marriage” is taking what God has not yet given and is an example of the “incontinence” that Paul says will characterize life in these “last days” (an expression of self-love; see 2 Tim. 3:1-3, KJV). Fornication is not to be mentioned “among” God’s people on this Day of Atonement because God’s “much more abounding grace” is greater than all the alluring temptation Satan can present to us (Rom. 5:20). The Good News is better than we have thought!
The sin of Adam and Eve brought us great pain, as our Lesson tells us: let us lift our view—what pain has it brought to the heart of Christ? Only in that realization can we find deliverance from the selfish sin itself.
Wednesday’s Lesson tells us that “Adam is cursed only for listening to his wife.” Think a moment: was Adam really “cursed,” or was “the ground cursed for [his] sake” (Gen. 3:17), and thus an act of love and favor on God’s part, the opposite of a curse?
Are single people as precious in God’s sight today as married people, and thus as happy?
Righteousness by faith is not only a personal experience but a corporate one. You and I can be happy before God because of the happiness that other married couples experience “in Christ.” It’s more fun to live rejoicing before God for the gift of love He has given to those who receive it than in bemoaning the infidelity there is in the world (and in the church).
Look at Tuesday’s Lesson: Was Adam’s first reaction to Eve NOT romance?
Try to think through what happened when he first saw her: God created “romance”! The media reports today (July 3) that Muslims in London want to murder a couple (virgins) who have fallen in love with each other instead of obeying the steel will of their families. Our favorite author declares that “love is a precious gift which we receive from Jesus.” It is not to be despised but received in thanks from Him.
Thursday, think it through: Did God tell Eve that He had commanded Adam to “rule over you”?
Some (Christian) husbands have understood so; or did He simply inform the fallen Eve that her fallen husband in his fallen condition will do so—at least some times in their lives together? And if so, is there not the precious hope that husbands who appreciate “a most precious message” that was “the beginning” of the loud cry and of the latter rain can learn to “dwell with [their wives] with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life”? It’s time that they learn—or their prayers will be “hindered” (1 Peter 3:7).
—Robert J Wieland
If you would like a copy, sent via e-mail, of Robert J. Wieland’s “Seven Memorable Messages in the Bible,” please request it from: email@example.com. Or, download the PDF document here.
(Note: A series of CDs on these lessons recorded by this Robert J. Wieland is available from the office of the 1888 Message Study Committee: 269-473-1888.) Listen to the audio recording for Lesson 1 now in MP3 format. To listen as a podcast go to http://wolfsoathaudio.blogspot.com/