by haRold Smith
a citizen of the Commonwealth
"Then Adam said, 'This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman because she was taken out of man'. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh." Genesis 2:23-24
"Husbands, love your wives, just as haMashiach (Hebrew for the Messiah) also loved His Body and gave Himself up on its behalf in order that it be set apart for YHVH with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present a Body without spot or wrinkle or any such thing - but holy and blameless. This is the example by which husbands ought to love their own wives as their own bodies; he who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it just as haMashiach exampled with His Body. For, if we are in Him, we are members of His body - of His flesh and of His bones. 'For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall cleave to his wife, and the two shall become ONE FLESH'. This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning haMashiach and His Body." Ephesians 5:25-32
"Do you not know that your bodies are members of haMashiach? Shall I then take the members of haMashiach and make them members of a prostitute? Never! Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes ONE FLESH with her? For, as it is written, 'the two will become ONE FLESH'." 1Corinthians 6:15-16
As the passages above attest to, and regardless of what religious traditions have been assumed into it, the only definition of marriage in scripture is having sexual relations. When a man and a woman engage in intercourse, according to the Words of YHVH, they are married because to be "married" IS to be "one flesh". In Ephesians 5:25-32 (click on highlighted words to view content) above, Sha'ul (the apostle Paul) says that when he speaks of the marriage relationship, he speaks a mystery. In a marriage between a man and a woman the mystery is that even though in the natural we see two distinct, individual entities - in the Father's Eyes, they have become one flesh. He does not say "one spirit" - but ONE FLESH. Reach down and pinch yourself - this is the flesh spoken of. In verse 31, Sha'ul is quoting from the Original Words of Genesis 2:24 (also shown above). In Hebrew, the letters of the alef-bet (Hebrew alphabet) have illustrations associated with them. How the individual illustrations of each of the letters of the word are arranged gives us an understanding as to the intent of the meaning of that word. The word translated in English as "cleave" in this verse comes from the Hebrew devaq and the illustration provided by the arrangement of the letters presents a picture of two sticky mud balls smacked together and fashioned so as to form one seamless mud ball. Even though it is a mystery, like the wind, we can see the results of this phenomenon all around us in two people who have been with each other for half a century or more and take on the physical attributes of the other - they begin to look alike.
There is no mention anywhere in scripture about someone saying words over a couple, making public vows to one another, exchanging rings, a marriage "license", what songs to sing, breaking glasses, jumping brooms or any other traditional ritual that has come to be associated with what makes a marriage. There is nothing wrong with those rituals to celebrate what has already occurred between a couple except when we allow the tradition of men to nullify the intent of the words of YHVH (Mark 7:13, see Hebrew Betrothal Customs). In my daughter's case, the fact that she and her beau had been living together for a couple of years caused many from each side of their respective families to engage in disparaging remarks ("living in sin", etc.) and exclusionary behavior toward them because, viewed through traditional lenses, they were not living in accordance with those traditions - regardless of what scripture said. Scripturally, there is no more need of a "marriage license" any more than there is a need for someone to have a "license" to breathe or to bear children. Many people go about following the steps outlined for marriage according to the State, without ever knowing the reasoning or history or legal aspect for what they are doing. While, historically, marriages have been recorded for various reasons (in scripture to validate inheritance, see the Chronology of Inheritance); marriage "licenses" are a relatively recent invention of the State - originally designed to prevent interracial unions and, subsequently, as a revenue stream for governments. Before the middle of the nineteenth century in the US, no "license" was required to marry at all - George Washington, John Adams or Abraham Lincoln did not have a marriage license.
The reason any license throughout history has been instituted was so that some action could be denied to certain segments of society deemed unfit by the State. A license is defined as "The permission granted by competent authority to exercise a certain privilege that, without such authorization, would constitute an illegal act…" (Black's Law Dictionary, 3rd Edition, page 1110). In other words, the government takes something that was lawful to do and makes it illegal. They can then tell you that if you pay enough money to the government (which is a bribe), they will turn their backs and give you a permit to break the law they just said was illegal! So the question that people need to ask themselves is - why would it be illegal to marry without the State's permission? This question is rarely brought up or addressed because people have grown accustomed to following the laws, statutes and commandments of man rather than those of the Most High.
Too often, people try to mix "legal issues" having to do with culture and custom with scripture into one big pot and stir them into something else. What results is an extension of our desire to see our "rules" enforced on people who may or may not appreciate them. That is what Islam does. Before an answer to a specific question about two people living together or having multiple partners can be given, we would need to know the state of their relationship with YHVH - otherwise, we come away with a skewed assessment. We have to remember that all the words of the Book were written from a Hebrew perspective and primarily addressed to the Family of YHVH - not the world. YHVH's covenant relationship expressed in marriage only applies to those who receive Him by keeping His Words and, thus, entering into covenant with Him (John 1:12). Believing is more than just verbal acquiescence - it is behaviorally oriented (John 15:8-11). To be holy means to be set apart to Him in our behavior from the rest of the culture, customs and behaviors of the world BY keeping His Words. To those set apart to Him, becoming part of His Family by embracing His Covenant, means fornication constitutes anything sexual outside what He has declared to be holy - husband and wife in covenant relation with Him and each other. YHVH's instructions are not for the world but for His Family of Israel who are to be a Kingdom of Priests and a holy nation unto Him (Exodus 19:6, 1Peter 2:9, see what it means to be In Perpetuity with YHVH).
Of all the times the English word "marriage" appears in scripture, both in the Original Writings and the Messianic Writings, each context has to do with the aftermath of what that union produces. Not once is there a definition given to contradict the two being anything other than "one flesh" once intercourse has occurred. Yeshua re-iterates this point in Matthew 19:3-9 when He says that the only reason YHVH grants divorce is because of sexual immorality; even then, only because of the "hardness of heart" toward one another - but, "from the beginning it was not so". Nowhere in scripture does it say that divorce causes them to NOT be one flesh anymore. There is no mention in scripture of being able to "break soul ties" - that is rhetoric associated with sorcery. In fact, in that same passage of Matthew, Yeshua says, "What YHVH had joined together, let no man (even think) he can separate" because this union stands as a testimony to the covenant YHVH makes with those who give themselves to Him - it cannot be broken. A man who has been divorced twice has "two wives" throughout life - regardless of what paper is presented, their attitude toward one another or what they subsequently do. This is precisely what makes rape a criminal offense - not that the woman was violated (which is horrible in itself) but that the forced sex act abrogates the purpose for which YHVH created intercourse. This perspective is strengthened in Paul's statement of 1Corinthians 6:15-16 - that having intercourse with a prostitute IS becoming one flesh with them. Sex is a serious matter and, therefore, should not be taken lightly. Any sex within the qehilliah outside the covenant of marriage is fornication - unholy and abhorrent to Spirit which is precisely why the counsel at Jerusalem made it one of four basic requirements to enter into fellowship with the qehilliah in Acts 15:19-21 (see the article Legalism for more on that subject). However, Paul also says in 1Corinthians 7:36 that if someone already in the qehilliah is unable to control their passions, if they enter bibrit hanissuim (Hebrew meaning "in covenant of marriage") they sin not because the scriptural definition of marriage is that through intercourse they have already become one flesh.
Now, concerning the behavior of the rest of the world, those outside the Family of YHVH - it does not matter because they are already separated from the Spirit of Life and separation from Spirit is death which is the ultimate question at the heart of any issue. But, yes, anytime one enters into sexual intercourse with another, according to the scriptures quoted in the article (not Christian tradition) - they become one flesh with one another for the remainder of their lives. And not only with the one, but with whomever that one has had intercourse with - and so on and so on. Sex is serious business and you can readily see how quickly complicated that course of behavior becomes - which is why YHVH's words steer us away from those actions. Marriage is not a license by the state or a formality of the church - but becoming one flesh. Part of the problem we get into in this arena is in trying to bend the Words of Spirit to fit the customs and behavior of the world rather than to let His Words stand on their own merit to measure the behavior of those who are His and under His Covenant.
...on the road to Emmaus
Part One: Marriage...
Part Two: ...Divorce...
Part Three: ...Remarriage?
Part Four: Communion
Part Five: Flesh and Blood
|"…in His Presence there is fullness of joy." Psalm 16:11|
Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. While not claiming to have all the answers, it would be an honor to partake with you of what the Spirit is uncovering.