A summary of the Bible Hour presentation at the Christadelphian Hall, Blackpool Street, Burton-upon-Trent on Sunday 1st August 2010.
We live in an age where marriage is seen to be of no importance. The Bible however shows us why it was introduced, why it is relevant and what it represents.
Genesis 2 v 18 shows us that God made woman to be a helpmeet for man (Adam). The man and the woman would together form one unit. Whilst all of the animal kingdom was made from the dust of the ground, as was man, woman was made from part of man, so man and woman were part of each other, unlike the rest of the animal kingdom.
The Principle of Marriage and the Roles of Husband and Wife
God created man and woman to be two different parts of one unit – together they have different but important roles to carry out in forming that unit.
Following their sin in the Garden of Eden by heeding the words of the serpent and partaking of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, God specified how they were to be punished in Genesis 3. Amongst those punishments, God declares to the man that: “in the sweat of thy face thou shalt eat bread”. He would have to work in order to provide for himself and his family.
The woman was to be subject to her husband – “he shall rule over thee”. The role of the husband however is not to act as a dictator to his wife, but rather to take responsibility by guiding and caring for his wife and family.
Priorities of the woman include care of the children and those of the man include caring for his household – neither are exclusive to the one or the other, but they are primarily responsible for these roles. The scriptures show us however that the role of the wife is not to be a slave to her husband.
Proverbs 31 v 10-11 shows us that the husband and wife should be able to trust each other, and the relationship should be lifelong. Hebrews 13 v 4 also shows us that a sexual relationship should only be within marriage, and that God will judge those who go against this or commit adultery.
Marriage as a Type of Christ and His Followers
Ephesians 5 v 22–33 again reiterates the importance of the roles that husband and wife have in a marriage, and we see why the roles have been created as they are. It is an example which points forward to the time when Jesus returns to the earth.
The time will come when Jesus Christ will return to earth to set up God’s kingdom and he will be joined together with his faithful followers. Christ is often referred to as the bridegroom and his followers who are found to have been faithful are collectively referred to as his bride. Christ as the bridegroom cares for those who seek to follow his example, and the role of his followers (the bride) when he returns will be to assist him in setting up God’s kingdom on earth.
Revelation 19 talks about the “marriage supper of the Lamb” (the Lamb being another term often used in referring to Jesus Christ, as he was a type of the sacrificial lamb when he was crucified).
The marriage supper refers to the time when Jesus will be united with his faithful followers. If we want to be part of the “bride” that will be chosen to assist him in that time to come, we need to follow the example that he has set for us in the Bible. By doing this, a wonderful hope awaits us as we will have the opportunity to live and reign with Jesus when he establishes God’s kingdom here on earth.