From Genesis to Revelation, Scripture is chock-full of spousal imagery which represents God’s covenant relationship with His people. The Bible can be summed up in just five words, “God wants to marry us.” God did not need to create man but He did so out of His boundless love. Only God can create out of nothing. Satan cannot create but he can smash and twist God’s “clay” to distort its true meaning. Today, we will look at the spousal imagery used throughout scripture to represent God’s unwavering love for His people. Satan attacks marriages to twist the beauty of the covenant between husband and wife to mar the image of God’s love for us. If Satan can destroy marriage, he destroys the mystery of a loving God who is in an unbreakable covenantal relationship with us.
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:26-27
Male and female together represent the image of God. Note that God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness” (Gen 1:26). The union of husband and wife images the love of the Holy Trinity – the Father and the Son for each other manifested in the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. As we shall see, this union is a profound mystery of which the wedding is the figure.
The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” So the Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep; and while he was sleeping, he took one of the man’s ribs and then closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. The man said, “This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called ‘woman,’ for she was taken out of man.” That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh. Genesis 2:18, 21-24
God gives the woman to the man and the institution of marriage is established. As the Holy Trinity is three beings in one person, the man and the woman in holy matrimony become one flesh.
“For I, the Lord, love justice; I hate robbery and wrongdoing. In my faithfulness I will reward my people and make an everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants will be known among the nations and their offspring among the peoples. All who see them will acknowledge that they are a people the Lord has blessed.” I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness, as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. Isaiah 61:8-10
The prophet Isaiah begins his canticle portraying a people reborn, clothed in splendid garments like an engaged couple, ready for the great day of the nuptial celebration. Spousal imagery is used to describe God’s covenant with His people. God has clothed us in wedding clothes, the garments of salvation and the robe of righteousness. The bride delights in the Lord and her soul rejoices in God, bound in a covenantal relationship forever.
For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent, for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet, till her vindication shines out like the dawn, her salvation like a blazing torch. The nations will see your vindication, and all kings your glory; you will be called by a new name that the mouth of the Lord will bestow. You will be a crown of splendor in the Lord’s hand, a royal diadem in the hand of your God. No longer will they call you Deserted, or name your land Desolate. But you will be called Hephzibah and your land Beulah for the Lord will take delight in you, and your land will be married. As a young man marries a young woman, so will your Builder marry you; as a bridegroom rejoices over his bride, so will your God rejoice over you. Isaiah 62:1-5
This canticle celebrates the rebirth and renewal of Jerusalem, portrayed as a bride prepared for her wedding. Hephzibah means my delight is in her while Beulah means married. Just as a bride assumes the name of her husband, Jerusalem’s name is no longer abandonment and desolation. Rather her name now speaks of rebirth, of love and tenderness, of celebration and happiness. The spousal union is used to describe God’s covenant with His people, bringing joy and hope for the future. The New Testament takes up this imagery to describe the love of Christ for the Church, His Bride, purified of sin, holy and radiant with the joy of salvation.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless. In this same way, husbands ought to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself…“For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.” This is a profound mystery—but I am talking about Christ and the church. Ephesians 5:25-28, 31-32
The husband’s love for his wife represents Christ’s love for the Church. God did not intend for marriages to be broken. Satan has taken what God created for good and has twisted it beyond recognition. If marriages are not permanent then God’s love for us is not permanent. Satan hates marriage because it is an earthly image of God’s love for His people. Just as he deceived Adam and Eve in the Garden, Satan wants to trick us into believing that God really does not love us or have our best interests at heart.
Then I heard what sounded like a great multitude, like the roar of rushing waters and like loud peals of thunder, shouting: “Hallelujah! For our Lord God Almighty reigns. Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was given her to wear.” Then the angel said to me, “Write this: Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!” And he added, “These are the true words of God.” Revelation 19:6-9
My dear brother, marriage is nothing less than the earthly image of Christ’s unbreakable love for His Bride, the Church. Satan wants to destroy this image. By honoring your marriage vows, you are witnessing to God’s unbreakable love for humanity. Our world has a distorted and twisted view of love; it is self-seeking and self-absorbing. The world’s love takes and gives nothing in return. True love seeks what is best for the other. Christ died to bind us in covenant forever with the Father. The cross represents the bridal chamber which consummates this love. Will you stand against the schemes of the devil to destroy this beautiful image of faithful love? God is pleased with your faithfulness in this. Your efforts will not be in vain.
“The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:22-24
Unless otherwise noted, scripture quoted are from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2010 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.