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  • Writer's pictureRob

The Hundred-Twenty-First (Marriage)

How was your week? Blessed, I hope! Were you able to show others love, the love the shows we are Yeshua's disciples? (John 13:35) You know, something that may be confusing from that aspect is when you read that, Jesus said He was giving a new commandment to His disciples, to love one another as He loved them (John 13:34). As we were reminded last week, the disciples were already commanded to love each other, even as neighbors, so this being a "new" commandment doesn't quite make sense.

However, when you read the Hebrew version of John's gospel, it says this is a renewed commandment. This makes more sense as it does not contradict the Torah commandments Yeshua was confirming throughout His life and especially through His ministry. Since the commandment to love your neighbor was given already, as recorded in Leviticus (Leviticus 19:18), a commandment to love one another would not be a "new" commandment.

This week we're going to build off last week's review of love and look at marriage, although perhaps not as you might expect. We know that YHWH's natural order, or to look at it another way His commandment written in nature, is that a man and a woman leave their mother and father and become one flesh (Genesis 2:24). While He loves everyone, just as we should, He does not condone or even encourage everything that people do, just as we should not.

If we dive into that verse however, we don't find the word "marriage" anywhere. In fact, we don't really find that word that much at all in the Old Testament. Yes, there were marriages, and the Hebrew word chathan, which is used to mean "in law" and contracting affinity by marriage, is used 33 times in the Old Testament. If we look at the word "marry" we see the first occurrence in the KJV is the Hebrew word yabam, which is actually specifically used in the context of a man following the commandment to take his brother's wife as his own if the brother dies (Genesis 38:8).

The next occurrence of the word marry is actually translated from two Hebrew words: hayah ishshah (Numbers 36:6). This phrase literally means "become woman." In fact, that word ishshah may be familiar because it's the title given to Eve when she was fashioned from the rib of Adam (Genesis 2:22-24), and brings us right back to our original verse of becoming one flesh.

So, we find by this referencing that not only did YHWH biologically design man and woman to be married, linguistically He made it that way as well. Similarly to English, the Hebrew word for man and woman are very much related. We see that woman, ishshah, is an extension, so to speak, of man, ish. But, what exactly does YHWH say we must do as man and woman?

The KJV says we have to "cleave" to one another. In Hebrew, the word is dabaq, which Strong's tells us means "to cling," or "keep close." We're also told we are to "become one flesh," which is actually what it literally says in Hebrew: hayah basar echad. These two parts combine to a commandment of having a very close relationship, to the point where the man and woman are one physically and emotionally.

Now, as He created it in a sinless world, this relationship is sufficient in and of itself to be an unbreakable bond between two people. Unfortunately, after sin was brought into the world the need for a contractual agreement became necessary in an effort to hold individuals accountable to the requirements and expectations for this relationship. As such, the Jewish marriage contract, for example, was created. Called a ketubah, it records the requirements for the man to uphold the marriage and the woman's acceptance of his marriage proposal.

Meant to provide a contractual method to ensure the marriage requirements imposed by Torah are upheld, or at least force the man to think twice before transgressing them, in some ways it's similar to what we know as a pre-nuptial agreement. This was only created by Talmudic law, however. In other words, this was a requirement created by man, the same as pre-nuptial agreements were created for those who choose to use them.

One of the Torah requirements, as you well know, is "you shall not commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14), and we see this action spoken of in another very important relationship of our lives. When Israel strayed to worship other gods or transgress His other commandments, YHWH called it adultery as well (Jeremiah 3:8). To the point where even He, as merciful and loving as He is, gave Israel a certificate of divorce for their backsliding.

What did Israel do to deserve that? They not only defiled the land YHWH gave them, by not following His commandments on planting and harvesting (Jeremiah 2:7), they also turned to trees and stones to worship (Jeremiah 2:27). These trees were commanded against specifically by YHWH when He said not to plant a tree of any sort next to the altar they built for Him (Deuteronomy 16:21). The tree was (and still is) worshipped by pagans as a representation of a goddess, Asherah.

So if YHWH considers that adultery, then He considers our relationship to Him a marriage. I don't think a lot of Christians look at it that way, which leads to the acceptance of abominations into their worship or into their lives in general. How many trees have you seen sitting next to altars or pulpits in churches around this time of year? If you were to put a picture of someone other than your wife or husband on your nightstand, would you consider that an acceptable thing to do in a marriage? Why then would He find it acceptable in His place of worship?

You know, in many ways Christianity has walked down the same path as Israel, yet there seems to be some sort of judgment by a lot of Christians against them (or more specifically the Jews). Somehow, the same things Israel did are justified in Christianity despite nothing changing as far as YHWH's commandments or the consideration of those things as adulterous actions. Even when Yeshua walked the earth, He called the Jewish people an adulterous generation (Matthew 12:39, 16:4, Mark 8:38), and there is nothing written in any scripture reversing previous commandments against their actions and condoning or allowing things like pagan practices to be accepted into worship of YHWH or Yeshua.

Some individuals point to Paul's writings as a blanket permission to worship YHWH or Yeshua however one wishes. Verses like Colossians 2:16 are used as a "get out of jail free" card. Nowhere in that verse, or in verses before or after it, does it condone a "free for all," or "choose your own adventure," of picking and choosing which commandments to follow or which pagan practices to incorporate into your life.

In fact, it starts with a "therefore," so what is that "there for?" (thank you, Derek Prince!) When you look back a few verses, you find that Paul actually warned against human tradition and hollow, deceptive philosophy coming from the spiritual forces of the world (Colossians 2:8). He goes on to say that Yeshua's death freed us from the ordinances against us (Colossians 2:14), and the Greek word here is dogma, which is always used in reference to man-made decrees rather than the Law of Moses (Luke 2:1, Acts 16:4, 17:7, Ephesians 2:15). This reference to man-made decrees is confirmed in this context since Paul writes in the next verse that Yeshua made a spectacle of the powers and authorities by His death on the cross (Colossians 2:15). He, of course, was talking in part about those that decreed all the additional requirements to the Law by creating things like the oral tradition.

In this same passage, Paul states multiple times that we are "in Christ" (Colossians 2:5-7, 9-11). Sound familiar? Just as woman was made from a rib that was in man, so are we a part of Christ. Paul even gets explicit with this, calling Christ the husband and the church the wife (Ephesians 5:23). So, just as YHWH considers our relationship with Him a marriage, our relationship with Yeshua is also considered a marriage. Therefore, considering anyone, or anything, our savior other than Him, or looking to anything, or anyone, else for our salvation, is also considered adultery.

Now, you may wonder how can we be married to two different beings? Wouldn't that be adultery? Not with YHWH and Yeshua. Remember, they are One (John 10:30). So, when you worship one of them, you also worship the other, and vice versa. When you follow the commandments of one, you're also following the commandments of the other. They do not contradict or violate each other.

Take the opportunity to evaluate your relationship with YHWH and Yeshua. Do you have any adulterous actions or traditions in your life or in your worship of Him? Look at your relationships with them as a marriage and think about what sorts of things you would consider acceptable or unacceptable from a husband or wife, using scripture as your guide. Cut out those things from your life that do not fall into the category of acceptable!

Shabbat shalom and God bless you! I hope you have a wonderful week!

-Rob and Sara Gene

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