Anyone one who has been a member of a wedding party in which conventional vows are exchanged, or anyone who has been a wedding guest at a traditional marriage ceremony is no doubt familiar with the time-honored promises a man and a woman make to each other. Even though marriage is an institution ordained by God, and even though marriage should not be entered into lightly or in jest, in many cases, soon after men and women have spoken their wedding vows these promises are broken by people who would rather move on to someone else instead of staying married to their current spouse.
In this 21st century, married couples have easily and swiftly broken their promises to have and to hold, in sickness and in health, in good times and bad, for richer or poorer, and for better or worse. As a result, especially where Christians are concerned, divorce has become widely accepted by the institutional church as a godly way to deal with marital problems.
The truth of the matter is many Christians divorce for unbiblical reasons. Here are some of the most common unbiblical reasons (or excuses) believers use to justify getting a divorce: (1) My spouse committed mental adultery; (2) My spouse is abusive; (3) Divorce is no worse than other sins; (4) Making people stay in a ‘bad’ marriage is legalistic; (5) We serve a forgiving God who will forgive me, because He knows my heart; (6) My spouse would be happier without me; (7) I don’t have peace; (8) My spouse is a leech, draining me financially; (9) My spouse is not saved; (10) My spouse is not a good Christian; (11) We are incompatible; (12) We have grown apart; (13) My mate doesn’t love me; (14) I don’t love my mate; (15) I’ve fallen out of love; (16) I love someone else; (17) God wants me to be happy; (18) I married the wrong person; and (19) I need a drama-free marriage.
Yes, there are scriptural exceptions to God’s command to stay married. They are: (1) Matthew 19:9, sexual immorality (physical adultery); and (2) 1 Corinthians 7:15, abandonment, deserted by an unbelieving spouse. Nevertheless, even with these two scriptural exceptions, God makes it clear that He hates divorce (cf. Malachi 2:16; Matthew 19:6; Mark 10:11-12; 1 Corinthians 7:12-13). Furthermore, the fact that God would rather that His children work on their marriage instead of getting a divorce, for whatever reason(s), is made clear in 1 Peter 3:1-6.
Once more, the divine truth is that God hates divorce! This biblical truth should be very important to believers, especially since today’s believers and non-believers, when facing difficult or tumultuous marital circumstances, are not only too eager to dump their spouses but also too eager to feel that their divorce is justified. Believers, thus, need to know that, even though many of them will be tempted to divorce their other half for one, or several of the reasons previously mentioned, they must not rebel against God’s commands pertaining to the institution of marriage. If they do rebel, especially in this Rapture season, they very well could end up also walking away from their own salvation (that is to say, they will be divorcing God).
As the world’s false labor pains (Braxton Hick’s contractions) continue to increase in intensity and frequency (e.g., with catastrophes and hardships like the recent 2010 deadly Haitian earthquake or the 2009 global economic crises), it becomes more and more possible that many believers will be tempted to turn away from God, especially when He doesn’t answer their prayers the way they want. For this reason, married Christians, especially, must remember that not only are they wedded to an earthly spouse but also they are “betrothed,” spiritually speaking, to Jesus the Christ.
According to Jewish traditions, the bride and bridegroom are married during the betrothal period, but they do not live together or have sexual intercourse. To become “betrothed,” the bride (wife) must enter into a legally binding contract, which happens the very moment she accepts the bridegroom’s (husband’s) full marriage contract—his written marriage agreement, his cup of wine, and his bride price. The bride (wife) then waits at her parents’ home until her bridegroom (husband) finishes building the place where they are to live.
After the bridegroom (husband) returns from His father’s house, where he has been building the wedding chamber for his bride (wife), he gets his bride (who has remained faithful to him in his absence) and takes her home with him. Once there, they consummate their marriage and remain in their wedding chamber for seven days. When they leave their wedding chamber, they go to the banquet hall where they celebrate their marriage with invited wedding guests.
For sure, the fidelity vow between the Jewish bride (wife) and her bridegroom (husband) is just as important for today’s supernatural Bride of Christ as it was in the ancient Jewish culture. Indeed, in the past, if the “betrothed” woman broke her vows, like Mary the Mother of Jesus had been accused of doing, her fair punishment would be stoning! Even though believers are under Grace, the divine truth is that Jesus the Christ is ONLY coming back for those believers who are without spot or blemish—those believers whose WHOLE souls, spirits, and bodies have been fully sanctified (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:23). The remaining believers, along with non-believers, will have to face the wrath of God, which is the Day of the Lord or Tribulation Period.
Since the Holy Spirit’s sanctification process is progressive, then believers cannot afford to divorce God (cannot afford to not cooperate with God’s Holy Spirit by choosing to walk away from God). Believers cannot refuse to let the Holy Spirit complete His sanctification process, because if believers choose to walk away from God (divorce God) during this Rapture season, it is quiet possible that at the very moment many of them obtain their spiritual divorce the Lord might come for His Bride.
Contrary to opinions, the Parable of the Ten Virgins does illustrate what will happen to believers if they are like the foolish five virgins who do not get raptured. It should be noted here that the English word “virgins,” as used in the King James’ version of the Holy Bible, is an English translation of the Greek word parqevnoß transliterated as “parthenos.” Since “parthenos” means marriageable maidens who have never had sexual intercourse with a man, then the ten virgins (symbolic of 5 wise plus 5 foolish Christians) collectively represent the Bride of Christ. Without a doubt, the Bridegroom (Jesus the Christ) is coming back for His Bride (wise Christians who have NO spot, wrinkle, or blemish), for the Apostle Paul says that Ephesians 5:25-31 are verses that pertain specifically to a “…great mystery,” adding that this great mystery is “…an illustration of the way Christ and the church are one” (Ephesians 5:32, NLT).
Therefore, it is that supernatural or mysterious oneness, that marriage union between Jesus the Christ and His Bride that is being symbolized in the Parable of the Ten Virgins. Those believers who are not ready to be counted as wise virgins, as believers who have been completely sanctified—glorified or changed into the image of Jesus the Christ—are like the five virgins who are left behind.
When Jesus the Christ leaves five virgins behind, when He shuts the door to Heaven (cf. Matthew 25:8-10; John 14:6; Revelation 3:10; Revelation 3:16, 20), He is thereby letting these five left-behind believers face the Tribulation Period! Definitely there will not be any EXCUSES that the Lord will accept from unprepared and careless believers who have divorced themselves from God by not allowing His Holy Spirit (represented by the “oil” in the aforesaid parable) to fill them so that they will have the strength and power to endure ALL circumstances, even marital situations, until Jesus the Christ comes in the clouds to rapture them.
For these reasons, Jesus the Christ (Bridegroom) is saying to believers (Bride): “So you, too, must keep watch! For you do not know the day or hour of my return” (Matthew 25:13, NLT). Since Creator God is believers’ Husband, Protector, and Redeemer (cf. Isaiah 54:5), they must be watchful, prepared, holy and righteous believers who remain surrendered to His beloved Son’s Lordship, in spite of whatever sickness, poverty, marital situations, or evil act they might experience.
For sure, once believers accept Jesus the Christ’s marriage contract—God’s saving grace; the Lord’s cup of blood; and His Bride’s price, which is salvation by faith in the crucified but resurrected Jesus the Christ—believers (Bride) must stay faithful to the Lord. They must keep themselves only unto Jesus the Christ for as long as they both might live, and that is eternally.
Believers (Bride) ONLY are faithful to the Lord when they are loyal to their wedding vows. Entering into a marriage contract with the Lord without seriously counting up the cost could mean that this person, or persons, might end up in a hasty divorce that has eternal implications!
See my Word Press blog entry: The Bridegroom is Coming: God’s Ultimate Marriage Story