hopelessly romantic, intimate marital relationship, intimate spiritual relationship, North Star, oneness, Sonnet 116, St. Valentine, TRUE LOVE, true love doesn't change, union, Valentine's Day, wedding vow
For I feel a divine jealousy for you, since I betrothed you to one husband, to present you as a pure virgin to Christ. But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. ~ 2 Corinthians 11:2-3, ESV; cf. The Parable of the Ten Virgins, Matthew 25:1-13; and Revelation 19:7-9
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wand’ring bark . . . ~ William Shakespeare, Sonnet 116, lines 1-7
Hardly anyone will dispute this fact: Valentine’s Day is all about love. That’s why by briefly looking at a great poem about true love and by briefly looking at God’s Valentine, who is the greatest expression of True Love, this blogger hopes to give the hopelessly romantic individuals a new way to think of Valentine’s Day.
To begin, it is evident, in the above quoted lines from Sonnet 116, that what Shakespeare is saying about the true love that exists between husband and wife, God also is saying the same thing, via Paul in the previously cited 2 Corinthians 11:2-3, and via Christ Jesus in the above referenced Matthew 25:1-13. What God is saying in these mentioned Scriptures is that He created a True and constant LOVE between a husband and wife, which Shakespeare agrees neither alters during good or easy times nor alters during bad or difficult times. That is why, to God and to Shakespeare, love cannot be TRUE LOVE, if it changes for any reason.
By using the North Star metaphor, which Shakespeare declares is a constant (the True Love) in sailors’ lives (cf. line 7), Shakespeare also is saying that TRUE LOVE is a constant in married couples’ lives. Thus, since TRUE LOVE is constant, it will not fade with time, for according to Shakespeare, “Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,/But bears it out even to the edge of doom” (Sonnet 116, lines 11-12). In other words, TRUE LOVE is timeless. Also, Shakespeare is saying that it is only after death that TRUE LOVE ever can leave!
There can be no doubt that the “‘Til death do we part” wedding vow rings true in the just quoted Shakespearean lines 11-12. Likewise, this “‘Til death do we part” wedding vow also definitely echoes Matthew 19:4-6. There are other Scriptures, too, that undeniably say that God made male and female so that they could understand, through their marital experiences, the intimate nature of their unique oneness relationship. Put differently, earthly marriage is symbolic of the spiritual union between Christ Jesus and believing mankind.
Indeed, it is the intimate marital relationship between husband and wife that corresponds to the spiritual relationship between Christ Jesus (Bridegroom) and the collective Body of Believers (Bride)—Christian males and Christian females. For this reason, only Christ Jesus can be the Husband of the collective Body of Believers, or His Wife, who includes believing males and believing females. Furthermore, it is this TRUE LOVE spiritual relationship that concerns God the most.
The point here is that, contrary to popular opinions, God neither redeemed nor purchased a city (New Jerusalem; cf. Revelation 21:9-10). The Scriptures make it clear that, in the beginning, God chose ONLY human beings to love so deeply that He would create a salvation plan for them so that He could get fallen men and fallen women living in a fallen world to return to Him (cf. John 3:16). Consequently, through the atoning sacrifice of Christ Jesus, believing males and believing females have been redeemed and purchased so that they could become His spotless Bride. Thus, if some men have a problem with being called the Bridegroom’s Bride, then they need to get over that, especially if they are hoping to be counted in the Rapture.
For the abovementioned reasons, it should be obvious that the Revelations 19:7-9 verses absolutely are about the Bride, Christ Jesus’ Wife, and it is clear that She is the one who has made Herself ready for Him. In other words, it is the Bride who has chosen to prepare Herself for Her Husband, Christ Jesus, by dressing Herself in fine linen. For sure, ONLY a human being can dress him or herself, but it takes God to make a city ready, in this case, the purified New Jerusalem (cf. Revelation 21:10). That’s why the fine linen in Revelation 19:8b is defined as the “…righteous deeds of the saints” rather than the righteous acts of the holy city!
Now, how does all of this relate to Valentine’s Day? Well, legends have it that Valentine’s Day is a celebration of the sacrificial kind of love St. Valentine (a Roman priest, Italian bishop, and/or a martyr living in a Roman province in Africa) demonstrated when he laid down his life for his friends. This is why Valentine’s Day is all about love, and why this holiday has become to be all about giving the best valentine gift, as well as why that best valentine gift is considered to be the gift of ourselves, which we give to the ones we love the most.
Having said that, it needs to be pointed out here that there can be no doubt that God has demonstrated His True Love for us by giving this world the best Valentine gift ever, who is Christ Jesus, believers’ spiritual True Love. Certainly it is widely accepted that God has given Himself in His Son, who became the personification of His “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (John 15:13, ESV) saying, which speaks of the God kind of True Love.
That is why on this Valentine’s Day, after having their spiritual insight renewed about Christ Jesus being God’s Valentine gift to the true Bride of Christ, His genuine Bride then should focus on what the Lord’s Valentine gift means to them. Since He is indeed the Giver of the greatest Love that this world has ever known, or will ever know, then, after spending some time reflecting, Christ Jesus’ true Bride should share His True Love with everyone!