The twenty-eighth verse in St. Paul's epistle says,
So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord, the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband. (Eph 5:28-33)Going back here to the twenty-eighty verse, we see that a woman is a part of man, for God made man male and female. And the women was taken out of his side. So then she is flesh of his flesh and bone of his bone. So Adam loved Eve because he loved himself and the two were one flesh. And so the apostle in these verses refers all the time back to the Creation and this original state of the human pair, Adam and Eve. This is a natural reason why he should love his wife, and nourish and cherish her because the twenty-ninth verse says no man ever yet hateth his own flesh.
Now verse thirty-one says, ``shall be joined unto his wife.'' This word, joined, is an interesting word. It really means glued or cemented to her. So he should be cemented to his wife. I read a comment that says a well-glued board will break easier in some other place than were it is glued, where the joint is glued. So the Lord meant that only death should part the husband and wife, and nothing but death should dissolve their affection for one another. And so God meant for this to be a wonderful, pure, holy union.
We understand that the mysteries in the Bible are often natural things, but they signify some great spiritual matter. Only the Spirit of God can reveal these mysteries, but there are times when they should be revealed. Here is the time. St. Paul is revealing through the power of the Holy Spirit, this mystery to the church at Ephesus. He is talking all the time about the Creation and about Adam and Eve, and the relationship that they were to have one with another, the great love that God meant for Adam to have for his helpmeet, Eve. Adam couldn't help but her so much because she was a part of his own flesh.
So it was intended, no doubt, from the very beginning, from the Creation. God had it in mind to point out to up during the Gentile age and the church age, the great love that Jesus Christ has for the church. We as the church, and the redeemed and the pure become the bride of Christ. There should be this same union and same relationship and same love one for another, Christ for His bride, and the bride for the bridegroom. The church, the redeemed are the bride. So we see here that the great mystery has been revealed. We feel highly privileged not only to be a part of understanding this mystery, but also the glorious privileged of being part of the body of Christ and of the bride of Christ.
We don't want to get into women's lib right here on this. But I would like to say that the Bible clearly points to a definite role in the home. There's a place for the wife and the mother, a very honored place, and a very particular place that she has in the home, her relationship to her husband and to her family, and her children. Also there's a particular place for the husband, and particular joys and obligations that he has to fulfill. Working together in perfect love and harmony seems to be what the Lord had in mind when he first designed the institution of marriage.
Secondly, Adam's love to Eve on account of her being formed of his body was a figure of Christ's love to believers because they become a part of His body. Thirdly, Adam's marriage with Eve was a figure of the eternal union of Christ with believers in heaven. That's mentioned in verse twenty-seven. ``For he left his father to be united to his church.'' Isn't that wonderful and inspiring? And so it causes us to think are we worthy to be part of the church and the bride of Christ. There's an old song that says, ``Everyone talking 'bout heaven ain't goin' there. Heaven, Heaven.'' We have many warnings in the Bible. Everybody talking about heaven, everybody whose talking about the Rapture is not going to be caught up with Jesus Christ. In fact, the Bible talks about the pure and the holy and the sanctified that are going to be part of the bride of Christ. We're going to go back now in just a moment and look at some verses that will help us understand as we search our hearts whether or not we truly belong to the church and the bride of Christ or not.
Now when Adam says,
This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother... (Gn 2:23-24)So although the taking of Eve out of Adam might be a reason for Adam's affection toward her, it was no reason for the affection of his posterity toward their wives who were not formed the same way as Eve was. The reason of their love to their wives is their being creatures of the same species with themselves. This Eve might have been though like Adam. She had been formed of the dust of the earth.
Wherefore, Adam's declaration concerning Eve being taken out of his body and concerning his love to her on that account was intended for some purpose peculiar to himself. Namely, as he was a type of Him, that's Jesus, who was to restore the human race by the breaking of His own body on the cross, and who on that account loves them, and will unite them to Himself for ever upon the whole the formation of Eve and her marriage with Adam and his love to and union with her because she was taken out of his side, and the declaration that on that account all his posterity should love their wives, and continue united to then through life, and events so singular that I do not see what account can be given to them unless with the Apostle Paul we suppose that agreeably to the most ancient method of institution God intended those things as figurative representatives of the regeneration of believers by the death of Christ and of His eternal union with them in heaven, and that Adam and Eve were taught by God himself to consider them as such.
It's confirmed in other scriptures in the Bible. We have a number of expressions and images that will bear out this interpretation. For instance, in Romans 5:14 Adam is called a type of him who was to come on which account in I Corinthians 15:45 Christ is called ``the last Adam''. Then the church consisting of believers of all nations is called the body of Christ, and the members are said to be members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones. Let me find another reference I have from the book of Revelation 19:7, the New Jerusalem, and that's the inhabitants of the New Jerusalem, or the society of the redeemed is termed ``the bride, the Lamb's wife.'' The preparing of men for that happy union by introducing them into the church upon earth through faith, and by sanctifying them through the Word is called in II Corinthians 11:2, ``a fitting them for one husband, that at the resurrection they might be presented a chaste virgin to Christ.''
Let's look at the twenty-fifth verse, please, of the fifth chapter of the book of Ephesians, and see what preparation must be made for the bride of Christ. Twenty-fifth verse: ``Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it.'' Of course we know, this is quite clear to everyone, there's no hidden meaning there, Jesus lay down His life for the church. So husbands, if necessary according to the scripture, should be willing to lay down their lives for their wives. As Christ gave himself for the church to save it, so husbands should, by all means in their power, labor to promote the salvation of their wives and their edification and righteousness.
Now, the next verse, twenty-six:
That he might sanctifyWe're talking about Christ loving the church, and He laid down His life for it, that He might sanctify
and cleanse it with the washing of water, by the word that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish.This is the church.
The church is made up of every one of the believers. The bride of Christ is made up of the blood-washed and the pure. And so Jesus died so that He could present His bride to himself pure and holy--a beautiful, beautiful description here of His bride, cleansed, washed, cleansed, sanctified.
We see here very plainly an allusion here to the ancient method of purification of women before they were presented to kings, the consorts to kings, for instance. We find out in reading the Old Testament that women went through such purification. Solomon's wife did, Pharaoh's daughter. Twelve months, in some instances for purification, six months with oil of myrrh and six months with sweet odors and with others things for their purification.
If you look in Esther, chapter two the twelfth verse, and in Psalms fourteen, verses thirteen and fourteen, you'll see some reference to such purification. With the washing of water--that's baptism accompanied by the Holy Spirit--and by the Word--that's the doctrine of Christ crucified and sin cancelled and the soul purified from all unrighteousness, and the death of Christ making all of this possible for His bride. ``That he might present it to himself'' It was usual to bring the royal bride to the king in the most sumptuous apparel, someone has said, using that word sumptuous.
In Psalms we have an allusion to this. The kings daughter is all glorious within, her clothing is of wrought gold, and shall be brought unto the king in raiment of needle work.
Now what about the wrinkle: ``without spot or wrinkle.'' Well, this is usually applied to wrinkles of the face. It has to do with the coming on of age or illness. So we are to be without spot and without wrinkle. It makes me think of the verse that tells us that even though the outward man perish, the inward is renewed day by day. No matter how old we get in years, and if this body of clay does deteriorate, wrinkle and become old, we can have a beautiful, new, fresh lively spirit in Jesus Christ, new, without spot or wrinkle, and full of life. And when we are called at the time of the Rapture this old body will be changed in an instant. Or if we are called before that time, the beautiful soul will just slip out of the body. And at the time of the Rapture or the Resurrection, we'll be given a beautiful new body. Our bodies will be changed.