Understanding Bible Covenants! Part 5 Until Death Separates Me from Thee!
(Ver 2.3) This is now Part 5 in the advanced study series on Understanding Bible Covenants. If you have not read from the beginning, I would recommend that you go and start with “Part 1“. We have been discussing Bible covenants as being a marriage covenant relationship between two individuals. We can see that these individuals can be either spiritual beings, natural beings individuals or groups or any combination of them. Covenants with God always result in God being the husband and the people in covenant as being the wife in the relationship. We know that Jesus is the mediator of the New Covenant (Heb 12:24). Jesus is therefore the Bridegroom and the church is His bride. Many have agreed with the scriptures in the New Testament that declare the church to be the body of Christ without understanding how the church became the body. This transformation was accomplished by marriage, when God declared in Genesis “that the man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and they two will become one flesh”. One flesh is a synonymous term for one body. Therefore one flesh refers to one body. A body consists of flesh and bones. Adam was opened up and his wife was taken out of him and Jesus the Last Adam was opened up and His wife was joined to him on the cross. The Bible actually says we were crucified with Christ, yet none of us hung on the cross physically as He died.
So in the eyes of God a covenant is a marriage and a marriage is a covenant. I gave you many scriptures that confirm this reality. As a marriage God provided us natural things to help us to understand spiritual things. Marriage covenants are a complex system of many dependent and interrelated aspects. Sex is one aspect of a marriage that demands and expects faithfulness of those in the relationship. Faithfulness is an essential aspect of marriage that applies to a covenant relationship with God. As your spouse trusts and expects you to be faithful to them, God expects and trusts you to be faithful to Him.
We can clearly see that the natural nation of Israel was not faithful and as a result had spiritual intercourse with other gods, religions and idols. This unfaithful infidelity resulted in God divorcing His Old Covenant wife. The net result of the divorce was a termination of the marriage/covenant relationship without any hope of reconciliation. I base that statement on the law of divorce given to us in Deuteronomy 24 where it says the first husband is forbidden to marry his divorced wife again after she has been married to another. I then attempted to give several scriptures that showed that Israel according to established spiritual laws was in a covenant relationship to another spiritual being other than God.
These are all very deep things that God has taught us from the Bible and I know it will be difficult to get people to see them. It is not my responsibility to make you understand or to make you see the truth. I simply present the information found in the Bible the best that I can and it is up to you to prove it, accept it or reject it. That is the way God designed the system and I can’t improve on it. I have found that people can read the same verse of scripture and pull out whatever they want to hear and close their eyes to whatever they don’t agree with. It is funny that God wrote a book that allows people to believe wrong. God will always enforce our right to be ignorant and foolish. God never forces us into knowing the truth. We are free to act and believe foolishly and God will not stop us. Ok, let’s get back to our subject.
I know there are many other aspects of marriage that also apply to the subject of covenants and perhaps someday I will expand to include them in this teaching. A marriage covenant is the establishment of a new family unit. Marriage always results in a new household, with a new head of the house. These two married covenant individuals enjoy a sexual knowledge that is only experienced between the two in covenant. Physical sex is just a pattern of a spiritual knowledge that Jesus desires to have with His wife. I showed you earlier that Adam “Knew” his wife and they had a son and I told you this was a pattern for the Last Adam, Jesus and his wife. These are all new concepts, new ideas and new thoughts based upon a new perspective from God’s Word. You can read the Bible and study it for yourself. All of this has been a review of stuff that I have already covered so I hope you understand them.
UNTIL DEATH DO US PART!
In this lesson we want to explore another aspect of marriage and covenants to show us some new information based upon what we have learned about the subject so far. This section will be about the subject of death as a legal separating force/power that terminates a covenant relationship between two legally bound parties or individuals. I’d like to begin this section with the foundational verses from the book of Ruth:
Rth 1:16 And Ruth said, Do not beg me to leave you, to return from following after you. For where you go, I will go. Where you stay, I will stay. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God.
Rth 1:17 Where you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May Jehovah do so to me, and more also, if anything but death parts you and me.
These are covenant words being spoken by Ruth to her mother-in-law Naomi. Ruth pledges “faithfulness” to the God of her mother-in-law Jehovah. She places such a strong commitment that she claims that only death could separate her from the God and religious ways of over mother-in-law. If we read the rest of the book of Ruth and the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew we will discover that she is blessed and rewarded by God tremendously for making these covenant statements of commitment. She becomes the wife to Boaz, a type of Jesus Christ, and the great-grandmother to the great King David.
I believe this is a good time to introduce the fact that Bible covenants are entered into by speaking words. Words can be spoken to initiate a good covenant with God or an evil covenant with Satan. For example, if we read Romans 10:9-10 God informs us how we entered into a covenant with Jesus Christ by believing in Our heart and confessing with our mouth the LORD Jesus. Then in Proverbs 6:2 God informs us that humans are taken captive prisoners by also speaking words. In Proverbs 18:21 God declares that “life and death are in the power of our tongue”. Jesus informed us in John 10:10 that the thief came to kill, steal and destroy us, but that He came to give us life and that life in more abundance. God appears to be teaching us that our words spoken matter.
Knowing God gives us life and knowing Satan gives us the sin punishment of death (separation from God). Speaking right words are one key part of entering into Bible covenants wit God. These words can be called vows, promises, commitments, oaths, pledges or guarantees. Speaking words and entering into covenant relationships with anyone should be taken very seriously and never lightly or casually. I believe that God holds us responsible for our promises made to Him and to each other. There are numerous examples of this found in the Bible.
For example a famine of three years occurred to the nation of Israel in 2 Samuel 21:1-2. When David inquired of the LORD why this was happening, the LORD told him it was because of bloody Saul that attacked and killed the Gibeonites. God informs King David that Israel had made a covenant with these people a long time before. God obviously believed that this covenant that was made before Saul or David was born was still in effect and could not be terminated by either of the parties in the covenant. Therefore, judgement fell upon the natural nation of Israel for something that happened long before King David became king. Wow, this sounds very important to know in our education of understanding the serious nature of Vows and covenants. The covenant was entered into by Joshua and it was disavowed by Saul and the negative consequences fell upon Israel during King David.
Most modern marriage ceremonies include speaking words to each other. These words are often called “vows” and many of them are based upon Bible covenant principles. For example, many say “until death do us part” in their wedding vows. Wedding vows are considered covenant words of complete commitment made to each other. Just as Israel violating a covenant that they had made with another nation had consequences, I believe the breaking of covenant vows today will also result in negative verdicts of judgment at some time in the future. We just learned that Saul had murdered a people in covenant with Israel and Israel in the next King’s reign reaped a famine. I believe that this is possible even today that two people ending a marriage covenant can cause judgement to occur on future descendants. But, that is a different subject for another lesson.
We can clearly learn from the book of Ruth that death represents a legal termination of a covenant relationship and commitment. If one spouse dies, the other is said to be free to marry another. So death represents a legal point of covenant division. It represents a separation of the two that were said to be one when they were joined in covenant by the Law of Genesis 2:24. I’d like to cover an essential set of N.T. verses that confirm this truth. We will be reading from the book of Romans and chapter 7:
Rom 7:1 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?
Rom 7:2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.
Rom 7:3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.
Rom 7:4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
Wow, these verses help explain our subject of covenants and the power of death separation precisely. Notice that Paul in verse 1 is speaking to believers that “know” the law. This phrase “to know” represents covenant relationship. Paul in this short passage was directing the next few verses to only former Jewish Old Covenant people. God writes this to teach them that because Jesus died (God in the flesh) on a cross, they were now freed from the bondage of that covenant in order to legally remarry in covenant the risen from the dead LORD Jesus Christ. There are people that claim Jesus was not God but 1 Timothy 3:16 informs us plainly that “God was manifested in the flesh”.
Paul was writing in Romans 7 by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit to teach us the legal fact that since Jesus (God manifested in the flesh) experienced death for them all, they could now be legally joined in Covenant marriage with risen Jesus and not be called an adulteress. This truth simply confirms that a marriage is a covenant and a covenant is a marriage and if they enter into another covenant while their husband was still alive, God called this adultery. Therefore we have all the subjects that we have been learning, marriage covenants, faithfulness, death separation and termination and remarriage in a New Covenant. Wow, Wow & Wow!
Can we begin to see what these verses in Romans say and learn how they apply to covenants both natural and spiritual? I believe these are amazing and especially important to how God eliminated Himself from the covenant of Israel and the angelic beings.
MARRIAGE, DEATH AND WIDOWHOOD
I alluded in previous lessons to this subject when speaking of the Heavenly Jerusalem who was described to be a free woman that came from an allegory given to us from Galatians 4. This Genesis allegory used Sarah’s relationship to Abraham. This relationship was a physical picture and representation of God’s spiritual relationship to the city called the Heavenly Jerusalem. I concluded that this free woman was the first wife of Jehovah God and therefore in covenant with God long before Hagar. In looking at other verses in Hebrews 12 we determined that this Heavenly Jerusalem consisted of the angelic beings too numerous to count. This means that Lucifer the top angelic being in the past was included in this covenant relationship. So how does God terminate an eternal marriage covenant relationship to eternally created angelic beings without the law? We know that the earthly Jerusalem (type of Hagar) is now in bondage with the law and that God used the law to end/divorce the Old Covenant marriage relationship because of her continued unfaithfulness (Isa 50:1, Jer 3:8).
But the heavenly Jerusalem was called the free woman or the woman outside of the law. We also learned from verses in the New Testament that without the law there is no punishment for sin. So how does God terminate a marriage covenant relationship with a group of sinful eternal spiritual beings that cannot ever die, without any law or legal precedence? It is a fascinating problem to consider and it is very perplexing puzzle to solve, but God always has a plan and an answer. We should be able to answer this question already but there are two solutions presented to us that can be utilized. The first solution is to get Satan to place himself into a covenant with the Law. The second potential solution is for the husband in the covenant to become a a being that could experience death on a cross to terminate all previous covenants.
If we recall from the previous lessons, we saw numerous scriptures from Galatians 4 that spoke about these two women in marriage covenant with Jehovah God. The one bond woman (Hagar) was directly said to be the natural nation of Israel and corresponded to the earthly city of Jerusalem. We just read about her in the last section of this lesson that was now freed from her covenant by the death of Jesus. Wow again! Then the other woman was the free woman and she is called the heavenly Jerusalem. It is essential to understand that both covenant women were married to the same God Jehovah and their covenants overlapped for a short time just as the allegorical type of Hagar overlapped with Sarah’s marriage. Now recall this O.T. quotation concerning this allegory:
Gal 4:27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren (Heavenly Jersualem) that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate (free woman Heavenly Jerusalem) hath many more children than she which hath an husband (bond woman: natural Israel).
What we can see in Galatians 4:27 the presentation that the bond woman had a husband with the implication that free woman did not. In fact the Greek word translated as “desolate” in this verse literally means “lonesome” and “solitary”. This is describing a woman that is not in covenant with anyone. Notice also the Greek word translated as “barren” is transliterated as “steiros” and we get our English word “sterile from it. These words are used by God to describe the Heavenly Jerusalem covenant wife. Finally, notice the prophecy that tells this woman to rejoice because her children will be many more than the children of the bond woman (Earthly Jerusalem). Who were we told that these many more children were? God teaches us in Galatians 4:26 that the spiritual free woman’s children were all of us in the church. That confirms and explains why Jesus said in John 3 that we must be “born again” in order to enter the kingdom of heaven. Everyone in the church has been first born naturally into the world and then next born supernaturally into the Spiritual Kingdom of God. It is important to note that if we are born once we can die twice, but if we are born twice we can only die once.
Galatians 4:27 seems like a paradox or a contradiction to what was said that both of these women were in covenant and married to God in the past. What happened to the husband of the woman in heaven? And I thought God divorced the woman natural Israel and here He says she has a husband. These are a really good questions. We have already explored how natural Israel may have entered into a covenant with Satan. But, let’s figure out the other question by going back to the Old Testament.
Isa 54:1 Sing, O barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou that didst not travail with child: for more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married wife, saith the LORD.
We can see that these are the direct words of God himself spoken through the prophet Isaiah. We can see again this verse is speaking of two different women. I find it fascinating that nowhere in these verses does it claim this is an allegory of Sarah and Hagar. However, God reveals this to Paul in Galatians 4. This is just one way that God hides truth in the Bible.
We could conclude that only one of these women is now married by just reading this verse. However, we know from God’s explanation in Galatians that these women are Sarah and Hagar, and both were married to Abraham. If we recall from New Testament verses that were discussed in previous lessons, if anyone has sex with someone, God considers them to be married to that someone (1 Cor 6:16). Having casual sex has major covenant consequences in the eyes of God because of the experience of having “carnal knowledge” of that person. So far this was some review, but as we read down in the rest of Isaiah 54, we can begin to see the solution to God’s puzzle. The answer to what happened to the husband of the Heavenly Jerusalem is found in context of verse 1:
Isa 54:4 Fear not; for thou shalt not be ashamed: neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame: for thou shalt forget the shame of thy youth, and shalt not remember the reproach of thy widowhood any more.
Here in verse 54:4 of Isaiah we see the answer to the question. The heavenly Jerusalem who was called the barren wife and the free woman in Galatians 4, is now declared to be a widow in the context of Isaiah 54:1. What exactly is a widow? This is not a trick question. A widow is a wife whose husband has died. Uh oh? That sure makes life difficult for many ministers that we have heard, who claim that God can’t die. Have you ever heard this before? That claim appears to contradict verses that we have been studying.
What is death? That is of course the million dollar question? We know from the book of Ruth that the only separation of Ruth from her mother-in-law covenant was going to be by death. We know Ruth said to Naomi, “until death part me from thee”. Without death we know that the wife is bound to her husband and if she marries another while her husband is alive then she is considered an adulteress.
We saw in Romans 7 that Israel can only be called an adulteress if while her covenant husband God is alive, she has sex with another man and becomes his wife. We know this harlotry is what happened in the O.T. many, many times. But, Romans 7 says because Jesus died Israel was now freed from that covenant to marry the risen from the dead LORD Jesus in the New Covenant.
No one can deny that based upon scriptures in Jeremiah, Isaiah and Hosea that Israel is called a whore, harlot and adulteress because she has committed sexual union and become married to other idols and gods while God was alive and in covenant with her. The Living God then divorced Israel His wife, and ended that covenant using the law. We also know that this heavenly woman if she was married to God, she would be bound by the law of marriage as being one spirit with her husband also. So if this heavenly Jerusalem consisted of good and evil angelic beings, how would God get rid of the evil angels, while keeping the good angelic spirits? Fascinating, isn’t it?
By Jesus Christ being crucified, God accomplished a major accumulation and combination of things simultaneously. This was God’s demonstration of His true wisdom and power. Through the death of Jesus Christ, God multi-tasked salvation for us with the termination of His covenant relationship with Satan, simultaneously. Through this death, it resulted in the heavenly Jerusalem becoming a widow. She is now free to marry another. The heavenly Jerusalem was now the widow and that makes it legal for her to marry another by the definition from the Word of God. But by Satan becoming entangled with Israel under the law, we now see that his relationship with God has now completely ended being separated the separation of death. Because Jesus Christ was God in the flesh, God died in Jesus Christ. I guess I could say God tasted death through the body of His son Jesus Christ hanging on the cross (Heb. 2:9), since spirit beings do not actually die as in cease to exist. Nevertheless, we can see that Satan’s future was sealed due to what transpired on the cross. So while it is technically impossible for a spiritual being to cease to exist, it is not technically impossible for a spiritual being to experience death. Through death, He destroyed him that had the power over death (Heb 2:14). This is why the Bible says if Satan would have known the consequences, he would not have crucified the Lord of Glory (1 Cor 2:8).
We should be able to easily begin to understand now why the Heavenly Jerusalem is called a widow and why God did this. God would have been one with this spiritual city and all of its inhabitants (angels). So God could not have legally punished Satan without punishing Himself along with Satan.
God found himself with a problem that needed to be resolved. Without the law of divorce how did God terminate His covenant marriage with Satan and his evil angelic beings? I really hope we are seeing this spiritual reality. Death is a legitimate separation for every covenant. Because Christ died, we died. Why was it necessary to be born again? To be born again represents another new beginning and an opportunity for a fresh start. Jesus was called the first born from the dead, so being the firstborn He is the head of this new family. Jesus now had preeminence over all other spiritual beings. In heaven Lucifer/Satan use to be the one with the Father, but he is now no longer in covenant with God because of the death of Jesus Christ. Since we were also crucified with Christ, we too are no longer in covenant with death, hell or Satan, either. The work of God was full and comprehensive. By Jesus being crucified on the cross, God accomplished 1) salvation for us, 2) the full payment for sin past, present and future, 3) reconciliation of our relationship with God and 4) the termination of our and His former flesh covenant relationship with Satan. God is so much smarter than we are and if we can see these things that was just described, we will increase our understanding of the Word of God by leaps and bounds above where we use to be.
Jesus said if you continue in my Word, then you will be my disciples and then you will know the truth and then Jesus said the “truth” that you “know” will set you free. I pray that the eyes of your understanding will be enlightened in the knowledge of Him.
Posted on January 8, 2010, in Bible Study, Covenants, Understanding and tagged Bible, Christianity, Church, Covenants, divorce, Interpretation, Israel, Jesus, Religion, sex, Truth, understanding. Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.