Let us go to Ephesians 5, as we continue to study the science of love as revealed in the Christian home:
“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it… For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined to his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery” Ephesians 5:25, 31, 32.
The mysterious union between one man and one woman in the home, the mysterious union of marriage is presented here by the inspired apostle as a symbol of the union between Christ and His church. Speaking of both He says:
“This is a” What? “This is a … mystery” Ephesians 5:32.
In the New Testament the word “mystery” does not mean something that nobody ever understands. The word mystery is applied to that which is known only to the initiated. It is something that can be known, but known only by those who experience it; who enter into the mystery. The apostle is telling us here that it is possible for one man and one woman to share that mystery.
We have been studying the home as a little heaven on earth, a little heaven to go to heaven in.We have been studying it as a little copy in this world of God’s great home above. For the purpose of our study this afternoon, I would like to have you think of this mystery of the union between husband and wife as represented and illustrated by the mystery of the most holy place.
As the most holy place was the central point of the whole sanctuary service, so the union of one man with one woman is fundamental in the structure and in the experience of the Christian home. I might just mention here so that you get the picture, that I see further parallels in the other areas. For example, the sanctuary as a whole, we may think of as the family. The sanctuary with the court surrounding it, we may think of as the church. And outside, we may think of as the world.
There is a type of love and an expression of love that is proper in each one of those areas. There is a love we are to have for everybody in the world. The good Samaritan as he passed on the Jericho road saw that wounded man by the wayside. He did not stop to ask who he was, or whether he belonged to his nation, his race, his church, his religion. He was a human being that needed help. He gave him what he needed. That was love, wasn’t it? Love in action. This is as broad as the world.
But there is a type of love that belongs to brothers and sisters in the church that does not belong to the world at all. You can meditate on the difference in those two things. For example, we are not to find our close friends in the world. The friendship of this world is enmity with God (James 4:4). We are to reach out to be friendly with the world in the sense that we extend a helping hand to them, but we do not experience fellowship there. Fellowship is inside the court; inside the church.
Another illustration of this – 2 Corinthians 6:14: “Be ye not unequally yoked with unbelievers” 2 Corinthians 6:14.
A true Christian will not even consider marrying a non-Christian. Is that correct? We won’t take a lot of time on that. You are familiar with those facts. It might be well for you to look up some references on that. They are covered very clearly in Adventist Home and Messages to Young People. My point is that there is a closeness within the circle of the church which should never be considered out in the world as to friendship and association and love. But, there is a closeness within the family that is not found in the church as far as the expression of love is concerned. We will study more of this as we go along.
So I want you to think of these various areas. But keep in mind this: The center of it all, and that which gives meaning to the whole, is that inner mystery of the most holy place. The home is the sanctuary of the affections, so as we look at this most holy place, we think, dear friends, of this mystery of union between man and woman. The most holy place of a woman’s heart is to be entered by only one man. I want to repeat that expression, that statement. The most holy place of a woman’s heart is to be entered by only one man. And of course, the converse is true. The most holy place of a man’s heart is to be entered only by one woman.
Where is the proof for this? It rests fundamentally in the law of God in the seventh commandment – Exodus 20:14, five words: “Thou shalt not commit adultery” Exodus 20:14.
I want you to think of this a little here, and analyze this. “Adultery” comes from the same root that we get the word “adulterate.” And what does “adulterate” mean? The dictionary says that to adulterate is to make impure or inferior by a mixture of other ingredients. Very much to the point.
If you will look in the dictionary, you will find that these words “adultery,” “adulterate,” “adulteration,” come from two Latin words – “add,” meaning “to” and “alter,” meaning “other” or “different.” A turning to something or somebody other than belongs there, this is adulteration, adultery. And to do that is to adulterate, to make impure or inferior by a mixture of other ingredients.
The seventh commandment then forbids any adulteration. We ask, how many are to be included? You notice in Ephesians 5, that we have just read, the Bible makes it clear:
“For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two” Ephesians 5:31, (Not three or half a dozen.)
“They two shall be” What? “One flesh” Ephesians 5:31. This is God’s plan, my friends, and anything different is adultery. It is adulteration. And this the law of God forbids.
We all understand this more or less. Some more, some less. But I want to tell you something, friends. I dare to say (and I am including the teacher of the class) that none of us here have fully grasped all that there is in this wonderful principle. I invite you to study it with me, not merely to today, but in the coming classes, because whatever God does He has tremendous reasons for.
May I point out to you, friends, that this is a unique relationship. In other human relationships we may have more or less. For instance, a father and mother may have one child, two, three, four, half a dozen, a dozen. That’s all right. And there is nothing about that, that dilutes the quality of the love. When a father and mother have two children, they do not take the love and split it in half and each one only gets half of what one would get if there were only one, do they? Why, no.
So with brothers and sisters. There may be just two of them or half a dozen or a dozen, and that all works out fine. There is love enough to go around. So it is with uncles and aunts and cousins and all the rest. But here we come to a relationship which may I say is just the opposite. It is exclusive, commanded to be exclusive.
You remember in the Bible times in certain ages, there was polygamy. And what a curse it was. You know, here is a man who takes two women. Now let me tell you something interesting. Not only does each woman in that case not get a full amount like a child would get with a parent, each one doesn’t even get half as much. Why? Because God didn’t make it that way. That is the answer. That is the only answer.
It is not a matter of reasoning it out in human philosophy. God has made it that way: “They two shall be one flesh” Ephesians 5:31. Not they three, four or half a dozen. And you think of the sorrows in Jacob’s family. Think of the sorrows in David’s family. They are written down there in the Bible to teach us this very lesson: “Thou shalt not commit adultery” Exodus 20:14. “They two shall be one flesh” Ephesians 5:31. Not several.
In the world around us today, while there is a certain amount of unofficial polygamy, fornication, there is a tremendous amount of what may be thought of as consecutive polygamy. Here is a couple. They are married for a time. Then they separate, get a divorce, and each one gets another partner and so on and on and on. In some ways (You notice I said in some ways) this is even worse than polygamy. It is very hard on the children, very hard.
If you have time it will pay to read the pages on divorce here in Adventist Home. In this class I can only introduce these great subjects and give us a background of certain principles. But there is room for a great deal of reading outside of the material we are covering. We are on then this fundamental fact that the inner place of the home, the most holy place, is the union of one man with one woman. And there is a mystery there which is known only by those who experience it. “Oh,” somebody says, “But I want to know about it, and I am not married.”
Well, dear ones, if you will just let me say this very kindly, there is no way to know it without being married. “Oh, then I want to get married quick.” Well, then I hasten to tell you this, my friends, most of the people who are married have never known the mystery.
“Oh.” Yes, this is true. You will understand this more fully as we continue with our class. So just getting married doesn’t make people know the mystery. It is the mystery of love. It is the mystery of the blended life. It is the mystery of two natures joined together so that they become one. And I may say dear friends, that this is something that even when people are led by God, and the Lord Himself has planned for them to be married, nevertheless they do not learn about it all at once.
You might just like to notice page 105 of Adventist Home. Take a look at that: “To gain a proper understanding of the marriage relation is the work of a lifetime” Adventist Home, page 105. How long? “Those who marry enter a school from which they are never in this life to be graduated” Adventist Home, page 105. And then the next paragraph: “The real union of the two in wedlock is the work of the afteryears” Adventist Home, page 105. Very well then.
Now, I wish you would look at Adventist Home, page 177. We are dealing now, remember, with the most holy place, and the world is not in there. The other members of the church are not in there. The other members of the family are not in there. The children are not in there. The grandparents are not in there. Nobody else is in there, just the husband and wife. They two. Now we will read it in plain English, not in symbolism, but literally:
“There is a sacred circle around every family which should be preserved. No other one has any right in that sacred circle. The husband and wife should be all to each other” Adventist Home, page 177.
That is quite a bit, isn’t it? You see, if a husband gives part of it to somebody else, then he is not giving all to his wife. And if a wife gives part of it to some other man or anybody else, man or women, then she is not giving it all to her husband. There is something about this kind of love, this expression of love, which, I repeat, by its very nature is exclusive. And let me explain one of God’s great purposes in this. It is to give us a picture of the exclusive relationship between God and each soul. God admits of no rivals. The first commandment is clear:
“Thou shalt have no other gods before me” Exodus 20:3. And in the second commandment He sets Himself forth as a jealous God. As a husband is jealous of anyone who would attempt to invade the home, he is jealous about his wife, properly (I know there is a selfish, insane jealously, I am not talking about that. I am talking about a true love jealousy.), God has that toward us. Nobody in this world is to share the place in your heart that is made for God. There is a room in your heart, let me put it this way,a throne room, that nobody but God is to occupy. You’ll remeber that we studied about this at the close of our last lesson (lesson 2):
“Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with” Matthew 22:37, What? “All thy heart” Matthew 22:37. That is it. And here in the marriage state we have a beautiful and wonderful and mysterious illustration of this. So back to our statement:
“There is a sacred circle around every family which should be preserved. No other one has any right in that sacred circle” Adventist Home, page 177.
And it means just exactly what it says. No other one, nobody: “The husband and wife should be all to each other. The wife should have no secrets to keep from her husband and let others know, and the husband should have no secrets to keep from his wife to relate to others. The heart of his wife should be the grave for the faults of her husband, and the heart of the husband the grave for his wife’s faults” Adventist Home, page 177.
Tell me, friends, in the ancient sanctuary did they have a place in there to cover up sins? Do you know what sins were covered with? Blood. And the blood represents life, and the life is love. That is what it takes to cover sins. “Above all things, have fervent [love] … among yourselves: for [love] … shall cover the multitude of sins” 1 Peter 4:8.
Oh, friends, it is a wonderful thing to know that somebody loves you enough that you are perfectly safe with them. I was telling someone not long ago that they could visit my wife for weeks at a time and never find out any about my faults. You would never hear her say one thing about my faults and mistakes. And it is not that she has such a wonderful husband. She just loves me. That is all. I am perfectly safe.
Here is the interesting thing. She knows more about my faults than anyone in the world. Yes. But I am just as safe as I can be. I do not have to wonder, “Well, I wonder what she is telling about my faults.” I am perfectly safe. Isn’t that nice? Oh, how good the Lord is.
“The heart of his wife should be the grave for the faults of her husband, and the heart of the husband the grave for his wife’s faults. Never should either party indulge in a joke at the expense of the other’s feelings” Adventist Home, page 177.
Did you ever see that happen? Ah, dear ones, the world is full of it. “I have been shown that there should be a sacred shield around every family” Adventist Home, page 177.
Now notice the next paragraph, how it backs this up:
“The home circle should be regarded as a sacred place, a symbol of heaven, a mirror in which to reflect ourselves. Friends, and acquaintances we may have, but in the home life they are not to meddle” Adventist Home, page 177.
They belong out, if they are in the family, in the holy place. If they are not, either in the court or out in the camp or on out somewhere, not in the most holy place. “Friends, and acquaintances we may have, but in the home life they are not to meddle” Adventist Home, page 177.
In Page 337 of this same book. You will see a little bit later on in this class, I am going to be studying with you, how to find and marry the proper mate, but we are not prepared to understand how to find and marry the proper mate until we study what it is all about.
“Oh, how many lives are made bitter by the breaking down of the walls which inclose the privacies of every family, and which are calculated to preserve its purity and sanctity!” Adventist Home, page 337.
Tell me, friends, what would you think about one of the priest making a hole in one of the walls of the most holy place and inviting people to come up and take a look? That would be sacrilege, wouldn’t it, friends? Yes. He would have died. That is what would have happened.
“Oh, how many lives are made bitter by the breaking down of the walls which inclose the privacies of every family, and which are calculated to preserve its purity and sanctity!” Adventist Home, page 337. Read the whole paragraph, then turn over to page 338:
“When a woman relates her family troubles or complains of her husband to another man, she violates her marriage vows” Adventist Home, page 338.
Oh, is that what it says? Did I read it right? That is right. “She dishonors her husband and breaks down the wall erected to preserve the sanctity of the marriage relation” Adventist Home, page 338. Read the whole paragraph.
Well, dear friends, I thank the Lord that there is a sanctuary. I thank the Lord there is a most holy place. I thank the Lord for the glory that is there. And I thank the Lord for the walls and the veils which enclose the privacy, the intimacies, the mysteries of that wonderful union.
This is enough for now, we have enough to think about, pray about, and ask the Lord to make a part of our life. In our next class we shall continue in our study of the science of love and the inspired blueprint of the christian home. How to have heaven on earth.
If what you have read has impacted you and can be a help to strengthen and encourage others, leave a reply in the box below. It will deepen the impression of the study in your mind, help someone who may be stuggling on these points, and most of all it will bring joy to the host of heaven.