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In recent times there have been many questions about marriage and what is the belief of our organization. I believe we have to look to scripture to get the answers.
What is marriage?
Marriage is the union of a man (the husband) and a woman(the wife). These two become the foundation of the family, and the home.
    The man said, “This is now bone of my bones, And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man.” For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh, Gen 2:23-24 NASU.
    This suggests that it was Yahweh’s ideal for a man to be the husband of one wife and that it was to be a permanent situation. They leave their father and mother and cleave to one another. They become one flesh and should not be torn apart. I was blessed with 48 years of marriage to the same woman and the only thing that could sever our relationship was death. This is the way that Yahweh created marriage. It is a sad fact that over 50 percent of the marriages today end in divorce and that 1 in 4 children were born out of wedlock last year. That figure came from the news program on television.
    It was Yahweh’s desire that His people should only marry within their own body of Believers. The Mosaic Law made this very plain when it stated that the Israelites were not to marry Canaanites. This was so they would not be tempted to worship their spouse’s pagan deity. Likewise, the apostle Paul commanded the assembly at Corinth not to be “unequally yoked together with unbelievers ,” 2 Cor.6:14. Marriage was directed by law and all incest was outlawed. Priests were forbidden to marry prostitutes and divorced women. This is found in Lev. 21:7, 13-14.
Choosing the Bride
In Old Testament times, the parents chose the mate for their son. The reason that this was done was because the bride became part of the tribe and clan. Even though the bride and groom became one flesh, they lived under the authority of the husband’s father. The parents therefore picked a mate for their son that would work and live in harmony with the mother-in-law and the other women in the clan. This system is still active in some parts of the world today. Love and romance before a couple was married was unheard of in those times, it just played a very minor role. Love started at marriage. Scripture tells us that when Isaac married Rebekah “she became his wife, and he loved her,” Gen. 24:67.
Marriage Customs
There were a number of customs and steps involved in the marriage process. They first had to agree on a price to be paid to the father of the bride-to-be. It could be in terms of money or services rendered as was the case when Jacob worked seven years for Rachel as stated in Gen.29:18-20. The giving and receiving of money or services was likely accompanied with a written agreement. From this time forward the couple was considered engaged. This was a binding agreement and the only way to end it was by death or divorce.
    The bridegroom had certain privileges during the engagement period. If war broke out, he was exempt from military duty, Deut.20:7. He also knew that his bride-to-be was protected by Mosaic Law. In the event that she was raped by another man, it was considered adultery and the punishment was accordingly. It was much more serious crime than the rape of a girl not yet betrothed, Deut. 22:23- 29. This puts to rest the teaching of some, that sexual intercourse was instant marriage. If this were the case, then there could have been no rapes, just a lot of unauthorized marriages and adultery cases. The length of the engagement varied and the couple was sometimes married on the same day. Most often a period of time went by between the engagement and the wedding. The groom prepared a place for his bride in the house of his father while the bride prepared herself for the marriage. There was no ceremony as there is today. On the day of the wedding, the groom and his friends went to the home of the bride and took her back to the home of the groom. There was singing and dancing on the way back by the friends. When they arrived they went to the bridal chamber and consummated the marriage while the guests waited outside. Once it was announced the festivities continued usually for at least a week. There was food and wine for all.
    The New Testament does not contradict the Old Testament teachings on marriage. Yahshua’s first miracle was changing the water to wine at a wedding in Cana in Galilee.
    On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Yahshua was there; and both Yahshua and His disciples were invited to the wedding. When the wine ran out, the mother of Yahshua said to Him, “They have no wine.” And Yahshua said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with us? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servants, “Whatever He says to you, do it.” Now there were six stone water pots set there for the Jewish custom of purification, containing twenty or thirty gallons each. Yahshua said to them, “Fill the water pots with water.” So they filled them up to the brim. And He said to them, “Draw some out now and take it to the headwaiter.” So they took it to him. When the headwaiter tasted the water which had become wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the headwaiter called the bridegroom, and said to him, “Every man serves the good wine first, and when the people have drunk freely, then he serves the poorer wine; but you have kept the good wine until now.” This beginning of His signs Yahshua did in Cana of Galilee, and manifested His glory, and His disciples believed in Him. After this He went down to Capernaum, He and His mother and His brothers and His disciples; and they stayed there a few days, John 2:1- 12. NASU.
    We believe that He gave His blessing on the institution of marriage at this time. He also quoted Gen.1:27; 2:24;and 5:2 in Matthew chapter 19 while speaking about divorce.
    Some Pharisees came to Yahshua, testing Him and asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all?” And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE, and said, ‘FOR THIS REASON A MAN SHALL LEAVE HIS FATHER AND MOTHER AND BE JOINED TO HIS WIFE, AND THE TWO SHALL BECOME ONE FLESH’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What therefore Elohim has joined together let no man separate,” Matt 19:3-7 NASH.
    The apostle Paul also taught on marriage in the 7th chapter of 1st Corinthians and the 5th chapter of Ephesians, none of which contradicts the Old Testament teachings.
Polygamy is first mentioned in Gen.4:19. Lamech, a decendent of Cain, married two wives. This seems to have continued for some time in those times. The jealousies of Abraham’s and Elkanah’s wives illustrate the evils of polygamy. Monogamy took the place of polygamy subsequent to the return from Babylon. There are many scriptures that recommends and commends monogamy.
    Your wife shall be like a fruitful vine. Within your house, Ps 128:3.
    Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice in the wife of your youth, Prov 5:18.
    He who finds a wife finds a good thing. And obtains favor from YAHWEH, Prov 18:22.
    House and wealth are an inheritance from fathers, but a prudent wife is from YAHWEH, Prov 19:14 NASU.
    I would recommend reading the entire 5th chapter of Proverbs along with chapter 31, verses 10-29.
In brief summery, we find that Yahweh created Adam and then Eve for him to have as a mate. When man and woman are joined in marriage, they become one. Yahweh did not want them to be separated. Death was the only way to end a marriage. Then a Writ of Divorce could be given for adultery. It was not Yahweh’s original intent for a man to put away or divorce his mate for any other reason. Because of the hardness of heart of mankind it was allowed. Today it is common place to get married and divorced. Very few people take their marriage vows as a sacred vow or promise before Yahweh. There are pre nuptial agreements that seem to predict a divorce. If you marry for life, what do you need the agreement for? Perhaps they should reconsider the reason for getting married.
-Elder Dick Vaow

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