By Al Stoner
The marriage that defines what marriage is all about is “the marriage of the Lamb” (Rev. 19:7, 9; see Isa. 62:4-5; Hos. 2:19-20; Mt. 22:9-10; Mk. 2:19-20). John the Baptist, it will be recalled, was “the friend of the Bridegroom” (Jn. 3:29), and in a very real sense he was giving “premarital counseling” to those who came to his baptism.
“And the people asked him (John), saying, What shall we do then? He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise. Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do? And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you. And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages” (Lk. 3:10-14).
The Lord Jesus Christ gave similar counsel to “the church of the Laodiceans” (Rev. 3:14-18) when He said, “I counsel thee to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that thou mayest be rich; and white raiment, that thou mayest be clothed, and that the shame of thy nakedness do not appear; and anoint thine eyes with eyesalve, that thou mayest see” (vs. 18). His instruction to each of the other churches was of much the same manner.
Both Christ and John the Baptist were giving counsel to men with regard to marriage of which all other marriages are but a faint adumbration and shadow. But the counsel that both the Savior and John were giving to men was unlike “premarital counseling” as men normally think of it today. The advice and instruction did not involve both parties making concessions to each other, or learning how to get along with one another.
The counsel that both John and Christ were giving was a recognition of absolute reality. For those who are coming to Christ, and those who are being saved by Christ, if any are engaging in, or entangled in, things that are interfering with the work that God is doing in them salvationally, they must cease and desist from them. Not to do so with great earnestness, is to run the risk of being cast away forever. Or, in the words of the Savior to Laodicea, there is jeopardy of being spued out of His mouth.
The Apostle Paul gave similar counsel to Corinth in his second epistle to that church. “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (II Cor. 11:2-3).
Life in this world is all about preparing for this coming marriage. “Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage” (Mt. 22:3). “The marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready” (Rev. 19:7).