At what moment does the union of a man, and a woman become one in marriage? For hundreds of years, there are ceremonies before witnesses. Just before this marriage ceremony ends the individual presiding will announce, “I now pronounce you husband and wife.” It is at this time society recognizes the young couple as married. So, the question is raised, “At what moment does the union take place?” When are the man and the woman indeed married before God?
The Marriage Before God
In Genesis 2:23, it says,
The LORD God fashioned into a woman the rib that He had taken from the man, and brought her to the man. The man said, “This is currently bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; She is now called woman because God took her 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.
The marriage between a man and a woman is and always has been in the domain of God, not man. It was God who brought the woman to Adam, and Adam named her Eve. The marriage ceremony was on earth, but presided over by God Himself with no fanfare as we have today.
Today there is much adulation with a banquet, drinking, music, and dancing, all in it of itself nothing wrong. Even Jesus and His disciples went to a wedding feast that had these elements in it. That is not the point it is. When does this union between a man and a woman take Place?
Nevertheless, if one looks at the Biblical record, one can see something entirely different as stated. When God brought Eve to Adam, they became husband and wife immediately. There was no fanfare. God issued only one command be, “fruitful and multiply and, fill the earth.”
In Genesis 1:28, it says,
God blessed them, and God said to them, be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.
The True Union of Marriage
Adam and Eve did not possess a marriage license given to them by the county courthouse. Their union in marriage was then as today between the individuals and God alone, not the government.
The only witness to this joining of Adam and Eve was God the Father, and all the heavenly hosts. Adam and Eve did not have to venture to the county courthouse in seeking a marriage license. It was a marriage performed by God, bring Adam and Eve together. Marriage is the same today; God is the joining factor, not a pastor or the Justice of the Peace.
Marriage happens when two hearts, one man, and one woman give their heart to the other for life before God. It is at this moment that they become one, not in the sexual union.
In Matthew 1:18-20, it says,
Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph before they came together, she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph, her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child, who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
Joseph and Mary are married, before sexual union between them. People today seem to believe that the marriage is only consummated in a biological union. “And Joseph her husband,” show one this natural union is not part of the matrimonial union. Marriage is the giving of one man to one woman for life.
Marriage is for Life
Marriage is for life, yet one will say, “What about divorce,” again, let us look at what the scriptures say.
In Matthew 19:3-9, it says,
Some Pharisees came to Jesus, testing Him and asking, is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife for any reason at all? Moreover, He answered and said, have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female. 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. Therefore, what God has joined together, let no man separate. They said to Him, why then did Moses, command to give her a certificate of divorce and send her away? He said to them, Because of your hardness of heart Moses permitted you to divorce your wives; however, from the beginning, it has not been this way. Moreover, I say to you, whoever divorces his wife, except for immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.
Once again, we read it is God that is doing the joining not a man or the government, “Therefore, what God has joined together, let no man separate.” The only option for a divorce is based on the immorality of an individual. Divorce otherwise is not an option, but God will forgive in all cases if one only asks.
In 1 John 1:9-10, it says,
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us.
In Psalm 103:12-14, it says,
As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear Him. For He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust.
When God forgives He forgives 100% not as man does.
Scripture calls Joseph and Mary husband and wife. Yet, they are not married according to Jewish custom, and law? They are married before God, or He would not have chosen Mary to be the mother of Jesus.
In Matthew 1:19, it says,
Moreover, Joseph, her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly.
A woman back in that era would have been shunned if she was pregnant out of wedlock.
According to Jewish customs, they were just pledged to each other, yet a betrothal was a marriage without the ceremony. One sees that Joseph loved Mary very much, but did not want to go through with the ceremony of the wedding, why? Joseph thought that Mary was unclean because she was with a child. However, an angel of God spoke to him in a dream and said everything is fine, and told Joseph to take Mary as his wife. Just simply put before the Angel of God spoke to him; he was contemplating a divorce, but God stopped him; Joseph and Mary were, in fact, married. So, Joseph would have to divorce Mary, because he, “planned to send her away secretly.”
In Matthew 1:20-25, it says,
However, when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. ‘She will bear a Son, and call his name Jesus. For He will save His people from their sins.’ Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet “Behold; the virgin shall be with child and shall bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” Moreover, Joseph awoke from his sleep and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took Mary as his wife. Joseph kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son, and he called His name Jesus.
Joseph took Mary immediately as his wife, not be his wife, for she was, in fact, his wife already all this with on pomp and ceremony recorded in scripture. When a man and a woman commit to each other, it is at that moment, they become husband and wife before the creator God. The marriage ceremony is only for the family and friends of the couple.
When a man and a woman make such a commitment to each other, they must keep in mind that they have married each other before God. Now if they decide to break this relationship, then you are actually divorcing each other. So do not commit this sin and work out your problem and God will reward you for this. You are now married before God as a result of your commitment to each other. Remember the institution of marriage is from God, and the pomp and ceremony for this wedding come from men.
It is God who presides over the marriage union between one man and one woman only.
Copyright Dr. George L Gallant, ©2014
All quotes are from the: New American Standard Bible, ©1995.