First, the marriage, is a relationship between a man and a woman. Professor John Davis has noted:. Second, marriage was designed to be a strictly monogamous arrangement. Early on, however, rebellious man decided it could be otherwise. Lamech, a descendant of Cain was the first polygamist Gen. The manner in which this incident is introduced reveals it to have been a spiritual aberration. Third, marriage was designed with a hierarchial arrangement.
This is no license for a dictatorship or any form of abuse, but it does acknowledge a graduation of authority within the home. Tragically, this has been the case far too often. Both ideas may, be involved cf. Fourth, the marriage union was intended to be a lifelong arrangement. Though it is the fad in our modern world, husbands and wives do not have the right to change marital partners as easily as they would change a garment!
Having given some consideration to the sacred traits of the marriage union, it is now appropriate that we raise this question: Why did God ordain marriage? First, marriage accommodates our social needs.
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The need is most ideally fulfilled in the marriage union. Second, marriage provides the means for the gratification of sexual desire — a virtuous, God-given inclination. The Creator never intended, however, for human beings to engage in promiscuous sexual liaisons. Sexual activity outside of a legitimate marriage commitment is fornication. But if one desires not to live celibate, he is free to marry to avoid fornication 1 Cor.
Third, a home sanctified by marriage affords the ideal environment for the rearing of children. The conception of children is to follow marriage Gen. How heartbreaking it is that so many are bringing children into this world without the benefit of a two-parent home. Fourth, the husband and wife arrangement was intended to facilitate the divine plan for human redemption.
This point cannot be pressed too strongly. Let me amplify. Jehovah, in his infinite knowledge, knew — even before the world was formed — that humanity would stray, and so need the atoning sacrifice of his Son Eph. That being the case, one must conclude that everything the Creator did, throughout the ages of Old Testament history, ultimately, was in view of the coming of Christ.
The very first thing on the sacred agenda was the institution of marriage. When family life unravels, national devastation is certain to follow eventually. It is within the marriage-blessed home that children first learn the principles of responsibility, justice, and the respect for authority. When these virtues have been neglected in a youngster, he or she makes a poor candidate for the gospel. Too, the warm love between husband and wife is frequently used in scripture as an apt illustration for the affection and devotion that God has for his people cf.
Here is why these points are so crucial. They help explain why the laws regarding marriage are so strict. A breakdown in this institution undermines acceptation of the gospel. What a burden to bear.
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As mentioned above, God desires that the marriage commitment remain intact as long as both mates are living. We must also note that the marital union does not obtain beyond death Mt.
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In a recently published book, Why Marriage Matters: Reasons to Believe in Marriage in Post-Modern Society , author Glenn Stanton has assembled a massive array of evidence, surveying a century of social studies, which forcefully demonstrates the lasting trauma that divorce wreaks upon both adults and children.
For example, divorcees are more likely to become addicted to alcohol, commit suicide, be subject to depression, etc. Too, children of divorced parents are much more prone to both mental and physical ailments than children of undivorced parents. For a summary of this material, see ""The Devastating Effects of Divorce"". This latter clause warrants closer investigation. The perfect tense has to do with an antecedent action, the impact of which remains in force.
The thrust of the statement is this:. Jackson, p. Accordingly, Jesus, in anticipation of the inauguration of the New Covenant, brings marital responsibility back to a higher plateau. First, the marriage law of Christ is universal. Somehow, baptism is supposed to legitimize illicit relationships. That the marriage law of Christ is applicable to all men is evidenced by the following arguments. Second, the Lord taught that there is but one cause for a valid divorce, and that is fornication on the part of one of the partners.
Jude 7 in nature. One has a right to a divorce, therefore, only if his spouse is sexually unfaithful. But divorce, even against a fornicator, is not obligatory. Ideally, the wounded mate will forgive the erring partner and attempt to save the marriage. Third, any sexual union, following an unauthorized divorce, constitutes an adulterous relationship.
What ought one to do who finds himself in an intimate relationship which is adulterous even though it has been veneered with civil ceremony? The only remedy for adultery, or any other sin, is repentance which involves a cessation of the evil conduct cf. Church leaders who offer false hope to those ensnared in adulterous unions, by telling them they simply may pray, then retain in the status quo , are guilty of the grossest from of ministerial malfeasance.
Some preachers have virtually made a career of peddling adultery. Several years ago this writer engaged in a public discussion with a friend, Truman Scott, on the issue of divorce and remarriage. Needless to say, such a view has no support whatever in scripture. Our friend attempted to buttress his argument with this appeal.
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Is this the depth to which our preaching has descended? Professor R. Nicole has spoken to this very point. Hear him. Did not Christ, the Apostles and the early Christian church face a world with a laxity equal to, or even worse than that of our times, and yet proceed on the strict basis established in the NT? No true gospel preacher will compromise the biblical teaching on divorce for the sake of placating a worldly culture. We must hold true to the Book! The seventh seal chapters 8 and 9 After the interval of about half an hour, the seventh seal is broken; seven angels issue forth, each one holding a trumpet.
The sounding of the first four trumpets causes a partial destruction of the elements of nature. One-third of the earth is burned, as also one-third of the trees and all the grass. One-third of the sea becomes blood cf. Exodus One-third of the rivers is turned into water of wormwood.
One-third of the sun, moon, and stars is obscured, causing one-third of the day to be dark cf. At the sounding of the fifth trumpet locusts ascend from the abyss. Their work is to torment men for five months, They are specially charged not to touch the grass. Their shape is that of horses Joel their teeth like those of lions Joel , their hair like the hair of women. They have the tails of scorpions where with to chastise man. The command over them is held by the Angel of the Abyss , named Abaddon , the destroyer. At the sound of the sixth trumpet the four angels chained at the Euphrates are let loose.
They lead forth an army of horsemen. By the fire which the horses spit out and by their tails which are like serpents, one-third of mankind is killed. After the sixth trumpet there are two digressions.
He swears that at the sound of the seventh trumpet the mystery will be completed. He hands to the Seer a little book. When eaten by him it is found sweet to taste, but bitter when once devoured. Taken from Ezekiel and It lasts three and a half years. Taken from Daniel ; ; During that time two witnesses are sent to preach in Jerusalem.
They are the two olive-trees foretold by Zechariah At the end of their mission they are slain by the beast. The seventh trumpet is now sounded, the nations are judged and the kingdom of Christ is established. The divine drama First act chapters The lamb, the woman, and her seed; and opposed to them, the dragon, the beast from the sea, and the beast from the land.
The main idea is taken from Genesis The woman is arrayed in heavenly splendour; a crown of twelve stars on her head and the sun and the moon under her feet cf. Genesis She is in travail. Her first-born is destined to rule all the nation Psalm , 9. She herself, and her other seed, are persecuted for three and a half years by the great dragon who tries to kill them. The great dragon is Satan Genesis He is cast out of heaven.
With his tail he drags after him one-third of the stars. Taken from Daniel The fallen stars are the fallen angels. The beast from the sea is in great part taken from Daniel's description of the four beasts. It arises from the sea Daniel ; has seven heads marked all over with blasphemies. It had also ten horns, like the fourth beast of Daniel ; it resembled a leopard, the third beast of Daniel , it had feet like a bear, the second beast of Daniel ; and teeth like a lion, the first beast of Daniel The great dragon gives full power unto the beast, whereupon all the world worship it viz.
The followers of the beast have its mark on their head and hand. The beast from the land has two horns like a ram. Its power lies in its art of deceiving by means of tokens and miracles. Throughout the remainder of the book it is called the false prophet. Its office is to assist the beast from the sea, and to induce men to adore its image. The first act of the drama concludes with a promise of victory over the beast by the lamb of God. Second act chapters The seven vials. They are the seven plagues preceding the destruction of the great city, Babylon. They were for the greater part suggested by the Egyptian plagues.
The first vial is poured out on the earth. Men and beasts are smitten with ulcers Exodus The second and third vial upon the seas and rivers. They become blood Exodus The fourth vial upon the sun. It burns men to death. The fifth vial upon the throne of the beast. It causes great darkness Exodus The sixth vial upon the Euphrates. Its waters are dried up and form a passage for the kings of the East Exodus The seventh upon the air.
Storm and earthquake destroy Babylon. Third act chapters The great harlot. She is seated upon the scarlet beast with the seven heads and ten horns. She is robed in scarlet and decked with gold. On her head is written: Mystery, Babylon the great. The kings of the earth commit fornication with her. But the day of her visitation has come. She is made a desolate place, the habitation of unclean animals Leviticus Her fall is lamented by the rulers and merchants of the earth.
Fourth act chapters The victory over the beast and the great dragon. A knight appears mounted on a white horse. His name is "The word of God". He defeats the beast and the false prophet. They are cast alive in the pool of fire. Their defeat is followed by the first resurrection and the reign of Christ for a thousand years. The martyrs rise to life and partake with Christ in glory and happiness. During these thousand years the great dragon is held in chains. At their completion he is once more set at large to torment the earth. He deceives the nations Gog and Magog.
These two names are taken from Ezekiel 28 and 39 , where however Gog is the king of Magog. At last he also is cast for all eternity in the pool of fire. Hereupon the general judgement and the resurrection take place. Fifth act chapters The new Jerusalem cf. Ezechiel God dwells in the midst of His saints who enjoy complete happiness. The new Jerusalem is the spouse of the lamb. The names of the Twelve Tribes and the Twelve Apostles are written on its gates.
God and the lamb are the sanctuary in this new city. Epilogue verses The prophecy of the book is soon to be fulfilled. The Seer warns the reader not to add anything to it or take away from it under pain of forfeiting his share in the heavenly city. Purpose of the book From this cursory perusal of the book, it is evident that the Seer was influenced by the prophecies of Daniel more than by any other book.
Daniel was written with the object of comforting the Jews under the cruel persecution of Antiochus Epiphanes. The Seer in the Apocalypse had a similar purpose. The Christians were fiercely persecuted in the reign of Domitian. The danger of apostasy was great. False prophets went about, trying to seduce the people to conform to the heathen practices and to take part in the Caesar-worship.
The Seer urges his Christians to remain true to their faith and to bear their troubles with fortitude. He encourages them with the promise of an ample and speedy reward. He assures them that Christ's triumphant coming is at hand. Both in the beginning and at the end of his book the Seer is most emphatic in telling his people that the hour of victory is nigh. He begins, saying: "Blessed is he that. He closes his visions with the pathetic words: "He that giveth testimony of these things saith, Surely I come quickly: Amen.
Come, Lord Jesus ". With the coming of Christ the woes of the Christians will be avenged. Their oppressors will be given up to the judgment and the everlasting torments. The martyrs that have fallen will be raised to life , that they may share the pleasures of Christ's kingdom , the millennium. Yet this is but a prelude to the everlasting beatitude which follows after the general resurrection. It is an article of faith that Christ will return at the end of time to judge the living and the dead. But the time of His second advent is unknown.
It would appear, and is so held by many that the Christians of the Apostolic age expected that Christ would return during their own lifetime or generation. This seems to be the more obvious meaning of several passages both in the Epistles and Gospels cf. John , 1 Thessalonians The Christians of Asia Minor and the Seer with them, appear to have shared this fallacious expectation. Their mistaken hope , however, did not affect the soundness of their belief in the essential part of the dogma. Their views of a millennial period of corporal happiness were equally erroneous.
The Church has wholly cast aside the doctrine of a millennium previous to the resurrection. Augustine has perhaps more than any one else helped to free the Church from all crude fancies as regards its pleasures. He explained the millennium allegorically and applied it to the Church of Christ on earth. With the foundation of the Church the millennium began.
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The first resurrection is the spiritual resurrection of the soul from sin City of God XX. Thus the number 1, is to be taken indefinitely. Structure of the book and its literary composition The subject-matter of the Apocalypse required a threefold division.
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The first part comprises the seven exhortatory letters. The leading idea in the second part is the wisdom of Christ. It is symbolized by the book with seven seals. In it are written the eternal decrees of God touching the end of the world , and the final victory of good over evil. No one except Jesus , the lamb slain for the sins of the world, is worthy to break the seals and read its contents. The third part describes the power of Christ over Satan and his kingdom. The lamb defeats the dragon and the beast.
This idea is developed in a drama of five acts. In five successive scenes we see before us the struggle, the fall of Babylon the harlot, the victory, and final beatitude. The third part is not only the most important, but also the most successful from a literary point of view. The drama of the lamb contains several beautiful thoughts of lasting value.
The lamb , symbolizing gentleness and purity, conquers the beast, the personification of lust and cruelty. The harlot signifies idolatry. The fornication which the rulers and the nations of the earth commit with her signifies the worship they pay to the images of Caesar and the tokens of his power. The second part is inferior in literary beauty. It contains much that is taken from the Old Testament , and it is full of extravagant imagery.
The Seer shows a fanciful taste for all that is weird and grotesque. He delights in portraying locusts with hair like that of women and horses with tails like serpents.
There are occasional passages revealing a sense of literary beauty. God removes the curtain of the firmament as a scribe rolls up his scrolls. The stars fall from the heavens like figs from the fig-tree shaken by the storm On the whole, however the Seer shows more love for Oriental splendour than the appreciation of true beauty. Interpretation It would be alike wearisome and useless to enumerate even the more prominent applications made of the Apocalypse. Racial hatred and religious rancour have at all times found in its vision much suitable and gratifying matter.
Such persons as Mohammed , the Pope , Napoleon , etc. To the "reformers" particularly the Apocalypse was an inexhaustible quarry where to dig for invectives that they might hurl then against the Roman hierarchy. The seven hills of Rome , the scarlet robes of the cardinals , and the unfortunate abuses of the papal court made the application easy and tempting. Owing to the patient and strenuous research of scholars, the interpretation of the Apocalypse has been transferred to a field free from the odium theologicum.
But then the meaning of the Seer is determined by the rules of common exegesis. Apart from the resurrection , the millennium , and the plagues preceding the final consummation, they see in his visions references to the leading events of his time. Their method of interpretation may be called historic as compared with the theological and political application of former ages.
The key to the mysteries of the book they find in For thus says the Seer : "Let here the mind that hath understanding give heed". The beast from the sea that had received plenitude of power from the dragon, or Satan , is the Roman Empire, or rather, Caesar, its supreme representative. The token of the beast with which its servants are marked is the image of the emperor on the coins of the realm. This seems to be the obvious meaning of the passage, that all business transactions, all buying and selling were impossible to them that had not the mark of the beast Apocalypse Against this interpretation it is objected that the Jews at the time of Christ had no scruple in handling money on which the image of Caesar was stamped Matthew But it should be borne in mind that the horror of the Jews for the imperial images was principally due to the policy of Caligula.
He confiscated several of their synagogues , changing them into heathen temples by placing his statue in them. He even sought to erect an image of himself in the Temple of Jerusalem Josephus , Ant. The seven heads of the beast are seven emperors. Five of them the Seer says are fallen. The year of Nero's death is A. The Seer goes on to say "One is", namely Vespasian , A.
He is the sixth emperor. The seventh, we are told by the Seer , "is not yet come. But when he comes his reign will be short". Titus is meant, who reigned but two years The eighth emperor is Domitian Of him the Seer has something very peculiar to say. He is identified with the beast. He is described as the one that "was and is not and shall come up out of the bottomless pit" In verse 11 it is added: "And the beast which was and is not: the same also is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into destruction".
All this sounds like oracular language. But the clue to its solution is furnished by a popular belief largely spread at the time. The death of Nero had been witnessed by few. Chiefly in the East a notion had taken hold of the mind of the people that Nero was still alive. Gentiles , Jews , and Christians were under the illusion that he was hiding himself, and as was commonly thought, he had gone over to the Parthians, the most troublesome foes of the empire.
From there they expected him to return at the head of a mighty army to avenge himself on his enemies.