Leave and Cleave – Not just earthly but heavenly as well

Genesis 2:24 is often exposited as the “Leave and Cleave” model of marriage – one as the one God intended it to be. Sermon after sermon on the two who are married becoming one flesh is taught and the need to leave old familial ties to cleave to the new one is taught. Interestingly though if you notice, most world systems have gotten this backward as in many cultures, it is is the woman who leaves her father and mother and cleaves to the man (husband). Though the command is given to the man, I don’t believe that this text is necessarily discriminatory based on gender as both male and female were created in God’s image and so I believe that both parties in the marriage ought to renounce old familial ties in exchange for the new one.

Close scrutiny of the scripture also reveals that the “leave and cleave” modus operandi does not merely have just an earthly application but also a heavenly one. Jesus Christ, the Man (in heaven) left his heavenly relationship with his Father in order to cleave to his bride, the Church (believers). Jesus called those who were refusing to believe in him, those who chose to ignore his word (the truth), not doing what he was asking them to, as the children of the devil (John 8:44) and each one of us, at times, refuse to express our love of Jesus, by not doing what he instructs us to. However, we as the Church are made from Christ, the Man – therefore we ought to leave our old familial ties with the evil one and this world and cleave to Christ, our bridegroom for we are one body (flesh) in Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27).

Points to ponder:
Let us leave our ties to this world and the evil one or his ways and let us cleave to Jesus Christ.

Genesis 2:24 (KJV)
24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Flesh and Spirit – The First and Final Poem

The first recorded poem of note in the Bible can be attributed to Adam, which he expressed when he saw Eve. He said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh” and called her Woman, for she was taken out of Man (Genesis 2:23). Bones are found in vertebrates and they give the framework (structure) to a body. The idiom, “in the flesh” means “to be alive.”

1 Corinthians 15:44 records that there is a natural (flesh and blood) body and a spiritual body, and the latter is the only one that can inherit the kingdom of God. Those who believe in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior belong to the Church of God, which is the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27).

Points to ponder:
As the Church of Jesus Christ, do we have a backbone to stand up against the evil of the evil one and secondly are we alive in Christ, abiding in him? The final poem of note is when Jesus Christ, the Last Adam, can look at his believers and express “You are now bone of my bones (the structure and framework of my Church) and flesh of my flesh (alive in me).”

Genesis 2:23 (KJV)
23 And Adam 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.

1 Corinthians 12:27 (KJV)
27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.

Presented Bride

Genesis 2:22 states that the Lord God took the woman that he had made from the man and brought her unto the man. In other words, just as in a wedding, the Father of the bride would present his daughter to the bridegroom, the Lord God, brought the first woman  he had made and presented her unto the man. This account can be deemed as first marriage that is recorded in the Bible.

In like manner, when we meet God face to face, there will be a gathering at the wedding supper of the Lamb of God, and the church, which is the woman that is built from the confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God (the Father) will be presented to Jesus Christ, the bridegroom, The Man in heaven (Revelation 19).

Points to ponder:
In the first marriage, the woman was brought unto the man (the first Adam).
In the final marriage, the church will be presented unto The Man in heaven (the last Adam).
Can you and I be presented as a bride to Christ? In other words, will God the Father, be able to bring us to his Son, Jesus Christ?
Will you and I be presentable to Jesus Christ as a member of his church? Think about it.

Genesis 2:22 (KJV)
22 And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

Woman for the man; Church for The Christ

Genesis 2:21-22 gives the account of the creation of the woman. The Lord God caused the man to fall into a deep sleep and while he slept, he took one of his ribs and using the rib, God made a woman and brought her unto the man. Cursorily, one has the tendency to write this account off as the mere creation of the woman, but closer scrutiny and study reveals a hidden treasure in this account.

When Jesus asked his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?”, Simon Peter, responded, “Thou art The Christ” to which Jesus commended Peter and said, “Blessed are you, Simon, for flesh and blood has not revealed to you, your rightful recognition of me, but my Father (God) who is in heaven has done so” and then Jesus went on to say, “Thou art Peter. Upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:13-18)

Thou many often think of this as a commission, given to Peter the Apostle, for the birth or origin of the Church (as is often the case with the papacy and the establishment of the office of the Pope – with Peter considered the first Pope), close attention would reveal that, Jesus did not say, “Peter, upon YOU I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against YOU”, but instead said, “Upon this rock I will build my church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Christ is referred to as the rock in many places in the Bible (Deuteronomy 32:4, Psalm 18:2). He is the ROCK of our Salvation (Psalm 89:26; Psalm 95:1), which makes me believe, that it was upon the confession of Peter that “Jesus is The Christ (the foundational Rock)” that brings about the birth of the church. Out of the confession that Jesus is The Christ, is born the church of God, the Woman or bride of Christ.

Points to ponder:
Jesus, the last Adam, was put to death and as he slept (in death), he was pierced on his side (by his ribs) and the blood that sanctifies mankind flowed from him. Those who believe in him are sanctified by his blood and they become part of his church. Jesus is the anointed one, the Christ, ‘The Man’ in heaven. He is not only the progenitor of the Church but its power as well and the gates of hell cannot prevail against his church. Just as the woman was made for the man, the church of God is made for The Christ, Jesus Christ. Do you belong to Jesus?

Genesis 2:21-22 (KJV)
21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
22 And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.

Matthew 16:13-18 (KJV)
13 When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?
14 And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.
15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.
17 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Biblical Binomial Nomenclature

The formal system of naming living things is referred to as binomial nomenclature. It is attributed to Swedish naturalist Carl Linnaeus, who is credited to have introduced this method of naming living things, in his work entitled Species Plantarum in the mid 1700s. Carl Linnaeus is often referred to as the “Father of classification”. But from the Bible, we can see that the ‘first’ father of classification is God’s first human, the man (or Adam), for God brought to Adam (the man) all the living creatures that he had formed to see what Adam would call them and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof (Genesis 2:19).

The Bible teaches us that all those who believe in Jesus Christ, though they are dead, yet shall they live – meaning that they are living beings (John 11:25). The Bible also teaches us that those who do the will of God the father belong to the family of God as Jesus’ brothers, sisters and mothers (Matthew 12:50).

Points to ponder:
Ever wonder why God did not just name the creatures he formed and then bring it to the man, Adam. God could have just told the man then what every living creature was to be called. From reading this text, we learn that God wanted to see what the first Adam would name his living creatures. Note, the reference here is only to living creatures, which included all creatures formed by God, for death had not yet entered the world. We can extrapolate this account, to God bringing each one of us, to Jesus, the last Adam, in whom we are made alive when we believe in him, to see what Jesus would call us. Will we be called the children of God? (1 John 3:1; Hebrews 2:10) Will Jesus call us “his” – as one of his family – a brother or a sister or a mother (Hebrews 2:11; Matthew 12:50)? In other words, are we doing the will of God for the last Adam to include us as part of his binomial nomenclature to be called by his name – as one in his family i.e., God’s family.

Genesis 2:19-20 (KJV)
19 And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.

John 11:25 (KJV)
25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

Matthew 12:48-50 (KJV)
48 But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?
49 And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!
50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

Hebrews 2:9-11 (KJV)
But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.
10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.
11 For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one: for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren,

Suitable/’Meet’ Help

The latter half of Genesis 2:18 reads of God saying “I will make him an help meet for him.“, with him here, referring to “the man.” Taken literally, this would mean, that the woman who was created for man, was made as one who would be a suitable (meet) helper for the man. When explaining this to our beloved seven year old son, Reuben, he paused for a moment and then asked the question – If Eve was made for Adam as his helper, why did she end up hurting him? I had to explain as to how the woman was deceived by Satan, even though she was fully aware of the commandment of God and out of her own desires, willingly chose to ignore God’s commandment.

Points to ponder:
God has remade those who have believed in his Son (Jesus Christ) to be a new creature (2 Corinthians 5:17), with the intent of us being a suitable (meet) help for Jesus Christ, The Man in heaven (1 Timothy 2:5). Not that Jesus needs our help, but we are commissioned to be his ministers of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:20), as we await his glorious return. As the bride of Christ Jesus, the bridegroom, are we working for him like someone who is a suitable help for him or are we being deceived by Satan to gratify our own selfish desires? At the end of our time, let God be able to say of each one of us, “He/She was a help meet for my beloved Son.”

Genesis 2:18 (KJV)
18 And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

“Not good” says God

The first time that is recorded of God saying “not good” is given in the second chapter in the book of Genesis, when God says, “It is not good that the man should be alone.” Have you ever wondered as to why God would feel this way? The creator and the creature were friends (Genesis 3:8); God was man’s friend and man was God’s friend – so how could man be alone? God would never leave nor forsake his people, correct?

I believe, that in the omniscience of God, God knew that just as his charming and wisest created angel, Lucifer, selfishly disobeyed God seeking his own (Ezekiel 28:2-4, 14-15), man, the apex of God’s creation (not the ex-ape of evolution) would selfishly follow his own desires and follow suit as well. This is why the scripture records that the Lamb of God (Jesus Christ) was slain before the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8), as the only means of restoring man, back into the friendly relationship he had with God (Romans 5:11).

To disobey God and sin brings about a separation from God, making us lonely (to be alone). It is our own selfishness (Romans 8:3) that separates us from God and makes us single. With divorce growing at an exponential rate and plaguing our world today, many are lonely – in a state that is “not good” (according to God). Under the dirty covers of many divorce situations, one would find that the root cause for divorce is not incompatibility but selfishness, where one partner thinks of gratifying only their own selfish desires, whether it is in the area of fidelity or in the area of forgiveness. Such selfishness brings about singleness and the Bible records that God hates divorces (Malachi 2:16), for God does not want any of us to be alone.

Points to ponder:
It is true that God will never leave us nor forsake us to be alone; but that does not mean that man will not leave nor forsake God and get lonely! God does not want you and me to be alone – for that is not good. Are you and I a friend of God? In other words, are we selfish gratifying our own selfish desires or are we selfless and willing to obey him in all things? Let God not have to say of you and me, “Not good”.

Genesis 2:18 (KJV)
18 And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

Malachi 2:16 (NLT)
16 “For I hate divorce!” says the Lord, the God of Israel. “To divorce your wife is to overwhelm her with cruelty,” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “So guard your heart; do not be unfaithful to your wife.”

Never forsaken; Never forgotten

In addition to our 12 year wedding anniversary, we celebrated Mother’s day on May 12, 2013 and I wondered as to what the Bible has to say about “mothers”.

Psalm 27:10 states “When my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up.”, affirming that the Lord God will never forsake us. Isaiah 49:15 questions “Can a woman forget her sucking child without any compassion on the son of her womb?” Such an act seems implausible though possible and yea even if a mother may forget her child, God says, I will not forget you, affirming that the Lord God will never forget us.

Points to ponder:
The LORD God will never forsake you, nor forget you and we can take solace in the fact that even if our own forsake and/or forget us, we will never be forsaken nor forgotten.

Psalm 27:10 (KJV)
10 When my father and my mother forsake me, then the Lord will take me up.

Isaiah 49:15 (KJV)
15 Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.

The condition of life and death

In the second chapter of the book of Genesis, the Bible records that the Lord God commanded the man, to not eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but before the commandment was given, the Lord God told the man that of every tree of the garden, man may freely eat. If man chose to disobey God, the the condition that was stipulated was the man would “surely” die. In other words, the cost to obey God and enjoy all of God’s provisions was nothing (it was free), but the cost of disobeying God was certain (sure) and severe – it would cost man everything (life itself).

Points to ponder:
From this text we can learn that God provides for those whom he commands. So the next time, you think of what God has commanded you to do, make sure to hear the provisions he gives you along with that commandment. Then recognize to obey God is to choose life, but to disobey God is to reject life and choose death. The condition of life and death is in our choice to obey or not obey God. What is your condition? Are you alive? or Are you dead?

Genesis 2:16-17 (KJV)
16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat:
17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

Dress and Keep

The Bible records that the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden and he put the man whom he had formed in it (Genesis 2:8). Seven verses later, the Bible gives the reason as to why the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden. It was for the man to dress it and keep it (Genesis 2:15). In other words, the man, who was given dominion over all things (animals and plants), was given the responsibility to be the caretaker of the garden God created.

The word “dress” is used in the context of “to prepare (as an offering)” as is evident from other passages in the scripture (Genesis 18:7; Exodus 30:7). To “keep” is to “tend to” or “to take care of”. Man was therefore given the responsibility to prepare and take care of God’s creation. This verse also gives us insight that though the “work for food” was a result of man’s disobedience and the curse (Genesis 3:17), “work” itself is not.

Points to ponder:
We are created to be workers for (not mere hearers of) God (James 1:22) and God has placed us in his created world to prepare the world (as an offering) for his coming and to be caretakers of his flock. The resurrected Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Do you love me?” three times and upon Peter’s response gave him the responsibility to feed and tend his people (lambs and sheep) (John 21:15-17). This highlights that “work” for the Lord is an expression of our love for him.  Jesus, the last Adam, said that even the Son of man (referring to himself) came to minister (work), and not to be ministered (Mark 10:45).

The question that remains then is like the first Adam, will we fail in our work to dress and keep God’s creation or like Jesus, the last Adam, will we finish the work that he has ordained unto each one of us, so that when we see him face to face, we can give the testimony, that we fed and tended his people, we finished the work that was given to us and we kept the faith in being faithful as workers for God. We are called to dress and keep – let us not find ourselves, naked and poor (Revelation 3:17 ), when we meet God, face to face.

Genesis 2:8,15 (KJV)
And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

John 21:15-17 (NKJV)
15 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” 
He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”
16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”
17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?”
And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.