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.”