Does Matthew 19 refer to one's spirit being married to Christ?
Jewish Ketubah or marriage contract
When I approach Matthew 19, I read the text literally, taking it at face value instead of spiritualizing it. When events in Matthew occurred the apostle Paul was not yet saved therefore the writing of 1 Corinthians and Ephesians was still 25-30 years in the future. For that reason the apostles would not have spiritualized what Jesus was saying, as you suggest.
From our twenty first century perspective, with Matthew, Ephesians and 1 Corinthians on the table in front of us, we have a tendency to read back into the Matthew text, things which the apostles would not have understood from Jesus' words to them since they didn't have access to Paul's writings during the earthly ministry of Christ.
Instead, the apostles took what Jesus said in a more normal common sense, literal way. Their response to Jesus, that "it's better not to marry" (Matthew 19:10) makes no sense if they understood Jesus to be making a spiritual analogy to the bride and bridegroom.
While Augustine had a tendency to read hidden spiritual meanings into the Biblical text, I don't believe it is wise for us to do that. Trying to find hidden meanings in scripture leads to private interpretation, which we are warned against, 2 Peter 1:20. The disciples' response to Jesus in Matthew 19:10 makes perfect sense if they understood Jesus to be speaking of normal human marriage.
We should not ignore the
astonishing points Jesus makes
- That some eunuchs are born that way - i.e., they did not make a choice to be eunuchs and no other human being made a choice for them to be eunuchs
- That born eunuchs are exceptions to the Adam and Eve marriage paradigm
- That Jesus differentiates between born eunuchs and metaphysical eunuchs who make a personal choice not to marry.
Since Jesus has already excluded born eunuchs from the Adam and Eve marriage paradigm and since He has also differentiated between born eunuchs and metaphysical eunuchs who chose not to participate in the Adam and Eve paradigm, what may we reasonably conclude from Jesus' carefully chosen words?
We may conclude that Jesus opened the door for born eunuchs who are not subject to the Adam and Eve (opposite sex) marriage paradigm to enter a same sex marriage. Jesus as the ultimate Author of scripture knows that the bride of Christ contains both men and women who will eventually "marry" the man Christ Jesus.
First of all, remember that the body of Christ as the bride of Christ already contains saved lesbians and gay men and bisexuals and transgendered people.
Second, the fact that the body of Christ contains gay men who are part of the bride of Christ and will marry a man, the Lord Jesus, indicates that the metaphorical question about gender roles is moot. Of course, God already knew that when He inspired those portions of scripture which talk about the bride of Christ. Spiritually speaking, God has already made that clear to us in scripture."There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus." - Galatians 3:28
It's not just women who are called the bride of Christ. Men are also called the bride of Christ. Men as the bride of Christ are going to marry Jesus in heaven. Some of those men are gay and some of them are straight but both groups believe they will marry Jesus in heaven. God has left plenty of room for GLBTs to be legitimately included in the body of Christ and the bride of Christ, without twisting scripture or taking it out of context.
Third, the idea of gay marriage then, is not a surprise to God nor is it a perversion of His plan. Gay marriage is no more a perversion of God's plan than celibacy or polygamy are perversions of His plan. Neither are mentioned in the first two chapters of Genesis just as gays and lesbians are not mentioned in the first two chapters of Genesis yet celibacy, polygamy and gay marriage are important parts of God's wonderful plan. Therefore it does not strain credulity to believe that both opposite sex marriage and same sex marriage fit the Christs bride typology.
Remember that it was commonly understood in the first century by Jews especially
and by other cultures that a born eunuch was one who was not attracted to the opposite sex yet who also was anatomically whole and not castrated.
Rather than Jesus making only a spiritual allusion to bride-bridegroom typology in Matthew 19, He was in fact answering a rubber meets the road question about a real life raging controversy
in the first century AD, between followers of Hillel and followers of Shamai.
G's Original Question:
"I believe the Matthew 19 passage refers to ones spirit being married to Christ. If you look at the context it is in reply to a disciples question about the appropriateness of divorce and the reply is "Some are not ready to receive the word (the truth).
The metaphor is referring to receiving the word (salvation)-not marital choice. Some are born away from his spirits. Others are drawn away from the spirit by outsiders, and some choose to be outside the spirit.
Ultimately this is an extension of the bridegroom analogy carried out throughout the bible concerning our relationship with Jesus (Matthew 25). I will continue to pray on this but those who know the truth should share the truth."
More Informative Links
Gay marriage throughout church history
Is there evidence of an actual gay marriage in the Bible?
Are there same sex couples in ancient history?
Since same sex couples cannot legally marry is sex in a committed relationship sin?
Did Jesus define marriage as only between a man and a woman?
Did God intend men or women to have committed same sex relationships?
Isn't the Bible pretty clear that gay marriage is wrong?
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This page revised March 11, 2015