God’s Design for Covenant Marriage – “Leave Comes Before Cleave”

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Being separated to is better than being separated from. Covenant will always involve a separation to that redefines our relationship with everything else. Our new agreement with God will alter every other existing agreement. God is holy, and what He agrees with us will make something, including us, holy.

Jesus says, “From the beginning of Creation” God created woman and brought her to man. For this reason, a man shall leave his parents and cleave to his wife. They shall no longer be two, but one flesh.” {Mark 10:6-9]

The term “leave,” kataleipo, “leave behind, forsake, reserve.” The term for reserved as a remnant comes from this root, and this term can mean that in a particular sense.

Strategic Separation

Defining the “leaving” by any other sense than “being separated to” misses the intent of Jesus’ saying. In other words, merely leaving one’s parents doesn’t constitute anything nearly as significant as this reference point of marriage. In the context, the Creator has taken something from adam, human, with which to form ishshah, woman, leaving isn, man, as a wholly new, uniquely different person. Then, He says that  man shall leave and cleave with his wife so that they become a unit that combines what was once part of the same.

Our best understanding of this comes from the Creation story itself. Having created everything but human. God made all the animals He had created pass by Man to be named, and each of the animals had male and female genders. But there was none that answered to Man among them. God had pronounced Creation “good” and pronounced the creation including Man as “very good.” However, when God had finished introducing Creation to Man, God said that “it is not good” for Man to be alone.

When God created adam, humanity, He created adam both male and female. The image of God expressed in Man combine both genders. Then, God made from adam, from his DNA, a higher differentiation that left male and brought female back to him to complete him in the kingdom covenant of marriage.

So, the first separation was strategic, and all other separations of man from his parents for this purpose is a strategic separation because it establishes a new, distinct unity. Marriage is not an extension or expansion of one home, but the establishing a new unit based upon a unity or oneness that God designed and defined “from the beginning of Creation.”

Kingdom Covenant Marriage

The “kingdom” aspect comes from God’s cultural mandate: “Multiply. Fill. Subdue.” After seeing all the animals, God tells Man to take dominion over all of them and all the earth where they will multiply. In order for man to fulfill that mandate, God gave Man a new physical functionality that was a separation of what Man was into two genders, so that the differentiation between genders would unite again in significant physical and spiritual ways. That’s the kingdom part.

The “covenant” part comes from this “leave and cleave” aspect of marriage. That the covenant God made with Man as the highest of His Creation functions physically and spiritually in marriage in a way it cannot function otherwise. That is, God’s dominion of the earth covenant expected “multiply, fill and subdue.” Any place Man does all three, he has authority of dominion over whatever else is there of God’s Creation.

The term “marriage” uniquely describes the relationship of husband and wife.

Don Lynch

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