In 2014 the Radical Islamic group ISIS made headlines when they captured the historic tomb of the Prophet Jonah in Mosul, Iraq, lined the bottom of it with dynamite, and blew it up, totally destroying the tomb. This was just the latest of a number of desecrations and outright destruction of historic sites of Biblical backgrounds by the group. Sam Hardy, a professor at the American University of Rome, told The Washington Post that he believes this shows that ISIS wants to destroy, “basically pretty much anything in the Bible.” He added, “It indicates they are going for total eradication.” The bottom line: ISIS hates the Bible, and they are doing everything they can to destroy anything related to it.
What we need to understand, however, is that this is not the only war against the God of the Bible which is going on today. The one the Book of Revelation calls “The dragon, the serpent of old, the devil, Satan”, hates God, hates His word, hates His people, and he wants to do whatever he can to oppose and desecrate His glory in our world.
One of the primary fronts we see this war taking place today is in regard to marriage.
Marriage is God’s invention. When the Pharisees came to Jesus in Matthew 19 and asked Him about marriage, Jesus said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh?’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. What God has joined together, let no man separate.” (:4-6)
Jesus proclaimed there in Matthew 19 that marriage was God’s invention. It was His plan from the beginning for one man, and one woman, to be united together for a lifetime, not to be separated.
From the beginning, Satan has been opposed to that — and there is a special reason why, which we see in Ephesians 5:31-32. Here the Apostle Paul quotes the same Genesis 2 passage that Jesus quoted in Matthew 19: “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” But then the next verse is very insightful and instructive to us. It says: “This mystery is great, but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church.”
That :32 explodes like a bomb on the theological landscape: it gives to the thoughtful reader one of those “oh wow” moments! WHY is marriage so important to God? WHY is Satan so opposed to it? WHY should it be so important to us? Paul says here it is because marriage was meant by God to be a picture of Christ and the Church.
And that is EXACTLY why Satan is doing everything he can to destroy marriages today. Like ISIS, he hates God and the Bible, so he is doing everything he can to obliterate marriage on every front:
— he tries to keep marriage from happening in the first place, by encouraging people to just live together, with no commitment to each other that represents the commitment of Christ and the Church.
— he tries to destroy marriages that exist through infidelity and divorce and rebellion and abuse; he wants to destroy what God intended to be a loving, living picture of Christ and the Church
— he tries to distort the Biblical picture of one man and one woman in marriage, by instead promoting men marrying men, and women marrying women — which totally defaces the picture God established in Genesis 2 of one man and one woman coming together, symbolizing Christ and the church.
— and he is now even assaulting the idea of Gender itself. Gender is very much in the headlines today, isn’t it? Suddenly we find ourselves in the midst of a war, of all things, against the idea of gender itself!
Why all this? Because Satan knows that gender and marriage were designed by God to reflect His glory on earth, and to be a living picture of the relationship of Christ and the Church. Satan will do all that he can to mar and deface that picture, just as ISIS will do all they can do to eradicate the Bible from the world.
Our role is first of all to realize what is at stake in this war. It is not “just” our own feelings, our marriage, our family, etc. which are on the line. It is something far bigger than us, but involves the purpose and glory of God, and the witness of the gospel in the world.
Many Christians who are dissatisfied with their marriages or families would do well to listen to the words of Rick Blaine in the classic movie “Casablanca” as he encourages Ilsa to return to her husband:
“Ilsa, I’m no good at being noble, but it doesn’t take much to see that the problems of three little people don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy world. Someday you’ll understand that.”
Like Bogart’s character, many of us need to realize that there is something far greater than merely our wants or needs on the line here: the very glory of God Himself and the witness of the Gospel in the world. That is what is at stake today in the war against our marriages and families.
“This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ, and the church.”