Consider this wonderful statement: “Marriage and family life is a God-plane relationship.” You will not hear many people, even Christians, talk about marriage or family like that. But the late Herbert W. Armstrong, founder of the Worldwide Church of God and Ambassador College, did. He wrote that in his booklet Why Marriage—Soon Obsolete? Millions of listeners and viewers of The World Tomorrow heard him teach that. And he got that understanding from the Bible.
Today the war on marriage and family has grown to unparalleled intensity. You will read all about it in this Trumpet issue: the assault not only on God-given roles for men and women, fathers and mothers, but even on the very creation of male and female. We are sacrificing our children to radicalism and pitching modern society into utter confusion and conflict.
Yet as this clash over marriage and family has intensified, even conservatives and Christians have failed to defend these institutions. Why? Because they don’t understand them. They don’t know why God created them and what they mean!
Marriage and family are God-level relationships.
Throughout history, philosophers, priests and great minds have used human reasoning to try to understand the meaning of life. Many have devoted their lives to seeking life’s purpose, yet have never come to the right conclusion. But the answer is revealed in your Bible. If you really want to work for it, you can understand what the Bible reveals.
The Bible not only shows that God created male and female, authored marriage, and commanded laws to protect marriage, but it also reveals that marriage links closely with mankind’s incredible purpose and potential, which is to be born into God’s Family! In fact, the Bible reveals that those who respond to God’s call today and become part of His one true Church will marry Jesus Christ when He returns to Earth. That is the greatest opportunity human beings could ever have: to become the Bride of Jesus Christ and sit on the throne of David with Him, ruling the world, bringing more children into God’s Family, and expanding that Family from Earth out into the entire universe!
God wants you to have a happy marriage in this life. But marriage also points to your eternal future!
Whether or not people realize it, this is why there has been an ongoing, powerful, coordinated campaign to harm, pervert and destroy the very institution of marriage, as well as family. There is a spirit at work that wants to undermine and destroy what God has created. Marriage is under attack because it is a God-plane relationship! Until you understand this truth, you cannot understand this attack, and you certainly cannot defeat it.
The Foundation of a Stable Society
Marriages and families today are suffering terribly from a conspiracy against these pillar institutions! Forbes magazine summed it up: “The 1950s notion of the nuclear family with the man as the head of the household is no more.”
Mr. Armstrong wrote Why Marriage—Soon Obsolete? in 1968. He warned that failing to understand why marriage would lead to people abolishing marriage. That is exactly what we are seeing today.
In 1973, Mr. Armstrong said, “The very foundation of any nation’s solidarity, strength and power is a solid and stable family structure.” How true this is! Can you recognize it?
Mr. Armstrong warned that if family life breaks down, civilization will devolve into anarchy. Our families have been fracturing for decades now, and many people have assumed that this was no great concern. But more and more children are growing up without a father and without family stability. The effects of this trend are proving to be ruinous.
“Since it is a basic truism that a solid family structure is the foundational bulwark of any stable and permanent society,” Mr. Armstrong wrote, “this fact means only one thing—civilization as we know it is on the way down—and out—unless that great ‘Unseen Strong Hand From Someplace’ soon intervenes and saves today’s sick society” (The Missing Dimension in Sex).
The God who created male and female, marriage, sex and family is going to intervene! There is great hope in that. That is our only hope. And what will He do? He will establish the authority of the God Family, and He will teach and enforce His commands about the God-plane relationships of marriage and family. As a result, children will grow up in happy, stable homes, families will produce dynamic, law-abiding citizens, and all society will enjoy the rich benefits!
The First Marriage
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (John 1:1). In the beginning, no people, no angels, nobody existed except for God and the Word. These two God Beings lived for eternity before time even began.
The word with signifies that they were perfectly unified. They never had a breakdown in their communion. They enjoyed a wonderfully harmonious and loving relationship.
God wants to share that kind of relationship. That is why He created human beings, and particularly why He made these human beings “in our image, after our likeness” (Genesis 1:26). Starting with the first man and woman, God instituted marriage (Genesis 2:18, 21-25). “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh,” He said.
Marriage was created by God and nobody else!
“Human men never did think out, devise or institute the relationship of marriage with family and home life,” Mr. Armstrong wrote. “Marriage was ordained by God—not by man. It is governed by the laws of God—and man has no jurisdiction over it, in God’s eyes” (Why Marriage—Soon Obsolete?).
Sadly, the human beings in the first marriage and the first family rejected God (Genesis 3). The world that came from them chose darkness, and they sinned against the laws of marriage and family and His other laws that align with God’s eternal, perfect way of life.
Even still, God continued with His plan to bring human beings into His Family. As John 1 goes on to show, God actually begat the Word as His own Son, and God became a Family.
“In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not” (verses 4-5). The world was and is dark, spiritually. You won’t find light anywhere except in God. But in Him is glory and the only source of life and light, and it is magnificent.
“That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” (verse 9). God meant for that light to light every man that is born into this world—every human being! Other verses in the Bible show that God will give every person who has ever lived a chance to know Him and to know this God-plane relationship of marriage and family.
“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” (verse 12). This says we have power to become the sons of God. Human power absolutely cannot do that; it must come from God! And if we will yield ourselves to Him and submit to Him, He will give us that power! That family life is a God-plane relationship: It is on the God level!
Mr. Armstrong said the purpose of being born is to be born of God. God wants to give us all of that! We need to understand the majesty and the wonder of marriage and family!
People who reject the Bible can’t even explain how or why marriage and family started. Even many Christians can’t explain it, and none have explained it as Mr. Armstrong did: a God-plane relationship.
If two people are in a God-level marriage, and they work hard at it and use God’s power, it is a marriage full of joy. And that marriage usually produces children. God created “every man that cometh into the world” to have come from such a beautiful relationship! That is what the Creator intended to be the source of every human life.
Today’s young people don’t know how to date properly; they simply haven’t been taught! They are into their technology and things like that, and they aren’t developing the skills to communicate and relate and build quality relationships. They lack the social and moral wherewithal for proper courting, and don’t know how to date toward marriage so they can have the right kind of a mate and then build a family in that marriage.
What a difference the right spiritual understanding makes! It changes everything! Even in this dark world, God shows you in the Bible how to make a beautiful, beautiful marriage, and how to raise your children to have beautiful marriages themselves and grow toward their incredible human potential.
It is all on a God plane. That is what it is like if you understand the purpose of marriage and family. We must understand that purpose.
Declaring the Father
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). When the Word was made flesh—when He became “the only begotten of the Father,” the Son, Jesus Christ, the man—then God became a Family.
God the Father begat His Son in the womb of a woman, Mary. Christ was the only begotten Son of God by that method of using a physical woman. The Father begat Christ in Mary, and in doing that, He began the God Family. Right here is where it all began! That is when God became the Father, and the Word became the Son. And it involved humanity. This was the beginning of the Family!
And He is opening up that God Family to everyone who has ever lived, if they want it! This is the way—the only way—that everyone who has ever been born can become a child of God.
Verse 18 calls Jesus Christ “the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him.” When the Word became the Son of God, He declared the Father. His number one job was and is to declare the Father.
Why is it so important to declare the Father? Because the Father is the Head of the Family! That is His title: Father! And this puts us human beings who believe God, who obey God, who receive His power, on a God level, in a God relationship. If you really understand it, it is dazzling! This is our future!
What was Jesus Christ’s message? He did not come to proclaim a message about Himself, as many churches teach. He focused on His Father. He taught about the Family. Never has there been such exemplary family devotion as what they had. Their relationship abounds with love. In all eternity, these two great Beings have never had a serious argument. God knows how to bring peace, joy and happiness into a family. And whether or not you have a physical marriage and family, God can produce joy in our lives through the God Family.
Because of the plan and the sacrifice and the love of the Father and the Son, millions and millions of people are going to be born into the God Family! Still, each person will have to choose to seize that opportunity. It is quite possible to be like those in Jesus Christ’s human lifetime who were there, interacting with the Son of the living God, but who didn’t want what He was teaching. For those who choose it, however, it will transform your understanding of marriage and family and lead you to a majestic, magnificent future!
This world is in darkness because men turn away from God and fail to understand this truth.
During His ministry, Jesus taught thousands upon thousands of people. Yet after His crucifixion, a paltry 120 followers remained! (Acts 1:15). Ever since, the true Church has been small and persecuted, while false churches are populous and powerful.
Isn’t it astonishing that even when people encounter God’s marvelous plan for them, they aren’t interested? In truth, they don’t understand what they are turning away from. Yet because of their choice, the world is dark. We have had to suffer and will keep suffering until we see that human ideas on sex, marriage and family will never bring happiness. You cannot trust man—and that includes yourself (Jeremiah 17:5).
Matthew 11:25 records, “At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.” This explains why the world is so dark and why even the churches are so spiritually powerless. The truth cannot be figured out by men—it must be revealed by God. And He will not do that for people who trust in their own wisdom and prudence! Thus, they can learn about what Jesus taught, and even believe in Christ—yet reject the truth and replace it with their own traditions and religious ideas. Some in Jesus’s human lifetime knew He came from God. But they refused to give God their assent, so He did not work with them.
When we trust in men and trust in ourselves, we prevent the Father from revealing to us the truth about these precious, God-level relationships. Only those who have teachable, childlike attitudes, will be humble enough to hear and grasp it.
In Matthew 18:1-3, Jesus Christ rebuked His disciples for blocking little children from coming to Him. Let the little children come to me!, He said. He made this point to them and recorded and preserved it in the Bible so we could learn this crucial important lesson: We cannot enter the Kingdom of God under the royal Family of God unless we humble ourselves and become teachable like little children. How hard Christ tried to show people the importance of this childlike attitude, but so few humbled themselves.
People have human nature, influenced by Satan, and that nature has to change. Today, human nature is becoming more and more heavily influenced by Satan’s proud, selfish, anti-God, anti-marriage, anti-family nature, and it is growing darker and darker. The Bible shows us where this is leading.
The Hearts of the Fathers
The Prophet Daniel recorded this end-time prophecy: “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book” (Daniel 12:1). We are now heading into this prophesied period of incomparable suffering!
But note: God promises to protect His Family, true Christians who are humble and teachable.
Look at this additional majestic promise: “And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt. And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever” (verses 2-3).
This is about a God-plane relationship—marriage and family! God Family—God marriage!
God states in Malachi 4:5-6: “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the Lord: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”
Before the unprecedented “time of trouble” and “great and dreadful day of the Lord” prophesied in Daniel, Malachi and other scriptures, God sent a man to warn the world, largely by teaching about God-plane relationships. This has already happened; that man who was a type of Elijah has come and gone.
God said if the fathers didn’t learn this lesson, those members in God’s own Family, the little flock, would turn away when the Elijah died. Here in Malachi, God warns the ministers who turned away from what He taught through that man that if they don’t repent and turn the hearts of the fathers to the children and the children to the fathers, He will smite the Earth with a curse! This means they will lose their eternal lives.
People saying that there is no such thing as the father leading the family anymore is shocking to God, and it results in a harsh end to Malachi and a harsh end for those who do not turn.
The Jewish people thought this was so harsh that they repeat verse 5 after verse 6 when they read the book, so Malachi’s prophecy doesn’t have such a grim conclusion! But God says, If my own people—who have the Spirit of God and have been taught all this by my servant—still reject it, I will have to punish them severely!
Why marriage? Why family? People do not know. But if they would allow God to reveal the answer to them, they could see that it is a God-plane relationship! If you understand this, it will be the thrill and joy of your life, and you will fall in love with your Bible like you’ve never dreamed!
Scripture makes clear that human marriage and family are only a type and a foreshadow of the marriage of the Lamb and the God Family!
Revelation 19:7-8 discuss the Bride of Christ who has “made herself ready.” There is a group of people on Earth today whom Christ already looks upon as His wife, and she will be ready when He gets here. Those who heed Christ’s message now, before He returns to establish the royal God Family and the Kingdom of God across the whole Earth, will marry Him and rule with Him on the throne of King David (Luke 1:32). Then we will help Him expand the God Family out into the universe, forever!
Can we really see what a phenomenal reward God wants to give us?
We need to be building strong, God-plane relationships: marriages and families that truly are on a godly level! Doing so leads to unity, peace and joy like God and the Word—now the Father and Son—have had for all eternity. It is hard to even fathom that majestic future God has for us—if we seek it!