If a Christian marriage is to reflect Christ and the church - if a wife is to submit to her husband as the church submits to Christ, because the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church...and if the husband is to love his wife as Christ loves the church...
what does that mean? What are the Biblical references for Christ (and God the Father in the Old Testament) as husband?
How do Christ the Son and God the Father relate to the church and to Israel?
Husbands, love your wives,
as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her,
that he might sanctify her,
having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,
so that he might present the church to himself in splendor,
without spot or wrinkle or any such thing,
that she might be holy and without blemish.
In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies.
He who loves his wife loves himself.
For no one ever hated his own flesh,
but nourishes and cherishes it,
just as Christ does the church,
because we are members of his body.
"Therefore a man shall leave his father
and mother and hold fast to his wife,
and the two shall become one flesh."
This mystery is profound, and
I am saying that it refers to Christ
and the church. (Eph 5:25-32)
Can wives be "sanctified" by their husbands? Maybe not, but they can be saturated with Scripture. She can be loved and cherished and nourished, with Christ as his model.
For your Maker is your husband,
the LORD of hosts is his name;
and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer,
the God of the whole earth he is called.
For the LORD has called you like a wife
deserted and grieved in spirit, (Isa. 54:5-6)
For a short time, the Husband had turned His face from His bride. She had been faithless, yet He redeemed her.
"Hallelujah!For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.
Let us rejoice and exult and give him the glory,
for the marriage of the Lamb has come,
and his Bride has made herself ready;
it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen,
bright and pure"— (Rev. 6-8)
The bride of the Lamb...
You shall be a crown of beauty in the hand of the LORD,
and a royal diadem in the hand of your God.
You shall no more be termed Forsaken,
and your land shall no more be termed Desolate,
but you shall be called My Delight Is in Her,
and your land Married;
for the LORD delights in you,
and your land shall be married.
For as a young man marries a young woman,
so shall your sons marry you,
and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
so shall your God rejoice over you. (Isa. 62:3-5)
You shall be called "My Delight Is In Her..."
In the New Testament, it was John the Baptist who recognized the Bridegroom:
You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, 'I am not the Christ,
but I have been sent before him.'
The one who has the bride is the bridegroom.
The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him,
rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice.
Therefore this joy of mine is now complete.
He must increase, but I must decrease." (John 3:28-30)
God presented Israel with a graphic picture when He told Hosea to marry Gomer, a prostitute - knowing that she will act as prostitutes will act...and that he will bring her back.
"Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
and bring her into the wilderness, and speak tenderly to her.
And there I will give her her vineyards
and make the Valley of Achor a door of hope.
And there she shall answer as in the days of her youth,
as at the time when she came out of the land of Egypt.
"And in that day, declares the LORD,
you will call me 'My Husband,' and no longer will you call me 'My Baal.'
For I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth,
and they shall be remembered by name no more.
And I will make for them a covenant on that day
with the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens,
and the creeping things of the ground.
And I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land,
and I will make you lie down in safety.
And I will betroth you to me forever.
I will betroth you to me in righteousness and in justice,
in steadfast love and in mercy.
I will betroth you to me in faithfulness.
And you shall know the LORD. (Hosea 2:14-20)
There is a Biblical reason to see a Christian marriage as a reflection of God the Father with Israel and of Christ the Son with His bride, the church.
For I feel a divine jealousy for you,
since I betrothed you to one husband,
to present you as a pure virgin to Christ."
But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning,
your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere
and pure devotion to Christ. (1 Cor. 11:2-3)
How can the church expect to be treated by her Bridegroom?
...He is her refuge, (Psa 61)
...He stands up for her (Psa 94)
...He nourishes and cherishes her (Eph 5)
...She trust in His steadfast love (Psa 52)
...He speaks tenderly to her (Hos 2)
...He is merciful and full of loving kindness (Tit 2)
...He will wipe away tears (Isa 25)
...He makes her beautiful (Isa 60)
...He carries her sorrows (Isa 53)
...He came to serve (Matt 20)
...He restores her soul, He leads her in paths of righteousness (Psa 23)