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    Section 78

    Counsel on Courtship,
    Morality & Marriage

    The following, though not a direct revelation, contains important inspired instructions from the Patriarchate on Courtship, "Going Steady", and Moral Guidelines for Couples. The original instructions were given in March 1988 in Oxford, England, but were later expanded in November 1988 and again in September 1996 (960906) to take new administrative proceedures into account (also see NC&C 197 [Frogner, Oslo, Norway].

    On Courtship

    1. Courtship, as the world generally understands it, predominantly involves physical attraction.

    2. A courtship based only, or predominantly, on physical forces will lead to a marriage that comes under great strain as the couple discovers just how little they know about each other.

    3. Too many young people get married without any kind of spiritual and emotional maturity; and thus many marriages are entered into in considerable ig- norance.

    4. As believers in the Israelite or Firstborn Laws, we should not be imit- ating the cultural patterns of the world nor be following after their practices.

    5. Accordingly we do not believe in what the world calls "dating" or "going steady".

    6. Rather, we believe in developing sound emotional and spiritual relation- ships between all the saints, married andunmarried, thus broadening human experience and intimacy from an early age without, of course, the breaking of any commandments.

    7. It is as people develop in the bonds of the pure love of Christ with each other, thus becoming the spiritual Body of Christ, that they develop emotionally, spiritually, and intellectually in a bal- anced way.

    8. The concept of "going steady", in which boys and girls pair off and give each other exclusive attention and intimacy, has the effect of reducing in a thoroughly selfish and damaging way the possibility of wholesome character development.

    9. And the reslt of "going steady" invariably leads to obsessions, complexes, fornication, and sin.

    Free Agency is Paramount

    10. The Church does not, and never will, tell the saints what they should do by binding them to a principle and denying them their free agency.

    11. Free choice is a fundamental tenet of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and must be upheld scrupuloulsly even if this may at times run counter to the Gospel and our own cherished convictions.

    12. The duty of the Church is to advise men and women of the true pattern which God has established which, if they employ properly, will secure their happiness and preclude serious heartache.

    Two Types of Marriage

    13. There are two types of marriage: (a) Marriage between two persons without Christ, which is earthly and dissolves at death; and (b) Marriage between two persons in Christ, which is heavenly, and is eternal, continuing in heaven for ever.

    14. The first is the normative pattern in the world and the second belongs to the New Covenant of Jesus Christ.

    Spiritual Marriage to Christ

    15. Marriage1 to earthly spouses in the New Covenant is not acceptable to God without first allegorical or spiritual marriage to Christ.

    16. This spiritual marriage to Christ begins when the new convert is initiated into the Covenant community (or Church) first by baptism (corresponding to Dedication), second by Chrism/confirmation (corresponding to Betrothal), and third by partaking of the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper (corresponding to full marriage) for the first time.

    17. These ordinances themselves are not legalistic steps to marriage to Christ per se but are outward signs of a process of inner spiritual sanctification.

    18. Once spiritually married, the New Covenant couple must continue not only to build up their marriage together but their relationship to Christ, these being spiritual reflections of each other.

    19. Just as married couples enter sacred covenants to be true to one another all the days of their lives, so also does the disciple enter covenants at Baptism, Chrism (confirmation), and in the Lord's Supper each time he partakes of the emblems.

    Marriage and Discipleship are One

    20. A true marriage in Christ between two people will always be paralleled by acorresponding growth into the Light of Christ.

    21. Therefore true New Covenant marriage and growing discipleship are one and the same, and if one fails, so also will the other.

    22. This intimate connection between marriage and discipleship is one of the characteristics of the New Covenant, and is a great mystery.

    Foreordination to Marriage

    23. New Covenant Christians believe that a true disciple in Christ has a foreordained spouse perfectly chosen by God to be a companion in joint discipleship;

    24. It is the responsibility of each man and woman to prayfully and earnestly search out for this companion, obtaining the mind of God prophetically.

    Right to a Word of Prophecy

    25. Every living soul who earnestly seeks to follow the Lord Jesus Christ with his whole mind, might and soul, will receive a word of prophecy leading him to his spouse.

    26. But those who seek after mates after the flesh (because of chemical attraction and/or mutual worldly interests) and apart from the revelation of God, will not find their soul mates but will be given others who have likewise turned away from the living God to satisfy their own carnal pleasures.

    27. There are therefore many who are conditionally or permissively ordained by God to be a soul's spouse, and the one he shall receive will depend on the choiceshe makes in life -- whether he will follow Christ or his own desires, and combinations of these two.

    28. But there is only one who is ordained to be an eternal companion, if he chooses correctly and places the Lord first in his life.

    All Marriages are Binding

    29. But once he has chosen, for good or evil, then he is bound by covenant to that companion for the remainder of his days, to uphold and sustain her in love through the grace of Christ.

    30. If he has chosen one on a lower level of light because he is himself on a lower level, God will not reveal to him his soul mate in this life, should he later repent and seek the fullness.

    Unexpected Surprises

    31. It may well be that both seek the fullness and both turn out to be one another's soul mates, for this was the way ordained by God from the beginning for them.

    32. In this God is perfectly just and perfectly merciful.

    33. When a man has chosen, he has chosen and the way back to other choices is closed to him unless the Lord should remove one of the spouses in death or other means (adultery, desertion, etc.).

    34. Thereafter he shall look upon his wife2, and the wife upon her husband, as though there was no-one else, for all else is adultery.

    35. Let the saints be conscious of these things that none enter a marriage hastily and thus preclude much sorrow in the future as their incompatibility is revealed as they ascend into the Light.

    The Lord Chooses the Companions of the Righteous

    36. Let God choose your companion, even as He chose Sarah for Abraham; Rebekah for Isaac; and Rachel, Leah, Bilhah and Zilpah for Jacob, for we worship the Lord God of Israel, even the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, through His Son Jesus Christ.

    All Marriages Have Difficulties

    37. And though no marriage is with- out its difficulties and struggles -- for this is a purpose of marriage -- yet joy and satisfaction will be the end result if the Lord's commandments are obeyed.

    Zadokian Marriage

    38. Once a couple have been married, and as they grow in the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ through obedient discipleship and faith to one another, so they become ready to enter the Deaconate and into deeper marriage covenants which belong to the Zadokian Order.

    39. Though remaining fully married at all times, they enter into a new cycle of marriage covenants which correspond to the light and holiness of the Zadokian Order, which literally translated, means the 'Order of Righteousness'.

    40. In this Zadokian covenant a couple are re-dedicated, re-betrothed and re-married, making their earlier covenants even deeper and more abiding.

    41. By this means a marriage is never allowed to stagnate but to continue bear- ing much fruit and joy.

    Enochian Marriage

    42. In the same way, when a couple has fulfilled there callings in the Deacon- ate, they are then called into the Eldership, or Enochian Order3, which means the 'Order of Instruction', where they enter a new cycle of covenants, making their marriage covenants even deeper together and in Christ, and qualify to become marriage instructors/councellors.

    Performances in the Church

    43. The New Covenant Church of God will not perform marriages which are not in Christ in one degree or another.

    44. Those who marry unbelievers are considered weak in the faith, and whilst it will bless all marriages, it will not unite belief to unbelief, or unbelief to unbelief, for such would be a mockery of God.

    All Must Choose Their Own Marriage Degrees and Companions

    45. No member of the New Covenant Church of God shall be compelled to enter any marriage degree against his will, nor will any couple be united who are not mutually agreed.

    46. All are free to choose the companions they wish to marry that there may be no spirit of compulsion in any degree.

    Revelation Must be Personal

    47. No-one may have a revelation for another commanding them in the Name of the Lord to marry, whether he be a Deacon or a Patriarch, for compulsion in matters of the heart is not of God.

    48. Each individual shall obtain a revelation or prophecy for himself, and himself only, but not impose that revelation or prophecy on his or her intended spouse.

    49. But the Church shall have the obligation to teach the true way without compromise that none may be uninformed of God's holy laws.

    Seeking Marriage Guidance

    50. Couples should seek the advice of their parents, Pastors, or other Elders concerning their marriage companions, and not despise the wisdom of maturity.

    51. Nevertheless they must choose for themselves.

    Sealed Prophecies

    52. Though another may obtain a revelation or a prophecy that a couple are to be married, he shall seal it up in his heart and not reveal what God has revealed to him until the couple have become married.

    53. And if they are not married, he shall not reveal what the Lord has told him, but bear his secret to the grave.

    54. Neither shall such a person reveal this knowledge to anyone else, for this is the burden of the prophet and prophetess.

    Married Persons Joining the Church

    55. Many couples who join the Church are already married civilly or by some other religious ceremony;

    56. Such persons coming into the Church shall have their marriages blessed by the Pastorate or Bishopric before the congregation of Israel as a testimony to the world that the Church will hold their marriage covenants sacred, and that their marriage is now in Christ.

    57. These may then enter Priesthood marriage covenants as and when they are called up into Priesthood Orders.

    Millennial Christianity

    58. The New Covenant Christian experience is quite unique and not remotely connected with the marriage practices of other Churches or religions, but is the practice of Millennial Christianity to come.

    59. There is the Lord's way of going about seeking a marriage partner and there is the world's.

    60. I repeat, in the the Name of the Lord, that no marriage has an everlasting foundation unless it is appointed by God.

    No Arranged Marriages by Men

    61. Neither are there any "arranged" marriages in this Church, for no man or woman instructs any other as to whom they should marry, be they parents or Church officers.

    62. As a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ becomes endowed with more Light, God himself reveals to them personally who their marriage partners should be.

    63. Thus all marriage in this Covenant is (ideally) ordained by personal revelation by the One who knows all things, for only those couples foreordained to marriage can bring each other, through Christ, the fullness of love and happiness which all men and women everywhere are seeking.

    Guarding Free Agency

    64. If a man gets a word of prophecy that he is to marry a certain woman, and if he makes this known to her before she obtains this witness herself, then the Church will under no circumstances endorse or perform such a marriage even if both parties agree to it.

    65. This is a safeguard against false or impure revelation which in the immature and carnally-disposed is merely a mask for personal desires, for the gift of revelation is not perfected quickly.

    66. The marriage covenant is taken very seriously by the Church and is con- sidered so sacred that unless a couple obtain revelation directly from Heaven independently, thereby fully recognising the free agency of each other and the sovereignty of God in the eternal marriage covenant, any relationship will be built on a sandy foundation.

    The Way of the World

    67. Those who do not want the fullness of marriage will pursue the world's forms of courtship and marriage, and this must always remain their privilege to choose if they so desire, and without recrimination or accusation from the Body.

    Making Marriage Proposals

    68. If, then, two people obtain a testimony that they are to be married, and have done so independently of each other, how are they to let each other know?

    69. They are to independently approach their Pastors (the man to his Pastor and the woman to her Pastress) or local Bishops (the man to his Bishop and the woman to her Bishopress) who shall advise them according to the Spirit of the Lord that is given to them.

    70. The couples should also seek the advice of their parents who are in the Lord and any others whom they respect as servants of the Lord from amongst the Elders and Eldresses, respectively.

    71. Having obtained counsel from two or three witnesses independently of one another, they should go to the Lord in prayer and obtain His will, arriving at a decision.

    72. Having done this, they should then propose to one another. It does not matter whether the man proposes to the woman, or the woman to the man.

    73. If they are agreed, they should come together in prayer and obtain a joint witness of the Holy Spirit.

    Pastoral Guidance

    74. Having done so, they should make an appointment with the Pastorate (if they belong to a local Colony) or Bishopric (if they belong to a Central Colony) to discuss a timetable for marriage.

    75. The couple should seek the blessing of their Pastorate or Bishopric to be dedicated, which is similar to "engagement" in the world.

    Concerning Dedication

    76. Dedication may or may not be made public to the Church according to the desires of the couple and may be long or short, as shall be mutually agreed between the Pastorate or Bishopric, and the parents (if they are in the Lord).

    77. The period of Dedication is under no circumstances to be "rushed" in order to hasten a marriage, for self-control and a desire to put the spiritual before all else must characterise the desire to be dedicated.

    78. The Covenant of Dedication is an agreement to conscientiously build a friendship of brotherly-sisterly love in the Lord together with other Christians which shall become the foundation of a future marriage.

    79. There is to be no physical relationship or intimacy during the days of Dedication (which is not absolutely binding and can be anulled) which is normally a period of from three months to one year, depending on the age of the couple, and depending on how well they already know one another.

    Concerning Betrothal

    80. Betrothal is essentiall spiritual marriage, or marriage without physical consummation or physical intimacy beyond that Law which is encumbant upon the saints;

    81. It is the time in which the couple get to know each other even better, as courting couples do, but within the boundaries prescribed by the moral law.

    82. Betrothal is as binding as full marriage, the couple being considered as spiritual husband and wife, the ordinance thereof being binding beyond the grave if entered into in Christ and should not therefore be entered into lightly.

    83. It is equivalent to the Mystical {allegorical} Marriage of Christ to the saints and all the covenants and obligations pertaining thereto, and is sacred.

    84. The duration of the Betrothal period shall likewise be determined by mutual agreement between the couple, the Pastorate (or Bishopric) and the parents of the couple (if they are in the Lord), and is usually from three months to one year long, depending on the spiritual maturity of the couple.

    The Blessings of the Divine Pattern

    85. If men and women will follow this pattern by becoming spiritually wed to Christ and then seek His will for their marriage partners, a fullness of joy shall break forth and true abiding marriages result.


    86. The Lord is not, of course, restricted to revealing His will in this way but may choose to act as He will, and the Pastorate and local prophets should be accutely conscious of this.

    87. However, the cardinal key of agency and revelation is respected in all extraordinary situations, and this revelation must still be properly tested to ascertain its purity and maturity.

    Serve the Lord Wholeheartedly First

    88. We counsel those seeking marriage, as well as those seeking endowment of the Holy Spirit generally, to serve the Lord with all their hearts by entering into full and active discipleship in the Kingdom.

    89. Marriage is one of the most sacred and beautiful of all the ordinances of the Gospel and can either bring heaven or hell, depending on the choices made and the manner in which marriage is sought after.

    90. Therefore we counsel the unmarried to soberly consider marriage in the light of what has been revealed by God in the Scriptures and modern revelations, that they may find the joy which they rightly desire. Amen.

    If you would like to purchase a copy of the whole book of revelations, which includes an extensive commentary, concordance, index and relevant articles, click the book below:
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    This page was first created on 23 March 1998
    Last updated on 23 March 1998

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