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When David wrote in Psalm 85:10 that "righteousness and peace have kissed," he was using the metaphor of love and marriage. He repeats the idea in a parallel fashion, as we so often see in Hebrew literature, telling us in the same verse, "mercy and truth have met together."
It is a description of the Ark of the Covenant, which David contemplated virtually every day in the tent near his house that is called "David's tabernacle." This was, of course, prior to the building of Solomon's temple, when the Ark was placed in the Most Holy Place.
When we speak of marriage, we think first of love. But there is more than one kind of love. In Scripture, phileo, "brotherly love," is good, but agape is the love of God and stands higher thanphileo. This is because phileo love is a 50/50 relationship, based upon fairness and justice between siblings, while agape is a more mature love that does not demand its "fair share."
These two kinds of love are applicable to the two kinds of marriage found in Scripture. These are illustrated best by Abraham's two wives, Hagar and Sarah (Gal. 4:22). Hagar was a bondwoman, while Sarah was a free woman. Both were married to Abraham, but their relationships were different. Hagar was a servant, for she represented the Old Covenant, Paul says. Sarah was a free woman, and her marriage relationship was based upon the New Covenant.
Exodus 21 recognizes both kinds of marriages. In the beginning, God joined Adam and Eve together, saying, "they shall become one flesh." This did not mean that they would merge together into one person, but rather that they would retain their individual integrity but be in total UNITY.
After they sinned, a new type of relationship became necessary, for once they became subject to sin and death, there was disagreement and disunity. For this reason, it was necessary that God establish authority, so that when there was disagreement, they might remain unified by force and fear. But in the beginning, it was not so, nor is it the ultimate intention that submission to authority would be the highest relationship between God and man.
The Old Covenant was based upon Israel's submission to God and sealed by a vow of obedience in Ex. 19:8, "All that the Lord has spoken, we will do." The Bible speaks of this as a marriage vow. God's marriage to Israel established a marriage to a bondwoman (Hagar), and as a servant, she was required to be obedient to her Husband--often against her will. But Israel was unfaithful almost from the beginning, when she committed adultery with the golden calf (Ex. 32:4).
Eventually, God gave her a bill of divorce and sent her out of His house (Jer. 3:8). The Assyrians deported the House of Israel, and they never returned. Nor could they return as long as they represented Hagar. The only way they could be remarried to God was under a New Covenant, by which they would marry Him as Sarah, and not Hagar. God will not remarry anyone again who comes as Hagar and expects to marry Him through the Old Covenant.
This New Covenant relationship is that which God established from the beginning with Adam and Eve. It is to become one flesh, that is, one spirit. It is a marriage in which both parties are in unity and full agreement. It is a relationship where authority is irrelevant, because both Husband and wife are of one mind and heart. God does not have to tell her what to do or how to act, nor does He have to reprimand her or force her to do anything contrary to her will. Their wills are one.
This is the type of Bride that Christ now seeks, and He will never again marry one that must be ruled over by fear and force in order to ensure compliance to His righteousness.
Understanding these two kinds of marriage is crucial to knowing how righteousness and peace kiss, and how mercy and truth come together in the Ark of the Covenant. Though the Ark was built in the time of the Old Covenant, it prophesied of the New Covenant, which, from the beginning, was the intent of God. Thus, the Ark is not the Ark of the Old Covenant, but the Ark of the New Covenant.
In this New Covenant, we find the tables of the law (i.e., righteousness and truth) kissing the mercy seat (mercy and peace). At that point of contact, the two become of one mind, heart, and of one spirit. The two are no longer at cross-purposes. The two no longer have two wills. The justice of the law is no longer trying to condemn sinners, while mercy is trying to save them from the law. No, justice and mercy are kissing and are in full agreement as a New Covenant marriage was meant to be from the beginning.
When we truly understand this divine marriage between law and mercy (or law and grace), we can see that when the Ark is understood as the Ark of the Old Covenant, the mercy seat must impose its will upon the tables of the law, forcing the law to become the servant of mercy. This represents the BEST relationship possible under Hagar--the Old Covenant.
But we are to cast out the bondwoman (Gal. 4:30) and establish the free woman. This means we are to cast out the Old Covenant method of dealing with the law (who is mercy's wife). The Old Covenant marriage relationship is based upon authority, fear, and (if necessary) force in order to accomplish the will of mercy. But the New Covenant marriage relationship is characterized by love and total agreement and unity, which needs no authority, fear, or force to coerce the law into establishing the will of the mercy seat.
This is possible only by a new look at the law, applying it not by the Hagar-principle, but by the Sarah-principle. The two covenants are two ways of dealing with the law. The law is not the problem, for the law itself is perfect (Psalm 19:7). "The judgments of the Lord are true, they are righteous altogether" (Ps. 19:9). The problem is how the law is applied. Is it applied with the Hagar perspective, or the Sarah perspective?
When the Ark of the Covenant represents the New Covenant, then can justice and mercy kiss in full agreement. Neither is swallowed up by the other. Each retains its individual integrity, and yet they are "one flesh," and "one body, one spirit." Their wills are one, and both are important to complete each other.
So it is with Christ and His Bride-to-be. In practical experience, when we are justified by faith, we enter the realm of Passover as an immature "baby Christian." Christ is not going to marry a child-bride, for spiritual immaturity is what characterized Hagar. When a believer experiences Pentecost, he/she begins to learn obedience, hearing God's voice, and following the leading of the Spirit. But this too is still part of Hagar. It is good, but it has not yet reached the level of Sarah, the New Covenant relationship that Christ wants.
If we retain our foundations in the Cross (Passover) and learn obedience to the Spirit (Pentecost), the law will be written on our hearts little by little. The day will come, if we are faithful to press on and not revert back to Old Covenant religion, that God will call us into the higher realm of Tabernacles. This is the realm of complete agreement and unity, and this is the point where the corporate marriage will take place between Christ and the Bride.
The Bride will consist of whoever is faithful in Passover (faith) and Pentecost (obedience) and qualifies for Tabernacles. God is looking for a Bride that He does not have to command by fear, but who automatically knows His will and is in full agreement with Him. She is the Bride who sits with Him in His throne as His joint-heir and as the co-executor of His will on earth. These are the overcomers, of whom it is said that they will reign with Him on the earth (Rev. 5:10; Rev. 20:6).