The Mystery of the Husband, the Wife, and the Church

by Joshua Tilghman on June 21, 2012

Have you ever wondered what Paul was really referring to when he used the words “husband” and “wife” in Ephesians? How about “Christ” and “Church?” Paul says it is a great mystery! What if I told you Paul was speaking of consciousness itself? Sounds absurd, doesn’t it!? But if you dig deep enough, it becomes obvious. And isn’t consciousness one of the greatest mysteries of the universe? But it is also important to realize that Paul is not speaking of ordinary consciousness; he is referring to what is known by many as Christ consciousness. Remember, Paul was a mystic, and if you don’t understand the language of the ancient mystic, you will never truly understand the Bible.

We are going to learn all about this in Ephesians chapter five today. And just in case this is the first blog post you have read on the Spirit of the Scripture, you might want to read my other blog posts on Adam and Eve linked in the top right sidebar when you finish this post to get a better understanding of all this important Biblical information.

In traditional Christian circles, the concept behind the word “church” is shallow. But to the ancient mystics, it would have symbolized a body of individuals that had a radical transformation. In “church” today, that radical transformation is missing because it cannot happen in a building. It must happen “within” you. And by “within” I mean your state of consciousness. To put it bluntly, you cannot have a true transformation unless you have a change in your consciousness!

But how do you have a transformation in consciousness as taught by Jesus in the Gospels? Is it by saying that you accept Jesus into your heart and then believe somehow you are saved? Ancient mystics would have snickered at the idea. Is this blasphemous?

Consider the fact that eighteen hundred years ago, ancient mystics also snickered at the bishops of the institutionalized church who thought the earth was flat! Did the ancient mystic know something that the institutionalized church missed in the interpretation of the Gospels too? And more importantly for today’s post, did the leaders of the institutionalized church miss something in the letters of Paul? You bet they did. And Ephesians is certainly one of them.

If Paul was truly a precursor to the Christian mystic instead of a Christian literalist or fundamentalist, what would the “church” and the “body of Christ” truly have meant to him? What about the words “husband” and “wife?” Are the true interpretations of these words veiled in the language of the ancient mystic? Absolutely! The body of Christ to Paul was not so much about a body of believers as it was a group of people who had a consciousness transformation. The body of Christ was about individuals who had become ONE with Christ by reaching the same state of higher consciousness as the man Jesus did. Paul’s use of the terms “husband” and “wife” also continues in the same mystical tradition as the Genesis author who uses “Adam” and “Eve.” All of these terms symbolically represent the human mind.

Let’s get into Ephesians chapter five and learn more. In verses 30 through 32 Paul states:

“For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church” (Eph. 5:30-32).

Through these scriptures we come to understand that the terms “man” and “wife” as literal individuals is not Paul’s ultimate meaning. As Paul puts it, these two terms refer to a great mystery, an “inner” revelation that also points to the mystery of Christ and the Church.

If you read all of Ephesians chapter five, Paul speaks of the roles between a man and a woman in a marriage relationship, but we shouldn’t miss what Paul is REALLY referring to here. He is speaking about a relationship within the individual mind.

Let’s further break down these important scriptures. When Paul says that “we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones,” he is metaphorically speaking of achieving a spiritual union with Christ. This spiritual union, as we will soon see, is one involving consciousness, and more specifically, the same type of consciousness transformation that Christ had in the Gospels.

In Ephesians Paul speaks of a man “leaving” his mother and father to be “joined” to his wife. What does he mean by “mother” and “father” since we already know that Paul is not being literal? We must remember that man was given physical life through two aspects: the dust of the earth (mother aspect) and the breath of life (Father, or spiritual aspect). This simply explains the process of spirit expressing itself in a physical body. As a child grows and develops an ego through the waking conscious, he or she becomes more and more conditioned to grasp only the physical world; the connection to the subconscious, or their “inner” self, is severed. It is very similar to how a husband might severe the emotional relationship with his wife by cutting off a line of communication.

However, Paul quickly encourages true believers to “leave” the grasp we have on the waking consciousness by joining the subconscious. A man must “leave” his mother and father and be “joined” to his wife. In other words, the waking conscious by itself must be relinquished, sacrificed, crucified, and ultimately transcended; this also allows us to transcend the physical world. Therefore joining with the wife metaphorically means to realize a higher state of consciousness. This is the ultimate union between the husband and the wife (conscious and subconscious) where Christ consciousness (joining the body of Christ) is achieved.

Mystics who have achieved the union spoken of above admit that there really is no separate self, and all is ONE. As Jesus said:

“I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me” (John 17:23).

What was Jesus’ true mission? It was to show us what the condition of the human mind is all about. It was also to teach us about the mystery of ourselves and that which is “within” in relation to that which is “outside” of us.

Let’s look at some other scriptures in this chapter from Ephesians to understand this mystery Paul speaks of further. Paul states:

“Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing” (Eph. 5:24).

This is not to be taken literally. A religion where the male becomes dominant in “everything” creates an egotistical society indeed. Paul was not chauvinistic like many literalists may wish you to believe. Mystics of the ancient world celebrated women as creative, intuitive individuals! It was the institutional Church that taught that women were the lower aspect of humanity. Paul was simply stating that the subconscious mind is subject to the conscious mind because your waking conscious (male aspect) leads and impregnates the subconscious (female aspect) with its thoughts. That’s why its important to become aware of our thoughts. But even more importantly, you truly love someone else when you lay down your life for them.

As Paul continues in Ephesians:

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it. That he might sanctify it and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word…” (Eph. 5:25-26).

Here Paul is speaking of the job the waking conscious must ultimately perform. Notice that Paul points out how Christ gave himself for the church. This symbolizes relinquishing the waking conscious and surrendering it. Activities like mindfulness and meditation help one to do this. By surrendering the waking conscious in activities like prayer, mindfulness, and meditation, the subconscious and the waking conscious begin to become as ONE! Just like the husband and the wife do as the man lays down his own life for his wife!

Now consider more scripture from Ephesians:

“That he (Christ) might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish…” (Eph. 5:27).

When the waking conscious sacrifices itself to the subconscious, then both the conscious and subconscious create a state of higher consciousness that is without spot or blemish (egoistic illusion). Paul continues:

“So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife (nurtures the subconscious) loves himself.”

Wow! That’s powerful! Isn’t in interesting that Paul points out that understanding that which is within you is the same as loving your own body. Why? Because remember the subconscious is also responsible for the health of the body. If the waking conscious puts negative emotions and thoughts into the subconscious, the body will become filled with disease.

As a final note, I don’t want readers to think the waking conscious and ego is evil. The ego was part of the plan all along.

In case you haven’t read the other blog posts, it is important to know that ultimate union with God, or the achievement of Christ consciousness, is about the realization that everything, or God, is ultimately ONE beyond the physical aspect of life. By laying down the waking conscious this becomes apparent. By grasping to and hanging on to the physical aspect of consciousness where all is seemingly separate, you are continually re-establishing the ego. This is why Jesus continually had to deny Satan (metaphorically speaking of his own ego) in the dessert. Ultimately, Christ achieved his goal of a higher state of consciousness as represented by being crucified on the cross at Golgotha, or the place of the skull. The skull houses the mind! Christ overcame the human condition of the egoistic mind!

So there you have it. Paul uses mystic language in the book of Ephesians to show us the profound mystery of consciousness evolution. To follow Christ is to become like him. It is not enough to believe in him. You must have union with him too. If you are not already doing so, practice meditation and mindfulness! These activities are part of the key to achieving Christ consciousness.

In the next blog post we will speak of “The Bride of Christ.” We will continue with the theme of consciousness and hopefully you will gain a new level of appreciation for the mystical language of the New Testament writers.

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Chuck Dunning June 22, 2012 at 11:39 pm

Wonderful metaphorical analysis, Josh! When we can read the stories and lessons of the Bible as being about what happens within our own souls this way, then we are already much closer to Jesus, the master of parables!



Joshua Tilghman June 23, 2012 at 7:44 am


So true! Thanks for commenting.


Paul Young July 24, 2012 at 6:18 am

Your website is absolutely amazing. I thought I was the ONLY one who believed the things you teach. I have labored independently (Prov. 6:6-7; 2 Th. 3:10) for a number of years now, and that independent laboring has revealed to me the things you espouse herein. Christ is born of a virgin. When we truly come to understand that that means, we will stop relying on “outer darkness” (I love that phrase) to show us the light, which resides inside us (Jer. 17:5). Our teacher, pastor, reverend, etc., is within us. Christ dwells within — in his Kingdom, which is within us (Luke 17:21). Becoming one with our “teacher” truly is what “marriage” is all about. True marriage has NOTHING at all to do with the relationship between a physical man and woman. Nor does “honoring father and mother” have anything to do with obedience to your physical parents. Nor does adultery have anything to do with having sex with someone who is not your physical husband or wife.

Thanks for this. I have added your site to my favorites and will stay in touch.


Joshua Tilghman July 24, 2012 at 8:12 am

Paul, thanks so much for your comments and enthusiasm for Biblical truth. I created this website for people like us because although there is a lot of esoteric literature on the net, I wasn’t able to find a site that explored the Bible esoterically in a comprehensive way. Such a site would have saved me a lot of valuable time in my early search. Therefore, I decided to do it myself. It will take me a lifetime to explore the Bible the way I want, so I plan on keeping this site maintained for quite a while. Thanks again and I look forward to hearing more from you in the future!


Paul Young July 24, 2012 at 6:56 pm

I always say the Bible is bigger than any one man or group of men. It is sooo incredibly rich. My current understanding of it has given it much more validity in my eyes than the way I used to understand it growing up as a JW, and later as a teacher in the Baptist church.

Our visions (yours and mine) appear to be identical (as our pasts also seem to be, which is why I say we need to talk). We NEED spiritually based people to do the work required to offer the world a true understanding. Not that I think it’s necessary, for there truly is nothing wrong with anything. Everything is exactly as it should be, but one of my greatest goals (visions) is to help people to understand what Spirit has helped me to understand, the major thrust of which is that “we are the temple of God and the Spirit of God dwells in us.”

I am truly fascinated by the potential here.


Joshua Tilghman July 26, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Thanks again, Paul. And yes, the estoeric way of understanding the Bible does give it so much more validity, especially when we try and wade through the literal contradictions. Take care!


Travis H December 17, 2012 at 5:17 pm

Hey man, great site! I have been learning a lot about this recently. I grew up a Christian but the Bible never made sense, I knew it had to be either symbolic or just total nonsense. There is a lot of astrological stuff in the Bible as well, but much of it meshes together with the consciousness and mind stuff. This, I think, is a testament to the age old saying “As Above, So Below”. What happens in our bodies happens in the universe as well, to an observable extent.

I don’t know if anyone has recommended this to you before, but check out Bill Donohue has been talking about this same stuff for years and his site is pretty chock-full of info.


Joshua Tilghman December 18, 2012 at 11:56 am


Thanks for taking the time to comment. I have seen hiddenmeanings before. Bill is a very knowledgeable man. Some of his articles helped me many years ago as I was making a transition. Another reader suggested I look at some of his videos which I had never viewed. They’re packed full of great stuff.

I wish you the best.


Betty Alark October 23, 2013 at 1:38 am

“Ultimately, Christ achieved his goal of a higher state of consciousness as represented by being crucified on the cross at Golgotha, or the place of the skull. The skull houses the mind! Christ overcame the human condition of the egoistic mind!”

So again I ask: You present the esoteric meaning however you continue to say “what Jesus taught”

I understand what esoteric means, however, Jesus couldn’t have taught an esoteric meaning withiout being a literal teacher. You say at the top ” that His crucifixtion was representative of achieving His goal of a higher state of consciousness, which again indicates that Jesus didn’t actually die on the cross.

I gain much insight from the esoteric meaning, however your portrayal of actual teacher and esoteric representation is somewhat confusing to me.


Alvin Davis April 24, 2015 at 2:16 pm

This help me1 Think on 2 levels.

level 1 – esoteris is all about mind/spirit

level2 – literal is about physical/material

level 2 we experience everyday, But level 1 which the bible is trying to get us to understand, why we’re experiencing it Now.

Hope that Helps some.


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