DOES SCRIPTURE DEFINE THE MARRIAGE COVENANT?
In order to lay the
foundation for this book, let us first determine the scriptural
definition of marriage and the
VIRGINITY : WHAT IS MARRIAGE
order to define marriage, let us see what the Bible says. Deuteronomy
any man takes a wife, and goes in to her,
and detests her,
charges her with shameful conduct, and brings a bad name on her, and
says, 'I took this woman,
and when I came to her I found she was not a virgin,'
the father and mother of the young woman shall take and bring out the evidence
young woman's virginity to the elders of the city
at the gate.
the young woman's father shall say to the elders, 'I gave my daughter
to this man as wife, and
he detests her;
he has charged her with shameful conduct, saying, "I found your
daughter was not a virgin," and
yet these are the evidences of my daughter's virginity.' And they shall
spread the cloth before the
elders of the city.
the elders of that city shall take that man and punish him;
they shall fine him one hundred shekels of silver and give them to the
father of the young woman,
because he has brought a bad name on a virgin of Israel. And
she shall be his wife; he cannot divorce her all his days.
if the thing is true, and evidences of virginity are not found for the
they shall bring out the young woman to the door of her father's house,
and the men of her
city shall stone her to death with stones, because she has done a
in Israel, to play the harlot in her father's house; so
you shall put away the evil from among
22:14 in Lamsa's translation states:
give an occasion of speech against her, charging
her with adultery, and bring an evil name
upon her, and say, I took this woman, and when
I lay with her, I found her not a virgin.
clearly equates the lack of virginity with evidence of adultery.
22:14 in the New International Version states:
slanders her and gives her a bad name, saying, "I married this woman,
but when I approached
her, I did not find proof of
her virginity," (NIV)
more clearly indicates that the man approached the young woman to
consumate the marriage
but, presumably on inspection, found her not to be a virgin.
22:19 in the King James Version states:
they shall amerce him in an hundred shekels of silver, and give them
unto the father of the damsel,
because he hath brought up an evil name upon a virgin of Israel: and
she shall be his wife; he
not put her away all his days. (KJV)
also Deuteronomy 22:28-29 in the King James version:
If a man find a damsel that is a virgin, which is not betrothed, and
lay hold on her, and lie with her,
and they be found;
29 Then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel's father
fifty shekels of silver, and she
shall be his wife; because he hath humbled her, he
may not put her away all his days. (KJV)
this scripture, Exodus 22:16-17 states:
16 "If a
man entices a virgin who is not betrothed, and lies with her, he shall
surely pay the bride-price
for her to be his wife.
her father utterly refuses to give her to him, he shall
pay money according to the bride-price of virgins. (NKJ)
I will present some
comments and interpretation based on Deuteronomy 22:13-21 together with
subsequent scriptures and then corroborate it with further scriptures.
Most of the scriptures referring to
virginity are listed in Appendix A, page 224, for your convenience.
Section 17, page 75 provides a more
detailed interpretation of Deuteronomy 22:28-29 and Exodus 22:16-17
under the title "one night stands".
VIRGINITY IS A PRE-REQUISITE FOR GODLY MARRIAGE
give rise to the following comments:
i. The evidence of
the woman's virginity is without doubt a cloth used to collect the
blood shed from the
young woman's hymen when she was penetrated in sexual intercourse the
ii. I do not
believe that there is any disagreement that the word "virgin" in the
context of a woman refers
to a woman who has never had sexual intercourse and, in scriptural
terms, whose hymen is intact.
iii. It is equally
clear that the man who accuses his bride of not being a virgin after he
"goes into her" or
"approaches" her is married to her and this marriage cannot be
dissolved if he has brought a false
iv. BUT if his
accusation is correct then the young woman is defined by the Word of
God as a "harlot" and
is sentenced to die immediately.
v. If a man takes a
virgin forcibly he is responsible for her for life, he may never put
her away or "divorce"
vi. If a man
entices a virgin and lies with her, her father may refuse to permit her
to marry the man when
the father first hears about it, if the father does not refuse to
permit her to marry then they are considered
to be married. Refer to section 60, page 178 relating to the passage of
Scripture in Judges 21 verses 20
to 23 where wives are taken for Benjamin in terms of this principle. If
the father does not permit her to
marry it would appear that Deuteronomy 22:13-21 prohibits her
from ever remarrying.
VIRGINITY IS SACRED
interpretation can be derived from this:
i. Virginity is
sacred and Holy, it is not negotiable in the sight of God.
ii. A woman who is
not a virgin is only eligible to marry if she is a widow or divorced on
acceptable grounds (refer Matthew 5:31-32, Matthew 19:3-10,
Mark 10:2-12 where Jesus makes it quite
clear that there are certain specific conditions under which sexual
union with a scripturally divorced
woman is not adultery, see also the discussion on divorce in section
21, 22, page 83.
iii. A woman who
was a harlot or adulteress is only eligible to marry if she has come to
salvation and / or
she has come to true repentance of her sin and deliverance therefrom.
She must be divorced in the sight
of God from the man who took her virginity and any man to whom she may
have been technically
(legally) married in the sight of the world. Such a woman should only
be married by a man who is
absolutely certain that God has released her for marriage.
SOME ASIDES REGARDING VIRGINITY
There are some side
issues necessary to fully understand this scripture and therefore to
it in the current age:
i. The virgin
referred to in this passage of scripture was typically approximately
twelve and a half years
old and was on the point of commencing menstruation or had only just
commenced. This is confirmed
in the Talmud and other sources. The Talmud, Steinsaltz Edition, Volume
IX, Tractate Ketubot Part III,
published by Random House New York, pages 1 to 13 repeatedly defines a
virgin as being a girl between
the age of twelve and twelve and a half years corresponding to the
point at which a girl allegedly attains
sexual maturity and is regarded as an adult woman. Refer to section 63,
page 183 for an extract of the
Talmud on this point.
physical factors which can give rise to perforation of the hymen in
older virgins would
not have been experienced. Note that so-called "child brides" were
still common in the Middle East until
recently. I have met a woman of Lebanese descent whose parents'
generation frequently married brides
in the age group 12 to 15.
I mention this, not
with a view to stimulating controversy about the acceptable age of a
girl at marriage
but to overcome any difficulty that modern readers may have with this
scripture based on the tendency
for modern, athletically active, young women to damage their hymens
before marriage. It is important
to understand that it is spiritual folly to marry a woman with a
damaged hymen unless one is absolutely
certain that God has declared her free to marry. Failing this the man
will be committing adultery.
ii. It would appear
that witnesses were present at the act of defloration otherwise there
could not have been
any "evidence" as the man and woman would not be permitted to give
evidence scripturally. Certainly
it would seem that the father must have been present in order to be
able to testify with regard to the
evidence of virginity in Deuteronomy 22:16! If he was not present
surely any cloth with blood on it
would suffice as "evidence"?
iii. To the best of
my knowledge, the hymen, like the foreskin, serves no known biological
material significance. It only serves as a warning to the bridegroom to
the effect that "if this seal is
broken, do not marry".
We must therefore
ask the question, "Why did God create woman with a hymen?" And surely,
answer can only be "To warn the bridegroom of impending spiritual
danger if it is damaged or absent!".
THE CRITICAL CONCLUSIONS : SEXUAL INTERCOURSE WITH A VIRGIN IS
MARRIAGE AND WOMAN WAS CREATED FROM THE BEGINNING TO HAVE ONLY
conclusions that can be derived from this scripture are:
God created woman to lose her virginity only once, she was only
marry once and therefore to only marry one man, in other words,
IS sexual intercourse with a virgin!
ii. Since it is
equally clear that once a man has penetrated a virgin and taken her
virginity, he is married to
her, we must conclude that God permits a man to marry more than one
wife since it is perfectly possible
for a man to take the virginity of more than one woman.
iii. God ordained
woman to be this way from creation NOT after the fall of Adam and Eve.
There is no
scripture to indicate that after the fall God re-engineered Eve and
added the hymen as an after-thought!
whatever acceptable sexual states God foresaw for woman at creation, as
measured by this
unique "seal of virginity" must still surely prevail in our fallen
state although God did introduce divorce
for certain critical cases of spiritual or sexual fornication or
treachery as discussed in section 21, 22, page
Appendix D, page
233 contains many more examples of scriptures which support the fact
permits a man to have more than one wife.
VIRGINITY : CAVEATS
discussion on virginity is intended to highlight the importance of
virginity in the sight of God. At the same time, current social
practice presents us with a situation in which women typically marry at
age considerably older than twelve and a half years, use tampons and
participate in activities which give rise
to a greatly increase likelihood of the hymen being innocently
perforated before marriage. This introduces
some serious complexity in the life of any God-fearing man since it is
apparent from the discussion on
adultery in section 11, page 37 that adultery is a very serious sin
which leads to the guilty parties having a
part in the lake of fire and brimstone if not repented of. Consequently
a man faced with the
prospect of consumating a marriage with a woman with a perforated hymen
be well advised to earnestly seek the Lord for absolutely unambiguous
that God will permit him to marry her and that he will not be
I am also advised
that in older women where the hymen is intact it may become tough with
the result that
great pain is experienced in first intercourse but the hymen does not
tear and no blood is shed. However,
in such an instance there should be little or no doubt that the woman
is a virgin.
WHAT IS THE MARRIAGE COVENANT?
I think it is
generally accepted within the church that marriage is a covenant
relationship, however, there are
diverse explanations of the nature and form of this covenant and how it
comes into existence. This section
seeks to understand the true scriptural marriage covenant.
COVENANT REQUIRES THE SHEDDING OF BLOOD
is the actual sign of the marriage covenant? Hebrews 9:18-20 states:
not even the first covenant was dedicated without blood.
when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the
law, he took the blood
of calves and goats, with water, scarlet wool, and hyssop, and
sprinkled both the book itself and
all the people,
saying, "This is the blood of the covenant which God has commanded
Clearly a covenant
cannot be dedicated without blood.
COVENANT REQUIRES THE CLEAVING / SPLITTING OR CUTTING OF SOME LIVING
to Genesis 15:4-21 we read concerning Abram:
behold, the word of the LORD came to him, saying, "This one shall not
be your heir, but one
who will come from your own body shall be your heir."
5 Then He
brought him outside and said, "Look now toward heaven, and count the
stars if you are
able to number them." And He said to him, "So shall your descendants
he believed in the LORD, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.
7 Then He
said to him, "I am the LORD, who brought you out of Ur of the
Chaldeans, to give you
this land to inherit it."
he said, "Lord GOD, how shall I know that I will inherit it?"
9 So He
said to him, "Bring Me a three-year-old heifer, a three-year-old female
goat, a three-year-old ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon."
he brought all these to Him and cut
them in two, down the middle, and placed
each piece opposite the other; but he did not cut the
birds in two.
when the vultures came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away.
when the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell upon Abram; and behold,
horror and great
darkness fell upon him.
He said to Abram: "Know certainly that your descendants will be
strangers in a land that
is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four
also the nation whom they serve I will judge; afterward they shall come
out with great
as for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried
at a good old age.
in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of
the Amorites is not yet complete."
17 And it
came to pass, when the sun went down and it was dark, that behold,
there appeared a
smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between
the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram,
saying: "To your descendants I have
given this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the River
Kenites, the Kenezzites, and the Kadmonites,
Hittites, the Perizzites, and the Rephaim,
Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites, and the Jebusites." (NKJ)
This is the passage
(verse 6) where Abram believed God and it was accounted to him for
referred to in Galatians 3:6:
Abraham "believed God, and it was accounted to him for
in Romans 4:9-12 we read:
this blessedness then come upon the circumcised only, or upon the
uncircumcised also? For
we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for
then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not
but while uncircumcised.
11 And he
received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the
faith which he had
while still uncircumcised, that he might be the father
of all those who believe, though they are
uncircumcised, that righteousness might be imputed to them also,
the father of circumcision to those who not only are of the
circumcision, but who also walk in
the steps of the faith which our father Abraham had while still
In this passage
there appears to be a clear correlation between the covenant under
which Christians now walk
and the covenant that God cut with Abram in Genesis 15:4-21. There is
also a correlation with a subsequent
covenant cut between God and Abraham by way of circumcision, as
discussed in section 10 below.
there is another principle contained in Genesis 15, specifically in
Then he brought all these to Him and cut
them in two, down the middle, and placed each
piece opposite the other; . . . .
verse 17 we read:
. . . .
.a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between
The smoking oven
and burning torch are widely regarded as being manifestations of the
presence of God
since verse 18 states that "On the same day the
LORD made a covenant with Abram,". So it would
that God passed between the halves of the animals in making the
confirmation of this interpretation in scripture?
will give the men who have transgressed My covenant, who have not
performed the words of the
covenant which they made before Me, when they cut the calf in two and
passed between the parts of
It appears clear in
this case that the covenant made with God by the Princes of Judah and
others referred to
in the subsequent verses involved cutting a calf in two and passing
between the parts of it. Essentially the
same actions that we see in Genesis 15:10 to 18.
However, there is
more to it. The Living Torah, a modern Jewish translation by Rabbi
published by Maznaim Publishing Corporation, New York and Jerusalem,
translates Genesis 15:10:
brought all these for Him. He split them in half, and placed
one half opposite the other.
Here we see the
word translated "cut" in the New King James Version, translated split.
footnote to Genesis 15:10 in the Living Torah states:
"split them . . . This was the way of
making a covenant (Rashi). Indeed, the words b'rith
(covenant) and bathar (split) appear to be closely related
(.....) It symbolized that just as
the two halves of the animal were really one, so were the two people
making the covenant. Moreover, just as one side cannot
live without the other, so the two cannot live without
each other (.....). It was also seen as a malediction; anyone
violating the oath would be
torn asunder like the animals (.....)."
In this one note we
begin to see the deeper meaning embodied in Deuteronomy 22:13-30, cited
8, page 19, revealed:
i. The covenant is
made by splitting or cutting some living thing and shedding blood.
ii. People who make
a blood covenant become one and cannot live without one another.
iii. A person who
breaks covenant is to be put to death.
This is confirmed
by a variety of independent sources who have studied the blood covenant
in scripture and
also in pagan practice. Refer teachings by Kenneth Copeland on
"Covenant Made by Blood : Hesed -
Agape", ISBN 0-88114-790-7, published by Kenneth Copeland Ministries.
Oxford English Dictionary defines:
... Break forcibly, be broken into parts esp. longitudinally or with
the grain or plane of
Consider also the
physical reality of a "meat cleaver" as something that cleaves or cuts
into the meat.
THE MARRIAGE COVENANT IS CUT WHEN A MAN CLEAVES INTO HIS VIRGIN WIFE
together Genesis 2:21-25 in the King James Translation states:
the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and
he took one of his ribs,
and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and
brought her unto
Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she
shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.
Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his
they shall be one flesh.
they were both naked, the man and his wife, and were not ashamed. (KJV)
Thus we see the man
cleaving or splitting his wife, forcibly breaking apart her hymen on
the plane of
cleavage, shedding blood. He then proceeds to "walk" or "pass between"
the two halves completing the
imagery is vivid and powerful. If we put aside our prudery for a moment
wonder at the physical appearance of the external female sexual organ,
be even further amazed at the imagery which our God has encapsulated in
superficially is an organ whose structure and design makes no earthly
sense. It is
not intended to, it faithfully recreates the two halves of the covenant
to the hair covering the animal! Surely we must conclude that God knew
from the beginning and designed woman to be symbolic of His covenant
Taking it further,
He symbolically recreates the cutting of the covenant every time a wife
who truly loves
her husband and gives herself totally to him experiences sexual orgasm
coupled with a flood of blood into
the labia minora!
can we conclude other than that the sexual act is the most sublimely
representation of the act of covenant? How can we be other than
appalled at how
this symbolism has been lost and distorted?
The sexual act is an act of such enormous spiritual significance - is
it any wonder
that Satan has expended the energy that he has to deceive us for so
How can we for a
moment suggest that there is another purpose for virginity?
THE FEMALE SEXUAL ORGAN IS THE SYMBOL OF THE
Clearly every time
a covenant minded man sees his wife's sexual organ he is instinctively
reminded of his
covenant with her. Clearly it is an abomination for any other man to
have sight of the outward symbol of
that covenant, let alone to penetrate it, thus breaking the covenant.
Should we not ask
ourselves whether it is possible that the heart of man seeks for this
covenant purity with
woman and, because of the wrong teaching of this age, turns to
pornography and lust as the only substitute
that offers any recognition of a deep desire for covenant?
Surely the symbolic
portrayal of the female sexual organ, aroused and provocatively
displayed in the form
of the blood red "heart" used on valentine's day cards, to say "I love
you" and as a seemingly innocuous
symbol of love throughout our society represents one of the most
effective devices that Satan has used to
distract us totally from the true meaning of the love that God intended
to exist between man and woman? Do you realise that every time you see
a red heart (), Satan is tricking you subliminally to contemplate
woman's most private AND most Holy part! In a very real sense the door
to her heart, refer to the discussion
on the one flesh bond in section 43, page 127.
Remember that 1
Corinthians 12:23-24 states:
those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these
we bestow greater
honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty,
our presentable parts have no need. But God
composed the body, having
given greater honor to that part which lacks it, (NKJ)
THE CLOSE CORRELATION BETWEEN THE CHRISTIAN COVENANT AND THE
WAIT - IT GOES FURTHER!
in the King James Version states:
Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.
the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the
and he is the saviour of the body.
Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to
their own husbands in every
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and
gave himself for it;
he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
he 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.
ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his
wife loveth himself.
29 For no
man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it,
even as the Lord the
30 For we
are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.
this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and
shall be joined unto his wife, and they
two shall be one flesh.
is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even
as himself; and the wife see that
she reverence her husband. (KJV)
here we see one of the most perfect examples of God's infinite
detail, His wonder and His majesty. We see the blood covenant between
His bride the church, neatly tied in to the blood covenant between a
man and his
wife both demonstrated symbolically by the covenant cut by walking
halves of the animal that has been "cleaved".
If I return for a
moment to the three points made earlier:
i. The covenant is
made by splitting or cutting some living thing and shedding blood:
1) Between man and
man - an animal.
2) Between man and
woman - the hymen of the woman.
man and God - the precious Blood of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus
Christ of Nazareth, shed on the cross at Calvary by the crown of
lashes, the nails and the spear all of which cleaved into His flesh.
ii. People who make
a blood covenant become one and cannot live without one another:
1) Between man and
man - spiritual curses come into effect, something which our generation
ignorant of, but that is a subject for another discourse.
2) Between man and
woman - the one flesh bond, a powerful spiritual bond which literally
ties them together "until death do us part", refer section 43, page 127.
3) Between man and
God - the born again reality, a powerful spiritual force in which the
Spirit of Jesus
comes to live within the Temple of the Believer who believes in their
heart and confesses with their
mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord.
iii. A person who
breaks covenant is to be put to death:
1) Between man and
man, long since lost. Numbers 30:2 states:
2 "If a
man vows a vow to the LORD, or swears an oath to bind himself by some
he shall not break his word; he shall do according to all that proceeds
out of his mouth.
Today a man's word
is seldom his bond. Yet there are still potentially eternal
Revelation 21:8 is quite clear that "ALL liars" will have their part in
the lake of fire and brimstone.
2) Between man and
woman, long since lost in the natural but as I understand it spiritual
results from unrepented adultery. Today adultery hardly seems to be
regarded as serious sin, even
in the church. Many preach that it is easily "repented" of. Refer
section 11, page 37. In reality, the
covenant bond can only be broken by the death of one spouse unless God,
in His mercy and in
response to humble petition in the name of Jesus, cuts the tie. But He
will only do this as a consequence of persistent treachery on the part
of one spouse, refer section 21, 22, page 83.
But the offender
who does not repent in this life will have their part in the lake of
fire and brimstone!
3) Between man and
God the penalty REMAINS ETERNAL SEPARATION FROM GOD - REAL
DEATH. Nothing has changed even though modern man and the church make
light of this. People
are breaking covenant with God all the time and turning their backs on
Him to go to Hell, they just
do not realize it. The deception that it is not serious for people to
break their word and for people to
commit adultery has given rise to a far worse deception, that it is
acceptable to betray and disobey
sincerely hope that by now you will have begun to realize just how deep
serious the subject of this book is. Millions, if not billions of souls
are in Hell and
many others are on their way as a consequence of man's heresies in this
WHY DOES THE BIBLE SEEM TO GIVE SO LITTLE DIRECT GUIDANCE ON MARRIAGE?
dimension, Ephesians 5:31-32 which states that a man "shall
be joined unto his wife,
and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak
and the church" answers another question. That of
why, if marriage is so important, does God seemingly
give so little direct guidance in the Bible on marriage? The answer
must surely be contained in the above
verses coupled to 2 Corinthians 11:2-3 which states:
2 For I
am jealous for you with godly jealousy. For I have betrothed
you to one husband, that I may
present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.
3 But I
fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so
your minds may be
corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ (NKJ)
There are other
scriptures which relate the holy virgin, prepared for the coming of her
husband, to the church
of the Lord Jesus Christ including Ephesians 5:27 above. This thought
is well developed in the article
"Wow! So that's how Jesus loves me!, reproduced in Appendix Q,
page 280. Note that at the same time the
use of the metaphor of the "bride of Christ" is an allegory, metaphor
or parable, in a sense, we become
married to Jesus the instant that we pray the prayer of salvation and
His Spirit comes to dwell within us, thus
we are at the same time both married and betrothed to Jesus in a way
that is perhaps difficult for many to
grasp. This is discussed further in section ****, page ****.
This same thought
is carried through into 2 Peter 3:14:
Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be
diligent to be found by Him in peace,
without spot and blameless; (NKJ)
Can there be any
doubt that the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, traces the
marriage of Jesus Christ
to His bride, culminating with the wedding feast described in
he said to me, "Write: 'Blessed are those who are called
to the marriage supper of the
Lamb!'" And he said to me, "These are the true sayings
of God." (NKJ)
JESUS MARRIED TO MILLIONS IF NOT BILLIONS
Surely, in seeking
to understand these scriptures, we must recognize that the parable of
the ten virgins in
Matthew 25:1-13 refers to a man who was betrothed to marry ten virgins
at the same wedding feast!
the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to ten virgins who
took their lamps and went out
to meet the bridegroom.
five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
who were foolish took their lamps and took no oil with them,
the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
while the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
6 "And at
midnight a cry was heard: 'Behold, the bridegroom is coming; go out to
all those virgins arose and trimmed their lamps.
the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps
are going out.'
the wise answered, saying, 'No, lest there should not be enough for us
and you; but go rather
to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.'
while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those
who were ready went in with him
to the wedding; and the door was shut.
"Afterward the other virgins came also, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to
he answered and said, 'Assuredly, I say to you, I do not know you.'
therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son
of Man is coming.
If Jesus, Himself,
saw fit to refer to such an example in public, surely we must conclude
that it was not
unheard of for a man in Jesus' day to be married to more than one
woman? In this case we must surely
accept that it is heresy to suggest that a man can only have one wife!?
This parable must
be understood in terms of a broader context in terms of which I have
heard it reported that
Jewish tradition involved a bridegroom, having arranged the betrothal,
going "to prepare a place" for his
bride by building on to his father's dwelling. The bride in her turn
would prepare her garments to be without
spot or blemish and would leave a lamp burning in the window at all
times to let her bridegroom know that
she was waiting for him. With this additional knowledge, the scripture
above takes on a whole new
dimension and, as you meditate on this, you will see how so much more
of the scriptures speak to us of the
marriage between man and woman. More details are contained in appendix
Q, page 280.
tradition further comes to vibrant life through John 14:1-3:
not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me.
My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have
go to prepare a place for you.
3 "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and
receive you to
Myself; that where I am, there you may be also. (NKJ)
Surely it is clear
that Jesus is referring to the marriage tradition of the time. He is
saying that there are many
mansions and He is going to prepare a place for His bride. If there are
many mansions or rooms then there
must be many brides!
MAN MARRYING MORE THAN ONE WOMAN AT THE SAME TIME
A problem some may
have with the ten virgins of Matthew 25:1-13 is the prospect of a man
than one woman in the same wedding celebration. More specifically, a
man consumating marriage with five
or ten women in the same night! That may rattle our paradigms but can
there be any doubt that this is what
Jesus is referring to? There is certainly no scripture which expressly
prevents a man from marrying more
than one woman at the same celebration. There is at least one account
in scripture which appears to suggest
that a man could have married two wives at the same time.
Chronicles 24:2-3 states:
Joash did what was right in the sight of the LORD all the days of
3 And Jehoiada took two wives for him, and he had sons and
UNDERSTANDING GOD'S COVENANT LOVE AS IT APPLIES TO MARRIAGE
As we come to terms
with the understanding of the correlation between marriage and the New
Christ, developed above, we can begin to see the richness of the
instruction that God gives us with regard
to marriage throughout the Bible. Thus, when Jesus says that He will "never
leave us or forsake" us in
Hebrews 13:5, we must accept that this applies just as much between a
husband and wife.
God defines His "agape", covenant keeping love in
1 Corinthians 13:1-10:
Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not
love, I have become sounding
brass or a clanging cymbal.
though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and
all knowledge, and though
I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love,
I am nothing.
though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my
body to be burned, but have
not love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not
parade itself, is not puffed up;
5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked,
thinks no evil;
6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;
7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all
8 Love never fails. But whether there are
prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they
will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
9 For we
know in part and we prophesy in part.
when that which is perfect has come, then that which is
in part will be done away. (NKJ)
Surely we must
recognize that this is the love that God refers to in Ephesians
5:22-33, cited above. A fuller
definition is offered in Appendix B page 228, where the full text of
Vine's Expository Dictionary with regard
to Love is quoted. It seems notable to me that there is not a single
reference to relations between husband
and wife in this entire passage - do we truly believe that the Bible
offers no material commentary on the love
between husband and wife? Surely not! Surely we must accept that love
between husband and wife is an
earthly type of the love between Christ and His bride of which I am
sure both you and I hope to be members? Therefore, we must surely
accept that the entire Bible contains guidance on marriage?
Above all, surely
we must accept that:
love, whether exercised toward the brethren, or toward men generally, is
impulse from the feelings, it does not
always run with the natural inclinations,
nor does it spend itself only upon those for whom some affinity is
discovered. Love seeks the welfare
of all, <Rom. 15:2>, and works no ill to any,
<13:8-10>; love seeks opportunity to do good to `all men,
(from Vine's Expository Dictionary
of Biblical Words, Copyright (C) 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
"Love can be known only
from the actions it prompts. God's
love is seen
in the gift of His Son, <1 John 4:9,10>. But obviously
this is not the love of complacency,
or affection, that is, it
was not drawn out by any excellency in its objects,
<Rom. 5:8>. It was an exercise of the divine will in
deliberate choice, made without
assignable cause save that which lies in the nature of God Himself, Cf.
(Vines op. cit.) ........
"Christian love has God for its
primary object, and expresses itself first of all in implicit
obedience to His commandments, <John 14:15,
21,23; 15:10; 1 John 2:5; 5:3; 2 John 6>.
Selfwill, that is, self-pleasing, is the negation of love
Surely we must
conclude that God is quite specific in what He considers to be love in
the context of husband
and wife : it is not an impulse, it is a choice, it seeks the welfare
of the spouse according to the Word and
the Will of God, not it's own welfare nor the welfare of the spouse as
determined by their opinion of what
is best for them, it is determined by the principles set out in 1
(1) suffers long
(2) is kind
(3) does not envy
(4) does not parade itself
(5) is not puffed up
(6) does not behave rudely
(7) does not seek its own
(8) is not provoked
(9) thinks no evil
(10) does not rejoice in iniquity
(11) rejoices in the truth
(12) bears all things
(13) believes all things
(14) hopes all things
(15) endures all things
Love never fails!
Love is a series of
choices with regard to an approach to the relationship which is totally
devoid of any
consideration of SELF. As the Agape Love of God is applied in the
marriage relationship as a choice of life
style, romantic love follows NOT the reverse!
Surely, if this
were the love practised between husband and wife, putting away
("divorce") in the church
would be dramatically reduced! However, it would seem that, in
following the false doctrine of monogamy
and pursuing the Jezebel inspired belief that a woman owns her husband,
God's pattern for marriage and the
relationship between man and wife has been almost totally lost!
THE COVENANT REQUIREMENT FOR CHRISTIAN MEN TO CARE FOR MORE THAN
Surely we cannot be
ready as a spotless bride prepared for our bridegroom until we have
learned to live in
God's form of marriage? Surely this requires that men learn to care for
more than one woman and women
learn to share their husband with another wife? Surely the church
cannot learn to live together in unity until
men and women in the body of Christ have learned to live together in
harmony? Is there not a clear parallel
between the seven churches of Revelation and the seven women in Isaiah
the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace
to you and peace from Him who is and
who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before
from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead,
and the ruler over the kings
of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His
6 and has
made us kings and priests to His God and Father, to Him be glory and
and ever. Amen.
He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him,
even they who pierced Him. And
all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.
8 "I am
the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End," says the Lord,
"who is and who was
and who is to come, the Almighty." (NKJ)
Surely this speaks
about the end of the age when Jesus will return for His bride and she
will be caught up
to join Him in the air? Surely the church is the bride and this passage
speaks of seven churches, each with
1 And in
that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, "We will eat our
food and wear our own apparel; only let us be called by your name, to
take away our reproach."
2 In that
day the Branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious; and the
fruit of the earth shall
be excellent and appealing for those of Israel who have escaped.
3 And it
shall come to pass that he who is left in Zion and remains in Jerusalem
will be called holy--
everyone who is recorded among the living in Jerusalem.
the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purged
the blood of
Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit
5 then the LORD will create above every dwelling place of Mount Zion,
and above her assemblies,
a cloud and smoke by day and the shining of a flaming fire by night.
For over all the glory there
will be a covering.
6 And there will be a tabernacle for shade in the daytime from the
heat, for a place of refuge, and
for a shelter from storm and rain. (NKJ)
this speaks of the time that is now fast approaching and has perhaps
already dawned? And
the situation described in Isaiah 3:16-26:
Moreover the LORD says: "Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, and
walk with outstretched
necks and wanton eyes, walking and mincing as they go, making a
jingling with their feet,
Therefore the Lord will strike with a scab the crown of the head of the
daughters of Zion, and the
LORD will uncover their secret parts."
that day the Lord will take away the finery: the jingling anklets, the
scarves, and the crescents;
pendants, the bracelets, and the veils;
headdresses, the leg ornaments, and the headbands; the perfume boxes,
the rings; the nose jewels,
festal apparel, and the mantles; the outer garments, the purses,
the mirrors; the fine linen, the turbans, and the robes.
24 And so
it shall be: instead of a sweet smell there will be a stench; instead
of a sash, a rope; instead
of well-set hair, baldness; instead of a rich robe, a girding of
sackcloth; and branding instead of
men shall fall by the sword, and your mighty in the war.
gates shall lament and mourn, and she being desolate shall sit on the
Speaks of the age
which is drawing to a close, where the attire of women in the church
can surely not be
regarded as modest and the conduct of many is as described here?
It is widely
acknowledged that there are currently far more women than men in the
church. I know of
congregations where a simple headcount in any meeting will show up to
ten times more women than men. I suggest that you may be challenged to
find a congregation anywhere where there are not at least twice as
many women as men. Surely then, we are in the age that Isaiah 4:1
Consider also that
7 is the number of completion and perfection. This is discussed in more
detail in section
55, page 157.
Appendix D, page
233 contains many more examples of scriptures which support the fact
permits a man to have more than one wife.
KEY CONTRAST : THE FORESKIN
In contrast to the
verses from Deuteronomy 22:13-30 cited in section 8, page 19 and
subsequent sections on
virginity and the sacredness and scriptural importance of the hymen,
consider what Genesis 17:9-14 says
about the foreskin of man:
God said to Abraham: "As for you, you shall keep My covenant, you and
your descendants after
you throughout their generations.
is My covenant which you shall keep,
between Me and you and your descendants after you:
male child among you shall be circumcised;
11 "and you
shall be circumcised in the flesh of your foreskins, and it shall be a
of the covenant between Me and you.
who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised, every male child
in your generations, he
who is born in your house or bought with money from any foreigner who
is not your descendant.
who is born in your house and he who is bought with your money must be
circumcised, and My
covenant shall be in your flesh for an everlasting covenant.
the uncircumcised male child, who is not circumcised in the flesh of
foreskin, that person shall be cut off from his people; he has broken
This is just the
first of numerous scriptures on the subject of circumcision and the
removal of the foreskin,
many of which are cited in Appendix C, page 230.
THE FORESKIN SERVES NO USEFUL PURPOSE
Genesis 17:9-14 cited above, we see certain parallels with the
previous passage on virginity. In particular:
i. Blood is shed by
the cutting of flesh - the foreskin in this case versus the hymen in
ii. The flesh that
is cut off in this case again appears to serve no useful anatomical or
biological purpose. It is apparently redundant and can therefore be
removed without any long term harm. In fact, males who
are not circumcised have, particularly in earlier generations, been
prone to infection under the foreskin. It is, to a point a liability
and a health hazard if not removed.
iii. If the man is
not circumcised he is cut off from his people. David referred to
Goliath as an
(1 Samuel 17:26 and 36) signifying
that Goliath did not have a covenant with
God and was therefore not entitled to His protection and His promises
while David did.
THE FORESKIN IS ONLY USEFUL FOR CUTTING COVENANT WITH GOD
interpretation that can be placed on the foregoing conclusions is that
the foreskin was created for
a specific purpose, to signify covenant with God.
SOME ASIDES REGARDING THE FORESKIN
i. It would seem to
be intentional on the part of God that He chose to place the sign of
His covenant on an
organ which man was obliged to take notice of on a daily basis and
could therefore be constantly
reminded of his covenant with God.
ii. The presence or
absence of a foreskin has no relevance in terms of section 8 with
regard to marriage and
virginity. God did not provide any safety
mechanism comparable to the hymen to
warn a bride that a man was not a "virgin".
iii. Therefore, if
God ever intended a man to be restricted to one wife he was grossly
unjust in providing a
fail safe mechanism to protect men against adultery and providing no
such mechanism to protect women!
THE CRITICAL CONCLUSION : NOTHING IN CREATION PREVENTS A MAN FROM
CONSUMMATING MARRIAGE WITH MORE THAN ONE WOMAN
These two passages
regarding virginity and the foreskin bring us directly to what you may
regard as a rather
i. There is nothing
in scripture which prevents a man from consummating marriage with more
woman. Therefore, God created man and woman from the outset for a man
to be married to several
women at the same time.
ii. Therefore, the
current doctrine of the church regarding a man only having one wife is
OR IS THERE
SOMETHING THAT WE HAVE MISSED?
While I would like
to believe that the scriptures presented so far represent definitive
proof of God's intention
that man should have more than one wife, my experience to date
indicates that there are many who will still
have doubts. To this end, let us consider further scriptures.