DOES GOD ACTIVELY PERMIT A MAN TO TAKE MORE THAN ONE WIFE?
On a more direct
note, does God actively permit a man to take more than one wife?
21:10-11 clearly answers this question:
he takes another wife, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing,
if he does not do these three for her, then she shall go out free,
without paying money. (NKJ)
Surely if God makes
specific provision there really cannot be further doubt? At the same
time it does appear
clear that if he diminishes the food, clothing or marital priviledges
of an existing wife who is a servant, and
therefore presumably of a free born wife, she may go free. Thus
significant sustained deprivation would
appear to constitute grounds for divorce.
DID THE PROVISIONS NOT CHANGE UNDER THE "NEW TESTAMENT"
There is a widely
spread belief that the New Testament changed God's law with regard to
introduced a dispensation of monogamy.
In order to give
proper consideration to this belief it is important to consider a
number of principles:
WHEN DID THE NEW COVENANT COME INTO EFFECT?
From the preceding
discussions of covenant above it seems quite clear that a covenant
cannot be cut without
shedding of blood Hebrews 9:18-20, quoted in section 9,
page 23, states:
Therefore not even the first
covenant was dedicated without blood.
when Moses ..... 20 saying, "This is the blood of the covenant which
God has commanded
Can there be any
doubt that the covenant of Jesus with mankind or with the children of
Abraham was cut
with Jesus' blood at Calvary? At the last supper, Jesus is reported as
as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave
it to the disciples and said,
"Take, eat; this is My body."
He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, "Drink
from it, all of you.
this is My blood of the new
covenant, which is shed for many
for the remission of sins.
as they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave
it to them and said, "Take,
eat; this is My body."
He took the cup, and when He had given thanks He gave it to them, and
they all drank from
24 And He
said to them, "This is My blood of the
new covenant, which is shed for many.
He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying,
"This is My body which
is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me."
Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This cup is the
new covenant in My
blood, which is shed for you.
I received from the Lord that which I also delivered to you: that the
Lord Jesus on the same
night in which He was betrayed took bread;
when He had given thanks, He broke it and said, "Take, eat; this is My
body which is broken
for you; do this in remembrance of Me."
25 In the
same manner He also took the cup after supper, saying, "This
cup is the new covenant in
My blood. This do, as often as you
drink it, in remembrance of Me."
26 For as
often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's
death till He comes.
Therefore whoever eats this bread or drinks this cup of the Lord in an
unworthy manner will be
guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. (NKJ)
Can there be any
doubt that Jesus was introducing the New Covenant the night before He
went to Calvary? If this is the case must we not accept that most of
what is reported in the Gospels relates to Jesus ministering
as a prophet under the Old Covenant?
JESUS WALKED THE EARTH AS A PROPHET UNDER THE MOSAIC COVENANT
Himself refers to Himself as a prophet in Luke 13:31-35:
that very day some Pharisees came, saying to Him, "Get out and depart
from here, for Herod
wants to kill You."
32 And He
said to them, "Go, tell that fox, 'Behold, I cast out demons and
perform cures today and
tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected.'
"Nevertheless I must journey
today, tomorrow, and the day
following; for it cannot be that a
perish outside of Jerusalem.
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those
who are sent to her! How
often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her
brood under her wings, but you
were not willing!
Your house is left to you desolate; and assuredly, I say to you, you
shall not see Me until the
time comes when you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the
Surely there can be
no doubt that in verse 33 Jesus is referring to Himself perishing in
Jerusalem and is
describing Himself as a prophet?
we must surely accept that Jesus was bound by the Law of Moses until
the moment that He died on the cross and was pierced with the spear.
then, and only then, as the fulfilment of the Law of Moses was the New
JESUS FULFILLED THE LAW
Himself said in Matthew 5:17-20:
not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come
to destroy but to
assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one
jot or one tittle will by no
means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.
therefore breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches
men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever
teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
20 "For I
say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of
the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of
Again, in Luke 24:36-48 AFTER HIS RESURRECTION Jesus says:
as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them,
and said to them, "Peace to
they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit.
38 And He
said to them, "Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your
"Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see,
for a spirit does not have flesh
and bones as you see I have."
He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet.
while they still did not believe for joy, and marvelled, He said to
them, "Have you any food here?"
they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb.
43 And He
took it and ate in their presence.
He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was
still with you, that all
things must be fulfilled which were
the Law of Moses and the Prophets and
the Psalms concerning Me."
45 And He
opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.
He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was
necessary for the Christ to suffer and to
rise from the dead the third day,
that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to
all nations, beginning
you are witnesses of these things. (NKJ)
Acts 24:10-16 it is reported of Paul:
Paul, after the governor had nodded to him to speak, answered:
"Inasmuch as I know that you
have been for many years a judge of this nation, I do the more
cheerfully answer for myself,
"because you may ascertain that it is no more than twelve days since I
went up to Jerusalem to
they neither found me in the temple disputing with anyone nor inciting
the crowd, either in the
synagogues or in the city.
can they prove the things of which they now accuse me.
this I confess to you, that according to the Way which they call a
sect, so I worship the God of
my fathers, believing all
things which are written in the Law and in the Prophets.
have hope in God, which they themselves also accept, that there will be
a resurrection of the dead,
both of the just and the unjust.
being so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense
toward God and men.
Can there be any
doubt at all that Jesus came to fulfil the Law (of Moses, that is the
Torah) and the Prophets? Surely it is foolish to suggest that He
changed God's principles of marriage without telling us? Surely if He
had made such a great change He would have made it very clear?
WHAT JESUS DID CHANGE
Furthermore, we see
that Jesus fulfilled the Law of Moses when, as a man who had walked
without sin His
entire life, as the fulfilment of the sacrificial requirements for a "lamb
without spot or blemish" He died on
the cross so that He could introduce the "New and better Covenant"?
Leviticus 9:1-3 states regarding the sanctification of the first High
Priest and the Tabernacle:
came to pass on the eighth day that Moses called Aaron and his sons and
the elders of Israel.
2 And he
said to Aaron, "Take for yourself a young bull as a
sin offering and a ram as a burnt
offering, without blemish, and offer them
before the LORD.
3 "And to
the children of Israel you shall speak, saying, 'Take a kid of the
goats as a sin offering, and
a calf and a lamb, both of the first year, without blemish,
as a burnt offering, (NKJ)
Peter 1:17-21 states:
if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to
each one's work, conduct
yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear;
knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver
or gold, from your aimless
conduct received by tradition from your fathers,
with the precious blood
of Christ, as of a lamb
without blemish and without
indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was
manifest in these last times
through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him
glory, so that your
faith and hope are in God. (NKJ)
Can there be any
doubt that 1 Peter 1:17-21 is referring to the lamb without blemish
referred to in Leviticus
9:3 and in many other passages of the Torah?
Accordingly we must
surely conclude that the "New Covenant" only came into effect at the
time of Jesus
Crucifixion and not before and therefore anything reported in the
Gospels took place under the "Old
Covenant"? Surely, if Jesus changed the law of Moses with regard to
marriage it must take place after the
None of this
comment in any way diminshes who Jesus is or what He accomplished at
Calvary. It simply
places the correct perspective on the power and the weaknesses of the
Mosaic Covenant and what was
actually accomplished at Calvary. Hebrews 8, 9 and 10 seem to be clear:
7:11 to 8:10 and 9:1 to 10:21 state:
Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for
under it the people received the
law), what further need was there that another priest should rise
according to the order of
Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron?
the priesthood being changed, of
necessity there is also a change of the law.
13 For He
of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no
officiated at the altar.
it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of
which tribe Moses spoke nothing
15 And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek,
there arises another priest
16 who has come, not
according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according
to the power of an endless life.
17 For He testifies: "You are a priest forever according to the order
18 For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment
because of its weakness
the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing
in of a better hope,
through which we draw near to God.
inasmuch as He was not made priest without an oath
they have become priests without an oath, but He with an oath by Him
who said to Him: "The
Lord has sworn and will not relent, 'You are a priest forever according
to the order of
so much more Jesus has become a surety of a better covenant.
there were many priests, because they were prevented by death from
He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood.
Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to
God through Him, since He
always lives to make intercession for them.
For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless,
separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens;
27 who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up
sacrifices, first for
His own sins and then for the people's, for this He did once for all
offered up Himself.
the law appoints as high priests men who have weakness, but the word of
the oath, which
came after the law, appoints the Son who has been perfected forever.
this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have
such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne
of the Majesty in the heavens,
2 a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord
erected, and not man.
every high priest is appointed to offer both gifts and sacrifices. Therefore
is necessary that this One also have something to offer.
4 For if
He were on earth, He would not be a priest, since there are priests who
offer the gifts
according to the law;
serve the copy and shadow of the heavenly things, as Moses was divinely
instructed when he
was about to make the tabernacle. For He said, "See that you make all
things according to the
pattern shown you on the mountain."
now He has obtained a more excellent ministry, inasmuch as He is also
Mediator of a better covenant, which was established on better promises.
7 For if
that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been
sought for a second.
finding fault with them, He says:
"Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord,
when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the
house of Judah--
according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day
when I took them by
the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because
they did not
continue in My
covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord.
this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after
those days, says the Lord:
I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I
will be their God, and they
shall be My people. .................
the first covenant had ordinances of divine service and the
2 For a
tabernacle was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand,
the table, and the
showbread, which is called the sanctuary;
behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the
Holiest of All,
had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides
with gold, in which
were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron's rod that budded, and
the tablets of the covenant;
above it were the cherubim of glory overshadowing the mercy seat. Of
these things we cannot
now speak in detail.
when these things had been thus prepared, the priests always went into
the first part of the
tabernacle, performing the services.
into the second part the high priest went alone once a year, not
blood, which he offered for himself and for the people's sins committed
Holy Spirit indicating this, that the way into the Holiest of All was
not yet made manifest while
the first tabernacle was still standing.
was symbolic for the present
time in which both gifts and sacrifices are
offered which cannot make him who performed the service perfect in
regard to the conscience--
only with foods and drinks, various washings, and fleshly ordinances
the time of reformation.
Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater
and more perfect
tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.
with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered
the Most Holy Place
once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
13 For if
the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the
unclean, sanctifies for
the purifying of the flesh,
much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit
without spot to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve
the living God?
for this reason He
is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of
death, for the
redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those
who are called may receive
the promise of the eternal inheritance.
where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death
of the testator.
17 For a
testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all
while the testator lives.
Therefore 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 you."
likewise he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle and all the
vessels of the ministry.
according to the law almost all
things are purified with blood, and
without shedding of blood there is no remission.
Therefore it was necessary that the copies of the things in the heavens
should be purified with
these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than
Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands, which are
copies of the true, but into
heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;
that He should offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the Most
Holy Place every year
with blood of another--
then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world;
but now, once at the end
of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of
27 And as
it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,
Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly
for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.
the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not
the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices,
offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect.
then would they not have ceased to be offered? For the worshipers, once
purified, would have
had no more consciousness of sins.
3 But in
those sacrifices there is a reminder of sins every year.
4 For it
is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats could take away sins.
Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: "Sacrifice and
offering You did not desire, but
a body You have prepared for Me.
burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin you had no pleasure.
7 Then I
said, 'Behold, I have come-- in the volume of the book it is written of
Me-- to do Your will,
O God.' "
Previously saying, "Sacrifice and offering, burnt
offerings, and offerings for sin You did not
desire, nor had pleasure in them" (which are offered according to the
He said, "Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God." He takes away
first that He may establish the second.
that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of
Christ once for all.
every priest stands ministering daily and offering repeatedly the same
sacrifices, which can
never take away sins.
this Man, after He had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down
at the right hand of
that time waiting till His enemies are made His footstool.
14 For by
one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.
the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before,
is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the
Lord: I will put My laws
into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,"
He adds, "Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more."
where there is remission of these, there is no longer an offering for
Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood
20 by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the
is, His flesh,
21 and having a High Priest over the house of God, (NKJ)
Can there be any
doubt that Jesus came to institute a new Priesthood in which the
physical sacrifices of the
old covenant were replaced with forgiveness obtained through confession
and repentance with Jesus as the
mediator who has purchased that forgiveness with His blood? But we must
still confess and repent in order
to obtain that forgiveness. This is accomplished by the Grace of God,
not by our own efforts. Likewise can
there be any doubt that He came to institute a new temple not built
with human hands? How is it possible
to argue that Jesus came to change the law so that where a man could
than one wife it now became a sin and where the law said that adultery
was a sin
leading to death it was now something which could be treated lightly?
Is this not
perverse and the most apalling abomination?
Genesis reports a series of Covenants between God and Adam, Noah,
Abraham (at least two -
referred to in sections 9 and 10), Isaac and Jacob before He cut the
"Old Covenant" with Moses and the
people of Israel in Sinai after the passover. He subsequently entered
into various covenants throughout the
Hebrew scriptures. Thus the Mosaic covenant was indeed the first
covenant cut publicly with the children
of Israel at Sinai and the second was cut in the flesh of the spotless
Son of God at Calvary. Each covenant
is explicit and unambiguous in terms of the terms and scope of the
covenant. Why should the "Christian"
covenant be any different?
"OLD TESTAMENT" VERSUS NEW TESTAMENT
In considering the
question of whether God caused the laws concerning marriage to change
in the "New
Testament", we have already established that there seem to be solid
grounds to state that the four Gospels are
not part of the New Covenant, they are actually the closing chapters of
the Old Covenant!
Should we not also
consider the definition of Old and New Testament? The reality is that
these happen to
be divisions in every bound Bible that most Christians are likely to
encounter. But remember, even in the
time of the apostles, right through to John in Revelation, THERE WERE
NO BOUND BOOKS! Each
document was written on a separate scroll. Accordingly surely it is
correct to conclude that the divisions in
the modern Christian Bible are a convenient device INSERTED BY MAN!
Therefore may I suggest to you
that those divisions have no spiritual or scriptural relevance?
Surely the real
division that those two pages signify is that those passages labelled
as "Old Testament" are
in fact the scriptures recorded in Hebrew and Aramaic and those
labelled "New Testament" are those recorded
in Greek? Surely that is the only significance of those dividing pages
in your Bible? Surely then we would
more correctly refer to those two sections of our Bibles as the "Hebrew
Scriptures" and the "Greek
BUT, WAIT, it goes
beyond that. Some time ago, half way around the world in a small town
in upstate New
York the Lord led me to a small bookshop which had on sale a "Holy
Bible from the Ancient Eastern Text
: George M Lamsa's Translation from the Aramaic of the Peshita"
published by Harper Collins. This Bible,
it is claimed, is based on Aramaic manuscripts of similar or greater
antiquity to the Greek manuscripts used
for most English translations. It is stated that these Aramaic texts
have been in constant use in the lands East
of Israel where they still speak Aramaic in certain areas. Furthermore,
Mr Lamsa was a resident of those
lands and Aramaic was his home language and furthermore, certain words
quoted as being spoken by Jesus
are Aramaic, still spoken today. Convincing arguments are presented to
demonstrate that the so-called New
Testament was originally recorded in Aramaic and then translated into
Greek and that the Aramaic text, called
the "Peshita" is therefore a more original and more reliable source
than the Greek texts! If this is the case,
which I personally believe it is, then surely even the distinction made
above is spurious and we cannot argue
at all that there is any basis for putting any form of separator
between Malachi and Matthew? Since this
information is of such vital importance to every Christian I have taken
the liberty of reproducing the preface
and introduction to this Bible verbatim with certain passages
emphasised, in appendix I, page 255. I
encourage readers to read this text carefully. It provides information
which should cause every Christian to
examine carefully a wide variety of modern teachings which are called
into question if Mr Lamsa's claims
are correct, which, as stated above, I believe that they are!
Readers should also
be aware that a visit to a Jewish book store is likely to result in you
being offered the
Torah, the Psalms (Tehillim), the Proverbs (Mishley), the Major and
Minor Prophets (Nach), etc in a series
of distinct, separately bound volumes. The Jews do not regard the books
that we label as "Old Testament"
as being one clump of books, they regard them as a number of very
distinct collections of books to which they
attach very different levels of spiritual authority. Thus the five
books of Moses (the Torah), Psalms and
Proverbs are accepted as being given by God directly through His
prophets, primarily Moses, David and
Solomon. Whereas the other books, while still accepted as scripture
given by God, are not accorded the same
status. Surely we would do well to recognize this distinction!?
Accordingly, may I
respectfully suggest to you that any interpretation which lumps an
argument into "Old
Testament" versus "New Testament" is open to question? May
I also suggest to you that this seems to
demonstrate quite clearly the extent to which mankind has had the
audacity to impose their own boxes
on God based on some arbitrary labels on some dividers in a bound
volume! We should be very wary
of developing doctrine based on these labels!
WHY IS CHRISTIANITY VIEWED AS HERESY BY THE JEWS?
discussion raises some issues concerning the validity of many claims by
concerning the "New Testament" scriptures of the Bible being written in
Greek. Many passages in this book
call other teachings of the mondern church into question and, I
believe, clearly shows them to be at best
misguided, at worst lies from the very pit of hell. At this point, it
is perhaps instructive to consider what the
Jews think of the Christians.
Some years ago as I
became increasingly aware of the essential Jewishness of Jesus Christ I
series of volumes of Jewish translations of the scriptures. In "The
Living Nach, Later Prophets", "A New
Translation Based on Traditional Jewish Sources", published by Moznaim
Publishing Corporation, New York
/ Jerusalem, I encountered a number of statements in the commentary
which caused me to really examine
myself and the religious order of Christianity to which I claim to
belong. I call Christianity a religious order
because I believe that Jesus Christ did not come to create
Christianity, He came to give us faith in the Living
God, not a label. Be that as it may. This translation offers the
following scriptures and accompanyinging
Word came to me:
set your face against Mount Seir* and prophesy
3 Say to
it, The Lord God says: I am against you, Mount Seir. I will stretch My
hand against you and
make you totally desolate.
4 I will
make your towns a ruin. You will be desolate, and you will know that I
Seir, east of the Dead Sea, home of
the Edomites, who were descended from Esau and
were traditionally Israel's enemies. The
Rabbis identified Edom with Rome, and,
by extension, with the Christian Church, who
continued in their
predecessors' hatred of Israel.
I pray that as you
read the above that you will consider how it can be that Christians
have come to be regarded
as the enemies of Israel and to be considered to hate Israel. Israel is
God's chosen people, He has said that
He will never forsake them and yet they view the people who claim to
have a personal knowledge of the Jews
own Messiah as their enemies! I have encountered a number of Jews, all
of whom know the extent to which
Christians have turned from the principles of scripture to follow
doctrines of demons including changing the
Sabbath from the last day of the week (Saturday) to the first day of
the week, reserved by the Romans for
worship of the Sun (Sunday), legislating monogamy and many other
heresies. If you care to ask and to listen,
they will tell you of mass murder committed by the Christian crusaders
in the Middle Ages in the name of
Christ and many other atrocities which no man who knows the God of the
Bible and fears Him would dream
of committing. Devout Moslems could tell you similar things and you
might care to ask yourself whether
it is a coincidence that Mohammed came to prominence, with a number of
wives some of who were Jewish
and other Christian, at about the same time that the Roman Emperor
Justinian, in the name of Jesus, declared
it illegal for a man to have more than one wife!?
ARE BISHOPS, DEACONS AND ELDERS RESTRICTED TO ONE WIFE?
Three of the key
scriptures on which the doctrine of monogamy is based and from which it
is argued that
Jesus changed the law, are those in Timothy and Titus:
Timothy 3:1-16 states:
is a faithful saying: If a man desires the position of a bishop, he
desires a good work.
bishop then must be blameless, the
husband of one wife, temperate, sober-minded,
behavior, hospitable, able to teach;
given to wine, not violent, not greedy for money, but gentle, not
quarrelsome, not covetous;
4 one who
rules his own house well, having his children in submission with all
if a man does not know how to rule his own house, how will he take care
the church of God?);
6 not a
novice, lest being puffed up with pride he fall into the same
condemnation as the devil.
Moreover he must have a good testimony among those who are outside,
lest he fall into reproach and
the snare of the devil.
Likewise deacons must be reverent, not double-tongued, not given to
much wine, not greedy for
the mystery of the faith with a pure conscience.
let these also first be tested; then let them serve as deacons, being
Likewise their wives must be reverent, not slanderers, temperate,
faithful in all things.
deacons be the husbands of one wife, ruling their children and
their own houses well.
those who have served well as deacons obtain for themselves a good
standing and great boldness
in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.
things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly;
15 but if
I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct
yourself in the house of
God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of
without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was
manifested in the flesh, justified
in the Spirit, seen by angels, preached among the Gentiles, believed on
in the world, received up in
Titus, a true son in our common faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God
the Father and the Lord
Jesus Christ our Savior.
this reason I left you in Crete, that you should set in order the
things that are lacking, and appoint
elders in every city as I commanded you--
6 if a
man is blameless, the husband
of one wife, having faithful children
not accused of dissipation
7 For a
bishop must be blameless, as a steward of God, not self-willed, not
quick-tempered, not given
to wine, not violent, not greedy for money,
hospitable, a lover of what is good, sober-minded, just, holy,
fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by
sound doctrine, both to
exhort and convict those who contradict.
there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers,
especially those of the
mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things
which they ought not,
for the sake of dishonest gain. (NKJ)
Surely this is
definitive, these passages clearly state that a Bishop (or overseer), a
Deacon and an elder must
all be the husband of one wife?
However, if we
consider the Greek word translated "one" we find that it is the word
mia (mee'-ah) number
Defines 3391 mia (mee'-ah);
feminine of 1520; one or
KJV-- a (certain), + agree, first, one, X other.
Surely there is a
great difference between "one" and "first". If we apply the latter
interpretation does that not
mean that the Bishop, Deacon or Elder must be the "husband
of his first wife"? In other words, he
should NOT BE DIVORCED or have put away his wife! Does this not, in
turn, suggest that he should have
the love of God shed abroad in his heart to the extent that, if
necessary, he can love even a difficult wife
through times of difficulty and tension and bring her out on the other
side? Would such a man not be well
suited to dealing with typical tensions and difficulties in the body of
interpretation be confirmed?
1 In the
end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary
and the other Mary to see the sepulchre. (KJV)
Here mia is applied
to the first day of the week.
Peter sat without in the palace: and a damsel came unto him,
saying, Thou also wast with Jesus
of Galilee. (KJV)
Here we see another
interpretation of mia "a" damsel, could we read the passages in Timothy
and Titus to say
that a Bishop, etc should be the husband of "a" wife -
in other words they must be
In other words, if a man does not know how to lead a family with a
least one wife, he cannot
lead a congregation?
there came a certain poor widow, and she threw
in two mites, which make a farthing. (KJV)
There are several
passages where mia is translated "certain". It certainly is not
uniformly translated "one".
1 Now on
the first day of the week, very
early in the morning, they, and certain other women with them,
came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. (NKJ)
1 On the
first day of the week Mary
Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw
that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. (NKJ)
the multitude of those who believed were of
one heart and one soul;
neither did anyone say that
any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in
this case one is used to relate to a group of people who were "one". So
appear that mia can also signify a group of people who are of one heart
- surely this
could apply to a man with several wives who are of "one" heart with him?
2 On the
first day of the week let each
one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that
there be no collections when I come. (NKJ)
Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition,
Here we see two
chapters further on in the SAME book of the Bible the translators have
translated mia as
"first" not one! Can it not reasonably be argued that
the translators filtered the translation through the
doctrine of monogamy that prevailed at the time they translated the
scriptures? A complete set of
scriptures containing the word "mia" are contained in
Appendix F, page 245.
interpretation of mia is supported by Vines with regard to "FIRST":
^3391^, a grammatically feminine form of heis, "one," is translated
"first" in certain
occurrences of the phrase "on the first day of the week," e. g.,
<Luke 24:1; 1 Cor. 16:2>; cf. A,
and see DAY; also in <Titus 3:10>, of a "first"
admonition to a heretical man. See ONE.
D. Noun. (from Vine's Expository Dictionary of
(Copyright (C) 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
Surely these words
and these passages of scripture cannot be used to construct a doctrine
THE DISTINCTION IN SCRIPTURE BETWEEN WIFE AND WIVES, WOMAN AND WOMEN
Another aspect of
answering the question regarding whether Jesus changed the law
concerning marriage and
instituted monogamy revolves around the word used to describe a wife or
woman, singular or plural in
scripture. The Hebrew word used for this purpose is "ishshah" of which
^802^, "woman; wife; betrothed one; bride; each." This word has
cognates in Akkadian,
Ugaritic, Aramaic, Arabic, and Ethiopic. It appears about 781 times in
biblical Hebrew and in all
periods of the language.
This noun connotes one
who is a female human being regardless of her age
Therefore, it appears in correlation to "man" (ish): "...she shall be
because she was taken out of Man" <Gen. 2:23>. This is
its meaning in its first biblical usage:
"And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man ['adam], made he a
woman, and brought
her unto the man" <Gen. 2:22>. The
stress here is on identification of womanhood rather than a family role. (from Vine's Expository
Dictionary of Biblical Words,
Copyright (C) 1985, Thomas Nelson Publishers)
Can there be any
doubt from this that "ishshah" does not indicate the marital status of
The Greek word for
woman, women, wife and wives is "gune", Strong's number 1135.
Definition of 1135 gune (goo-nay');
from the base of 1096; a woman; specially, a wife:
KJV-- wife, woman.
Definition of 1135 gune-
a woman of any age, whether a virgin, or married, or a widow
2) a wife;
used of a betrothed woman
regard to the Greek word translated WIFE, WIVES, Vines states:
1. gune ^1135^ denotes (1) "a
woman, married or unmarried"
(see WOMAN); (2) "a
wife," e. g., <Matt. 1:20; 1 Cor. 7:3,4>; in <1
Tim. 3:11>, RV, "women," the reference may be
to the "wives" of deacons, as the KJV takes it.
2. gunaikeios ^1134^, an adjective denoting "womanly, female,"
is used as a noun in <1
Pet. 3:7>, KJV, "wife," RV, "woman."#
Note: In <John 19:25> the article
stands idiomatically for "the wife (of)"; in <Matt. 1:6>,
is rendered "her that had been the wife (of)."
(from Vine's, op cit)
regard to the Greek word WOMAN, (there is no separate reference for
Women since the same
root is translated in both forms) Vines states:
1. gune ^1135^, for
which see also WIFE, is used of a "woman" unmarried or
married, e. g.,
<Matt. 11:11; 14:21; Luke 4:26>, of a "widow";
<Rom. 7:2>; in the vocative case,
used in addressing a "woman," it is a term not of reproof or severity,
but of endearment or
respect, <Matt. 15:28; John 2:4>, where the Lord's words
to His mother at the wedding in Cana,
are neither rebuff nor rebuke. The question is, lit., "What to Me and
to thee?" and the word
"woman," the term of endearment, follows this. The meaning is "There is
no obligation on Me or
you, but love will supply the need." She confides in Him, He responds
to her faith. There was
lovingkindness in both hearts. His next words about "His hour" suit
this; they were not unfamiliar
to her. Cana is in the path to Calvary; Calvary was not yet, but it
made the beginning of signs
possible. See also <4:21; 19:26>.
Appendix F, page 248, contains more comprehensive analysis of
both "gune" (Greek) and the
Hebrew words for wife, wives, woman and women from Vines Expository
consideration of this text I hope that you will see that there is
absolutely no basis on which to
interepret any scripture with either the word ishshah or the word gune
as indicating singular or
plural, married or unmarried unless other words in the context clearly
make this visible.
If we apply this information to the earlier scriptures
concerning "one" wife, we find the following to
1 Timothy 3:2
2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of [first wives / a wife]
, temperate, sober-minded, of good
behavior, hospitable, able to teach; (NKJ)
1 Timothy 3:12
12 Let deacons be the husbands of [first wives / a wife]
, ruling their children and
their own houses well. (NKJ)
6 if a man is blameless, the husband of [first wives / a wife]
, having faithful
children not accused of dissipation or insubordination. (NKJ)
Surely it is reasonable to apply such an interpretation to a
society where it was common place for
a man to have more than one wife? A more appropriate translation might
then be "still married
to his first wives", if indeed the intention is not that a bishop,
elder should be married and have AT LEAST one wife!.
Appendix G, page 250, contains a list of most, if not all the
scriptures in which the Greek word
Gune occurs. Readers are encouraged to consider the extent to which
many of those passages
in which the singular form "wife" is used could just as well be
translated to read "wives" and also
to recognize that in many, if not most cases where the words woman or
women are used the word
wife or wives could be substituted.
Consider Ephesians 5:22-33 as a particularly strong
example of how a passage could be translated
taking account of the true meaning of "gune":
22 Wives, submit to
your own husbands, as to the Lord.
23 For the husband is head of the
[wives], as also Christ is head of the
He is the Savior of the body.
24 Therefore, just as the church is subject to
Christ, so let the wives be to their own
husbands in everything.
25 Husbands, love your wives,
just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for
26 that He might sanctify and cleanse her with the
washing of water by the word,
27 that He might present her to Himself a glorious
church, not having spot or wrinkle or any
such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.
28 So husbands ought to love their own wives
as their own bodies; he who loves his
[wives] loves himself.
29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but
nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord
does the church.
30 For we are members of His body, of His flesh and
of His bones.
31 "For this reason a man shall leave his father
and mother and be joined to his
[wives], and the two shall become one
flesh." (Authors note: take account of the discussion
of 1 + 1 = 1 in section 41.a, page
32 This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning
Christ and the church.
33 Nevertheless let each one of you in particular
so love his own [wives]
and let the [wives] see
respects her husband. (NKJ) (Authors note: "she"
is a translators addition)
As best I can determine, in Jesus day there was virtually no
such thing as an adult woman who was
not married unless she was a widow (seems to include those legitimately
divorced) or a harlot. It
would appear that a thirty year old virgin was to all intents and
purposes unheard of. It seems that
girls reached puberty at about twelve years old, at which time they
were regarded as "virgins" -
women ready for intercourse but not yet married. At this point they
were betrothed and at age
twelve and a half they were married. Since a man was permitted to have
more than one wife there
was absolutely no statistical reason for her not to marry and since
marriages were arranged by the
parents there was no emotional reason. People
were set free from having to earn
marriage or prove themselves before marriage.
They made a life-time commitment
to one another KNOWING that they had to make it work and knowing
clearly what the role of
husband and wife was. This
is a very different situation to what we encounter
today and we must guard against measuring what God ordained against the
understanding of our current age.
Surely in the light of this it is not possible to argue that
any passage based on the word "gune" in
the Greek scriptures or on the word "ishshah" in
the Hebrew and Aramaic can be taken to indicate
that a man may only have one wife?
40. SOME OTHER "NEW TESTAMENT" SCRIPTURES
There are various other scriptures which confirm that the
Greek scriptures did not change the
provisions of the Torah with regard to marriage.
a. REGARDING AN APOSTLE BEING ACCOMPANINED BY ONE
OF HIS WIVES
Regarding an apostle being accompanied by one
of his wives, 1 Corinthians 9:5 states:
5 Do we have no right to take along a believing wife,
as do also the other apostles,
the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas? (NKJ)
Surely "a believing wife" would be a very awkward way of
saying "take along our wives" if each
only had one wife. The implication here seems to be that some of the
apostles were travelling in
the company of one of their wives. Alternatively, in the light of
preceeding sections, it is possible
that this scripture reads "their believing wives" where here the
emphasis is on the wives being
believers, not on the number of wives.
b. BROTHERS MARRYING DECEASED BROTHER'S WIVES
Jesus was specifically asked about what is commonly called
"Levirate marriage", the principle
whereby if a man died his brother should marry his wife and raise up
children in his name. It
seems reasonable to conclude that in general it would be very unlikely
for a man's brother/s not
to be married at the time that he died. Therefore, in order to give
effect to this provision of the
Torah it was necessary for most brothers to take the woman as wife in
addition to however many
wives he already had. Jesus reply is reported in Matthew
23 The same day the Sadducees, who say there is no
resurrection, came to Him and
24 saying: "Teacher, Moses said that if a man dies,
having no children, his brother shall
marry his wife and raise up offspring for his brother.
25 "Now there were with us seven brothers. The
first died after he had married, and
having no offspring, left his wife to his brother.
26 "Likewise the second also, and the third, even
to the seventh.
27 "Last of all the woman died also.
28 "Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife of
the seven will she be? For they
29 Jesus answered and said to them, "You are
mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor
the power of God.
30 "For in the resurrection they neither marry nor
are given in marriage, but are like
angels of God in heaven. (NKJ)
This same incident is reported almost verbatim in Mark
12:19-25 and Luke 20:27-36 which are
included in Appendix H, page 254, 255, 266, 268, 273, 276, 277, 278,
279. Note that in the book
of Ruth, verse 4:13, when Ruth married Boaz, in terms of this Torah
principle there is also no
indication that Boaz was unmarried, he almost certainly was already
It is instructive
to consider the semantics of all three passages, they refer
to "had" as indicating marriage, confirming the relevance of sexual
intercourse and also confirming that marriage entails sexual
intercourse. By implication it appears that
where Jesus says "in the resurrection they neither marry nor
given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven" He
is saying that there is no sexual intercourse and not that the
relationship between the two people as brother and sister in Christ
to an end. Rick Joyner in his book "The Final Quest" reports a vision
in which he was transported
to the third heaven and spoke to people there. From this it is clear
that all relationships remain
and grow, not only the relationship between people who were husband and
wife. This again
serves to demonstrate the importance of not interpreting the Word of
based on our modern understanding of words and concepts. We must get
back to God's meaning!
c. A MAN HAVING SEX WITH HIS FATHER'S WIFE
(NOT HIS MOTHER)
1 Corinthians 5:1 states:
1 It is actually reported that there is sexual
immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named
among the Gentiles-- that a man has his father's wife!
This scripture clearly refers to a man "having" intercourse
with "his father's wife". Surely this refers
to a wife other than the man's mother otherwise it would state "a man
has his mother"? By
implication the man's father had at least two wives, whether both were
married to him at the same
time is unknown but it is quite possible.
d. A MAN MARRYING TEN VIRGINS AT ONE TIME
Matthew 25:1-13 reports Jesus as saying:
1 "Then the kingdom of heaven shall be likened to
ten virgins who took their lamps and went
out to meet the bridegroom.
2 "Now five of them were wise, and five were
3 "Those who were foolish took their lamps and took
no oil with them,
4 "but the wise took oil in their vessels with
5 "But 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 meet him!'
7 "Then all those virgins arose and trimmed their
8 "And the foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some
of your oil, for our lamps are going out.'
9 "But 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.'
10 "And 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.
11 "Afterward the other virgins came also, saying,
'Lord, Lord, open to us!'
12 "But he answered and said, 'Assuredly, I say to
you, I do not know you.'
13 "Watch therefore, for you know neither the day
nor the hour in which the Son of Man
is coming. (NKJ)
This text has been examined previously in section 9, page 30,
but it bears revisiting. Jesus is
surely drawing a parallel between when He will marry many millions of
believers at the end of the
age at the same time. Surely then this passage must be interpreted as
indicating that the man
concerned was planning to marry ten virgins at one feast and in one
night. It may totally
blow our paradigm of what is acceptable behaviour but dare we consider
inappropriate what our Lord Himself describes as appropriate?
The fact that it is unlikely that many men would want to
marry ten women, let alone ten at the
same time, is not the issue, the fact is, scripture does not prohibit
e. BURNING WITH PASSION
1 Corinthians 7:8-9 states with regard to those
who are unmarried:
8 But I say to the unmarried and to the widows: It
is good for them if they remain even as
if they cannot exercise self-control, let them marry. For it is
better to marry than to burn with passion.
There is no reference to them finding an unmarried man. It
simply states that where a man and
an unmarried woman burn with passion for one another it is better that
they should marry, or that
where a man or a woman burns with passion, they should get married.
In 1 Corinthians 7:39-40, Paul goes on to
39 A wife is bound to her husband by law as long
as he lives. If the husband dies, she
is free to be married to whom she will, only [provided that he too is]
in the Lord.
40 But in my opinion [a widow] is happier (more
blessed and to be envied) if she does
not remarry. And also I think I have the Spirit of God."
Here we observe Paul expressing his personal opinion that a
widow and presumably a legitimately
divorced woman, will be happier if they remain single. The implication
is clearly that there are
women who will be happier in this state and therefore, by extension, it
would seem that the
principle of covering is not a rigid spiritual requirement.
We also observe a clear instruction that if she is to remarry
the man she marries must also be a
believer. This is a qualification inherent in the passages in
Deuteronomy and Ruth cited earlier. Clearly Ephesians 5:22-33 can only
apply if husband and wives are believers. Accordingly we
must again deduce that all that we have studied here indicates the
necessary implication that a
woman must marry a believing man who already has a wife or wives rather
than marry an
There is no indication of any limitation on whether the man
is already married. 1 Corinthians 7:9
can, in fact, only be fulfilled if a man can take more than one wife as
at all times in history it seems
that there have been fewer men than women in the faith.
f. MARRIAGE OF WIDOWS
1 Timothy 5:9-14 states with regard to younger
9 Do not let a widow under sixty years old be
taken into the number, and not unless she has
been the wife of one man,
10 well reported for good works: if she has brought
up children, if she has lodged strangers, if
she has washed the saints' feet, if she has relieved the afflicted, if
she has diligently followed
every good work.
11 But refuse the younger widows; for when they
have begun to grow wanton against Christ,
they desire to marry,
12 having condemnation because they have cast off
their first faith.
13 And besides they learn to be idle, wandering
about from house to house, and not only idle
but also gossips and busybodies, saying things which they ought not.
14 Therefore I desire that the younger widows
marry, bear children, manage the house, give
no opportunity to the adversary to speak reproachfully. (NKJ)
Again there is no indication of a contraint to the effect
that a widow should only remarry if there
is an unmarried man available. Presumably the same applies to a woman
who is divorced
because of the porneia of her husband.
41. RESPONSE TO SOME OTHER OBJECTIONS
a. "GENESIS 2:24 SAYS TWO THEREFORE IT
On more than one occasion, in seeking to discuss this matter,
I have been informed in no
uncertain manner that Genesis 2:24 states that "the two shall become
one" and that "this says two
and not three or more".
Genesis 2:21-25 reads:
21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall on
Adam, and he slept; and He took
one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place.
22 Then the rib which the LORD God had taken from
man He made into a woman, and He
brought her to the man.
23 And 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."
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and
mother and be joined to his wife, and they
shall become one flesh.
25 And they were both naked, the man and his wife,
and were not ashamed. (NKJ)
This passage says "they
shall become one flesh", not two, so the scripture
wrongly cited. Furthermore, some years ago I was led by the Lord to the
"Sternberg Center for
Judaism, 80 East End Road, North Finchley, N32SY, London, England
(telephone, London 0181-349-4731 / 2568, fax 0181-343-2558) where I
consulted with Dr Piet van Boxel, an authority on
Jewish law and scripture, who informed me that there is absolutely no
basis to suggest that
Genesis 2:24 can be taken to indicate that a man can only have one
wife. He also provided me
with further documentary evidence concerning the history of monogamy
imposed on the world by
the Roman church and the introduction of the Rabbinic decree with
regard to monogamy.
Gensis 2:24 cited in Matthew 19:4-6 states:
4 And He answered and said to them, "Have you not
read that He who made them at the
beginning 'made them male and female,'
5 "and said, 'For this reason a man shall leave his
father and mother and be joined to his
wife, and the two shall
become one flesh'?
6 "So then, they
are no longer two but one flesh.
Therefore what God has joined
together, let not man separate." (NKJ)
Since this passage refers to one man and one woman it is
postulated that it dictates that there are
clearly two not three. However, this ignores one of the paradoxes
associated with the way
Yahweh works in this instance for when He says the two shall become ONE.
If we consider the stated arithmetic we find something which,
at first glance, is not immediately
apparent, that is:
1 + 1 = 1
if we then apply some basic algebraic notation to this
formula we can substitute "(1 + 1)" for 1 and
thus we see that:
(1 + 1) + 1 = 1
in other words, if a man is one flesh with one woman and he
joins himself to another woman he
and his first woman become one flesh with the second woman. By
(((((1 + 1) + 1) + 1) + 1) + 1) = 1
and therefore no matter how many women he joins himself to
they are still ONE!
in strict algebraic terms we can state:
(1 + 1)n = 1
that is, one man joined to "n" women is still one
flesh with all of them!
In other words if by adding one to one the answer is one then
no matter how many times you add
one to one the answer is STILL one!
Clearly Matthew 19:4-6 says nothing about a man NOT having
more than one wife, nor do any of
the other scriptures which refer to "two become one". In other words, no matter how
many women are joined to the man they are still all one flesh.
Consider also 1 Corinthians 12:12-14:
12 For as the body is one and has many members,
but all the members of that one
body, being many, are one
body, so also is Christ.
13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one
body-- whether Jews or Greeks,
whether slaves or free-- and have all been made to drink into one
14 For in fact the
body is not one member but many.
It seems quite clear in this case that in Christ many members
are one body, so surely a man with
many wives is also one body.
2 Corinthians 11:2 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. (NKJ)
This passage, written to the whole church at Corinth, not one
individual, makes it quite clear that
all the members of the church at Corinth are betrothed to one husband,
who is Jesus Christ.
b. ADAM AND EVE - THE IDEAL MARRIAGE
It is argued that since God created Adam and Eve before the
fall, then monogamy must be His
ideal state and therefore that is what we should strive for. That might
be the case but we are not
living in that ideal state and surely this is no basis to fabricate a
doctrine of monogamy?
Equally, if we accept that Adam and Eve were the only two
human beings that Yahweh created
then their sons must, of necessity, have married their daughters. If
this is the case must we then
assume that the ideal state of marriage is for brothers to marry
sisters? Surely this is not the case! Leviticus 18:9 states:
9 'The nakedness of your sister, the daughter of
your father, or the daughter of your
mother, whether born at home or elsewhere, their nakedness you shall
Thus, while Yahweh apparently permitted a man to marry his
sister in the time of Adam, or his half
sister in the time of Abram, by the time of Moses, He prohibited it.
Presumbaly by that time there
were sufficient other women to choose from and therefore there would
never again be a
requirement for close inter marriage. By referring to this as a
precedent, even if Yahweh created
man and woman such that initially there were only enough women for each
man to have one wife,
by the time of Moses this was no longer the case.
c. DID ADAM REALLY ONLY HAVE ONE WIFE?
Some years ago, someone posed the question to me about Adam
and Eve. I asked God about
it and some time later purchased a book entitled "Revelations About
Marriage" by Matityahu
Glazerson published by the Leonard Himelsein Torah Fund (a Jewish
book). On page 37 I found
the following statement:
"Lillit was the name of Adam's
first wife, who was created before Eve (Heb., Chava).
had another name, Chavya, which in Aramaic means 'snake'."
found a reference to
Lillit as Adam's first wife in the New Bible Dictionary and also in
Chronicles of Narnia" a series of childrens books by C.S. Lewis, the
widely acknowledged Christian author. This is not to state
categorically that Lillit in fact existed but it is perhaps instructive
to consider that Genesis
1:26-30 refers to the creation of man and Genesis 2:7 refers to the
creation of Adam, Genesis 4:14 reports
that Cain said to the Lord that "anyone who finds me will
kill me", rather a strange thing to say if, according
to the widely accepted understanding, there were only three people on
the earth at that time, viz Adam, Eve
and Cain whereas the wording of Cain's statement suggests that there
were perhaps many others who would
kill him and furthermore, in verse 4:17 reference is made to Cain's
wife while there is no reference to Eve
bearing any more children. No doubt a highly contentious point and one
not central to the theme of this
book, but it again highlights the fact that there are many verses of
scripture which do not necessarily
reconcile with the teachings that are widely accepted. Incidentally, an
interpretation that there were two
creations of men, one spiritual and one carnal, would resolve the
difficulty of the Bible seeming to indicate
that Adam and Eve were created approximately 5,000 to 6,000 years ago
while there are archaeological
records of man dating back at least 20,000 years. However, there are
other scriptures which appear to
contradict this interpretation and it is not something that I have felt
inclined to enquire into further.
DID MOSES REALLY HAVE ONLY ONE WIFE?
that is advanced from time to time relates to an opinion that if Moses,
"the man of God"
only had one wife, surely that is the preferred state of marriage.
Presumably the first response to this is
simply that God does not require a man to have more than one wife, He
simply permits it. However, having
been asked this question I referred it to the Lord. Not long after this
I was led into a Christian bookshop and
picked up a copy of the "New Bible Dictionary" printed by Inter-Varsity
Press, Leicester, England and
published by Tyndale House Publishers Inc, Wheaton, Illinois, USA,
edited by J.D. Douglas, et al.
The book opened at
the following passage:
Married by Moses, whom Aaron and Miriam then
criticized (Nu. 12:1). As the last mention of
Zipporah is just after the defeat of Amalek (Ex 17) when Jethro
returned her to Moses (Ex 18),
it is possible that she subsequently died. Moses then taking this
'Cushite woman' as his
second wife, unless Moses
then had two wives.
'Cushite' is usually taken as
'Ethiopian' (cf *CUSH, *ETHIOPIA); if so, she probably left Egypt among
the Israelites and their
sympathizers. It is also, perhaps, possible to derive 'Cushite' from
Kushu and Heb. Cushan,
associated with Midian (Hab 3:7); if so, this woman might be of allied
stock to Jethro and
I personally have
no doubt that this was in response to my question of the Lord and that
He has clearly
shown me that Moses indeed had two wives. I did not buy the book, the
next day I encountered the book
again at a church that I had never previously visited where a cousin
was visiting preacher. I felt impressed
to purchase the book as a witness. I have
no doubt that Yahweh wants it known that Moses
did, indeed, have two wives and that Yahweh approved.
Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Ethiopian
woman whom he had married; for he had married an Ethiopian woman.
2 So they
said, "Has the LORD indeed spoken only through Moses? Has He not spoken
also?" And the LORD heard it.
the man Moses was very humble, more than all men who were on the face
of the earth.)
the LORD said to Moses, Aaron, and Miriam, "Come out,
you three, to the tabernacle
of meeting!" So the three came out.
the LORD came down in the pillar of cloud and stood in the door of the
tabernacle, and called
Aaron and Miriam. And they both went forward.
6 Then He
said, "Hear now My words: if there is a prophet among you, I, the LORD,
known to him in a vision; I speak to him in a dream.
so with My servant Moses; he is faithful in all My house.
speak with him face to face, even plainly, and not in dark sayings; and
the form of the LORD. Why then were you not afraid to speak against My
9 So the anger of the LORD was aroused against them, and He departed.
when the cloud departed from above the tabernacle, suddenly Miriam
became leprous, as white
as snow. Then Aaron turned toward Miriam, and there she was, a leper.
Aaron said to Moses, "Oh, my lord! Please do not lay this sin on us, in
which we have done
foolishly and in which we have sinned.
"Please do not let her be as one dead, whose flesh is half consumed
when he comes out of his
Moses cried out to the LORD, saying, "Please heal her, O God, I pray!"
the LORD said to Moses, "If her father had but spit in her face, would
she not be shamed seven
days? Let her be shut out of the camp seven days, and after that she
may be received again."
Miriam was shut out of the camp seven days, and the people did not
journey on till Miriam was
brought in again.
afterward the people moved from Hazeroth and camped in the Wilderness
of Paran. (NKJ)
There is certainly
nothing in this passage to indicate that Moses only had one wife and
equally there is
nothing to indicate that if he indeed had two wives (or more for that
matter) that Yahweh was in any way
displeased with him. Surely, if nothing else, this
scripture should cause one to think very
carefully about speaking out against a man of God who claims that
permitted him to take more than one wife?
YAHWEH MARRIED TO ISRAEL AND SAMARIA
word of the LORD came again to me, saying:
2 "Son of
man, there were two women, the daughters of one mother.
committed harlotry in Egypt, they committed harlotry in their youth;
their breasts were there
embraced, their virgin bosom was there pressed.
names: Oholah the elder and Oholibah her sister; they were Mine, and
they bore sons and
daughters. As for their names, Samaria is Oholah, and Jerusalem is
played the harlot even though she was Mine; and she lusted for her
lovers, the neighboring
were clothed in purple, captains and rulers, all of them desirable
young men, horsemen riding
she committed her harlotry with them, all of them choice men of
Assyria; and with all for whom
she lusted, with all their idols, she defiled herself.
8 She has
never given up her harlotry brought from Egypt, for in her youth they
had lain with her,
pressed her virgin bosom, and poured out their immorality upon her.
"Therefore I have delivered her into the hand of her lovers, into the
hand of the Assyrians, for whom
uncovered her nakedness, took away her sons and daughters, and slew her
with the sword; she
became a byword among women, for they had executed judgment on her.
although her sister Oholibah saw this, she became more corrupt in her
lust than she, and in
her harlotry more corrupt than her sister's harlotry.
lusted for the neighboring Assyrians, captains and rulers, clothed most
riding on horses, all of them desirable young men.
13 Then I
saw that she was defiled; both took the same way.
she increased her harlotry; she looked at men portrayed on the wall,
images of Chaldeans
portrayed in vermilion,
with belts around their waists, flowing turbans on their heads, all of
them looking like
captains, in the manner of the Babylonians of Chaldea, the land of
soon as her eyes saw them, she lusted for them and sent messengers to
them in Chaldea.
the Babylonians came to her, into the bed of love, and they defiled her
with their immorality;
so she was defiled by them, and alienated herself from them.
revealed her harlotry and uncovered her nakedness. Then I alienated
Myself from her, as I had
alienated Myself from her sister.
she multiplied her harlotry in calling to remembrance the days of her
youth, when she had
played the harlot in the land of Egypt.
she lusted for her paramours, whose flesh is like the flesh of donkeys,
and whose issue is like
the issue of horses.
you called to remembrance the lewdness of your youth, when the
Egyptians pressed your
bosom because of your youthful breasts.
"Therefore, Oholibah, thus says the Lord GOD: 'Behold, I will stir up
your lovers against you, from
whom you have alienated yourself, and I will bring them against you
from every side:
Babylonians, all the Chaldeans, Pekod, Shoa, Koa, all the Assyrians
with them, all of them
desirable young men, Governors and rulers, captains and men of renown,
all of them riding on
they shall come against you with chariots, wagons, and war-horses, with
a horde of people.
They shall array against you Buckler, shield, and helmet all around. 'I
will delegate judgment to
them, and they shall judge you according to their judgments.
25 I will
set My jealousy against you, and they shall deal furiously with you;
they shall remove your
nose and your ears, and your remnant shall fall by the sword; they
shall take your sons and your
daughters, and your remnant shall be devoured by fire.
shall also strip you of your clothes and take away your beautiful
I will make you cease your lewdness and your harlotry brought from the
land of Egypt, so that
you will not lift your eyes to them, nor remember Egypt anymore.'
thus says the Lord GOD: 'Surely I will deliver you into the hand of
those whom you hate, into
the hand of those from whom you alienated yourself.
will deal hatefully with you, take away all you have worked for, and
leave you naked and bare.
The nakedness of your harlotry shall be uncovered, both your lewdness
and your harlotry.
will do these things to you because you have gone as a harlot after the
Gentiles, because you have
become defiled by their idols.
have walked in the way of your sister; therefore I will put her cup in
says the Lord GOD: 'You shall drink of your sister's cup, the deep and
wide one; you shall
be laughed to scorn and held in derision; it contains much.
will be filled with drunkenness and sorrow, the cup of horror and
desolation, the cup of your
shall drink and drain it, you shall break its shards, and tear at your
own breasts; for I have
spoken,' says the Lord GOD.
"Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: 'Because you have forgotten Me and
cast Me behind your back,
therefore you shall bear the penalty of your lewdness and your
LORD also said to me: "Son of man, will you judge Oholah and Oholibah?
Then declare to
them their abominations.
they have committed adultery, and blood is on their hands. They have
committed adultery with
their idols, and even sacrificed their sons whom they bore to Me,
passing them through the fire, to
"Moreover they have done this to Me: They have defiled My sanctuary on
the same day and profaned
after they had slain their children for their idols, on the same day
they came into My sanctuary
to profane it; and indeed thus they have done in the midst of My house.
"Furthermore you sent for men to come from afar, to whom a messenger
was sent; and there they
came. And you washed yourself for them, painted your eyes, and adorned
yourself with ornaments.
sat on a stately couch, with a table prepared before it, on which you
had set My incense and
sound of a carefree multitude was with her, and Sabeans were brought
from the wilderness
with men of the common sort, who put bracelets on their wrists and
beautiful crowns on their heads.
I said concerning her who had grown old in adulteries, 'Will they
commit harlotry with her
now, and she with them?'
they went in to her, as men go in to a woman who plays the harlot; thus
they went in to Oholah
and Oholibah, the lewd women.
righteous men will judge them after the manner of adulteresses, and
after the manner of women
who shed blood, because they are adulteresses, and blood is on their
thus says the Lord GOD: 'Bring up an assembly against them, give them
up to trouble and
assembly shall stone them with stones and execute them with their
swords; they shall slay their
sons and their daughters, and burn their houses with fire.
I will cause lewdness to cease from the land, that all women may be
taught not to practice
shall repay you for your lewdness, and you shall pay for your
idolatrous sins. Then you shall
know that I am the Lord GOD.'" (NKJ)
Note that in this
passage Yahweh refers to two sisters, Israel and Samaria who were His.
The imagery that
is used seems to clearly suggest that He is referring to them as wives.
God Himself can describe
Himself as having two wives, how can any person who claims to fear God
that monogamy is the only form of marriage that is of God or that a man
more than one wife is sin?
THE PROBLEMS OF LEAH AND RACHEL
In the scriptures
concerning Jacobs' marriage to Leah and Rachel in Genesis 29 to Genesis
31 we see a
number of difficulties between the two women. It could be argued that
this results from more than one wife,
however, there was an issue of deception and various other factors
which are surely more likely to be at the
root of the strife than the issue of Jacob having multiple wives.
What is more
notable about this instance is that from Genesis to Revelation there
are only a very few
instances of strife between wives. Sarah and Haggar in Genesis 16 to
Genesis 21 and Hannah and Peninnah
the wives of Elkanah the father of Samuel the prophet in 1 Samuel 1:1-2
are two further cases. Rather than
using these cases to support monogamy should we not marvel at the fact
that although reference is made to
men with more than one wife throughout scripture from Genesis to
Revelation, there are so few instances
of strife reported. Since this is so, should we not
rather look to the work of Satan in
more recent generations to understand why marriages with several wives
problems and should we not be more honest about the extent of the