Sunday 26 June 2016

What Biblical marriage is

Before the fall occured, God established marriage, the union between a man and a woman that binds them together eternally.

This goes back to Genesis 2
"18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for[e] him.” 19 Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed[f] every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. 20 The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam[g] there was not found a helper fit for him. 21 So the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and while he slept took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. 22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made[h] into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones
    and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
    because she was taken out of Man.”[i]
24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh. 25 And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed."

I won't be going into detail as to whether or not someone should be celibate as this is won't be relevant, but the clear point made is that a man and a woman are complimentary, they fit together and join as one both in body and spirit.

However, when the fall occurred, marriage was ruined and destroyed. Marriage is filled with strife, with the woman seeking to dominate her husband and the man being ungracious and merciless to his wife. Not only this but also divorce had settled in which was not what God had intended. Deuteronomy 24 tells us what a man was to do in the Torah if he divorced his wife:

"Deuteronomy 24:1“When a man takes a wife and marries her, if then she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, and she departs out of his house, 2 and if she goes and becomes another man's wife, 3 and the latter man hates her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter man dies, who took her to be his wife, 4 then her former husband, who sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after she has been defiled, for that is an abomination before the Lord. And you shall not bring sin upon the land that the Lord your God is giving you for an inheritance."

The law here prohibits a man (and woman) from remarrying their former spouse if they are divorced and the spouse in question has gone after another and if they have another divorce on dies, the former spouse may not take their original love back, for it would defile them in doing so. Divorce was not part of God's original plan.

The Pharisees appealed to this passage when speaking with Jesus on the issue of marriage and Jesus, taking them to the scriptures went back to Genesis 2:
"Matthew 19:4 “Haven’t you read,” he replied, “that at the beginning the Creator ‘made them male and female,’[a] 5 and said, ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh’[b]? 6 So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate. 7 “Why then,” they asked, “did Moses command that a man give his wife a certificate of divorce and send her away?”

8 Jesus replied, “Moses permitted you to divorce your wives because your hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. 9 I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.”"

Jesus takes the Pharisees back to the beginning of the TANAKH or the Old Testament to tell us what marriage was intended to be, one man and one woman together for life.

Yes I know there were times in the Old Testament where polygamy was present, but again, that was not God's original intention and like divorce as explained by Jesus, it was a concession for human stubbornness.

To give one example, look what happened when Solomon had multiple wives (Though in this case, he did marry both Jew and Gentile alike):

"11 Now King Solomon loved many foreign women, along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women, 2 from the nations concerning which the Lord had said to the people of Israel, “You shall not enter into marriage with them, neither shall they with you, for surely they will turn away your heart after their gods.” Solomon clung to these in love. 3 He had 700 wives, who were princesses, and 300 concubines. And his wives turned away his heart. 4 For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. 5 For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Sidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites. 6 So Solomon did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and did not wholly follow the Lord, as David his father had done. 7 Then Solomon built a high place for Chemosh the abomination of Moab, and for Molech the abomination of the Ammonites, on the mountain east of Jerusalem. 8 And so he did for all his foreign wives, who made offerings and sacrificed to their gods."

The many wives, specifically the Gentile women lead Solomon AWAY from YHWH and presumably mislead the Jewish women too. An interesting principle would be conflict among the wives, in this case, it would be ideology.

If it was Jewish only or someone from the same ethnic background whether they are Jewish or not, there is the risk of loving one of your wives more than the other. We see this in the marriage of Jacob.

"Genesis 29:30 So Jacob went in to Rachel also, and he loved Rachel more than Leah, and served Laban for another seven years.

31 When the Lord saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb, but Rachel was barren. 32 And Leah conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Reuben,[c] for she said, “Because the Lord has looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me.” 33 She conceived again and bore a son, and said, “Because the Lord has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also.” And she called his name Simeon.[d] 34 Again she conceived and bore a son, and said, “Now this time my husband will be attached to me, because I have borne him three sons.” Therefore his name was called Levi.[e] 35 And she conceived again and bore a son, and said, “This time I will praise the Lord.” Therefore she called his name Judah.[f] Then she ceased bearing."

Leah wasn't given the attention that she wanted as Jacob was more in love with Rachel. Leah ended up being blessed by God with more children, to which Rachel said the following:
"Genesis 30 When Rachel saw that she bore Jacob no children, she envied her sister. She said to Jacob, “Give me children, or I shall die!” 2 Jacob's anger was kindled against Rachel, and he said, “Am I in the place of God, who has withheld from you the fruit of the womb?” 3 Then she said, “Here is my servant Bilhah; go in to her, so that she may give birth on my behalf,[a] that even I may have children[b] through her.” 4 So she gave him her servant Bilhah as a wife, and Jacob went in to her. 5 And Bilhah conceived and bore Jacob a son. 6 Then Rachel said, “God has judged me, and has also heard my voice and given me a son.” Therefore she called his name Dan.[c] 7 Rachel's servant Bilhah conceived again and bore Jacob a second son. 8 Then Rachel said, “With mighty wrestlings[d] I have wrestled with my sister and have prevailed.” So she called his name Naphtali.[e]"

Rachel is envious of Leah bearing more children that she, So much so that she tells Jacob to sleep with her maid servant and when Leah could not bear children, she compelled Jacob to do the same thing:
"9 When Leah saw that she had ceased bearing children, she took her servant Zilpah and gave her to Jacob as a wife. 10 Then Leah's servant Zilpah bore Jacob a son. 11 And Leah said, “Good fortune has come!” so she called his name Gad.[f] 12 Leah's servant Zilpah bore Jacob a second son. 13 And Leah said, “Happy am I! For women have called me happy.” So she called his name Asher.[g]"

So much for polygamy being God's intention. Even Deuteronomy 17 tells us that kings that God sets over us shouldn't have many wives:

"Deuteronomy 17:14 “When you come to the land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, ‘I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me,’ 15 you may indeed set a king over you whom the Lord your God will choose. One from among your brothers you shall set as king over you. You may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. 16 Only he must not acquire many horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses, since the Lord has said to you, ‘You shall never return that way again.’ 17 And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold."

It is true that David had multiple wives, but it doesn't give us a licence to have multiple wives ourselves, not to mention Jacob, David and Solomon and many others paid the price for having many wives.

As pointed out in Matthew 19, Jesus tells us what was the intention for marriage, which prevents polygamy and adultery and yes even homosexuality being a remote possibility.

See the following article on the subject of homosexuality:

See also some other articles if you are interested on the subject:

See also this paper on Christian Swingers:

Paul even reaffirms this point about marriage and what God intends it to be in 1 Corinthians 7:
"7 Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. 3 The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control."

See also the following paper on 1 Corinthians 7:

If the Lord Wills, more may be added here. Thanks for reading.

Answering Judaism.

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