The Apple Of God's Eye

January 30, 2011

Why Did Christ Not Marry?

The Good News, February 1984

I Peter 2:21 says, “Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.” If Jesus were not teaching celibacy by His example, why didn’t He marry?

In Matthew 19:4-6, Jesus confirmed the sanctity of marriage in the eyes of God by quoting from the creation account (Gen. 1:27, 2:24). He further sanctified marriage in verses 8 and 9, by strictly teaching against divorce.

But Jesus had valid reasons for not marrying. The harsh physical circumstances surrounding His ministry, prophesied in Isaiah 53, would have prevented Him from being the parent and husband He would have wanted to be to set us an example. And Jesus knew He would die an early, agonizing death that would have left His young wife a widow.

It would have been easier for Jesus to go off, get married and live a “normal” life, forsaking His mission on earth. But His desire to do the will of His Father (Matt. 26:39) made Him willing to forsake physical marriage, a “good thing” (Prov. 18:22), for a better thing. And so He said:

“All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given: for there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it” (Matt. 19:11-12). (more…)

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June 4, 2010

Your Marriage: Shell Or Substance?

You’ve seen it happen — a marriage that, from all outward appearances, has every reason for success crumbles from within.

Sad to say, it may have happened — or be happening — in your own marriage!

A couple may be what you would consider well-off. They own a house, car and nice furniture. They have plenty of food and clothing. They are well educated and have a good job and money in the bank. They have several beautiful children.

The husband can tell his wife 10 times a day that he loves her, take her out often, help her with household chores and with the children. The wife can cook delicious meals, keep the house spotless and be a model mother. They can have an excellent sex life. (more…)

June 3, 2010

Don't Take Your Marriage For Granted

Filed under: Marriage — melchia @ 7:22 am

blueskycelebrantservices.com.au

God intended the happiest people on earth to be married people! He intended marriage to be the most absolutely wonderful, the most exciting, most mutually rewarding experience two people can possibly share together.

Today, most marriages begin with high hopes. The wedding day is the happiest day of the young couples’ lives. As they share the joys of this long-awaited time with relatives and friends, there is nothing to dim their soaring hopes and dreams. There is no thought of failure. They are sure their marriage will be the happiest and most successful yet.

Despite these high hopes, many marriages never measure up to expectations. The initial flush of happiness often fades with the passing of the years. Couples who once thought they were in love eventually come to realize they are no longer in love. Many people watch their marriages crumble and finally disintegrate before their eyes. (more…)

February 23, 2010

Keep Love In Marriage Alive

Filed under: Marriage — melchia @ 11:00 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

greetings.ellamey.com

How many people today treat a marriage partner like a roommate – as disposable. The flame goes out and years of marriage, perhaps children, love, sweat, toil and heartache, all for a piece of paper that says “divorced.”

Marriage is like a hot coffeepot placed on a cold stove — it soon cools off. Unless we take precautions, that can happen. But cooled-off love can be rekindled, and relationships can be restored.

1.   “Remember” is the first step. God gave us memories. We must live in the present, but we dream of the future and we learn valuable truths from the past.

2.   “Repent” is the second step. Love includes being able to say you’re sorry and really mean it. When was the last time you said “I’m sorry”? Forgiveness is an integral part of every good marriage. We can easily wrong others — even the one we love most intimately.

We need to change — to constantly strive to improve. Sometimes even little habits can greatly annoy our mate. We should be sensitive and willing to adjust. Some, when offended, react with resentment and punishments. They hold grudges. They want to get even — even if only by sulking. Anybody can act that way. Remember: God will forgive our trespasses only as we forgive those who have wronged us (Matthew 6:12). So don’t let the sun go down on your anger (Eph. 4:26). (more…)

January 12, 2010

If Jesus Was Not Teaching Celibacy By Example, Why Did He Not Marry?

Bride Of Christ - fineartamerica.com

I Peter 2:21 says, “Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.” If Jesus were not teaching celibacy by His example, why didn’t He marry?

In Matthew 19:4-6, Jesus confirmed the sanctity of marriage in the eyes of God by quoting from the creation account (Gen. 1:27, 2:24). He further sanctified marriage in verses 8 and 9, by strictly teaching against divorce.

But Jesus had valid reasons for not marrying. The harsh physical circumstances surrounding His ministry, prophesied in Isaiah 53, would have prevented Him from being the parent and husband He would have wanted to be to set us an example. And Jesus knew He would die an early, agonizing death that would have left His young wife a widow.

It would have been easier for Jesus to go off, get married and live a “normal” life, forsaking His mission on earth. But His desire to do the will of His Father (Matt. 26:39) made Him willing to forsake physical marriage, a “good thing” (Prov. 18:22), for a better thing. And so He said:

“All cannot accept this saying, but only those to whom it has been given: for there are eunuchs who were born thus from their mother’s womb, and there are eunuchs who were made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He who is able to accept it, let him accept it” (Matt. 19:11-12). (more…)

November 24, 2009

Where Did Cain Get His Wife?

Filed under: Marriage — melchia @ 8:38 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Where did Cain get his wife? Notice Genesis 5:4: “After he begot Seth, the days of Adam were eight hundred years; and he begot sons and daughters.” Obviously Cain married one of his sisters — one of Adam’s daughters — and Seth, Cain’s brother, did likewise.

Adam and Eve, as God proposed, were fruitful (Genesis 1:28). In today’s world, when many couples are having no more than one or two children, it’s hard for us to grasp how many children Adam and Eve probably had during their great span of life of nearly a thousand years. Adam lived almost one sixth of all the time from his creation until now.

It was not wrong to marry a sister or a brother in the beginning — no physical harm would result. More than 2,000 years later, in the days of Abraham, a man could still marry a half sister. It was not until the days of Moses that God forbade brothers to marry their half sisters (Leviticus 18:6, 11).

In pre-Flood days, when people lived for centuries, they did not age as we do today. They were able to continue bearing children, undoubtedly, for hundreds of years. After the Flood, because of living contrary to God’s laws, the human life span became greatly shortened.

November 23, 2009

Jesus Christ: Once Divorced, Yet Twice Married?

blogprints.wordpress.com

Strange as it may seem, Jesus Christ already had a wife! In Exodus 19 and 24, the LORD of the Old Testament, Jesus Christ Himself (I Cor. 10:4) made a covenant with ancient Israel at Mount Sinai. This covenant was a marriage agreement. Notice Jeremiah 3:14: here the LORD (Christ) commands His wife, “Turn, O backsliding children … for I am married unto you.”

But ancient Israel did not carry out her part of the marriage covenant. She was an unfaithful wife (Ezek. 16). God had made His righteous Law a part of that covenant. But because of sin, which is the transgression of that Law, God had to separate Himself from His wife (Isa. 50:1; 59:1-2). “And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce” (Jer. 3:8).

Though He put her away, the marriage covenant Christ anciently made with Israel was binding until death. Neither party was free to marry another (Matt. 19:3-9). However, Christ’s death on the stake freed Him from that marriage (Rom. 7:1-4).

Human marriages fail as a result of broken laws. Breaking laws again by allowing divorce and remarriage, contrary to God’s law, would only create more misery. To fully understand that God hates divorce, we have to prove and understand from the Bible that human marriage is a type of the coming future marriage to Jesus Christ. Look at what God says in Mat. 19:8:

“He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so,” (Matt. 19:8)

He warns us to be very cautious in our thoughts and dealings with divorce, which is never an acceptable choice to God, not even for reason of adultery, addiction, spiritism, criminal or immoral conduct.

God’s Laws on Divorce Simplified

The laws of God concerning marriage and divorce are really quite simple. Jesus Christ explained them so that even a little child could understand them. “And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Matt. 19:4-6).

Here Jesus Christ cut through a lot of chaff and human reasoning. He showed that man was created for marriage and what God had joined together should not be “put asunder.” Some people in Christ’s day did not like His answer. Men still don’t like this answer. But this law is the foundation of the marriage institution and it is the basis of family life. As Mr. Armstrong stated, this “is the Divine law on which the stability—or the fate of a nation rests!” (Ibid).

The intellectuals and lawyers of Christ’s time quizzed Christ a little further on this issue. Remember, they didn’t like His answer. “They said unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry” (Matt. 19:7-10).

This was a stinging answer from Christ. He said that Moses allowed them divorce because of the hardness of their carnal hearts. In other words, ancient Israel could not understand the spiritual dimension to God’s purpose for marriage or live by the spiritual laws concerning marriage. Jesus Christ was essentially putting God’s truth about marriage and divorce “back-on-track.”

Christ was very clear here that God never intended to allow divorce—“from the beginning it was not so!” Christ also stated that to separate what God had joined together and remarry another is committing adultery.

In these verses, Christ allowed an exception to God’s rule—“except it be for fornication.” Simple enough, right? No, we also need to know what the word “fornication” means.

The Porneia Controversy

What exactly does the word “fornication,” as used by Christ in Matt. 19 mean? This word in the Greek language is porneia. It does not mean adultery in marriage, nor does it give adultery as a reason for allowing a divorce. Granted, the Greek porneia has more than one meaning. So does the English word, “saw.” It may mean “did see,” or it may mean an instrument with jagged teeth for cutting through wood. We determine by its use in the sentence, in the context of that sentence, which meaning of the word applies. So it is in the case in which Jesus used the Greek word porneia. The translators of the King James Bible in 1611 knew that Jesus intended the definition “fornication” as an act prior to marriage.

Consider what Jesus said in Matthew 5:32, “But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.”

Consider that! If in this case porneia should have been translated “adultery” instead of premarital fornication, then, in the English look how absurd would be Jesus’ statement. He would have said, whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of adultery, causeth her to commit adultery. In other words, he divorced her for the sin of adultery, and causes her to commit again the same act for which he divorced her. That would not make sense!

Further, same sentence (verse 32): “whosoever shall marry her” (that is put away for adultery) “committeth adultery.” He who would marry this particular divorced woman would be committing adultery only because she is still the wife of the man who divorced her! To say that Jesus gave adultery as grounds for divorce introduces confusion, and misrepresents what Jesus said to be ridiculous!

The simple fact is that the word “porneia” does describe premarital sexual relations—a capital sin. Jesus Christ used porneia to describe illicit sexual relations prior to marriage—only! He was not describing illicit sexual conduct after marriage.

Marriage not binding in case of premarital adultery

The only way that a man marrying a divorced woman commits adultery is if the woman is still the bound wife of the man who divorced her. But when Jesus gave the only grounds as premarital fornication, that can mean only that the marriage was not binding—God never bound that marriage in the first place. The woman had committed fornication prior to the marriage, had not told the man, and therefore he was defrauded—the marriage was never binding! Why? Because God knew, but the man did not. God never bound that marriage. The man was unknowingly defrauded. If she had told him, and he forgave her anyway, then the marriage would have been bound by God. In that case if he divorced her he did not do so legally in God’s sight, and he caused her, by marrying another, to commit adultery.

In both Matthew 5 and Matthew 19, both the translated English words ‘fornication” and “adultery” are mentioned. In the original Greek the word translated “fornication” was porneia, and a different Greek word was used for adultery, moicheia. If Jesus had meant “adultery” to be the only grounds for divorce and remarriage, he would have used the word moicheia instead of porneia. The very fact He did use the Greek porneia in the same sentence with moicheia shows definitely He did not intend porneia to mean adultery—unfaithfulness after marriage.

So, porneia does not mean adultery. Even God and Jesus Christ show us through the Bible that an adulterous act is not grounds for divorce.  “They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man’s, shall he return unto her again? shall not that land be greatly polluted? but thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the LORD” (Jer. 3:1). Ancient Israel played the harlot with God, and God actually encouraged Israel to return unto him.

A liberal ministry often fails to address two other scriptures related to the laws governing marriage and divorce. Paul wrote to the Romans, “Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man” (Rom. 7:1-3). Paul shows here very clearly that only death can sever a marriage bound by God. In essence, if a man and a woman married and could live forever, then their marriage would be forever! Our marriage with Christ will be forever. Christ already is spirit. We will become spirit at the first resurrection. Because we will live eternally, our marriage will be eternal. Our human marriages must picture our marriage to Christ in faithfulness.

Paul also taught, “And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife” (I Cor. 7:10-11). Paul explains here that if married people divorce, they must either reconcile with their mate or remain single.

Only two reasons for divorce

First, Jesus gave fornication (prior to marriage) as the grounds for nullifying a marriage. This clearly was a form of fraud. When discovered (in nearly all cases) immediately after marriage, it simply meant God, knowing of this fraud, had actually not bound the marriage—and what followed therefore was actually an annulment, not a divorce.

However this did not apply in cases of marriages by unconverted people. God never bound them anyway—they were bound by man’s law, and any divorce and/or remarriage would be according to man’s civil law. But the church would not apply this annulment if the couple had continued living together for a period of time. There could be other types of fraud—such as marriage enforced at the point of a gun.

The second cause for divorce is based on 1 Corinthians 7. Paul there speaks, verses 8-9, to the unmarried and widows. In verses 10-11 he speaks to the married. Beginning verse 12 he speaks to “the rest.” If a converted man has a wife…if she be pleased to live with him, he must not divorce her—he has no grounds for divorce and remarriage.

Likewise the woman in God’s Church, if she has an unbelieving husband, and he is willing to live with her despite her religion, she shall not leave him (verse 13).

But if the unbelieving one leaves—cuts off the marriage because of the Church member’s religion—let him or her depart. Now notice this! The believing Church member is not given grounds for breaking off the marriage. It is only IF the unbelieving one leaves—severs the marriage relationship—then and only then is the believer (Church member) no longer bound and free to obtain a divorce (verse 15).

This could occur in at least two ways. 1) The believing Church member has been newly converted, and the mate refuses to live with him or her because of the religion. 2) Both had been in the Church, but one falls away, turns bitter against the Church, refuses to live as husband or wife with the still loyal member. In this case the embittered one, leaving the Church, has become an unbeliever.

We must take special note of several facts:

“Fornication” or premarital sex is grounds for annulment, not divorce. With this understanding the only cases for allowable divorce and remarriage within God’s Church are: the case of an unconverted mate departing the marriage over religion; or the case of a member becoming an unbeliever and then departing the marriage. The converted mate is then free to remarry, but only within God’s Church. Why? See II Cor. 6:14:

“Do not keep company with those who have not faith: for what is there in common between righteousness and evil, or between light and dark?”

Believers should not marry unbelievers, as this scripture shows. it creates confusion and disharmony.

We must remember that God hates “putting away.” If a Christian is already married to an unbelieving mate who is please to dwell with him, it would be a grave sin for a that member to manipulate an unconcerted mate to leave a marriage. Living with an unconcerted mate can be difficult at times, even if that mate is kind and supportive. But that is not a valid reason for “pushing” that mate out of a marriage.

Again, we must look at marriage to an unconverted mate from God’s perspective:

Now Paul gives an important reason for the converted mate continuing in the marriage, IF the unbelieving one is willing. Notice I Corinthians 7:14: “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now they are holy.”

To thoroughly understand this we need to go clear back to Adam and Eve. When God drove them out of the Garden of Eden, and with sword-flaming angels barred anyone from going back in—or having access to the tree of life (the Holy Spirit)—God said, in effect:

“You have made your decision. You have rebelled against me, denied me as your God, your Revealer of knowledge, your Ruler. Therefore I sentence you and the World that shall be born from you to 6,000 years of being CUT OFF from me—except for the VERY FEW I shall specially call into my service to prepare for the Kingdom of God.”

Jesus confirmed this when He said, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (John 6:44).

Now the nation of ancient Israel was specially called by God the Father for a special purpose—even though they were still cut off from receiving the Holy Spirit.

But the unconverted mate is put in a special category—not called necessarily to receiving the Holy Spirit or spiritual conversion—but simply NOT CUT OFF from God. They are free to seek God, if they will, and to become converted. They are placed in a special category, neither converted, or CALLED for God’s special duty in conversion—but, on the other hand, NOT actually CUTOFF—not in the category Jesus spoke of, saying no such unbeliever CAN come to Jesus, except by special call to salvation by God the Father. They are free to seek God and to seek conversion IF THEY WILL—not CUT OFF!…

If the husband or wife who is IN the Church divorces the unbelieving nonmember who is willing to continue the marriage, that Church member puts the unconcerted mate in the CUTOFF category—whereas such nonmember mate might have been saved for eternal life in God’s Kingdom.

We must never forget that the only way to fully understand the Bible on the issue of divorce and remarriage is by seeking God’s will.

Christ will soon marry again. Only this time He will marry a repentant, forgiven, sinless “spiritual Israel.” This is the New Testament Church soon to enter the Kingdom of God. Read Revelation 19:7: “The marriage of the Lamb is come, and His wife hath made herself ready.”

Sources:

  1. Why Marriage! Soon Obsolete? by Herbert W Armstrong
  2. WCG Pastor General’s Report, 1980, Herbert W Armstrong

September 1, 2009

The Power Of Parental Example

“He’s the spitting image of his father.”  — “He’s a chip off the old block.”   — “Like mother, like daughter.”

Expressions like these reflect that we tend to follow the example set by our parents.  How good or how bad an example do you set as a parent?

Children are richly blessed in life if they have good examples to follow. This leaves you as a parent with a major question to answer: By following your parental example, where will your children end up?

To help answer that question, let’s look at some ways that your children learn from your example. Here are several traits you may occasionally exemplify, and what those examples will produce in your children.

Hostility

A child living with hostility will learn to fight. Have you ever been out somewhere and observed children who punch, scratch, pinch, push, bully, swear at and tattle on other children?

If this is their behavior in public, then what must the example they see at home be like?  Are your children guilty of such conduct? If so, from whom do they learn it?

Parents who stand on the sidelines of sporting events yelling and urging their children to win at all costs — and who get upset and angry when their children lose — are teaching a spirit of competitiveness. They are also teaching that winning is all that matters.

Do you know parents who will only play sports if they can win all of the time and who are extremely irritated at losing? They will not play with people they cannot beat. Ever wonder what attitude their children will adopt toward fair play and being able to lose gracefully?

Why not teach children by example, that winning, though important, is not the supreme goal? Playing the game in sportsmanlike fashion and showing concern for the other players is most important.

Children exposed to bad sporting examples quickly absorb the message that to solve a problem you argue and fight. What a pity they are not rather learning that peace comes from practicing the principles that make for peace (Jas. 3:18).

Criticism

A child who lives with constant criticism will learn to grumble and complain. Is the family dinner table a place for gossip, criticism and cynical remarks? If it is, then children are learning to be complainers.

Do you have gripe sessions in front of them? If you must air grievances, do it privately, away from young, impressionable minds. This may take restraint on your part when you have the urge to be critical. Better still, overcome such negative habits.

Certainly, you should teach your children to accept criticism — it’s a tool for growth — but criticism should always be constructive and be given in a spirit of love.

Disregard for law

It is surprising to see the extent to which some “Christians” flout vehicle speed laws and parking directions. Some apparently feel that traffic regulations are “only man’s laws anyway.”

What is of greater concern about such disregard, beyond that you could wind up hurt physically, is that you are nourishing a belief in your heart that you are above law. This teaches children double standards. Derogatory remarks about authority figures — whether police, teachers, government officials or ministers — also set a bad example.

Paul warns, “Obey those who rule over you” (Heb. 13:17) — even when you consider the rules inadequate or foolish. Your purpose is to learn to submit to authority. If you don’t set the example, how can you expect your children to submit to you? Disregard for law and order encourages rebellion.

Unequal love

Isaac grew up in a family atmosphere that reflected unequal love toward his half brother Ishmael (Gen. 21:8-11). Eventually Ishmael was forced out of the camp and separated from his father, Abraham, because of Sarah’s and Hagar’s feelings against each other.

In time, Isaac had his own family — twin sons — Esau and Jacob. But personality differences took root in the family because Isaac favored Esau while Rebekah gave more of her love to Jacob (Gen. 25:28). This led eventually to Jacob’s taking Esau’s birthright by deceptive means worked out by his mother. Not the best example of family togetherness. But where did Isaac learn to conduct his family this way?

Favoritism

If you practice favoritism, your children will learn to be partial. Continuing with the above story, we read that Jacob had many children from his two wives and their handmaids. But the child Jacob loved most was the youngest, Joseph.

The problem with this was in being so open about it before the others, culminating in the special gift of the coat of many colors (Gen. 37:3-4). This produced family jealousy and rivalry.

Of course, Joseph’s dreams and his approach in telling his brothers didn’t help matters either (verses 5-11). The end result of Jacob’s practicing partiality was that Joseph was sold into Egypt as a slave.

Joseph, himself, was partial years later in Egypt when he gave a banquet for all his brothers. Guess who got the biggest share of food? Benjamin, the youngest, was openly favored (Gen. 43:34).

This resurrected a family resentment that resurfaced at the death of Jacob. Joseph’s brothers became fearful, thinking that with the patriarch out of the way, Joseph would take revenge on them (Gen. 50:15).

Hypocrisy

Children see through hypocrisy, especially in the Christian example you set. Do you say one thing — or even tell your children to do one thing — while you yourself do something else?

Does your child know and see that you pray, study the Bible, fast, get anointed when you are sick and serve others? Or does he see a show at Church services each week and general disinterest the other six days? Whatever you practice, your children see and tend to copy, whether for the good or bad.

But what if you yourself have been the victim of bad parental influences and find yourself struggling to change?

God gives encouragement through the prophet Ezekiel. As long as you are willing to take heed to your ways, to consider right and wrong and seek to change faults, you can avoid being an injurious example to your own children (Ezek. 18:14-17, 27-28). You can, if you are willing to make the effort, teach them God’s way.

Joseph and Mary must have set a fine example for Jesus. God the Father must have been especially mindful that a right kind of family environment would be needed to nurture and admonish Jesus during His boyhood years.

With the help of this fine family example, Jesus grew up to be “in favor with God and men” (Luke 2:52).

Could there be a better goal in child training than this, that as a result of the godly family environment you create for your children, they grow up to be “in favor with God and men”? How richly blessed your children will be if this happens. And what a commendation for you as a parent!

If your family environment reflects criticism, hostility, ridicule and competitiveness, your child will learn to fight, to feel shy and guilty, to be spiteful and hateful and perhaps be destined to end up as an ineffective parent himself.

But if your family environment reflects tolerance, encouragement, praise, fairness, honesty, security and approval, your child will learn acceptance, patience, confidence, justice, faith and to find true and enduring friendships.

The parental example you set has great impact upon your children. Make your example a good one!

Source: The Good News, May 1983

July 27, 2009

Is The Wearing Of Rings Anti-Biblical?

Filed under: Marriage,Pagan Customs — melchia @ 12:32 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

The wedding ring, that most famous and instantly recognizable symbol of the joining of a man and a woman as husband and wife in the institution of marriage, has a long history. Some state that this history is pagan, though the Bible does not support this theory.

Exodus 35 records that rings were included with the offering the Israelites gave for the building of the Tabernacle. There is not the slightest indication that God was displeased with their wearing rings.

The Bible records that God was with Joseph when he was sold into slavery in Egypt. Joseph served God, and God caused him to find favor in the eyes of the Pharaoh. In Genesis 41:41-42, we find that Joseph accepted a ring from the Pharaoh. It is plain from the context that the ring was a symbol of the very high office which had been bestowed upon him. God was not displeased with this, and the next few chapters show that God continued to bless and guide Joseph.

In principle, the ring given to Joseph served much the same purpose as that of a wedding ring. A wedding ring is merely a symbol of the marriage vows that have been made.

One further example is the famous story of the prodigal son. Jesus used this parable to illustrate God the Father’s love toward a repentant sinner. The father, who pictured God, ordered a ring to be put on the son’s hand (Luke 15:22). This act would not have been canonized if it was anti-biblical.

All of the evidence is positive. The Bible nowhere criticizes the wearing of rings in general or wedding rings in particular.

July 9, 2009

How Should A Christian Woman Obey Her Unconverted Husband?

Filed under: Christian Women,Marriage — melchia @ 8:27 pm

I realize this subject will offend some modern women, who look upon obedience to a husband as an antiquated law of the Bible. That notion does not, however, abolish what God commands.

In Ephesians 5:22-23, we read: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: …”

Clearly, this is a command for the true Christian couple. But does this apply to the Christian wife if the husband is unconverted?

Here is the Biblical answer. “Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives” (I Pet. 3:1).

If the  husband doesn’t understand the truth, the wife must not try to convert him by constantly repeating her belief and by insisting that he listen to a broadcast or read literature. That will only drive him further away from the truth. Rather, the wife should wait until he questions her concerning a certain truth. Then she should be prepared to give a convincing Biblical explanation.

Peter further instructs Christian women: “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands” (I Pet. 3:3-5).

Certainly, controversies will come up in families if they disagree on religion. In such a case, the wife must obey God rather than her husband. For example, if the husband wishes his wife to break the Sabbath day by doing the family shopping on Saturday, or by attending a football game or movie with him, she should refuse to do so. However, she should explain in a very kind way that the Sabbath is the day God commanded to keep holy. She should, in such a case, obey God rather than man. Yet, she should always be submissive in attitude toward her husband and obey her husband when his authority does not conflict with the higher authority or law of God.

Remember, the wife should be in subjection to her husband even though he may not be converted. Though he may never be converted in this life (I Cor. 7:12-16), yet if she obeys him and respects him as the Bible commands, he will in turn love and respect her. As a result, he may be won over by her good example. He may be inspired to want to obey the truth when he sees the life she is living. (I Pet. 3:1). In any event, her constant love and respect, and her cheerful recognition of her husband’s rightful place as head of the house will result in them both living a happier and fuller life together at this present time.

All of you wives need to respect and submit to your husbands as the Bible commands. This is God’s WAY — the Christain way. Most women have not understood this subject, and much unhappiness has resulted. Ask God to help you honor your husband as you should.

June 19, 2009

Racial Intermarriage: A Practice Contrary To God's Purpose

The Bible shows that marriage between persons of different races is contrary to God’s purpose. This does not mean that one race is better than another. God loves all human beings — after all, the races exist only by His design and will. Regardless of race, every person has the same potential destiny — that of becoming a part of God’s very own
Family (Gal. 3:28-29).

Anciently, God separated the different races by giving each its own area of the world to develop (Gen. 10:5, 32; Deut. 32:8; Acts 17:26). He placed them where geographic features (rivers, mountain ranges, and the like) formed great natural barriers and boundaries between them. He obviously did not want different peoples to intermingle.

Notice also that Abraham (called the father of the faithful) was deeply concerned that his son Isaac should find a wife among his own people rather than from among the Canaanites, who were a different people (Gen. 24). In turn, Isaac instructed his son Jacob to go back to their ancestral home to find a wife (Gen. 28:1-2).

God’s will of maintaining the separation and distinction of each race is illustrated by one of His laws concerning animals. The people were not to let their cattle interbreed without control (Lev. 19:19). While people are vastly more important than cattle, genetic principles apply to both man and beast, and laws given for the benefit of animals can illustrate principles applying to human beings (please see I Corinthians 9:9-10).

Parents should appreciate their birthright and want to preserve it. They should strive to maintain a good name and to teach their children to treasure their FAMILY HERITAGE. It is in keeping with these biblical principles, then, for a person to marry someone of the same race and who is compatible in personality, culture, temperament, and outlook on life. Disregarding these principles is likely to result in problems and hardships for the couple and for the children.

May 24, 2009

God's Plan For Children Without Fathers

The core institution of society is fatherhood. Period. Every boy has a father. Every girl has a father. When those fathers are present, and especially when they are involved in their children’s lives on a much deeper level, children thrive. Common sense shows it. Research proves it. Society denies it.

“The US’ out-of-wedlock birth rate is 38 percent. Among children, 28 percent are now born to a single mother; among Hispanic children it is 50 percent and reaches a chilling, disorienting peak of 71 percent for black children. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, nearly a quarter of America’s white children (22 percent) do not have any male in their homes; nearly a third (31 percent) of Hispanic children and over half of black children (56 percent) are fatherless.

In the book Fatherless America: Confronting Our Most Urgent Social Problem is this assessment: “There are exceptions, of course, but here is the rule: Boys raised by traditionally masculine fathers do not commit crimes. Fatherless boys commit crimes.” In fact, fatherlessness has been proven to be the number-one factor predisposing someone to criminal activity—more than poverty, iq, race, culture or education.

Girls who lack the strong influence of a father are much more prone to get involved sexually before they should. They are looking for a male to fulfill that need in their life that their father failed to fulfill. “Many studies confirm that girls who grow up without fathers are at much greater risk for early sexual activity, adolescent childbearing, divorce and lack of sexual confidence” (ibid.).

The vast majority of fatherless children are also prone to emotional imbalances, motivation problems (especially boys), anger, instability, vulnerability, insecurity and feelings of rejection—a sense of being unloved and unlovable. These same problems tend to crop up where a father is present, but is perhaps abusive, a workaholic, passive and unmasculine, sickly, manipulative or a perfectionist. Sadly, the children of such men can be just as much “fatherless” as those whose father completely abandoned the family, or died! If you want to know how important the father’s role is, just look at what happens when it is neglected.

Given the God-designed need for a father, it is interesting how protective God is of two groups of people in particular: the fatherless, and the widows. The Bible contains over 40 references to these two groups! It doesn’t specifically mention the motherless and widowers, but rather those who have been deprived of that male influence of a father and a husband—those for whom that family role isn’t being filled. God specifically condems those today who neglect the fatherless and widows.

“Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge [defend or vindicate] not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them” (Isaiah 1:23). God instructs these rebels, “Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow” (verses 16-17).

This is how to become right with God! These people need help—there is a void that God intended be filled in their lives. “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world” (James 1:27).

Because Satan has inspired the role of the father to be attacked so vigorously today, a majority of people have had poor relationships with their fathers. But God wants every child to have a father, and He pays special attention to those who do not, giving them extra love and attention (Zech. 7:9-10). The inspiring and hope-filled truth is, for those lacking a strong physical father, God seeks to step in and fill that role—both personally, and through strong males who are practicing the pure religion spoken of in James.

In His law, God says we should go out of our way to show compassion to the fatherless. It angers Him when people don’t do this (Mal. 3:5). Why? Because God is a family and desires more members in His future family through a resurrection (I Cor. 15).

April 30, 2009

Marriage And Divorce: What Does The Bible Teach?

Filed under: Marriage — melchia @ 9:19 pm
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instituted marriage when He made a wife for Adam (Gen. 2:18). He instructed that a man ought to leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and become one flesh with her (Gen. 2:24). God’s will is for marriage to last for life — with each partner loving, honoring, caring for, and cleaving to the other just as Christ loves and cares for His Church. The Bible teaches the sacredness of marital vows. 
 
But, we live in an imperfect world beset by human weakness, “hardness of heart,” unfaithfulness, wickedness, irresponsibility, and all such things. People do sin. Divorce occurs even though God “hates putting away” (Mal. 2:16). 
 
What does one do if he or she has already been divorced? When a person repents and is converted, all his past sins are forgiven (Acts 2:38; Ps. 103:1-3, 10-12). Any past divorce would 
be included, and the person would be free to marry again. 
However, Paul was also inspired to write that a converted person must not leave or divorce a mate (even one unconverted)  who is pleased to continue the marriage (I Cor. 7:10-13). To divorce a faithful mate and marry another is adultery (Matt. 19:9). Divorce and remarriage is not sanctioned once God has entered the marriage and bound the couple for life (Matt. 5:32). 
But what if an unconverted mate voluntarily leaves the converted Christian? Then, as Paul wrote, that Christian may be divorced (“loosed”) from an unbelieving mate and does not sin if he remarries (I Cor. 7:27-28). 
 
Although the unconverted world cannot receive Christ’s teaching, all who are His ought to obey Him implicitly, not only in refraining from divorce but also in using all their resources to build a truly loving relationship (Eph. 5:22-31; I Pet. 3:1-7). Our earthly marriages ought to picture the great love 
relationship between Christ and the Church (Eph. 5:32). 
 

God instituted marriage when He made a wife for Adam (Gen. 2:18). He instructed that a man ought to leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and become one flesh with her (Gen. 2:24). God’s will is for marriage to last for life — with each partner loving, honoring, caring for, and cleaving to the other just as Christ loves and cares for His Church. The Bible teaches the sacredness of marital vows. 

But, we live in an imperfect world beset by human weakness, “hardness of heart,” unfaithfulness, wickedness, irresponsibility, and all such things. People do sin. Divorce occurs even though God “hates putting away” (Mal. 2:16). 
 
What does one do if he or she has already been divorced? When a person repents and is converted, all his past sins are forgiven (Acts 2:38; Ps. 103:1-3, 10-12). Any past divorce would be included, and the person would be free to marry again. 
However, Paul was also inspired to write that a converted person must not leave or divorce a mate (even one unconverted)  who is pleased to continue the marriage (I Cor. 7:10-13). To divorce a faithful mate and marry another is adultery (Matt. 19:9). Divorce and remarriage is not sanctioned once God has entered the marriage and bound the couple for life (Matt. 5:32).
 
But what if an unconverted mate voluntarily leaves the converted Christian? Then, as Paul wrote, that Christian may be divorced (“loosed”) from an unbelieving mate and does not sin if he remarries (I Cor. 7:27-28). 
 
Although the unconverted world cannot receive Christ’s teaching, all who are His ought to obey Him implicitly, not only in refraining from divorce but also in using all their resources to build a truly loving relationship (Eph. 5:22-31; I Pet. 3:1-7). Our earthly marriages ought to picture the great love relationship between Christ and the Church (Eph. 5:32). 

March 18, 2009

Why Common-Law Marriages Are Unlawful In God's Eyes

Filed under: Bride Of Christ,Marriage — melchia @ 8:09 pm

The Bible clearly shows that the common law type of relationship is not right in God’s sight. Please notice some of the things the Bible says about marriage. God regards marriage as a holy union in which a man and a woman are joined together for life as “one flesh” by a sacred vow (Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:4-6). They are no longer separate and able to pursue independent activities and interests. Therefore, it is right to formalize the union of a man and a woman in marriage by a wedding ceremony.

After instructing the first man and woman, God Himself joined Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. God’s ministers should follow this example. They should remind each couple of their responsibilities as taught in the Holy Scriptures before asking God to join them as husband and wife (see Ephesians 5:21-32 and I Peter 3:1-7, for example). Marriages performed by other legally authorized officials are also recognized by God.

Jesus performed His first public miracle at a formal wedding (John 2). By that wedding, a public statement or announcement was made, and all the community celebrated the couple’s coming together in an honorable way.

Jesus also spoke of a great, formal wedding to take place at His return when, symbolically, He will marry the Church (see Matthew 22:1-13, 25:1-10, and Revelation 19:7-9). Notice that this will not be a secret or a common-law type of arrangement! The Holy Scriptures thus clearly reveal that it is God’s will that a marriage be formalized by a legal ceremony to officially inform the community of the marriage.

State laws in respect to marriage are supported by Scripture. God tells us we are to obey the laws of the land when they do not conflict with His own (Rom. 13:1-7; Acts 5:29). In this way, the appearance and suspicion of evil are avoided (I Thess. 5:22). God also tells us we are to set a good example for others (Matt. 5:14-16).

A marriage ceremony serves to protect the rights of each mate and to minimize fornication, adultery, bigamy, and different evils in the society at large. When there has been no formal ceremony, it can be a temptation to treat a union casually. If we treat with contempt or flippancy that which God established for our good, we can be sure He is not pleased! Marriage is a very special occasion, and it is certainly right and fitting that it be celebrated with a formal ceremony.

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