Why do I blog? Well, because it seems that expending energy for one person’s benefit is often ignored, or rejected. I’d rather write for those who appreciate what the bible has to say.
Having said that, probably some will not appreciate what I have to say today.
Today, I got into a bit of a discussion with Andy Woods of Sugarland Bible Church regarding polygamy in the bible. The end result was that he deleted the whole thread, and unfriended me. I had not been impolite, but I had made a few biblical points. Evidently he does not wish to have his boat rocked.
Let me start by saying that in order to understand Scripture one has to take the whole bible into consideration. You can’t take one passage out of the context of the whole bible. This subject also has a great deal to do with End Times prophecy, which I will get to at the end.
He started with
I am offended by people who try to force the bible into one “genre” or another. The whole bible is the Word of God. It declares the character of God throughout, regardless of the “genre’.
We could argue in kind by noting that monogamy didn’t work so well for Adam, who’s first son became the worlds first murderer. We could also argue that Joseph was saved by the actions of a couple of brothers from another mother, when the other brothers wanted to kill him.
But what does he mean by saying that I can’t distinguish descriptive and prescriptive genres? I had quoted a section that describes God comparing himself with a bigamist, Jeremiah chapter 3. Evidently he wanted me to show a prescriptive passage, where God prescribes polygamy, as opposed to a passage where it is merely described. I find it difficult to believe that God would compare Himself with a person, or a type of action that He finds offensive.
He unfriended me before I had a chance to do that, so I’ll do it here, only, first let me state that there are good reasons why I am not a polygamist myself, but they have no bearing on my views of this subject.
Here is a prescriptive passage;
10 When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and the LORD thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive, 11And seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife;12 Then thou shalt bring her home to thine house; and she shall shave her head, and pare her nails;13And she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full month: and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife. 14 And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not make merchandise of her, because thou hast humbled her. Deuteronomy 21:11-14
In this case we have a soldier being given permission to marry a woman who has been taken captive in war. Since the natural birth rate is close to 50/50, this would amount to a Jewish boy marrying a Gentile woman, and leaving a Jewish girl without a husband, if polygamy did not enter the picture. In fact this would amount to large numbers of Jewish women being left without a husband, if polygamy was not a consideration.
The fact is that the passage does not differentiate whether or not the man in question was already married. The fact is that most of Israel’s soldiers would have been married already, and the ones who were not would have a wife spoken for already, since arranged marriages were the norm in that day.
God does not state whether or not the man is already married, because it is not important to the passage, a soldier has the right to marry a captive taken in war, if she is in agreement. So, for Andy Woods, this is a prescriptive passage that allows men to become polygamists.
There is also the famous prescriptive passage that requires a man to marry his brother’s wife, if he dies without leaving children;
5 If brethren dwell together, and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without unto a stranger: her husband’s brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him to wife, and perform the duty of an husband’s brother unto her.
Once again the man’s prior marital status is not a consideration. It is irrelevant whether or not he is already married, he is required to take his brother’s wife as his own. It is true that he has the right to refuse her, with the penalty being public humiliation.
This situation was specifically so that land belonging to an Israelite family would not get into the hands of foreigners, or even Israelites from another tribe. If the brother did not marry his dead brother’s widow, she could marry someone from outside the family and the land would be lost.
God doesn’t generally insist that people get married, except in one case, and here again we have a prescriptive passage that can lead to polygamy;
And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife. Exodus 22:16
Again, the marital status of the man here is not relevant to the passage. If he engages in this behaviour he is required to marry this woman. The only exception is if the woman’s father disagrees with the union. This man may have problems, such as a bad temper, or alcoholism, or gambling, that present a dangerous situation to his daughter. In that case the culprit was to provide a dowry and go his way.
A dowry was a very large sum of money, not just a pittance. It was generally a woman’s inheritance from her parents. In this case the sum would be to care for her, in her condition as “damaged goods”. If the man in question was wealthy enough to care for more than one woman, and had been a reasonable husband, the father could choose to allow his daughter to marry him, and thus become a second wife.
Most Christians bristle at the suggestion that polygamy can be a legitimate form of marriage. First of all, remember that the women do not marry each other. Each marriage is between a man and a woman. Second; God has a purpose in allowing this practise, in fact more than one purpose.
As you read through the Old Testament you will find many cases of wars in which Israel was a participant. Very often the numbers of dead are listed. The numbers are usually in the thousands, and in one case there were a half-million men killed (2 Chronicles 13:17). This would have presented a huge moral and demographic problem to the nation.
What would be God’s preferred solution to a nation which had a half-million women without a husband, or the prospect of a husband? Those women would have the same desire for a family as most women throughout history. They would be tempted to seduce men, or to steal them from their wives, or to go into a neighbouring country to find a husband.
Each of these scenarios present a potential moral catastrophe.
The other danger was to the nation of Israel itself; without these women having children, the nation would have a shortage of soldiers, and would be vulnerable to attack.
The best solution for each of these problems is for the nation to allow polygamy. This way each woman would have her own husband, and not so inclined to seduce married men. Each woman would have her own children, who would care for her in her old age, and the nation would have a supply of young people to work, and to be available as soldiers in the event of enemy attack.
People like Andy Wood are ignorant of God’s love for humanity, and His desire to see the earth full of people, but God never rescinded the command to be fruitful and multiply. We were all created for the glory of God, both believers, and unbelievers, thus the more people there are the more glory God receives.
For thus saith the LORD that created the heavens; God himself that formed the earth and made it; he hath established it, he created it not in vain, he formed it to be inhabited: I am the LORD; and there is none else. Isaiah 45:18
God has a plan to fill the earth with people. That plan will take effect during the millennial reign of Christ, and will begin the moment when Jesus is done cleaning up the mess of the Antichrist.
As we discussed wars usually leave more men dead than women. The Tribulation period, and Armageddon, will be no different, except that it will be on a world-wide scale. During that time the armies of the world will kill each-other off, to the point that there will be many more women who survive than men.
In fact it is entirely possible that some women will be at home, and get saved, while their husband joins the Antichrist’s army to fight against Israel. This is the exact sense that one gets from Jeremiah 49:10-11 which is also an End Times passage;
But I have made Esau bare, I have uncovered his secret places, and he shall not be able to hide himself: his seed is spoiled, and his brethren, and his neighbours, and he is not. Leave thy fatherless children, I will preserve them alive; and let thy widows trust in me.
The passage that seemed to make Mr. Wood the angriest is Isaiah chapter 4. Here we have a descriptive passage that tells us what the earth will be like after Jesus returns;
1 And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.
Here is his response to this passage;
This response ignores the context of the passage, especially verses 3 and 4
And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem: 4 When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning.
The women in verse 1 are the same women who have had their filth washed away in verse 4. These are holy men and women who have survived Armageddon. Now the millennial reign is beginning, and this is how they start their families for the millennium. The Constable’s online note he references is only partly correct.
These women are coming to this man, because Jesus Christ is ruling the earth, and He would not put up with them seducing men. Not only this, but these holy women want a marriage, and children. They do not want affairs, and one-night-stands, because they know Jesus; He is their Saviour and they want what He wants! Having been through the worst time in the earth’s history they are willing to feed and clothe themselves, because they are being considerate to the men who, no doubt, are overwhelmed.
The Branch is Jesus Christ, in the Old Testament. When a passage refers to “the Branch” it is always a reference to Him, either in his first coming, or in His second.
In that day shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel.
This is Jesus Christ at His return. “In that day” is a reference to the same time that these women are asking marriage of these men.
It is interesting that Constable’s references the large number of dead after World War 1. This situation did present many of the above mentioned problems in Europe, but the Flu outbreak in 1918-19 caused so many deaths that the numbers tended to even out somewhat. It is almost as if God didn’t want the scenario to be too fresh in the minds of mankind during the End Times, because if they really understood, they might realize who the Antichrist is when he show up!
And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. 37 Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.
The king here is the Antichrist. The indignation is the Tribulation. The God of his fathers is not the God of Gods, because he is differentiated by “neither” in verse 37, but most likely the god called “Allah” in the Qur’an.
The “desire of women” is not a god, like many of the modern versions say, but something that is linked to the God of his fathers. In fact it is exactly what we have been talking about; The desire to be married and to have children with that husband.
During the Iran/Iraq war of the 1980s there were about one million men killed between both nations. That left a million women without a man, but we don’t hear reports of many unmarried women in either of those nations. This is because both of those nations allow polygamy. Islam has always allowed this practise, and has enshrined it in the Qur’an.
The Antichrist is going to take over the world in similar circumstances as the return of Christ. He will take over after a large war, the Gog and Magog war of Ezekiel 38-39, and five sixths of the men involved in that war will be dead. Most of the nations named in the Ezekiel account are Muslim today, and Russia also has a lot of Muslims, and is friendly with several Muslim nations.
And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel. Ezekiel 39:2
He will inherit a situation very similar to that which Jesus will inherit at His return, but in this situation the Antichrist, will not regard, or concern himself with, the desire of women. The Antichrist will act in the exact opposite of the way Jesus would act in the same situation, only in this situation the world’s professing “Christians”, like Andy Woods, will declare him a “man of God”, because of his opposition to polygamy!
So, should you become a polygamist? The bible says that a man needs to care for and support his wife, as many wives as he has. Not only this, but the bible explicitly says that you need to keep the vows you have made. If you have made vows you should not have made, you need to keep them anyway, as the bible shows in the case of Israel and Gibeon in Joshua 9.
Though God forbade them to make agreements with the people of Canaan, once made, He expected them to keep it. This means that if you took a vow of monogamy when you got married, God expects you to keep it, even though He does not require such a vow for marriage.
I am sorry if I have offended some, but this is what the bible says, and I stand by it.
Even going back to Adam and Eve, polygamy was not God’s original intent. God seems to have allowed polygamy to solve a problem, but it is not the ideal. In most modern societies, there is absolutely no need for polygamy. In most cultures today, women are able to provide for and protect themselves—removing the only “positive” aspect of polygamy. Further, most modern nations outlaw polygamy. According to Romans 13:1-7, we are to obey the laws the government establishes. The only instance in which disobeying the law is permitted by Scripture is if the law contradicts God’s commands (Acts 5:29). Since God only allows for polygamy, and does not command it, a law prohibiting polygamy should be upheld. Therefore, as Americans we should not be polygamists. It would be against the word of God. I also find this whole discussion fairly worthless. Talk about what matters, Christ and Christ crucified. Not petty things building up yourself over against another brother. Demonstrate with the Spirit’s power, not wise and persuasive human words.
And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power. (1 Corinthians 2:1-5 NIV)
Thanks for your reply. I am not building up myself against another person. I am upholding what the Word of God says. If you had read my entire article you would see that there are places where God actually does command polygamy.
This is only one of several; Exodus 22:16 And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife.
Do you know any man who has been sleeping with a woman without the benefit of marriage? What does the Scripture say he must do? Go back and read Ex. 22:16 again. Yes, this verse describes a sin, but the punishment of this sin is marriage.
It just says “a man” it does not differentiate between a married man and a single man, because the difference is not relevant to the situation. If he is sleeping with a woman who is not married, he has got himself a wife.
I have known pastors who were having sex with some of the unmarried women of the congregation. According to the word of God he should have married those women, while staying married to his first wife. Then he should have resigned his position in the Church. (I Timothy 3:2, Titus 1:6)
Instead, what he did was to send those women away, and stay with his first wife. This was wrong, and it would have been just as wrong to leave the first wife and marry one of those women.
Consequently the laws of the western world are unjust. God’s law stands above the law of the land, like it or not.
As I studied this issue I discovered that in the Roman Empire the only place that allowed polygamy was Israel. Now ask yourself, were the Roman Senators more righteous men than the people of Israel? I don’t think so. The doctrine of marriage as taught in most Christian Churches had its origin in Rome, and pagan Rome at that! That is why it is called romance!
I never found anything wrong about what you wrote but about your heart. Your understanding of scripture is correct. However, I think you use it to the wrong purpose. Let’s not get in to the legalism of whether a pastor should marry someone he slept with outside of marriage. Why? Because there is no point. That pastor already sinned by sleeping with her. He should come to the feet of Jesus in repentance. He should examine the fruit of his life to determine if his salvation was indeed genuine. The issue is no longer legalism.
Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. So the law was our guardian until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian. (Galatians 3:23-25 NIV)
However, we do not have a right to sin as Paul says but rather we uphold the law. But the issue here is you are stuck on trivial matters. Focus your work, your intellect, and your passion on speaking about Jesus and how we can become closer to Him or be reconciled to Him if we are lost. Talking about polygamy is an absolute waste of time and does not further the gospel. Instead it can be divisive and so it can hinder the gospel. I want to see you teach on what matters, tie your teachings back to the gospel. Equip the saints for what matters.
Think about these verses please.
Some have departed from these and have turned to meaningless talk. They want to be teachers of the law, but they do not know what they are talking about or what they so confidently affirm. We know that the law is good if one uses it properly. We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers—and for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me. (1 Timothy 1:6-11 NIV)
Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. (2 Timothy 2:23-26 NIV)
Thanks for your concern. I am going to do one more article on this subject and then go back to the rest of prophecy. Prophecy is a big subject and I don’t want to focus only on one aspect. The subject of marriage and morality, however, is a central theme in the bible.
As you said, there is no need for polygamy today. I would agree, to an extent, but everything is about to change. For the most part, in the western world, the population is close to 50/50 male female, and if you think it is OK for Christian women to marry non-Christian men, then there is a husband for most women. If you think believers should not be unequally yoked, then you have a problem.
I’m sorry but I don’t think these things are stupid, or irrelevant. If we get the definition of sin wrong, we could be sinning while thinking we are upholding morality, and we might be being set up for deception.
The bible talks about End Times wars where the male population is going to be decimated.
“And I will turn thee back, and leave but the sixth part of thee, and will cause thee to come up from the north parts, and will bring thee upon the mountains of Israel” Ezekiel 39:2
There will be millions of men in those armies, and they will leave millions of widows. When the survivors return to their nation, they will find there will be about six women for each man!
This calls for compassion on the part of the world, but they will not receive it from the people of the Antichrist, nor from many professing Christians! Coming from a Muslim background, polygamy will be their natural solution for the problem, but Daniel 11:37 reveals that this will be the time the Antichrist will prohibit this practice, and this will deceive the christian world!
I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir. Isaiah 13:12
Here, in an End Times prophecy, we are told that men will be rare, like gold, when God brings punishment on the world. Men will be rare, the way gold is rare in comparison to iron.
3:25 Thy men shall fall by the sword, and thy mighty in the war. 26 And her gates shall lament and mourn; and she being desolate shall sit upon the ground.
4:1 And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach. Isaiah 3-4
Here in Isaiah 3:25-4:1 we are told what will happen to Israel’s men during the Tribulation. When you put all the End Times prophecies together you see a picture of widespread war and destruction, and while there will be many women who die during this time, there will be many more men who will lose their lives.
The other thing is; what does our view of this subject say about us? What does it say about our love for our fellow man/woman?
From time to time, polygamists get saved. Sometimes Muslim, and other times Hindu or Budhist polygamists receive Jesus Christ, and come into the Church. What should we tell them?
Many Christians tell them that they must leave all but their first wife. Does this doctrine have biblical support? What does Paul say?
“But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.” 1 Cor. 7:12
Well, Paul thought it was his own idea, but God saw fit to include it in His word. Each wife of a polygamist is a wife. Jesus told us that a man who marries a divorced woman is committing adultery. It is the same if a polygamist leaves all but the first wife; he is causing the other wives to commit adultery, and Churches who promote this behaviour are promoting adultery in the name of morality.
“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.” Matthew 5:32
This has a lot to do with the gospel of Jesus Christ; What will happen to the wives who are sent away? If they go back to their parents they will likely be beaten and then sold to another man. Far better that they live in the home of a Christian husband. Maybe then they will see the love of Christ and get saved. Should they be abandonned, this will reflect badly on Jesus Christ! Their children will grow up thinking “Jesus is the reason my mother was abandonned”!
“These are the generations of Jacob. Joseph, being seventeen years old, was feeding the flock with his brethren; and the lad was with the sons of Bilhah, and with the sons of Zilpah, his father’s wives: and Joseph brought unto his father their evil report.” Genesis 37:2
While Bilhah and Zilpah are called “concubines” in other places, here we are told that they were wives. Reuben disrespected the relationship, and slept with Bilhah (Genesis 35:22), and as a result he lost his birthright as the firstborn.
Here’s the thing: I don’t think God has changed. We tend to think we are smarter than our ancestors, and this too is an illlusion. Having higher technology does not mean that we are smarter, or more moral than people 3,000 years ago.
Thanks again for your input. I hope to hear from you again,
I can see where you’re coming from now. If that is where your heart was in making this post, to help polygamist Muslims accept the faith, then ok. Please make a point of your target audience next time. As far as polygamy in the endtimes, I still don’t see the usefulness for Christians that will be raptured before this even matters. However maybe you see some application that I do not. I would just warn you to be mindful if who is reading this blog. Show how it is applicable to spread the gospel, like you just did with the Muslims, not just how it increases our knowledge please. Also please don’t mention irrelevant twisted logic like the cheating pastor. The Muslim application is actually something that might be used to help lead someone to faith.
Sometimes I run on with an idea and don’t realize that others aren’t following as closely as I thought.
Here’s why it is relevant; While I have said I believe in the pre-Tribulation rapture, I have also made a point of explaining why both the Psalm 83, and Ezekiel 38-39, wars are actually Church-Age events. The Church will be here for these wars.
I see the rapture occurring in the aftermath of the Gog-Magog war.
Look at Ezekiel 39:25
“Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Now will I bring again the captivity of Jacob, and have mercy upon the whole house of Israel, and will be jealous for my holy name; ”
The last remnants of Israel will return to the land AFTER the end of the Gog and Magog war. OK, Now look at this passage from Zephaniah 2;
“1 Gather yourselves together, yea, gather together, O nation not desired; 2 Before the decree bring forth, before the day pass as the chaff, before the fierce anger of the LORD come upon you, before the day of the LORD’S anger come upon you. 3 Seek ye the LORD, all ye meek of the earth, which have wrought his judgment; seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be ye shall be hid in the day of the LORD’S anger.”
The “nation not desired” is Israel. They are not desired because they are still in unbelief when they are gathered back to the land. They are brought back BEFORE the day of the Lord, the Tribulation. We also have the Rapture of the Church in verse 3 linked with the return of Israel.
Now compare those passages with Isaiah 27
“12 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the LORD shall beat off from the channel of the river unto the stream of Egypt, and ye shall be gathered one by one, O ye children of Israel. 13 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem.”
I have often wondered what trumpet Paul was speaking about in 1 Cor. 15:52, because the book of Revelation had not been written at the time Paul was writing. He must have been referring to an Old Testament trumpet. I think the rapture of the Church will occur simultaneously with the Great Trumpet in Isaiah 27:13. The outcasts who originally went to Egypt and Assyria ultimately made their way around the world.
This makes the most sense. Israel’s last seven years begins at the same time the Church Age ends, thus this one great trumpet is the same one that brings Israel home, and calls the Church home to Heaven, at the same time, or within days of each other!
So the problem is that the rapture occurs at around the same time as the Antichrist is being revealed, shortly after the end of the Gog and Magog war. He, as a world leader, will be dealing with the problems of the survivors of that war, and he will have to deal with the problem of 5/6ths of the invading armies perishing in the battle field.
I think the Church will be here for the unveiling of the man of sin, and then they will be raptured, before he has any chance to harm them. Here’s why;
Surely the Lord GOD will do nothing, but he revealeth his secret unto his servants the prophets.
If the Church is in the place of the prophets today, then the Church will know who the Antichrist is shortly before the rapture. Those who know, will attempt to warn the world, to no avail, and then the rapture will occur. Even professing Christians won’t believe it!
So when Daniel 11:37 says that the Antichrist will “not regard the desire of women”, I think that as a UN appointed administrator of these countries he will prohibit polygamy, at exactly the time when they need it the most. The women of those countries will desire polygamy, just so they can have children, and he will refuse them.
I was shocked, and am still shocked, that Christians will support him because of this policy. I am pretty sure that no truly born-again believer will ever say the Antichrist is “a man of God”, but I think many professing Christians will. I can’t see Jesus rapturing any “Christian” who says the Antichrist is a man of God, and yet I see Baptists, Presbyterians, Anglicans, Catholics, and Calvinists all being prepared for that day with their policy of disapproval of polygamy.
I am trying to warn them.
I agree with the wars being before the rapture but I dont think polygamy is going to be the main issue at that point. Maybe it’s just going to be that God uses it to repopulate in the new millenium. Either way I don’t think that’s going to be the main dividing issue. But ok enough, you believe it just pray about it and see if that’s an important thing to talk about. Peace
I would recommend you read my latest post, I believe I have made my case more precisely and concisely;
To put it in a nutshell; Daniel 11:37 is saying that after two major wars with Muslims, the Antichrist will be an Arab who will abolish Shariah, and polygamy. As a result of this, he will be supported by many professing Christians.
This is a sign the Lord has given us, and because most Christians oppose polygamy they will miss it and fall into a trap.
I think it is also very likely that a pseudo-Antichrist will be gay, and so when he is eliminated, the world will think the danger is over. In reality that will be the time when the greatest danger is near!
Thanks, and God Bless,