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
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;
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.