Have you ever noticed that the bible commands us NOT to add commands to its laws? In fact this command occurs 3 times in Scripture, at the beginning, the middle and at the end!
Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you. Deuteronomy 4:2
Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar. Proverbs 30:6
For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. Revelation 22:18, 19
Since the first of these commands was written by Moses in the beginning of the Scriptures, it cannot mean that God can’t add Scriptures, since most of the bible was written after that command, but what it meant then, and still means now is that mankind has no authority to add our own ideas to God’s Word! It is a sin to add commandments to Scripture!
Our job is simply to read it, believe it, and obey it!
The Old Testament Jews looked at God’s 613 commands and said “these commands mean that we must add commands in order to fully follow God’s law” and so they added another 2,000 commands to the Word of God!
The fact is that they were not able to follow those 613 commands. Not completely, and not in Spirit! In fact if we were to boil God’s commands down to the core 10 commandments the Jews were not really able to follow even those ten completely!
The purpose of the law was not to save Israel, or anyone, but to condemn us! It was written to show us what we are inside! Unfortunately most people are so blind that we have a tendency to look at other’s sin, and ignore our own!
The Gentiles also have this same problem. Not only are we not able to follow the 10 commandments completely, we also have the same tendency to add laws to God’s law! Christian denominations have the same tendency to bind up their followers under a mess of laws, most of which do not appear in Scripture!
The Catholic Church is probably the worst one, but they are far from alone!
A lot of times there is an element of logic in the creation of these laws; for instance since the Scriptures say “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;” (Ephesians 5:18) many consider themselves justified to add the law “Thou shalt not drink wine, beer, nor any form of alcohol”!
You see, if you have a “good cause” you can justify any kind of evil! The Good Cause Syndrome will lead millions to the Lake of Fire!
Yes! Adding “good things” to Scripture is still incredibly evil!
Essentially those who do this are saying that “God was not able to express Himself completely and so it is up to me to finish what He failed to say!”, “Poor God! He needs me to finish His Word for Him!”
It makes me feel sick to just type these sentences! This is exactly the attitude of myriads of “men of God” around the globe! Pope Francis’ recent pronouncements from the Vatican display this attitude exactly, but I have seen this attitude in the Baptist Churches I grew up in as well!
The truth on that subject, as in any other, is that you have God’s commands, so it is up to you to figure-out how best to obey them. It is not up to your pastor to make-up new commandments for you to follow!
If I see a Christian brother showing the signs of drunkenness then it is my job to show him what the Scriptures say, and to do my best to help him to obey them, but I must not create laws for him. Ultimately that is between him and the Holy Spirit. If he truly is a brother the Spirit will convict him and will also give him the strength to exercise self-control!
If we believe the bible then we need to let the Holy Spirit do His work. When we create laws like this we encourage legalism, and the truth is that legalism is worse than drunkenness!
Drunks know they are sinning, and are under God’s condemnation, but Legalists think they are doing God’s work!
Something else that Legalists do is to take an example of what God did in the Garden of Eden, and then to create a law based on something that happened 6,000 years ago.
Someone might say that since God created Adam and Eve as vegetarians, that we need to be vegetarian today! Such an idea ignores the permission that God gave Noah after the flood, in Genesis 9:3, and which were repeated to the Christian Church in Acts 15:29 and 21:25. Everything changed at the fall!
Another example from the Garden is the fact that God made Adam and Eve as the first monogamous couple.
Many, including most Churches I have attended all my life, tell us that since God made only one wife for Adam that this means that all polygamous relationships are wrong for all time! When you point out godly men like Jacob or David, they will say that God made an exception in these cases, as if God is a respecter of persons! Or, that God favoured these men more than any other!
Christians have made this a law, and it is a law that does not appear in Scripture! In fact you will find that just about all Christian denominations, including the Roman Catholic Church, have this law. This is a law that does not have its origin in Scripture, but actually has its origin in the ancient Pagan Greek empire. Later it was adopted by the Roman Empire, the only exception in both cases was the nation of Israel, which was allowed an exemption!
Even Jesus, when he made his statements regarding marriage never condemned the practice of polygyny!
It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: 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 5:31-32
You see here that Jesus defines it as adultery when a man divorces his wife and marries another; He does NOT define it as adultery when a man marries two women at the same time! Polygamists don’t divorce one wife when they marry their second!
He repeated Himself in chapter 19;
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. Matthew 19:8-9
He elaborated a little more in Mark;
5 And Jesus answered and said unto them, For the hardness of your heart [Moses] wrote you this precept. 6 But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. 7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife; 8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh. 9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. Mark 10:5-9
Some would argue that he uses the term “wife” here in the singular, therefore signifying that there is only to be one wife per man. I would argue back, that the relationship between a man and his wife is to be one of equals, regardless of how many wives a man has; each wife is to be dealt with on a one-to-one basis, as an individual. A man like David is “one flesh” with each of his wives!
When Nathan the prophet confronted David over his affair with Bathsheba, and the murder of Uriah, he, speaking for the Lord said;
And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man. Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I anointed thee king over Israel, and I delivered thee out of the hand of Saul; And I gave thee thy master’s house, and thy master’s wives into thy bosom, and gave thee the house of Israel and of Judah; and if that had been too little, I would moreover have given unto thee such and such things. II Samuel 12:7-8
Here’s the thing, there is no evidence that David’s mother in law ever lived with him. This is not to be taken literally but is a euphemism that essentially means that “I put you in your master’s place so that you could have multiple wives, like him”. The phrase “such and such things” is based on הנה which comes from הן which is “them” in the feminine plural, and so it could actually mean “more wives”! It certainly means “more of the same”!
Yes indeed God gave David his wives!
Now look at Jeremiah 3. This is a passage where God identifies with a man who has two wives! For brevity I will just quote from the pertinent verses; you can read the whole passage on your own;
1 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.
6 The Lord said also unto me in the days of Josiah the king, Hast thou seen that which backsliding Israel hath done? she is gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there hath played the harlot.
7 And I said after she had done all these things, Turn thou unto me. But she returned not. And her treacherous sister Judah saw it.
8 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; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.
9 And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom, that she defiled the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks.
10 And yet for all this her treacherous sister Judah hath not turned unto me with her whole heart, but feignedly, saith the Lord.
11 And the Lord said unto me, The backsliding Israel hath justified herself more than treacherous Judah.
In case we do not understand that God has two wives in this passage, He makes it clear in verse 14. Please note that in the KJV the words “you” and “ye” are always in the plural; always referring to more than one person!
14 Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion:
Yes indeed, God views Himself as a husband with many wives! He also says that “David is a man after my own heart”, in both Testaments!
Ultimately God has a purpose for this practice which will become a world-wide phenomenon during the early years of the Millennial Reign of Christ! Jesus will use polygyny to repopulate the world after the devastation of Armageddon!
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.
2 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.
3 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. Isaiah 4:1-4
The context of this passage is set in verses 25-26 of the previous chapter; the “war” it speaks of is Armageddon, and the reason that these women come to this man with this request is because there are no other men left for them to marry! These seven women and one man are not only representative of the survivors of Israel, but also of the whole world!
Every soldier who participates in Armageddon will die, on both sides of the conflict! Jesus told His followers that when they see the “abomination of desolation” in the Temple, they are to flee to the wilderness without delay (Mat. 24:15-18). Well, the believers will obey Him, but the rest of Israel will stay and fight the Antichrist, and will die for their trouble! (Some might actually fight on the side of the Beast, and so this could actually become a civil war, but either way this war will result in the deaths of all the soldiers who fight on either side!)
Notice that in Isaiah 4:3 all the survivors are called “holy”! Yes that’s right, these men are holy polygamists!
Please don’t think that I am saying it is OK for you or me to become a polygamist today. If you are married you probably said something in your wedding vows like “I shall have none but thee”, or words to that effect. You see Jesus commanded us to keep our word, so we really need to take our vows seriously, even if there is no command to make these particular vows!
Once you say it you need to keep your word!
If you live in a western nation, you probably have laws in effect that prohibit polygyny, and since Paul said that we ought to “obey every ordinance of man” (1 Peter 2:13) we should not be disobeying the laws of our nation, unless those laws command us to disobey Scripture.
Nevertheless, in nations that allow polygyny, I can’t say it is wrong, but I would caution all prospective polygynists of another command that God gave us;
But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel. I Timothy 5:8
It is the responsibility for a husband to not only provide for the food, clothing, and shelter of his family, he is also responsible to ensure his sons and daughters are educated so that they can care for themselves and their own families! If you have multiple wives you will have many children who will need to be educated, and that is your responsibility!
But why would God tell us now of His plans for the Millennial Reign? Surely telling us about it during the Marriage Supper of the Lamb would give us enough time to get our minds around this bomb-shell of a revelation?
The reason is that He is providing a contrast between the reign of Jesus Christ and the reign of the Antichrist! This is one way you can tell who the Antichrist is! This is a sign that will be seen before the Rapture of the Church!
36 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. Daniel 11:36-37
The phrase “the desire of women” is a direct reference to Isaiah 4:1, and this shows the contrast between Jesus Christ and the Beast; The Lord Jesus will allow polygyny after the greatest war of all time, but the Antichrist will prohibit polygyny as he is rising to power after the Gog/Magog war. He will be appointed as some sort of administrator, or governor, over the nations that have just been defeated in that war, and Ezekiel 39:2 tells us that only one in six of the soldiers who came against Israel will survive to return home.
Those men will find that there are six women waiting for each one, when they return from the battle, and having mostly come from Muslim nations, those survivors will expect that they will be allowed to marry six women each! This time, however, this ruler, who also comes from a Muslim nation, will prohibit this practice, and western “Christians” will applaud this man!
By prohibiting polygyny, the Beast will force women who want children, to either have affairs, or to steal men from their wives, and thus this policy will cause sin to increase!
How blind are western Christians that they can’t see this?
This is why you should never add commands to Scripture! Accept that God knows what He is doing and obey the law he has given. Accept that there is freedom when there is silence, and don’t add to, nor take-away from His Word, lest you are found to be a liar!
It’s a pity Martin Luther hadn’t read that passage. I am sure you would know HE added a word to the Bible ie. about being ‘saved by faith’-to which he added the word ALONE. (derived from PCOG Trumpet magazine-(Gerald Flurry)which I get regularly). Not a Christian I like the Bible and just finished a Bible Study course from the 7th Day Adventists.-quit good for me. Regarding drunks I can tell you that they are guilty types (having done things that engender guilt) and alcohol relieves the pressure temporarily. There is an old but true saying that ‘the superego is that part of the psyche that is most soluble in alcohol'( ie.the conscience is part of it..).This really is a humorous psychological perspective on it-but valid. Maybe you’ve heard it. Regards. KW.
I think it is somewhat a matter of semantics; If we are “saved by faith” as the bible says, we really don’t need to add the word “alone” since faith is the opposite of works to begin with!
It is either “faith” or “works” it can’t be both. This is where a lot of professing Christians get it wrong. We are saved by faith, for the purpose of joining our Father’s business! So faith results in works, but works has nothing to do with salvation!
Two people can be doing the same thing; i.e. the same work, and one is saved and the other is completely lost! For instance two neighbors can take-in foster children, and adopt them into their own family. The one does it because he/they has been adopted into God’s family, and wants to share the joy with someone less fortunate! The other person does it because he/they are trying to curry favor with God! This second person is lost, and on judgment day will find himself in utter darkness, because as Jesus said ” 22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? 23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” Matthew 7:22-23
Notice that He doesn’t argue whether they did those things or not, He simply says “I never knew you”! You don’t get into Heaven if He doesn’t know you!
He knows me!
Thanks Dan, My father who was a Mason(I think belief in God was required) used to say ‘you won’t go to heaven when you die if you don’t wear a collar and a tie’.That is a ‘clanger’ which were he prone to this sort of thing might cause one to think he was schizophrenic which he wasn’t. He was an ‘authoritarian’ (see Adorno et al a very old study-the first I think-on authoritarianism) which word is bandied about erroneously these days to describe almost anyone -often in politics-who is not of ones own persuasion..A bully or totalitarian would probably be more accurate but there is always the possibility of projection where the person doing the name calling can be of the type he is accusing the other of being. I think my father meant this in a jocular way. I can’t see your ‘semantics’..Luther DID add the word ‘álone’ to the Bible ie. ‘saved by faith ALONE’ as Luther wanted it to be, if I can believe PCOG(and I do) and it seems he did so to emphasize FAITH. Elsewhere in the Bible though it says ‘faith and works'(James 2:24 and earlier).. Maybe Luther hoped other Bible readers wouldn’t notice that. Of course there weren’t very many readers ,or Bibles either, around in those days so he might have thought he would get away with it. The Bible works for me when I personalise it.. The most important verse for me is ‘The son of man is betrayed into the hands of sinners'(Mark 14:41) Note lower case ‘son’ and ‘man’- it is then for me and MY son . Very profound. ‘Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof’ (Matthew 6:34)..