The Marriage Arrangement
Revisions: (numbering and point 16 - 9/27) (ref. for point 11 - 10/6)
Please keep in mind that I believe the core information presented
below is sound. However, each individual is responsible for doing
their own research and decision making.
Simply put, this is an institution in which God desires all parties to be
worshiping him properly - Thus making it a sacred arrangement.
Below I am stating some basics of the sanctity of marriage
arrangements that apply to days of
old on up through the marriage of the Lamb and bride class made of
- Abraham of the past had Sarah as his wife. There evidently
was no external sacred (told by Jehovah to show something) "ring" or
other indicator that Abraham was married to Sarah. This was the same
with Adam and Eve or any marriages in the ancient past, that I know of.
- Abraham had sexual relations with his wife Sarah and with her
maidservant when she "gave" her to him to have offspring. Abraham
was considered righteous in Jehovah's eyes.
- David had sexual relations with his wives and concubines and he
was favored by Jehovah.
- Solomon had sexual relations with his numerous wives and
concubines and he was favored by Jehovah until he apostatized
against Jehovah. (He took in wives that served foreign gods and
began serving them)
- Malachi chapter two discusses ones who
"have turned aside from the way. YOU have caused many to stumble in
the law. YOU have ruined the covenant of Levi ... Judah has dealt
treacherously, and a detestable thing has been committed in Israel
and in Jerusalem; for Judah has profaned the holiness of Jehovah,
which He has loved, and he has taken possession of the daughter of a
foreign god as a bride. Jehovah will cut off each one that does
it....Jehovah has borne witness between you and the wife of your
youth, with whom you yourself have dealt treacherously, although she
is your partner and the wife of your covenant...For he has hated a
divorcing...and the one who with violence has covered over his
- Considering the above, one can see that if they are serving
Jehovah, they are not to take a "foreign god as a bride" - This
would be an act of unfaithfulness to Jehovah and we know Jehovah
requires exclusive devotion. This could be explained as someone who
is serving Jehovah in truth is not to take a marriage mate from
another faith ("Marry only in the Lord). However, what happens if
one mate sticks with Jehovah and the other does not? The innocent
mate (that stays with Jehovah) could be free to remarry because the
other mate is transgressing against Jehovah. This is spiritual
fornication on the part of the mate transgressing against Jehovah.
- An example of spiritual fornication is given in
Revelation 17:2 "...the kings of the
earth committed fornication...". This is an example of kings
committing spiritual fornication by turning aside from worshiping
Matthew 19:3-9: And the Pharisees came up to him, intent on
tempting him and saying: "Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife
on every sort of ground?" In reply he said: "Did YOU not read that
he who created them from [the] beginning made them male and female
and said, 'For this reason a man will leave his father and his
mother and will stick to his wife, and the two will be one flesh'?
So that they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God
has yoked together let no man put apart." (vs.7) They said to him:
"Why, then, did Moses prescribe giving a certificate of dismissal
and divorcing her?" (vs.8) He said to them: "Moses, out of regard
for YOUR hardheartedness, made the concession to YOU of divorcing
YOUR wives, but such has not been the case from [the] beginning. I
say to YOU that whoever divorces his wife, except on the ground of
fornication, and marries another commits adultery."
- This can
refer to physical or spiritual fornication on the part of the
- This also was referring to each person as an
individual and was focusing on the issue of a proper divorce - not
the number of wives a husband can have.
- This counsel can be applied to one or more wives
of a husband.
- This translation rendering of verse 9 is
interesting because it seems that there is planning involved (to
divorce improperly with the intent to remarry someone else in mind)
when viewed directly from the Greek (Westcott and Hort text of 1881
rendered by The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the GREEK
SCRIPTURES): "I am saying
but to YOU that
who likely might divorce
the woman of him
not upon fornication
and might marry another
Different translations render a similar thought of Matthew 19:9
close to Matthew 5:32; "However, I say to YOU that everyone
divorcing his wife, except on account of fornication, makes her a
subject for adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits
- It is also noteworthy that Jesus was talking
about grounds for divorce among God's people not the number of
wives a husband can have.
- The word translated "fornication" at Mathew
5:32 and 19:9 is rendered as word number 4202 (porneia) in the
ABINGDON'S STRONG'S EXHAUSTIVE CONCORDANCE OF THE BIBLE.
The word numbered 4203 (porneuo) basically means
the same thing. The word porneia
(4202) is used
in Revelation 2:21; "..she is not willing to repent of her
fornication.", Revelation 9:21; "... nor of their fornication..",
Revelation 14:8; "..of her fornication", Revelation 17:2b; "the wine
of her fornication", Revelation 17:4; "...and the unclean things of
her fornication", Revelation 18:3; "...of her fornication..",
Revelation 19:2; "...who corrupted the earth with her fornication.."
The word porneuo (4203) is used in Revelation
2:14; "...and to commit fornication", Revelation 2:20; "... to
commit fornication..", Revelation 17:2a; " with whom the kings of
the earth committed fornication..", Revelation 18:3b; "... and the
kings of the earth committed fornication with her..", Revelation
18:9; "...who committed fornication with her.."
- It appears that the definitions for adultery and fornication
basically can mean the same thing, physically and spiritually -
However, Adultery usually is speaking of someone who is or has been
married and fornication usually talks about an unmarried person who
has not been married - This is generally speaking. When either of
these are talked about in the bible, that I know of, they are based
upon the fidelity of true worship or worshipers.
- Notice the actions against those who apostatize against Jehovah
in Jeremiah 8:8-12: " 'How can YOU men say: "We are wise, and
the law of Jehovah is with us"? Surely, now, the false stylus of the
secretaries has worked in sheer falsehood. The wise ones have become
ashamed. they have become terrified and will be caught. Look! They
have rejected the very word of Jehovah, and what wisdom do they
have? Therefore I shall give their wives to
other men, their fields to those taking possession; for, from
the least one even to the greatest one, each one is making unjust
gain; from the prophet even to the priest, each one is acting
falsely. And they try to heal the breakdown of the daughter of my
people lightly, saying: "There is peace! There is peace!" when there
is no peace. Did they feel shame because they had done even what was
detestable? For one thing, they positively could not feel ashamed;
for another thing, they did not know even how to feel humiliated.
(vs.12b) " 'Therefore they will fall among those who are falling. In
the time of their being given attention, they will stumble,' Jehovah
has said." (See Daniel 11:33-35)
- It was
Jehovah's desire for the wives of these transgressing men to be
given to others - This is another example of grounds for divorce
from spiritual fornication. - See Malachi
2:15; Isaiah 4:1
- In the times of "long ago", when the man had
consensual relations with a woman she was to become his wife. The
original intent was that both parties were serving Jehovah
as Adam and Eve were before they sinned (see
why Satan link for more information). A man could have a number
of wives as long as they served Jehovah. If either party committed
spiritual or physical fornication, the innocent mate could "dismiss
/ or divorce" the transgressing mate. The innocent mate would show a
taking back of the transgressing mate by having sexual relations
with the wrongdoer. However, if the innocent mate was serving
Jehovah and they took back a mate that was transgressing still
against Jehovah, they would be apostatizing against Jehovah. Also,
it was not considered fornication when a wife gave her maidservant
to her husband to bear offspring - But the children were to be
considered the wife's (the maidservant's mistress or the husband's
"slave girl" (Genesis 21:12,13) (Genesis 16:1-10)) It also seems
appropriate to "dismiss" a "slave girl" if the "slave girl's"
actions could result in something not approved by Jehovah (Genesis
21:10-12). (Many today view slaves differently then how people did
back then. The Law of Moses gave honor and protection to "slaves" -
Their treatment was to be based on love, not greed. It is also
noteworthy to remember that those who submit to Jehovah's will are
making themselves slaves of Jehovah and Jehovah plans to bless his
slaves greatly) A "slave girl" is also known as a concubine.
It also shows that no matter how many wives a husband has, as long
as they are serving Jehovah, it is agreeable to Jehovah. I believe
it is part of
- Can a woman have more then one husband at a time? - I do not see
any indications to allow this. This is based upon the examples of
faithful ones of old. It is also based upon the example of just
(one) Jesus marrying his bride class which is made of many
(Revelation 19:7,8). This is also reflected in
Zechariah 3:7. In
both cases, the "brides" or "Joshua" class are to remain loyal to
Jehovah in order to benefit from the arrangement.
- So what can one do today? Remember,
Jehovah made the marriage
arrangement and so it is sacred. The sacredness of a marriage is
a high priority. The laws of the land regarding marriage are made by
man - they may or may not reflect Jehovah's principles. Also,
Jehovah allows certain governments to exist today. So following the
principle of "pay Cesar's thing to Cesar", one would still fall
under legal obligations of the nation that they live in but that
does not mean to allow the infringement of Jehovah's marriage or
divorce arrangements. However, the sacredness of a marriage relies
on whether all parties involved are of Jehovah's righteous people.
So technically, if a husband or wife does not worship Jehovah
properly, all involved need to turn to Jehovah properly, in order to
have a sacred marriage arrangement. This does not mean someone has
to leave their mate - Jehovah was very patient with Israel of old.
However, being imperfect and being married to someone who is
apostatizing can be very dangerous to one's own spiritual well being -
Remember Solomon. Of course, the degree of apostatizing will vary
but one should not underestimate a potentially dangerous situation.
Act prudently and wisely.
- To "officiate" a divorce in a spiritual sense can be done many
ways - However, we have the example of Jehovah communicating with
Israel in good times and bad. Communication can be done many ways
such as orally or by a signed statement - It does not seem to matter
to Jehovah - But however it is done, it should be done for right
reasons and of course explained why to the "transgressing" party -
Just as Jehovah explained his reasons for doing things to his
- Once a spiritual divorce is officiated, the innocent person
not take back the transgressing one until the transgressing one is
no longer transgressing - Otherwise, the innocent one will be
purposely adulterating their faith to Jehovah. It would be similar
to Solomon taking a foreign wife that worships another God. However,
it may be that if Jehovah is still forgiving his people (and it is
assumed the transgressing one is of God's people) and Jehovah has not
left them yet, the innocent one can take back the transgressing one
because they would still be part of "Jehovah's people in a forgiven
state"- But that would change when Jehovah leaves his people.
It could also be very spiritually dangerous (perhaps calamitous)
for the innocent one due to being imperfect and knowingly
adulterating their faith and for other reasons.
- If one finds oneself serving Jehovah properly and their mate is
not, it seems that the others in the immediate family may still
receive some benefit or sacred protection or direction. We have the
example of Lot and his wife and daughters. His wife's heart was not
complete with God but he still provided a way to protect her because
of Lot's faith. Sadly, it was her own decision to turn away from the
protective God given direction. So, it may be the choice of someone
to stay with the unbelieving mate as brought out below. But the
believing (one serving Jehovah properly) mate does not have to. This
is because the one without faith is serving Satan because they are
not serving God properly- so they would be considered a spiritual
fornicator - which is grounds for spiritual divorce.
- If one finds oneself serving Jehovah properly and their mate or
baptized children are deliberately apostatizing (such as refusing to
abandon false beliefs after Jehovah leaves his people), this seems to be a circumstance where
"sacred protection" as mentioned above may not prove to exist in
this case. Ezekiel 14:12-23 comments on
how only righteous souls would be able to deliver their own souls -
no one else (in the case of "..as regards a land, in case it commits
sin against me in acting unfaithfully" - Ezekiel 14:13) See
also Ezekiel 18:20.
- 1 Corinthians 7:1-5 Talks about "marriage dues" but it is important
to recognize verse 5 - This indicates that both parties are serving
God in truth and that neither is adulterating their worship to
- 1 Corinthians 7:10,11 Seems to be about a husband and wife
where both are serving Jehovah but are having marital problems and
admonishes them to stay together.
- 1 Corinthians 7:12-16 is Paul's opinion, not the Lord's (vs.12;
"But to the others I say, yes, I, not the Lord:") and talks about situations where a husband or
wife is "unbelieving". Notice verse 15
where it states that a brother or a sister is not in
the unbeliever departs. Also notice verse 14 and 16 where the
unbelieving mate is sanctified in relationship to the believer and
if the unbeliever desires to stay with the believer, the believing mate could save their spouse.
This reminds me of the possibility of Lot's wife and daughters being
"sanctified" because of their father's faith (Although his wife left
his leading and turned back). A very important realization is the
definition of "unbelieving". This would
be the Greek word given the identification number of
571 in the ABINGDON'S STRONG'S
EXHAUSTIVE CONCORDANCE OF THE BIBLE which is simply defined as
"faithless" (among other definitions) . This
Greek word (apistos) is also used in Luke 12:46; "...and
assign him a part with the unfaithful
ones.", 1 Corinthians 6:6; "but brother goes to court with
brother, and that before unbelievers?",
2 Corinthians 6:14; "Do not become unevenly yoked
with unbelievers..", Titus 1:15; "...But
to [persons] defiled and faithless
nothing is clean..", Revelation 21:8; "But as for the cowards and
those without faith and those...their
portion...the second death." So it can be concluded that it
could be a good thing for the believing
mate to stay with the unbelieving mate. However, if the intent of
actions of the unbelieving mate are pressuring the believing mate to
be unfaithful to Jehovah, the actions of the unbelieving mate could
be considered equal to actions of an apostate trying to cause
"spiritual fornication" although the mate is an unbeliever. // Another word which is important to
understand is the word "servitude". This Greek word is "douloo"
and is assigned the identification number 1402
in the ABINGDON'S STRONG'S EXHAUSTIVE CONCORDANCE OF THE BIBLE.
It means "to enslave" (literally or
figuratively) - bring into bondage. In this case, it would be
referring to marital bondage. This word is used in Acts 7:6;
"..would enslave..", Galatians 4:3; "Likewise we also, when we were
babes, continued enslaved by the
elementary things belonging to the world.", 2 Peter 2:19; "...enslaved..."
- Paul mentions at
1 Timothy 3:2,12 that an
"overseer" or "ministerial servants" be husbands of one wife.
- It is important to realize how Paul himself defines this
and other direction in this letter to Timothy.
Paul defines it as "these advises"
(1 Timothy 4:6) according to the rendering
of the NWT (New World Translation). The
Interlinear Bible renders it as
"having suggested". The actual critical Greek word
used here is "hupotithemi" (#5294 Strong's) and it means
"to suggest". I am sure Paul was
making suggestions appropriate to the circumstances and
times. Paul admits some of his advise is his and "not the
1 Corinthians 7:12-16 mentioned
above. This does not mean that everything Paul suggested in
his letters are suggestions. In
1 Timothy 4:1-3
there is an account of what "the inspired utterance" said -
That is not an opinion or suggestion but a fact. It is
important to remember also that the chapter and verse
numbers were added long after the original documents were
written. For instance
1 Timothy 3:1a "That statement is
faithful.", actually refers to the end of chapter 2.
- With the above information in mind, one can see that
Paul did not state that it was wrong
for a man to have more then one wife. But most likely
due to social and other factors, Paul
suggested that a man reaching out for an office of
overseer only have one wife.
- Paul also stated that he
believed that a man would do well if he remained single and
had "authority over his own will" in
1 Corinthians 7:37 but
this, again, was his advise as he admitted earlier (1
Corinthians 7:12) and he was not intending to "cast a noose
upon" those in the congregation (1 Corinthians 7:35).
- Even a marriage outside Jehovah's arrangement is a covenant
(agreement) between a husband and a wife and is due respect.