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Scriptural Basics

 

The Marriage Arrangement

 

Revisions: 1/2016

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. Personally it can be a bit confusing - lol

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 many.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. David had sexual relations with his wives and concubines and he was favored by Jehovah.
  4. 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)
  5. 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 garment.."
  6. 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.
  7. 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 Jehovah.
  8. 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."
    1.  This can refer to physical or spiritual fornication on the part of the transgressor.
    2. 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.
    3. This counsel can be applied to one or more wives of a husband.
    4.  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    commits adultery." 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 adultery."
    5.  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.
    6. An example that a man can have more then one wife is presented in an illustration he shared with his disciples at Matthew 25:1-13. This is the well known illustration of 10 virgins who went out to meet the bridegroom. Five were foolish and five were wise. The five wise were invited into the wedding feast. - The point here is that there is no reason given for all five wise virgins to not marry the bridegroom. Why would Jesus use an illustration like this unless it was permitted?
  9. 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.."
  10. 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.
  11. 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)
    1.  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
  12. 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 Malachi 3:2-4.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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 people.
  16. Once a spiritual divorce is officiated, the innocent person should 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.
  17. 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.
  18. 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.
  19. 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 Jehovah.
  20. 1 Corinthians 7:10,11 Is about a husband and wife where both are serving God but are having marital problems and Paul admonishes them to stay together.
  21. 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 servitude if 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..."
  22. Paul mentions at 1 Timothy 3:2,12 that an "overseer" or "ministerial servants" be husbands of one wife. But..
    1. 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 Lords" in 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.
    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. Why would Paul say this unless it was permitted among Christians?
    3.  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 advice 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).
  23. Even a marriage outside Jehovah's arrangement is a covenant (agreement) between a husband and a wife and is due respect.

 

   
  Copyright 2017; Dale Arthur Beckman, Jr.; All rights reserved. -  *Most scriptures quoted are from the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures (Reference Edition 1984) unless otherwise noted and have been copied by hand and yet need proof-reading. See my channel on Youtube.com for some of the latest information and have a great day :)