What Is God's Viewpoint
by Ernest L. Martin, Ph.D., 1998
This Doctrinal Report is not an easy one to write. This is because the subject is one that can cause offense even when the matter is discussed academically and in a non-personal manner. This is because each of us as a human being (whether male or female) is so sensitive to these private issues that involve the parts of ourselves that we consider sequestered portions of our persons (which we humans accept as the most precious of our possessions and rights to control). The simple truth is, we are willing to share an observance and even a touching of those parts of the body as long as our privacy and our principles of personal ethics and morality can be upheld in the highest esteem by those with whom we allow to examine and to touch them. As an example, in most societies (including Islamic cultures where the Imams only allow women to show their eyes in public) it is perfectly acceptable in most circumstances for professional medical personnel (whether they be physicians or nurses) to fully view these personal areas and even to touch them if the need arises in order to preserve the physical body in health and well-being. But most of us hurry for the nearest "fig leaf" or "leather apron" to cover those areas from the general public in which our sexual activities take place between human beings as if their exposure would be one of the greatest crimes imaginable. What is God's viewpoint of this matter? Let us be aware of one thing. God created Adam and Eve to walk around the central part of Eden (which answered to His Holy of Holies in the Temple at Jerusalem) without a stitch of clothes on them, and both of them were in full frontal view of God and of the Serpent (the Devil). But our first parents broke the rules of the Garden of Eden. They touched and ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Because of this simple act (which did not involve the slightest sexual activity), they and the rest of mankind since that time have been putting on "fig leaves" and/or "leather aprons" in order to hide those parts of the body where our necessary sexual activity must take place that all of us should use and enjoy. Does this mean that as long as mankind will abide by the rules of God (that God imposed for residence within His Garden of Eden, His Holy of Holies) that mankind can run openly and as naked as they wish in that most holy of spots in the universe and in full frontal nudity before God himself and even Satan the Devil? Yes, God allowed it. God made it proper. Yet today, we need to know what are the principles of body exposure or sexual activity that God allows us who are trying to follow Him and wanting to obey the rules of Eden's Garden. This Report will help to explain.
A Brief Look at the Laws of Man
There is not the slightest doubt that we should honor and observe all the laws of man that we have within our societies (Romans 13:1-8) as long as those laws do not go against or conflict with the greater laws of God that our Creator has given us to obey. The apostle Peter and all the apostles with him said: "We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29). I agree with this teaching 100%. As for me personally, I have long been an active supporter of these verses in the Holy Scriptures and I have not the slightest intention of directing any of my readers away from abiding by these plain and simple stipulations that the Word of God demands of us. They are designed to be for our good and to help us to live within an environment that is proper and right. They also show that we ought to have a concern for our neighbor, our community, our state (province) and our national and international laws (and this includes paying taxes). Our wish to be fair and upright in our own conduct should extend even to include all people in the world community. In a word, we ought to be decent and honest with all.
Of course, this does not mean that we have to agree with everyone. No two people on earth agree 100% with each other on details (to get along harmoniously, we should agree on major points). But even if we disagree with some of the attitudes of life of certain groups within our environment, we should give them the right to practice what they please as long as their conduct (along with our own behavior) does not impinge on the privacy of others to practice their religious, societal and ethnic beliefs within a context of respect and forbearance with everyone else in the neighborhood. As stated before, this in no way means that we have to approve of the actions of all people, but it does mean that we can respect people to do what they feel is right as long as their activities do not make others in the community uncomfortable or fearful because of their outward actions, and especially if they do not disturb the societal tranquility that all of us desire and should have.
This attitude of fairness to all is the Christian way of letting people do what they want in the confines of their own homes as long as the peace of others is not impinged. It is also the way of living that most people who love the democratic principles of government wish to be governed. It is simply the proper way to live and let live. Such allowance is not only showing correct Christian conduct, it is simple common sense that such behavior should be expressed by us all.
Now what about the laws of man? Let's face it, there are some excellent rules and regulations that we can find in the laws that govern our local and national communities. All of us should follow them as best as we can in order for us to show proper principles of conduct that respect and honor the well-being and integrity not only of ourselves but with everyone we come in contact with. God tells us to abide by those legal parameters (Romans 13:1-8). In all civilized societies, no one of us should disturb the tranquility and the peace that our neighbors desire. Indeed, we who love the Holy Scriptures and their teachings should be at the forefront in protecting our neighbor's right to do what he or she pleases (as long as all of us abide by the principles of fair-play and honesty with everyone in our societies and that we should not harm anyone by our conduct).
Having said these principles that I firmly believe in with all my heart, I still have reservations as a Christian with some of the laws that our western and democratic communities have devised as being the best laws to govern society. I dare say that many of you who study the Holy Scriptures can say the same thing. The reason I say this is because some of our laws that presently govern our societies are no more in agreement with the Laws of God than those of a tom cat. Sadly, even Christian folk have given up a belief that the Laws of God as shown in the Holy Scriptures ought to be accepted in our societies. The Laws of God that most Christians hold in dishonor and contempt are those divine principles of conduct recorded in the Holy Scriptures that embrace the legal right (in God's eyes) to engage in sexual activities among humans. Most of us in our western societies have abandoned with a vengeance those Laws of God regarding God's allowance of human sexual activities within His legal boundaries. We have instead accepted "church" teachings on sexuality that throw the Laws of God right out the window and not to be reckoned as worthy of the slightest consideration by us who are modern "Christians." Let us look at some of the laws of men and what they have done in the history of the earth to make God's society ineffective in our human societies.
The Laws of Men Have Been Hurtful
to True Christian Society
What have some of the laws of mankind done to our early Christian leaders (I mean Peter, Paul and John, and even Christ Jesus himself)? When they tried their best to teach people in their early societies the truths of God, they found themselves often going contrary to the religious, societal and ethnic political environments in which they lived. Many were thrown in jail for opposing some of the standards that governed the people they taught. Indeed, we are told in an early writing by one of the early Christian leaders of Rome (his name was Clement) that the apostle Paul had been placed in prison by the Jewish and Roman authorities on seven different occasions (Clement, First Corinthians, ch.5). When you add up the amount of time that Paul had to languish in prison simply for teaching the truths of the Gospel, it comes to about six years of his life. Paul was teaching the truth of how a decent and upright society should be governed, and the principal reaction he got from the existing politicians was to be placed in jail. He became a jail-bird to the societies in which he lived.
Now, Paul and the others were not thrown in prison for murder, mayhem, felonious actions, perjury in court, abuse of children or women, obstruction of justice or other justifiable actions that require people to be locked up to preserve the peace of society. No, their incarcerations were because of their objections to religious, societal or political laws that were contrary to the teachings of God the Father and Jesus Christ. And remember, Peter also spent time in jail. James (the head of the Jerusalem ekklesia) not only was incarcerated, he was thrown from the southeast corner of the Temple down a 400 feet cliff and when that didn't kill him they clubbed him to death. And what of Christ Jesus? The laws of man (along with the Laws of God as interpreted by the Jews at the time) not only got Christ arrested, he had to endure a crucifixion in order to teach what the proper principles of God were that the nation of the Jews (and the Romans) did not want to accept. The laws of man have had serious consequences upon the top leaders of the Christian ekklesia.
However, that was in the past. Surely, our western society (and those who call themselves Christians and who supposedly uphold the principles of the Holy Scriptures today) would in no way counter the wishes or the teachings of God that are mentioned in the Holy Scriptures. Oh, they wouldn't? Let me tell you a fact, the majority of people would run you out of town if you tried to implement some of the Laws of God, especially if those Laws of God ran counter to their sexual opinions that disagree with God and His teachings or principles. In fact, most Christians and Christian authorities today would be violently against the activation of God's Laws to supplant some of their cherished laws that they have devised through "church" councils and civil legislation, especially in matters dealing with sexual activities among humans. Indeed, by my even mentioning these laws in a positive sense would bring forth their wrath with a denouncement that I was nothing more than a "dirty old man" for even suggesting the implementing of these Laws of God that God has sanctioned and made holy. Let us look closer.
God's Sexual Laws Versus Man's Sexual Laws
One of the Laws of God that mankind (especially Christian believers) say they accept with all their mights (because it is one of the greatest guards to the security of marriage and the family unit) is one of the Ten Commandments that states in the clearest of terms: "Thou shalt not commit adultery" (Exodus 20:14). While modern Christians uphold this law with the greatest esteem, they vilify and hold in the highest disdain God's interpretation of it (they repudiate the interpretation of God at the very time it was given to Israel). The very person who wrote that command was Moses, who at the time had two wives. One was Zipporah (Exodus 2:21,22; 4:24-26) and the other a wife was of Ethiopian origin (Numbers 12:1). When Aaron and Miriam (the brother and sister of Moses) objected to Moses being married to the Ethiopian woman, God made Miriam's hand leprous to show the wrath of God at their disapproval when in fact God had approved Moses' second marriage which included his right to have sexual relations with her (Numbers 12:1-12). So, Moses had two wives, slept with both of them at various times in succession, and never once did Moses break the Ten Commandments by committing adultery in the eyes of God. It does not stop there.
Abraham had one wife named Sarah, and two concubines with whom he had sexual relations. One concubine was Hagar and the other was Keturah (whom he later married after Sarah's death). He had one child by Sarah, one by Hagar and six by Keturah (Genesis 16:1-16; 25:1-7). He slept with all three successively and never once committed adultery. And so it was with Jacob. He had two wives and two concubines, had sexual relations with them all in a successive manner and never once committed adultery. King David had several wives and concubines that God and the community approved of (II Samuel 5:13), and David did not commit adultery until he went into Bathsheba. Solomon had seven hundred wives (who were princesses given to him by the various kings of the earth) and three hundred concubines (I Kings 11:3). And though those 1000 women turned him away from God, God never accused him of committing adultery by having sexual relations with as many of them as he wished. Indeed, God's appraisal of Solomon (in spite of his giving in to the heathen wishes of his wives) is shown in the Book of Nehemiah. "But of many nations there was no king like him [Solomon], who was loved of his God" (Nehemiah 13:26), even though his outlandish women caused him to sin in allowing idolatry to come into the land. The Scripture shows that God loved Solomon in many ways, and Solomon must have known it.
Indeed, one of the most righteous priests ever to live in Israel was Jehoiada. He lived to be 130 years of age (II Chronicles 24:15). And what did Jehoiada do when Joash came to the throne in Jerusalem? The Holy Scriptures state: "And Jehoiada took for him [Joash] two wives; and he begat sons and daughters" (II Chronicles 24:3). So righteous was Joash that he "did that which was right in the sight of the Lord all his days wherein Jehoiada the priest instructed him" (II Kings 12:2). This means in the clearest of words that God approved of Jehoiada the priest providing Joash with his two wives. Joash did not commit adultery by having sexual relations with these two women.
Esther in the Bible heeded the plea of her uncle Mordecai to become one of the chief wives (if not the chief wife) of the Persian king (Esther 2:1-23), and as a result she was able to save the whole of the Jewish nation from destruction. There was not the slightest condemnation by the biblical prophets or by God Himself that it was wrong for this sexual (and legal) arrangement to be made with the Persian king.
That is not all. The apostle Paul quoted Psalm 45:6,7 in Hebrews 1:8,9 as a direct reference to what Christ Jesus had done long before he came to this earth as a baby boy in Bethlehem. The events of Psalm 45 explain what happened to Christ in heaven before the Psalmist ever composed Psalm 45. And what do we find Christ Jesus engaged in at this distant time in the past when He was then reckoned as a "God" among others who were His "fellow Gods" (Psalm 45:7; Hebrews 1:9)? The whole Psalm depicts a wedding of Christ Jesus (in His previous spirit life, long before His birth in Bethlehem) who had His queen stand next to him as He consummated another nuptial relationship with a woman who was joining His harem in heaven along with other "king's daughters" who were already there. Read the Psalm for yourself! You may be shocked at what you read. It states in the plainest of language that the person of the Psalm (the "God" under discussion — whom the apostle Paul said was Christ Jesus before He came to this earth) was having a grand nuptial ceremony with majestic fanfare and celebration that all in the universe rejoiced in. And, believe it or not, Christ's queen who stood by His side approved of the whole thing. This is not allegory because this is precisely how the ancient kings in the time of David conducted their political and social affairs with other nations and with the princesses in the world.
Indeed, when Jesus Christ comes back to this earth and establishes His Laws on this earth to govern mankind, one of the first things He will do is to restore the Law of Polygamy in which a man can have more than one wife at a time. Christ had better establish the law as soon as He gets back because one of the first things Christ intends to do is to marry five virgins who were wise enough to have their lamps full of oil at the time He returns (and He may have another five to marry if the other five virgins are smart enough to get enough oil to last them to the wedding feast so that they too can enter into a polygamist marriage with Christ Jesus). See Matthew 25:1-13. This is NOT allegory! After all, Christ only gave allegory and parables when He taught the masses (Matthew 13:13-16; 34,35). In this section of Matthew 25 about the "Ten Virgins," Christ was speaking to His disciples.
A second point needs to be made about Christ's teaching on the "Ten Virgins" being prepared to marry Him when He returns at His Second Advent. If the teaching of polygamy that we find with approval throughout the early Holy Scriptures was somehow wrong in New Testament times, Christ would surely have avoided giving such a cardinal teaching regarding his Second Advent with an example of things He disapproved. Let me give you an example of something that Christ would certainly disapprove and you would not find him using it approvingly in an illustration he might relate. Take for example an oriental custom of smoking of opium at a marriage feast (believe me, the use of such drugs is condemned in the Holy Scriptures — see Revelation 18:23 where "sorceries" means "poisonous drugs"). Do you think for a moment that Jesus would say: "Go fill up your opium pipes with enough opium to last you until the marriage feast that you will have with me when I return"? Absolutely NOT! That is because the basic subjects of the illustration that Christ wished to use would in themselves be wrong. But with the matter of polygamy, that was different. Christ used His illustration in Matthew 25 simply because polygamy was (and is) reckoned by Him not only to be right, but it is a social custom that God not only approves but that He practices Himself. Christ has put it into practice in the past, and He will do so again in the future.
But look at today. There is not a western country (outside of diehard Islamic societies) that allows the practice of polygamy (though it is a Law of God that has never been rescinded, and its practice is shown to be in vogue at the Second Advent of Christ back to this earth). It is mainly through "church" teaching of the Roman Catholic and the Greek Orthodox Churches (and their sister churches that come from the Protestant Reformation) that decided to ban this Law of God and to abolish it as a social privilege for those who could afford it and profit from it. And while the Mormons tried to implement polygamy in the last century within their territory of Utah, the federal government soon stepped in and told the Mormon authorities to either give up polygamy or statehood would never be granted to Utah and that the armed forces of the United States would come into the territory and forcibly put a stop to such practice. Believe me, when the Mormon authorities saw the power of the United States armed forces in full military regalia ready to pounce, they gave in. I would have given in too.
The Mormon authorities saw that there was not a chance in the world for the survival of their social customs involving polygamous relationships in a legal manner, so they gave up the practice. Most people since then have considered its ban as a good thing and there has been no serious attempt to reestablish this Law of God in Utah or elsewhere. Of course, Jesus Christ will reestablish it when He returns, because the first thing He will do is to have His marriage ceremony with the Ten Virgins that He has selected. I do not know who those Ten Virgins will be, do any of you? Of course, if you say that the whole story is an allegory and Christ is only kidding by giving such "nonsense," then please tell me "who are those Ten Virgins even allegorically"? Nothing makes sense of this important prophetic event associated with the Second Advent unless it is taken literally.
This Rebellion to God That Forbids Marriage Was Prophesied
The apostle Paul showed in the clearest of ways that one of the breakdowns in a proper society with people disobeying the Laws of God (and substituting them with the laws of man) would be: "forbidding to marry" (I Timothy 4:3). Indeed, the apostle Paul got real strong on the matter. Here is what Paul actually wrote under the influence of the Holy Spirit of God. He said:
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times [way down the road and into distant times], some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils [demons]; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats [foods], which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: for it is sanctified by the word of God [in Leviticus, ch.11] and prayer" (I Timothy 4:1-5, italics, bracketed words mine).
Notice that this teaching (which was a prophecy for future times) was a warning that came expressly from the Spirit of God. This is not Paul's opinion. It is God's prophecy about the rebellion to His ways and laws that would transpire in future times. God said evil spirits and demons would conspire to get people to lie without any conscious guilt and forbidding to marry. And God says He will let them do it. There was one other point of rebellion, but in this Doctrinal Report I am concentrating with matters dealing with God's viewpoint regarding sexual activities and this is why I will emphasize the prophesied command of men that will forbid marriage.
Let us be practical and answer what Paul meant in an unequivocal manner. It is easy to know what Paul meant. First, let us rehearse what Paul COULD NOT have been referring to when he said the evil spirits and demons would forbid marriage. Paul could not be referring to normal marriages between mature males and females because such unions are reckoned as proper and blessed by God from the very beginning of history (since the creation of Adam and Eve). Likewise, it could not mean forbidding the marriage of those who are of the same gender who wish to take up a homosexual style of marriage because both the Old and the New Testaments give the teachings of God that make it clear that such sexual actions are wrong (whether done in private or within a public context where others in society know what is happening). This prophecy also could not mean forbidding the marriage of ecclesiastical workers (such as with Roman Catholic priests and nuns who take vows of chastity and do not ordinarily marry) because the apostle Paul (who was himself unmarried when he began his ministry) even recommended the non-marriage state (such as he was in) for the few who felt called to devote all their time to the work of the ministry rather than sharing it with a marriage partner (I Corinthians 7:32-40; 9:1-8). Remember, Paul could have married had he wished, but he decided to stay single and devote his life to ministering to the flock of God. This was completely acceptable to God (if some wished to pursue that devotion). Such teaching had not the slightest tinge of demon or evil spirit doctrines associated with it. So, none of these things mentioned in this paragraph are teachings of deceitful spirits or demons.
Paul did teach, however, that if a man wanted to be a pastor or a deacon over a flock of God's people, that he should be the husband of one wife (I Timothy 3:2,12; Titus 1:6). This was not a condemnation by Paul of polygamy. He simply stated that if a man wished to be pastor or deacon that the person had to have only one wife during his tenure as pastor or deacon. These scriptures actually reinforce the fact that it was common for some men in that Christian community to have more than one wife, but because of this normal practice Paul would not allow such people in such polygamous marriages from being an overseer of a congregation of Christians. This is not the forbidding of marriage, it is regulating it for use in specific situations. He also commanded that women should not teach in an official congregational meeting (I Timothy 2:11,12), but in other social environments it was perfectly proper for women to speak and even to teach (Acts 18:26). This shows the regulation of such affairs, not the total abolition of women speaking among others or of the total forbiddance of marriage as a Law of God.
So, what about the teaching of seducing spirits and doctrines of demons that Paul was talking about that would be forbidding marriage in future times to the first century? Once we know what the answer is, it gives us of modern times a better perspective on how God views many sexual issues. We can be assured that God has more legal allowances for human sexual activity than our Christian societies permit today. That prophecy by the Holy Spirit (I Timothy 4:3) simply meant that the majority of people in the world would finally accept that polygamy was not to be allowed and that churches and governments around the world (under the influence of evil spirits and demons) would "forbid such polygamist marriages." That is what Paul meant. It has happened in Christianity.
What the Prophecy of the Holy Spirit States Would Occur
The prophecy in First Timothy 4:1-5 shows that in future times there would be three main doctrinal departures from God's laws and regulations. Other scriptures show that these errors will develop in full bloom during the reign of the Antichrist just before Christ's Second Advent. First, people would generally resort to telling lies as a society of hypocrites. During this time when it will look like the real truth of Christianity has swept over the earth in triumph, there will be a great deal of lip-service to the merits of Christianity. But because of long standing cultural differences many peoples such as the Chinese, those of Southeast Asia and India (for example) will abide by the Christian rules imposed on them (and some will accept the teachings seriously) but there will be much hypocrisy among such peoples in the world. This will even extend into our western societies. Hypocrisy will then reign. Secondly, the Antichrist will then forbid marriages (not ordinary marriages which everyone knows are the bedrock of our Christian and/or other civilizations). What will be banned, even in Islamic countries, will be polygamous marriages. And thirdly, the trend toward vegetarianism as the normal diet will intensify and under the Antichrist it will be enforced as the principal diet imposed on all mankind (contrary to the Laws of God that allow certain meats to be eaten). These are the three major departures from the faith that will predominate at that time.
After mentioning these three prophetic events that the world will accept (in some cases reluctantly), the apostle Paul then told Timothy: "If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things [the three prophetic developments mentioned above], thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereunto thou [Timothy] hast attained" (I Timothy 4:6).
And here I am, Ernest L. Martin, putting you brethren in remembrance of these three prophetic perversions that will sweep over this world. People will accept them thinking they are right and proper, just like they view Satan the Devil at this time (II Corinthians 11:14,15). "Behold, I have told you before," said Christ (Matthew 24:25).
Now, and in conclusion, am I trying to bring back this holy and righteous Law of God regarding marriage that most of the early patriarchs, kings and prophets were engaged in, including Jesus Christ himself (and that Christ will utilize at His Second Advent)? No, I am not. I have more important things to do than to insist on that. After all, I am a happily married man to Ramona and I love her with all my heart. I have no interest nor the funds to keep more women in a polygamous relationship even if I wanted to. And besides, the evil spirits and demons have already got our churches and national governments in western societies solidly in favor of banning such unions by legislation. Since we are told to obey the laws of our lands as best we can (Romans 13:18), I intend to do so.
Indeed, though polygamy is a Law of God, it has a very low priority in my present view as one that should be brought back into existence at this time. I will let others who are more interested in the matter do the job than for me to advocate it. I am certain that Christ Jesus will play a major part in reintroducing it when He returns at His Second Advent. He will do it in a splendid and majestic way that will make that Law of God advantageous for all. Oh yes, in my view, what is good for the gander is also good for the goose, so I see no reason why we cannot have polyandry then introduced, but I have to admit, I find no teaching of God that polyandry will happen within the Kingdom of God. My main intention in this Doctrinal Report is to show biblical teachings (even Laws of God) that reveal viewpoints of God regarding sexual matters between humans that are often not those shared by the majority of mankind. I hope this article has been helpful toward that end.
Ernest L. Martin
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