Monthly Archives: September 2013

Adultery and the “Put Away” Wife

From the earliest of ages, men have transgressed God’s laws and forced women into abusive situations, stripping them of the protections that God put in place for them. Men have manipulated, twisted and changed scripture in order to use “God said” as a weapon of force against women. The damage done is huge!  As a result of this inequality, women the world over have been subjected to physical abuse, sexual abuse and exploitation, sex trafficking, prostitution, rape, incest, polygamy, child rape and abuse, sexual mutilation, torture physically and emotionally and, the list goes on. It is religion that has caused a race of people to be treated in-humanely for centuries. It is time for the lies, the twisting, the corruption to be exposed and women given their equality, honor and dignity back. Laws must be changed in the process to protect women and children in all settings of religious and secular society. The old stigmas that religion has placed on women will only disappear when MEN realize the magnitude of what they have done and take action to reverse it. Sadly, it all starts with the corruptions that still exist in our modern day Bibles, the corruptions preached from the pulpits of America and the world, the corruption of doctrines based on opinions of men, being set right. These changes that have been purposely done to give men the preeminence and force women into subjugation, are the ultimate “hate crime.” It has removed “accountability” away from men and allowed for them to do as they please against women in most cultures. These corruptions have been used to proliferate abusive attitudes in men, against women and young girls, throughout history. If we begin to set right what has been corrupted, then I genuinely believe that the attitudes regarding women will change slowly but surely and, the abuses will lessen against us and, our equality, honor and dignity will be restored. This will allow for laws to be put in place, and enforced, that protect women from the abuses mentioned. Men will then be held accountable for their crimes against women and young girls.

On this blog, it has been my goal to not only give victims of religious abuse a voice, but, to “unmask” these corruptions of the religious system, “unmask” the twisting of scripture through “implied” meaning by men, to set right what man has corrupted. The following excerpt is from Every Woman & Child, by Adele Hebert, and is used by permission from the author. It is a follow up to the article I put out several days ago called, “God does NOT Hate Divorce.” If you have time to read that article, I promise that it will be the most enlightening truth you will ever learn.  It is worth the read for every Christian and non-Christian no matter the religious sect, just as this article is.

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ADULTERY AND THE “PUT AWAY” WIFEdivorce

You will never read a bible study quite like this one.

Jesus gave some radical new teachings about adultery and the “put away” wife which are rarely mentioned, let alone explained. Even though these teachings do not apply to us exactly, they are extremely vital points and must not be dismissed. You will see how Jesus completely eradicated the stigma of the put away wife. You will also find out how Jesus liberated women from the penalty of adultery and turned it onto the men. It was very demeaning for the men to be called adulterers.

Nowadays we don’t use the word adultery much; we say people are having ‘an affair.’ It seems that the sacredness of marriage is not as valued as it used to be, and it is not only men who ‘fool around.’ In most countries, there is no punishment for committing adultery anymore; people just get divorced and carry on with their lives. (Tragically, not all countries.)

Matt. 5:32 – But I say to you, Whoever puts away his wife, apart from a matter of fornication, causes her to commit adultery. And who ever shall marry the one put away commits adultery. (KJ3)

In the Old Testament and right up until Jesus’ day, adultery was the most serious accusation for a woman. It meant certain death.

Jesus declared that if a woman is only “put away” (separated but not divorced), then her husband “makes her,” “causes her” to commit adultery (Matt 5:32). This is equivalent to a parent who starves a child on purpose, (making them, causing them) forcing them to steal food. The parent is responsible for the child, therefore the parent is guilty.

Jesus maintained that the husband is responsible for taking care of his wife until he divorces her, therefore if he simply sends her away, he is now declared guilty for “her” adultery! “Whoever puts away his wife, causes her to commit adultery.” This was outrageous! In reality, Jesus was saying, “Don’t just send your wife away or you’ll be blamed and held accountable for what she does.” Imagine men being told they are guilty for their wife’s future actions!

Then Jesus takes the matter one step further, to avoid any exploitation of the woman. Jesus stated that the man who takes her who is only “put away,” is also guilty of adultery, like a partner in crime. “And who ever shall marry the one put away commits adultery.” This was shocking! Men better not even look at a single woman without seeing her divorce certificate first. What protection! The original husband cannot get off the hook, and the second husband better not act impulsively. Like any other business transaction, there is justice and order. Women were not to be tossed around and taken by men, to be used and then thrown away.

The first husband was not allowed to go free of his responsibility until he paid his wife in full. That’s the procedure. A similar analogy would be if a person owed the bank some money on the mortgage. Another person cannot just come along and take the property without the first owner paying the bank all the money they owe. Jesus reinstated marriage as a serious business, a holy covenant, with the utmost protection and provision for the woman. Men cannot cheat women or play games with God.

Mark 10:11 –  And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her.

Even if a man sent away his wife and he married another woman (which men allowed themselves at the time, for any excuse), he was also guilty of committing adultery “against her,” meaning his original wife (Mark 10:11). Who ever heard of that? The men had never been accountable to women. Jesus blamed men for committing adultery in every situation. That was unbelievable! This would certainly have elevated the status and dignity of women, but can you imagine the men who heard this?

Please read this slowly. So, no matter if the “put away” wife found another man, the husband is guilty for “her” adultery. Or if another man took the “put away” wife, before she got her divorce, then that man is guilty of adultery. Or if the husband “put away” his wife and found another woman, the husband is guilty of adultery “against” his original wife. Unless the woman was divorced, Jesus declared that the men were always to blame! Even if the “put away” wife committed the adultery, Jesus indicted the husband! The women were completely exonerated! How revolutionary! These words would have infuriated the men. In all these situations, Jesus declared that the men were guilty of adultery, never the woman.

Mark 10:12 – And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.

The final extreme teaching about being “put away” is in Mark 10:12, where Jesus announced that a woman could also “put away her husband.” Traditionally, only men could put away their wives. Women had been totally at the mercy of men. This was all completely new! What radical equality! That meant women could leave if they were being abused! And still get a fair settlement! Wouldn’t that make the men stand up? I am surprised that these teachings even made it in the gospels…very surprised.

To the men, Jesus was saying, “No!” “No, you can’t just throw her away without giving her a divorce.” “No, you can’t just take her before she has her settlement.” “No, you can’t just send her away and marry another woman, that’s cheating against your wife.” “No, you can’t hurt your wife; she can leave you.” “No more abuse! These women are daughters of God.” “No excuses or loopholes! Either you love her or you hand over the money, and give her a divorce!”

To the women, Jesus was saying, “No more!” “No more blame for adultery, if he sends you away.” “No more tolerating abuse in marriage; you can leave him.” “No more being cheated out of your property; it’s your entitlement.” “No more condemnation for women, if they are put away.” (“No more condemnation” did not give women permission to cheat on their husbands. Jesus was advocating for the wives who were abandoned, sent away.) No more shame or blame for women …at last!

Every detail of every possible scenario was looked after, to give women their full dignity and protection. Every hint of shame and blame was taken away from women and put on the men. Jesus made men respect women as equal partners in marriage and divorce. He made men give women their share of the matrimonial property. Notice that Jesus also acknowledged getting married again, confirming remarriage (only after getting divorced). Jesus did more for women’s rights than we can ever know. What an outstanding champion and defender of women!

These teachings were more than earth shattering for the men! Their entire culture had revolved around men making their own rules with few responsibilities towards the women. Now Jesus reminded men of the old rules, which had great responsibilities, to protect the women. Jesus’ teachings go completely against all the traditions of blaming women; He blamed the men. No wonder the men thought it was better not to marry, if they had to be that responsible for a wife (Matt 19:10).

For the rejected women, all these teachings were elevating and completely liberating! What an awesome Savior! Society was forced to start seeing women as equal. Unfortunately, Jesus’ declarations were not accepted by the men at that time, but His Words were not forgotten. It took two thousand years before women won their matrimonial property rights, but the battle is still not over. The patriarchal leaders are determined to keep Christian women from getting divorced and remarried.

It takes a long time for people to change attitudes. Many lives have been lost for the emancipation of women. Many court battles were fought for the freedom women have today. Two thousand years later, Jesus’ words are the basis for our divorce laws. But we still have a long ways to go.

If men listen to the false teachings of the boy’s club (church), marriage can be a nightmare for women and children. If men follow Jesus, marriage can be fulfilling for everyone: men, women and children, too.

As for women wanting to commit adultery, do you really think there were many at that time, knowing they would get stoned to death? I believe the woman in John 8 was very likely a hungry, put away wife, who was set up, so that men could trap Jesus. She was legally married or she would not have been accused of adultery. And why were there so many men witnesses and accusers? And where was he??

Jesus never condemned the woman caught in adultery because she was not guilty. She was a victim. Men had “caused” her to be in that situation, whatever the circumstance. Jesus simply wrote in the sand, and each of those male accusers left, from oldest to youngest. Then He spoke to her alone, and told her she was free. She was no more at the mercy of men. What a wonderful Savior!

The most overlooked point about the woman caught in adultery is that she was a believer. When Jesus asked, “hath no man condemned thee?” she said, “No man, Lord.” (John 8:11) This poor woman has been given a pornographic reputation throughout the centuries, and is always portrayed horribly in art. She was a believer and Jesus loved her.

Ann Brown wrote a wonderful book, Apology to Women, (Inter-Varsity Press, 1991), where she “confesses that the Bible has often been used to devalue women, illustrating this fact with abundant examples from Christian writing and art through the centuries.” I was truly blessed by her title.

There is a definite connection between the teachings of the church and how women are treated in the home, behind closed doors. These teachings affect all of society, just like the attitudes and oppression in the days of slavery. A Wife’s Submission, is a fantastic blog http://hupotasso.wordpress.com/; Charis Hart examines the toughest passages using Greek and Hebrew word studies. Charis Hart’s new website is Christian Egalitarian Marriage http://2hold.wordpress.com/. Submission Tyranny, in Church and Society, by Waneta Dawn, is another great blog.

You will want to read Woman Submit by Jocelyn Anderson, (One Way Café Press, 2007), an excellent book about the dynamics of religion, family and community towards an abused woman. Another awesome book is A Woman’s Place? Leadership in the Church by C. S. Cowles (Beacon Hill Press, 1993). Other recommended authors include: Lundy Bancroft, Patricia Evans, Gilbert Bilezikian, J. Lee Grady, Susan C. Hyatt, Aida Spencer, Alvin J. Schmidt, Tikva Frymer Kensky…. The best reference I can give is Christians for Biblical Equality www.cbeinternational.org for books, articles and the CBE Scroll.

One Way Press is proud to announce that in Spring of 2013, Shirley Taylor will be releasing her book, Dethroning Male Headship, Because it Doesn’t have a Leg to Stand on. You will definitely want to check out her website, Baptist Women for Equality. Shirley has an excellent resource page.

Girl, 8, dies from internal injuries on Wedding Night in Yemen

Eight-year-old bride suffered internal injuries, bleeding, after marriage to 40-year-old man in Yemen. Forcing Yemeni girls into arranged weddings has long, troubled history.

By / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS

Tuesday, September 10, 2013, 11:45 AM
8yrold

MOHAMMED HUWAIS/AFP/Getty Images

Women in Yemen demonstrate in 2010, supporting a law banning marriage for girls under age 17. The legislation, designed to address a longstanding practice of forcing girls into arranged weddings, was ultimately repealed.

A young girl in Yemen died after having sexual relations with a 40-year-old man who became her husband in an arranged marriage, according to media reports.

The 8-year-old was identified as “Rawan” and died from torn genitals and severe bleeding in the northwest city of Hardh, Gulf News reported, citing Yemen media accounts.

RELATED: 1 IN 4 ASIAN MEN HAVE RAPED A WOMAN: SURVEY

The child lived in a tribal area that borders Saudi Arabia. Human rights organizations have called for the arrest of the husband, the news site Al Bawaba said.

Yemen has often been criticized for allowing girls to be forced into arranged marriages.

RELATED: BREAKING NEWS: INDIAN COURT CONVICTS 4 IN FATAL GANG RAPE CASE

Human Rights Watch reports that 14% of girls in Yemen are married before age 15, with 82% married before they are 18.

The country passed a law in 2009 setting the minimum age for marriage at 17. It was later repealed after conservative lawmakers said it went against Islamic teachings.

dhastings@nydailynews.com

MORE ON THIS STORY HERE:  http://www.viralnova.com/8-year-old-child-bride-dies/

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Groups all over the world are working to snuff out this archaic and disgusting practice, but its proving difficult. The impoverished country is gripped by the practice of selling off children to be married; poor families find themselves unable to say no to “bride-prices” that can be hundreds of dollars for their daughters.

More people need to know this is happening. Hit the SHARE icon below to spread the word.

God Does NOT Hate Divorce

Once in a while I find a work from another scholar that is so important and so crucial for women to read, that I just cannot help myself in sharing it here on my blog. Such is the case with a book written by Adele Hebert, and independent scholar from Northern Alberta, Canada.

When I first purchased her book, Every Woman & Child, and began to read it, it did not bring anything new to light that I did not already know UNTIL I was over half way into it. From that point on, she had my attention until the end, in the most amazing way.  However, most women and men have no idea how prevalent WOMEN are throughout the Bible and about the important roles they played in the early church! They were disciples, leaders, preachers, business women, etc. So, for the majority, all that Adele covers in the first half of her book WILL be new to them. Please keep that in mind.

Throughout the world, women are being forced to stay in abusive marriages by religion because of changes in translation that prevent them from getting a divorce. Many live in bondage and abuse because of this. Women have no idea that God made provisions for them to keep them from being abused by men!  Throughout the many articles on this blog, I have tried to expose this fact: Men have PURPOSELY written women out of scripture and translated scripture in such a way as to point women into a place of subjugation to men, regardless of how evil the men may be! I feel that this book covers the issue of “putting away” and divorce as well as the subject of removing women from places of leadership, authority and autonomy in scripture, superbly. Subsequent chapters until the end are worth the read and, in my opinion, more than worth the price of the book.

Because of how important this topic is to women, I have asked permission from this author to allow me to offer a preview of her chapter on divorce and then cover two other chapters in subsequent articles. She has so graciously granted my request! Ladies, this is for YOU. You DO NOT have to live in bondage to man-made religious dogmas any more. “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed!”

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titleBy Adele Hebert

(To purchase a copy, click on the Title of the book below)

GOD DOES NOT HATE DIVORCE

“You don’t have to die for him; I already have.” – JESUS

Let me say this: I am not against men; I am against injustice, from any gender, or any podium. There are some excellent men out there who have strong values, who work hard to defend human rights and who try to improve the conditions of this world. I thank God for them. We really need more of them.

Let me also say that I am not promoting divorce. How I wish that all marriages were happy and peaceful. Divorce is very painful, especially for children, but living with controlling or violent men traumatizes much more. Do you really believe that God prefers people to stay in an abusive marriage rather than to get a divorce?

“Even though God instituted marriage, He does not approve of ALL marriages.” – Stephen Gola, DIVORCE: God’s Will? (Trafford Publishing, 2005) www.divorcehope.com. You will want to read what Stephen teaches about boundaries when submitting. He also proves, with scripture, who is a True Widow. Remarkable book!

Three reasons for divorce, from a woman’s perspective: first, God does not want His daughters to be abused (forced to stay); second, God does not want His daughters to be abandoned (forced to starve); third, men are to give their wives financial security, half of the matrimonial property.

I am deeply concerned about the destructive teachings regarding submission, divorce and remarriage; they have done so much damage. Religion has a direct influence on society’s attitudes of power, authority, subordination and women’s sexual status. Why are Christian men battering their wives?

Even if there is no physical violence, a vast number of marriages are a living hell, where women live in constant fear and have no control of their lives. They get yelled at and threatened regularly, are belittled and blamed beyond reason. Some women are given almost no money, their friends and family are restricted, and they are forced sexually. Children have to listen to the fighting and everyone walks on eggshells.

When religions teach that women must be silent, they lay the foundation for men to be abusive to their wives. When religions remain silent about the accountability of men towards women and children, they play an enormous role in enabling men to be controlling and bullies in the home.

There are many studies that prove the negative effects of divorce, but we don’t hear much from the religious leaders about the women and children who are living with anger and violence. Yes, there are some men who are abused and cheated on, and it all hurts, but we cannot ignore the statistics. Countless women are coerced into staying with their abusive husbands, only to suffer more, affecting them and their children for generations. Children who witness violence in the home are usually violent when they grow up. Boys are victims as much as girls; they just don’t talk about it until much later.

Probably the most damaging word in our bibles for women is ‘submit.’ Jesus never used that word. Submit is a swear word to most women, and we usually only hear half of the sentence. Women are being deceived when they are told to submit. “Support” is a much better translation; then no one is put in a slave position. Even the words “learn in silence with all subjection” are demeaning. “If a preacher talks about submission, then he should be prepared to address abuse in the same sentence.” – Maryanne Rempel. God does not want His daughters to be degraded.

Probably the most damaging teaching today is “God hates divorce.” That belief locks people in marriage, and for some it is unbearable, even fatal.

First of all, we need to accept that almost all bibles have mistranslated the words “put away.” The false teachings about divorce all stem from Malachi 2:16. Most modern bibles say, “God hates divorce,” but they Used To Say, “God hates the putting away.”

Mal 2:16 For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for one covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously. King James Bible

*An extremely important margin note about the words “put away” in Luke 16:18 is found in the Geneva Bible 1599. The margin reads, “that is, not Lawfully divorced.” http://www.genevabible.org/files/DailyScripture/Luke16Footnotes.htm

“PUT AWAY” DOES NOT MEAN “DIVORCED.”

“PUT AWAY” MEANS “SEND AWAY.”

If the wife was only “put away” (not divorced yet), and if she found someone else, she would be committing adultery against her husband (for the wife only), because she was still legally married, (still his ‘property’) and she would likely get stoned to death.

We are being deceived into thinking that God hates divorce, as if it’s the unforgiveable sin. God hates men “putting away” their wives!

Putting away is the final club of abuse, the getting rid of a wife and not giving her the matrimonial settlement. That’s what God was angry about in Malachi 2:16. Men had dealt “treacherously” and with “violence” – their wives were cast away empty-handed!

In biblical times, the worst words for women were “put away.” To be put away damaged the whole family and, consequently, all of society. Men were accustomed to just sending away their wives when they wanted to get rid of them, and then getting another one.

A woman who was still legally married but abandoned by her husband was in a tragic, hopeless situation. Forced to stay celibate, her only options were begging, prostitution or starvation!

Our God, through Moses, instituted the divorce certificate in Deut 24, for the protection of the wife, to ensure her a matrimonial settlement, and to enable her to get remarried.

 Deu 24:1 “When a man takes a wife and marries her, and it happens that she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out from his house,

Deu 24:2 and she leaves his house and goes and becomes another man’s wife,

Deu 24:3 and if the latter husband turns against her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband dies who took her to be his wife,

Deu 24:4 then her former husband who sent her away is not allowed to take her again to be his wife, since she has been defiled; for that is an abomination before the LORD, and you shall not bring sin on the land which the LORD your God gives you as an inheritance.

Divorce and remarriage are woman’s rights. Being “put away” was not only a disgrace; for many, it meant death. God saw the suffering of those “put away” wives. Moses commanded in great detail, twice (Deut 24:1, 3) that if a man was displeased with his wife or if he turns against her, he had to first write out a divorce certificate, which included the property settlement, then put it in her hand and after that he could send her away. If something is repeated in the bible it is for confirmation and clarity.

God does not want women to stay in an abusive marriage, nor does he want them to be destitute. Children are on the front lines here. God knows they are greatly affected by how their mother is treated.

Notice that it does not mention adultery or fornication, only that the husband was displeased with his wife. This does not preclude that the woman did anything wrong. Divorce is a safeguard for women, a protection against having to live with a man who did not want her. If divorce was not allowed, women would have been in grave danger, “lest, if they were not permitted to divorce their wives, they should murder them,” – Matthew Henry Commentary.

God commanded divorce so that women can get away from their abusive men and get remarried. It is a way out for women. Men had to be commanded to give their wives a divorce, because God knows how much men detest having to divide half the matrimonial property and especially how they loathe giving women their freedom, to be with another man. Men kill for those two reasons. Yes, women kill too, but we all know the statistics that men are much more violent than women.

After a divorce, God decreed that women are allowed to get remarried, even if the husband is still living (Deut 24:2). The only stipulation is that the “former” husband cannot take her back, which meant he was alive; she was not a widow (Deut 24:4). Guidelines had to be made because God did not want women to be passed around and used. This proves that people are allowed to get remarried after a divorce. It was also a warning for the husband to be very sure of his decision, because he could not get her back, ever. These are God’s laws, not man’s.

God instituted divorce as a woman’s entitlement so she could find another husband who loves her. In biblical times, men had the responsibility to take care of the women and children. Obviously, a woman who is sent away is not being cared for. That is why God commanded divorce as a woman’s right. The “put away” wife had no money, she had to remain celibate and she could not remarry, which left her in a very life-threatening situation. One can only imagine how the children fared if they were with their mother.

Big question: Why were the men only sending their wives away, without a divorce? If the certificate was only a matter of granting permission so she could get remarried, the men should not have complained about it, because they wanted to send the wife away in the first place.

It’s about Money!!!

Without a settlement, women were destitute. Women had no means for survival. Divorce always involves division of property. At least, if she got her divorce, she would have some finances, which would also make her quite eligible to remarry. She would not be abandoned, forced to starve.

Some might object to this teaching of divorce and remarriage and say that was only in the Old Testament, but Jesus always asked, “What did Moses command you?” (Matt 19:7, Mark 10:3)

Others might object to the property part; they say the divorce was only to enable the woman to get remarried, but what good is a piece of paper? You can’t eat it. Women need more than a piece of paper.

The daughters of Zelophehad were given property, because they had no husbands. Achsah received land and two springs of water, after she got married. Job gave his beautiful daughters their share of the inheritance, even though their beauty would have attracted wealthy men; it was their insurance.

Although they are not written about often, divorced people are there in the bible, which means it was a reality: Deut 24:1-4; Deut 22:19, 29; Lev 21:7, 14; Lev 22:13; Num 30:9; Isa 50:1; Jer 3:8; Eze 44:22. The expression ‘Til death do us part’ is not even in the bible.

Some women who were “put away” in the Old Testament were Tamar (Gen 38), Queen Vashti (Est 1), and the ten raped concubines (2 Sam 20). Tamar was a widow but she needed a levir and her father-in-law refused to give her his son. Queen Vashti was sent into exile for not displaying her beauty to her drunken husband and his friends. The ten raped concubines had to live the rest of their life as widows. These women were all put away and financially looked after, but they were not free to remarry. Talk about control!

The clearest example in the Old Testament we have of “put away” wives is in Ezra 10, where 113 men had to pledge to separate from their foreign wives, because God told them to go back to the wives of their youth. God ordered the men to “put away” (leave) their illicit relationships (the second wives, foreign women), because these men were not legally married to them – they had not divorced their first wife.

God had “fierce anger” until these foreign wives were “put away.” In this case putting away was advised and necessary, because they were not legal marriages. The men even admitted their guilt in abandoning their original wives. They repented. The process took three months as the put away foreign wives needed property for their future security. If the men only had to separate, it would not have taken judges and elders and three months of appointments. The men were not allowed to just walk away.

Even though they were foreign women, they needed papers regarding the property, and the children had to be in their names. The women did not need a divorce paper because they were unlawful unions. There were elders and judges working and each one came at their appointed time, “until the fierce anger of God was turned away from them.” At least these put away mothers got to keep their children (Ezra 10:44).

In the first century, men still struggled with divorce and property division (they still do). Men did not like being told to divide up ‘their’ properties, so they had invented all kinds of excuses not to settle; then they could keep everything. It was obvious that the men wanted to only “put away” their wives and cheat them out of a divorce settlement because many times they tested Jesus with their dilemma, “The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?” (Matt 19:3)

Jesus knew what they were up to. The financial aspect, dividing ‘their property’ is likely the biggest reason why the men simply “put away” their wives and did not give them a divorce, although most men despise the fact that ‘their wife’ will be with another man.

God has always had to make men respect women, especially when it came to money and sex. Divorce was always allowed, except there were two situations when it was never allowed. The first case was when a man “hates” his wife and falsely accuses her of not being a virgin. “I gave my daughter unto this man to wife and he hateth her… he may not put her away all his days.” (Deut 22:16-19)

“husband, who had thus endeavoured to ruin the reputation of his own wife, was to be scourged, and fined, and bound out from ever divorcing the wife he had thus abused,” – Matthew Henry Commentary.

Regarding date rape: The second case was concerning premarital sex, because she was forced. “and he lay hold on her, and he lie with her,… he hath humbled her,… he may not put her away all his days.” (Deut 22: 28, 29).

“if a virgin was not betrothed, and a man seized her and lay with her, and they were found, i.e., discovered or convicted of their deed, the man was to pay the father of the girl fifty shekels of silver, for the reproach brought upon him and his house, and to marry the girl whom he had humbled, without ever being able to divorce her.” – Keil and Delitzsch Commentary.

“If a damsel not betrothed were thus abused by violence, he that abused her should be fined, the father should have the fine, and, if he (the father) and the damsel did consent, he should be bound to marry her, and never to divorce her, how much soever she was below him, and how unpleasing soever she might afterwards be to him.” – Matthew Henry Commentary.

Shamefully, God had to create laws to protect women. Husbands were slandering their wife’s honour, and God wanted to stop men from forcing themselves on women, even if they liked each other. In both situations, the men were punished with never being able to divorce. Even if these men separated from their wives, they were financially responsible for them, forever. That should have made the men think twice.

Men had to watch what they say, and they had to watch what they do.

Women, being the weaker sex, were to be honoured and protected. Every situation was written about in God’s Word: whether a woman was married, betrothed or not betrothed; whether she consented or not; whether she lived in the city or the country; whether she cried out or not. These laws were mostly directed towards the men, as they seemed to have more problems with lust, self-control and violence.

God never told men to have concubines or multiple wives; they invented those ones for themselves, and for any excuse. One excuse was if a couple had no children (the woman was always to blame). The wife was forced to provide a surrogate mother or she would be sent away. Do you believe Sarah really wanted to offer Hagar?

In the New Testament, we have two examples of illegal / immoral relationships. Herod was told to “send away” Herodias, his brother Philip’s “wife” (Matt 14, Mark 6, Luke 3). She was not divorced yet, so this second marriage was invalid, “not lawful.” Also in 1 Cor 5:1 it talks about a man with his father’s wife (referring to Lev 18:8). These relationships were not approved of, and the people knew it was wrong. God does not allow sister-wives or polygamy.

If an engaged woman was found with child, the engagement could be broken. Joseph wanted to send Mary away privately, and cancel the betrothal contract, because she was pregnant. He planned to “put her away” privately (Matt 1:19). An angel appeared to Joseph and told him to take Mary for his wife. Again, it says “put away,” not divorce.

The main divorce passages are: Deut 24:1-4; Mal 2:16; Matt 5:31, 32; Matt 19:3-10; Mar 10:2-12; Luk 16:18. Divorce was a provision that was commanded since the time of Moses. God designed it for women.

The KJ3 Literal Translation (SGPBooks.com, Inc., 2010) translates all the divorce passages properly using “put away”. The Wuest New Testament (Wm B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1961) uses “dismiss,” which makes it very clear.

Some old bibles which use “put away” are: American Standard Version ASV, Darby DAR, Douay Rheims DRB, Revised Version RV, Young’s Literal Translation YLT. These were all written over 110 years ago.

Almost all modern bibles use the wrong word!

Divorce and Remarriage is NOT Adultery (God’s Kingdom Ministries, 1998-2012) is a great study. The opening sentence goes right to the source of the problem.

“Church opinion has long favored the teaching that remarriage after divorce is adultery, based upon what we believe to be a single mistranslated word in Matthew 5:32 and a few incorrect assumptions. The result? A great many people today who are divorced and remarried are being expelled from their churches. Others are being refused leadership positions or are being plied with a load of guilt for “living in constant adultery.” It is tragic, and so very unnecessary. Many times it turns people away from God altogether, either in rebellion against what they feel is an injustice in Scripture, or else through discouragement over their own inability to remain single for the rest of their lives.” – by Dr. Stephen E. Jones. http://gods-kingdom-ministries.org/COLDFUSION/Chapter.cfm?CID=197

Matthew 5:32 is the most common verse referred to, in regards to divorce. One mistranslated word, “put away” was changed to “divorced,” and has caused all the false teachings. It contradicts Deuteronomy 24 and is not consistent with all the other divorce passages. The KJ3 Literal Translation of the Bible reads as follows:

 Mat 5:31 It was also said, Whoever puts away his wife, “let him give her a bill of divorce.” Deut. 24:1 (KJ3)

Mat 5:32 But I say to you, Whoever puts away his wife, apart from a matter of fornication, causes her to commit adultery. And whoever shall marry the one put away commits adultery. (KJ3)

The original word was “put away” in both parts of Matthew 5:32, which means sent away or separated. Check the Greek Strong’s word ‘apoluo’ G630. Modern bibles have exchanged the words “put away” for “divorce.” The word should not be divorce because we have already established that people were allowed to get remarried. Divorce and remarriage were always permitted. Even if divorce is not spoken of much, the commands are very clear.

The translators were quite successful in changing the words “put away” to “divorce” in most bibles, but they forgot about the commentaries and other books which contained the accurate transcriptions of these verses.

Proof from old books: Francis Augustus Cox, 1783 – 1853, wrote Female Scripture Biographies. Put away in Matt 5:32. http://www.gutenberg.org/files/9783/9783-h/9783-h.htm

“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.”

More proof: I also found the accurate translation of Matt 5:32 in another old book – Sermons on Several Occasions, John Wesley 1703 – 1791. http://www.ccel.org/ccel/wesley/sermons.html

“But I say unto you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the case of fornication, (that is, adultery; the word porneia signifying unchastity in general, either in the married or unmarried state,) causeth her to commit adultery, if she marry again: And whosoever shall marry her that is put away committeth adultery. (Matt 5:31, 32).”

There is no word “divorce” found in this text. I wonder when the words “put away” were changed to “divorce.” There are literally millions of people who are held captive, still in terrible marriages because of that one mistranslated word. Bible translators are highly accountable for their choice of words. Rev 22:18 gives a severe warning to anyone who adds to these words. You will want to read Gail Riplinger’s book, Which Bible is God’s Word? (AVPublications, 2007). She did amazing research on bible translations. You will be shocked!

Ted R. Weiland wrote Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage. http://www.missiontoisrael.org/m-d-remar.php (pages 4, 6):

“While it is true that the term “put away” – the final step in the divorce process – is sometimes used to represent divorce, women can and often were put away without being divorced.”

“A “put-away” woman would be left to provide for herself, a nearly impossible feat under the conditions of that time. No doubt, some women felt they had no choice but to resort to prostitution in order to provide for themselves and their children. One can understand why Yahweh hated the treachery these hardhearted men committed against their wives. It was for this reason that Yahweh provided for lawful divorce.”

Matt 5:32 is so critical because there are countless millions of people who feel trapped, even after divorce. I do not promote divorce, but it is necessary to know that divorce and remarriage are both allowed. These are God’s way of showing love to women and children.

Marrying someone who is divorced does not mean people are committing adultery. If the new husband marries a divorced woman, then who is he committing adultery against? The former husband divorced her so it can’t be him, because he is no longer her spouse.

To make it simple, Matthew 5:32 should read, “If a man puts away his wife without giving her a divorce, then he causes her to commit adultery (but if HE is fornicating with another woman, then HE should put that woman away).”

The exception clause in Matthew 5:32, “saving for the cause of fornication,” cannot be referring to women, because if she was having an affair it would not be considered fornication, it would be classified as adultery against her husband, and she would be stoned for it.

Let’s say the wife was having an affair, and the husband sent her away, then why would the husband get blamed for “causing her” to commit adultery? That does not make sense. The fornicating person MUST be referring to the husband, and HE is the one who should send the second woman away, because HE is not looking after his first wife, thereby forcing her to find another man who will look after her. God’s design is monogamy.

In Moses’ day, women were forced to stay celibate if the men did not want to give them a divorce. Today, we are repeatedly and severely warned that God does not allow divorce, even though the scriptures prove that is not true. Then we are told that we cannot get remarried, because those verses have been twisted, in modern translations, to make it sound like it is adultery. So now we are worse off – forced to stay celibate forever, even after a divorce. Women are either forced to stay in abuse or forced to stay single and celibate forever.

Not being able to remarry is a false teaching. In fact, God wants women to get remarried, after they get their property and divorce. We are being deceived into thinking that God hates divorce and remarriage. The bible says, “let every woman have her own husband.” (1Cor 7:2) We are not meant to “be alone.” Furthermore, “if thou marry, thou hast not sinned.” Christian men coerce women into believing that God hates divorce, forcing them to stay, to continue being abused. “Men forbidding to marry” is a “doctrine of devils.” (1Tim 4:1, 3).

People don’t know the scriptures, so they believe what they are told. Tragically, if they are a Christian in an abusive marriage, they feel forced to either remain a victim of abuse, or by the time they do leave, they deny God. Essentially, to be a Christian woman today literally means to submit and accept violence.

While they are in a bad situation, not many people defend the abused woman, ‘You made your bed, now you sleep in it.’ When a woman feels trapped with an abusive man, it erodes her self-esteem, her strength, her health and eventually her faith. In abusive marriages, the children are caught in the middle and suffer lifetime emotional scars. Frequently, the children are also victims of physical and sexual assault; it is not just the mothers. How could God want all this suffering? Maryanne Rempel claims, “We need to submit only to God. I wish all parents would teach that to their children – boys and girls.”

You might think, “What does “put away” have to do with us? Actually, this still goes on in court rooms every day. You can get a divorce paper alright, but that doesn’t mean it will be fair. Both parties can feel cheated financially, but it’s a well-known fact that usually the mothers and children are left to live in poverty. Entire neighbourhoods in every city are filled with single mothers living in crowded, low-income housing. Women already feel like they have been thrown away, but it is worse when they are cheated out of property and child support.

In recent years, mothers are being knocked out with grief, bereft and devastated, when they lose custody of their children. There are not enough words in the dictionary to describe their nightmare and pain. I’m not saying all mothers are perfect, but the majority of the time it is about money, control and revenge. It was fine for the mother to raise her children while they were married, but as soon as a divorce is on the horizon, the mother is, all of a sudden, unfit.

The lives of these mothers and children are in the hands of the lawyers and judges, and they have no choice. It was no different in the days of slavery. “I have born thirteen children and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me!” – Sojourner Truth. 1851, Akron, Ohio. http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/sojtruth-woman.asp

The ultimate abuse for a mother is losing custody of her children. I have only a few words for any mother in this situation: Don’t despair. Jesus was extremely angry with the men who didn’t treat women right, and God is the Ultimate Judge. Our God is a God of Justice and Love. God knows your pain; Jesus sees your tears; He even cries with you.

Although Jesus did not promote divorce, He knew that it was inevitable, because of the hardness of men’s hearts. Jesus was admonishing the men, telling them that it is not acceptable to just put away their original wives. If men want to be free of their wives, they must divorce them, and they better do it fairly. Women are daughters of God and Jesus demands that men treat them with justice and mercy.

Regardless of what people want or don’t want, God does allow divorce, and remarriage, too. And God does not want anyone to submit to anyone else. We are “servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart; With good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men” (Eph 6: 6, 7).

Assimilation of the Church to the World

ASSIMILATION OF THE CHURCH TO THE WORLDassimilation

For those that claim the title of “Christian,” it is very important to understand that the religious systems of the world are full of corruptions. It is my humble opinion that none are exempt. To think that there is a pure religion out there would be ludicrous. It doesn’t matter what one thinks, the historical evidences show that man corrupts everything he touches.  There are countless millions following the “doctrines and commandments of men” and not God. Many of these corruptions have an agenda in mind. What is that agenda? Control of others for self-indulgence, personal gain, power, control and money.  History supports this premise and shows it with glaring clarity.

In order to separate tradition from truth, in order to separate truth from the corruption, in order to genuinely understand and know the truth, we must study history and textual criticism. Studying the Bible, for many, is of no avail because the understanding of the times in which it was written is not there. One must understand the culture, the events taking place at the time of penning of scripture, and so much more in order to truly understand what the authors meant. How can one KNOW what was “meant” if you are interpreting based on the current culture and word usage? Jesus and his disciples spoke in terms that the people of their day were familiar with. Today, we are not familiar with many of the colloquialisms and terms they used. They were dealing with the real problems of the day and age in which they all lived; thus, learning history is important to correct understanding and interpretation.

We also must understand the “tares” that man has inserted through translation, that have become foundations for many. There is so much truth wrapped around a “cloak of deception” aimed at leading people to believe and act in a manner that is in direct opposition to truth and love! There were some insertions, changes and deletions through translation that have affected one particular race of people throughout history – women. As a result, women have been robbed of equality, honor and dignity. They have been treated in-humanely and, even today, still are, in some countries.

All this said, today’s history lesson will cover how the church assimilated with paganism. Throughout, I will interject my thoughts and enclose them in brackets. What will become apparent is that the church system has not changed. The corruptions then, are still around today. Let’s dive in and see what we can learn from this tidbit of early church history.

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Early Church History to the Death of Constantine

Edward Backhouse, 1906

With the increase of the Church in numbers and wealth, the introduction of infant baptism and the growth of a sacerdotal religion, there came an increased assimilation to the world. The dividing line between Pagan and Christian lost its sharpness, or was drawn from a new and entirely different point.

The Christians of the earlier ages were marked out from the rest of mankind by their life and conduct: “They are in the flesh, but live not after the flesh. They dwell upon earth, but their citizenship is in heaven.” But now the difference turned more especially upon external and ceremonial distinctions. [Think about this for a moment. Today, one’s Christianity is based on church attendance and service, looking outwardly holy in all manner of one’s life. What is considered “holy” living? Following all the many rules, spoken and unspoken, that the clergy within the religious system tell us to follow! Salvation is based on these same factors as well as baptism. If someone does not fit into our perceptive “mold” of what a Christian should be, then we label them as “lost,” “sinners,” “not right with God,” “reprobates,” “heathen,” etc. Standing in God’s place of judgment, we treat them differently and shun them. We isolate ourselves and our families from them as if they had a plague of sin that would affect and corrupt our righteousness. By doing these things, we break the most important commandment of all – to LOVE our neighbor as ourselves. Additionally, we give off a “better than thou” attitude that leaves a stench in the nostrils of those we are trying to reach for God!]

The Christians were those who had been baptised with water, those who partook of the bread and wine, or as it was now called, the Sacrament or the mysteries [calling it such was one of the many corruptions by clergy]. Not that there were wanting other tokens of discipleship of a less formal kind; the martyrdoms, the conduct of the Church during the times of famine and pestilence, and the holy watchful life of thousands, both in and out of office, still affording a shining testimony to the world around of the vital and energetic power of the Gospel. But in proportion as more importance was attached to the ceremonial distinction, the moral difference was overlooked.  [This is a very important statement here. When religious leaders put more weight on outward appearances and rules, the wicked thoughts and intents of the heart will manifest themselves in hidden abuses such as rape, domestic violence, incest, physical abuse, pedophilia, sex trafficking and other such crimes. As we have seen in overwhelming evidence on this blog, the internet is full of stories of these atrocities taking place hidden under the mantle of the church. The “church” has become a safe haven for criminals because they look and sound good on the outside!]

When a man like Gregory Thaumaturgus could adopt a pliable policy, and make the holy rule of the Gospel bend to the vicious habits of the newly baptised heathen, it is easy to account for the decline in morality. And after the edicts of Milan, when admissions into the Church took place in a still more wholesale manner, the maintenance of morals and discipline must have been extremely difficult, not to say impossible. [Throughout the early church, moral corruption was rampant – just as it is today. If we just do our homework and search the internet, we will find countless thousands of articles of such abuses and crimes as well as many victims speaking out about their abuses.]

Moreover, as the danger became more urgent, the voices of the watchmen on the walls grew fainter. [The “watchmen” were supposed to be church leaders. Their voices grew fainter because they had no desire to rid the church of the crimes, many of which, I believe, they were complicit in.] After the second century the influence of the Montanists rapidly declined, whilst the Novatians and others who pleaded more or less earnestly for a return to primitive manners and discipline, seemed never to have gained the ear of the general Church. Here and there, however, the cry of warning was still heard from individuals. [Those that are trying to expose the corruptions and deliver truth to the people, will always be ignored and/or silenced. This still takes place today. We must also add to this the use of character assassination — used against those that try to get the truth to people.]

Amongst these was Aerius. He was a native of Pontus or Armenia, and a friend of the semi-Arian Eustathius, bishop of Sebaste, by whom he was made a presbyter. Disputes arose between himself and the bishop, which widened into a rupture with the Church; and Aerius and his followers, who were numerous, openly separated from their fellow Christians. They also renounced the possession of worldly property. The teaching of Aerius on some points remarkably anticipated that of the most enlightened Protestants at the time of the Reformation, and drew upon him the hostility of the orthodox Church. Epiphanius, who attacks him in no measured language, brings forward four special counts upon which he charges him with heresy. The first is his assertion that the Holy Scriptures make no distinction between a bishop and a presbyter. Next, that prayers and offerings for the dead are not only useless but pernicious: if they avail to the benefit of the departed, no one need trouble himself to live holily, he will only have to provide by bribes or otherwise a multitude of persons to make prayers and offerings for him, and his salvation will be secure. Although a monk he condemned all set fasts: a Christian man should fast when he feels it to be for his soul’s good; appointed days of fasting are relics of Jewish bondage. Lastly, he ridiculed the observance of Easter as a Jewish superstition, insisting that Christians should keep no Passover, because Paul declares Christ, who was slain for us to be our Paschal Lamb. [Aerius was telling the truth here and the church leaders wanted him silenced! A rule of thumb is to “label” those truths as “heresy.” Then, label the truth teller as a “heretic.” By doing so, no one will believe the truth and continue to believe the lies instead.  These same tactics are still being used today within religion as a whole.]

“Aerius,” says his biographer, “brought scriptural weapons to the attack of the fast growing Sacerdotalism of the age; dared to call in question the prerogatives of the Episcopate; and struggled to deliver the Church from the yoke of ceremonies which were threatening to become as deadening and more burdensome than the rites of Judaism.” The warning voice was uttered, but it fell on closed ears. “The protest,” he continues, “was premature; centuries had to elapse before it could be effectually renewed.” But alas ! the rulers of the Church not only rejected the warning; they persecuted the messengers. [This sounds so familiar, doesn’t it? Persecute and silence the messengers of truth. Persecute and silence those that expose abuse or speak out about their own abuse at the hands of the church and its leaders. Persecute, silence and discredit those that expose the corruptions in translation of scripture. Church leaders and church people can be vicious about their attacks on those that speak out or expose what’s hidden or corrupted. Look at what they did to Aerius.]

Aerius and his associates were denied admission to the churches, and even access to the towns and villages, and were compelled to sojourn in the fields or in caves and ravines, and hold their religious assemblies in the open air, exposed to the cruel severity of the Armenian winter. Aerius lived about A.D. 355.

[Make life unbearable for these “heretics.” Follow them where ever they go and persecute them. Stop them from being able to get the bare necessities of life. Slap lawsuits on them to cripple them financially. Take to blogs and websites to slander and discredit them. Show the world the “genuine, unconditional love of God you have” for your fellow man that you exude by doing such things (Being facetious here). THIS is the FRUIT of the religious system at its finest. Is there any wonder that people are fleeing the faith?

By these tactics, you will know who truly AREN’T God’s people. For they fill many of the churches of today and, instead of extending love toward others, they extend hatred and slander toward victims of abuse who speak out, hatred and slander toward those that expose corruption in the church, hatred and slander toward those that expose corruption in translation of scripture;  and, they offer up murder against those that live or believe differently. “They should be stoned!” they say. It never occurs to them that the intent of their heart is MURDER. They are guilty of murder in their heart, and believe it is justified – all in the “name of God.”   Instead, they should be showering their fellow man with love, letting “unconditional” LOVE do its work in the hearts of men, leading them to the “unconditional love of God” that can penetrate even the hardest heart and lead many to repentance and faith.

For those that do these things to their fellow man “in the name of God,” they are not only exuding hatred, abuse and slander, but they are breaking the Third Commandment. Since when is hatred, slander, abuse and murder justifiable? Sadly, there are some Christians that think it is if it’s done in God’s name.]

Fasting

During the early centuries, fasting as a requirement entered into the church system. Many Christians genuinely believe that fasting was instated by Jesus, not realizing, that he did not do this. His forty day fast in the desert was not meant to be copied; and, the only time the Lord mentions fasting is in Mat 17:21 where he says, “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting (see also Mar 9:29).” What man has done is instituted a rule or ritual that has made it not only mandatory to fast but, also instituted penalties and/or punishments for those that did not do it according their rules! This, according to the Apostle Paul is a departure from the truth faith as evidenced below. Let’s look at what history tells us regarding fasting.

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Early Church History to the Death of Constantinefast

Edward Backhouse, 1903

 

I Tim. 4: 1-3. – The Spirit saith expressly, that in later times some shall fall away from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, through the hypocrisy of men that speak lies, branded in their own consciences with a hot iron, forbidding to marry”

Dionysius of Alexandria writes: “Some remain entirely without food the whole six days [of the Passover week]; others fast two, three or four days; others not so much as one whole day.”

FASTING. The Holy Spirit who revealed to Paul that some should depart so far from the faith as to deny to men the gracious ordinance of marriage, showed him also that they would withhold the meats “which God created to be received with thanksgiving.” Fasting, as we have seen, passed in very early times from a voluntary observance as a help of devotion, into a ceremonial usage obligatory at fixed days and seasons. Wednesday and Friday in every week were set apart as Fast days, the former as that of our Lord s betrayal, the latter as that of his crucifixion; to which various other seasons of humiliation were afterwards added. The fasting consisted in abstinence from food until three o’clock in the afternoon.  After that hour, in early times, no restriction was made as to the food which might be eaten whilst the season of humiliation lasted. Even so late as the early part of the fifth century, the historian Socrates speaks of a great diversity of usage in this respect. In some countries Christians abstained altogether from animal food; in others they allowed themselves fish; in others fowl as well as fish. Some abstained from eggs and fruit: others ate dry bread only: others not even that; whilst some partook of all kinds of food without distinction. The Apostolical Constitutions direct that during the Passover week the diet shall consist of only bread, herbs, salt and water. Meat and wine are expressly forbidden; and the Apostolical Canons rule that, “If any bishop, presbyter, deacon, reader or singer, does not fast the fast of forty days, or the fourth day of the week and the day of preparation, he is to be deprived [Forced to fast!], except he be hindered by weakness of body. If he be one of the laity he is to be suspended [Punished].”

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When we look at early church history and consider all the many “rules” that man has brought into the religious system of worship, it is no wonder that the corruptions are many and, have filtered down into today’s system of worship. Consistently on this blog, we will continue to point out the error and the corruptions in the hope of helping people to really consider what they have been taught by the “church.” Man-made rules, opinions and doctrines, have infiltrated not only the scriptures through translation, thereby changing what we have come to perceive as truth, but, they have infiltrated the very lives of the populous to such an extent that they are being led astray by religion! The fruit of these corruptions are obvious. Just take some time to read the many other articles on this blog to learn more about them and the class of people affected the most by them — women.

Forbidding to Marry

forbid to marryBefore the death of Constantine, there were many corruptions that entered into the church system. One such corruption was the rule forbidding clergy to marry. This corruption is still alive today and, just as it led to perversions for the clergy back then, so it does today. The “priesthood” is fraught with all manner of sexual perversion and has become a safe haven for pedophiles and rapists. Although many may equate this corruption to one major religion, it is not the only one that forbids people to marry; and, it is not the only sect whose leadership is harboring abusers, rapists and pedophiles!

The religious sect that I came out of does the same thing; but in a different way and, a more underhanded way.  The control that pastors have among their congregations is nothing short of amazing. While clergy is allowed to marry, the pastors control who young people marry within their congregations. If the pastor says not to marry someone, then the parents usually make sure their young people don’t! It doesn’t matter how old these young people are or how they feel about it. They usually, along with the parents, follow leadership’s advice as though leadership was all-knowing, like God, and knew what was best for these young people; or what God’s WILL was for them.  This is still “forbidding to marry;” it’s just done more deceptively.

Countless relationships have been organized by clergy that have ended in divorce because young people were coerced into loveless marriages. Also, countless numbers of these “arranged marriages” evolved into abusive relationships that the woman felt trapped into. And if a divorce did occur, it was usually the woman that would be slandered and/or blamed. I cannot express how many stories of abuse I have heard from such organized marriages. Let me also say that on occasion, I have even heard of the woman being the abuser in these types of relationships. Though this is uncommon, it still happens, and the clergy stand behind the abusive spouse in many instances.  I am sure the sect I came out of is not the only one where clergy coerce young girls into “arranged marriages.” Not only are these marriages arranged, but clergy then condemns divorce even if a spouse is being sexually, physically and emotionally abused! As a result, many victims of domestic abuse find themselves in a place of bondage and fear to the abuse with no hope of escape! Arranging a marriage is the same thing as forbidding to marry! It is just a more deceptively packaged way of doing it; even if it does not apply to clergy. But of course, those that practice this, will want to split this hair and say it is not the same thing. Forbidding someone to marry because you don’t approve, is wrong. It doesn’t matter who it applies to – clergy or congregant. Forbidding to marry can lead into either the direction of celibacy or, an arranged marriage.

Let’s look at how “forbidding to marry” made its way into the church system, and the fruit of this corruption, by looking at another bit of church history. All emphasis is mine throughout.

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Early Church History to the Death of Constantine

Edward Backhouse, 1906

Methodius, bishop and martyr at the beginning of the fourth century, has left a long treatise or dialogue, called The Banquet of the Ten Virgins, composed on the model of Plato’s Banquet, in which the speakers strive to outdo each other in praises of the virginal state.

But if this condition of life was held up as so desirable for Christians generally, much more was it thought to adorn, if not to be absolutely essential to the clerical vocation. When the unmarried state came to be regarded as the only condition of perfect sanctity it naturally followed that the communicants objected to receive the bread and wine from any other hands. It is true that hitherto married men had not been actually disqualified for the priestly office; but for a long time marriage after ordination had been a thing unheard of, at least amongst the higher clergy. The Apostolical Canons and Constitutions rule that only the lower orders, sub-deacons, readers, singers, door keepers, may marry after their appointment. The Council of Elvira bears hard upon the married clergy; and the Council of Nicaea was only saved from adopting its canon on this head as a law for the whole Church, by the protest of Paphnutius, the maimed and one-eyed confessor from the Upper Thebais, himself a celibate. Rising in the midst of the assembly he reminded his fellow-bishops that “marriage is honourable in all,” and earnestly entreated them not to impose so grievous a yoke on the ministers of religion, or to injure the Church by intolerable restrictions.

But the headlong course was checked for a time only, not really arrested. Glancing forward beyond the strict limits of this volume we set: how the new doctrine grew and reached its full development. Siricius, bishop of Rome in A.D. 385, forbade absolutely the marriage of presbyters and deacons; and Innocent L, A.D. 405, enforced the prohibition by the penalty of degradation. But the ninth Council of Toledo, A.D. 659, the issue of such marriages were declared to be illegitimate, and condemned to become slaves, the property of the Church against which their fathers had offended. [Wow, a slave of the church for being a married priest! It doesn’t get any more perverted than that!] Seventy-two years later another council of the same intolerant Spanish Church found itself compelled to make new laws to meet the fearful consequences resulting from its former decrees. It passed canons, on the one hand against the spread of UNNATURAL crime among the clergy [Could this be pedophilia and sodomy?], pronouncing the sentence of deposition and exile on all who should be guilty of it, and on the other, against the attempts at suicide which were becoming frequent among those who had been subjected to the discipline of the Church. [How bad is the discipline that it would lead to suicide? Think about it!]

Note: The philosopher Synesius, made bishop of Ptolemais in Cyrene, A.D. 410, being required on his ordination to abandon his wife, indignantly replied : “God and the law and the holy hand of Theophilus (the bishop of Alexandria) gave me my wife. Wherefore I declare and testify to all men that I will in no wise be separated from her, nor live with her secretly like an adulterer; for the one is impious, the other unlawful. But this assuredly I will pray that we may have many and virtuous children.”

The rule was hard to observe. Infractions were winked at, and by the ninth century had become very numerous, especially in Germany and Lombardy. Successive popes attempted to enforce the law, but it was not until 1074, when Gregory VII. put his iron hand to the work, that the offenders were induced to yield. Even then many ecclesiastics resigned their benefices rather than abandon their wives. “Throughout the whole period from Pope Siricius to the Reformation, the law was defied, infringed, eluded. It never obtained anything approaching to general observance, though its violation was at times more open, at times more clandestine.”

Ever since, the blessing of matrimony has been wholly interdicted to the clergy of the Latin Church. In the Eastern or Greek Church the practice was less rigorous; and at the present day marriage is actually enjoined on the inferior clergy, whilst it is forbidden to the superior. The bishops are chosen from monks or widowers: second marriages are unlawful.

Of all the infractions of the Gospel rule of life into which the Church was betrayed, there is none more to be deplored than this enforced celibacy of its ministers. As if it were not enough to turn back to the Law, and set up again a copy of the priestly order which Christ had for ever abolished, marriage, which had been always permitted to the sons of Aaron under the Old Dispensation, must be forbidden to the new priesthood. [Amazing how religion wants to have its own rules instead of God’s.]  It is almost incredible that, when the echoes of the apostolic voices had scarcely died away, and the apostolic writings were in every hand, Church teachers and Church councils should have the hardihood to fulfill in their own practice and enactments, that most emphatic prediction of the Holy Spirit, that faithless men and hypocrites should arise and forbid to marry. Such an issue must be regarded as a master-stroke of the enemy, who, building on the perversion of man’s aspirations after holiness, thus established his stronghold in the very midst of the Church of Christ–The moral safeguard which had been divinely provided for all mankind, was in the case of one order of men removed; and the men who were set apart to guide the flock were cut off from those domestic duties, interests, and sympathies, which would best enable them to fulfill their charge. The consequences of this grand error have been many and terrible; not the least being that the priestly life, instead of rising to that higher level of purity and godliness which was so fondly hoped for, has too often fallen below the common life of the people. The roots of the evil had taken no light hold in the Church before the death of Constantine.

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As we can see from history, there were perversions taking place as a result of forced celibacy. This practice goes against the very scriptures these church leaders claim to follow. But, as I have stated so often, it is not about following God; it is about controlling the people. Control brings with it power. Control brings money. The more control religion has, the more corruption you will find hidden underneath its mantle of righteousness.

What About Christian Holidays?

Countless numbers of Christians the world over celebrate certain fasts and festivals throughout the year – Christmas, Easter, Lent, etc.  What many do not realize is that many of these fasts and festivals have their origins in paganism.  As stated many times on this blog, there are many things that Christians believe that are rooted in paganism, but Christians have no idea they are. Why would Christians be so ignorant of the truth of what they do? Could it be because they enjoy the festivals as did the early Christians from so long ago? Could it be because they don’t care to know and see nothing wrong with celebrating them even if they did know? Could it be because they haven’t taken the time to research the history on it? Could it be because they believe blindly, the traditions handed down from generation to generation regarding them? I believe that it could be a combination of several of these reasons, or all of them.

As believers, it behooves us to do our due diligence in seeking out truth. Man has proven himself to be a liar in all instances of religious practice handed down through tradition. Because of this, it is important that people not believe blindly what they are told. Seek truth and pursue it! Find out if what you are being told is truth or not. NEVER take a man’s word as gospel truth just because of his “position” in the church. As said many times before, every denomination produces “clones” of its system of beliefs and doctrines. God did not create us to be “clones.” He created us to be individuals – autonomous, thinkers, reasoning with one another, seekers of truth.

The history of the many fasts and festivals that are practiced within Christendom do have origins. Take some time to search the net for information on these. As usual, I will quote Early Church History to the Death of Constantine on these.  Let’s look at them.

Early Church History to the Death of Constantinechristmas

Edward Backhouse, 1906

Fasts and Festivals

FASTS AND FESTIVALS multiplied during the third and fourth centuries. In imitation of our Lord’s forty days temptation in the wilderness, a fast of as many as forty hours was observed, out of which afterwards arose the forty days of Lent. (Or because our Lord was supposed to have been forty hours in the tomb.) The Feast of Pentecost, instituted to commemorate the descent of the Holy Ghost upon the disciples, followed fifty days after that of the Resurrection, the whole interval being observed as a season of festival, during which there was no fasting, and prayer was made standing. Pentecost, which was also named Whitsuntide from the white robes of the candidates, was one of the three special baptismal seasons, the two others being Easter and Epiphany. Epiphany (the word signifies manifestation), appears to have been instituted by Jewish Christians in honour of our Lord’s baptism, and to have travelled from the East to the West some time in the fourth century. Ascension Day is likewise not mentioned before the middle of the fourth century. About the same time Christmas, the festival of our Lord’s birth, first began to be observed at Rome, from whence it spread to the East. “It is not yet ten years,” says Chrysostom, bishop of Constantinople, writing about A.D. 386, “since this day was first made known to us. It had been before observed in the West, whence the knowledge of it is derived.”

Much has been written regarding the way in which the Christmas festival came first to be observed in the Roman Church, and how the time for its observance came to be transferred to the 25th of December; for although nothing certain is known as to the season of the year when our Lord was born, it may confidently be asserted that it cannot have been very near to the winter solstice. Neander suggests the following solution to these questions, but without committing himself to it in all respects.

“Precisely at this season of the year a series of heathen festivals occurred, the celebration of which was closely interwoven with the whole civil and social life. The Christians were on this account exposed to be led astray into many of the customs and solemnities peculiar to these festivals. Besides, these festivals had an import which easily admitted of being spiritualised, and with some slight change receiving a Christian meaning. First came the Saturnalia, which represented the happy times of the golden age, and abolished for awhile the distinction between slaves and freemen. This admitted of being easily transferred to Christianity, which, through the restoration of the fellowship between God and man, had brought in the true golden age, the true equality of all men, and the true liberty. Then came the custom peculiar to this season of making presents (the Stren*), which afterwards passed over to the Christmas festival. There was also the Festival of Infants, with which the Saturnalia concluded, just as Christmas was the true festival of the children. Lastly came the festival of the shortest day, the birthday of the sun about to return once more towards the earth, in which case a transition to the Christian point of view naturally presented itself when Christ the Sun of the spiritual world was compared with that of the material. To all these series of Pagan festivals was now therefore to be opposed that Christian festival which could be so easily connected with the feelings which lay at their root; and hence the celebration of Christmas was transferred to the 25th of December in order to draw away the Christian people from all participation in the pagan solemnities, and gradually wean the Pagans themselves from their heathen customs.”

To see how the minds even of wise men were in matters of this kind swayed by the opposing influences of truth and custom, it is only necessary to read Origen’s answer to the philosopher Celsus, when he objects that Christians did not observe the heathen festivals. He quotes Thucydides, “To keep a feast is nothing else than to do one’s duty;” and adds, “He truly celebrates a feast who does his duty and prays always, offering up continually bloodless sacrifices in prayer to God. It was a most noble saying of Paul, Ye observe days and months and seasons and years; I am afraid of you, lest by any means I have bestowed labour upon you in vain. If it be objected,” he continues “that we Christians are accustomed to observe certain days, as the Lord’s day, the Preparation, Passover, Pentecost, I answer, the perfect Christian who is ever in thought, word and deed serving God the Word, he is always keeping the Lord’s day. He who is unceasingly preparing himself for the true life, abstaining from the pleasures which lead so many astray, such a one is always keeping Preparation day. He who considers that Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us, and that it is his duty to eat of the flesh of the Word, never ceases to keep the Paschal feast. Lastly, he who can truly say, We are risen with Christ to sit with Him in heavenly places, is always living in the season of Pentecost.”

No sooner however has Origen said this than he turns round, disregards Paul’s “most noble” saying, and propounds a maxim not to be found in the New Testament, but which he endeavours to support from the Old. “Nevertheless, the majority of those who are accounted believers are not of this advanced class; but from being either unable or unwilling to keep every day in this manner, they require some sensible memorials to prevent spiritual things from passing altogether away from their minds. It would take too long at present to show why we are required by the law of God to keep its festivals by eating the bread of affliction, or leaven with bitter herbs, or why the law says humble your souls, or the like.”  In this way were Origen and the teachers of his time accustomed to mix together the precepts of the Law and the Gospel.

More enlightened was Socrates Scholasticus, the ecclesiastical historian, who, although he wrote so late as the fifth century, has some remarks on this subject which manifest a rare freedom of thought. Speaking of the Easter controversy, he says: “Men have altogether lost sight of the fact that when our religion superseded the Jewish economy, the obligation to observe the Mosaic law and the ceremonial types ceased. The Apostle, in his Epistle to the Galatians, demonstrates that the Jews were in bondage, as servants, but that Christians are called into the liberty of sons, and he exhorts them to disregard days, and months, and years. In his Epistle to the Colossians he distinctly declares that such observances are merely shadows: Let no man therefore judge you in meat or in drink, or in respect of a feast-day, or a new moon, or a Sabbath day, which are a shadow of the things to come. . . . Men love festivals because they afford them a cessation of labour; therefore it is that each individual in every place, according to his own pleasure, has by a prevalent custom celebrated the memory of the Saving Passion. The Saviour and his apostles have enjoined us by no law to keep this feast. The apostles had no thought of appointing festival days, but of promoting a life of blamelessness and piety. It seems to me that even as many other things have become customary in different places, so the feast of Easter from a certain custom has had its particular observance, since, as I said, none of the apostles have enacted anything concerning it.”

 – Early Church History to the Death of Constantine, pgs 251-253.