Is it adultery?
Pastor Steve Van Nattan
Bible says nothing about some things, and we are tempted to be disturbed that
God did not deliver us more laws to make it easier for us to discover the holy
way. We better not go beyond God in such things. At other times, things
are said ABOUT a subject, but God does not give a direct curse or blessing on
the subject. This is how it is with the topic, polygamy. You may not
like my conclusions, but don't bother to write unless you have CLEAR proof texts
to the contrary.
A STUDY OF POLYGAMY IN THE KING JAMES BIBLE
We know Polygamy was part of Old Testament life. Solomon was
the classic with about 700 wives and a number of concubines. We can fault
him for his wives who were pagans, and God did so by implication in the Word,
but we cannot blame polygamy per se for his fall-- his fall came from fellowshipping
There is a comment by God implying that polygamy could
be a problem, but it seems to be because of the political chaos it could cause.
It was common for kings of the Middle East and Egypt to marry the daughters
of neighboring kings in order to secure peace with those countries. God
did not want His rulers depending on such stealth instead of His power to deliver
them. The word in the text, "multiply," does not have the sense of forbidding
a second wife. Rather; it speaks against the very thing Solomon did many
years later with hundreds of wives. No one in their right mind would imagine
that Solomon sexually serviced every woman and concubine in his harem even once
a year. Some men, in lust, dream such thoughts, but I could almost wish
they had to try it-- They would be at the cardiologist every other week.
Deut. 17:17 Neither shall he multiply
wives to himself, that his heart turn not away: neither shall he greatly multiply
to himself silver and gold.
David, "a man after God's own heart,"
had multiple wives, and God never rebuked him for it. His last wife was
recruited only in a desperate move to warm his body up and try to save his life.
God never complained. Jacob and Isaac had multiple wives, and God,
in His sovereignty, ordained the heads of the tribes of Israel from those polygamous
Without going to a lot of proof texts, I feel comfortable
in saying that God did NOT consider polygamy as a sin in any particular context.
The question is, was polygamy the divine ideal for men and women?
During the 1700s and 1800s, as thousands of missionaries
went around the world from the Western world, polygamy was a perpetual curse in
nearly every culture. The missionaries, with only about 5 exceptions world
wide, insisted that polygamous families be broken up and the man go back to his
first wife. Any other solution was considered to be adultery. Were
these missionaries correct in doing this?
Answer: Yes and NO.
There is NO Bible text which says that a polygamous family cannot continue
to exist after the head of the family, the husband, gets saved. There just
is NOT one text in the whole Bible to lead to this conclusion. However;
polygamy is NOT God's divine ideal. Here are the Bible texts which show
the divine ideal.
Bible Texts Which Commend Monogamy
Genesis 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in
the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
Genesis 5:2 Male and female created he them; and
blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.
Genesis 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father
and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
Mark 10:7 For this cause shall a man leave his father
and mother, and cleave to his wife;
Ephesians 5:31 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall
be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
is very hard for one man and a ladies aid society to become "one flesh," and the
point is not sincerity or good intentions-- it is simply not possible!
Eccl. 9:9 Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest
all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun,
all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour
which thou takest under the sun.
5:18 Let thy fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.
19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee
at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love.
is loaded with tales of men who tried to be ravished by many women's breasts in
a polygamous family. It turns to chaos and angry women, and the old man
finds his libido more than challenged.
Mohammed had this problem
so bad that he had to set up a rotation so that none of his wives would feel cheated.
He even groaned over this in the Koran and the Hadith. Allah finally
gave him a special revelation as to how to handle his wives. It was not
Mohammed's libido which was the problem-- he couldn't keep all eleven wives serviced
at the rate that THEY craved his attention.
One tin plated prophet
of Salt Lake also had severe problems keeping his wives from annihilating each
other. The evidence is NOT on the side of polygamy.
God never had a polygamous priest or
prophet, at least I could not find one. To be sure, one prophet married
a whore-- Hosea. Some prophets did bizarre things like running naked and
rolling about in the dirt and playing war games with bits of clay pots. John
the Baptist would not be highly thought of today with his diet and rough attitude
toward religious leaders. But, God never had a spiritual leader who had
Joseph, husband of Mary, had only one wife.
All the New Testament Apostles and leaders were monogamous, unless they
were not married. Indeed, polygamy is NOT found in the culture of Israel
when Jesus Christ came to earth. It seems that even the Pharisees and leaders
of Israel had come to a monogamous agreement with God.
existed in the Old Testament in which God required action which could well result
in polygamy. When a man died, and his wife had no "issue" of a child to
inherit and continue the family name and ownership, the widow could appeal to
a brother of her former husband to take her to wife and continue the family for
the deceased husband. Let's not be coy here. The kinsman redeemer
was to take her as a fully committed wife, and he was to "go in unto her" and
sexually make her pregnant. God did not say he could not enjoy sexual relations
with her either. This was not some Platonic relationship. The thing
was of God, and it was done to His glory, as in the case with Ruth and Boaz. The
brother did NOT have to be a single man either. In this case, God set aside
the divine ideal of monogamy, and He required a multiple marriage be instituted.
It is highly critical to see WHY God did this. It was a rare and exceptional
Deut. 25:5 If brethren dwell together,
and one of them die, and have no child, the wife of the dead shall not marry without
unto a stranger: her husband's brother shall go in unto her, and take her to him
to wife, and perform the duty of an husband's brother unto her.
Finally, polygamy is a violation of the model of Christ and His church. He
rejected His ESPOUSED bride, Israel for adultery. He now has taken one Bride
in His Church which He bought on Calvary. Later, the righteous saints of
Israel will be BROUGHT INTO the Bride relationship with Christ (grafted back in).
There will be only ONE Bride in heaven-- The Redeemed of all ages.
Get used to it. The only other woman involved theologically is the
Whore Church, which Messiah rejects and send to hell.
Polygamy is NOT outright identified in the Bible as sin, BUT....
Polygamy is NOT God's divine ideal.
Did that make it easy for
you? No? So....
Moral: Be very careful about going
beyond what God has said. You are NOT the judge in such matters.
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