|Live Services||What Does God Require?|
|Editorial||Peace in Our Time?|
|Q&A||Is polygamy in accordance with the Biblical teaching on marriage?|
|The Work||Preaching the Gospel & Feeding the Flock|
What Does God Require?
On Saturday, February 5, 2005, J. Edwin Pope will give the sermon, titled, “What Does God Require?”
The services can be heard at www.cognetservices.org at 12:30 pm Pacific Time (which is 2:30 pm Central Time). Just click on Connect to Live Stream.
Peace in Our Time?
by Edwin Pope
On the Sabbath of January 29, one day before the elections were to take place in Iraq, there was an article in “The Californian” in which three Iraqi scholars, who are presently students at the University of Arizona in Tucson, were interviewed. These three individuals, two men and a young woman, would travel approximately 1,000 miles round trip from Tucson to the nearest polling place for them, to cast their vote. This polling place was in Irvine, California, at El Toro, the former Marine Corps Air Base, one of five polling places established in the United States for this election.
Iraqis were to choose a 275-member assembly that will draft the country’s new constitution and appoint a president and a vice-president.
When asked their feelings concerning the potential turnout for the election in Iraq, which election was being held to establish a democratic form of government to replace the dictatorship which existed under Saddam Hussein; these three scholars (one a Shiite lawyer, one a Kurdish – Sunni lawyer, and one a Chaldean Catholic who is working toward a masters degree in teaching and teachers education) were in agreement that the people of Iraq are looking for leadership to improve the safety and economic health of their nation.
Additionally, they were unanimous in their belief there would be a “big turnout” for the election in Iraq, in spite of the threats of insurgents and terrorists expected to create violence inside their country. They felt that many of these people causing fear in their country are from neighboring countries “who fear a unified, economically powerful, democratic Iraq.” They were adamant in their belief that the people would no longer put up with the likes of a Saddam Hussein and his “false elections,” and that the people of Iraq are “anxious” for a change. They also felt that the new government will not become a religious government, because the people of Iraq have learned from the bad experiences with such governments in surrounding countries.
Articles in the same newspaper gave many other such examples of Iraqis with similar beliefs. Editorials by Thomas L. Friedman and Jay Bookman seemed to reflect much the same feelings about the Iraqi elections and the new government to be established.
It does appear on the morning following the elections in Iraq that perhaps as many as 60-72% of those qualified to participate in these elections have turned out to support the dream which surely the people of Iraq have had in spite of such odds against them. This has been the vision of many of the Iraqi people for a long time. Of course, we are told in Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) that “Where there is no vision, the people perish.”
It is easy for you and me to understand how a people who have lived under the rule of tyranny for a long period would look longingly to such an opportunity that is before the Iraqi people today. No country desires to be ruled by a conquering nation or a tyrant, no matter where he is from. We all desire to live in peace and freedom.
When the people of this country, the United Sates of America, first came to this new land, they were desirous of a government to be established where all men would have an opportunity to live in peace and harmony with religious and political freedom. They were finally able to establish such a government that has existed now for over 200 years. However, we must realize that the freedom guaranteed by that government has been terribly abused by some, if not many, who have misused it as a license to sin in manifold ways.
The people of Germany, at the end of World War II, desired to live in peace and freedom without the rule of an individual over them in the manner that they had been under with the rule of Hitler. Many in the democratic “Federal Republic of Germany” (BRD) and the communist-ruled so-called “German Democratic Republic” (DDR) had a vision of a unified Germany with the freedoms that would allow each individual to live peaceably, each man able to support himself and his family without having to live in fear of those who ruled over them. And it was years later before they would fully realize that vision, with the fall of the Berlin wall.
Today, however, many Germans are unhappy with the German unification, and anti-American feelings and sentiments are being heard in Germany. Some have long forgotten or are deliberately willing to ignore Germany’s liberation after World War II through the Allies and the American support of the free part of Berlin, when the entire city was isolated by the Russian Communists.
The future will show what the elections in Iraq have accomplished. Commentaries warn that the elections should not be over-evaluated, as they are mainly symbolic in nature. The grim facts of violence and bloodshed will continue to occur in Iraq. The Scripture mentions in Jeremiah 6:14, and in other places, people who speak of peace, when there is no peace! That is certainly occurring on a continuing basis, today. And the main reason there is no peace in this world today is that the world does not look to God for His Divine guidance. The people look to themselves, never considering the fact that the inspiration of this world comes mainly from Satan the devil, who is the real ruler of this present world and its systems.
In Ephesians 2:2 we read of “…the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience.” It is this being who directs “the course of this world” and who inspires men to “conduct” themselves as they do in the lusts of the flesh, “fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind” and “are by nature children of wrath…”
However, Satan’s time is short, and you and I look to the day when his rule will be put down. You and I have this vision, which is the reason we take no part in this world’s political systems. We look forward to the time when the Government of God will be established over this earth – and finally this entire universe – with Jesus Christ taking His rightful place on the Throne of David, and removing Satan from his seat of authority. He will then replace the false systems, which have been inspired by Satan, with God’s Righteous Government. At that time, there will be safety and economic health, as well as true freedom, established around the world, and God’s peace will rule over all of mankind for 1,000 years!
This Week in the News
State of the Union Address 2005
As The Associated Press reported on February 2, 2005, “President Bush challenged a hesitant Congress on Wednesday to take political risks to make Social Security ‘permanently sound,’ saying the nation’s costliest social program was headed for bankruptcy unless changed. Bush’s plan would cut guaranteed retirement benefits for younger Americans but would not affect checks for people now 55 and older… He pledged to confront regimes that promote terror and pursue weapons of mass destruction, and singled out Syria and Iran… Bush also promised to push forward for Mideast peace, including $350 million in aid to the Palestinians… With the United States spending more than $1 billion a week in Iraq, Bush urged Congress to support his request for an additional $80 billion.”
To quote from the transcript of President Bush’s speech, as published by WorldNetDaily on February 2, 2005:
“Tonight, with a healthy, growing economy, with more Americans going back to work, with our Nation an active force for good in the world – the state of our union is confident and strong… So next week I will send you a budget that holds the growth of discretionary spending below inflation, makes tax relief permanent, and stays on track to cut the deficit in half by 2009… Thirteen years from now, in 2018, Social Security will be paying out more than it takes in. And every year afterward will bring a new shortfall, bigger than the year before. For example, in the year 2027, the government will somehow have to come up with an extra 200 billion dollars to keep the system afloat – and by 2033, the annual shortfall would be more than 300 billion dollars. By the year 2042, the entire system would be exhausted and bankrupt. If steps are not taken to avert that outcome, the only solutions would be drastically higher taxes, massive new borrowing, or sudden and severe cuts in Social Security benefits or other government programs… For the good of families, children, and society, I support a constitutional amendment to protect the institution of marriage…. I will work with Congress to ensure that human embryos are not created for experimentation or grown for body parts, and that human life is never bought and sold as a commodity…
“We are working closely with governments in Asia to convince North Korea to abandon its nuclear ambitions… The only force powerful enough to stop the rise of tyranny and terror, and replace hatred with hope, is the force of human freedom… To promote peace in the broader Middle East, we must confront regimes that continue to harbor terrorists and pursue weapons of mass murder. Syria still allows its territory, and parts of Lebanon, to be used by terrorists who seek to destroy every chance of peace in the region. You have passed, and we are applying, the Syrian Accountability Act – and we expect the Syrian government to end all support for terror and open the door to freedom. Today, Iran remains the world’s primary state sponsor of terror – pursuing nuclear weapons while depriving its people of the freedom they seek and deserve. We are working with European allies to make clear to the Iranian regime that it must give up its uranium enrichment program and any plutonium re-processing, and end its support for terror. And to the Iranian people, I say tonight: As you stand for your own liberty, America stands with you. “
The Democrats are strongly opposed to President Bush’s plans to privatize social security. The Democratic National Committee also pointed out, on February 2, 2005, that ” Experts recently announced that Bush’s growing $8 trillion dollar debt translates to roughly $26,000 per person… 4.3 million more Americans are now in poverty… 5.2 million more people are uninsured today than in 2000.”
To quote from the transcripts of the “Democratic Reponse” to the State of the Union Address, by Senator Harry Reid (Democratic Leader in U.S. Senate — Nevada) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (House Democratic Leader — California):
“After World War II, through the Marshall Plan, we rebuilt Europe and they went from poverty to an economic powerhouse. Today, we need to invest in our nation’s future with a Marshall Plan for America – to build the infrastructure our economy needs to go – and grow…. This 21st century economy holds great promise for our people. But unless we give all Americans the skills they need to succeed, countries like India and China will take good-paying jobs that should be ours… And that’s why we so strongly disagree with the president’s plan to privatize Social Security… it’s wrong to replace the guaranteed benefit that Americans have earned with a guaranteed benefit cut of 40 percent or more… The Bush plan would take our already record high $4.3 trillion national debt and put us another $2 trillion in the red. That’s an immoral burden to place on the backs of the next generation….”
“Despite the best efforts of our troops and their Iraqi counterparts, Iraq still faces a violent and persistent insurgency. And the chairman of the National Intelligence Council said in January that Iraq is now ‘a magnet for international terrorists.’ … Yet, the gaps in our security exposed by those attacks remain… airline cargo still goes uninspected, shipping containers go unscreened and our railroads and power plants are not secure… The greatest threats to our homeland security are the tons of biological, chemical, and even nuclear materials that are unaccounted for or unguarded.”
The Run from the U.S. Dollar
As WorldNetDaily reported on February 3, 2005, “Decisions by the world’s two wealthiest men to bet on a further weakening of the U.S. dollar, coupled with China’s lack of confidence in American currency should grab the attention of every working person, says Craig Smith, CEO of Swiss America Trading… Citing widening U.S. trade and budget deficits and a federal debt of $7.62 trillion, [Bill] Gates said in a TV interview at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland last weekend he expects the dollar to extend its three-year decline…
“Smith said the actions of Buffett, worth more than $42.9 billion, and Gates, $46.6 billion, [to sell the dollar and to buy foreign currencies] are significant in light of the lack of confidence recently expressed by leaders of the world’s fastest growing economy, China, which has its currency pegged to the dollar… Since the beginning of 2002, the dollar has dropped 26 percent against a basket of six major currencies, and the trade deficit grew to a record $609 billion. In addition, the Bush administration expects the budget deficit this year to hit an all-time high of $427 billion.”
The EU Constitution — Unknown in Europe?
On January 28, 2005, the EUobserver reported that “one third of EU citizens [are] unaware of [the] European Constitution.” The article continued to explain that “a new poll has shown that a high percentage of EU citizens feel they know little about its content and a third are completely unaware of the document… Thirty-three percent have never heard of the new EU charter which was signed with great ceremony last year and is to be put to a referendum in at least nine member states – starting in Spain next month. In individual member states, the figures are higher – 50% of Britons, 45% of Irish and 39% of Portuguese are unaware of the document.”
In addition, “only 39% of citizens know that the Constitution does not foresee the creation of a direct European tax; meanwhile only 38% of respondents know that the President of the European Council will not be directly elected by citizens…”
The article also pointed out that most people in the UK are opposed to the ratification of the EU constitution (while, at the same time, 50% don’t even know of its existence). The article explained: “The UK, which many feel may reject the Constitution in its planned referendum next year, has among the most extreme results. At 30%, it has the most people against the Constitution; while, at 20%, the least in favour of the document. This contrasts strongly with Italy and Belgium where the figures in favour are 72% and 70% respectively.”
The article stated in its concluding remarks: “The Constitution, which will introduce an EU foreign minister, a permanent chair of the EU and greater powers to the European Parliament, has to be ratified by all 25 member states before it can come into force.”
In light of these statistics, and the lack of knowledge amongst many Europeans as to what the EU Constitution entails, the following prophecy in Revelation 13:3 is remarkable: “And all the world [inside and outside Europe] marveled and followed the beast” [a modern resurrected Holy Roman Empire, forming right now in Europe].
Australia vs. Europe?
The Australian reported on January 31, 2005, that Australia’s “John Howard has lashed out at ‘old Europe’, describing criticism of the US as ‘unfair and irrational’, as global tensions grow over the Iraq war and free trade. During a vigorous panel debate on US global relations at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, several European officials attacked President George W. Bush’s Iraq policy, but Mr Howard stood up to defend his ally. Earlier in the summit, Mr Howard attacked the European Union over the reintroduction of wheat export subsidies, which he said harmed underdeveloped nations and were contrary to free trade. ‘Some of the criticism (of the US) by some of the Europeans is unfair and irrational,’ Mr Howard said in the panel debate, organised by Britain’s BBC TV. ‘I mean the negative mindset of the last five minutes (of this debate) is ridiculous – of course America has made mistakes,’ he said. Later Mr Howard told The Australian he found the European ‘irrational level of anti-Americanism’ perplexing. ‘It is a sign of parochialism and it is disturbingly intense.’ He said the BBC debate ‘was based on an anti-American mindset which was established right at the beginning by the moderators from the BBC’. “Mr Howard said anti-Americanism had already affected world co-operation. ‘But it is very important to remember it is confined to sectors of Europe – not all Europeans. In that debate there was a significantly different tone taken by the Latvian President to that taken by the German and other contributors,’ Mr Howard said. ‘The British have a different view through their Government, but there remains in Britain some of the old jealousies that have always been there. I found the French and German attitude has lingered longer than I thought it might, and longer than is in anyone’s interests.'”
The Bible describes ongoing “jealousies” between the United States of America and Great Britain. It also prophesies increasing feelings of Anti-Americanism in Europe, especially in leading nations, such as Germany.
Elections in Iraq — Legitimate or not?
On February 2, 2005, The Associated Press filed this report about the recent elections in Iraq:
“Iraq’s leading Sunni Muslim clerics said Wednesday the country’s landmark elections lacked legitimacy because large numbers of Sunnis did not participate in the balloting, which the religious leaders had asked them to boycott… Large numbers of majority Shiite Muslims and Kurds participated in Sunday’s election for a new National Assembly and regional parliaments. Although no results or turnout figures have been released, U.S. officials say participation appeared much lower in Sunni areas where the insurgency is strongest. The low turnout has been blamed variously on the clerics’ own boycott call and on fears of insurgent reprisals against those who voted… “In its first statement since the balloting, the Association of Muslim Scholars said the vote lacked legitimacy because of low Sunni participation. The association months ago urged Sunnis to shun the polls because of the presence of U.S. and other foreign troops, and insurgents threatened to kill anyone who voted. Iraqi officials have acknowledged voting problems, including a ballot shortage in Baghdad, Basra and Mosul, which have substantial Sunni populations and which also may have contributed to a low Sunni turnout. With many Sunnis having stayed away, a ticket endorsed by the Shiite clergy is expected to gain the biggest number of seats in the 275-member National Assembly, followed by the Kurds and a list headed by interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, a secular Shiite. Shiites comprise an estimated 60 percent of Iraq’s 26 million people, and Shiite candidates were expected to fare best regardless of Sunni turnout. However, low Sunni participation was believed to have reduced the totals of other tickets.”
Russia and China — a New Power Bloc?
The Associated Press reported on February 2, 2005, that “Russia and China will hold regular security consultations, President Vladimir Putin and a visiting Chinese official announced Wednesday, moving to further strengthen close military cooperation between the two Cold War-era adversaries… Putin hailed an increasingly close cooperation between the former Communist rivals, saying that ‘relations in the political, economic and security sphere and in the field of military cooperation have been developing intensively.'”
The article continued to point out: “The maneuvers, set to begin in August, were seen by many observers as Russia’s response to the cooling of relations with the United States and other Western nations, most recently over the presidential election in Ukraine… After decades of rivalry, Moscow and Beijing have developed what they call a strategic partnership since the 1991 Soviet collapse, pledging their adherence to a ‘multipolar world,’ a term that refers to their opposition to a perceived U.S. domination in global affairs. China has purchased billions of dollars worth of fighters, missiles, submarines and destroyers, becoming the No. 1 customer for struggling Russian defense industries.”
The Bible prophesies that Russia and China will unite, militarily, to form a mighty power bloc. Ultimately, it will find itself in opposition to Europe.
Terrorists in Germany?
On February 1, 2005, The Associated Press reported about the arrests of suspected terrorists in Germany: “In coordinated nationwide raids last month, police arrested 15 people on suspicion of belonging to an extremist network allegedly centered on Ulm and neighboring Neu Ulm… In the Jan. 12 raids, 700 police officers searched 60 mosques, homes and shops across Germany. Suspects included nationals of Germany, Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya and Bulgaria; police said their activities included raising money, producing fake passports, and recruiting people for jihad, or holy war. The Ulm area operation focused on the mosque and an Islamic Information Center… The raids were part of a general crackdown on Islamic extremism in Germany that included the apprehension of three Ansar el Islam suspects alleged to have plotted to assassinate Iraqi interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi when he visited Berlin in December, and the arrest of two others at the end of January on suspicion they belong to al-Qaida.”
Global Warming a Deadly Threat
AFP reported on February 2, 2005, about the widely underestimated deadly threats of global warming. The article pointed out that “Global warming will boost outbreaks of infectious disease, worsen shortages of water and food in vulnerable countries and create an army of climate refugees fleeing uninhabitable regions, a conference here was told.”
According to the article, “Global warming will also add significantly to Earth’s worrisome water problems. Already around 1.4 billion people live in water-stressed areas, a term defined as having less than 1,000 cubic metres (35,000 cubic feet) of water per person per year… Most of them live in southern and southwest Asia, the Middle East and the Mediterranean. By the 2050s, water availability in these water-stressed regions — but also in parts of central, north and south America — may be further crimped because of changed rainfall patterns. Between 700 million and 2.8 billion people in such areas will be affected, depending on population growth and the pace of temperature rise… Between the 1970s — when temperatures first rose significantly — and the year 2000, climate change cost around 150,000 lives from malnutrition, diarrhoea, malaria and floods. That tally will ‘approximately double’ by 2020, mainly because of diarrhoea, which is propagated easily in floods, and hunger, [an expert] said.”
Germany’s Staggering Unemployment Rate
Bloomberg reported on February 2 about Germany’s unprecedented unemployment rate since WW II. The article stated: “German unemployment jumped to the highest since World War II as new rules added welfare recipients to the jobless register…The number of people out of work in January rose by 227,000 to 4.71 million in seasonally adjusted terms [However, as is pointed out below, the accurate figures seem to be much higher.]… Germany’s rising unemployment contrasts with the U.S., where the jobless rate probably remained unchanged at 5.4 percent in January as 200,000 jobs were created outside farming, a Bloomberg survey of 70 economists showed… In December, Germany had the second highest unemployment rate after Spain among the 12 countries that share the euro, at 10 percent on a comparable basis. The rate in France was 9.7 percent. In the U.K., the latest available comparable rate is 4.6 percent for October….
“‘Unemployment has grown steadily over the last three decades and then reunification came on top of that,’ [a German expert said.] ‘There is no silver bullet for the reduction of unemployment and if anybody claims this can be done quickly then that’s simply false.’ While the German economy resumed expansion in 2004 after three years, there’s been no corresponding growth in job numbers… Germany is losing 1,200 full-time jobs a day… Siemens AG, Germany’s largest engineering company, plans to shed about 700 jobs at its fixed-line networks unit in Munich and Berlin, the company said Jan. 28. T-Mobile International AG, Deutsche Telekom AG’s wireless unit, plans to eliminate as many as 1,200 jobs in Germany by the end of 2006 to cut costs.”
According to Bild Online, the reality of Germany’s unemployment figures is even much worse. In an article, dated February 2, 2005, the German tabloid writes: “In Germany, there are 6.5 million without work… And even that is not the whole truth. In addition to the 6.5 million, there is the ‘silent reserve,’… people who are not entitled to benefits and who therefore don’t even register with the government, as they could not find a job… An improvement is not in sight. The [government] has already announced increasing figures for February.”
In a strongly worded commentary to the German government, the tabloid wrote: “Do you even care for these people [who are without work]?… In our country, [employees of the government] are disconnecting electricity in private homes, as the unemployed cannot afford paying electricity bills. Thousands of Germans are living without light or heat. Do you know… how many Germans are freezing today?”
Historians will recall that the unprecedented unemployment rate in Germany after WW I, and the inability of the government to improve the situation, was one of the reasons why Hitler came to power.
The Next Pope
The Associated Press reported on February 2, 2005, that in light of the pope’s recent health crisis, speculations of a successor have been increased. The article pointed out: “After 26 years in the papacy, Pope John Paul II has outlived many of the men once considered possible successors. Should he die, there would be no clear favorite, making the question of papal succession as unpredictable as any in recent history…
“On the theory the cardinals may seek a transitional figure, one name that has emerged in Rome is Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, a German who heads the powerful Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He’s 77 and has proposed retiring several times to John Paul, but the pope has turned him down. Ratzinger is favored by those who want assurances the conservative policies of John Paul – opposition to contraception, women priests and any loosening of mandatory celibacy for priests – won’t be relaxed, according to a prelate who closely follows the succession maneuvers.
“Another camp is touting Cardinal Oscar Andres Rodriguez Maradiaga of Honduras, who at 62 is seen as a dynamic churchman from Latin America. Other prominent names mentioned include Cardinal Francis Arinze, a Vatican-based Nigerian; Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Argentina; Cardinal Godfried Danneels of Belgium; Cardinal Norberto Rivera Carrera of Mexico; Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn of Austria and Cardinal Dionigi Tettamanzi of Italy [and] Brazilian Cardinal Claudio Hummes… But Chicago Cardinal Francis George does disqualify one group – his fellow Americans. ‘An office like the papacy needs to be free. And to some extent, even the appearance of being in some sense captured by, as we say now, the world’s only superpower, would not be helpful to the mission of the church,’ he told reporters in Rome during a 2003 visit.”
Is polygamy in accordance with the Biblical teaching on marriage?
God never promoted polygamy or intended that His followers should engage in that practice. Although the Old Testament records that several of the patriarchs practiced polygamy, it was never in accordance with God’s will and His intent for marriage. When a man took more than one wife, curses and punishment were the consequence.
Abraham sinned when he had sexual relationships with Sarah’s maid Hagar. This was not only a sin because he lacked faith in God that He could give him a son through his wife Sarah, who was barren, but he also sinned, because he was married to Sarah and therefore committed adultery with Sarah’s maid.
Even though Sarah had consented to this act, it did not in any way negate God’s law. And so, we read that Sarah gave Hagar to Abraham, “to be his wife” (Genesis 16:3), but when God speaks to and of Hagar, she is only referred to as Sarah’s maid (Genesis 16:8) or the bondwoman (Genesis 21:13). God never calls Hagar Abraham’s wife, but when God is referring to Sarah, He speaks of her consistently, even after the episode with Hagar, as Abraham’s wife (Genesis 17:15, 19; 18:9-10; 20:2, 7). In Genesis 21, it is recorded that Abraham sent Hagar away, as Hagar’s and Ishmael’s presence created problems for Sarah and Isaac. After the episode with Hagar, the Bible does not mention that Abraham had sexual relationships with any other women but Sarah, until Sarah’s death.
Isaac had only one wife – Rebecca. Although Isaac repeated Abraham’s mistake when he lied about his wife, by calling her his sister, he did not repeat the mistake of his father Abraham to try to produce offspring through Rebecca’s maid, but he waited on God to give him children through Rebecca, trusting in God that He would heal Rebecca who was barren (Genesis 25:21-22).
Jacob took more than one wife (Leah and Rachel), and he repeated the mistake of his grandfather Abraham and produced offspring through the maids of his wives, but he was unconverted at that time. His conversion apparently took place when he wrestled with God, as recorded in Genesis 32:22-32.
Israel’s first king, Saul, took more than one wife, and he thereby sinned, following the practices of the pagans all around him. He violated God’s specific command to Israel’s kings in Deuteronomy 17:17, not to “multiply wives for himself.”
David had more than one wife. We read of his wives Michal, Abigail, Bathsheba, and of other wives and concubines (2 Samuel 5:13). At least ten of his concubines (2 Samuel 15:16) are also called his wives in 2 Samuel 12:11. It seems to follow from 2 Samuel 19:5, that David had even more concubines and wives, than just the ten whom he left in Jerusalem, to guard his court, when he fled from his rebellious son Absalom. David followed the practice of Saul and other kings, to multiply wives, against God’s explicit commandment prohibiting such practice.
We read in 2 Samuel 20:3 that David no longer had any sexual relationships with his concubines, after they had been disgraced by his son Absalom. We also read that Michal was once his wife (1 Samuel 25:44), but ceased to be so, when she had become the wife of another, namely Paltiel. When that happened, the Bible calls Paltiel her husband (2 Samuel 3:15), and David was not supposed to take her back, when he had become king, under the law in effect at that time (compare Deuteronomy 24:1-4. Update #73 discusses the question whether or not this law is still in force and effect today). David probably did so for political reasons, so he could say that he was the husband of King Saul’s daughter. The Bible does not refer to Michal as David’s wife, after he had taken her back, but consistently refers to her as “Michal, Saul’s daughter” (2 Samuel 6:16, 20, 23).
David’s son Solomon took seven hundred wives and three hundred concubines, transgressing thereby God’s commandments, and they turned away his heart. What Solomon did was “evil in the sight of the LORD” (1 Kings 11:6).
These Old Testament examples only prove to show that polygamy always has been wrong and against God’s law. This fact is clearly confirmed in the New Testament.
Christ explained, in Mark 10: 6-9, that God’s intent for marriage was a relationship between one man and one woman. The “TWO” (verse 8) were to become one flesh. We don’t read that the “three” or the “four” are to become one flesh.
Human marriage is a symbol of the spiritual marriage between Christ and His Church, as Ephesians 5:25-33 brings out. There, too, we read about the fact that “each one of you… so love his own wife as himself” (verse 33). We don’t read about a husband loving his own WIVES as himself.
Christ will only marry ONE wife – not many wives. It says in Revelation 19:7: “His wife has made herself ready.” It does not say: “His wives have made themselves ready.” Christ’s Church is a spiritual organism, consisting of all in whom God’s Spirit dwells. But it is ONE body (Colossians 1:18) – not several bodies.
We read in 1 Timothy 3:2, 12 that a minister or a deacon must only have one wife. But this does not mean that unordained Church members are permitted to have more than one wife. As we saw, God intends marriage to be a bond between one man and one woman. When addressing the requirements for ministers and deacons, Paul emphasizes God’s teaching, not to have more than one wife, as he emphasizes other character traits required of ministers and deacons (such as, to be “temperate,” “of good behavior,” “not violent,” “not greedy for money,” etc.). This does not mean that these are just requirements for ministers and deacons, and that other Church members don’t sin when they behave badly, or when they are violent or greedy for money.
The teaching of the Old and New Testament is clear and consistent: It is not the Will of God that a man should have more than one wife.
Preaching the Gospel & Feeding the Flock
A new StandingWatch program will be recorded on Friday, and should be on the Web shortly. It will be titled, “The Last Days of Pompeii.”
How This Work is Financed
This Update is an official publication by the ministry of the Church of the Eternal God in the United States of America; the Church of God, a Christian Fellowship in Canada; and the Global Church of God in the United Kingdom.
Editorial Team: Norbert Link, Dave Harris, Rene Messier, Brian Gale, Margaret Adair, Johanna Link, Eric Rank, Michael Link, Anna Link, Kalon Mitchell, Manuela Mitchell, Dawn Thompson
Technical Team: Eric Rank, Shana Rank
Our activities and literature, including booklets, weekly updates, sermons on CD, and video and audio broadcasts, are provided free of charge. They are made possible by the tithes, offerings and contributions of Church members and others who have elected to support this Work.
While we do not solicit the general public for funds, contributions are gratefully welcomed and are tax-deductible in the U.S. and Canada.
Donations should be sent to the following addresses:
United States: Church of the Eternal God, P.O. Box 270519, San Diego, CA 92198
Canada: Church of God, ACF, Box 1480, Summerland, B.C. V0H 1Z0
United Kingdom: Global Church of God, PO Box 44, MABLETHORPE, LN12 9AN, United Kingdom