This study is a two-part series presenting the biblical teachings regarding women during their monthly cycle that I had completed many years ago and discovered in my files. In Judaism, these laws are referred to as “the Family Purity Laws.” These laws are taught by God and should be taught as part of the rhythm of marital intimacy of every marriage. However, in spite of their importance to biblical marriages, as well as their message to us of the gospel, these laws are not being taught. Therefore, considering all that is going in society today and the confusion that many Christians feel about homosexuality and same-sex marriage, as well as many other things, I felt this was a study well worth sharing. This study will consist of the following two parts:
PART 1: In this first part of the series, I will be discussing the creation of Adam, the first man and first woman; the creation of marriage, and based on these two foundations, why God prohibits incest, homosexuality, and bestiality as “abominations.”
PART 2: In the second part of the series, I will be discussing the laws regarding the menstruant (Heb. niddah), what these laws teach us about the sanctity of all human life, the pattern we see established in Scripture, and how these laws and patterns provide us with a picture of the gospel, I hope you will join me for both parts of this study.
THE TEACHING OF THE MENSTRUANT (Part 1)
“And if a woman has an issue, and her issue in her flesh be blood, she shall be put apart seven days:….” (Lev. 15:19).
Shortly after my wife, Karen, and I got married, I researched the Scriptures to see what it had to say about marriage. Yes, this is probably something I should have researched before I got married, but I didn’t. But while researching the Scriptures, I discovered what are taught in Judaism as “the family purity laws.” These were laws that I was never taught while growing up in church. These laws prohibit intimacy between a man and a woman during her monthly menstrual cycle; in fact, this prohibition is included in Leviticus 18, along with sexual sins like incest, adultery, homosexuality, and bestiality. And all of these sexual acts that are listed are identified as “an abomination” (Leviticus 18: 26, 30). interestingly, pastors and Christians are quick to point out many of the other sexual abominations listed in Leviticus 18, such as incest, adultery, and homosexuality, but they will not discuss this one: sex with a woman during her monthly menstrual cycle.
But when I was researching and studying about this prohibition, there were two questions that came to mind:
- Why is it a sin for a man to be intimate with a woman, or a husband to be intimate with his wife, during this time of the month (beyond the messy part of it)?
- Why is this act classified as “an abomination” along with incest, adultery, homosexuality, and bestiality?
To learn the answers to this two questions and others, I began researching what the whole Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, had to say about this particular topic.
WHY IS THIS STUDY IMPORTANT?
I think there are several reasons why this particular study should be seen as important, particularly for couples who are planning on getting married or those already married:
- IT DEALS WITH MARRIAGE. The basic building block of the Kingdom of God and any society is marriage, and this teaching is fundamental to any biblical relationship and, therefore, this should be taught as a basic fundamental of marriage and family life in any congregation, class, marriage seminar, or conference dealing with intimate relationships.
- IT IS PART OF THE WORD OF GOD. All believers are to teach and practice the whole Word of God, from Genesis to Revelation, and this teaching is part of God’s Word to us. If we are going to claim to be “Whole Bible believers” or “to teach the whole counsel of God,” then this should be included in what we teach and practice.
- IT RESULTS IN BLESSINGS. Although Christians are right to believe that faith leads to relationship with God, but there are many believers who are wrong to believe that they can just go around and claim blessings to come to them. From cover to cover, the teaching of Scripture is that obedience to God’s commandments from the heart results in blessings, and this is just one of many areas of our lives that we will receive His blessings when we obey His commandments concerning them.
- IT PRESENTS US WITH THE REASON GOD PROHIBITS MANY SEXUAL SINS, such as incest, adultery, homosexuality and bestiality. I have known many Christians who argue that the Bible prohibits these things, but they really do not know why. Their arguments usually center around “God made Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve,” or the view that the purpose of sex is for marital pleasure or for reproduction. However, none of these reasons are the first and foremost reason for marriage as this study will reveal.
THE CREATION OF ADAM
To lay down the basic foundation for this study, we have to go back to the creation of Adam in Genesis 1.
And God said, Let Us make man [Heb. Adam] in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth. And God created man [Heb. Adam] in His own image, in the image of God He created Him, male and female He created them. (Genesis 1:26-27, NASB)
WE WERE CREATED IN HIS IMAGE – TO BE HOLY
In this passage, we can see God’s plan is to create Adam (trans. “man”) “in His image and likeness.” What do we know about God and, therefore, can infer about the original Adam?
GOD IS HOLY. The first and foremost thing we need to understand about God is that He is holy. Holiness is the quintessential character and nature of God. It is what makes God “God.” However, the word “holy” is one that is heavily misconstrued within Christianity. I have heard many ministers and Christians define the word “holy” as being “morally perfect;” however, this is not, in fact, what the word actually means. The word “holy” is the English translation of the Hebrew qodesh [H6944], which comes from the Hebrew qadash [H6942], and it means “to be distinct, different, set apart, or other than.”
GOD IS HOLY, because He is completely “distinct” and “different” or “other than” anything that we can possibly think about or imagine. There is simply nothing that we can ever compare Him to, and just as GOD IS HOLY, He created Adam to be a physical representation of His image and holiness in the earth. Therefore, throughout the Bible, whenever God is calling us “to be holy,” He is, in actuality, calling us back to His original design for us.
WE WERE CREATED IN HIS IMAGE – MALE AND FEMALE?
Now what I found to be interesting is that the Hebrew word Adam is, in fact, a plural noun, and also, verse 27 is written in a poetic style, known as “Hebrew parallelism,” where the second line further defines, develops, or elaborates upon the first line. For example, in Psalm 103, it begins with a verse also written using Hebrew parallelism,
Bless the LORD, O my soul,
and all that is within me, bless His Holy name. (Psalm 103:10, NASB)
In this verse, “Bless the LORD” is being equated with “bless His Holy name,” and this leaves “my soul.” So what is “my soul”? It is “all that is within me.” This goes back to the biblical Hebrew idea that the “soul” was not some inanimate part that live forever (this is Greek thought), but that it was the whole person:
Then the LORD God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils, the breath of life; and man became a living soul. (Genesis 2:7, NASB)
The “soul” as we can see refers to the whole person. So understanding now what Hebrew parallelism is, let us look at Genesis 1:27. It first makes the statement: “And God created in His own image,” and then it gives us two lines that were written in Hebrew parallelism. Now if we write out the last two poetical lines of that verse in a parallel chart, it would look like the following:
In the Image of God = male and female
He = He
created = created
Him = them
The two lines I want to focus on here is the first and the last line of what I have charted out. In this verse, we can see that God is defining “the image of God” here as “male and female.” Personally, I think this would be better translated as “masculine and feminine.” I believe God defines His image in this way because God is One Spirit Being who possesses within Himself both masculine and feminine traits and qualities. For example, the “Father” would represent the “masculine” aspect of God, and the Hebrew word “Spirit” (Heb. ruach) is feminine, and the Holy Spirit is referred to as “the Helper” (John 14:16, 26; 15:26; 16:7) with many traditional feminine traits and qualities, such as “comforting” (Acts 9:31), “guiding” (John 16:13), and “teaching” (John 14:!6). But at the same time, the Holy Spirit is pictured in a very masculine way as being God’s “seed”:
No one who is born of God practices sin, because His SEED abides in him, and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. (I John 3:9; emphasis added)
In this verse, the Holy Spirit is being pictured here as God’s “seed.” The word translated as “SEED” is the Greek word sperma, from which we get our English word “sperm.” Consequently, then, John is presenting us with a picture of the Holy Spirit as God’s “SPERM,” a definitely male image. Now in pointing this out, I am NOT saying that God has a physical form, like Mormons teach, or that He possesses physical sexual parts, as we associate with the two sexes. However, what I do find interesting is that in Joseph’s dream, the angel tells Joseph that the child in her “has been conceived in her by the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:20), and in Luke’s Gospel, when the angel Gabriel is speaking to Mary and telling her she is going to give birth to the Messiah, she asks the question, “How can this be, since I am a virgin?” (Luke 1:34) Gabriel responds by telling her,
The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; and for that reason the holy offspring shall be called the Son of God. (Luke 1:35)
The first two lines again are Hebrew parallelism, although written in Greek. The phrases “The Holy Spirit” and “the power of the Most High” are parallel statements, and so are the phrases “will come upon you” and “will overshadow you,” and in these last two phrases, Gabriel is using known Hebrew sexual imagery to communicate what is going to happen and how. Now in saying this, I am not saying that God became a man and physically had sex with Mary, as Mormons teach, but the imagery is reproductive in focus, even though the one who doing the work will be the Holy Spirit. The result of this work will be a PHYSICAL BIRTH, but with everyone else, the result of the work of the Holy Spirit is a SPIRITUAL BIRTH. For example, when we accept Yeshua (Jesus) as our Lord and Savior, and the Holy Spirit comes into us, our spirits are kind of like a woman’s egg in a sense, and the Holy Spirit unites with our spirit, and the union of the two produces a new life, or what Jesus called being “born again” or “being born from above.”
Now some may be thinking at this point, “This is interesting, but it is not really important for me as a believer today,” and you would be wrong. It is critically fundamental for us in order to understand “the image of God,” the creation of Adam, and God’s view regarding marriage and sexual sins. Also, this idea is NOT something I created or made up, but it is well entrenched in the original Hebrew of the Bible and in traditional, Orthodox Jewish thought. So I am not by far the only one who sees this connection between Adam being created both “male and female” and the “image of God.” For example, many years ago (September 1993), I attended a group study on Genesis 1 and 2, being led by John Mackinnon and Stan Fretwell, In this study, which was later published, they noted the following (This gets a bit technical with the Hebrew, but hang in there with me) :
“And God created the man (Adam) in His image (b’tzalmo), in the image (b’tzalem) of God, He created him….” There is a very strong emphasis, twice stated in this one verse [Genesis 1:27], of Adam being created in the image of God, no vice-versa. In the Kabbalah, the ten Sephirahs (Lights) or God are arranged in an order corresponding to parts of the body, called the “Adam Kadmon – The Primordial Man,” Whenever the prophets had visions of God in His Glory in heaven, He was always of human outline. See Ez. 1, Dan. 10, Is. 6, and Rev. 1.
“…male and female He created them (otam).” This shows that the word “adam” is a PLURAL noun, representing a PLURAL human creation. This explains Gen. 1:26, where it says, “…and THEY shall dominate in the fish of the sea, and in the fowl of the heaven…” From the very beginning, Adam is a plural creation, encompassing male and female, both created at the same time in the image of God whose Divine nature possesses both male and female attributes. In the Kabbalah, five of the Sephirahs of God are in the male gender and five are in the female gender including the Shechinah cloud, the divine presence of God, who dwelled behind the veil over the Mercy Seat of the Ark in the Tent of Meeting and later, in the Temple of Solomon. (12-13)
Although I am not one who believes everything that is taught in Kabbalah, which is a form of Jewish mysticism, I do find the correlation here an interesting one. Now in saying all of this, what I am trying to point out is that God Himself, who is ONE SPIRIT, contains within Himself both masculine and feminine traits and as I said, this teaching is deeply rooted in the Hebrew Scriptures, as well as other Jewish writings. Therefore, in the Hebrew text of Genesis 1:27, “the image of God” is seen as being both “male and female,” or “masculine and feminine.” And so as a result, what He is in Spirit, God creates man, or in the Hebrew Adam, to be in flesh. And if you look at the last line of the chart I made from Genesis 1:27, it indicates that the “him” [Adam] was in reality a “them.” Now you may be wondering, “Okay, so even though this may be indicated here in Genesis 1:27 and taught in Kabbalah, but where else in the Bible can I go and see this idea taught?” Okay, for one place check out what the Bible says in Genesis 5.
This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man [Heb. Adam], He made him in the likeness of God. He created THEM male and female, and He blessed THEM and named THEM ADAM in the day when THEY were created. (Genesis 5:1-2; emphasis added)
Notice that “THEY” (not “HE“) were named “ADAM in the DAY when THEY were created.” In Adam, they were both united as ONE. Now just think about this for a moment. The man and the woman were literally ONE FLESH, and in my research I discovered there were different ideas about how the man and the woman were physically ONE FLESH. For example, in Yoram Raanan’s online article, “The Creation of Man and Woman,” published on the Chabad.org website, he writes,
In the first chapter of Genesis we are told, “God created man in his image, in the image of God He created him, male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:27). According to the Midrash, Talmud, and Zohar, the original man, Adam, was first created as a “double-faced” being, made up of a male and female joined at the back. (par. 1)
And in another Chabad article, “Tzimzum: The Kabbalah of Female and Male,” that was written based on the teachings of the Lubavitcher Rebbe Schneerson, the writer states, “Man was initially created ‘male and female’ — as a single being with two faces.”
Personally, I believe that the man and the woman were ONE side-by side, rather than being attached to the back, and that they were not only ONE FLESH, but they were also ONE MIND, ONE HEART, ONE DESIRE, and ONE SOUL. There was completeness and total unity here within the person of ADAM that we – on this side of the fall – cannot even begin to fathom. Now some may think this seems pretty far-fetched, but it isn’t really when you consider the biblical description of the Cherubim found in Ezekiel 1:5-12 and Ezekiel 10:1-14, which are described as beings with four faces, as opposed to Adam’s one face that is comprised of two parts (half-man, half-woman).
But the idea of Adam, the man and the woman, being ONE is also alluded to, further built upon and illustrated as we shall see in the account of the creation of the woman in Genesis 2.
THE CREATION OF THE WOMAN
After commanding Adam not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, He then declares,
And the LORD God said, “It is not good for the man [Heb. Adam] to be alone; I will make him a helper suitable to him.” (Genesis 2:18)
He then brings the different animals to ADAM and gives him the task of naming them. This seems odd to us as Americans. I mean, if you are going to create a helper (or “helpmeet,” KJV) for him, then why not just do so? Why go through this whole process of naming the animals. I think God wanted to teach ADAM something as he was doing this. In fact, he does. As ADAM is doing this, he begins to note that the animals – unlike him – come in pairs, there were two separate animals, one male and one female, as they are today, and he begins to feel discontented within himself. He begins to want a mate who is like himself. ‘
In order for ADAM to truly love and appreciate the mate that God was going to make him, he first needed to realize he was missing something in his life, and then he needed to begin to desire what he was missing, and by observing the different animals, he observed that they had something that he did not have, he realized he was missing something and he began to desire a mate of his own. We should note that his discontentment does not happen AFTER the fall, but BEFORE the fall. We must also note that the desire for a mate was something that God wanted ADAM to develop, rather than a desire for something that was not a part of God’s will for his life. Therefore, we must conclude that discontentment and desire in or themselves are not sinful. It is what we desire and how we handle our discontentment and desire that determines whether they are right or wrong.
It is then at this point that we read about the creation of the woman,
So the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man [Heb. Adam], and he slept; then He took one of his RIBS, and closed up the flesh at that time. And the LORD God fashioned into a woman the RIB which He had taken from the man [Heb. Adam], and brought her to the man [Heb. Adam]. (Genesis 2:21-22; emphasis added)
In this passage, the word translated as “RIBS” or “RIB” is the Hebrew word tsela [H6763], which in other passages with this same word is translated as “side.” For example, in Exodus 26:20, in speaking about the building of the tabernacle, we have the following instructions:
And you shall make forty sockets of silver under the twenty boards, two sockets under one board for its tenons and two sockets under another board for its two tenons; and for the second SIDE of the tabernacle, on the north side, twenty boards, and their forty sockets of silver; two sockets under one board and two sockets under another board. (Exodus 26:19-21; emphasis added)
In this passage, the first word translated as “SIDE” is the Hebrew word tsela [H6763], the same exact word used in Genesis 2:21-22, but translated as “rib.” However, the second word translated as “side” is the Hebrew word Lipat [H6285], a completely different Hebrew word, but they are both translated into English as “side.” Now how this word should be translated is argued in the Jewish community.
For example, we see an example of this in the 1962 short story “Yentl, the Yeshiva Boy.” This story was originally written by Isaac Singer in Yiddish, and it is about a woman who dresses up like a man to escape her family forcing her into a marriage after her father dies, and she dresses up like a man to pursue religious studies at a yeshiva (like a seminary) since women at that time were not allowed to study there. This short story was adapted into a musical production in 1983, called Yentl, and it was directed by and starring Barbra Streisand. In the movie, we see Anschel (her male persona, played by Barbra Streisand) arguing with Avigdor (played by Mandy Patinkin) about how this word should be translated. Anschel argues that it should be translated as “side,” but Avigdor argues that it should be translated as “rib.”
However, if the Hebrew word TSELA [H6763] should be translated as “SIDE,” rather than “RIB,” as I and many others believe, then this means that God removed an entire side from ADAM to create the woman, and not just a “rib.” Now those who oppose the creation account of Genesis have argued that women do not have one more rib than men, but that both have the same number. However, if the proper translation is “SIDE” rather than “RIB,” then both sexes would have the same exact number of ribs as any x-ray today can clearly demonstrate.
But if the proper translation of TSELA is “SIDE,” then this also means that God created the two sides of ADAM as equal parts of one another, and that the woman was not, in fact, a later afterthought in the creation process, but she was right there in ADAM, along with the male aspect, right from the very beginning. Now in the next two verses, we read,
And the man [Heb. Adam] said, “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called WOMAN [Heb. ishah], because she was taken out of MAN [Heb. ish].” For this cause [or reason] a MAN [Heb. ish] shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his WIFE [Heb. ishah]; and they shall become ONE FLESH. (Genesis 2:23-24; emphasis added)
Notice in this verse the various words used. This is not a trivial point, but it is extremely important. Up until this point, the word ADAM was used as a plural noun to indicate that the “HIM” was in reality a “THEM.” But now, with the creation of the woman, we see two new nouns come into existence that had once been part of the original ADAM: ISH [MAN] and ISHAH [WOMAN]. What is interesting about these two new Hebrew words is that they are both singular nouns – not plural. Therefore, the two singular parts – ISH and ISHAH, or MAN and WOMAN, respectively – are now two separate, distinct parts of what was the original ADAM.
And the ISH [MAN], now the singular masculine side of the original ADAM, who still retains the name “Adam” sees the ISHAH [WOMAN], and he immediately acknowledges who she is: “This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh.” He is not speaking figuratively – but literally. She was literally “bone of [his] bones, and flesh of [his] flesh.” Now after acknowledging her as part of himself, he gives her a name which indicates that connection. He calls her “WOMAN” [ISHAH] because “she was taken out of MAN [ISH].”
It is then after this that we come to the verse that is often recited at many marriages:
For this cause a MAN [Heb. ISH] shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his WIFE [Heb. ISHAH]; and they shall become ONE FLESH. (Genesis 2:24; emphasis added)
“For this cause” means that what is to follow happens because of what God had done. God had taken ADAM who was previously the MAN and the WOMAN in ONE PERSON, and He had divided them in half and rounded them out, so that they are now two distinct people, rather than one. And it is for this reason that a MAN will leave his parents who raised him, and he will cleave to his WIFE, and the two together “shall become ONE FLESH.” It should be noted here that the words “WOMAN” and “WIFE” are actually the same word in Hebrew. Hebrew does not have a separate word for “WIFE” as we do in English. This can be drawn out like the following:
But by the two, MAN (Heb. ‘ish, a sing. male’man) and WOMAN (Heb. ishah, a sing. female/woman), coming together to form ONE FLESH, they are, in effect, reconstructing or reforming the original ADAM, who was made “in the image of God.” In other words, we could write this as a mathematical equation for those of you who are mathematically minded: ISH (a man) + ISHAH (a woman) = ADAM, “who was created in the image of God.”
Therefore, the MAN – the masculine side of the original ADAM – is only HALF of “the image of God,” and the WOMAN – the feminine side of the original ADAM – is the other HALF of “the image of God.” Therefore, by the MAN and the WOMAN coming together, they are bringing together the two HALVES and are reconstructing the original ADAM, who was made in God’s image. In other words, a MAN is only HALF of the image of God, and the WOMAN is the other HALF of the image of God, and it is not until the two HALVES come together as ONE that they form, reconstruct, or properly reflect, the image of God.
SOME TEACHINGS FROM THE TALMUD AND ZOHAR
Understanding this teaching, then, I believe you will be able to understand the following teachings from the Talmud,
A man without a wife is not a man, as the Torah says, “Male and female He created them, and He called their names (plural) man (Heb. ‘Adam).” (Yevamos 63)
In other words, “A man” (Heb. ISH) “without a wife” (Heb. ISHAH) “is not a man (Heb. ADAM).” In the Hebrew, this makes a great deal of sense. I really like the following explanation since I see it played out in many marital relationships:
The Hebrew word for man — ‘ish (spelled aleph, yodh, shin) — and woman – ‘ishah (aleph, shin, hey) – are three letter words which share two common letters (aleph, shin) and one letter unique to each (yodh, hey). Together, the yodh (from the word “man”) and the hey (from the word “woman”) spell G-d’s name.
If the yodh and the hey (which combined spell the name of G-d) is removed from the words for “man” and “woman,” then all that remains is the aleph and the shin, which is the Hebrew word for “fire.” This teaches us that in order for men and women to attain their goal of true unity, G-d must be an intricate part of their relationship; is He is not, then men and woman will become consuming fires that will burn each other up. (Sota 17b)
Unfortunately, there have been plenty of marriages where the two have “become consuming fires” that burned “each other up,” as well as caused detriment to their own children. Finally, there are these two teachings from the Zohar:
- A man [Heb. ish] is not a man [Heb. adam] until he is united with a woman [Heb. ishah] (Zohar Vayikra 5b).
- A man without a woman is not complete. (Zohar Hazinu 296)
As I mentioned previously, this idea is hardly foreign to those who know the Hebrew Scriptures and the various writings of Rabbinic Judaism.
WHY WOULD GOD CREATE MAN AND WOMAN LIKE THIS?
Now let me address the million-dollar question: “Why would God create man and woman like this? He did not do this with any of the animals, so why with man and woman?” I came across this answer in the Raanan article,
A single individual, say our sages, is but “half a body.” Man seeks woman, and woman yearns for man. For man was created in the image of God, and the divine image has both a male and female aspect. (“Tzimtzum” par. 2)
In creating the MAN and the WOMAN in this way, God leaves a hole in each for the other. Therefore, a MAN will search for the WOMAN, and the WOMAN will “yearn” for the MAN. I think it can be inferred then that if God had not made them in this way, then MAN‘s searching and the WOMAN‘s yearning would not happen.
THE MAIN PURPOSE OF MARITAL INTIMACY
So based on this, what is the main purpose of marital intimacy? I believe it can be justifiably argued that the main purpose for marital intimacy is to provide a physical representation of God in the earth. By the husband and the wife coming together in times of love and intimacy, they are, in fact, reconstructing and reforming the original Adam and are placing in this world at that special moment – although they are alone in a private place – an image of God. In other words, marital intimacy’s primary purpose has to do with God – NOT us. And it should be noted that it is only when a man and a woman come together in these moments when a new human life can be produced.
The second primary purpose of marriage and marital intimacy has to do with holiness, the essential character of God. This is why God has very specific regulations regarding marriage and intimacy. For example, why does God insist on a couple being married? It is because MARRIAGE is a form of covenant relationship, and God is a covenant-keeping God. As it is stated in the Scriptures,
Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the FAITHFUL God, who KEEPS HIS COVENANT AND HIS LOVINGKINDNESS to a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments. (Deuteronomy 7:9; emphasis added)
Notice the three characteristic traits of God emphasized in this verse:
He is “the FAITHFUL God.” Therefore, when we are FAITHFUL to our spouse, we are imitating God who Himself is FAITHFUL.
He “Keeps His covenant.” MARRIAGE is a form of covenant relationship as I said. This is seen throughout the Hebrew Scriptures (aka, “Old Testament”) in God’s relationship to Israel, His wife, and it is also specifically mentioned in Malachi 2,
Yet you say, “For what reason?” Because the LORD has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by COVENANT. (Malachi 2:14; emphasis added)
And discord between a MAN and HIS WIFE will even result in the prayers of the MAN not being heard by God.
You husbands likewise, live with your wives in an understanding way, as with a weaker vessel, since she is a woman; and grant her honor as a fellow heir of the grace of life, so that YOUR PRAYERS MAY NOT BE HINDERED. (I Peter 3:7; emphasis added)
Now I would like to point out here that Peter is not saying that a woman is “a weaker vessel,” but that “as with a weaker vessel” is a metaphorical phrase that he is using to compare how each man is to live with his wife in an understanding way. Also, we are to “grant her honor as a fellow heir” – an indication of her equality with the man in the Messiah – “of the grace of life.” And why are men to do these two things? So that their “prayers may not be hindered.”
The third and final thing I want to point out from Deuteronomy 7:9 is that God also “keeps His lovingkindness.” The word “lovingkindness” is an English translation of the Hebrew word chesed [H2617), and it possesses a variety of different meanings: favor, kindness, lovingkindness, mercy, goodness, faithfulness, love, acts of kindness, and grace. But when chesed was translated into Greek, about 250 years before the conception and birth of Yeshua (Jesus), there were two Greek words that were chosen to translate this one Hebrew word: agape (love) and charis (grace). This is why we see these two words paired up in the New Testament as often as we do. Therefore, “love” and “grace” are not New Testament revelations, as I have often heard Christian ministers say, but they are the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word chesed, which is seen and used throughout the Hebrew Scriptures (“Old Testament”).
Another important element from Genesis 2:24 I want to highlight is that the MAN and the WOMAN are to “CLEAVE” to one another. Oftentimes, we see this only in terms of the two becoming ONE physically in the sexual act; however, this word means more than this. The word translated “cleave” comes from the Hebrew word dabaq, which literally means “to cling to” or “to adhere to.” This term is used of one’s relationship to God:
Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou CLEAVE (Heb. dabaq), and swear by his name (Deut. 10:20).
For if ye will diligently keep all of these commandments which I command you, to do them, to love the Lord your God, to walk in all his ways, and to CLEAVE (Heb. dabaq) unto him (Deut. 11:22).
Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear him, and keep his commandments, and obey his voice, and ye shall serve him, and CLEAVE (Heb. dabaq) unto him (Deut. 13:4).
Thus, the word “cleave” (used in the KJV) or “cling to” (used in the NASB) are used to describe our intimate relationship with God. By “cleaving to Him” or “clinging to Him” (I personally don’t like this translation; it has a negative connotation today), we make ourselves ONE with Him in every aspect of our lives and our existence; in much the same way, husbands and wives are CLEAVE to one another completely and totally (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, and socially) as much as is humanly possible. And in doing so, they become intimately connected.
Secondly, we learn that the man and the woman are to become ONE FLESH. The word translated “one” here comes from the Hebrew word ‘echad, which can refer to the numerical “one” or to “a composite unity or oneness.” For example, this word is used at the end of the first day of creation in Genesis 1, when it says, “And there was evening and there was morning, ONE day (or literally “day ONE“; emphasis added). But this Hebrew word is also used to describe the unity or oneness of God in Deuteronomy 6:4:
Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is ONE (Heb. ‘echad; emphasis added).
Thus, as God is a Spirit being who is multi-dimensional, completely beyond the three-dimensional space, time, and matter that we humans inhabit, is ONE; likewise, a man and his wife was designed by God to reflect His image of being “ONE,” and it is through their intimacy and unity that God’s design for them being “ONE” is ultimately achieved and reflected in the world. In other words, their “ONENESS” is not just to be seen and reflected in the bedroom, but they should strive to be “ONE” in all areas of their lives as much as humanly possible. This may sound impossible, but it is something to strive for. It won’t happen overnight, but it is part of a life-long process and journey together. Although the MAN and the WOMAN may be diverse, they can still come together as ONE in their life goals, the values and beliefs they will use as a couple, the decisions that they will make in regard to their finances, how they will raise their children, etc. I believe that there is a lot more unity or “ONENESS” that couples could achieve than what many couples are currently practicing and living today.
Consequently, then, for us to properly “be imitators of God” (Ephesians 5:1) and properly reflect the image of God in the sexual aspect of our lives,
- The MAN and the WOMAN are to come and CLEAVE together as ONE FLESH (in all areas of their lives) within the marital union; and
- The MAN and the WOMAN are to remain FAITHFUL in marriage to one another, each GIVING HONOR AND LOVE to the other.
I would argue then argue that the third reason for marital intimacy is for reproductive purposes in obedience to the commandment – “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth” (Genesis 1: 28a), which by the way is a commandment I have not heard many people argue that they could not obey (just an observation), and the fourth reason is for marital pleasure as seen in the Song of Solomon or in book of Proverbs.
Let your fountain be blessed, and rejoice in THE WIFE of your youth. As a LOVING hind and a GRACEFUL doe, Let HER BREASTS satisfy you at all times; be EXHILERATED always with HER LOVE. (Proverbs 5:18-19; emphasis added)
Each man is to gain his enjoyment and exhilaration in the love and intimacy of his wife, not in the arms of another woman. In fact, in this one passage, we find it specifically stated that a husband should be satisfied by his wife’s “breasts…at all times.” Therefore, God is not against sex at all, as long as it is done as He instructs us in His Word, which is within the context of marriage, strictly between a man and his wife.
WHY THE BIBLE TEACHES AGAINST HOMOSEXUALITY & SAME-SEX MARRIAGE
Finally, based on this study, I want to answer the question, “Why is homosexuality, including same-sex marriage, an abomination in the eyes of God?” What often surprises many people is when I tell them that it is not about the two people involved, it is about the image of God. Remember the diagram I showed you earlier?
Two men cannot reconstruct or reform the original ADAM, and two women cannot reconstruct or reform the original ADAM. To reconstruct or reform the original ADAM, there must be ONE MAN and ONE WOMAN. And when ONE MAN and ONE WOMAN come together in intimacy, they reconstruct or reform the original Adam, which was created in the image of God, or to put it another way, when they come together in marital intimacy (and in other ways), they are then able to properly reflect the IMAGE OF GOD in the earth, and it is only then that they can – like God – create new human life.
I have heard people trying to justify homosexuality, or even same-sex marriage, by arguing the question, “If it is between two consenting adults behind closed doors and it doesn’t hurt anyone else, what different does it matter? Who does it hurt?” When we properly understand the Scriptures, the issue is not whether it is between two consenting adults, or even if it happens in a “same-sex marriage” relationship, but that TWO MEN or TWO WOMEN cannot – under ANY circumstance – form or reconstitute the original ADAM, and therefore, they cannot properly reflect the image of God, and thus, they distort and mar His image, and thus, the person they are actually hurting is God Himself. And any type of sexual act that is not between A MAN and HIS WIFE in a MARITAL RELATIONSHIP is a distortion of the image of God, and therefore, it is considered by God to be “an ABOMINATION.”
I would like to point out here that during class discussions about homosexuality and same-sex marriage in the secular community college classes that I have taught over the years, I have used this diagram to explain the creation of Adam, the man and the woman, and why God teaches against homosexuality, even when it happens within a same-sex marriage relationship. After I have explained this, I have NEVER had anyone argue with me about it. If anything, I have had students raise their hand and ask me the question, “Why is it that no one has ever explained this to me before?” It makes sense to them. Consequently, it is an explanation that I think would benefit a great many people. However, I have had people disagree with the biblical view because they didn’t believe in God or in the Bible, but never because they thought the argument was flawed or it did not make any sense to them.
There is a lot more to the Bible and what it teaches than what we can see in our English translations. What we see in the English, as the old saying goes, “This is just the tip of the iceberg.” But to really go in-depth to know and understand what the Bible teaches, we need to go beyond the surface of the text to the original languages that were used in writing the various biblical texts, including what was going on in history or the culture at that time.
Also, there is a lot more information given about the creation of Adam, the first man and the first woman, than what we see in the English as well. Adam was originally created in the image of God; thus, he was created to be “holy,” and to reflect God’s holiness in the earth. Also, Adam was created as a dual being that was both male and female in one body, but then God separated them, creating the man and woman that we know and understand them to be. By doing so, God left a hole in each, so that a man would search for the right woman, and the woman would yearn for the right man.
Once married, a man and woman come together to reconstruct the original Adam and, therefore, they bring a reflection of God within the earth. Also, marriage allows for the man and the woman to help and encourage one another to walk in holiness and in obedience to God and His commandments in their day-to-day lives. Finally, marital intimacy also provides couples with the ability to produce new life, fulfilling God’s commandment for us to “be fruitful and multiply, filling the earth,” and finally, it also allows the couple to give intimate comfort and pleasure in one another.
Homosexuality, even if it is practiced in “a marriage relationship,” is forbidden by God because it distorts and mars the image of God. There is no way to accurately reflect His image with two men or with two women. As a result, all the arguments for homosexuality and same-sex marriage are invalid once we properly understand God and His image, as well as the original creation and make-up of Adam.
I hope that you have been blessed by this study, and that you will share it with others. If you do share it, please credit me and my site for this article. May God bless you as you seek to use this teaching in your life.
In the next part of this study, we will be discussing the laws of the menstruant woman, what they teach us about the sanctity of human life, and how these laws provide us with a picture of the gospel. I pray that you will return for part 2 of this fascinating study.