The arguments still come forth from some "theologians" as to
why they think the Bible sanctions the Christian to be able to be
a part of a nation's (or maybe a church group) war killing
They quote, as proof for this teaching, such words as David:
"Blessed be the Lord my strength, which teaches my hands to
war, and my fingers to fight" (Ps. 144:1).
Now, does anyone suppose or believe that God came down to
earth and actually gave instruction lessons to David on how to
physically fight, and how to wage battles of war? Maybe someone
out there does believe such a thing.
The reality of that verse is understood in the context of
the whole Old Testament. Much of that context I covered in the
first part of this subject. God ALLOWED Israel to have a war
machine of physical fighters, IF they lacked the FAITH to TRUST
Him to do all the fighting for them and divinely protect them
from their enemies. I ask the reader to read my first study on
this topic for the details of the truth that Israel NEVER NEEDED
to ever have a war military machine, and never needed to fight
anyone or any nation over anything. God would protect and do all
the fighting needed to destroy their enemies or turn them back
from ever invading the nation of Israel.
But God ALLOWED Israel to LACK faith, to put their trust in
the physical arm of men and not in God. The Eternal allowed
Israel to have a physical KING, like other nations around them,
to build a war machine, to learn how to fight in war battles, to
put their trust in the might of the physical arm. God ALLOWED all
this, and so in that sense David could say the Lord had taught
him to war, and his fingers to fight. BUT FROM THE BEGINNING (as
Jesus often used to say) IT WAS NOT SO, and that I've covered
thoroughly in part one.
We could say and David could say, if he wanted, "I bless the
Lord for teaching me how to have more than one wife." Yes,
POLYGAMY was ALLOWED by God under the Old Covenant. David DID
HAVE for some years, MORE than one wife, quite a few more
than one in fact. Solomon, David's son, have 700 wives and 300
concubines (see my study called "Wives and Concubines"). God
surely taught Solomon how to have more than one wife! Solomon was
not condemned for such a life style. It was his "departing
from the Lord" to follow the dictates of his pagan wives'
religious practices that condemned him. We covered that part one.
Some today want to bring in the argument of God's "moral"
reliability and ethical "the same yesterday, today, and forever"
(Heb. 13:8) character sameness, and try to say what God did under
the Old Covenant must still be the same under the New Covenant.
Once more I say, if this is so, then POLYGAMY must still be
fine and dandy to practice (some, like certain sects of the
Mormons, preach, teach, and indeed do practice Polygamy to this
A lady not long ago emailed me to thank me that she had
found my article on my Website covering "polygamy." She told me
that she went to the Internet on the subject and all she could
find was articles UPHOLDING the practice for todays Christians
under the New Coveannt. She was pleased to find someone like
myself who was expounding it from the New Covenant teaching.
I have covered the true meaning of Hebrews 13: 8 in the
first part of this study.
Let's look at some things in the Old Testament, certainly
ALLOWED by God, but which leave some questions on the moral,
ethical, side of things, and applying them today.....well I think
even most of these war teaching Christian leaders would have
difficulty with them. If they do not, then I really must question
the state of their minds as being rather perverse to put it
VIVID EXAMPLES OF OLD TESTAMENT ALLOWANCES
From the book "Journey from Eden" by Kevin James Aaron,
under his chapter on "Biblical Euphemisms" we read in part:
"Why does the Bible say, 'Adam KNEW his wife'?" asked a
young man in a Sunday School class. "It seems obvious he should
know the woman to whom he was married!"
Most people realize of course, that the expression 'Adam
knew his wife" means he had sexual intercourse with her, for as a
result, 'she conceived' (Gen. 4:1). to say Adam 'knew' his wife
(rather than to say he had 'sex' with her) is an example of
EUPHEMISM: the substitution of an inoffensive expression for one
that may offend......
Often euphemisms are used as substitute words for the sexual
organs.....In the Bible, euphemisms for the sexual organs include
such terms as 'secrets' (Deut. 25:11), 'stones' (Deut. 23:1),
'loins' (Gen. 46:26), 'thigh' (Gen.24:2), 'privy members' (Deut.
23:1), 'fountain' (Lev. 20:18), and 'the place of the breaking
forth of children' (Hosea 13:13)......
Biblical euphemisms for sexual intercourse, many of which
are listed in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible, include the
Adam knew his wife...and she conceived (Gen. 4:1).
Go in unto my maid...obtain children by her (Gen. 16:2).
A man...to come in unto us (Gen. 19:31).
Jacob....went in unto her (Gen. 29:23).
Abimelech had not come near her (Gen. 20:4).
You shall not approach to his wife (Lev. 18:14).
When I came to her, I found her not a maid (Deut. 22:14).
I went unto the prophetess; and she conceived (Isa. 8:3).
You have humbled her (Deut. 21: 14).
He took her, and lay with her (Gen. 34:2).
The manner of all the earth (Gen. 19:31).
.......We are all familiar with a court procedure in which a
person places his hand on a Bible, swearing he will tell the
truth and nothing but the truth. An earlier custom required a man
to place his hand on the sexual organ, euphemistically called the
'thigh,' as when Abraham sent his servant to secure a wife for
Isaac: 'Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh: and I will
make thee swear by the Lord' (Gen. 24:2). Such was an established
custom of the time. Many years later, when he was dying, Jacob
said to Joseph: 'Put, I pray thee, thy hand under my thigh...bury
me not in Egypt' (Gen. 47:29).
'Thigh,' when used as an euphemism, refers to the
'generative parts' (Strong's Concordance, 3409). This is evident
in passages such as Judges 8:30, 'And Gideon had threescore and
ten sons of his body (margin: going out of his thigh): for he had
many wives.' And, Exodus 1:5, '....the souls that came out of the
loins of Jacob (margin: out of the thigh of Jacob).'
To put it plainly as Clarke explains, 'In swearing, the hand
was often placed on the circumcised part' (Clarke's Commentary,
Vol. 1, p. 103), a custom called Yemeen-ed Dehhereh Gedheeb, The
Oath of the Circumcised Penis.....
This custom, in one form or another, has been practiced
among numerous tribes and peoples. Among the Arabs, two men might
meet with this greeting: 'God so willing: inch by inch, may thy
firm stalk increase in power and sensitivity!' Then each touched
the finger of his right hand to chest, lips, forehead, and his
palm upon the generative organs.....
Putting the hand 'under the thigh' was considered especially
solemn because it involved the life force, the means of producing
offspring. The New Bible Dictionary says that the placing the
hand under the 'thigh' was simply an euphemistic way of saying
'place your hand on my testes' (J.D. Douglas, The New Bible
Dictionary, p. 1273).
Because of this custom we derive the word 'testify' from the
Latin root 'testis.' The word 'detest,' from the same root,
means, roughly, 'to hate to the bottom of one's balls' (John
Ciardi, A Brower's Dictionary, p. 384).
Placing the hand upon the testicles of another man while
taking an oath was not considered improper - if done by a man.
But Hebrew law ordered a woman's hand cut off if she grabbed a
man in this area (Deut. 25: 11,12).
This passage has puzzled and embarrassed commentators, for
what purpose could be accomplished by cutting off a woman's hand?
Could an act committed in a few seconds be a fair basis for
losing a hand for the rest of her life? Especially strange is the
severity here, for the woman would have been doing so, according
to the text, to help her husband when another was trying to kill
End of quote from the for-mentioned book.
I recorded all the information leading up to the last
paragraph to give you some background.
Are we to suppose that such laws and allowances by God under
the Old Covenant should be the laws and the customs for
Christians to follow under the New Covenant? Is there not some
moral, ethical, character to such practices and laws as
understood by those under the Old Testament. To be sure, as God
allowed them, and in the one instant of law in cutting off the
woman's hand, for doing a "no, no" as we would say today, must
have carried some moral, ethical, character in it all somewhere.
To our mind today, especially in the Western world, such
practices and laws, would seem way way out of place, and just not
the decent, moral, ethical, thing to practice or have any such
law as cutting off a woman's hand for grabbing the testicles of
another man trying to kill her husband.
I've got to be honest here, I just do not know the answer as
to why God enacted such a law in Israel. It would seem to be way
over the line of harshness towards a woman trying to save her
husband from death by the hands of another man. I'll have to
be patient and wait until I can talk to Jesus on His return, for
the answer to this one.
The point I'm making though is that this example of swearing
"under the thigh" and "cutting off the hand" of a woman grabbing
the testicles of some man trying to kill her husband, is NOT
automatically approved of by God for Christians to practice under
the New Covenant age.
Neither then is the ALLOWED practice of learning to kill in
a nations war machine. Many things in the Old Testament were
ALLOWED by God for the hardness of the heart as Jesus said in
Matthew 19 to the Pharisees concerning the ease of divorce and
re-marriage under the allowances of the Old Testament.
Many have ran as fast as lightning with making the New
Covenant just about "no laws" at all, doing away with everything
but some kind of undefinable "love" attitude towards God and your
fellow man. That is the one EXTREME! But, on the other hand,
the other EXTREME is to try to prove from the Old Testament just
about anything that YOU personally "think" or "want" or "believe"
is good and right for Christians to practice today, including
learning war and being part of a nations military machine, and
such things as polygamy (yes, the Mormon off-shoot sects, and
others, use the Old Testament, to back up their belief and
practice of having more than one wife at the same time).
Sorry to say but it is true in many quarters, from people's
teachings, that "you can make the Bible say whatever you want it
to say," and certainly you can do this if you want to use the Old
Testament for your basic argument and so-called "proof" texts.
BARING IT ALL
From the above book "Journey from Eden"
"When Isaiah sought to make a point - that the Egyptians and
Ethiopians would be taken captive - he stripped off all his
clothing, including that which covered his 'loins,' and walked
about 'naked and barefoot' for three years. 'And the Lord said,
like as my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot three
years for a sign and wonder....so shall the king of Assyria lead
away the Egyptians prisoners, and the Ethiopians captives,
young and old, naked and barefoot, even with their buttocks
uncovered, to the shame of Egypt' (Isa. 20: 1-4).
Some who are shocked to think that Isaiah actually went
naked have suggested it was only a partial nakedness. But this
hardly seems to be the case. The word translated 'nakedness' here
is the same Hebrew word used of the nakedness of Adam and Eve.
The same word describes the condition of Job at his birth. The
word translated 'shame' in this passage means, as the margin has
it, nakedness. It was clearly nakedness like that which would
befall captives - stripped of clothing so that even their
buttocks, or butts, would be exposed.
But Isaiah was not the only prophet who went about naked -
there were others......1 Sam. 19: 24.
Micah, who was contempory with Isaiah (Isa. 1:1; Micah 1:1),
also took some drastic actions: 'Therefore I will wail and howl,
I will go stripped and naked; I will make a wailing like dragons,
and mourning as the owls' (Micah 1:8). This was far more
exuberant than those actions of a revivalist preacher who merely
throws off his coat when he really 'gets to preach'!
During the sixteenth century, in Amsterdam, a religious
group known as the Adamites went without clothes. On one occasion
they ran through the streets crying, 'Woe! Woe! Woe! The wrath of
God! The wrath of God!' When brought before the magistrates they
refused to dress, claiming they were 'the naked truth.' In more
recent times, in Canada, the Doukhobors have repeatedly protested
government actions by stripping off their clothes in court rooms
End quote from the above mentioned book.
So God ALLOWED some of His prophets, a number of them at
times, to go about naked as they preached His word under the Old
Testament. Does that automatically mean God's people should
strip down naked to vividly preach God's word and warning to
people and nations of today? Is this allowance under the Old
Covenant, to be a part of and employed by New Covenant
Christians, just because we can find it as allowed by God under
the Old Covenant, and have written examples of it being practiced
under the Old?
I do NOT think so! Though obviously some "moderns" of New
Covenant theology have so believed and practiced.
Again, I repeat, just because you can find it in the Old
Covenant, does not automatically mean it should be part of the
New Covenant Christian practice.
THE MENSTRUATION OF WOMEN
From "Journey from Eden" pages 82-83
"....in keeping with our basic theme, our main inquiry will
concern those rules and regulations in the Bible itself. The
following is a summary of the details that are spelled out in
Lev. 15: 19-23.
'A menstruating woman must be out apart for seven days each
month. If a man touches her, he becomes unclean. If she sits in a
chair, it is unclean. If she lies on a bed, it is unclean. If a
man touches her bed or chair, he is unclean until evening. If he
has any kind of sexual contact with her, he is unclean seven
days. If the woman bleeds more than seven days, she remains
unclean as long as the condition continues. Eight days after her
issue has stops, she must take two turtle doves or two pigeons to
the priest, explaining to him that she has completed her
menstrual cycle. The priest then kills one of the birds for a sin
offering and burns the other one. By doing this he makes an
'atonement' for her sin. Failure to comply with these
instructions carries a severe penalty: DEATH!'
If a man and woman engaged in sexual intercourse during
menstruation, both were to be KILLED. 'And if a man shall lie
with a woman having her sickness....he hath discovered (margin:
made naked) her fountain, and she has uncovered the fountain of
her blood: and both of them shall be cut off from among their
people' (Lev. 20: 18).
A well known verse from Ezekiel says: 'The soul that
sinneth, it shall die.' Not so well known is the fact that one of
the sins specifically mentioned in the context is the sin
of coming 'near to a menstruous woman' (Ezek. 18: 4-6).
There are people who claim to practice all the Bible says -
including the Old Testament law of 'unclean' meats. But what
about the laws concerning 'unclean' women? If these laws were
followed to the letter, a husband could not kiss his wife during
menstruation, could not hold her hand, could not touch her in any
way lest he become unclean!
A person would have to be constantly careful about touching
beds, chairs, or anything. In checking into a motel room, one
would have to ask if any of the maids who made the beds were
menstruating! One would always be in doubt in a public library
that some menstruating woman might have just handled a book. One
would not eat in a restaurant less the cook or waitress be
The obsession with menstruation has interwoven itself deeply
within Jewish history. The early Pharisees prohibited women's use
of ornaments or cosmetics during menstruation lest they appear
enticing to men. Rashi, a well known Jewish commentator
of the eleventh century, would not hand the key of his house
directly to his wife during her menstruation period.....
According to the Talmud, if a menstruating woman met a snake
on the road, all she would have to say is: 'I am menstruating'
and it would glide hastily away.....
At the time of Jesus, Samaritan women, from birth, were
considered as unclean as a menstruating woman!.....For Jesus to
talk to with the Samaritan woman at the well, and so share the
same drinking water with her, boldly clashed with the basic
Jewish traditions of the time, Even the disciples 'marvelled that
he talked with the woman' (John 4:9,27).....
When the Biblical prophets wanted to describe something
detestable and unclean, they used the example of a menstruating
woman. Ezekiel said: 'Their way was before me as the uncleanness
of a removed woman' (Ezek. 36:17). Jeremiah spoke of Jerusalem
'as a menstruous woman' among the nations (Lam. 1:17).....
Promises of forgiveness or cleansing for Jerusalem were
compared to a woman being washed after menstruation....Isa.
Isaiah preached that the Israelites should cast away their
idols 'as a menstruous cloth' (Isa. 30:22).....
A guest speaker at a church began his message by mentioning
that many things today are CO - copilot, coworker, costar,
cohost, etc. Having chosen two separate verses for his text, he
announced he was using a text and a COtext. Not realizing that it
sounded like he said 'kotex,' he looked confused as laughter
rippled through the crowd!
Preachers have often used a text from Isaiah about self
righteousness being as 'filthy rags' usually not realizing what
KIND of rags Isaiah meant! 'But we are all as an unclean thing,
and all our righteousness are as filthy rags' (Isa. 64:6). These
rags were those used by women during menstruation - for the
'menstrual flux' (Strong's Concordance, 5708)....."
End of quote from the book "Journey from Eden."
We see here some of the laws set down by God Himself (why so
harsh in some of them I really have no answer), and the attitude
ALLOWED by the Lord, to develop in Israel towards the "menstruous
woman." Are we to suppose that because such was ALLOWED and even
written as laws for Israel to conduct itself as a nation under
God, that Christians today are, or should be, under such
attitudes and laws? Just because we can find such laws and
examples and attitudes within the context of the menstrual woman
under the Old Covenant, does NOT automatically mean and endorse
such attitudes and ways of life living, that Christians under the
New Covenant should be practicing.
So also the laws of war and the military, and Israel having
a war killing machine. Just because they also can be found within
the context of God's people Israel, does NOT automatically mean
God approves and sanctions such ways of life for His New Covenant
We should not be out to try and prove how we want to believe
and live as a way of life from the Old Testament. If we indeed
try to do so, we will indeed be able to make the Bible says
whatever we want it to say.
More eye opening passages of things done and allowed by God
in ancient Israel, in the third part of this topic on Christians
Written May 2003