An Examination of Biblical Precepts Involved in Issues at Hand
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In this issue:
The Teachings of Greater Ministry
License? Contract? Coverture?
(See List of Material Available for further information concerning the "forms" for Coverture Marriage.)
Moses' Personality & Righteous Judgment
It will be essential that we be aware of the fact that recent developments at Greater Ministries International Church will require each of us to adhere to the gospel of "health and wealth". The gospel teaches that because God loves His children, it is not his will that they be poor or sick. All Christians could be healthy and wealthy if only they knew that God wanted them to be and had the faith to claim His promises! (GREATER SHARE news. March 1998.)
(LUKE 6: 38)
IMPORTANT MESSAGE FROM GERALD PAYNE
At the time of preparation of this newsletter, we have become aware of another attack upon this ministry and the work that we do. This is a blatant attack upon the religious rights of the church. We operate in full confidence in the Word of God. We firmly believe Luke 6:38. Jesus said that if we give it will be given back to us pressed down and shaken together and running over shall men give unto our bosom, for with the measure that we mete (give) withal it shall be given unto us. These are the words of Jesus. If we can't stand on and believe in what He personally said then the whole foundation of what we believe is null and void. Jesus also told the parable of the talents in Matthew. He illustrated that we are to take what has been given to us and find a way to increase it. (GREATER SHARE News, Feb. 97.)
Mr. Payne explains how the Greater Church increases its wealth so it can return the "gifts' to its "givers."
We believe that God has given us a system by which we can
take the blessings of God and cause them to increase. This is
a plan of God. There are those in the media and in government
who doubt that we do what we say we do to increase the gifts
that are given. They have alleged that we are running some kind
of scheme to trick you and take your money. There are two things
wrong with that.
Firstly, in order to do the kind of trading that we do, there are checks and searches run. We must be given approval by the U.S. and international agencies and issued specific numbers in order to operate in the arena that we trade in. No one has seemed to bother to check these things out. The information is available to those who would research and find the answers. (Ibid.)
This stated position of Greater Ministries conflicts with another stated position. According to Greater Ministries:
YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM WHEN:
1. You DO voluntarily pay your taxes
2. You DO bow down to the Internal Revenue Service (constructive Trust #62 based in Puerto Rico, a United States Possession)
3. You DO NOT ask your grocer why there a (circled u) on a can on the grocery shelf ... HINT: this is a special "kosher" tax ... Why would you want the money you spend on FOOD to go to Israel?
4. You DO NOT take a stand against the United Nations
5. You DO NOT take a stand against the Elders of Zion, and their protocols
6. You DO NOT take a stand against Zionism itself
7. You DO utilize your social security number for identification (mark of the beast) - This is a violation of Federal law, TITLE 5, U.S.C.A. 522(a)(1): "It shall be unlawful ... to deny to any individual any right, benefit or privilege provided by law because such individual's refusal to disclose his social security number."
8. You DO accept handouts from the government, giving THEM authority over you, and OBLIGATING you to THEM.
If you DO anything like that, you DO NOT:
Praise (cross here) Jesus! (From The America's Bulletin, February 1998. It is published by The Tampa Freedom Center, A division of Greater Ministries International Church. 715 East Bird Street, Tampa, Florida 33604. Email, email@example.com)
How can Greater Ministries subscribe and advise others to subscribe
to these eight points and at the same time increase its wealth
with the "approval by the U.S. and international [government]
agencies" that is authorized by the issuance of " specific
[government] numbers in order to operate in the arena" of
monetary trade and profit?
Greater Ministries also reports that it owns the "Greater International Bank of Nauru." (Greater Share News, August '97.)
The liquor traffic is another way the Greater Church increases its wealth. The March 1998, issue of Greater Share News contains advertising for gold jewelry minted by Greater Ministries International. There is also an ad for the Greater Ministry owned Executive Inn located in Owensboro, KY:
Our elegant Las Vegas-style SHOWROOM lights up your weekend nights with the world's most famous and gifted performers to delight, excite and amuse you. Long before your arrival, we've scheduled top name entertainers for a gala weekend event -- A NIGHT TO REMEMBER. ... ENJOY THE Time-Out Lounge with music and dancing for your evening entertainment! (The ad also showed a large swimming pool with very scantily cade females around it.)
The Greater Ministries claim that "we really are a church," is certainly suspect when money gifted to it is used to purchase the Executive Inn trafficing in the liquor business. God's prophet warned: " Woe unto him that giveth his neighbour drink, that puttest thy bottle to him, and makest him drunken also, that thou mayest look on their nakedness (Habakkuk 2:15).
Mr. Payne continues, emphasizing that the Greater Church is really a church:
Secondly, we have been operating for 8 years in this manner.
There have been changes as we have grown and learned, but we
have been steady and faithful to obey the word of the Lord concerning
giving and receiving. Even when the media would give unfavorable
and unfounded reports about what we do, we have continued on.
We are working for the Lord and no matter what some people may
think, the Truth is that we really are a church,
we really operate a ministry and our concern is to
reach out and help people who are hurting. Some of those
people may be Christians who are buried under a burden of financial
stress. God's plan is for us to be free from stress and lack.
Some may be missionaries on a foreign field who are struggling
to have enough resources to do the job that God has sent them
We are not focused on finances. We are focused on telling the world about Jesus so that He can return. He said that before He comes, the whole world would be reached with the gospel. This is our purpose. This is our goal.
Those who join with us must believe that we are real. They need to hear from God and know that He is the driving force behind Greater Ministries. When you hear or read something about us that is designed to put fear in your heart, ask God what you should do and then follow His leading. (GREATER SHARE News, Feb. 97.)
About 25 years ago I helped my first mission. Since that time, I have been working for the Lord and working to see the lives of real people changed by the power of God. Our ministry is focused on feeding the hungry, sheltering the homeless, helping those bound by drugs and alcohol to be set free and creating finances to spread the gospel throughout the world, as well as providing a program of giving and receiving. This is for the person who believes that the Word of God is literally true and is willing to act upon the words that Jesus spoke in Luke 6:38, that there is an abundance in God's plan for the believer. (Ibid.)
Luke 3:38 is the foundational Scripture used by Greater Ministries to solicit gifts:
We have a program that is for those who believe that the Word of God is literally true and are willing to act upon the words that Jesus spoke in Luke 6:38; that, in giving, there is an abundant return, through God, for the believer. (Greater Share News, August, '97.)
Luke 6:38 is thus used by GM to encourage Christians to become
involved in its "gifting program. The "gift," however,
is obviously given with the assurance ("faith promise"
-- that is, faith in GM's promise) that GM will return to them
at least the value of the initial "gift."
Luke 6:38 must be taken in its context of Luke 6:27-40.
27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, 28 Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you. 29 And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. 30 Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again. 31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. 32 For if ye love them which love you, what thank have ye? for sinners also love those that love them. 33 And if ye do good to them which do good to you, what thank have ye? for sinners also do even the same. 34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? for sinners also lend to sinners, to receive as much again. 35 But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil. 36 Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. 37 Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven: 38 Give, and it shall be given unto you; good measure, pressed down, and shaken together, and running over, shall men give into your bosom. For with the same measure that ye mete withal it shall be measured to you again. 39 And he spake a parable unto them, Can the blind lead the blind? shall they not both fall into the ditch? 40 The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.
Thus the context gives understanding to Luke 6:38, and that understanding is:
Give liberally to those that need your assistance, and it shall be given back to you in a rich abundance: for it will gain you so much love and respect, that God will so influence men's hearts in your favor, that men shall as it were, pour into your lap good measure... " (P. Doddridge, An Exposition of the Gospels, v. I, 211. (1738) 1978, Kregel.)
Give, and it shall be given unto you . . . [that is] Give liberally of your worldly substance to indigent persons, as you have an opportunity, according to your ability, and as cases require: and it shall be returned again to great advantage; with great recompense, either in temporals or spirituals, or both.." (John Gill, Online Bible)
It is clear -- Luke 6:38 is speaking of giving to those in need, with no hope of receiving money back from the ones to whom it is given. If folks were expecting the Lord and not the "Greater Church" to return their money, how much would they give? Let those who are professing their love for the Lord in their giving give to those who need assistance. Let them give to the indigent persons (and/or Christian ministries), as clearly taught by the passage.
Luke 6:38 cannot be used to justify a potential return of one's "gifts," plus an increase, to a church that is preaching a "health and wealth" message as Greater Ministries International is offering. Gifting to Greater Ministries should be based on ones faith in Greater Ministries and not on Luke 6:38.
God's Word is relevant to all of life. God's Word is the foundation for the Christian faith and the practice of Christian living including ones giving.
The natural man is greedy and covetous --- two sins that Christians must constantly guard against. May every Christian remember the words of Acts 20:35:
I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.
Christians should give freely and cheerfully as ordained by God's word. But our giving must be solely to the honor and glory of God and not for selfish reward and gain.
In addition, think about this:
Rev. Patsy Tharp is listed as the pastor of Greater Ministries International Church. A woman pastor? (Mr. Payne is listed as Senior Pastor.)
Peter's clear and solemn warning
15 And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; 16 As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. (2 Pet. 3:15, 16.)
Some thoughts concerning v. 16:
These things; Christ's coming to judgment, and the necessity of diligent preparation in order to meet him in peace. Unlearned and unstable; ignorant persons who have no settled principles, and do not love the truth, which reproves their sinful lives. Wrest; pervert, misunderstand and misapply. As ignorance of the Scriptures greatly increases the danger of their perversion, and enables false teachers the more to delude and destroy the people, the Bible should be universally circulated, and all persons encouraged daily to read it--with earnest prayer for the teaching of the Holy Spirit, that they may rightly understand it, and by believing and obeying it be made wise to salvation. (Family, Online Bible)
which they that are unlearned; untaught of God, who
have never learned of the Father, nor have learned Christ, nor
have that anointing which teacheth all things; who, though they
may have been in the schools of men, were never in the school
of Christ; and though they have been ever learning, yet will
never come to the knowledge of the truth; for men may have a
large share of human literature, and yet be unlearned men in
the sense of the apostle; and very often it is, that such wrest
and pervert the Scriptures to the ruin of themselves, and others:
and unstable; unsettled in their principles, who are like children tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine; the root of the matter is not in them; nor are they rooted and built up in Christ, and so are not established in the faith; they are not upon the foundation Christ, nor do they build upon, and abide by the sure word of God, or form their notions according to it, but according to their own carnal reasonings, and fleshly lusts; and so
wrest the word of God, distort it from its true sense and meaning, and make it speak that which it never designed; dealing with it as innocent persons are sometimes used, put upon a rack, and tortured, and so forced to speak what is contrary to their knowledge and consciences; and so were the words of the Apostle Paul wrested by ill designing men, as about the doctrines of grace and works, so concerning the coming of Christ; see #Ro 3:8 2Th 2:1,2;
as [they do] also the other Scriptures; the writings of Moses, and the prophets of the Old Testament, the Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, and the other epistles of the apostles of the New Testament: and which is eventually
unto their own destruction; for by so doing they either add unto, or detract from the Scriptures, and so bring the curse of God upon them; and they give into doctrines of devils, and into heresies, which are damnable, and bring upon themselves swift destruction, which lingers not, and slumbers not. Now from hence it does not follow, that the Scriptures are not to be read by the common people; for not all the parts of Scripture, and all things in it, are hard to be understood, there are many things very plain and easy, even everything respecting eternal salvation; there is milk for babes, as well as meat for strong men: besides, not the Scriptures in general, but Paul's epistles only, are here spoken of, and not all of them, or anyone whole epistle among them, only some things in them, and these not impossible, only difficult to be understood; and which is no reason why they should be laid aside, but rather why they should be read with greater application and diligence, and be followed with fervent prayer, and frequent meditation; and though unlearned and unstable men may wrest them to their perdition, those that are taught of God, though otherwise illiterate, may read them to great profit and advantage. (Gill, Online Bible)
The unlearned and unstable. The ignorant and
Wrest. Pervert and give meanings that were never meant.
As [they do] also the other scriptures. The other scriptures may mean the Old Testament, or New Testament writings already written. The point to be noted is that already when Peter wrote Paul's epistles were accepted as a part of the Scriptures.
Unto their own destruction. This should be a warning to all in our day who twist the Scriptures from their real meaning. (PNT, Online Bible)
Peter's final warning to Believers concerning those who force the word of God say something that it does not say:
17 Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. 18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen. (2 Pet. 3:17, 18.)
A final word:
1 Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the ame of God and his doctrine be not blasphemed. 2 And they that have believing masters, let them not despise them, because they are brethren; but rather do them service, because they are faithful and beloved, partakers of the benefit. These things teach and exhort. 3 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; 4 He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmising, 5 Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself. 6 But godliness with contentment is great gain. (1 Tim. 6:1-6.)
Deuteronomy 13 tells us that the Lord himself permits
unscriptural things to "prosper" to see where lies the
hearts of his people.
"Forms" for Coverture marriage available from us, Biblical Examiner. Contact me by e-mail. Bro Need
The following is as contrary to modern thought concerning marriage as light is contrary to darkness. But we do ask the reader to examine it, compare it with the word of God, and act accordingly. Humanistic, man-centered thinking has become so prevalent and accepted even by Christians, that every area of though and life must be seriously reconsidered in the light of God's word. It is time for Christians to go throughout the land and burn the weapons of the enemy, the weapons of humanism. We see from the astounding divorce rate, even among Christians, that one of the major areas that must be reconsidered is the area of marriage. (I would use the term "reconstructed according to God's word," but that the word "reconstruction" is very offensive to some. Not wanting to offend anyone, I will not use that dirty word.)
We are confronted with three terms that can describe a marriage relationship: License, Contract and Coverture. The question we need to address is, "Which term best describes a Godly, Scriptural marriage?" (Definitions are from Webster's 1828 dictionary unless otherwise noted.)
I will abide in thy tabernacle for ever: I will trust in the covert of thy wings. Selah (Ps. 61:4).
Covert--covering or place of protection and shelter.
(Thus a man cannot expect a woman to place herself under his protection
unless he places himself under the Lord's protection.) However,
we will not start with covert, but with license.
License--"1. Leave; permission; authority or liberty given to do or forbear any act... To permit by granting of authority; to remove legal restraint by a grant of permission."
Who must we have the authority from or the permission of for marriage? Answer: The Lord and the parents, father of the man and woman. The state should not enter into this in any way as it does through the state marriage license. When the state grants the license to permit marriage, it can grant the dissolving of the marriage, or refuse to grant a license at all.
Contract--"n. An agreement or covenant between two or more persons, in which each party binds himself to do or forbear some act, and each acquires a right to what the other promises ; a mutual promise upon lawful consideration or cause, which binds the parties to a performance ; a bargain ; a compact... 2. The act by which a man and woman are betrothed, each to the other."
Contract makes a marriage a partnership between the parties involved. A contract implies partners of equal authority and responsibility, which is clearly unscriptural. For a more pressing problem at this point, see below in Blackston's comments.
But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God (1 Cor. 11:3, and the thought goes on down through v. 11).
There are many more passages which fit within this thought. Ephesians 5:22-33, v. 31, the one flesh is under the headship of the husband, not the wife. Nor is marriage presented by God's word as a partnership. Notice also the responsibility given to the man by God. (See also 1 Pet. 3:1-7)
Since the fall, the wife (either as a girl at home under her
father, a woman under her husband or even as a woman in the work
force [which is difficult to justify from Scripture]) has desired
to dominate the authority over her. (Gen. 3:16.) As a result of
the fall, she was placed under the man for her own protection.
Sin causes her to desire to get out from under this place of safety.
It goes without saying that the man also desires to be out from
under his proper authority--God's through the Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, the obvious Bible teaching is that marriage places the woman under subjection to and the protection of a man, her husband. License places both under the authority of the state; covenant implies equal footing as partners with equal responsibilities.
The third term we need to examine is
Coverture--"n law, the state of a married woman, who is considered as under cover, or the power of her husband, and therefore called a feme-covert, or femme-covert. The coverture of a woman disables her from making contracts to the prejudice of herself or husband, without his allowance or confirmation." (This is clearly Num. 30.)
Blackston's Commentaries (1.442-445. 1771) discuses Coverture at the close of the chapter, "Of Husbands and Wives." But first let me point out how he opens this chapter:
I. Our law considers marriage in no other light than as a civil contract. The holiness of the matrimonial state is left entirely to the ecclesiastical law: the temporal courts not having jurisdiction to consider unlawful marriage as a sin, but merely as a civil inconvenience. The punishment therefore, or annulling of incestuous or other unscriptural marriages, is the province of the spiritual courts; which act pro salute animae. And, taking it in this civil light, the law treats it as it does all other contracts: allowing it to be good and valid in all cases, where the parties at the time of making it were, in the first place, willing to contract; secondly, able to contract; and, lastly, actually did contract, in the proper forms and solemnities required by law.
Then at the end of this chapter we find:
By marriage, the husband and wife are one person in law: that
is, the very being or legal existence of the woman is suspended
during the marriage, or at least is incorporated and consolidated
into that of husband: under whose wing, protection, and cover,
she performs every thing; and is therefore called in our law-french
a feme-covert, foemina viro co-operta; is said to be covert-baron,
or under the protection and influence of her husband, her baron,
or lord; and her condition during her marriage is called
her coverture. Upon this principle, of an union of person
in husband and wife, depend almost all the legal rights, duties,
and disabilities, that either of them acquire by the marriage.
I speak not at present of the rights of property, but of such
as are merely personal. For this reason, a man cannot
grant any thing to his wife, or enter into covenant with her:
for the grant would be to suppose her separate existence; and
to covenant with her, would be only to covenant with himself:
and therefore it is also generally true, that all compacts made
between husband and wife, when single, are voided by the intermarriage.
A woman indeed may be attorney for her husband; for that implies
no separation from, but is rather a representation of, her lord.
A husband may also bequeath any thing to his wife by will; for
that cannot take effect till the coverture is determined by his
death. The husband is bound to provide his wife with necessaries
by law, as much as himself: and if she contracts debts for them,
he is obliged to pay them; but, for any thing besides necessaries,
he is not chargeable. Also if a wife elopes, and lives with another
man, the husband is not chargeable even for necessaries; at least
if the person, who furnishes them, is sufficiently apprized of
her elopement. It the wife be indebted before marriage, the husband
is bound afterwards to pay the debt; for he has adopted her and
her circumstances together. If the wife be injured in her person,
or her property, she can bring no action for redress without
her husband's concurrence, and in his name, as well as her own:
neither can she be sued, without making her husband a defendant.
There is indeed one case where the wife shall sue and be sued as a feme sole, viz. where the husband has abjured the realm, or is banished: for then he is dead in law; and the husband being thus disabled to sue for or defend the wife, it would be most unreasonable if she had no remedy, or could make no defence at all. In criminal prosecutions, it is true, the wife may be indicted and punished separately; for the union is only a civil union. But, in trials of any sort, they are not allowed to be evidence for, or against each other: partly because it is impossible their testimony should be indifferent; but principally because of the union of person: and therefore, it they were admitted to be the union of person: and therefore, if they were admitted to be witnesses for each other, they would contradict one maxim of law [note, the old English used f for s in many cases. We have left the f's in these quotes, ed.], "nemo in propria caufa teflis effe debet;" and if against each other, they would contradict another maxim, "nemo tenetur fe "ipfum accufare." But, where the offence is directly against the person of the wife, this rule has been usually dispensed with: and therefore, by statute Hen. VII. c. s. in case a woman be forcibly taken away, and married, she may be a witness against such her husband, in order to convict him of felony. For in this case she can with no propriety be reckoned his wife; because a main ingredient, her consent, was wanting to the contract: and also there is another maxim of law, that no man shall take advantage of his own wrong; which the ravisher here would do, if by forcibly marrying a woman, he could prevent her from being a witness, who is perhaps the only witness to that very fact.
In the civil law the husband and the wife are considered as two distinct persons; and may have separate estates, contracts, debts, and injuries: and therefore, in our ecclesiastical courts, a woman may sue and be sued without her husband.
But, though our law in general considers man and wife as one person, yet there are some instances in which she is separately considered; as inferior to him, and acting by his compulsion. And therefore all deeds executed, and acts done, by her, during her coverture, are void; except it be a fine, or the like matter of record, in which case she must be solely and secretly examined, to learn if her act be voluntary. She cannot by will devise lands to her husband, unless under special circumstances; for at the time of making it she is supposed to be under his coercion. And in some felonies, and other inferior crimes, committed by her, through constraint of her husband, the law excuses her: but this extends not to treason or murder.
The husband also (by the old law) might give his wife moderate correction. For, as he is to answer for her misbehaviour, the law thought it reasonable to entrust him with this power of restraining her, by domestic chastisement, in the same moderation that a man is allowed to correct his servants or children; for whom the master or parent is also liable in some cases to answer. But this power of correction was confined within reasonable bounds, and the husband was prohibited from using any violence to his wife, aliter quam ad virum, ex caufa regiminis et caftigationis uxoris fuae, licite et rationabiliter pertinet. The civil law gave the husband the same, or a larger, authority over his wife: allowing him, for some misdemeanors, flagellis et fuftibus acriter verberare uxorem; for others, only modicam caftigationem adhibere". But, with us, in the politer reign of Charles the second, this power of correction began to be doubted: and a wife may now have security of the peace against her husband: or, in return, a husband against his wife. Yet the lower rank of people, who were always fond of the old common law, still claim and exert their ancient privilege: and the courts of law will still permit a husband to restrain a wife of her liberty, in case of any gross misbehaviour.
These are the chief legal effects of marriage during the coverture; upon which we may observe, that even the disabilities, which the wife lies under, are for the most part intended for her protection and benefit. So great a favourite is the female sex of the laws of England."
Observe what Blackstone said concerning coverture:
First, the woman loses her being and legal existence and has, in fact, come under the wing, protection and cover of her husband. (See below for Blackstone's statement on this.) Therefore, under coverture, the husband and wife are one person in the eyes of the law. (See Ruth 3:9.)
Under coverture we have the two, a man and the woman, becoming one. On the other hand, under covenant, they remain two separate individuals. Coverture places the family under one head--the husband, who, in a Christian marriage, is under Christ. In a Biblical coverture marriage, the Lord Jesus Christ is the head of the family, and he exercises loving, godly family authority through the husband. The Biblical teaching is clear: The husband is to be the covering over his wife. However, when we go to the state to get the state's permission to exist as a married couple, the husband is not providing the covering for his wife--the state is her covering.
Second, the woman submits to the man even as her lord, which is required by 1 Peter 3:6, fitting well in the definition of coverture.
Third, the wife is no longer an independent individual, but can only operate from under her husband's authority. Nor is the husband an independent individual, for he must now act in his wife's best interests. The reference? Christ's actions for the benefit of his body, the church. (Note the Proverb's 31 woman was extremely active in many areas, including industry, but she was not independent--she operated from under her husband's authority.)
Fourth, Blackstone points out that though two single persons enter into contract, the marriage dissolves that contract--a person cannot make a contract with him or her self. Accordingly, a marriage contract is void after marriage, for the one person cannot contract with itself.
Fifth, the husband is bound to provide his wife with necessaries
by law, as much as for himself, and if she contracts debts for
them, he is obliged to pay them. The debts include any indebtedness
from before the marriage, for he willingly adopted her and her
circumstances together. Everything, including debts, became his
(except the dowry; see below).
Sixth, the husband is responsible for the actions of his wife, even to the point that he may mildly chastise her as he would a child or servant. Nor can she take legal action apart from her husband's concurrence (with very few exceptions, which he lists, which is another reference to Num. 30.)
Seventh, under the Coverture, the two are clearly and distinctly one, as required by the word of God. (Gen. 2:24, Mt. 19:5, 6, Eph. 5:31, etc.) Because the two are one, neither can testify against the other; unless, that is, she was forcibly taken away, and married, and then she may witness against her husband to convict him of felony. But marriage against her will is no marriage. The Fifth Amendment prevents a person from testifying against himself, and it is based in coverture. Obviously the principle of coverture has been removed from our laws. Under the state license and under the contract, the wife can be compelled to testify against her husband.
As a final point, I should mention that the above does not address the Old Testament requirement of a dowry, where the man "bought" his wife. She cost him approximately three years wages, and the money went to her and her estate. He could not touch it, e.g., prenuptial agreements. However, that is not the study at this time.
In Blackston's comments we do find this statement:
In the civil law the husband and the wife are considered as two distinct persons; and may have separate estates, contracts, debts, and injuries: and therefore, in our ecclesiastical courts, a woman may sue and be sued without her husband.
Then at the end is this:
These are the chief legal effects of marriage during the coverture; upon which we may observe, that even the disabilities, which the wife lies under, are for the most part intended for her protection and benefit. So great a favourite is the female sex of the laws of England.
As another point, we see that a girl is never on her own, or out from under authority. She must either be under her dad's or husband's authority.
Now we should address the vow.
According to Webster: "1. A solemn promise made to God, or by a pagan to his deity.. 2. A solemn promise; as the vows of unchangeable love and fidelity. In a moral and religious sense, vows are promises to God, as they appeal to God to witness their sincerity, and the violation of them is the most heinous offense."
Numbers 30 gives a basic law concerning vows--vv. 2, 3, tell us that a vow is to the Lord. The Wise Man, Solomon, says the same thing. (Ecc. 5:4-6.) Therefore, vows that are made in a wedding ceremony are not to be to each other. Vows to each other are clearly a contract, which, according to Blackstone, is void after the marriage. In a marriage ceremony, we speak of exchanging vows; in doing so, we promised the wrong person, man.
The true marriage ceremony exchanges vows to God in the presence of human witnesses, i.e., the couple promise God in the presence of witnesses. In the Christian ceremony, the vows are to God, not to man.
When the woman agrees to come under the man's protection and
covering, she is making that promise to the Lord that she will
submit to this man for her own protection. When the man promises
to be the covering to the woman--to protect, to provide for, to
love and keep her--he is making the promise to God, not to her
nor to the preacher.
First, I am not at all advocating, as some do, already married Christian couples "remarrying" with a coverture marriage. I am, however, advocating teaching a new generation of young people the Scriptural truth concerning a Christian marriage. Are we not to bring all things into captivity to Christ, including the marriage ceremony?
Second, this pastor has married several people with the Christian Coverture Marriage, and there have been no "legal" complications at all. In fact, I believe that Louisiana has now made special mention of such marriages without a state license.
Third, we must admit that something is seriously wrong with
the "modern" state's marriages, for they are disintegrating
at a rapid rate, even among Christians. We know the problem is
not with the Lord and his plan as laid out in his word. So the
problem must be with man and his misuse of the word of God. We
have clearly failed to stress the Biblical basis and requirements
of Christian marriages, and the men and women have failed to submit
to the Biblical requirements of marriage.
Fourth, before we start saying anything, and maybe laying the blame for social ills on women for not being in the home and submissive to their own husbands, we must remember that Scripture clearly lays the family's and society's ills upon the husband--he is not in submission to the Lord God as required by Scripture. (1 Cor. 11:3, Eph. 5:23.) How can we expect wives to be what they should be before God, under their husbands, when husbands refuse to be what they should be under the Lord Jesus Christ?
Fifth, the crying need of the hour is for men to be men under the headship of the Lord Jesus Christ. Throughout Biblical history, God has raised up women as a reproach to men who refuse to take their God-ordained places in their families and in their society.
And Promise Keepers is not the answer--that is, unless men promise to keep the Ten Commandments. From what I have read of the PK movement, the promises have very little, if anything, to do with the Ten Commandments. Moreover, there are many other very serious Scriptural problems with the PK movement, problems very obvious to those with any Scriptural perception at all. (See http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/ and http://www.psychoheresy-aware.org/)
A group of women's "Promise Keepers" met some time ago in Indianapolis. The organizer said that the purpose of her group was to support their husbands in Promise Keepers. She was emphatic to the lady interviewing her on the local TV news: "We are not about subjection to our husbands. We are about being equal partners with them." Anyone with an ounce of Biblical knowledge can readily see that any movement saying "We are about being equal with one another" is unbiblical. A two headed body is a monster in any society.
"Forms" for Christian Coverture Marriage are available from us: 9017 Stonewall Jackson Hwy, Front Royal VA 22630. firstname.lastname@example.org
Moses has learned all that Egypt had to offer; now he starts
his schooling under the mighty hand of God.
Let's pick up a point from vs. 11-17. There are three events in the couple of days covered in this passage which reveal a great amount about this unusual man, Moses.
1) The first event is in V. 11; he saw their burdens. Moses has been hidden from our view for 40 years; now he appears upon the scene with a genuine concern to help the downtrodden and oppressed. But he had been raised in Egypt, and he knows not how to help; he helps in the way he has been trained, i.e. he kills the Egyptian who is abusing the Hebrew.
Observe: the world meets violence with more violence, and the one who is the most violent is proclaimed the winner. Violence is the expected response from those trained in the very best which the world has to offer.
Notice Pharaoh's response upon hearing about Moses, v. 15. Pharaoh is not against violence toward the oppressed slaves (God's people), rather, he is against violence against his protected, violent servants.
Observe: an ungodly state is not concerned about, and might
even encourage, violence against God's people, but any resistance
or action against one of its faithful servants, even though that
servant may be moving violently against the oppressed, will be
met with the wrath of the state. Thus the secular state is not
against violence, it is against unauthorized violence which fits
not into its overall plan.
Furthermore, Moses sees his chance to show the slave people that he is on their side by killing the Egyptian; he thought that he could do this in secret from Egypt, that the Hebrews would keep his secret and that they would accept his leadership. He knew (believed) that God was going to deliver them, and in his opinion, now was the time.
Edersheim points out that Moses was attempting to carry out spiritual ends by carnal means when he killed the oppressor. No one saw him except the one he defended. Moses found his attempt to do spiritual work through carnal means quick and easy, but he also found God's curse against it. Again we are reminded that Egypt's method is that the end justifies the means. But God will not permit His work to be done thusly. Men may do a great work using carnal means, but is it of God? Moses acted on moral principle, not a principle of race or nationality. Moses' motives were right, but his method of carrying out his motives was wrong.
Observe: no doubt he learned that "might makes right" in Egypt; you can accomplish what you want if you are strong enough to enforce your will. Moses learned the hard way the fallacy of Egypt's teaching. What will it take for modern Christianity to learn that carnal worldly means of doing God's work has God's curse against it?
2) We get a further insight into Moses with the second event, 2:13: he attempts to intervene when two Hebrews are contending with each other. Notice that this time Moses tries to reason with the one doing the wrong, siding with the one being wronged, vs. 12, 13.
Exodus 2:14, those to whom he spoke knew that he was trying to judge between right and wrong. He soon found out that: 1) the Israelites were not interested in proper judgement anymore than were the Egyptians, and 2) the Israelites would have nothing to do with him. Israel would not allow him to come among them. He no doubt planned to join with the covenant people of promise by showing them that he also opposed their oppressors, but they turned against him.
This is not at all the way he had it planned, but Divine Providence
had it all worked out. God had to cut him off from Egypt as well
as show him the uselessness of human power and wisdom. Did Moses
expect to lead an insurrection with the 600,000 men of Israel
and come out with armed might? Did Pharaoh see Moses as leading
Moses' righteous judgment
Moses knew in his heart between right and wrong, and tried
to judge accordingly, but he had not yet the law nor the authority
of God upon which to base his judgment; therefore, he judged both
matters, between the Egyptian and the Hebrew and between the two
Hebrews, based upon his personal opinion rather than upon the
law-word of God. The result was resistance on the part of the
ones he tried to judge (the one doing the wrong said, who made
thee a prince and a judge over us?).
Even though Moses' opinion was correct, he himself was judged; he had to flee for his life. Returning forty years later, he came back as the most powerful judge ever to walk among men other than Christ; those who did not accept his judgment were under the wrath of God.
The question is raised: "What was the difference? Why is Moses judged by those around him even though he is trying to do right as a 40 year old man, yet 40 years latter all who stand against his judgment are under the wrath of God?" The difference is that the Lord God met Moses in the wilderness, and commissioned him according to God's Word. Moses returned in the name of the Lord with the Lord's authority; he judged in the name of the Lord according to the Word of God. Thus when Moses returned, rather than fleeing from Pharaoh, the Lord through Moses renders Godly judgment against Pharaoh.
Keeping in mind these events in Moses' background, look at the Lord's words, judge not that ye be not judged, Matthew 7:1. Judgment of any action apart from its comparison to God's Word of righteousness is judgment after the manner of this world; the one judging becomes the standard, and such personal standard is strictly forbidden by the Lord, John 7:24 (cf. De 4:8; Ps 119:7, 62, 106, 138, 142, 160, 164). Righteous judgment examines every action, thought, and motive in the light of the law of God; anything less establishes man as his own god, able to determine for himself between good and evil, Hebrews 4:12.
Moses judged properly when he said to him that did the wrong, but he established himself and his Egyptian training as the standard; his judgment was not according to God's law because he did not yet know the law (Ex 2:13, 14).
Furthermore, Moses thought he was doing right, and according to human reasoning and Egyptian education he probably was: he was defending the oppressed with the human wisdom and understanding in which he had been well trained. The point here is that no matter how good one's motives might be, the motive and action must be judged according to the law of God or the one judging will be judged by God and man, Matthew 7:2 (cf. Mk 4:24; Lk 6:38). Clearly, Moses did not use the law of God because he did not yet know it. Nor did the Hebrews use the law in their conflict one with the other, and Moses was judged by them when he tried to judge them.
We are commanded to judge righteous judgment according to the
law of God, but we can only do so if we are living righteously,
Matthew 7:3. If we are living righteously, then any judgement
that might come back upon us must also be righteous judgment.
Moses came back at the command of God, doing the will of God;
therefore, he returned as a righteous man. Consequently, any who
tried to judge him were judged by God. But this did not place
Moses above judgment. God judged his disobedient servant when
He prevented him from going into Canaan.
Moses flees, v. 15. He didn't fear the wrath of the king in his decision, but after the decision and action were made, the king found out where Moses' heart really was. Moses had to flee for his life. Sought to slay him... indicates that Moses was in a place of authority and the king feared that Moses could lead an insurrection; therefore, the king made subtle plans to do away with Moses.
Let us mention that although God did not move Moses to murder the Egyptian, God used it for His glory. Moses was full of self-confidence from which the Lord had to break him. [Note that our society, both the "Christians" and the pagans, are working extremely hard at building self-confidence in the population. What will the Lord have to do to break the self-confidence which they are working so hard to build?] If Moses had been patient, God would have used other means to train and prepare him to do this mighty work. My, how we need God's grace to tell the difference between self-confidence & God-confidence!
(Hebrews 11:27, contains an interesting statement: By faith he forsook Egypt.. The margin of my Bible gives Ex 10:29 & 12:37, for Heb 11:27, meaning that the verse in Hebrews refers to the second time Moses left Egypt. The authors I checked with identify the statement in Heb 11:27, with Moses' first fleeing from Egypt. The context of v. 27, falls before v. 28, and the passover which released the children of Israel from Egypt. I am more inclined to agree with the marginal reference which says that this statement refers to the second time Moses left Egypt. We are expressly told that the first time he left Egypt he feared for his life, Ex 2:14, 15. The second time Moses left Egypt he did so with a high hand; he went out with no fear of Pharaoh nor dread of what the king might do to him, even though the king was pursuing them, Ex. 14:8. The marginal reference to Exodus 2:14, is Hebrews 11:27; I wish the editors would make up their mind. Therefore, regardless of what I think, we must say that Heb 11:27, refers to the first time he fled Egypt.)
Moses had no doubt that God had called him and would preform
a great deliverance for the Hebrews, as well as supply their every
need. His confidence in the promised deliverance and provision
of God caused him to endure all of the hardships which came with
Exodus 2:15, 16, Moses flees, and we next see him stopped to rest at a well. The location is interesting. Abraham's servant found Isaac a wife at a well; when Jacob deceived his father and fled from the wrath of his brother, he stopped at a well where he met Racheal; Jacob had conflicts over wells with the inhabitants of the land where he was living, and he knew he had peace when he could dig wells with no conflict; Joseph was put in a dry well by his brothers before they sold him into slavery into Egypt; when David's spies fled from Absolom who had usurped the throne in Jerusalem, they were hidden in a well; and, of course, Christ preached one of His most powerful messages sitting on the side of a well, John 4.
We now come to the third event in Moses' life which gives us an insight into his personality, Exodus 2:17. For the third time within a short period, Moses again intervenes on the side of the ones being wronged; he stood for righteousness. Clearly, his personality is caring for the downtrodden and oppressed, judging between right and wrong, then doing something about it. He has not a mousy faith; he stands up for righteousness in the face of all odds and oppression, but he is also judged for not bringing his personality under control.
Three times we are shown Moses' character; therefore, we can draw this conclusion. God uses people within their personality, but their personality must be sanctified. Moses was extremely tender toward the weak and oppressed, but his effort to help them had to be submitted to the Lord.
Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance. (Ps. 33:12.)
Many times in Scripture, we read of God's promise to the nations of "salvation," safety, peace and prosperity. We also read of the world's offer of "salvation," safety, peace and prosperity:
16 Hearken not to Hezekiah: for thus saith the king of Assyria, Make an agreement with me by a present, and come out to me: and eat ye every one of his vine, and every one of his fig tree, and drink ye every one the waters of his own cistern; 17 Until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of corn and wine, a land of bread and vineyards. (Isa. 36:16, 17.)
The first encounter of God's promise is
in Deuteronomy 33:28, 29 where he promises a land of corn and
wine. The condition is faithfulness to his law-word as given
The next encounter is 1 Kings 4:25. It was fulfilled in the days of Solomon, viz., every man dwelt safely under his vine and under his fig tree.
The next encounter, after Isaiah 36, is in Jeremiah 23:6. This time, it is given to the people of God who obey his word under the reign of THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS.
The next encounter is Micah 4:4. The context of this passage is v. 2, the law going forth out of Zion. During the Gospel Church age, as the truth (thy law is the truth, Ps 119:142) goes out from faithful pulpits (Heb. 12:22, Isa. 26:1) and his believe and do it, the waring nations turn to peace. That peace is depicted by every man under his vine and under his fig tree...
The last encounter is Zechariah 3:10. Again, the reference is to the time when God is glorified as God, and King Jesus is served as King.
The World's Offer
Notice the offer made by Sennacherib to God's Israel under Hezekiah: vv. 16, 17, are almost identical to the other passages mentioned. The placing of this offer is significant.
The promise made through Moses was that as God's covenant people obeyed their Redeemer's word, he would provide for them prosperity and salvation from social ills.
Following the reign of godly king David, the promised son of peace came. Under him, the covenant people saw the promise fulfilled. But as the people departed from the word of their Redeemer's word, the promises departed from them.
Notice where Sennacherib's offer of peace and prosperity is located. It is between the point of it being fulfilled (Solomon) and its renewal under the promised king, King Jesus.
Sennacherib makes the same offer to God's covenant-people as was made to them by their God through Moses. Both offers required service. The difference was that Snnacherib's offer would be fulfilled by coercion in his land, making it a land of captivity and servitude. The offer by the Lord would be fulfilled in their own land, making it a land of freedom.
The Lord's offer was conditioned on obedience to the law of God. Sennacherib's offer was conditioned on obedience to the laws of man. Both offers were offers of salvation, prosperity and freedom.
Rather than accept the offer of salvation from this pagan, Hezkiah turned him down; he sought the Lord with one of the greatest prayers in Scripture. (37:14-20.) The result of Hezekiah's faith was that God marvelously showed himself strong in behalf of his people.
The Lord God has clearly shown his people the way of salvation, prosperity and freedom, viz., This is the way, walk ye in it. (Isa. 30:21.) The way is the total word of our God. The way has been proven over and over to be the path of life, salvation and prosperity.
But the pagan king has also made his offer of salvation and prosperity. His plan for life and salvation differs dramatically from God's plan. The pagan king offers life and salvation through a multitude of programs, e.g., education, more man made and man centered laws (centralized control, socialism), more money, more debt, more freedom to do ones own thing and more freedom from God. The endless list can be submersed as whatever is opposite of the Lord's requirements upon mankind as revealed in his word.
The difference between Hezekiah's situation and our day is that he readily saw the offer for what it was --- an attack against God. In our day, the average Christian sees no threat from the pagan's offer of salvation apart from the Lord God. Not only do they see no threat, but they have believed the pagan offer, and are totally sold out to achieve the pagan's salvation.
By His Sovereign Grace Alone,
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