Prince of Sumba Husband to Many Wives
A Dialog on Polygamy
Thelyphthora Vol. 1
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Posted by: Pastor_Don_Milton on Mar 08, 2005 - 04:05 PM
If there is one word in the Bible that modern day Christians can be said to discuss most but understand least, it is the word adultery as it pertains to marriage.
If I were a betting man, I'd bet that 99% of you cannot properly define the word adultery.
Here's a simple test:
If a married man has sexual intercourse with his single secretary, has he committed adultery?
If you answered yes then you don't know the definition of adultery.
The fact is that anyone who has sexual intercourse outside of marriage has indeed committed a sin (harlotry*) but if the woman involved is not a married woman then it is not called adultery.
It is impossible for a single woman to commit adultery.
That's it. Nothing else.
This is the definition provided by Strong's Exhaustive Concordance which is the concordance favored by theologians.
But even without the Strong's Concordance we can understand the definition of adultery by the dozens of verses referring to it in the Old Testament, the Bible that Jesus quoted.
The first reference to the word* adultery is found in the 7th commandment.
Thou shalt not commit adultery. Exodus 20:14
The second reference to adultery defines it and gives the penalty for it.
And the man that committeth adultery with [another] man's wife, [even he] that committeth adultery with his neighbour's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.Leviticus 20:10
The verse above is word for word and bracket for bracket what is written in the King James Bible.
Every reference to adultery in the entire Bible concerns sexual intercourse between a married or betrothed woman and a man other than the one to whom she is married or betrothed.
Solomon clarifies that adultery is a crime against men in Proverbs 6:32-35
But] whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he [that] doeth it destroyeth his own soul. A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away. For jealousy [is] the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, though thou givest many gifts.Proverbs 6:32-35
The Bible is gender specific when it comes to marriage. It does not use the word spouse except in the Song of Songs where in fact it is not gender neutral, it refers to the writer's bride and is translated in all other places in the Bible as daughter-in-law or bride.
The rights of women and the rights of men are very different in the Bible. Women have some rights that men don't have and men have some rights that women don't have.
We can now more easily understand Matthew 5:27&28, the verses that speak of "adultery in the heart," but there are two more words that we must define in order to fully understand it:
Lust: to desire something forbidden
Now that you know the meanings of the words let's go to the context.
Let's start with the first verses found in Matthew 5 that have a similar structure to the ones we're studying, namely, they begin with "Ye have heard" and are followed by "But I say unto you."
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire. Matthew 5:21&22
Notice that Jesus is referring to the 9th & 6th commandments:
Exd 20:16 Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.
Exd 20:13 Thou shalt not kill.
Jesus shows here that there is a sequence of events that leads up to murder. First; unjustified anger, second; bearing false witness, and third; murder.
Jesus uses the same method to explain the steps that lead to adultery in Matthew 5:27&28
Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.Matthew 5:27&28
Notice that he's referring to the 10th & 7th commandments:
Exd 20:17 ...thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife...
Exd 20:14 Thou shalt not commit adultery.
Jesus shows here that there is a sequence of events that leads up to adultery. First; Looking upon another man's wife; second; lusting after her, third; committing adultery with her.
What is often not perceived by modern readers in our modern culture is that the admonition not to "looketh on a woman to lust after her" is an admonition not to break the 10th commandment; not to covet thy neighbor's wife because that will lead to adultery, the crime of having sexual intercourse with another man's wife.
In the two cases above, murder & adultery, Jesus explains the importance of not speaking ill of others and of not desiring forbidden things because doing so will lead to murder and adultery.
Jesus did not give a new command here to deny your sexuality. It is natural for men to desire women and for women to desire men otherwise nobody would ever get married. Properly directed sexual desire is God given, it is good. It shows that you're healthy.
Jesus words must be understood in the context of the meaning of each word as well as the context of each paragraph. A man or woman who has a strong sexual desire for the person they expect to marry or would like to marry is not sinning.
Here is Matthew 5:27&28 with the meanings of the words inserted for greater clarity:
Here is the sin that is repeated over and over again on Kirk Cameron's The Way of the Master Television show. With the T.V. cameras taping, Kirk or his sidekick Ray Comfort says to a woman:
This is supposed to lead people to Christ? It's disgusting. It's a lie first of all. Sexual desire does not equal lust. Lust is to desire something forbidden, to covet. The sin Jesus spoke of in Matthew 5:27&28 is to look upon a married woman with lust in your heart as you have learned in this study since the definition of "lust" is to desire something forbidden and the definition of "adultery" is sexual intercourse with another man's wife. In fact, it is impossible for a single woman to commit adultery!
THE PROBLEM with calling normal, healthy desires adultery is that it is a LIE!
Note: The word* adultery:Even though the first reference to the "word" adultery is found in Exodus 20:14God made reference to adultery as far back as Genesis 20:3
"But God came to Abimelech in a dream by night, and said to him, Behold, thou [art but] a dead man, for the woman which thou hast taken; for she [is] a man's wife." Genesis 20:3Notice again how adultery always involves another man's wife or the woman betrothed to him.
Click Here to Read: Who was Rahab
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"The Gospel hath neither recalled nor forbid what was permitted in the law of Moses with respect to marriage." From the translation of a notorized letter dated 1539 approving of the polygamous marriage of Philip, Landgrave of Hesse, and signed by Martin Luther, Philip Melancthon, Martin Bucer, Antony Corvin, Adam, John Leningue, Justus Wintferte, and Denis Melanther.-- Martin Luther --
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