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Dear friends,

Welcome to my blog. I am honored to have you visit. I hope you'll find my articles a blessing. I welcome your input and especially comments and questions.

I write as a Christian from Jerusalem, Israel about Biblical subjects.

I am particularly interested in the subjects of children, families, women's issues, corporal punishment, science and nature as these subjects relate to the Holy Scriptures.

For more information, see my website: www.biblechild.com

With every good wish - Samuel Martin

Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Two Churches - Part Four

The Two Churches - Part Four

 In a continuation of this series, we’re going to address the issue of tithing.

In my discussion of Church One and things that characterize it, tithing is pretty much standard throughout most churches that follow the Church One model.

Here is what I said about tithing:

"Church One members are required to pay “tithes” according to the interpretation of Church One leaders. Church One leaders are exempt from paying anything as they are the recipients of the “tithe.” Members are also expected to give sacrificial gifts to Church One and many members will often go without many basic needs to give money to Church One."

Let me say at the outset that I believe that the work of God needs to be financed. This is obvious.

The problem that many people have though is the use of the Bible by some ministers as a tool to demand financial support.

As I have said in the beginning of this series, I grew up in the World Wide Church of God started by the late Herbert W. Armstrong. My father, Ernest L. Martin, held a high position in that church until 1974, when after resigning his position as the Chairman of the Department of Theology in Ambassador College (the academic institution associated with the World Wide Church of God), he was excommunicated.

One of the issues that my father was immediately called upon to address was the issue of tithing. This was because the World Wide Church of God adhered to one of the most oppressive interpretations of the doctrines of tithing that could be found in Christendom.

Thousands of people contacted my father over this issue because of the oppression that their families faced at the hands of Mr. Armstrong and his ministers. Not only were people required to give 10% of their incomes, the World Wide Church of God added interpretations related to the second and third tithe mentioned in Scripture which required people to give more money.

On top of this were regular appeals for additional funds.

It was this system that lead Mr. Armstrong to lead a lavish lifestyle, which included a private jet, which was all administrated by the World Wide Church of God and financed with money secured through an oppressive system of tithing.

As I said, my father was in touch with thousands of people who were a part of this horrifying organization.

So, he decided to take action. 

He wrote a booklet called "The Tithing Fallacy" followed by a second edition called "The Tithing Dilemma."

Thankfully, through the publication of those booklets (more than 100,000 copies of those booklets were printed), thousands of people were released from the bondage placed upon them where ministers wrongly used the beautiful teachings of the word of God to force people to give them tithes.

So let's be clear and in this regard, I will quote from my father's work (who passed away in 2002) to be clear on this issue, which is a very serious one and deserves careful consideration.

"The Tithing Doctrine

Tithing is a biblical law that God intended Israelites to keep. But so were the biblical laws concerning the sacrificing of animals. Does this mean that Christians today are expected to sacrifice animals in their
churches (rather than on an altar in a temple at Jerusalem) because such rituals were once ordained in the Bible? Most Christians would not think those Old Testament laws are obligatory for Christians today -and the Bible shows they are no longer required.
Tithing, however, has been looked on differently, especially by certain Christian ministers who need a ready supply of money to operate their organizations. It is often argued that God still demands tithing and that a person who does not give a tenth of his income for the maintenance of a Christian ministry is robbing from God. Ministers, however, ought to know better. Any preacher who studies the Bible should be well aware that there is not the slightest biblical authority to sustain such beliefs. The tithing laws of the Bible are no more valid today for Christians than the offering of animal sacrifices. Even if the tithing laws were in force, Christian ministers would still not have any authority from God to use a penny of such tithe for their ministerial functions. This is because the tithe was ordained by Moses to be paid only to the Levites (a tribe of ancient Israel that was responsible for maintaining priestly functions in the ritual system of the nation). From the time of Moses onward, the Bible makes it clear that Israelites were to pay their tithe to a group of people called the Levites who (among other things) ministered in the temple (Num.18:21).

"And, behold, I have given the children of Levi all the tenth in Israel for an inheritance, for their service of the tabernacle of the congregation."

It was made abundantly evident that the biblical tithe was to be paid to the tribe of Levi. Since the time of Moses, no one else has had the slightest authority to receive that tithe. Even Christ Jesus, while he was teaching on earth, did not use (nor demand) a penny of biblical tithe to fund his preaching activities or those of his apostles. After all, our Lord was descended in an adoptive way from Judah (Hebrews 7:14). He was not a Levite. This made him ineligible to receive the biblical tithe that was ordained for Levites at the time of Moses.

    The central fact was this: Only members of the tribe of Levi were commissioned in the Bible to receive the tithe (the tenth). The Levites in turn were to give one tenth of the tithe to the priests (Numbers 18:25-28) who did not tithe at all. In this modern time, however, even Levites and Priests are disqualified from receiving any biblical tithe for their use because there is no official body of men functioning as Priests or Levites in a temple at Jerusalem." (The Tithing Dilemma, Ernest L. Martin - Foundation for Biblical Research: Pasadena:CA:1974)

This was exactly how the Pastor General and the ministers in the World Wide Church of God looked at tithing and this is exactly how hundreds of ministers today who open up Malachi 3 in pulpits all over the world and tell their flocks that they are thieves is they do not tithe.

"Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions." (Malachi 3:8)

This is a powerful text used in the hands of a religious authority. However, when we look at the whole counsel of God, we find that this issue is not so easy to understand.

This is what my father came to discover in his academic pursuits. He relays one story how after contacting three Rabbis, they independently of each other, informed him that adherents to Judaism today, who have the Old Testament (the Hebrew Bible) as their sacred scripture, DO NOT TITHE!

If modern believers in Judaism are not required to tithe, one wonders how Christian preachers have come to believe something else? Here is what my father noted concerning his learning the truth of this point.

"Jewish theologians are well aware that only Levites have the right to receive the biblical tithe from the people. After all, they have the Old Testament as their Scripture and that is what it commands. In regard to
this, it may be profitable to relate an event that happened to me over thirty years ago. A letter had been given to me for answering. It was from a woman who heard that modern Jews were not tithing. She wanted to know whether the information was true, and if so, why the Jews violated the plain laws of the Bible which spoke of tithing as a law to be obeyed?
Having read her letter, I began to share her concern. To resolve the matter I telephoned three different rabbis in the Los Angeles area for their explanation. Much to my dismay, all three of them, independently of each other, informed me that no religious Jew should tithe today. I was startled at their replies. ...     By the time I spoke with the last rabbi, my youthful indignation was beginning to show at what I considered to be their flagrant violation of biblical law. But the rabbi very wisely began to show me my ignorance -not his -in the matter of tithing. First, he admitted that none of his congregation paid one penny of tithe that was demanded in the Old Testament. He said: "If any member of my synagogue paid tithes in the scriptural manner, he would be disobeying the law of God." I was staggered by his answer. He went on to inform me that since the Bible demands that the tithe be paid only to Levites, it would be a sin to pay them to anyone else. Further, because there is now no official Levitical order of Priests ministering at a temple in Jerusalem, he said it was illegal in this modern period to pay any biblical tithe. He went on to say, however, that the moment a temple is rebuilt, with a consecrated altar, and with the priesthood officiating at that altar (with Levites there to assist them), then every Jew who lives in the tithing zones mentioned in the Bible would be required to tithe according to the biblical commands.

    This teaching was a revelation to me (as it may be to some of our readers). The rabbi gave the proper biblical answers. There is no ordained Levitical priesthood in existence today. To pay the biblical tithe to anyone else but the Levites, or to pay it to Levites and Priests without them functioning in their regular ordained offices, would be sin both to the giver and the receiver of the tithe. The rabbi told me: "If we are to obey the law, we cannot pay tithe unless we pay it to the ones ordained by God to accept that tithe when they are performing their sacred duties."

    The rabbi explained that though he was the chief rabbi of his synagogue, he was not a Levite. He said he was descended from the tribe of Judah and was thereby ineligible to receive tithe. This same disqualification applied even to Christ Jesus while he was on earth since he was reckoned as having come from the tribe of Judah. This same restriction was applicable to the activities of the apostle Peter (because he was also from Judah) and the apostle Paul (because he was from Benjamin). Neither Christ nor those apostles were Levites so they were disqualified from receiving any part of the biblical tithe. It is just that simple.

    The rabbi went on to say that the activities of his synagogue were financially supported through the  adoption of the "patron system by its members. That is, families would buy seats in the synagogue for various prices each year. The rabbi mentioned that many of his congregation paid more than a tenth of their income to get the better seats in the synagogue. The money to buy those seats was not, however, the biblical tithe. ... This is because the money is paid to the synagogue and not to an ordained Levitical priesthood.

    The rabbi (in everything he said) was correctly interpreting the teaching of the Holy Scripture. While many Christian ministers today teach that Christians may be in danger of missing salvation itself if they do not pay tithes to the church, Jewish rabbis know better than to say such a thing. They realize that it is biblically improper (actually, it is a blatant disobedience to the laws of the Bible) for anyone to pay or to receive the biblical tithe today. And any minister or ecclesiastical leader who uses the biblical tithe today is an outright sinner in the eyes of God." (ibid.)

These are strong words, and they are as needed today as when my dad first wrote them in 1974 because I have been in many, many churches in my life and most of them demand tithing.

These are just several of the most relevant points raised by my father and he comprehensively addressed every point about tithing and showing that there is great abuse among Christian ministers today concerning this issue. For interested parties, this book, "The Tithing Dilemma" is available through most bookstores.

So, how would Church Two be different?

1. There would be no legal system for giving, it would be based on love.

2. Those who were blessed more with financial means would give more.

3. Those who were poor or in need of assistance would be helped by the community in a way that was dignified and designed to help them in a family oriented way. Of course, assistance would be given with the expectation that someone being helped would also need to do their part to seek a more sustainable circumstance. In some cases, this might not be possible, but most situations of this case also allow for the introduction of social assistance from the governmental sector to which the Christian community could also offer assistance.

4. The religious institution would be accountable for the funds and strict checks and balances would be in place not allowing decision making over funding issues to be centralized under the decision of one person ever!

We'll continue this series talking next time about "Church Doctrinal Committees." 

Postscript on Tithing

I got this from a close friend who was well experienced in the whole tithing system of the World Wide Church of God.

The 1st tithe was 10% of gross, not net and was sent in to 'headquarters' read that... Herbert's private pocket [Rader said he was later classified as a 'corporate sole' (similar to the structure of the Catholic Church for example), so it indeed, go into his private pocket].

The 2nd tithe was to be privately saved for the individual in their account and used to attend the FOT [Feast of Tabernacles]

The 3rd tithe was every seventh year. This too, was to be sent into HQ supposedly to support needful widows and others. You may read 'and others' as those in HQ to spend as they wished. I know of one friend who had his toddler fall behind a car backing out of his driveway and had a goodly portion of her head crushed. When he went to the local minister for a few bucks, he only offered $50.

So much for 3rd tithe in that instance. [The toddler didn't die and ultimately came through as though nothing had happened].

I know of another case where a lady and friend whose husband had died. She could not afford heating for her small apartment and would come home from work to near freezing temps [he lived in NorthDakota at the time]. To survive, she simply crawled into bed soon after getting home and would stay there until ready to go to work the next day.)

Often missed in 'write ups' about church giving are the pleas by their ministers to 'give all you can'. WCG was great at that con. I personally know people who gave a house, generous portions of money from sales of their farms and other assets. Also, regarding the land Sabbath, I know of one 'prosperous' (and he was) farmer who lost his entire operation. He even had built a new house on his property and eventually that went down the tube as well. They lost all.

Regarding not working on the Sabbath, I know of one dear friend who waited to milk his cows until the sun went down on the Sabbath evening. He lost his entire herd of milk cows. This same man literally gave a large portion of his farm to WCG (I think 80 acres, maybe more... 160?). I personally flew to Pasadena and had a couple meetings with members of their legal staff to get the land back. That, of course, never happened, but they were considering it. (As a follow up corollary, the same man and family had an uncle die, and he inherited from him the same amount of land that was given away in addition to other financial benefits.)

I'd love to hear your comments on tithing

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Two Churches - Part Three

The Two Churches - Part Three

In this series, I continue to reflect on some of my own experiences in growing up in a very dictatorial, patriarchal oriented church.

The following was very true for the church I grew up in:

"Church One leaders often have a cadre of lawyers and accountants around them to help them take advantage of every non-profit tax law, tax avoidance, loophole, church property and compensation designation, ad nauseum. If they ever get into trouble, they normally will be seen in the company of the most expensive, high powered attorney’s money can buy."


I have great respect for attorneys, judges and for those in the legal system. Some of the people I admire most can be found in the legal profession.

However, when it comes to matter of faith, it would seem to me that we at least consider the Biblical examples that are relevant to those Biblical figures who found themselves dealing with the legal authorities.

I think this is especially important for someone who is in a leadership position of a religious organization. It seems a bit strange to me that someone who is working for God and supposedly connected to God via the Holy Spirit needs a lawyer to speak for him or her?

I'll let those people answer for themselves, but in my view, a minister of the Gospel, should be prepared to speak for him or herself in any forum without having to have someone as an intermediary.

Some Biblical examples

Now here is how I see the person representing God in any public forum: They speak for themselves!

"But when Paul had appealed to be kept in custody for the decision of the emperor, I ordered him to be held until I could send him to Caesar.” Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear the man myself.” “Tomorrow,” said he, “you will hear him.”

So on the next day Agrippa and Bernice came with great pomp, and they entered the audience hall with the military tribunes and the prominent men of the city. Then, at the command of Festus, Paul was brought in. And Festus said, “King Agrippa and all who are present with us, you see this man about whom the whole Jewish people petitioned me, both in Jerusalem and here, shouting that he ought not to live any longer. But I found that he had done nothing deserving death. And as he himself appealed to the emperor, I decided to go ahead and send him. But I have nothing definite to write to my lord about him. Therefore I have brought him before you all, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that, after we have examined him, I may have something to write. For it seems to me unreasonable, in sending a prisoner, not to indicate the charges against him.” So Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.” Then Paul stretched out his hand and made his defense:" (Acts 25:21-27 & 26:1 ESV)

Paul encountered other situations where he countered directly the arguments of a top lawyer enlisted to present a legal case against him. The whole of the first nine verses of Acts 24 is exactly such a circumstance, but what did Paul do? Hire his own lawyer? Hardly.

"And when the governor had nodded to him [Paul] to speak, Paul replied: {directly responding to a legal case presented against him}

Here is the example of Stephen, who in a context of a Supreme Court environment, spoke for himself!

"And the high priest said, “Are these things so?” 2 And Stephen said:" (Acts 7:1 ESV)


I see this personally as a type of potential indicator of a Churches orientation to being of the Church One or Church Two variety.



Thursday, January 03, 2013

The Two Churches (Part Two)

The Two Churches (Part Two)

In this second part of this series, we are going to look at what I call “Church Two.” We will rehearse what I said about Church One and then give some commentary on how Church Two would be different.

Church One – Some of its characteristics

Now, I know a little something about Church One. I’ve lived it. I was quite small when I left Church One. (about 8 years old in fact) I’ve also noticed a few similarities that my Church One has with lots of other Church One’s I’ve heard about. Let’s look at some of these:
1.      Headed by a singular charismatic leader who rules Church One with an iron fist from the top down – Everyone here can often just cut and paste the name of their own charismatic church leader here. My charismatic leader was Mr. Herbert W. Armstrong, the Pastor General (love those military terms) of the World Wide Church of God. [Note: if you are presently in a denomination where the head of your church chooses to identify himself by the term “Pastor General”, this could be an immediate signal to leave the church immediately.]

How would Church Two be different?

1.      It would still be headed by a singular charismatic leader, but that leader would first and fore mostly not be a human. It would be Jesus Christ.
2.      From an administrative point of view, a leader of Church Two should follow the characteristics and orientation in leadership found in Jesus’ own teachings. Note the following:
a.       “A dispute also arose among them, as to which of them was to be regarded as the greatest. And he said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them, and those in authority over them are called benefactors. But not so with you. Rather, let the greatest among you become as the youngest, and the leader as one who serves. For who is the greater, one who reclines at table or one who serves? Is it not the one who reclines at table? But I am among you as the one who serves.” (Luke 22:24-27 ESV)
b.      Peter also said: "Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being examples to the flock" (I Peter 5:2,3).
c.       Comments: There is no hierarchy here. Here we are supposed to imitate God who serves us. Remember this text:
d.      “You [God] prepare a table before me [David speaking for humanity] in the presence of my enemies;” (Psalm 23:5 ESV)
e.       Note also:        “On this mountain the LORD of hosts will make for all peoples a feast of rich food, a feast of well-aged wine,      of rich food full of marrow, of aged wine well refined. [Another text shows that God serves us!] And he will swallow up on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death forever; and the Lord GOD will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth, for the LORD has spoken.” (Isaiah 25:6-8 ESV)
f.       God is a being who “serves” us, not through lordship, but through friendship.
g.      “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15 ESV)
h.      Finally, let’s not think that no administrative roles are relevant. They are, but they should not override the philosophical approach of friendship and family found in the above mentioned texts.

Summing up

“Overseers were not to be rulers in an aristocratic sense. If apostleship were rank alone, this strongly implies rulership and lordship over the flock. But Peter said this should not be. Even though the English version of Hebrews says to remember the ministers "which have the rule over you" (Hebrews 13:7, 17, 24) the Greek words really meant "those who are leading you." Ministers are leaders - but leaders who are servants, not aristocratic lords or commanders! Another point. Though in English ministers are sometimes called "masters" (James 3:1) the Greek is really "teachers."” (Prof. Ernest L. Martin, Principles of Divine Government, Foundation for Biblical Research; Pasadena: CA, 1974)

           2. Church One leaders lead lavish, lifestyles of luxury with the need to have massive resources at their control to do “God’s work” including all types of physically properties, cars, and even lear jet airplanes.

How would Church Two be different?

I saw the following on the Huffington Post and it seems reasonable that a national average for a Protestant pastor would be about $40,000 USD. This seems reasonable. In some geographical places, it might be a little more and others a little less. Obviously, in some places it might be a bit more and in others, a bit less. A Catholic priest would obviously need less money due to being single.

"Even before the recession, most spiritual leaders of small towns and big cities across the United States earned meager salaries, with annual pay for Catholic priests and imams ranging from $25,000 to $30,000 and the average Protestant pastor making $40,000 a year, according to a recent survey." 

The following is a wonderful description from Rev. Kenneth Bailey from his book Paul through Mediterranean Eyes.

“Paul contemplates his apostolic band and sees a small group of traveling preachers who are hungry, thirsty, poorly dressed, wounded and homeless. To top it off, they have to pay their own way. Paul appears to be borrowing vocabulary from a list in Isaiah 58:7. In that text God speaks, telling the people: 'Is not this the fast that I choose:' . . . Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him. Paul’s Greek word for “ill clad” (v. 11) also means “half-naked.” The Hebrew phrase in the above text for “homeless poor” is ‘anawim marudeem which includes the idea of the wandering, homeless poor. Isaiah’s text describes the apostles. For decades Paul had no permanent address, no place to call his own. Three out of the five descriptive words Paul selects appear in Isaiah’s list. Paul’s choice of words also links cameo 4 to the great “self-emptying” passage in Philippians 2:6-8. Now here, to a lesser degree, we see the self-emptying of Paul. (pg. 149)

Paul was a brilliant scholar. At the same time, he was able to “dumb down” his presentations of the gospel and could appeal to the uneducated, tough, immoral flotsam of Corinth. Working as a poorly dressed, itinerant tentmaker would have thrown him in with the trades’ people of the city. He gained a following… (p.177)

At the same time on occasion Paul does accept financial aid, not only for the “poor in Jerusalem” but also for himself (Phil 4:14-18). Travel costs appear to be in a special category for Paul as we shall see in our examination of chapter 16. Paul’s working principle seems to be: I will not accept financial assistance for serving you, but you can help me serve others. Perhaps the key phrase is the question “Am I not free?”
If Paul accepts financial assistance from the Corinthians, they will have considerable control over him. If he only accepts help in reaching out to others, they will have a much harder time telling him what to do. Paul is here not only making “the gospel free of charge” for the benefit of the Corinthians. He is also maintaining his own freedom to obey the promptings of the Spirit to go where he is called to go. This is one of the critical freedoms built into an authentic theology of mission. (p.251)

The Book of Amos is famous for its defense of the poor and powerless against the rich and powerful. This theme permeates his prophecy. Paul is deeply concerned for “the weak” (in conscience) and the poor who “have nothing” and are humiliated by the rich (8:9-13; 11:22). (p.505)

Paul urged people to imitate him as he imitated Christ: “I urge you, then, be imitators of me.” (I Cor. 4:6); “Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.” (I Cor. 11:1); Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.” (Ephesians 5:1) “And you became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you received the word in much affliction, with the joy of the Holy Spirit” (I Thess. 1:6) And what did Christ Himself do?

I can also point to the following, which demonstrates the immense poverty of Christ. As an example, I want to point to one statement made by Christ Himself and its place in the historical context of that period. I believe that it relates to this issue of Him being single. Let’s look at it:

“And seeing a crowd about him, Jesus commanded to depart unto the other side. And one scribe came to him and said, Teacher, I will follow you where ever you go. And Jesus said to him, the foxes have holes, and the birds have nests; but the Son of Man has not where to lay his head.” (Matthew 8:18-20)

Now, this passage is one we find in Matthew. Matthew is a book written from a decidedly Hebraic orientation. That means that the culture of the book, its themes, style, and tone is really oriented to Hebraic thinking and if we keep this in mind when reading this book, it will help us to understand it better. [Note: Of late, I have been doing research in Matthew and have been amazed at the things that I have seen – very exciting ideas to help show us just who Christ was and how He really relates well to humanity as that “Suffering Servant” of Isaiah 53. Will be having much more to say on this going forward as I do more research.]

Now, getting back to the passage, Jesus seems to quite clearly state that He at that moment in time, using His own comparison logically, did not have a residence, as did those animals. Now, maybe He did have a home in (or near) Nazareth, but are we sure He did? How can we know? Isn’t it interesting that while Christ was just near death, He said: “When Jesus therefore saw His mother, and the disciple standing by whom He loved, He said to his mother, Woman, behold, your son! Then said he to the disciple. Behold, your mother! And from that hour the disciple took her unto his own home.” (John 19:26,27) [Note: In the Greek language, the word “home” does not appear, but we understand it from the context that Mary was now to be reckoned as the mother of that disciple and he was to be her son and this meant that she would now be living with him.]

Perhaps after that time referenced in Matthew, Christ and His mother may have had to abandon their home wherever it was due to the fear they had of people seeking to kill Him. Note that after the raising of Lazarus from the dead, Christ retreated to near the border of Samaria (John 11:54) because of a fear of being caught and killed. Had He had a stable residence, at that time, it would not have been safe to go there for fear of being apprehended. By Jesus’ retreat to near the border of Samaria, He may have been positioning himself near that area in case He needed to flee into Samaria quickly. Rousseau in the book “Jesus and His World” mentions this exact point in the article on Ephraim which John 11:54 mentions. (p.87)

Now, this passage in Matthew has that Hebraic orientation that I talked about and we in fact know that the ancient Hebrews had some teachings about married life, housing and the role that having a home and a family played in one’s life. They have left us some very interesting quotes to consider which not only bear on the passage in Matthew 8, but also concern the issue of whether or not Jesus was married. Note the following:

“From Deuteronomy 20:5 the Talmud derives the lesson: ‘The Torah teaches the correct procedure: a man should first build a house, then plant a vineyard, and after that marry.’” (Sotah 44a)” (Cohen, Everyman’s Talmud, pg. 162)

This procedure is quite good advice really and we note it even today here in Jerusalem. It is very common for men here today to have to provide the means to marry. A home, a car, holding down a good job, being able to provide for a family, etc. Without these things being in place, men just do not marry and women will not think of marrying someone who cannot provide these necessities. Generally speaking, their families will not allow it or will frown on it strongly and put pressure on a girl to either wait until the man is in a better position to provide these things or urge her to move one to someone else. [Note: The average marrying age for Christian men in Jerusalem these days is in their early thirties as they are forced to wait until they have the financial means to afford to get married.]

We can consider this issue when looking back on that passage in Matthew where Jesus indicates that He, at that time, did not have a place to rest his head. If He did not have a stable home, there is almost no conceivable way that He could have been married. It would seemingly have been a violation of the cultural norms at that time.

Cohen also continues with the very interesting following statement:

“A wife meant a home; hence the saying, ‘a man’s home is his wife’ (Yoma 1.1), and Rabbi Jose said, ‘Never have I called my wife by that word (e.g. – He never spoke of his wife as “his wife”), but always ‘my home.’ (Shab.118b).” (ibid.)

This is a lovely and deserved tribute to the wife of Rabbi Jose. It is a bit poetic and Middle Eastern culture is prone to such speech. Even today, I am always happy to hear my brother in law talking to his wife calling her “Ruhi,” (my spirit), or “Elbi, (my heart) or “Umri,” (my life). These types of terms are used quite commonly even today and we can see from the Rabbi’s statement, he chose to call his wife “Beti” (my home). To him, having a wife was synonymous with having a home. The two were inseparable.

Now, once again consider that passage from Matthew in light of this statement. Jesus said he did not have a home at that time. Chances are that if he did not have a stable home, He also did not have a wife either.

Summing Up

Finally, my late father commented also on Christ’s poverty saying: “Paul recognized that Christ was very poor.” Though he was rich [while in glory before coming to earth], yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich" (Il Cor. 8:9). Christ was well aware of what it was to be poor. Some of us have been, or still are, poor, but so was our Lord. He knows what we all go through because he has experienced it himself.” (Ernest L. Martin, The Degradation of Christ: FBR Pasadena:CA, 1980.)

To be continued... SSM