Thursday, July 8, 2010


I have often thought of heaven as being an eternal Garden of Eden, with the only differences being there will be no serpent and no tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The serpent has been cast into the lake of fire (Rev. 20:10), and there will be no need of a tree of knowledge for "we shall know, even as we are known" (1 Cor. 13:12). Our experience will obviously be different than Adam's and Eve's, because we will be in our resurrected, glorified bodies (1 Cor. 15:54; 1 Jn. 3:2). In the first "marriage," Adam and Eve were instructed to multiply (Gen. 1:28). The institution of marriage may not be necessary for there will be no more giving birth to children; angels do not reproduce (Matt. 22:29-30). I believe that the only marriage that is relevant is that of Christ and His bride (Rev. 19:7-9; 21:2, 9-14). It is my understanding that the population of heaven will never increase or decrease (Gen. 2:9; 3:22, 24; Rev. 2:7; 22:2, 14).

God's instructions to Adam and Eve were to them as equals; Eve did not become subordinate to Adam until after she enticed him to eat of the forbidden fruit (Gen. 3:16). From that point in history until the time of Christ, women were treated as possessions rather than equals. But things began to change with Jesus. His genealogy, especially in Matthew's Gospel which was written to show Jesus as Israel's Messiah, included five women! And they were not upstanding members of society as one would expect in the lineage of royalty. T(h)amar was a deceiver (Gen. 38:6-30). Ra(c)hab was a harlot who was the mother of Booz or Boaz (cp. 1 Chron. 2:11 w/ Matt. 1:5). Ruth was a Gentile (Ruth 1:4). Bathsheba was an adulteress (cp. 2 Sam. 11:3-4 w/ Matt. 1:6). And Mary, the mother of Jesus, was thought to be an "unwed mother" (Matt. 1:18-25). And if mentioning these is not enough to show the Lord is no respecter of persons, male or female (Acts 10:34), the Gospels are replete with examples of women shown as supporters (Lk. 8:2-3), students (Lk. 10:39), and devote witnesses for Christ (Jn. 20:18). A Gentile woman was used as an example of great faith (Matt. 15:21-28). Anna is another great example (Lk. 2:36-38). From the very beginning of Matthew's Gospel, it is clear that there was something happening with regard to the status of women.

There are those who say that everything that occurred in the Gospels happened before the beginning of the Church at Pentecost, and that Church doctrine should not be based upon them. I would remind them that "All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect, th(o)roughly furnished unto all good works" (2 Tim. 3:16-17). What I am about to say will probably get me placed on the "list of heretics" some of the brethren are fond of making, but it must be said. While all Scripture is truth and all Scripture is inspired of the Holy Spirit, not all Scripture is to be used to guide the behavior of His Church. Animal sacrifices, offering the life of one's first born, dietary restrictions, Sabbath worship, circumcision, etc. are not Christ's requirements for His Church. All of these examples are from Scripture, but none of them apply to the Church. Tomorrow, Lord willing, I will try to explain further.

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