The Biblical Examiner
An Examination of Biblical Precepts Involved in Issues at Hand

July, 1994



The god of the Belly


Christ explained what the cost to Himself was going to be in order to please the Heavenly Father, Mat 16:21. The response He got was Peter's effort to dissuade Him from following through with the Father's will. Then Christ explains the cost to His disciples of their following the Father's will. This was neither the first nor last time the Lord explained the cost of discipleship, e.g. Mat 8:19.

The cost of discipleship can be divided into 3 areas, Mat 16:24: first let him deny himself second take up his cross, and third follow me. Clearly, the Lord never offered His followers an easy path in following Him. In fact, His offer is quite the opposite of ease: For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps, 1 Pe 2:21. Thus the Lord promised persecution and suffering in following Him:

Isa 53:2 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plan and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, !there is] no beauty that we should desire him.

Christ offers nothing appealing to human nature nor to fallen man that would cause the natural man to desire to follow Him; His offer is made through the Spirit Who must draw the individual to Christ. Christ offers peace with the Holy, Righteous Heavenly Father; Christ offers rest from the heavy load of sin; His offers appeal not to the flesh, but are made appealing to the spirit of man by the Spirit of God.

The rest of Mat 16 expands upon the cost presented in v. 24.

No men do more harm to themselves, than they that love themselves more than God. [Geneva]

1) deny life and worldly gain.

This first area speaks of having proper priorities. The follower of Christ is not required to take a vow of poverty, but he must receive the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour.

[Rom 10:13] 1) he to whom a person or thing belongs, about which he has power of deciding; master, lord la) the possessor and disposer of a thing 1a1) the owner; one who has control of the person, the master lag) in the state: the sovereign, prince, chief, the Roman emperor 1b) is a title of honour expressive of respect and reverence, with which servants greet their master lc) this title is given to: God, the Messiah.

Lord means owner or master; owner or master speaks of servitude, and a servant does not establish his own priorities. Thus as he follows his Lord, heay be in a poverty state, but that discission is His Lord's, not his.

In the Christian context of the Word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ establishes His disciples' priority through His Word.

2) take up his cross... The Lord's words here and in Mat 10:38 are identical. The disciples well knew about the physical cross: it was a common, very painful means of punishing criminals. On the other hand, twentieth century "Western Christianity" exists in a day of no punishment for criminals. Thus when the word cross is used today, many times it is only connected with Christ's crucifixion: something "invented" just for Christ.

The modern lack of just punishment for lawlessness in the civil realm has a tremendous influence on the "religious" realm. Civil governments are to represent God on earth in punishing evil and rewarding good, Rom 13; therefore, when they misrepresent God, men receive the wrong impression of God's view of evil. Of course, men are without excuse for their evil, but it is difficult to connect proper cause and effect when families, churches and civil rulers fail to enforce righteous cause and effect. The people of Christ's day understood the result of lawlessness, viz. the cross.

By using the word cross, Christ made it clear to His disciples that following Him was neither a passive proposition nor a bed of ease and roses. Matthew Henry, writing in 1709, said:

N24-28 A true disciple of Christ is one that does follow him in duty, and shall follow him to glory. He is one that walks in the same way Christ walked in, is led by his Spirit, and treads in his steps, whithersoever he goes. "Let him deny himself." If self-denial be a hard lesson, it is no more than what our Master learned and practised, to redeem us, and to teach us. "Let him take up his cross." The cross is here put for every trouble that befalls us. We are apt to think we could bear another's cross better than our own; but that is best which is appointed us, and we ought to make the best of it. We must not by our rashness and folly pull crosses down upon our own heads, but must take them up when they are in our way. If any man will have the name and credit of a disciple, let him follow Christ in the work and duty of a disciple. If all worldly things are worthless when compared with the life of the body, how forcible the same argument with respect to the soul and its state of never-ending happiness or misery! Thousands lose their souls for the most trifling gain, or the most worthless indulgence, nay, often from mere sloth and negligence. Whatever is the object for which men forsake Christ, that is the price at which Satan buys their souls. Yet one soul is worth more than all the world. This is Christ's judgment upon the matter; he knew the price of souls, for he redeemed them; nor would he underrate the world, for he made it. The dying transgressor cannot purchase one hour's respite to seek mercy for his per

ishing soul. Let us then learn rightly t-o value our souls and Christ as the only Saviour of them. [Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary, a greatly abbreviated version of Matthew Henry's Commentary as found on Online Bible, CD, Apl 94.]

• Cross:

First, Christ's Mat 16:24 statement was not a passing remark: it was an oft repeated, serious commandment of Christ to His followers. Thus it requires some serious consideration. In fact, the Lord said that if one does not continually take up his cross and follow Him, he is not Christ's disciple. Observe:

Mr 10:21 Then Jesus beholding him loved him, and said unto him, One thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come, take up the cross, and follow me. Lu 9:23 And he said to !them] all, If any (man) will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me. Lu 14:27 And whosoever doth not bear has cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. [The word cannot sounds fairly definite.]

John Gill (1809) remarked concerning Mr 10:21:

...the sense is, that Jesus looked upon him when he expressed himself in such a per: manner, and had a compassionate concern for him; he pitied him for his ignorance of the law, in its spirituality and large extent; for his pride and vanity, his conceit of, and glorying in himself: wherefore, in order to mortify him, and abate these swelling thoughts of himself; he said unto him, one thing thou lackest: go thy way, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come, take up the cross, and follow me .... This young man's reigning sin seems to have been an overweening affection for the things of this world; his riches were his idol, on which his heart was set, and in which he trusted: wherefore he was so far from keeping all the commandments, that he had not kept the first; 'thou shalt have no other gods before me': there was more than one thing wanting in him, but Christ takes notice of this as the first; and there was no need to mention any other; this touched him sensibly, and fully tried, and sufficiently exposed the vanity of his boasted perfection. [Online Bible, CD, Apl 94.]

This man's life was his riches. He was not going to relinquish what he had obtained or might obtain of the world's goods in order to do those things pleasing in his sight How many people are in the same situation as was the man of Mk 10? Thus clearly and surely, they have another god before Him.

Cross does not speak of obedience to the commands of our Lord because we feel lead to follow the Word of God, e.g. "If the Spirit convicts me about such & such," or "If He lays a certain thing on my heart, I will do it." Rather, it speaks of both work and duty for the child of God in following the Word of God, Christ.

Second, in preaching the message of the Cross, Paul developed its implications. Paul's message appears very short and sweet:

1 Co 2:2 For 1 determined not to know any thing among you, except Jesus Christ and him crucified

Obviously, though, his message contained more than just instruction concerning the death, burial and resurrection of Christ.

1 Co 1:17 18 For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none affect For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God

Is the foolishness of the cross simply the death, burial and resurrection? Certainly, to the ungodly, such a message is foolish, for they can neither understand nor believe such "nonsense." But simply the message of Christ's death, burial and resurrection is not offensive, and Paul's message of the cross was very offensive:

Ga 5:11-14 And 1, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do 1 yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased. As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised, only lest the should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ For neir they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. But God forbid that l should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ by whom the world is crucified unto me, and 1 unto the world.

Certainly, the basic message of Christ's death, burial and resurrection for the remission of sins is offensive to some, but it is the total message of the cross that is the most offensive to the natural man. [EN1] Primarily, that message is the loss of ones life and will to the Lord Jesus Christ. More love for God and His Word than for self is offensive to the world, flesh and the devil.

Third, as the message of the cross is developed by Paul, we get a clear understanding of its meaning. The cross explicitly represents death to self and self-will; the gospel of the cross speaks of obedience to the Father's will, as revealed by His Spirit in His Word, to the death. Humility, sacrifice and obedience in spite of personal feelings and opinions, therefore, is the cross' offensive message to fallen man:

Php 2:8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Php 3:17-19 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom 1 have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)

Belly: KJV - womb 12, belly 11; 23 - 1) the whole belly, the entire cavity, la) the upper [i.e. stomach] and the lower belly are distinguished [Greek lit only, no Bible usages, ed] 2) the lower belly, the lower region, the receptacle of the excrement 3) the gullet 3a) to be given up to the pleasures of the palate, to gluttony [Phil 3:19, ed] 4) the womb, the place where the foetus is conceived and nourished until birth 4a) of the uterus of animals 5) the innermost part of a man, the soul, heart as the seat of thought, feeling, choice. [See Thayer, 112836.]

E.g. in our wicked day, one of many offensive messages of the cross is that sex outside marriage is wicked; it is so offensive, in fact, that landlords are many times taken to court for refusing to rent to sodomites and/or fornicators.

[Php 3:18] He shows what the false apostles truly are, not from malice or ambition, but with sorrow and tears, that is, because being enemies of the Gospel (for that is joined with persecuting it) they regard nothing else, but the benefits of this life: that is to say, that abounding in peace, and quietness, and all worldly pleasures, they may live in great estimation among men, whose miserable end he forewarned them of. [Geneva]

Paul identifies the enemies of the cross as those who serve other gods: their God is their belly, i. e. their own personal lusts and desires control their actions. Thus it is

not a stand against the message of the death, burial and resurrection of Christ that makes one an enemy of Christ; rather, it is a "desire for peace, quietness, worldly pleasures and high estimation among men" that makes one an enemy of the cross. The offensive message of the cross involves, among other things, the message that it is wicked to sacrifice responsibility to God for a better standard of living, Mk 10:22.

The offensive message of the cross that results in persecution is the message that requires crucifying, putting to death, the god of the belly:

Ga 2:201 am crucified with Christ nevertheless I live; yet not 1, but Christ liveth an me: and the life which 1 now live in the flesh 1 live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Stephen's message was very offensive; so offensive, in fact, that it cost him his life, Acts 7:2. Stephen's message did not center on the death, burial and resurrection of Christ. Rather, it centered on the attitude of his hearers toward the Word of God:

V. 39, To whom our fathers would not obey... Vv. 52, 53,

Which of the prophet have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it

Stephen accused the religious leaders of being just like their fathers: lawless servants of their bellies, vv. 38, 39. Stephen's charge against his hearers that offended them so greatly was that they were stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, always resisting the Holy Ghost as did their fathers, v. 51. Two of the more recognizable OT passages in Stephen's message are:

2 Ch 30:8 Now be ye not stiffnecked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to the LORD, and enter into his sanctuary, which he hath sanctified for ever: and serve the LORD your God, that the fierceness of his wrath may turn away from you.

Jer 6:10 To whom shall 1 speak, and give warning, that they may hear? behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the LORD is to them a reproach; they have no delight in it

Though we will not examine the contexts of the above passages, the reader should: they warned God's people that God would cut them off and give their inheritance to others. Thus it is easy to understand why Stephen's hearers became so hostile.

Let us say a word about uncircumcised...

Both Old and New Testament circumcision speaks of gladly receiving and following instructions from God's Word, Jer 17:23; Rev 2:1-7. Failure to receive circumcision, and thus Godly instructions, results in the fury of God against the uncircumcised, Jer 4:4; 6:10; 9:25; Heb 12. The NT circumcision of the Spirit made without hands speaks of gladly receiving and following instructions from God's Word, and is evidenced by putting off the body of sins of the flesh and taking up His cross and following Him, Col 2:11; 2 Cor 3:3; Heb 8:9, 10; 10:16, &c. [Php 3:3 - "(3) He shows that we ought to use true circumcision, that is, the circumcision of the heart, so that by cutting off all wicked affections by the power of Christ, we may serve God in purity of life. (c) In outward things which do not at all pertain to the soul." Geneva.] NT circumcision by the Spirit of God was clearly spoken of in the OT, Jer 31:33. Note:

Ro 7:6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead by which we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not [in] the oldness of the letter.

To the uncircumcised of heart and ears, God's LawWord represents bands and cords to be resisted or even broken, Ps 2. But to those who are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, God's Law-Word is seen as God's instructions for laying aside sin and pleasing Him in this life, 1 Jn 3:4. Note that we said not power, but instructions for laying aside sin: Moses defines the '`sin" that is to be laid aside. Grace is God's power to lay aside what God defines as sin.

Thus not only were the fathers of the ones Stephen spoke to lawless, but they killed all the prophets sent them by the Father to rebuke their lawless refusal to turn from the god of their belly, i. e. their own personal lusts and desires. The Just One came with the same message as did the prophets of old: turn in faithfulness back to the Heavenly Father. The leaders refused to turn, and they killed the Messenger. Thus Stephen's charge against the ones that killed him was a charge of being sti stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears: lawless murderers of God's Messenger. They were offended over Stephen's charge of lawlessness, not over the message of the redemptive work of Christ.

Therefore, the cross speaks of victory over the world, flesh and devil as they militate against the Word of God; it speaks of righteous and holy living. The offensive message of the cross is that there is daily victory over the God of the belly; its message requires victory of God's people. People do not want to hear that they must die to the God of the belly because he is quite pleasurable to serve. The things of this world are pleasant to accumulate.

3) and follow me. Christ confirms that the message of the cross is more than simple faith in His redemptive. It involves following Him. This offensive command is given several times in many different ways. The message of the cross can be summed up thusly: FOLLOW ME.

We are to follow Christ in faith, and that faith only starts with faith in the redemptive work of Christ accomplished by His death and victory over death. His victory on the cross not only provides His people's victory over death, but provides for them daily victory in this life over the world, flesh and devil. It is the work of Christ on the cross that enables the Child of God to follow Christ to do the Father's will TO THE DEATH if needs be. Not my will, but thine be done is offensive to the natural man, and he will always resist the work of the Holy Ghost.

and follow me... Note the context of following the Lamb of God:

Re 14:1-5 And 1 looked, and, lo, a Lamb stood on the mount Sion, and with him an hundred forty [and] four thousand, having his Father's name written in their foreheads. And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and

as the voice of a great thunder: and 1 heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred land] forty land] four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth. These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which fallow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, [being] the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb. And in their mouth was found no guile: for they are without fault before the throne of God.

Where does the Lamb of God go? Where does He lead in this life?

1 Pe 2:21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow in his steps: Heb 12:14 Follow peace with all [men], and liness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 2 Ti 2:22 Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart 1 Ti 6:11 But thou, O man of God, flee these things; and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. 1 Th 5:15 See that none render evil for evil unto any [man], but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all [men].

The Lamb leads in the paths of holiness, right living, meekness, goodness, &c. Moreover, we should not overlook John 21:22, Jesus saith unto him, If I will that he tarry till 1 come, what [is that] to thee? follow thou me. In other words, mind our own business; be busy about our Master's work, and He will take care of His servants. Nor can we overlook Col 2:14, Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; Col 1:20 And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself by him, [l say],, whether (they be) things in earth, or things in heaven.

The cross, therefore, also speaks of a clear conscience and peace with God the Father:

4) save... lose... Christ continues to develop the v. 24 doctrine of the cross, v. 25. He tells His disciples how far they must go in letting the Word of God establish their priorities: all the way to the death. Thus there is not an area of life or thought in which one is permitted to establish his own priorities. Many of us have found how offensive this message is even to some who profess Christ: "You are trying to place us under the law instead of under grace." Stephen was killed for accusing the religious leaders of lawlessness.

[Mat 16:25] Shall gain himself: And this is his meaning, they that deny Christ to save themselves, not only not gain that which they look for, but also lose the thing they would have kept, that is, themselves, which is the greatest loss of all: but as for them that doubt not to die for Christ, it goes well with them otherwise. [Geneva]

Paul identifies the enemies of the cross as those who serve other gods: their God is their belly, i.e. their own personal lusts and desires control their actions.

Though people compromise their Christian responsibilities so they can serve the God of their belly, in the end, they lose what they sought to gain. The offensive message of the cross proclaims the message that the pleasant gods of this world, the God of the belly, must be sacrificed to the Word of God. Today, though, instead of killing the preacher of righteousness " Pet 2:5] as was done to Stephen, God's people simply find a more pleasant preacher. Those who serve the god of money, sports, leisure, &c. instead of the Lord God of the Sabbath [Mk 2:28] are enemies of the cross. Is it any wonder they respond to the message of the cross as did Stephen's antagonists?

TWOT makes this comment under vanity, 463a:

Two inexorable principles are illustrated here: (1) every man takes on to some degree the character and nature of the God he worships; (2) the characteristic of all false gods is that they destroy their worshipers...

We all know of parents who compromised Godliness so as not to offend their children. Now the children are serving the devil. Others have refused to "sacrifice" their good jobs, finances, pride, &c. to get their children out of the state schools, e.g. they desired the children be able to serve the god of sports. The children became like the gods the parents served. They not only became like the God of their belly, but their God destroyed all who served him.

EN1. We mass mailed the little salvation booklet, The Other Jesus, to many pastors. We were quite surprised at the number of responses we received from pastors who were offended that we stood firm upon faith in the atoning work of Christ alone for salvation and against salvation simply by prayer: "Pray this prayer, Ask Jesus into your heart, and you will be saved," &c.

A Bible Point

Teaching Daughters to Blaspheme God

[Being the father of two girls, 9 & 17, I have had to rethink several things. I have placed some of the areas of thought in past mailings. This is another point that must be considered by Christians and fathers of young ladies. Of course, the following is presented for consideration assuming a consistent Christian home and with the understanding that all the Bible training in the world will do nothing but bring rebellion unless the young person is a new creation in Christ Jesus, "born again." Our daughter finds it very disheartening that all but three girls she knows her age have either rushed to marry or have started living with boys. Rebellion against the parents' authority that causes a young person to take up an immoral lifestyle, either in or out of his/her parents' house, is an obvious sign of desperately needed genuine conversion.)

We live in a society that has been very effectively "secularized:" the practical applications of God's Word have been almost totally removed and replaced by humanistic, man-centered thinking. The only hope for the future is to rethink every area of life in terms of the Word of God. This is particularly important when we consider that we must prepare a new generation of young people to face the difficult times ahead in what appears to be a developing pagan society. Are we going to raise a generation that trusteth in man or a generation that trusteth in the Lord? If Christians actually believe what they claim, they will act upon and according to the Word of God regardless of what surrounding society thinks, says &/or does.

Jer 17:5-11 Thus saith the LORD; Cursed (be) the man that trusteth in man, and maketh flesh his arm, and whose heart departeth from the LORD. For he shall be like the heath in the desert and shall not see when good cometh; but shall in habit the parched places in the wilderness, [in] a salt land and not inhabited. Blessed [is] the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and !that] spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought neither shall cease from yielding fruit. The heart[s] deceitful above-all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know at? 1 the LORD search the heart X try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, land] according to the fruit of his doings. [As] the partridge sitteth [on eggs], and hatcheth !them] not; [so] he that getteth riches, and not by right shall leave them in the midst of his days, and at his end shall be a fool.

Every area of life and thought must be rethought, starting with the families. Parents, fathers especially, must realign their actions and attitudes toward their children with the Word of God and train them accordingly. I suppose my heart is toward the daughters in a family because we only have daughters.

Unknown to most parents and pastors, they are likely training sincere, Godly Christian young ladies to bring reproach upon the Word of God by urging them to depart from their fathers' homes before marriage. When we train up girls to be self-sufficient, we do it to our own destruction and to the destruction of society. Certainly, it may seem right to the deceitful, desperately wicked heart to urge and train girls to be self-sufficient, but the Word of God searches and tries the reins of the heart. The Lord will return upon all according to their doings. Thus when Christian young people are trained contrary to the Word of God, we can fully expect society in general to blaspheme God.

The training of young women to bring reproach upon the Lord and to provide the enemy with the opportunity to blaspheme the Word of God probably started in earnest with WW II: men went to the war and women went to the factories. One of our men said that his grandfather told him that he, the grandfather, said at the start of WW II when women went into the factory, "This is the end of America." How right he was.

God created man; then He created woman to be man's helpmeet, 1 Cor 11, 1 Tim 2. Therefore, the goal of both the church and family must be training Christian young ladies to fit within God's creation plan and purpose. Notice Paul's instructions to Titus:

Titus 2:1-5 But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine: That the aged men be sober, grave, temperate, sound in faith, in charity, in patience. The aged women likewise, that [they be] in behaviour as becometh holiness, not false accusers, notgiven to much wine, teachers ofgood things; That they may teach the young women to be sober, to love their husbands, to love their children, [To be] discreet chaste, keepers at home, good, obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed

As we know, the Books of Timothy and Titus are "Pastoral Epistles." Thus they are instructions to pastors concerning training God's people. Though speaking of young widows, Paul's instructions to Timothy should be noted:

1 Tim 5:14, 151 will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully. For some are already turned aside after Satan.

Patrick Fairbairn, writing in 1874, said concerning Titus 2:4, 5:

That they school the young women to be lovers of their husbands, lovers of their children; ver. 5, discreet chaste, workers at home, good, submitting themselves to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed ...The word, though originally signifying to make discreet or prudent; came often to be used in the more general sense of schooling, or admonishing, with a view to the possession of certain things; and the reason, probably, why the apostle here used it, instead of some word expressive simply of teaching or instructing, was, that on account of the youth of the parties in question, he contemplated the necessity of a kind 0f authoritative disciplinary treatment from the older to the younger Christian females... In the epithets themselves, which mark the different characteristics that were to be the objects of the schooling, there is no proper difficulty; they are all such as especially became young women who were disposed to bring their Christianity to bear on the regulation of their conduct in daily life, and through this reflect honour on their Saviour... [After describing the characteristics of vv. 4 & 5, he concludes] In a measure, however, this must be carried back over the whole description; for in any one respect a behaviour contrary to that recommended would more or less have the effect of bringing reproach on God's word. [Pastoral Epistles, by Patrick Fairbairn, originally published by T & T Clark, 1874. Reprint by Klock & Klock, 1980, pp 273, 274.]"

Thus training of young Christian ladies in behaviour contrary to that recommended by Paul brings reproach on God's word. Paul's instructions to Titus, contrary to most modern Christian opinions and actions, were not voided by W W II. The training of Christian young ladies for life must fit within the general guidelines given by the Spirit, e.g. working with children; keepers at home and of the home, organization, &c.; how to be discreet, pure, good; and how to use common sense. All of Proverbs 31 easily fits within the general guidelines established by the Spirit for a young lady's schooling.

Primarily, young ladies are to be taught proper submission to Godly authority, not how to be self-sufficient. Sadly, because young men are not trained in the home to be Godly, responsible men, women are being forced into self-sufficiency. Thus a young lady's father desperately needs to closely examine her prospective husband.

Therefore, training that does not fit within the Spirit's general guidelines trains daughters to blaspheme the word of God. Paul clearly tells Titus how young ladies are to be trained.

Our point is this: Godly Christian parents, even with the encouragement of Godly pastors, are pressuring young ladies to leave home and become self-sufficient, e.g. "It's time to go to college and learn a `trade,' &c." Obviously, all young ladies who go "on their own" from the pressure of their parents will not go to the devil. But why tempt the Lord? God, in His creation purpose, did not create Eve to be self-sufficient and on her own. Has nature changed since Eve's creation?

There are several things that might cause daughters to feel pressured to leave their father's house, e.g.:

First, not letting them grow up at home. As they get older, parents may be inclined to continue treating them as 12 year olds with the same restrictions and demands. As they get older, they must have more freedom. Either they will have freedom under the Godly authority of their parents or they will find freedom on their own. Of course, freedom cannot be license to sin; single young people, especially a young lady, must always have boundaries in order to feel secure; that is the way the Lord made us, e.g. this is the way, walk ye in it. Thus when she is urged or even force out on her own, she establishes her own boundaries and the word of God is blasphemed.

Second, she is told in words &/or attitudes that it is time to move out. A girl is not a boy. A boy should be trained to be on his own, responsible and self-sufficient under God, but a girl is not so equipped by God. Thus when daughters are told, "You are this age, it's time to move out," they are being forced into something they are not equipped by God to handle.

Certainly, there are Godly single women who have remained so in order to serve the Lord. But their service fits within the guidelines established by the Spirit. We are here considering parents pressuring and training their daughters to be self-sufficient and independent of authority, viz. "on their own." As mentioned above, our corrupt society in which men refuse to be men forces young ladies into "self-sufficient" situations. If they are forced into such situations, that is a different story, but they should still be well-prepared to know what to expect, to remain close to the Lord and to be responsive to proper authority.

Fathers (& mothers) may use many reason to excuse molding their daughters into women who can fit into the "working" world, but they will be hard pressed to justify their actions from the Word of God. Paul did not say that the Spirit's command in Titus 2 is only in effect until the twentieth century.

• Sound the alarm

Recently, the media proclaimed the glories of 500 women going on the Aircraft Carrier Eisenhower where 6,000 men are stationed (pregnancy, said the ship's captain, is no more of a problem than a broken leg. Abortion?). Women are reaching unequaled levels of "equality" with men. Though Bible believing Christians and pastors may be loudly proclaiming the shame of women taking on obviously unBiblical, antiChristian roles in society, the "Women's Lib" movement appears to be gaining great strength. But the problem starts in the "Christian" homes: they have trained and are training their own Christian daughters to bring reproach upon the Word of God.

• Apparel

While on the subject of young ladies, let us consider a word concerning the apparel of a Christian woman. R.J. Rushdoony, in one of his lesson tapes on Deuteronomy, called attention to a statement made by Adam Clarke (1762-1832). Speaking concerning Deut 22:5, Clarke said:

[that which pertaineth unto a man] the instruments or arms of a man. As the word [Hebrew] geber is here used, which properly signifies a strong man or man of war, it is very probable that armour is here intended; especially as we know that in worship of Venus, to which that of Astarte or Ashtraouth among the Canaanites bore a striking resembalance, the women were accustomed to appear in armour before her. It certainly cannot mean a simple change in dress, whereby the men might pass for women, and vice versa. This would have been impossible in those countries where the dress of the sexes had but little to distinguish it, but where every man wore a long beard It is, however, a very good general precept understood literally, and applies particularly to those countries where the dress alone distinguishes between the male and the female. The close-shaved gentleman may at any time appear like a woman in the female dress, and the woman appear as a man in the male's attire. Were this to be tolerated in society, it would produce the greatest confusion... [Clarke's Commentary in 6 volumes, Abingdon-Cokesbury Press, New York - Nashville. Vol I, pp 794, 795.1

Thas God speaks clearly against several things in Deut 22:5: 1) women in the military; 2) women in occupations that are generally associated with men, and 3) women who are indistinguishable from men in their dress. When dress is the primary distinction between the sexes, then woman are forbidden to ware men's apparel.

Men and women wearing the same attire alter the order of nature, and show their despite for God. Women wearing men's apparel in society brings confusion to God's created order, 1 Co 14:33.

Rom 2:23, 24 Thou that makest thy boast of the law, through breaking the law dishonourest thou God? For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you, as it is written.

Obviously, Rom 2 refers to circumcision, but the point is this: many who boast of their love for the Word of God are dishonoring God by causing the name of God to be blasphemed in their families. Christians cannot condemn the unGodly for blaspheming God when their own actions contrary to the Word of God are what causes the word of God to be blasphemed by the unGodly.

We must rethink every area in terms of the Word of God, starting in our own homes.


Mat 19:1-9

Among the vast multitudes following Christ were His antagonists, the Pharisees. We read of them every time the Lord stops to do anything, and here they are again. The Lord had warned of those who continually presented stumbling blocks to the people of God, and the Pharisees exemplified His warning, Mat 18:7. His antagonists' question and the Lord's answer in this passage has a point worth consideration, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause. See also Mark 10:2.

The purpose of the question was to tempt Christ; it was put to Him by His enemies in a wicked, vain effort to work Him into a "trap," a contradiction between His and Moses' teachings, Lk 11:53, 54. Their traps, from man's view, were well planned and executed, but they continually failed. No matter how hard the wicked tried, they found NO contradiction between Christ and the law. Clearly, Christ in no way did away with the already established Mosaic Law. If He had countered it in the slightest, these wicked men would have brought charges, for that was their purpose in following Him.

Is it lawful? was not the question. His enemies knew very well that divorce was lawful; therefore, the key phrase is, for every cause. The Pharisees had no desire to know the truth of the matter; their goal was to trap Christ. Christ, as always, gives the proper understanding of Moses; in this case, He gives the proper understanding of Moses on divorce. Christ had already preached a divorce message, Mat 5:31, 32. Therefore, the Pharisees were attempting to approach the matter from another angle to catch Christ off guard. No doubt they heard His sermon on the mount in Mat 5-7.

John Gill gives an excellent explanation. Gill's commentary is dated 1809, Edersheim's date is 1883. From what I have read of Edersheim on the subject of divorce in Christ's day, both say basically the same thing. I wild use a brief statement from Gill because he is in the computer file, OnLine Bible, Apl 94, CD. Observe Gill's quote:

"The house of Shammai say, a man may not put away his wife, unless he finds some uncleanness in her, according to #De 24:1 The house of Hillell say, if she should spoil his food, (that is, as Jarchi and Bartenora explain it, burns it either at the fire, or with salt, i.e. over roasts or over salts it,) who appeal also to Me 24:1. R. Akiba says, if he finds another more beautiful than her, as it is said, #De 24:1 `and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes."'

The commentators {k} on this passage say that the determination of the matter is, according to the school of Millell; so that, according to them, a woman might be put away for a very trivial thing: some difference is made by some of the Jewish doctors, between a first and second wife; the first wife, they say (1), might not be put away, but for adultery ; but the second might be put away, if her husband hated her; or she was of ill behaviour, and impudent, and not modest, as the daughters of Israel. Now our Lord says, without any exception, that a man ought not to put away his wife, whether first or second, for any other reason than uncleanness; and that whoever does, upon any other account... [{k} Maimon. & Bartenora in Gittin, c. 9. sect. 10. {1} T. Bab. Gittin, fol. 90. 2. Maimon. Hilch. Gerushin, c. 10. sect. 21, 22.1

The question was a trap to get a group of people to turn against Christ.

Christ's answered sharper than any two edged sword, Have ye not read... Six times Christ used this statement; thus it was a harsh rebuke to those who prided themselves in their knowledge of Scripture. [Mt 12:3, 5; 19:4; 22:31; Mr 12:10, 26.] But like most who question the Word of God, they cared not the least what Scripture said; they were trying to confuse the issue and catch Christ in an error.

Then Christ confronts them with the Word of God, Gen 2:24. They imply that they well knew what the Scriptures said, for they say, Why did Moses... Surely, they thought, they had caught Christ &/or Moses in a contradiction. Christ's answer places His finger on the problem: because of the hardness of your hearts..., v. 8. The Lord's words here are interesting enough that we need to pursue them. He said, among other things, that because of the hardness of men's hearts, they as individuals will not enforce God's Word concerning marriage:

1. laws concerning how a man is to treat his wife and how a wife is to treat her husband, Ehp 5:2. If we would

simply do unto others as we would have done unto us in our own homes, if a man would simply treat his wife as he treats his own body, if a woman would simply reverence her husband, many family problems would be solved. If husbands and wives would love one another according to 1 Cor 13, what would result?

2. laws concerning the husband's and wife's proper role in the family. There is, according to God's Word, only one head in the family: the Lord God. Then under God, the "chain of command" works down: the husband, then the wife, 1 Cor 11:3. Nor should we ignore proper "occupations" for the family members, particularly husbands and wives, 1 Timothy 5: the man is to provide for the family, and the woman is to remain home, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully.

3. laws concerning the family's children, Eph 6:1. How many husbands &/or wives not only neglect Biblical injunctions concerning the rearing of their children, but they will resist their mates' enforcement of God's demands upon the children?

4. laws concerning adultery and fornication. If man enforced God's laws simply in the areas of morality (as was done in the past in this nation), a vast amount of this wickedness would cease.

We should add the sum total of the Law and the

Prophets: because men will not obey God's laws concerning love toward God and man, he hardens in sin, creating conflicts and contentions within the family, Mat 22:37,&c.

Divorce is a result of the hardness of the human heart in sin. Because individuals will not repent and turn from sin, God made provision for the protection of the innocent party. Was not Christ, God's provision for sin, also a result of the hardness of men's heats?

Thus as society sinks deeper into sin, the divorce rate will escalate. No doubt a graph would show an equal correlation between sin and divorce:` as sin goes deeper, divorce goes higher.

Christ neither forbad divorce as the Pharisees no doubt hoped He would for their evil purpose, nor did He take sides. Rather, He explained the root cause of divorce: ignoring the Word of God's instructions concerning the family. Family members, particularly husbands and wives, refuse to do in their family relationships as they are clearly commented by God's Word. Either or both party's refusal to follow God's word in the family results in increased hardness in sin, 2 Tim 3:13; Heb 3:7; James 1:19; 4:17; 1 Pe 3:12, &c.

The end result is then divorce.