“Unfortunately, I am sorry to report almost everything taught in Christianity today and through the ages regarding sex, human sexuality has been, and still is wrong, leading to mass sexual frustration and deeply rooted sexual bondage. There was one basic problem: in order to understand what the biblical position is on any subject, and particularly on the subject of sex, one has to do it from a Hebrew perspective.“-Dr. Roy B. Blizzard, The Bible, Sex, and You
I believe Gentile Christian teaching in the area of Biblical sexual ethics has committed one fatal error.
The error is that they have failed to make a distinction between God’s ideal standard and what is actually sin.
There is no doubt that God’s ideal is one man and one woman coming together as one flesh for life.
I have no argument with that statement.
However, what I do take issue with is the blanket condemnation and the labeling of sin any other form of sexual activity that doesn’t fit this ideal standard.
This black-and-white approach to sexual ethics is foreign to God’s mind on this subject as expressed in the Scriptures.
First, I submit to you that some of the most revered, prominent and greatest Bible heroes in the Hebrew Scriptures including Yeshua did NOT meet this ideal standard.
-We all know that Abraham slept with Sarah’s slave-girl Hagar and gave birth to Ishmael.
-We have just studied how the 12 tribes of Israel came from Jacob’s two wives Rachel and Leah and two hand maidens.
-King David had at least seven legal wives in addition to his harem of concubines.
(In 2 Samuel 12:8 God, speaking through the prophet Nathan, said that if David’s wives and concubines were not enough, He would have given David even more. Holy Texas tuxedos!)
– Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines. (By the way, the Song of Solomon is a book about King Solomon’s 141st wife!)
-Caleb had two wives. He was one of only two men allowed to enter the promised land! Even Moses didn’t make it into the promised land.
-Now get this. Joash also had two wives selected by a priest.
-The Holy Spirit of God never left the strongman Samson when he was sleeping around with prostitutes. (The Holy Spirit only left him when he got his hair cut resulting in the breaking of his Nazarite vow.)
-Gideon is the son of a prostitute AND had 70 sons through many wives. He is considered to be a man of God.
-Yeshua Himself never met this ideal standard as He never took a wife. I have heard some Chassidic Rabbis discredit His messianic credentials for this very reason.
Second, the Torah rulings themselves assume and make provision for polygamy.
If polygamy is a “sin” as so many people believe, then God would not make rules to work around polygamy, he would clearly denounce it and say it is a sin.
The following Scriptures show that God allowed and assumed the normalcy of polygamy.
“If a man takes another wife, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, and her marriage rights.”-Exodus 21:10
If a man have two wives, one beloved, and another hated, and they have born him children, both the beloved and the hated; and if the firstborn son be hers that was hated:-Deuteronomy 21:15
“If a man marries a woman and her mother, it is depravity; they are to be put to death by fire, both he and they, so that there will not be depravity among you.”-Leviticus 20:14 (NOTE: This rule would be irrelevant if polygamy was a sin.)
Again, far from denouncing polygamy, the Torah makes provision for it.
Finally, don’t misinterpret the Bible’s definition of “sin”.
I think we all have a tendency to play fast and loose with God’s definition of the word “sin“.
As I mentioned at the beginning of this post, I believe the biggest mistake some people make is failing to make a distinction between God’s ideal standard and what is actually a sin.
God’s ideal is NOT necessarily God’s command.
So what is the Biblical definition of sin?
A sin is an action which requires blood sacrifice or blood to be shed.
And that’s it.
For the life of a creature is in the blood,
and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for yourselves;
for it is the blood that makes atonement because of the life.’
“In fact, according to the Torah,
almost everything is purified with blood;
indeed, without the shedding of blood
there is no forgiveness of sins.”
Except for the situation where a daughter prostitutes herself in her father’s house, THERE IS NO PASSAGE IN THE BIBLE THAT STATES YOU NEED A BLOOD SACRIFICE OR FOR BLOOD TO BE SHED WHEN SOMEONE HAS SEX BEFORE MARRIAGE.
Although polygamy is not ideal in God’s eyes, it is NOT condemned as a sin by God.
The rigid, black and white approach to sexual ethics that many fundamentalist organizations promote is NOT an accurate reflection of the Torah’s views on the subject.
It is for good reason that the Jews have always viewed Christianity’s unhealthy and repressive views on sexuality with much scorn and misapprehension.