The Hebrew Scriptures
Certainly in the times of the early scriptures (circa 20th century BC) men, well Abraham specifically, was clearly
in charge of his household. He commanded and his children and wives obeyed:
19 For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of
the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him. (Genesis 18)
It would appear that Abraham's grandson, Jacob continued also in the patriarchal way of commanding similar
respect and obedience amongst his household:
2 Then Jacob said unto
his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your
3 And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who
answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went.
4 And they gave unto Jacob all the
strange gods which [were] in their hand, and [all their] earrings which [were] in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the
oak which [was] by Shechem. (Genesis 35)
One could conjecture from the above that the individual members
of an obedient household of one of God's chosen ones were similarly blessed by association with the householder.
This is indeed clearly stated later on in the Hebrew scriptures:
And the ark of the LORD continued in the house of Obededom the Gittite three months: and the LORD blessed Obededom, and all
his household. (2Samuel 6)
Once the Law was given this seemed to go a step further in that Aaron, as high
priest, was able to seek God's atonement of sins and blessing not only for his own household but for the whole Israelite
17 And there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the
congregation when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place, until he come out, and have made an atonement for himself,
and for his household, and for all the congregation of Israel. (Leviticus 16)
It was also incumbent upon
each householder to ensure his family observed the festivals each year, the scripture thereby assuming that each Israelite
man was in control of his own household:
20 Thou shalt eat it before
the LORD thy God year by year in the place which the LORD shall choose, thou and thy household. (Deuteronomy 15)
Equally our God visited curses on those that rejected Him together with their whole households:
22 And the LORD shewed signs and wonders, great and sore, upon Egypt, upon Pharaoh, and upon all his
household, before our eyes: (Deuteronomy_6)
This theme of cursing whole households through the sin of the
householder is also documented later in the Old Testament scriptures:
In the morning therefore ye shall be brought according to your tribes: and it shall be, [that] the tribe which the LORD taketh
shall come according to the families [thereof]; and the family which the LORD shall take shall come by households; and the
household which the LORD shall take shall come man by man.
15 And it shall be, [that] he that
is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath: because he hath transgressed the covenant
of the LORD, and because he hath wrought folly in Israel. (Joshua 7)
17 Now therefore know
and consider what thou wilt do; for evil is determined against our master, and against all his household: for he is such a
son of Belial, that a man cannot speak to him. (1Samuel 25)
So it would appear that the Hebrew Scriptures
took the position that men were fully in charge and responsible for their households and the members of each household were
obedient to the householder whether he be righteous or unrighteous. Well things are rather different today I think (at least
in the West)!
Not only was a man's household blessed according to the blessings bestowed upon the householder
but there is one well documented case of a man, together with his whole household, being blessed as a result of the good deeds
of one member of that household:
25 And Joshua saved Rahab the harlot
alive, and her father's household, and all that she had; and she dwelleth in Israel even unto this day; because she hid
the messengers, which Joshua sent to spy out Jericho. (Joshua 6)
Finally we should not forget God's
Passover blessing for the Hebrews and curse for the Egyptians. This blessing/curse was determined by whether each physical
house in Egypt had blood spattered on its doorposts. This saved all the families within from the deaths of their firstborn
and was again an example of a blessing being given en masse to whole families:
13 And the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses where ye [are]: and when I see the blood, I will pass
over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy [you], when I smite the land of Egypt. (Exodus 12)
So I think there is a very clear message, from the Hebrew scriptures, that a man's fate and that of his ‘obedient'
household were inextricably linked as to their treatment by Jehovah God prior to the exodus and latterly under Hebrew
Law. Now what do the Greek scriptures have to say on the matter?
The Greek Scriptures
Well the very first book of the New Testament starts to tell a very different story:
35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and
the daughter in law against her mother in law.
36 And a man's foes [shall be] they of his
37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that
loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. (Matthew 10)
This message from Matthew's gospel
is repeated in that of Luke:
53 The father shall be divided against
the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother
in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. (Luke 12)
it seems that the Old Testament prophet Micah also set the scene, in his time, for the gospels that were yet to come:
6 For the son dishonoureth the father, the daughter riseth up against her mother,
the daughter in law against her mother in law; a man's enemies are the men of his own house. (Micah 7)
Here we are being given the message that it is every person for him or her-self. Each person will be judged on their own
individual merits for resurrection into the Kingdom. So it may well have been that the Old Testament heroes and villains were
treated physically en masse according to the actions of the man of the house or household to which they belonged. I have no
doubt that when it comes to judgement, for the resurrection from the first death, that these ones will be judged individually
upon their heart condition. This will determine whether they will be resurrected into the Kingdom or face punishment into
the second death.
There are other messages that, as a Lords' Witness, I can take from Matthew. First is that
I must not compromise my love of Jehovah and Jesus Christ in the light of pressure to do so from my immediate family. This
was bad enough from the Jewish family into which I was born but it is also the case that none of my own household has wished
to be baptised into the Fourth True Christian Church. So such pressure clearly exists for me today and I am also aware of
such for some of my brothers in Christ. I think I have to accept that my adult daughters will need to fend for themselves
going into the resurrection, although I will certainly offer them the baptism when it becomes evident to them that their father
actually had some insight to the Great Tribulation that is to come. However there is another extremely important message for
me here. In all the various family relationships that Matthew mentions in his dictum above, there is the key omission of spouse,
be it husband or wife. So does the non-baptised spouse get the benefit of their baptised partner even if, as in my case, the
spouse actively rejects the sanctity of the baptism, albeit as a result of less than perfect behaviour from its merely human
adherents? In recognising the marriages in today's imperfect world, do the spiritual powers unquestioningly accept the
sanctity of that estate and the concept of a married couple being as ‘one flesh' for the sake of their offspring
into the Kingdom?
24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his
mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (Genesis_2)
5 And said,
For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put
7 For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife;
8 And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.
What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. (Mark 10)
This is clearly a very important
biblical principle. Indeed this is considered of such importance that Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, likens the marriage
relationship to that of Christ and His congregation:
31 For this cause
shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.
This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.
33 Nevertheless let every
one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife [see] that she reverence [her] husband. (Ephesians
In particular this last scripture does not explicitly state that both partners to a marriage need to
be in the church to be similarly blessed, so I am now of the mind that this confirms the notion that a non-baptised wife may
well be resurrected into the Kingdom along with her baptised husband. If this be the case then what relationship do they share
in the Kingdom? Well, being mindful of my own circumstances and those of my early first-fruit brothers in the Second New Covenant,
it may well be that my baptised brothers will become the earthly Kings of the Kingdom and their unbaptized wives (mine included)
will become citizens of the Kingdom. There will be no direct formal relationship except that of ex-spouse from this (i.e.
Satan's) system, given that there will be no marriage in the Kingdom for the anointed ones (and I repeat):
30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but
are as the angels of God in heaven. (Matthew 22)
25 For when they shall rise from the dead,
they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven. (Mark 12)
34 And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world marry, and are given in marriage:
But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are
given in marriage: (Luke 20)
Any formal relationship between the ex-spouses will only exist if they had
any dependent children at the end of this present system. My expectation for these cases is that they will be automatically
signed up to a joint child-rearing arrangement that will last until the child's 2oth birthday, at which point they would
be released from such arrangement. For those of you that are interested enough I cover this specific topic in much greater
detail in my earlier paper: ‘Kingdom Rules OK'.
Now what if a non-baptised spouse has tried to get the baptised one to reject his church? There are several
scriptures that could possibly apply to this circumstance, however, the closest one in context that I have found provides
a very uncomfortable answer:
6 If thy brother, the son of thy mother,
or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which [is] as thine own soul, entice thee secretly,
saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers;
of the gods of the people which [are] round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the [one] end of the earth
even unto the [other] end of the earth;
8 Thou shalt not consent unto him, nor hearken unto him;
neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him:
But thou shalt surely kill him; thine hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the
10 And thou shalt stone him with stones, that he die; because he hath sought to thrust
thee away from the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.
In today's Christian environment the punishment of a
stoning for such a crime would not be acceptable to anyone. There does, however, seem to be little doubt that
the crime of attempting (never mind succeeding!!) to get a spouse to give up his faith is viewed seriously by our Lord and
will no doubt result in the second death with time to be served in Gehenna by that misguided spouse. Would this also cover
the case where it is the church that is the issue rather than faith in Jehovah God or His son? Well if an early responder
Lords' Witness were to give up his church, due to pressure from his wife, then he would lose his birth-right of an earthly
kingship in the Kingdom. I have to say that this does sound like a pretty serious crime to me in that it is effectively
messing with God's Kingdom plan. That does depend, however, on whether the Lords' Witnesses are truly the Fourth True
Christian Church. Since I believe that it is, I am now rather fearful for my own wife's fate in the Kingdom. Since I was
able to resist her attempts to get me to leave the church perhaps I will get a vote on clemency for her crime? I am certainly
not the only early joining Lords' Witness who has been tested in this way by his spouse; we will all need to contemplate
the apparent consequences for our wives as a result of their actions in this regard. A worrying prospect indeed!
To further substantiate this position the gospel of Luke has something further to say on the matter at hand:
34 I say to you, In that night two will be on one bed; the one will be taken and
the other will be left. (Luke 17)
Most translations of the Greek scriptures describe this as two ‘men'
but, I have to say, I do not understand the thinking behind this since it appears to me to be a genderless statement as Green's
Literal Translation above indicates. As the gospel is describing two persons in one bed it would not be unreasonable to consider
those two persons could well represent a married heterosexual couple. For the very specific purposes of this exercise I am
not going to contemplate otherwise else I will surely go off into all sorts of diversionary tangents! If my supposition is
correct then Luke is telling us that a married couple can indeed be separated at the end of this system with one partner being
raptured into a heavenly realm thereby leaving the other behind on their own to suffer the run-up to the final destruction
of this worldly system of things. This notion is fully supported by the preceding verses in this chapter of Luke:
30 Even thus shall it be in the day when the Son of man is revealed.
31 In that day, he which shall be upon the housetop, and his stuff in the house, let him not come down to
take it away: and he that is in the field, let him likewise not return back.
32 Remember Lot's
33 Whosoever shall seek to save his life shall lose it; and whosoever shall lose his life
shall preserve it. (Luke 17)
The remembrance of Lot's wife clearly shows that the wife of a saved husband
will not be saved on Judgement Day merely due to her married status. She will need to earn that right on her own merits through
a right heart condition. A quick reference back to the original Old Testament event is useful also:
26 But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt. (Genesis 19)
Now Lot's whole family were given Jehovah's blessing of being escorted out of Sodom under angelic protection
thereby demonstrating the household-wide blessings that we saw in the Old Testament section above:
15 And when the morning arose, then the angels hastened Lot, saying, Arise, take thy wife, and thy two
daughters, which are here; lest thou be consumed in the iniquity of the city.
16 And while he
lingered, the men laid hold upon his hand, and upon the hand of his wife, and upon the hand of his two daughters; the LORD
being merciful unto him: and they brought him forth, and set him without the city. (Genesis 19)
case, however, we see that Lot's wife's yearning for her former life in Sodom caused her death notwithstanding the
umbrella of the household blessing she was under at the time of her transgression. Taking both the original Old Testament
account together with the New Testament reference we can see that the poor old wife of Lot not only suffered the first death
as a direct consequence of her yearning for her former life but will likely also suffer the second death as a result of her
looking a gift horse in the mouth.
The gospel of Luke again provides more grist for this particular mill:
23 The one not being with Me is against Me. And the one not gathering with Me
scatters. (Luke 11)
So if a Lords' Witness' wife is against his being an active member of the Fourth
True Christian Church does this count against her? I think it must do. But what of a wife (my wife in fact) that does
not accept the validity of that Church's status but nonetheless has faith in our saviour? I think that must be a matter
for the First New Covenant Saints to decide; this is a judgement of the heart condition of that wife which not even her very
human husband will be likely able to judge correctly.
The New Testament does fully support the notion that not
just a male householder but also a faithful woman can save her household. In the Old Testament we had the case of Rahab, now
we have that of Lydia:
14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller
of purple of the city of Thyatira, one reverencing God, listened, whose heart the Lord opened thoroughly to pay attention
to the things being spoken by Paul.
15 And as she and her household were baptized, she entreated
Paul, saying, If you have judged me to be believing in the Lord, entering into my house, remain. And she strongly urged us.
Paul's greetings within his letter to the Roman congregation sheds further light on the status
of the households of Christian men:
10 Salute Apelles approved in Christ.
Salute them which are of Aristobulus' household.
11 Salute Herodion my kinsman. Greet them
that be of the household of Narcissus, which are in the Lord. (Romans 16)
There are arguably four different
statuses included in these two apparently simple verses from Romans. Firstly it would seem that the whole of the household
of Aristobulus met with Paul's approval in Christ and therefore one can assume that his family followed his faith en masse
and were, therefore, all baptised by their own free choice. That of Narcissus would seem to be divided in their faith in Christ,
some presumably being baptised and others not, so only those of Christ in that household were selected to receive Paul's
greeting. What to make of Apelles and Herodian? Although it would appear that the latter had some blood ties with Paul, it
is possible that neither had any family of their own so did not qualify for Paul's household greeting. However we have
already seen that it is not only a householder that can bring a blessing on his household but also a member of that household
can achieve the same result. It would not seem very likely, I think, that neither of these Roman citizens had any family at
all that Paul could have greeted. More likely is it that their families did not share their faith in Christ and so did not
merit Paul's greeting. Family divisions in faith are once again therefore referenced here in the Greek scriptures with
their implications for salvation into the Kingdom.
Just in case the importance of the greeting from Paul be underestimated
by the reader, that presented to the Philippian congregation carried the weight of the 1NC Saints in receipt and delivery.
More than this, special greetings were conveyed from those in Caesar's own household which, presumably, meant a great
deal to those in Philipi:
21 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The
brothers with me greet you.
22 All the saints greet you, most of all those of Caesar's house.
Just for the record, the household of Stephanas in Corinth would appear to be similarly
viewed as was that of Aristobulus in Rome; Paul baptised that whole household in one sitting, but the point is that each family
member would have had to make his or her own choice to be baptised. This is a far more selective process than the blessings
given to Old Testament households although these later blessings should carry more weight into the resurrection:
16 And I baptized also the household of Stephanas: besides, I know not whether
I baptized any other. (1Corinthians 1)
Now the trials of Job are well worth examining from the point of view of the treatment of his household. Job so loved Jehovah
that God allowed Satan to test Job up to the point of destroying pretty much the whole of his household (with the notable
exception of his wife, given what we have previously written on that special fleshly relationship):
13 Now it came to be the day when his
sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in the house of their brother the firstborn.
14 And there came
a messenger to Job, and he proceeded to say: "The cattle themselves happened to be plowing and the she-asses were grazing
at the side of them
15 when the Sa•be´ans came making a raid and taking them, and the attendants they struck
down with the edge of the sword; and I got to escape, only I by myself, to tell you."
16 While this one was yet
speaking that one came and proceeded to say: "The very fire of God fell from the heavens and went blazing among the sheep
and the attendants and eating them up; and I got to escape, only I by myself, to tell you."
17 While that one was
yet speaking another one came and proceeded to say: "The Chal•de´ans made up three bands and went dashing
against the camels and taking them, and the attendants they struck down with the edge of the sword; and I got to escape, only
I by myself, to tell you."
18 While this other one was yet speaking, still another one came and proceeded to say:
"Your sons and your daughters were eating and drinking wine in the house of their brother the firstborn.
look! there came a great wind from the region of the wilderness, and it went striking the four corners of the house, so that
it fell upon the young people and they died. And I got to escape, only I by myself, to tell you." (Job 1)
Albeit, as a significantly less righteous man than Job, I have to say that I really have a problem with this. Jehovah has
allowed Satan to destroy all Job's children in one fell swoop. I cannot think of a worse curse upon earthly man than to
destroy his offspring while the father still lives. To me this is tantamount to Jehovah cursing His faithful servant Job and
his entire family in the worst possible way. Job took this calamity in his stride; it seemed not to impact on his philosophy
of life and his love of God:
20 And Job proceeded to get up and rip his sleeveless coat apart and cut the hair off his head and fall
to the earth and bow down
21 and say:
"Naked I came out of my mother's belly,
And naked shall I return
Jehovah himself has given, and Jehovah himself has taken away.
Let the name of Jehovah continue to be blessed."
22 In all this Job did not sin or ascribe anything improper to God. (Job 1)
Well that is as may be,
but nothing is said about the fate of his children here. Did they deserve to die under such circumstances? A test for Job
this may have been but were his family merely fodder for Satan? I would certainly hope that a place has been saved for them
in the Kingdom given their early demise. You will gather that I have a certain sympathy with Job's wife here:
9 Finally his wife said to him: "Are you yet holding fast your integrity? Curse God and die!"
10 But he said to her: "As one of the senseless women speaks, you speak also. Shall we accept merely what is good from
the [true] God and not accept also what is bad?" In all this Job did not sin with his lips. ( Job 2)
However I then started to think about my own family circumstances and it would seem that Job had a much broader view of
God's plan for mankind which enabled him to see beyond the immediate pain. His wife could not and neither can many of
my brothers' spouses, my own included. The pain we suffer and/or witness in this life, albeit seemingly unfairly in many
circumstances, is necessary for all God's children, humans and angels alike, to learn how to live together in peace and
harmony under God's loving ruler-ship.
As his reward, Job got his household back (presumably with his same
wife) with interest and a long and happy life for his faithfulness to God:
10 And Jehovah himself turned back the captive condition of Job when he prayed in behalf
of his companions, and Jehovah began to give in addition all that had been Job's, in double amount.
11 And there
kept coming to him all his brothers and all his sisters and all those formerly knowing him, and they began to eat bread with
him in his house and to sympathize with him and to comfort him over all the calamity that Jehovah had let come upon him; and
they proceeded each one to give him a piece of money and each one a gold ring.
12 As for Jehovah, he blessed the end
of Job afterward more than his beginning, so that he came to have fourteen thousand sheep and six thousand camels and a thousand
spans of cattle and a thousand she-asses.
13 He also came to have seven sons and three daughters.
14 And he went
calling the name of the first Je•mi´mah and the name of the second Ke•zi´ah and the name of the third
15 And no women were found as pretty as Job's daughters in all the land, and their
father proceeded to give them an inheritance in among their brothers.
16 And Job continued living after this a hundred
and forty years and came to see his sons and his grandsons-four generations.
17 And gradually Job died, old and satisfied
with days. (Job 42)
Given all the issues surrounding this tale of woe and eventual restitution, I think
the real message in all of this is to keep in mind at all times God's master plan for His children. With what the bible
tells us will befall earthly mankind in the very near future, I have no choice but to accept the short-term pain for the long-term
Just to finish this section on Job, I found the following verses from the prophet Ezekiel more than a little
13 Son of man, when the land sinneth against me by trespassing grievously, then will I stretch out mine
hand upon it, and will break the staff of the bread thereof, and will send famine upon it, and will cut off man and beast
Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver [but] their own souls by their righteousness,
saith the Lord GOD.
If I cause noisome beasts to pass through the land, and they spoil it, so that it be desolate, that no man may pass through
because of the beasts:
16 [Though] these three men [were] in it, [as] I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither sons
nor daughters; they only shall be delivered, but the land shall be desolate.
17 Or [if] I bring a sword upon that land, and say, Sword, go through the land;
so that I cut off man and beast from it:
18 Though these three men [were] in it, [as] I live, saith the Lord GOD, they shall deliver neither sons nor
daughters, but they only shall be delivered themselves.
19 Or [if] I send a pestilence into that land, and pour out my fury upon it
in blood, to cut off from it man and beast:
20 Though Noah, Daniel, and Job, [were] in it, [as] I live, saith the Lord GOD, they
shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall [but] deliver their own souls by their righteousness. (Ezekiel 14)
This seems to be a very specific point from God that,
at the end of days, that He will only allow a righteous man to save himself (and potentially his wife by omission). That man's
off-spring will need the right heart condition to save themselves; it will not be their right by inheritance or being the
member of that one's household. Since this is repeated several times in this chapter of Ezekiel, God certainly does not
mean maybe on this issue!