Sunday, January 14, 2018

You can marry anyone who consents that is not forbidden. Say no to ink blot prayers.

Articles here do not necessarily represent official UBF teaching or any other UBF member or ex members point of view

By focusing on historical narratives in the Bible when it comes to marriage members of University Bible Fellowship treat the Bible like a ink blot when it comes to who someone is allowed or forbidden to marry who according to God.  I will instead actually focus on verses that explicitly talk about marriage rules in the Bible.  In many of these verses I will point out that either the man or woman is allowed by God himself to marry anyone they want to who consents and is not forbidden from marriage by another rule if every word of the Bible is inspired by God as UBF Bible teachers claim to believe.

This means that if a Bible teacher says you or someone else on your behalf needs to pray about marrying someone to know if it is God's will they are deceiving you because God already explicitly said you are allowed to marry them unless there is a specific verse or moral principle condemning such a marriage, such a moral principle would not be secret knowledge God has hidden from you but given to your Bible teacher through revelation.  The Bible teachers have historically used prayer as an excuse to encourage or prevent marriage, while bypassing the proper intention of prayer obedience to the moral principles God already taught that would allow the Bible student to make their own choice.  I am not telling people not to pray but it is not necessary to determine whether or not it is a transgression of the written commands to marry someone.

Prohibition on forced marriage

First with only two possible exceptions in Deuteronomy 21:10-14 and Deuteronomy 22:28-29, the prohibition on kidnapping in Exodus 21:16 and Deuteronomy 24:7, the prohibition on returning a servant to his/her master in Deuteronomy 23:15-16 and the allowance for divorce in Exodus 21:10-11 and possibly elsewhere forbid forcing a man to marry a woman without her consent or a woman to marry a man without his consent.

The prohibition of kidnapping could apply to kidnapping someone who is a man or a woman not necessarily a man only, since masculine nouns in Hebrew can apply to either men or women not men only, much like the word "he" can apply to a woman if the gender of the person if unknown in English.

Sexless marriage is an allowance for divorce in Exodus 21:10-11 and the man is not permitted to force the woman to have sex with him nor is the woman allowed to force the man to have sex with her because in order to have sex they must be in close proximity but neither one is allowed to force the other person to be in close proximity because kidnapping was a death penalty offense in the old testament (it is also forbidden in the new testament in 1 Timothy 1:10 although no death penalty is listed there.)

Since forced sex is not permissible and any marriage in which sex is discontinued is grounds for divorce even if such a marriage could be forced in name it could be terminated through sex refusal, but it would be very ridiculous to continually declare people married to other people when one of the members of the marriage refuses to sexually consummate it.

Deuteronomy 22:28-29 is incorrectly translated as rape in the current New International Version, however other translations such as the Contemporary English Version indicate that it maybe consensual sex.  The Hebrew could include consensual and or non consensual sex according to different translators however there is the death penalty in non consensual sex since it involves kidnapping therefore the forced marriage in Deuteronomy 22:28-29 is not in response to rape but to consensual sex.  Deuteronomy 22 might have resulted in forced marriage but only forced marriage for individuals who chose to have sex, and those individuals knowing that rule should not have chosen to have sex if they did not want to get married, so in a sense knowing the rule they chose the consequence of forced marriage by having sex in that society in that period of time.

The other possible case in which forced marriage might have occurred is Deuteronomy 21:10-14 if this was a forced marriage it would have been a forced marriage of a war captive.  This may seem like it is a violation of human rights but alternatively they could have executed the war captive to prevent the war captive from killing them since they were from the hostile enemy side.  Deuteronomy 21:10-14 might not be a forced marriage alternatively it could mean that they are permitted to marry a captive woman if the captive woman consents to marriage.  These war captives would likely not have been Jewish so this might have been an interfaith marriage contrary to University Bible Fellowship doctrine prohibiting this.

You can marry who you choose if there is not a rule forbidding it

Exodus 21:7-11 permits choice of marriage partner for the man

Exodus 21:8
New International Version
If she does not please the master who has selected her for himself, he must let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to foreigners, because he has broken faith with her.
Holman Christian Standard Bible
If she is displeasing to her master, who chose her for himself, then he must let her be redeemed. He has no right to sell her to foreigners because he has acted treacherously toward her. 
English Standard Version
If she does not please her master, who has designated her for himself, then he shall let her be redeemed. He shall have no right to sell her to a foreign people, since he has broken faith with her.

The context of this verse allows the person to chose, select or designate the woman he wants to marry for himself, no requirement of a third party praying to decide if it is God's will, God merely allows the man to choose to marry her.  Read Exodus 21:7-11 to get the overall context because Exodus 21:1-6 is talking about something different.

What Exodus 21:1-6 might mean (this section is not relevant to my main point but included to be complete)

Exodus 21:1-6 is a different situation not likely applying to UBF unless they admit they own to people like servants which they do, I am joking and serious and sarcastic all at the same time.  You will find three interpretations of this in regards to the relationship between the man and the woman (if the woman is not already married to the man when the man becomes a servant) on the Internet.  

The first interpretation is a Jewish servant would have sex with a gentile slave both having the same master without marrying her and the children and the woman would continue to belong to the master if and when the man no longer serves him.   

Update note:  Although my personal conversations with Jews indicate they would not be married, double checking the source I am most familiar with they might be married but the commentary by Rashi is even more disturbing and I am putting it elsewhere with a disturbing content warning here disturbing-rashi-teaching-on-marriage

The second interpretation is the man would temporarily be married to the woman for the duration both the man and woman serve the same master but they would no longer be married when the man no longer serves the master.  

The third interpretation is that the woman remains married to the man after the man's term of service to the master ends but the woman remains with the master as a servant because she still owes him debt and or still is his property for life.

Deuteronomy 24:1-4 permits a divorced woman to marry a new man of her choice

American Standard Version
And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man's wife .
King James Bible
And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man's wife.
New Living Translation
When she leaves his house, she is free to marry another man.
Deuteronomy 24;2

The Bible says that she may marry another man, not she may marry another man if the man is the one the Bible teacher said is the correct one in response to prayer and not a man the Bible teacher said is wrong in response to prayer.

1 Corinthians 7:39, 1 Timothy 5:14 and Romans 7:3 allow a unmarried widow to marry

Berean Literal Bible
Therefore I want the younger ones to marry, to bear children, to manage their households, to give the one opposing no occasion on account of reproach.

1 Timothy 5:14

New International Version
A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord.
1 Corinthians 7:39

Holman Christian Standard Bible
So then, if she gives herself to another man while her husband is living, she will be called an adulteress. But if her husband dies, she is free from that law. Then, if she gives herself to another man, she is not an adulteress. 
Romans 7:3

In Timothy 5 widows under 60 years old are encouraged to remarry, it does not say encouraged to remarry unless you want to marry someone other than the person your Bible teacher suggests.

In Romans 7 If a unmarried widow marries a man after her husband dies she is not an adulteress, it does not say it is not a sin (specifically the sin of adultery) unless her Bible teacher has confirmed she should marry that man by prayer.

In 1 Corinthians 7:39 there is no vagueness that the woman can choose any consenting man she wants who is not forbidden by rules elsewhere as it says, "she is free to marry anyone she wishes" it does not say she has to pray to decide, if she wishes to marry a man she is permitted if no rule elsewhere forbids it.

A man can opt out of the marriage in Deuteronomy 25 or choose to engage in it given the opportunity and the woman can opt out as described above

If brothers are living together and one of them dies without a son, his widow must not marry outside the family. Her husband’s brother shall take her and marry her and fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to her. The first son she bears shall carry on the name of the dead brother so that his name will not be blotted out from Israel.
However, if a man does not want to marry his brother’s wife, she shall go to the elders at the town gate and say, “My husband’s brother refuses to carry on his brother’s name in Israel. He will not fulfill the duty of a brother-in-law to me.” Then the elders of his town shall summon him and talk to him. If he persists in saying, “I do not want to marry her,” his brother’s widow shall go up to him in the presence of the elders, take off one of his sandals, spit in his face and say, “This is what is done to the man who will not build up his brother’s family line.” 10 That man’s line shall be known in Israel as The Family of the Unsandaled.
Deuteronomy 25:5-10 NIV

The requirements for inheriting a deceased brother's widow as a future wife were very specific he must be living together (verse 5) with his brother then when his brother dies he can choose to marry his brother's wife if he wants.  In verse 8 and 9 the man is permitted to refuse to marry the widow he inherited as a potential future wife upon his brothers death.  Although it is not stated in Deuteronomy 25:5-10 that I see the woman can refuse to marry him or nullify the marriage as I said she can with any marriage (with two possible exceptions in Deuteronomy 22 and Deuteronomy 21) earlier.

1 Corinthians 7:8-9 says let them marry

8Now to the unmarried and widows I say this: It is good for them to remain unmarried, as I am. 9But if they cannot control themselves, let them marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.
1 Corintians 7:8-9 Berean Study Bible

It does not say let them marry only if the Bible teacher prayed about it and determined they were the couple ordained to be paired by God.

Forbidden marriages that are not permitted 

Leviticus 18, Leviticus 20, Romans 1 and 1 Timothy 1 forbid a man from having homosexual sex with another man so it is forbidden for two men to marry each other.  

It is also forbidden in Deuteronomy 22, Leviticus 18 and Leviticus 20 for a married woman to have sex with another man then her husband thereby forbidding a woman from marrying another man if she is still married and Romans 7:3 also forbids a married woman from marrying an additional man other then her current husband.  

Bestiality is also forbidden in Leviticus 18 and Leviticus 20 and humans should only marry humans.

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