Christian Churches of God

No.  62

 

 

 

 

Role of the Christian Woman

(Edition 2.0 20021015-20021015-20070629)

 

 

This paper looks at the role of women in the Plan of God and the myth that women are relegated to the position of second-class believers. There is One God, one Faith, one Body, one Church but many (male and female) members.

 

 

Christian Churches of God

PO Box 369,  WODEN  ACT 2606,  AUSTRALIA

 

E-mail: secretary@ccg.org

 

 

 

(Copyright ã 2002, 2007 Diane Flanagan, ed. Wade Cox)

 

This paper may be freely copied and distributed provided it is copied in total with no alterations or deletions. The publisher’s name and address and the copyright notice must be included.  No charge may be levied on recipients of distributed copies.  Brief quotations may be embodied in critical articles and reviews without breaching copyright.

 

This paper is available from the World Wide Web page:
http://www.logon.org and http://www.ccg.org

 

 

 

Role of the Christian Woman

 


Today’s papers, magazines and bookshelves are lined with numerous articles regarding how to be a happy and productive woman. But the Christian woman knows there is only one true source of knowledge and that is God the Father and His word. We will review what the Bible says is the real God–ordained role for women in the Plan of God.

 

God’s Plan

 

God clearly had a plan set in place before the foundation of the world to reconcile man and Host to Himself. The present Adamic creation is physical. Both physical and spiritual laws govern it. Both systems work together for the education of all parties to enable them to become spirit beings. 

 

God clearly does things decently and in order, as we also were enjoined to do by Paul.

 

1Corinthians 14:40  Let all things be done decently and in order.

 

So it is with the creation of the Host and mankind. Once the Earth was refashioned, animals created and plants provided, then man was created. And the Lord said, “It isn’t good for man to be alone; I will make a companion for him, a helper suited to his needs” (Gen. 2:18).

 

And Adam said: “She is now part of my own bone and flesh! Her name is ‘woman’ because she was taken out of a man” (Gen. 2:23).

 

Marriage

 

Mark 10:6-9  But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female. 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. 9 What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

 

This explains why a man leaves his father and mother and is joined to his wife in such a way that the two become one flesh (Gen. 2:24). The One True God introduced the concept of marriage between man and woman. Prior to sin entering the Adamic creation Adam and Eve were not ashamed to be naked. (See the papers: The Doctrine of Original Sin Part I The Garden of Eden (No. 246); Doctrine of Original Sin Part 2 The Generations of Adam (No. 248).)

 

Eve’s deception and choice

Genesis 3 describes Eve’s temptation and rebellion against God’s Plan. Adam and Eve realized something had changed once they partook of the fruit of the forbidden tree.  Eve made a decision, which was against God’s direction. Then she led her husband Adam astray. Numerous consequences resulted and they changed their relationship to God. They were not honest or direct in stating what happened.

 

Eve was deceived and was in transgression (1Tim. 2:14; 2Cor. 11:3). However, both Adam and Eve failed in their individual responsibility to obey the Law of God. The serpent and the man and woman all received consequences for their actions.

 

14 And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: 15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. 16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

 

Because Adam and Eve sinned the land was also cursed. In order to protect man and the planet until Messiah restored all to God at the end of 7000 years, the Jubilee system was introduced. The Jubilee system is a God-ordained system that protects man and the planet when we follow God’s Laws.

 

After having been taught by Messiah, Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden to go out into the world and live by God’s Laws (Gen. 3:22).

 

Through our physical marriages we learn various aspects of what our marriage to Messiah will be.   

 

Ephesians 5:21-33  Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. 22 Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. 24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing. 25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. 28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. 29 For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: 30 For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. 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. 32 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.

 

A woman is therefore bound to her husband as long as he lives, except in cases of fornication (or adultery) or abuse. (See also Mark 10:2-12.)

 

Matthew 5:31-32 It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement: 32 But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery

 

Fornication is clearly condemned

1Corinthians 6:16-18 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute is one body with her? For “the Two,” he says “shall bcome one flesh”. 17 But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit with him. 18 Flee sexual immorality [fornication]. Every sin that a man does is outside the body; but he that commits sexual immorality [fornication] sins against his own body. 


Here fornication refers to both the physical and spiritual aspects. We commit spiritual fornication when we are joined to a false religion, referred to as a prostitute. We then become one with the prostitute (false religion) and we cannot be joined in marriage to our bridegroom, Jesus Christ, at his second coming.

 

Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband (1Cor. 7:2).

 

Since fornication is forbidden, the ideal situation would be to marry as a virgin and cleave to one’s mate. Instances of death, divorce, or marriage to unconverted mates prior to baptism are exceptions and have special circumstances.

 

Fornication is discussed in its much broader sense in the paper Law and the Seventh Commandment (No. 260).

 

Once married, we are to remain faithful to and love our spouse. A woman is subject to a man as her head, as Christ is head of the Church (Eph. 5:21-33; Col. 3:19; Prov. 5:18-19).

 

Wives are to be in subjection to their husbands

Scripture clearly outlines the delegation of authority within the family. All refer to women being in subjection to their husbands.

 

Genesis 3:16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

 

Colossians 3:18  Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as it is fit in the Lord.

 

IPeter 3:1-2  Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; 2 While they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.

 

1Timothy 2:11-14 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. 12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. 13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.

 

Ephesians 5:24 Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.

 

Only if a husband would ask his wife to break one of God's Commandments, statutes, or ordinances would a wife obey God rather than honour her husband’s request. Each individual is to obey God first.

 

Deuteronomy 10:12-13  And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, In addition to being in subjection to their husbands, wives are to love and reverence their husbands. 13 To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?

 

Death of a spouse

If her husband dies a woman is loosed from the marriage covenant with her husband and is free to re-marry.

 

Romans 7:1-3 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? 2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. 3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be to another man.

 

Marriage prior to conversion

Regarding marriages prior to conversion, there is instruction to the converted mate that has significant impact on the spouse and the children.

 

1Corinthians 7:12-16  But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. 13 And the woman which hath an husband that her believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with, let her not leave him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy. 15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace. 16 For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?

 

This does not mean that the converted mate makes the spouse so miserable she/he wants to leave.  The situation is not ideal, but it is certainly allowed and provided for by God Almighty. The converted mate needs to continue to obey all the Commandments of God, and set a correct example.

 

God sanctifies or sets apart the family, based on the conversion and obedience of one of the parents (1Cor. 7:14).

 

Scripture clearly states we should not be unequally yoked with unbelievers.

 

2Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

 

Therefore, this needs to be taken into consideration when choosing a mate. In today’s society when few are called, selecting a mate can be a very trying experience.

 

Divorce

Divorce is permitted under the Law, but God hates divorce (Mal. 2:16). It is not something to be entered into lightly. Specific legislation for this can be found in Deuteronomy 24:2-5. The certificate of divorce was authorised because of the hardness of the hearts of the people, such as in the case of adultery or abuse.

 

Matthew 19:7-8  They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? 8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.

 

See the papers Marriage (No. 289) and Law and the Seventh Commandment (No. 260).

 

Children

 

We are commanded to marry and raise children to the glory of God  (Gen. 2:24; 9:1,7). These decisions are up to each individual to work out in order to obey God’s Law.

Genesis 1:28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

 

Genesis 9:1, 7  And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.

7 And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein.

 

1Timothy 5:14 I will therefore that the younger women marry, bear children, guide the house, give none occasion to the adversary to speak reproachfully

 

Children are a blessing from God, which He commands.

 

Psalm 127:3-5  Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward. 4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth. 5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.

 

Having children is a huge responsibility and a wonderful blessing. Just as adults are to learn to fear God, it is the parents’ responsibility to teach their children to learn to fear God.

 

Deuteronomy 4:9 Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons' sons; 10 Specially the day that thou stoodest before the LORD thy God in Horeb, when the LORD said unto me, Gather me the people together, and I will make them hear my words, that they may learn to fear me all the days that they shall live upon the earth, and that they may teach their children.

 

The element of continual teaching is further expounded in the following texts:

 

Deuteronomy 11:19 And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. 20 And thou shalt write them upon the doorposts of thine house, and upon thy gates: 21 That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.

 

Proverbs 1:8 My son, hear the instruction of thy father, and forsake not the law of thy mother:

 

Proverbs 22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.

 

Ephesians 6:4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

 

This all implies work, consistent instruction, and loving correction in righteousness. God’s Laws are taught and practised daily by the family. The children grow in understanding and self-control due to the parents’ diligence and the Holy Sprit working through the parents. Though it is a shared responsibility to teach the children, the mother is the primary care-giver for the child. This becomes clear when we look at the texts in Exodus and Deuteronomy regarding festival attendance.

 

Woman saved in childbearing

1Timothy 2:13-15  For Adam was first formed, then Eve. 14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. 15 Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.

 

What does it mean that women will be saved in childbearing? Saved is also rendered preserved in the NASV. The Greek word is sozo (SGD 4982), to save. It has numerous meanings related to salvation: (1) material and temporal deliverance from danger, suffering, etc.; (2) the spiritual and eternal salvation granted immediately by God to those who believe on Christ; (3) the present experience of God’s power to deliver from the bondage of sin; (4) the future deliverance of believers at the Second Coming; (5) deliverance of Israel; (6) all the blessings inclusively of God on men in Christ; (7) those who endure to the end the time of the Great Tribulation; (8) the deliverance of the nations at the Millennium.

 

This does not imply that only women who have children are saved. It is just one of the important roles entrusted to women and it is something men cannot do.

 

Abortion

Abortion is permitted within the Law of God only when the mother’s life is in danger.

 

Exodus 21:15  And he that smiteth his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death. (KJV)

 

Otherwise abortion is a breach of the Sixth Commandment. See the papers Law and the Fifth Commandment (No. 258) and Law and the Sixth Commandment (No. 259).

 

Woman in the home

 

In addition to raising children, a woman should be able to provide for her family in a God-fearing home.  This includes keeping the house neat and orderly (1Tim. 4:14; Pro. 31:15).

 

She should also prepare healthy, nourishing meals in accordance with the food laws. See the papers Vegetarianism and the Bible (No. 183) and The Food Laws (No. 15); cf. also Leviticus 11:1-47 and Deuteronomy 14:21.

 

A woman should have the family’s clothing cared for and in good repair (Prov. 31:21).

 

She manages the household by God’s Laws, including the laws related to tithing and the Jubilee (see the paper Tithing (No. 161)). She assists in working with her husband in planning to have funds available to attend the Feast in the 3rd and 7th years (Prov. 31:16). In addition, a woman needs to make sure the house is free of pagan objects. See the paper The Origins of Christmas and Easter (No. 235). 

 

She needs to understand God’s Calendar and the time of the Sabbaths. The woman should have the household and family prepared to keep the Sabbaths in a timely and proper manner. See the papers God’s Calendar (No. 156) and The Juma’ah: Preparing for the Sabbath (No. 285).

 

A woman’s role is clearly defined to love and fear God, and to love and be in subjection to her husband. She is to raise the children in the fear of God, and to provide hospitality for others in need.

 

Personal conduct 

 

The man is made by God in the image of God (Gen. 1:27). The woman is made from man (Gen. 2:21,22), to be the glory of man.

 

1Corinthians 11:7-9  For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God: but the woman is the glory of the man. 8 For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. 9 Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.

 

Given this, let us look at ways women should conduct themselves. There are numerous texts that indicate we need to be given to hospitality, as we will see below.

 

A woman exemplifies a way of life that depicts pure undefiled religion (Jas. 1:27).

 

She demonstrates what God requires (Deut. 10:13; Mic. 6:8).

 

Deuteronomy 10:12  And now, Israel, what doth the LORD thy God require of thee, but to fear the LORD thy God, to walk in all his ways, and to love him, and to serve the LORD thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul, 13 To keep the commandments of the LORD, and his statutes, which I command thee this day for thy good?

 

She bridles her tongue (Jas. 1:26; Mat. 12:35-36).

She is not given to gossip (1Tim. 3:11).

She is not vain (Prov. 31:30).

She is discrete and honest (Tit. 2:3,5; Prov. 31:25).

She is sober and faithful (Tit. 2:4; 1Tim. 3:11; Col. 3:18).

She is wise and kind (Prov. 31:26).

She is concerned for the welfare of others (Prov. 31:20).

She is diligent in whatever she does (Prov. 31:26-27).

She feeds strangers and cares for others (Gen. 18:6; Prov. 31:20; 1Tim. 2:10; 5:10).

 

The instruction in Proverbs 31 is a very hard act to follow but, needless to say, it has valuable instruction for the individual woman as well as the Church (cf. the paper Proverbs 31 (No. 114) and also Song of Songs (No. 145)).

 

Tendencies women have demonstrated over time that should be avoided

Being led into error (2Tim. 3:6).

Eve’s deception (1Tim. 2:14).

Promoting idolatry and superstition (Jer. 7:18; Ezek. 13:17,23).

Being active in promoting iniquity (Num. 31:15-16; 1Kgs. 21:25; Neh. 13:26).

Being subtle and deceitful (Prov. 7:10).

Fond of self-indulgence, dress, ornaments (Isa. 3:17-24; 1Tim. 2:9).

Given to witchcraft (Ex. 22:18; Deut. 18:9-14).

 

Women in a supportive role

Women should use every opportunity to assist their husbands to function well in their positions outside the home and in the Church.

 

Things a woman can do:

·        take an interest in her husband’s work and hobbies;

·        talk over problems and be a good listener;

·        study the Bible together;

·        make time to have some fun together;

·        be sympathetic and compassionate when necessary;

·        keep peace and harmony in the home;

·        show respect for her husband;

·        encourage and support him where necessary.

 

Personal appearance

 

A woman should be modest and feminine. She ought not to overdo her makeup or wear earrings, jewellery or clothing that have pagan symbolism. See the paper The Origin of the Wearing of Earrings and Jewellery in Ancient Times (No. 197).

 

She should be modestly dressed (1Tim. 2:9-10; 1Pet. 3:3). Her hair should appear feminine and function as a covering for her (1Cor. 11:5-15). See the papers The Nephilim (No. 154) and The Resurrection of the Dead (No. 143) for more specific details.

 

The Bible clearly indicates numerous occasions when ointments and spices are used (e.g. Prov. 27:9; Mat. 26:7-13).

 

Proverbs 27:9 Ointment and perfume delight the heart, and the sweetness of a man’s friend does so by hearty counsel.

 

There are also many indications of the wrong use of cosmetics (2Kgs. 9:30; Jer. 4:30; Ezek. 23:40).

 

Jeremiah 4:30 And when thou art spoiled, what wilt thou do? Though thou clothest thyself with crimson, though thou deckest thee with ornaments of gold, though thou rentest thy face with painting, in vain shalt thou make thyself fair; thy lovers will despise thee, they will seek thy life.

 

Again, some things are a matter of attitude, but a woman still needs to appear as a God-fearing woman.

 

 A woman should clearly wear women’s clothing; not clothing designed for a man. Neither shall a man put on women’s clothing.

 

Deuteronomy 22:5 The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman's garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the LORD thy God.

 

There should be no tattoos or cutting of the flesh, even as a fashion statement rather than for the religious reasons of old (see the paper Tattooing (No. 5)).

 

Leviticus 19:28 Ye shall not make any cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor print any marks upon you: I am the LORD.

(cf. also Lev. 21:5)

 

Remember our body is holy when the Holy Spirit dwells in us.

 

1Corinthians 3:16-17  Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? 17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

 

We are the Temple of God; we should maintain the proper physical appearance and take care of our physical bodies. This will enable us to serve our families and brothers and sisters in the Church. We should attempt to maintain the correct weight for our physical stature and deal with any medical or health needs in a timely fashion. Doing some form of regular physical exercise will also help in this regard.

 

Women’s health

 

1Peter clearly states that the woman is as the weaker vessel.

 

1Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

 

One could speculate and make assessments why this might be the case, but since all of God’s word is given for instruction, it can be accepted as a fact.

 

2Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.

 

Scripture indicates that within a marriage power of one’s body belongs to the other mate. But there are times when sexual relations could be declined due to fasting or prayer.

 

1Corinthians 7:1-5 Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. 2 Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. 3 Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. 4 The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. 5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

 

Leviticus describes another time when couples are to abstain from sexual relations. That is when the woman has her menses, or when either the man or woman has a bodily discharge (Lev. 15:24-33).

 

Leviticus 20:18 And if a man shall lie with a woman having her sickness, and shall uncover her nakedness; he hath discovered her fountain, and she hath uncovered the fountain of her blood: and both of them shall be cut off from among their people.

 

So, when a woman is menstruating, she should abstain from having sexual relations. This is usually for a period of seven days. It is a time when women don’t need any extra pressures put on them. See the paper Purification and Circumcision (No. 251).

 

An additional line of reasoning is that since the woman is “unclean” she should not attend Sabbath services during her time of menstruation. But what were the requirements before and after Messiah’s sacrifice? Where is the Temple of God after Messiah’s sacrifice?

 

1Corinthians 6:19-20  What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

 

Messiah’s own blood (for the blood is the life; Deut. 12:23, Lev. 17:11) cleansed, atoned and reconciled mankind and the Host to the One True God once and for all!

 

Hebrews 10:9-12 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. 10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. 11 And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: 12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

 

Hebrews 9:14-15  How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? 15 And for this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.

 

Hebrews 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.

 

From Messiah’s perfect sacrifice we are cleansed and reconciled to the Father. 

 

No matter what physical act we attempt, it is an affront to the One True God because He accepted Messiah’s sacrifice as complete and total. Nothing we do can make us cleaner than what Messiah’s sacrifice did for us. As stated earlier we are now the spiritual Temple (1Cor. 3:16-17).

 

It is impossible for a woman to stay away from the Temple if she is called and baptised, for the Holy Spirit is dwelling within her. Some believe a woman cannot attend the Lord’s Supper if she is “unclean”. Women should not let anyone take their crown by this deception. Since the cycle is a monthly occurrence, if a woman was “unclean” at the first Passover it is logical she would be “unclean” at the second Passover. This could also be the case with a woman being regarded as “unclean” after childbirth (Lev. 12:1-7). However, the separation period is for the child and for recovery. See the paper Purification and Circumcision (No. 251).

 

Messiah cleansed us once and for all. We are all reconciled to the Father and remain part of the living stones of the Temple, providing we keep the three fundamental requirements for eternal life.  These are:

 

1.      Believe and know there is One True God and Jesus Christ whom He sent (Jn. 17:3).

2.      Have faith in Jesus Christ through knowledge of the One True God (Jn. 17:3). This leads to repentance and baptism (Rom. 10:9).

3.      We must participate in the Lord’s Supper with foot-washing and eating of the body and drinking the blood of Jesus Christ (Jn. 6:53-58; 1Cor. 6:11).

 

These are the prerequisites for the retention of the Holy Spirit (cf. Rev. 12:17; 14:12). Without God’s Holy Spirit we cannot enter the Kingdom of God.

 

Scripture clearly shows how Christ has completely cleansed and atoned for us and made way for us to boldly come before God’s Throne.

 

There is another line of thinking that alleges it is wrong to see a doctor (cf. Mat. 9:12). There are cases of women dying or nearly dying for not seeking timely or necessary medical help during their lives. This is not godly reasoning. God would not want a woman to die, making her husband a widower or her children motherless, if medical assistance could save the woman.

 

On the contrary, it would be wise for all of us to seek medical aid and/or intervention to help us continue to function in our daily lives. If the assistance and aids are there then we have a duty to our family to take advantage of them. Ultimately, if it is life or death situation, a spouse might have to make this decision for the other party.

 

A woman’s body is different from a man’s and has different needs. It is the woman’s responsibility to get proper nutrition, water intake, and the exercise she needs daily to keep her body in optimal health. This also applies to men. Many of us have health issues that we face in an acute or chronic phase, but it is still up to each individual to do his/her best to function in as healthy a state as possible.

 

Husbands need to understand that the woman is the weaker vessel and be supportive of the woman as she goes through the different phases and changes in her life. He always needs to keep her best interests at heart and support her in maintaining her body in the healthiest possible way while doing so in a kind and gentle fashion.

 

Women in the Church

 

Just like all individuals in the Church of God, women too need to be able to give an answer of the hope that lies within them  (1Pet. 3:15). Any woman in the Church needs to be just as equally able to wield the sword of the spirit and shield of faith to defend the truth as any man (Eph. 6:13-17).

 

Scripture gives us direction on how we should conduct ourselves in the household of God. We should be of one mind and spirit and avoid controversy (1Tim. 3:14-16).

 

Do women have a place in the Plan of God?

Both male and female were created in God’s image, and so a woman was not created inferior to man (Gen. 1:26-27). Women have no less a position in God’s Plan than men. God’s purpose is for all mankind. Eve was formed from Adam’s rib and Adam was formed from the dust of the ground so ultimately they were of the same substance. All creation has one source and that is God (Eloah) who has eternally existed.

 

God’s purpose is for man and woman to be united in marriage and produce the future generations. They are to be one in flesh and live together as a unit. One is incomplete without the other and the addition of offspring makes the unit a family. From the very beginning, it was ordained to be a combined effort of male and female working together to further God’s purpose for the physical creation. Men and women are heirs together (1Cor. 11:11-12; 1Pet. 3:5-8).

 

And so it is in the Church today. There is one God, one Faith, one Body, one Church but many members. One man would be hard-pushed to run the Church alone and that was not God’s Plan. All of the members have a role to play and the combined talents are fused for the overall function of the Church. Men and women have specific responsibilities and functions within the Church, as they also do in the family and the community at large.

 

There are different jobs for different talents and none can consider his or her position to be above another. The prime purpose is to serve each other and the Church as a whole (Lk. 22:27). We all work for the greater glory of God and it is not to be a competition between men and women (1Pet. 3:7-11). A person doing the most menial job in the Church could end up in the highest position in the Kingdom. Neither is length of service any criteria for a favoured position in the Kingdom for either man or woman (Mat. 19:30).

 

Attending the Feasts

Exodus 34:22  And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year's end. 23 Thrice in the year shall all your menchildren appear before the Lord GOD, the God of Israel.

(See also Ex. 23:13-17).

 

Deuteronomy 16:16 Three times in a year shall all thy males appear before the LORD thy God in the place which he shall choose; in the feast of unleavened bread, and in the feast of weeks, and in the feast of tabernacles: and they shall not appear before the LORD empty:

 

Clearly, the males are commanded to appear before the Face of God three times a year. God does not put any responsibility on an individual that he or she could not bear. Since women may be pregnant, have a newborn infant, or need to care for elderly parents and the sick, they are not commanded to appear before the Face of God. However, all people should want to go to the Feast to learn to fear God.

 

Joshua 8:35 There was not a word of all that Moses commanded, which Joshua read not before all the congregation of Israel, with the women, and the little ones, and the strangers that were conversant among them.

 

Further, when families attend the Feast and a need arises with the children, it is the mother’s responsibility to attend to the children. For example, if a child is sick and needs to be quarantined (per Leviticus 13), the mother should stay with the child until the child is well. This also applies to behavioural problems that may arise during services. It is the husband’s (father’s) responsibility to attend services and then teach any family members who were not able to attend the Feast, etc. in person.

 

Things become more complex if it is a single mother in the Church and her children are sick. However, she still needs to obey the quarantine laws for the child’s and the congregation’s sake, but she certainly can ask others what was covered in services.

 

Role of society

It is not without some basis that women throughout history considered that society dismissed them as second-class citizens, or non-entities, or just being there for man’s bidding. Some say the Bible conveys the same message and is sexist and anti-women.

 

It is true that some societies today still keep their women virtually chained to the home. Women are sometimes abused and oppressed by the harsh and barbaric rule of selfish male-dominated regimes, often in the name of a particular religion or God. But this is not what God ordained for men and women.

 

For the most part, in western societies, women are no longer confined to the role of wife/mother/homemaker and are generally accepted as equal to men in their chosen profession in the secular world. However, women also want to be ordained as priests and leaders in mainstream Churches. This was once only the domain of men as indeed the Bible upholds regarding the teaching of men. Of course, there are widely differing views and not all denominations have succumbed to this demand of women. Women have taught women for centuries in the Churches of God and did so in the Roman system until the 12th century.

 

What does the Bible have to say on these matters?

Much of humanity considers the Bible to be archaic in authority and totally out of step with the modern world. However, those of us who do follow God’s Law know that Scripture provides instruction on how men and women should act in the Church and generally in their lives. No church has authority to overrule or disregard the instruction given to us in the Bible (cf. 1Tim. 2:8-15).

 

1Timothy 2:8, 11-12  I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting. … 11 Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. 12 But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.

 

From the foregoing Scriptures we see clearly that women are not to conduct formal Sabbath Services in mixed company. However, women can hold various important roles within the Church, in addition to their responsibilities within their immediate families.

 

But there are instances in the Bible where women are seen to be teaching. For example, Priscilla was active in instructing Apollos (Acts 18:26).

 

When persecution came upon the Church, “both men and women were dragged out and imprisoned… those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went”. It does not say only the males preached. The Apostles were not in this scattering (Acts 3:1). 

 

Acts 8:3-5  As for Saul he made havoc in the church, entering every house and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison. 4 Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word. 5 Then Phillip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them.

 

Was Paul against women in the Church?

Some say Paul was anti-women, relegating them to home duties only. But from careful reading of Scripture it would appear women were much more involved with the running and functioning of the Church than is openly apparent. Of course much of this is implied or left to the imagination, rather than openly stated in Scripture. But it is likely his constraints on women teaching were confined to communal worship/study situations involving men.

 

Also we should take into consideration what was happening in the Corinthian Church during Paul’s ministry. It is quite probable that Paul had a good relationship with women. They certainly were close to Christ. They followed Christ to Galilee and Jerusalem. They were there at his crucifixion and were the first witnesses of his resurrection and declared it to the Apostles.

 

Things women can do in the Church

Women can fast and pray for the sick or those who request prayers. They can take food to the sick and help the needy or infirmed. They can send notes of encouragement to those who are isolated.

 

Where possible a woman should be willing to work with other women at the Feast to prepare meals for those attending the Feast, so all can partake of meals together. There are also other duties women can perform to help in the smooth running of the Feasts.

 

In the Christian Churches of God women are encouraged to write study papers, as is the case for men. Here some men might have a problem and consider this ‘being taught by a woman’. However, any work presented by a woman is considered on the basis of biblical correctness and issued under the authority of the Church and its editors. This is not overstepping the bounds in regard to formal worship. Women can also write children’s lessons explaining and teaching God’s word.

 

This is all good training for women in building self-confidence, self-esteem and gaining knowledge. Like men, women today are intelligent, well-educated and capable of serious Bible research and they have much to offer the Church as a whole. There is so much work to be done before the Witnesses arrive and we all must work and encourage each other while there is still time to do the work.

 

Further, women can be ordained to the role of Deaconess if they have proven themselves suitable candidates. There is no specific criteria for qualification as a Deaconess, but one would have to consider the instruction for Deacons and their wives to be the model for Deaconesses (cf. 1Tim. 3:8-12). This work could entail administration, organisation, and liaison with both members and outsiders concerning the functioning of the Church and other related activities. In the absence of men, any converted woman can give opening and closing prayers at services.

 

In the Christian Churches of God women can also participate in open Bible Study gatherings with men. However, men are to lead in worship and women are to remain quiet (1Tim. 2:13-14). Women would not be permitted to stand up and conduct a formal service when men present are able to do so, but neither do they have to sit in the back row and remain mute till they return home. This does not make women second-class believers.

 

Women in membership of Christian Churches of God have full voting rights and can be elected to the Executive Committee of the National or World Conferences. On these committees women act as Secretaries and Treasurers and carry out all the duties those offices entail. In this sense, we are all governed by the Constitution of the Church.

 

So, while it is not unreasonable to expect women to tend to the domestic side of things, there is no law that confines them only to these duties. Most women have learned to cope well with a variety of ongoing, differing and demanding tasks at the same time.

 

When she has a family to consider, a woman’s primary responsibility and duty is to care for and nurture the young. For most women this can be a very rewarding job, even though it means sacrifice on her part. It is demanding and appears never-ending. However, there does come a time when the children have grown and they move out of the family home to either marry or pursue a career elsewhere, or simply to have their own independence. At this time when the woman is finished with childbearing/rearing then she can devote more time to Church-oriented activities and work.

 

Older women, who may not be able to become physically involved, can provide a very useful service in prayer. They can also be good teachers by example and by admonishing the young wives and mothers to love their husbands and children, and to support them in their role as women (Tit. 2:3-5).

 

Conclusion

 

As we saw above, the first woman, Eve, was deceived and became a transgressor and then tempted man. As Christian women we have an added responsibility in displaying modest and virtuous behaviour in our dress, speech and conduct. Women are to appear and act like women (Prov. 30:30-31).

 

Scripture clearly shows that women are as weaker vessel made to be helpmates for men. (1Pet. 3:7; Gen. 2:18). This is essentially physical. We are commanded to raise children in the fear and admonition of God. We are to fully use the Holy Spirit within us and assist our families and nation into becoming part of Israel.

 

A woman cannot rely on her father, husband or minister for her salvation. We are told to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12). There is one God and one mediator between God and man (1Tim. 2:5-6). No man (priest or bishop) is mediator between God and man or woman. Women have the same responsibility as men with regard to salvation – i.e. prayer, fasting, studying, and assisting the work of the Church in preaching of the Gospel.

 

Ultimately, we are all to become sons of God and joint heirs with Christ (Rom. 8:17). All have access to the Father through the saving blood of Jesus Christ. Under Christ there was neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free, male nor female. They were all one with Christ Jesus (Gal. 3:26-29). There will be no marriage in the Kingdom, so there will be no male and female divisions, only sexless sons of God (Lk. 20:35-36). This life is the training ground for our future jobs in the Kingdom.

 

So, we can conclude that both men and women walk the same path towards salvation. All must believe in the One True God and His Son Jesus Christ whom He sent. All must repent and be baptised into the Body of Christ. Through this process we receive the Holy Spirit and grow in grace and knowledge and overcome our weaknesses. We cannot turn back to our old way of life without forfeiting our position in the First Resurrection. It is an ongoing process. We are expected to overcome and persevere until the return of the Messiah.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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