Copyright 1994 - 2018 Bill's Bible Basics
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Published On :
January 1, 2001
Last Updated :
November 20, 2012
Reiterating A Woman's Role, Deborah Barak And Jael's Nail Gideon And Abimelech, Queen Esther And King Ahasuerus, Pride Humility And Submissiveness, Women To Be Submissive To Men, Scriptural Examples Of God Choosing Men For Spiritual And Leadership Positions, God Hasn't Changed Women In Supportive Roles, Neither Male Nor Female Doctrine
To reiterate my main point, throughout the Bible, women normally play a supportive role to their husbands and male leaders. As I noted earlier, in a few rare instances in the Old Testament, the Lord did raise up a woman in order to fulfill His Divine Purpose; but in the two examples I gave, that is, Deborah and Esther, there was also a dominant male figure. In the case of the Prophetess Deborah, we find the military leader, Barak, of the tribe of Naphtali, who along with his brethren from the tribe of Zebulon, pursued Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin's army. In the end, it was Jael, the wife of Heber the Kenite, who smote Sisera by driving a nail through his head, after his army had been destroyed by Barak and his brethren, as we see here:
"But Barak pursued after the chariots, and after the host, unto Harosheth of the Gentiles: and all the host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the sword; and there was not a man left. Howbeit Sisera fled away on his feet to the tent of Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite: for there was peace between Jabin the king of Hazor and the house of Heber the Kenite. And Jael went out to meet Sisera, and said unto him, Turn in, my lord, turn in to me; fear not. And when he had turned in unto her into the tent, she covered him with a mantle. And he said unto her, Give me, I pray thee, a little water to drink; for I am thirsty. And she opened a bottle of milk, and gave him drink, and covered him. Again he said unto her, Stand in the door of the tent, and it shall be, when any man doth come and enquire of thee, and say, Is there any man here? that thou shalt say, No. Then Jael Heber's wife took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died. And, behold, as Barak pursued Sisera, Jael came out to meet him, and said unto him, Come, and I will shew thee the man whom thou seekest. And when he came into her tent, behold, Sisera lay dead, and the nail was in his temples. So God subdued on that day Jabin the king of Canaan before the children of Israel. And the hand of the children of Israel prospered, and prevailed against Jabin the king of Canaan, until they had destroyed Jabin king of Canaan."
Judges 4:16-24, KJV
Right after this, in Judges chapter five, we see Deborah and Barak rejoicing together, as they sing their song of praise and victory to the Lord. What is interesting to note here, is that even before Barak went to fight against Sisera and his army, Deborah told him that while he would be victorious in battle, Sisera, the Canaanite captain, would be defeated by a woman:
"And I will draw unto thee to the river Kishon Sisera, the captain of Jabin's army, with his chariots and his multitude; and I will deliver him into thine hand. And Barak said unto her, If thou wilt go with me, then I will go: but if thou wilt not go with me, then I will not go. And she said, I will surely go with thee: notwithstanding the journey that thou takest shall not be for thine honour; for the LORD shall sell Sisera into the hand of a woman. And Deborah arose, and went with Barak to Kedesh."
Judges 4:7-9, KJV
Why did the Lord do this? Was it to show that He had changed rules since Genesis chapter three, and that women were now equal to men? I don't think so. This would contradict the bulk of Scriptural evidence we find throughout the Bible. I speculate that the Lord used this tactic merely to humble Jaban the Canaanite king and his army, and to show His great power through the fact that He could even defeat the enemies of the Israelites by using women.
We see a similar example where God used a woman to fulfill His Will in the story of a very proud and ambitious man by the name of Abimelech. He was the son of Gideon, who is also known in the Bible as Jerubbaal. Briefly; after Jerubbaal defeated the Midianites, the Israelites wanted to make him their king. Even back then, a few hundred years before the appearance of Prophet Samuel and King Saul, the Israelites were so backslidden in heart -- as I also point out in the series "The Fruits of Disobedience" -- that they were not happy with just having the Lord as their Eternal King who ruled from the Heavens; thus, they approached Gideon and asked him to accept the job. How did God-fearing Gideon reply to their request? Consider this:
"Then the men of Israel said unto Gideon, Rule thou over us, both thou, and thy son, and thy son's son also: for thou hast delivered us from the hand of Midian. And Gideon said unto them, I will not rule over you, neither shall my son rule over you: the LORD shall rule over you."
Judges 8:22-23, KJV
Gideon simply did NOT want the job. He basically told them, "Why do you need an earthly king over you, when you already have a Heavenly King over you?". This conviction burned so deeply in Gideon's heart that he also added that none of his sons would be their king either. Well, sadly, his proud son Abimelech, whom Gideon fathered by a concubine in Shechem, was of another persuasion. Some time after Gideon was dead, he put his plan into action. In his mind, he figured that he would not be as "dumb" as his father had been; he would take advantage of the situation; build up a loyal following; and then have himself declared as king. So to keep this story short -- being as you can read it for yourself in Judges chapters eight and nine -- it wasn't quite as simple as that. You see, Gideon had a total of seventy sons by his wives and concubines. As was the cruel custom back then with despotic rulers, the competition had to be killed off first. So this evil son went to his mother's house in Shechem, did a bit of public relations work, and then went to his father's house in Ophrah, and together with his mother's brethren, had the seventy sons of Gideon killed, save for Jotham. Thus he became king over Shechem.
But the Lord saw it all. After ruling in Shechem for three years, the people turned against Abimelech. While he was eventually able to defeat them, it was another story when it came to the people of Thebez. As Abimelech's army drew near to the city, all of the people rushed to the top of a great tower, hoping that they would be safe. Abimelech's plan was to burn it down, just as he had down with the tower in Shechem; but God had other plans. As with Sisera, He was about to humble and destroy Abimelech through the hand of a single woman, as we see here:
"And Abimelech came unto the tower, and fought against it, and went hard unto the door of the tower to burn it with fire. And a certain woman cast a piece of a millstone upon Abimelech's head, and all to brake his skull. Then he called hastily unto the young man his armourbearer, and said unto him, Draw thy sword, and slay me, that men say not of me, A woman slew him. And his young man thrust him through, and he died. And when the men of Israel saw that Abimelech was dead, they departed every man unto his place. Thus God rendered the wickedness of Abimelech, which he did unto his father, in slaying his seventy brethren: And all the evil of the men of Shechem did God render upon their heads: and upon them came the curse of Jotham the son of Jerubbaal."
Judges 9:52-57, KJV
Concerning the store of Queen Esther, whose Hebrew name was Hadassah, meaning "myrtle", we discover that while a lot of Christians and Jews like to highly exalt this heroine of the Israelites, and while the Lord did in fact greatly use her to save her people, the point still remains that even though she was queen, she was still required to be subservient to the Persian king, Ahasuerus; who some scholars believe was actually Xerxes. I also discuss this topic in my series "The Seven Heads". At any rate, Esther, whose name is derived from the false Babylonian goddess Ishtar, meaning "star", and from which we derive the name Easter, risked being killed if she dared to enter into the king's presence without his express permission. Consider these verses:
"Again Esther spake unto Hatach, and gave him commandment unto Mordecai; All the king's servants, and the people of the king's provinces, do know, that whosoever, whether man or woman, shall come unto the king into the inner court, who is not called, there is one law of his to put him to death, except such to whom the king shall hold out the golden sceptre, that he may live: but I have not been called to come in unto the king these thirty days."
Esther 4:10-11, KJV
"Now it came to pass on the third day, that Esther put on her royal apparel, and stood in the inner court of the king's house, over against the king's house: and the king sat upon his royal throne in the royal house, over against the gate of the house. And it was so, when the king saw Esther the queen standing in the court, that she obtained favour in his sight: and the king held out to Esther the golden sceptre that was in his hand. So Esther drew near, and touched the top of the sceptre."
Esther 5:1-2, KJV
"And Esther spake yet again before the king, and fell down at his feet, and besought him with tears to put away the mischief of Haman the Agagite, and his device that he had devised against the Jews. Then the king held out the golden sceptre toward Esther. So Esther arose, and stood before the king,"
Esther 8:3-4, KJV
We need to remember that the primary reason why Esther was chosen to be the new queen, aside from the fact that it was obviously God's Will, is because the previous queen, Vashti, had humiliated the king by not appearing before him when she was summoned. In his anger, the king then passed an edict which was to be obeyed throughout his empire, from India to Ethiopia. What were the terms of that edict? Consider this:
"And when the king's decree which he shall make shall be published throughout all his empire, (for it is great,) all the wives shall give to their husbands honour, both to great and small. And the saying pleased the king and the princes; and the king did according to the word of Memucan: For he sent letters into all the king's provinces, into every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language, that every man should bear rule in his own house, and that it should be published according to the language of every people."
Esther 1:20-22, KJV
So what we see then, is that the story of Queen Esther is not just a lesson in bravery, love and self-sacrifice, but it also a lesson in humility, and carries the strong message that women are to remain submissive to their husbands, in spite of whatever his lot may be in life. While this is only speculation on my part, perhaps it was because of Esther's humility and obedience to her Uncle Mordecai, that the Lord knew that He could trust her, and thus honoured her with the great responsibility of being queen over the entire Persian Empire. On the other hand, as I point out in other articles, it is when we yield to our sinful pride, that we may end up suffering a severe demotion; as was the case with Vashti. Wise King Solomon tells us:
"Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall."
Proverbs 16:18, KJV
So again, as I state in the second half of "Churchianity or Christianity: Which Do You Practice?", women are to remain spiritually and physically submissive to their God-fearing husbands, because he is the spiritual head, as we see by the following verse:
"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."
Ephesians 5:23, KJV
Leaving the Old Testament behind, the plan revealed in the New Testament tells us quite plainly that the positions of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, teachers, and other administrative positions, are to be filled by men, and NOT by women. That being the case, what room can we find for delegating authority and leadership roles to women? Where in the New Testament is there a Scriptural precedent for this? Allow me to share a few more verses of Scripture with you in order to validate my point:
"Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; To another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will."
1 Corinthians 12:4-11, KJV
"Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. And God hath set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. Are all apostles? are all prophets? are all teachers? are all workers of miracles? Have all the gifts of healing? do all speak with tongues? do all interpret?"
1 Corinthians 12:27-30, KJV
"And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:"
Ephesians 4:11-13, KJV
"Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them."
Acts 13:1-2, KJV
In the previous verses, it is plain to see that the various positions of spiritual and administrative authority, such as prophets, teachers, evangelists, etc., were all filled by men. Paul specifically states several times "every man", and not "every woman and every man". Now, we can get legalistic and say that the original Greek word used here, "hekastos", also means "every one", and thus could be stretched so that it includes women; however, if we simply study the Scriptures thoroughly, and see how the Lord and His followers operated, it is easy to conclude that the phrase "every man" means precisely that; every man.
I repeat that it is after describing the various positions within the Church body, that in 1 Corinthians, Paul plainly tells us that women are to keep silent in the Church. There is absolutely no way then that they can fulfill any of these spiritual or leadership responsibilities if they are to keep silent. Now, I realize that some modernists like to accuse Paul of being old-fashioned. "We are living in modern times" they claim. "Things have changed; the Church has changed; the Church has been liberated"; and on and on they go with their unScriptural assertions. Yes, sadly, the Church has changed so much, that there are now gay and female priests, and some are going so far as to bless homosexual and lesbian relationships! Perhaps these modern priests and priestesses would like to explain the following verses to me. Obviously, they must understand them a lot differently than I do:
"Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever."
Hebrews 13:8, KJV
"For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed."
Malachi 3:6, KJV
As far as I am concerned, the way God designed the Church to be run during the First Century, is the same way He expects it to be run today. The people who say otherwise, such as these liberal thinkers who accuse the Apostle Paul of being a woman-hater, are simply trying to void Paul's words, in order to validate their erroneous interpretations of the Scriptures. They are basically saying that Paul was overly legalistic and wrong. I disagree with them wholeheartedly; and do you know why? Quite plainly, because the practice of choosing men for all of these positions did not begin with Paul. Even before Paul came along, the brethren knew that the Lord expected them to choose men to fill the various spiritual and leadership positions, because this is the example that Jesus set Himself.
The Lord Himself specifically chose Twelve Men to carry on His Work; and women such as the Mary's, Martha, Joanna and Susanna only served in supportive roles. This is not meant to belittle them or minimize their importance by any means. We all know that following His Resurrection, some of these women were the very first ones to see Jesus; so it is quite obvious that He loved them dearly; yet they knew their place in God's order of things, and they accepted it gladly. In the four Gospels, women are always presented in a supportive role, such as we see in these verses:
"And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him, And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils, And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance."
Luke 8:1-3, KJV
In these verses, we see a clear division between The Twelve, and the other women, who it seems helped to provide some of their needs. We see this same kind of division in the very first chapter of the Book of Acts when they were gathered in the Upper Room, prior to the day of Pentecost. Notice that protocol seems to be kept here. The Eleven are named first; followed by the other women; who are then followed by Mary, Jesus' mother; and finally, by Jesus' other brethren, which I believe may possibly be a reference to His flesh brothers; some of whom apparently believed in Him after their initial doubts had passed:
"And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren."
Acts 1:13-14, KJV
In the Book of the Acts, we also discover that the traitor Judas Iscariot was likewise replaced by another man named Matthias, so that the Original Twelve could be maintained:
"And they appointed two, Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed, and said, Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, shew whether of these two thou hast chosen, That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place. And they gave forth their lots; and the lot fell upon Matthias; and he was numbered with the eleven apostles."
Acts 1:23-26, KJV
When a problem arose in Acts chapter six between the Hebrew and Greek Disciples, regarding the daily serving of tables, notice again that the Apostles clearly tell the Disciples to choose seven MEN amongst them to resolve the matter:
"And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration. Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the word. And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch: Whom they set before the apostles: and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them."
Acts 6:1-6, KJV
Now, if we consider that this problem dealt with the serving of food and the setting of tables, which is normally viewed as being a woman's job, one would think that if the early Disciples were of the belief that it was alright for women to hold positions of responsibility, then surely some women would have been chosen to resolve this problem; yet none are chosen; they are all men. In my mind, this again points to the fact that in the First Century Church, women were not to hold any kind of spiritual positions or leadership positions in which decision-making was involved. What other reason can be offered to explain why women were not chosen to resolve what was obviously a woman-related job?
Moving on, as I point out in "Where Are The First Century Churches?", when bishops were selected for various Churches in the New Testament, they were also men. Specifically, in the Epistles of Paul, we find Titus and Timothy mentioned as being two of the first bishops:
"The Lord Jesus Christ be with thy spirit. Grace be with you. Amen. [The second [epistle unto Timotheus, ordained the first bishop of the Church of the Ephesians, was written from Rome, when Paul was brought before Nero the second time.]"
2 Timothy 4:22, KJV
"All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen. (It was written to Titus, ordained the first bishop of the Church of the Cretians, from Nicopolis of Macedonia.)"
Titus 3:15, KJV
So from the time that Jesus chose His Original Twelve, we discover over and over again, that only men were chosen to fill the various positions of spiritual and administrative responsibility. We read of Apollos, Barnabas, John Mark, Justus, Luke, Matthias, Nicanor, Nicolas, Parmenas, Philip, Prochorus, Silas, Stephen, Timon, Timothy, Titus and others as well. They were all male leaders in the First Century Church, chosen, directed by, and filled with God's Holy Spirit. Women clearly played a secondary role.
A final argument which some offended women pastors, liberals and legalists might try to use is this: "Well, doesn't Paul state that there is neither male nor female in Christ Jesus? And doesn't that mean that God makes no difference between us when it comes to the administration of the Church?". To be honest, I believe that I have already provided sufficient Scriptural evidence to show that the people who teach this doctrine are utterly wrong; but let us look at the verse:
"There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus."
Galatians 3:28, KJV
If we accept the previous interpretation, then we force ourselves to admit that not only is Paul contradicting him- self, plus contradicting what God ordained since the Book of Genesis, but the First Century Church must have been wrong, and really out of the Spirit when they chose all men to head the various Churches and bishoprics. Obviously, Paul, a man who had at least several direct, close, personal encounters with the Resurrected Christ, and who was taught the Word by Jesus Christ Himself, is not going to write one letter to one church stating that women are to be quiet in the church, and submit to their husbands, and then turn around and tell the Galatian church that there is no difference between men and women in God's eyes. Therefore, there must be something wrong with the aforementioned doctrine.
As I have stated a number of times before, when we come across a seeming contradiction in the Bible, it usually lies in our own understanding of what we are reading. The very same holds true in this case. The themes addressed in the Epistles to the Corinthians and to the Galatians are very different. Instead of taking the previous single verse, and applying a twisted interpretation to it, in order to support the women pastors doctrine, we need to read the surrounding verses and chapters, in order to place the verse in its proper context. If we do that, we quickly see that in this Epistle, Paul is specifically dealing with the issues of bondage to the Law, and the availability of Salvation to all men. That is the background for the above verse, and that is what Paul means when he states that there is neither male nor female in Christ. In other words, as I clearly point out in such articles as "Is Salvation Meant for All Men?", when Jesus died on the Cross, He opened the way to Salvation for all men everywhere; regardless of gender, or national origin. That is why He said in the Gospel of John:
"And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."
John 12:32, KJV
On the other hand, if we go to Paul's first Epistle to the Corinthians, and read the three chapters which come before the verse where he tells women to keep silent in the Church, we discover that they have absolutely nothing to do with the topic of Salvation. What they actually do deal with, is the administration of the Church, and the distribution of Spiritual Gifts and ministries within the Church Body; and that is when Paul writes the following:
"Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church."
1 Corinthians 14:34-35, KJV
Please go to part three for the conclusion of this series.
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