For most, the transition to Torah from typical Christian doctrine requires a major retooling or correcting of understanding regarding basic terms and ideas. As an example, most have been taught that the ‘Law’ is bad and therefore needs to be removed or in some way minimized so that we are freed from it. The revelation, early in the Torah walk, that ‘Torah’ means ‘instructions’ and not ‘law’ begins to reform, or re-form, our understanding of God’s loving expectations and desires. As we pursue this, we learn that the Father has specific ways that bring blessings when we understand them properly and apply them in our lives in the way He intended them.
In the beginning parts of this series considering headship and patriarchy, we have seen that God’s Word clearly reveals a particular plan for how families are supposed to operate in order to rightly reflect Him and His glory as well as the particular relationship between Him and His people. To paraphrase Paul in Ephesians 5, ‘the covenant relationship between man and woman should be a reflection of the Messiah and the Qahal/ekklesia/congregation.’
In other words, this thing we call marriage should be an exact representation of Yeshua and His people. The challenge is that so much false teaching and understanding at the hand of the enemy has led most Christians who claim to have ‘Biblical marriages’ to an understanding that is decidedly UNbiblical. We hear terms like ‘partnership,’ ‘egalitarian,’ ‘co-equal,’ and ‘mutual submission’ which are all radically contrary to Scripture from beginning to end. Rather, these are the very essence of the influence of feminism in the church, tendrils which trace to the Garden of Eden.
The overall topic, much larger than this post (and therefore the need for a whole series), can be summed up in a couple verses from Ephesians 5.
“Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ is the head of the ekklesia/congregation, He Himself the Savior of the body.”Ephesians 5:22-23
Borne out throughout Scripture is the very clear point that marriage, a product of a Suzerain-vassal covenant relationship, is a master-servant relationship. Nothing in Scripture ever violates this principle. The western mind chafes heavily at the thought and the terminology, but the argument is with the Almighty, not the authors of this blog or even Scripture.
As we move forward, we will have opportunity to discuss in detail how a marriage is formed, what that covenant looks like and the roles of each party, man or woman. But, the most basic principle that we must understand and accept for the restoration of kol Israel is that marriage is a master-servant relationship. How can we test this?
We can test this by taking any interaction or relational understanding between a husband and wife (we will define those terms shortly) and insert Yeshua and the Qahal/Congregation into the equation. As an example, here is a hypothetical:
Wife wants to do X and tells her husband that she plans to do it. He states that he doesn’t think it is a good idea and tells her not to. She says, ‘we discussed it. I don’t agree, so I’m going to do it anyway.’ She thinks that she has the right to discuss or even override her husband’s decision. This is what the world and even many Christian denominations teach. Let us now insert ‘Congregation’ and ‘Yeshua’ to exactly the same equation…
The Congregation wants to do X and tells Yeshua that she plans to do it. He states that He doesn’t think it is a good idea and tells her not to. She says, ‘we discussed it. I don’t agree, so I’m going to do it anyway.’
Have you ever read about the Children of Israel in the wilderness? Here is just one of many examples:
40 In the morning, however, they rose up early and went up to the ridge of the hill country, saying, “Here we are; we have indeed sinned, but we will go up to the place which the Lord has promised.” 41 But Moses said, “Why then are you transgressing the commandment of the Lord, when it will not succeed? 42 Do not go up, or you will be struck down before your enemies, for the Lord is not among you. 43 For the Amalekites and the Canaanites will be there in front of you, and you will fall by the sword, inasmuch as you have turned back from following the Lord. And the Lord will not be with you.” 44 But they went up heedlessly to the ridge of the hill country; neither the ark of the covenant of the Lord nor Moses left the camp. 45 Then the Amalekites and the Canaanites who lived in that hill country came down, and struck them and beat them down as far as Hormah.Numbers 14:40-45
Rebellion against the Head didn’t work out so well. God has an authority structure and He will not tolerate it being violated. There are consequences.
Now, lest the reader begin reading us the riot act about ‘love your wives as Messiah loves the Congregation,’ understand that there are two parts and Christianity has done a great job of twisting the ‘love your wives’ into ‘mutual submission’ and ‘happy wife, happy life’ egalitarian cr@p. This blog will get to the tender care and understanding part, but first, we need to make the major course correction requiring teaching on the proper relationship within a covenant and the roles of each party to that covenant.
Marriage is a master-servant relationship (with benefits…). There.
So, what would a simple overview of a Biblical husband be? This will be spelled out in greater detail in our next post dedicated to the role and responsibility of man, but the short answer is, head, master, final authority, protector, provider, etc. He is prophet, priest and king of his home. Note, he is not ‘senior partner’ or ‘chairman of the board.’ Rather, like Adam, the man is the authority that Yah holds accountable for the entire home and everyone in it. The man is to accurately reflect Messiah in every way.
Interestingly, to our knowledge, there is no particular term in the Hebrew for ‘wife.’ It is always a possessive use of ‘woman,’ as in, ‘Sarai was Abram’s woman.’ Her identity is bound up in his ownership/mastery. She bears his name and is his representative. Translated we read ‘Abraham’s wife’ but the Hebrew says, ‘Abraham’s woman’ or ‘the woman of Abraham.’ The point is that the patriarchal relationship between men and women is significantly more clear in Hebrew than English because as we read ‘wife’ we automatically import our false understandings of what that relationship entails. This, too, will be made more clear in a future post, however a brief overview here helps one understand our initial and general explanation of what ‘wife’ actually means in Scripture and how this role is to work in a family and for the restoration of kol Israel.
The short description of a woman’s role is that of ‘helper.’ Her mission in life is to assist her man in fulfilling his calling before God. He has the authority in his home to decide how best to use her gifting and utilize her strengths for the purpose of, under his leadership and headship, accomplishing the mission or ministry God has for him and his family. Maybe she has giftings as a business woman. He can choose to have her in business and guide/direct that business (see Proverbs 31), but he also has the option to choose for her to use those gifts a different way, depending on what he believes the Father is leading him to accomplish with his family.
Contrary to culture and the feminism inherited within Christianity, a woman is to never be ‘uncovered’ or out from under the headship of a man. She was reared in her father’s home and her purity was guarded for the purpose of one day placing her into the covering of a husband who would then assume headship. She remained in that state until he died and if she outlived him, then she would either return to the headship of her father or to that of her grown son, a brother or that of another man (husband). Paul clearly states that widows younger than 60 were to be remarried (1 Tim. 5:9-14)
Future posts will explore these difficult truths, but a general overview here suffices to set the stage for our study. If we desire to see the full restoration of kol Israel, it is imperative that we understand and begin to implement Yah’s ways in our families, the most basic building block from which clans and tribes can be constructed. Keeping Shabbat and feasts is a step in the right direction. Accumulating knowledge is a help, but until we actually begin to walk out God’s structure for family and employ His principles and instructions for man and woman and our respective roles, we will continue to flounder in the diaspora.
Thank you for walking on this journey with us. We look forward to your thoughts, questions and interactions as we deal with difficult topics most choose to ignore. As with your introduction to Torah, this can be rough water to sail in because it is quite opposite many things our culture and Christian tradition has taught us, but in the end, obedience brings blessings, life and peace.
May Yah reward you according to your diligence in pursuing Him.