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God was never married to Israel in the OC

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Comment by Charles Shank on March 3, 2012 at 7:20pm

What happened to the good 'five-pointer'?:)

Comment by Tim Martin on March 3, 2012 at 7:22pm

Obsolete, Charles.

Comment by Thomas E. Case on March 3, 2012 at 7:52pm

Tim, I have always taken that to mean they broke the marriage covenant post Canaan entry, and the breaking of covenant was a statement of fact rather than a statement of when. That still seems a possible interpretation. However, what stands out in the part underlined is, in the day...lead them out of the land of Egypt... The possibility coming to mind now is a covenant was made in Egypt to take them from their bondage, and that covenant they broke while Moses was on the mountain. When he came down he broke the tablets. After going up again and returning 40 days later the betrothal covenant was made. Mike Loomis had posted something about that 40 days,something to think about. I said earlier the word for 'husband' (1166) seemed to refer to married man vast majority of time. Since phrases containing various conjunctions, pronouns, etc. are derived from 1166 a search for an exact spelling of the Hebrew is not very helpful for that word. If the 1st possible interpretation above is correct 'husband' is proper, if the 2nd is correct 'ruler' or another alternate rendering would be necessary.

The preponderance of evidence still persuades me husband and wife must be a married couple.

No, I won't consider Sinai as the marriage covenant because as you say that would destroy the typology. I am convinced the types and antitypes must match. Interesting stuff.


Comment by Tim Martin on March 3, 2012 at 8:04pm



Interesting. So there needs to be a pre-Sinai covenant between God and Israel that prepares Israel for the Betrothal Covenant that prepares Israel for the Marriage Covenant upon entering the land...


You are the first one that I have ever seen claim that Jeremiah 31: "in the day... lead them out of the land of Egypt" does not refer to Sinai.


I would not want to defend that position.


Could you explain how that tri-partate covenant process works out in the NT anti-type? You say that the types and the antitypes must match. Please explain how that matches with the New Testament.


Interesting, indeed.




Tim Martin

Comment by Allyn Morton on March 3, 2012 at 8:05pm

If it has any application here in this discussion, what is the significance of God breaking His covenant with Israel in Zechariah 11:10-14?

Comment by jjkratt on March 3, 2012 at 9:35pm

Hi Tim,

Hey I'm enjoying this exchange. I hope you are too. I'll reply within your comments below:


 I have a few questions on your slave-wife approach to God's marriage to Israel.

 First of all, were slave wives married through a betrothal covenant process? Since you grant that Sinai was a betrothal covenant, wouldn't this require that God betrothed himself to a free woman? Can you give an example of a slave-wife who entered a betrothal covenant?

Jerel>>> No I can't give an example. I think that Israel was a essentially a free woman set free from slavery to Egypt. But as Paul tells us she was still really in bondage to Egypt even in 55 AD. I'm saying Israel never really was free until AD70, she was still a slave (to law, sin, death, Egypt, etc). But I’m not sure right now if God entered into a slave marriage to her, or if her slavery essentially existed because God hadn’t consummated the wedding yet.>>>

Secondly, if Israel was in bondage to Egypt, then she would be a slave, right? Yet, God takes Israel out of Egypt at the Exodus so that she can worship God alone. In other words, doesn't God free Israel at the Exodus, so that she is a free woman when she stands at Sinai?

Jerel>>> I think Israel wasn't actually free from literal Egypt until she crossed the Jordan (Josh 5:9). But even then I think Deut 32 shows that Israel always spurned the Lord even from the beginning. Maybe God never actually married Israel but treated her as a slave still? Since there doesn't seem to be a betrothal or wedding ceremony for a slave, but that a man could still take a slave as his own, possibly this is the picture?

Thirdly, if God betrothed himself to Israel at Sinai, to a free woman, then how can we view the supposed marriage when entering promised land as a slave-wife marriage? Did God betroth himself to a free woman and then enter a slave-marriage?

Jerel >>> I’m not sure of this just yet. The problem I have is God is depicted with Israel in a relationship that is more than a betrothal, which is an absence of the groom from the bride. He is seen as coming down and being with her, dwelling on his holy mountain in her city. And they had children (there were children of faith/of the Spirit, like Isaac, and children of harlotry). I think the prophets bear this truth out. Remember that God said he “went away” in Hosea 5:15 demonstrating the He was dwelling with her, which only a married husband could do not a betrothed husband. Deut 32:19 says the children of Israel were "His sons and daughters."  So either God married Israel and had children with her or he continued the slave relationship with her by taking her as his own but she still was a slave in bondage. I can't see it any other way right now unless you can show me all children of Israel were illegitimate by another husband than God (that would mean even the great men of faith were children of a pagan idol and not children of God. I think that's a tenuous position right now. Pulling the adoption card doesn’t work for me. When were they adopted? Why were some adopted and some weren’t? I think this is stretching the Hosea/Gomer analogy beyond its immediate context. I would read Hosea depicting the children of Harlotry as occurring with the rebellious kings of the divided kingdom. This seems to be the timing that Deut. 32 shows too.>>>

 Fourthly, what I asked previously is where the additional marriage covenant (beyond the betrothal covenant at Sinai) can be found when Israel entered the land. I looked into it and it appears to me that Joshua 24:14-26 a reaffirmation of the Sinai Covenant. Does Joshua confirm the Sinai

Comment by jjkratt on March 3, 2012 at 9:39pm


Fourthly, what I asked previously is where the additional marriage covenant (beyond the betrothal covenant at Sinai) can be found when Israel entered the land. I looked into it and it appears to me that Joshua 24:14-26 a reaffirmation of the Sinai Covenant. Does Joshua confirm the Sinai covenant or does he issue a "New Covenant"?

Jerel>>> Joshua confirms the Sinai covenant. I’m not saying that God started one covenant at Sinai and then took another at the crossing. It very well could be that the Sinai covenant itself is a slave marriage contract itself (Paul seemed to think it was). Hence no wedding ceremony. It all just rolls together. God just took them then and put them in bondage to the Law. He gave her the conjugal rights due her, brought her into the land with milk and honey, built a hedge around her and dug a winepress, and at first she served him in the land but eventually she sought out other lovers.>>>

Fifthly, doesn't the Sinai Covenant define the rest of the history of Israel throughout the Old Testament? But you have already granted that the Sinai Covenant is God's betrothal to Israel. Where is the "additional" marriage covenant to Israel "added" to Sinai. Doesn't the Sinai covenant take us all the way up to the "last days" for Israel?

 Jerel>>> Yes. I think you are misunderstanding my position. My comments above should clarify that I am not proposing another marriage covenant between Sinai and Christ.>>>

Sixthly, since Sinai defines Paul's definition of Israel in Galatians 4, then how can we view Israel as married to God in the OT? Again, Sinai is a betrothal covenant that binds Israel by promise. If Paul thought of Israel as married fully to God in the old covenant, then wouldn't he go somewhere else, (anywhere else!) besides Sinai?

 Jerel>> How we view Israel married to God is via the slave law of Exod. 21. Again I think I answered some of your questions above by explaining that the assumptions you have for my view are not actually my view. J

The slave wife proposal looks completely unworkable to me, regardless of how Alan's approach concludes. I'd be happy to listen to where I am mistaken. Maybe there are good answers to these questions. I'm a bit stumped by them...

Jerel>>> Let me know if this helps or not. My main goal here though wasn’t to argue about the marriage or betrothal of Israel and when it did or didn’t occur, but to refute the teaching that God could not divorce Israel after the wedding consummation. The Law clearly doesn’t teach that at all. Blessings. 


Comment by jjkratt on March 3, 2012 at 11:07pm

Alan, thanks for the reply. My time is running short now for the rest of the weekend but here is my best attempt to answer your questions.

Blessings, Jerel



I think you bring up some very important passages to consider. Here is what I would say in response to some of it (I'm still catching up):

1. Israel was set free by Pharoah. She is not a slave wife. Isaiah 54 takes the covenant back to Noah. She was forsaken for a moment in Egypt, but she belonged to Him. Israel was set free to enter into covenant with God.

Jerel>>> Yes but she, OC Israel, was still in slavery to the Law, to Adam, to death, until Christ. This is the foundation of Covenant Eschatology and is Paul’s doctrine in Romans.

2. Exodus 21 definitely needs further study, but I suggest a place to start is 1 Cor. 7. I think Paul's abandonment doctrine is pulling from that law. I have nothing else to offer yet here. More to come.

Jerel>>> Yes I totally agree. Which shows that it is lawful to divorce after the consummation of the betrothal.

3. Please show where any of God's children were had with Israel. If Deuteronomy 5 is the marriage (which is right before they enter the land), then why would God still be visiting the iniquity of His own children at the marriage. That doesn't make any sense. The reason is because they were the children of whoredom - not my children. Further, why is it that whole creation is awaiting the adoption as sons in Romans 8 if any of them are His kids? Answer: God doesn't have any of His own kids. He's fulfilling Hosea 2 (cf. Duet. 5).

Jerel>>> Please show that they weren’t! I guess we’re both asking each other to prove their point excludes all other options. LOL. But here’s some that I am seeing:

Deuteronomy 32:18-20 ESV  You were unmindful of the Rock that bore you, and you forgot the God who gave you birth.  (19)  "The LORD saw it and spurned them, because of the provocation of his sons and his daughters.  (20)  And he said, 'I will hide my face from them; I will see what their end will be, For they are a perverse generation, children in whom is no faithfulness.


Ezekiel 16:20-21 ESV  And you took your sons and your daughters, whom you had borne to me, and these you sacrificed to them to be devoured. Were your whorings so small a matter  (21)  that you slaughtered my children and delivered them up as an offering by fire to them?

I would say the burden of proof is on denying that the sons and daughters of Israel were not God’s. They were children of the flesh, no doubt, but of the covenant with God. The harlotry of Hosea refers to the idolatry of Israel after the divided kingdom, with prophetic delivery by the Christ in the last days.

4. In Galatians 4, Hagar is the slave woman, not Israel. Further, Paul's quote from Isaiah 64 contrasts Israel with a married woman. Paul's and Isaiah's contrasts demand that Israel was not married. That's the whole point of their argument.

Jerel>>> I had to think about this one for a while. Wasn’t Hagar representative of all the Old Covenant people during the transition period who remained under the old covenant? Wasn’t Sarah representative of the new covenant people who came to Christ? I think I see what you are doing… you are connecting the true Spiritual Israel of all time, the children of Eve, mother of the living, as being the children of Sarah (which in a sense, they were). But, in this allegory, the only people under view are those two brothers living under the same house during the time of transition. It was a contrast of those under the law vs. those in Christ. Paul grouped all those still living under the Old Covenant as being under bondage and being slaves. I still think this proves my point not yours, but maybe we are talking past each

Comment by jjkratt on March 3, 2012 at 11:08pm


I still think this proves my point not yours, but maybe we are talking past each other here?

5. I think either I did not speak correctly, or you misunderstood my argument for Deuteronomy 24. I do not believe that passage has anything to do with sexual immorality. That passage has to do with laws that protect the abused woman.

Jerel>>> I think you did a pretty good job with Deut 24 though I would argue that “indecency” largely meant nakedness or sexual indecency of some sort, and there are hordes of volumes of commentaries on this. Again I refer to Instone-Brewer as one of the best. But my beef was with your application of Deut. 22, not 24.The command to not divorce if uncleanness is found in the “virgin” bride on her wedding night is not a general command to prevent all divorce at any point in time after the consummation of the betrothal.

6. If Sinai is the betrothal covenant, please demonstrate where the marriage covenant took place as distinct from the betrothal covenant. Duet. 5 looks a lot like Exodus 20. I propose the marriage covenant was the New Covenant (Jer. 31; Heb. 8), it was not like the covenant he made with them at Sinai and Deut. 5.

Jerel>>> I think this is your strongest point. Which is why I think either you might be correct (but your basis from Deut 22 being incorrect), or else Sinai was an all-in-one betrothal/marriage as in a conquered woman of Deut. 21.

Deuteronomy 21:10-14 ESV  "When you go out to war against your enemies, and the LORD your God gives them into your hand and you take them captive,  (11)  and you see among the captives a beautiful woman, and you desire to take her to be your wife,  (12)  and you bring her home to your house, she shall shave her head and pare her nails.  (13)  And she shall take off the clothes in which she was captured and shall remain in your house and lament her father and her mother a full month. After that you may go in to her and be her husband, and she shall be your wife.  (14)  But if you no longer delight in her, you shall let her go where she wants. But you shall not sell her for money, nor shall you treat her as a slave, since you have humiliated her.


Another  problem I am still having is the application Paul makes in Romans 7. He clearly sees Israel still married (I would say to Adam as a slave in bondage) and that the husband must die in order for her to be married to another, to Christ.

Comment by Thomas E. Case on March 4, 2012 at 7:16am

Tim, you wrote:    


    You are the first one that I have ever seen claim that Jeremiah 31: "in the day... lead them out of the land of Egypt" does not refer to Sinai.


    I would not want to defend that position.


I made no claim Tim. A thought occurred to me as I considered your post and I shared it beginning with, "The possibility coming to mind now..." It was just my thinking outside the box. Not long after I put that thought back in the box. It didn't become a position, I won't be defending it.


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