“Let marriage be held in honor among all, and let the marriage bed be undefiled; for fornicators and adulterers God will judge” Heb. 13:4
Undefiled bed is the bed without spot, uncontaminated, with no disrepute.
Undefiled bed is sex undefiled, is sex with no filthiness.
Undefiled bed is sex with no prostitution, adultery, fornication, sodomy, etc.
The impression these statements give us is that, in marriage, bed is undefiled, and of mutual faithfulness. Let us examine the biblical marriage.
In the Old Testament, the sexual intercourse in marriage was unclean. In the law of Jehovah, we read: “Now if a man has a seminal emission, he shall bathe all his body in water and be clean until evening” (Lev. 15:16). In Jehovah’s perspective, men’s sperm is unclean by nature. The uncleanness of the sperm is compared to leprosy, or to blenorrhea. “No man, of the descendants of Aaron, who is a leper or who has a discharge, may eat of the holy gifts until he is clean. And if he touches anything made unclean by a corpse or if a man has a seminal emission” (Lev. 22:4). When a man lies with his wife to have intercourse with her, they both are considered unclean. “If a man lies with a woman so that there is a seminal emission, they shall both bathe in water and be unclean until evening” (Lev. 15:18).
All male children, when born, were normally unclean to Jehovah. “Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, ‘When a woman gives birth and bears a male child, then she shall be unclean for seven days, as in the days of her menstruation she shall be unclean. And on the eighth day the flesh of his foreskin shall be circumcised. Then she shall remain in the blood of her purification for thirty-three days; she shall not touch any consecrated thing, nor enter the sanctuary, until the days of her purification are completed. But if she bears a female child, then she shall be unclean for two weeks, as in her menstruation; and she shall remain in the blood of her purification for sixty-six days” (Lev.12:1-5).
The concept of a child being unclean even from her mother’s womb was common in Israel. “How then can a man be just with God? Or how can he be clean who is born of woman? (Job 25:4). “What is man, that he should be pure, or he who is born of a woman, that he should be righteous? (Job 15:14). “Who can make the clean out of the unclean? No one!” (Job 14:4).
In Jehovah’s point of view, to give birth to children was a sin that demanded atonement by means of sacrifices. “And when the days of her purification are completed, for a son or for a daughter, she shall bring to the priest at the doorway of the tent of meeting, a one year old lamb for a burnt offering, and a young pigeon or a turtledove for a sin offering. Then he shall offer it before the Lord and make atonement for her; and she shall be cleansed from the flow of her blood. This is the law for her who bears a child, whether a male or a female” (Lev.12:6-7). This is why David said: “Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin my mother conceived me” (Ps. 51:5). Mary had to offer this sacrifice, also, in order to be clean (Luke 2:21-24). Nevertheless, the sacrifices of the Law didn’t remove sins (Heb.10:4). In Jehovah’s eyes, sex was so filthy, that the people was forbidden to touch women for three days in order to be ready to come to Mount Sinai and hear the voice of Jehovah when he dictated the laws (Ex. 19:14-17).
Some things in the Old Testament are difficult to understand. Marriage sex was unclean, childbirth was unclean, and the child that was born was unclean, though it was Jehovah who gave the children. “Behold, children are a gift of the Lord; The fruit of the womb is a reward” (Ps. 127:3). “For they have committed adultery, and blood is on their hands. Thus they have committed adultery with their idols and even caused their sons, whom they bore to Me, to pass through the fire to them as food” (Ezek. 23:37). “Now the Lord saw that Leah was unloved, and He opened her womb, but Rachel was barren” (Gen. 29:31). Not only Jehovah created evil, but created the unclean things also (Is. 45:7; 64:8, Amos 3:6, Lam. 1:17). “…AND I PRONOUNCED THEM UNCLEAN BECAUSE OF THEIR GIFTS, IN THAT THEY CAUSED ALL THEIR FIRST-BORN TO PASS THROUGH THE FIRE SO THAT I MIGHT MAKE THEM DESOLATE, IN ORDER THAT THEY MIGHT KNOW THAT I AM JEHOVAH” (Ezek.20:26).
The kind of god who will pronounce his own people unclean can only be the destroyer. Let’s analyze the life of the unhappiest of all men: the wise Solomon.
“The mouth of an adulteress is a deep pit; He who is cursed of Jehovah will fall into it” (Prov. 22:14). “And I discovered more bitter than death the woman whose heart is snares and nets, whose hands are chains. One who is pleasing to God will escape from her, but the sinner will be captured by her” (Eccles. 7:26). It is astonishing! Jehovah gave to Solomon a thousand foolish and strange women (1 Kings. 11:1-3). It was Jehovah, though, who devised Solomon, and declared that he himself was his Father (2 Sam. 7:12-15). He was loved of Jehovah from the womb (1 Chr. 22:9). Finally, he gives Solomon a thousand women who perverted his heart. Those who want to be elected of Jehovah, beware! There is more, yet, to this. The sperm, in Jehovah’s opinion, was unclean (Lev. 15:16-18). Because he had a thousand women, Solomon spent all his time in sexual appetite and uncleanness (2 Peter 2:10). In the end, Jehovah rejected him.
Thanks to God the Father, Jesus came down from heaven and sanctified all persons in the cross. (Heb. 10:14, 1 John 2:2). He also put an end to the existing discrimination against women. “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:27-28).
Let’s read the teaching of Paul: “But…if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, let him not send her away. And a woman, who has an unbelieving husband, and he consents to live with her, let her not send her husband away. For the unbelieving husband is sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified through her believing husband, for otherwise your children are unclean, but now they are holy” (1 Cor. 7:12-14). Christ has changed everything. In these present days, children, when they are born, can be holy. Christ sanctifies the parents’ sexual intercourse. The seed of the union of a true Christian is not unclean. The marriage bed can be undefiled. If Jesus sanctifies what, in Jehovah’s sight, is unclean, Jesus doesn’t agree with Jehovah. The Father doesn’t agree with Jehovah either, for Jesus and the Father are one.
By Pastor Olavo S. Pereira