I recently promised our readers that we would take a look at the question of whether Yah'shua (Jesus) was ever married or not. When I first started this article I had a firm set of beliefs concerning this subject. And then I made a detailed review, of which that which follows is a summary, and discovered that my views have changed a little since the last time I wrote about this subject many years ago. What follows is an exercise in speculative theology which I hope you enjoy. It's not often that I tackle as big and controversial a subject as this. My purpose is not to create a dogma but a provisional theological model that can be modified as more data becomes available. Since there is no fullproof information on this subject, we must be prepared to be flexible, no matter what our position, as there is always more light and emet (truth) coming out of Elohim's Davar (God's Word).
The idea of Messiah having been married in mortality is, of a course, a pretty hot potato - if not one of the hottest - because so many theologies and claims to authority are invested in Him being celibate. Not only that, but the position adopted by various theologians and scriptorians over the ages on this subject is closely connected to a whole string of other doctrinal propositions too. Additionally, dissecting these in front of people with vested interests in defending theological systems attached to institutions is almost impossible without a lot of people getting hot under the collar and passions spilling over into spiritual bloodshed - which is why I never debate the subject. I state my case and people can either take it or leave it.
I used to generously believe that no-one would lose their salvation by believing one way or another. But now I think it depends not so much on whether you believe Yah'shua (Jesus) was married or not but on possible non-biblical assumptions that people muster to build a framework of belief in support of their positions. Some of these can definitely leads souls astray.
For myself, my belief that He was married in mortality has never been 100% clear-cut - I could not say that I was totally sure that He was. And I still cannot. But I can say that the evidence has steadily mounted and that on balance, some reservations notwithstanding, I still believe He was, though I am quite rpepared to be proved wrong. Answering the question why is much, much harder. I'd like to review some of the material today for the benefit of those who have asked me to make a statement and to encourage the rest to simply sharpen their theological teeth.
Firstly, trusting in Yah'shua (Jesus) for your salvation does not require you to believe that he was either married or was the 'quintessential eunuch' of Roman Catholicism and its Protestant break-offs. As One who was 100% Torah-obedient (as He had to be to qualify to be our Kinsman Redeemer, and which no other man has ever succeeded in doing, or ever will), as a human being He had every right to marry as other human beings did, and were expected to, in the culture that was Israelite society. As we saw in my last article on celibacy, being unmarried upon reaching adulthood was considered unnatural and contrary to a number of divine imperatives of which multiplying and replenishing the earth stands out as the foremost of these (Gen.1:22). Nothing in the Tanakh (Old Testament) scriptures remotely hinted anywhere that Messiah had to be single and I doubt a single ancient Hebrew exegete ever supposed that the coming Messiah would break the national tavnith (pattern) for family. Indeed, every saviour or messiah had been married in the past so why shouldn't the Saviour or Messiah be the same? (See The Elect of Yahweh: Messiahs and Set-Apart Women).
The main issue over the Messiah being single or married lies in the concern that since He was both Elohim (God) and man, any offspring would surely be demi-gods. And what exactly would they be? Half mortal and half immortal? Not unnaturally this conjures up in the mind those earlier unions between fallen Watcher malakim (angels) and human females who sired rebellious giants who caused such destruction to the moral life of the planet and the gene pool that the human race had to be wiped out to restore genetic purity to the species. The human genome was so tainted by this tampering that only Noah was found "perfect in his generations" (Gen.6:9), that is to say, without nefilim genes. The issue, in the case of the angels, was never whether such liasons between supernatural beings and mortals were possible (for we know they were), or that they could not produce progeny (which they clearly did), but whether such unions were permissable or not. Clearly the co-mingling of angels and humans was forbidden because of the resultant wickedness that follows. However, we can then turn around and then say that the divine and the mortal can never be comingled because clearly something like this did happen when Elohim (God) and Man comingled in the Person of Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ). The big and worrisome question is how this happened and what was the nature of the 'mixing' of the two species or beings?
The problem with this worry is that it presupposes that the divine and immortal somehow mix as in some cocktail. Something like that certainly happened in the case of the nefilim since a giant race was produced though physically the offspring may simply have been an enlarged 'mutant' version of ordinary human beings. We know from our other studies on nefilim and 'UFOnauts' that all kinds of hybrids exist today, further reinforcing the contention that the supernatural and the natural can and do mix...at least physically. The bigger question is what they are spiritually - are they inhabited by the spirits of men or by demons? Following on this is another hard question: were these 'spirits' created de novo at conception or were they pre-existent, literally entering the physical hybrids at conception or at some later time during gestation? These and other very hard questions we are going to have to look at carefully, without turning this short study into a book.
I find no evidence that there was a physical and spiritul co-mingling in the case of Yah'shua (Jesus) so there are major differences between Him and the fallen Watcher angels. For one thing, the union was not sexual but mediated by purely spiritual processes. The Ruach (Spirit) was responsible for the conception of Messiah.
Yah'shua (Jesus) was human in his flesh - which He obtained from His mortal mother Mary - and divine in His Spirit, as I understand it. Elohim's (God) Spirit lived in a human vessel much as our own spirits dwell in vessels of flesh. Any union between the Elohim-Man and a mortal wife (or even theoretically a woman with a similar nature as His own) would have produced a fully human child inhabited by a purely human spirit. No 'godlets' would have been produced.
One piece of strong evidence for this is the fact that had there been a co-mingling of human and divine ruach (spirit) that Yah'shua (Jesus) would have ceased to be Elohim (God). At His death, when He spent three days in a disembodied state in the spirit world, was He pure Elohim (God) or could His Ruach (Spirit) have been a mixture of human and divine? Or did He fully leave His humanity behind in the tomb, and regain it later in a resurrected state? I believe in the latter.
Orthodox Christian commentators are confused over this subject partly, I suspect, because there is uncertainty over the precise boundaries between different aspects of the human soul itself. Where, for example, do mind, heart, spirit, psyche, physical body and soul begin and end? What is their relationship to one another? Are they separate 'entities' or are they a part of some continuum? Things are not helped by the blurred distinctions in the English language itself in which we are forced to communicate these concepts. For most, the 'soul' - sometimes described as the 'immortal soul', is regarded as something 'inside' us - the spirit. Here, in our language, the words 'soul' and 'spirit' are used interchangeably which they are absolutely not in Hebrew where theological terms are best defined. In a nut-shell, to the Hebrew, physical body + spirit = soul is the formula representing life. Two units - belem (body) and ruach (spirit - metaphorically 'breath') combine to form a nefesh (soul). At death the two separate, the body breaking down into its constituent chemical elements and the spirit returning to Elohim (God) who gave it.
If only it were so simple. In one of my very earliest studies on the subject, made in response to Jehovah's Witness claims and others who agree with them (like Seventh-Day Adventists, many Messianics, Christadelphians, Armstrongites and others), I showed some of the problems in attempting to use Scripture as a manual of human biology and so attempt to construct theories on human composition. I invite you to now read that piece, entitled, The Bible Teaching on "Soul".
Cutting a long study short, I have concluded over the years that the original formula given in Genesis is the most correct p'shat (literal) one before poetic forms, metaphors and allegories were added to the mix making a reductionist analysis wholly impossible. Therefore I concluded - and still maintain with considerable certainty in my mind - that Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ) was, in mortality, of 100% human material in His physical body and 100% Elohim (God) in His invisible spirit. When He died, His Spirit or Ruach departed from the human Yah'shua (Jesus) in the tomb for three days while He was ministering in the world of spirits, and was of the original form before His incarnation into the flesh of the virgin Mary. Thus I conclude, with the Nestorians, that had Yah'shua (Jesus) married and sired children with either an ordinary human woman, or (purely theoretically) another (female) Being like Himself, their children would have been 100% human in both the flesh and spirit. On this score, then, I find no problem with Yah'shua (Jesus) either being married or indeed siring children.
There are, I freely admit, some presuppositions behind this thesis. One of these is that we, like Yah'shua (Jesus), had a spiritual premortal life or pre-existence. Most Christians and Messianics believe that we are made not only physically but also spiritually at conception. That is, the invisible part of ourselves somehow came into de novo existence the moment our parents conceived us, or was simply Elohim 'breathing' into the zygote forming at conception? That is admittedly a possibility but I think the Bible gives us enough clues about a pre-mortal existence to render the orthodox belief less credible. You can read articles on this subject in the link heren.
Whether there was a pre-existence of human spirits or not is not as important as the nature of the spirit itself. Many - principally the Jehovah's Witnesses, Adventists, a lot of Messianics and others aforementioned - do not believe that the spirit is our personality exactly but is more a 'life force', amorphous and impersonal like 'breath' (which the word ruach may be so translated), so that what consititutes our 'personality' is in actual fact what is in our physical bodies alone - in this system of belief, the Ruach or Spirit is just the animating, life-force, the heavenly equivalent of electricity. Thus, these people believe that at death this personality dissolves with the elements and can only be reconstituted by Yahweh Himself at the resurrection from His infallible 'memory' of us. In other words, we are, according to this theory, 'reconstructed' by Him from His infallible knowledge of us as one might rebuild a house from a blueprint stored in a safe place. It is for this reason that these believers do not accept that we have consciousness after death. I am convinced that this belief-system is wholly unbiblical - and dangerously so - and needs to be studied further. To that end, I invite you to read my articles in the Soul-Sleeping sub-site.
I have to inject at this point something of my own personal experiences. Having had out-of-body experiences, it is my firm belief that the essential 'me' and 'you' is not our physical bodies as the soul-sleepering proponents are by and large forced to conclude. And our spirits are not mere 'electricity' either, even though they may (and must) certainly contain this but are our very personalities. You can read about my experiences with this subject in my life story.
It has been pointed out by some students of scripture that for Yah'shua (Jesus) to have been a bona fide ordained rabbi in first century Judea, as He was (being recognised by the authorities as such), He would have to have been married - the same reason Paul must have been married at some point too. To have side-stepped this convention would have invited controversy and criticism from His enemies, reports of which would then undoubtedly have appeared somewhere in the Messianic Scriptures (New Testament). But this matter does not so appear, as the authorities never questioned his rabbinical credentials, so unless He had been married earlier and was a widower - a matter one supposes would have been mentioned somewhere given the attention shown Yah'shua's (Jesus') several female talmidim (disciples) in the Scriptures - we must assume that He was still married. And unless one (or more) of these named women were actually His wife (or wives), it would be odd that that wife would not be mentioned.
The silence of the Scriptures on this subject may, at first sight, seem to favour the celibate Messiah hypothesis until you realise that this information might have been deliberately omitted for the protection of His family, especially after His Ascension and the murderous persecution that followed in the early Messianic Community (Church). Is there any evidence that such a policy of concealment might have been followed?
Yes, we have a concrete example of a woman of high rank or importance in the Messianic community (Church) whose name and location is hidden and who is mysteriously addressed as the "elect lady" (2 Jn.1) - and whilst, as is true, this could be referring to Mary, the mother of Yah'shua (Jesus), it could also conceivably be referring to Yah'shua's (Jesus') wife. Others maintain that this "elect lady" is a code word for a special congregation, like the one presided over by John the Apostle in Ephesus, though that hardly would constitute a secret, since its existence is admitted in the Book of Revelation and elsewhere (Rev.1:11; 2:1; Eph.1:1; Ac.20:17), and giving it a code name would have conferred no protection on it from, say, the Roman authorities. Perhaps, for this reason, the ISR version of the Bible simply calls her a "chosen Kuria" and the RSTNE "the chosen elect lady Kuria", as though this were a proper name, though in a footnote the assertion is made that 'she' is in some way representative of the House of Ephraim, or even perhaps a code word for Ephraimite converts collectively. Following a similar tack, the HRV simply calls her "the Chosen Lady", the translator believing this to be a reference to Yahweh's people as a whole, in consequence of which he cross-references this passage with Hosea 2:16, Isaiah 62:5 and Jeremiah 3. Theories abound, and the fact of the matter is we have no way of knowing who this mysterious 'Lady' was. But we can at least admit the possibility that it could have been Yah'shua's (Jesus') wife and provide a reason for the Scriptures being silent on His marital status.
Unless secrecy is the reason the Scriptures are so silent on the matter, it has to again be admitted that nothing is said of any marriage to the Messiah by any of the earliest church fathers. The only early writings that hint at a marriage are Gnostic compilations of the sayings of Yah'shua (Jesus) such as the Gospel of Thomas which may either be genuine or spurious (or a mixture of both) - there is simply no way of knowing.
Another related doctrine that must be considered is that of the duuration of the marriage estate. The bulk of Christendom and those of the Messianic Movement are of the opinion that marriage ends at death. This is not our belief for reasons that may be adduced from studies we have made such as A Question of Eternal Marriage and Is There Eternal Marriage in the Resurrection?.
Actually, a married Yah'shua (Jesus) poses more problems for those of us who believe in marriage in the resurrection than for those do not. In the resurrection, with Yah'shua's (Jesus) humanity and Elohimhood (Godhood) unquestionably intermingled and unseparatable (which was not the case in mortality), being literally married to a mortal woman on earth would mean that Elohim (God) is literally (instead of merely allegorically) married to a human being in the eternities which I do not believe is possible. It is one thing being married in mortality to the Messiah, with His Elohimhood (Godhood) concealed, but quite another to be in intimate union in the full glory of the Almighty. I would here have to conceed that those insisting on a celibate Messiah have a better case unless one or two possible conditions are met:
The first does not seem to me to be consistent with the nature of the marriage covenant and the processes that bind couples together. What I mean by this is as follows: one of the chief reasons we believe marriage to be eternal is because the Person that binds human marriage is Himself Eternal, so what He binds - so long as it remains in Him - cannot possibly be separated. This being accepted, then how could a theoretical human wife ever be separated from her Master who would be the binding force of their relationship? Though pre-Messianic Torah indeed says that, under the terms of the Old Covenant, a marriage is dissolved at death, Yah'shua (Jesus) is the bringer of the New (and better) Covenant wherein things are forever joined, such as of flesh and spirit in the resurrection. On the other hand, I can without too much difficulty be persuaded to accept that Yahweh will order the affairs of the lev (heart) in the resurrection to ensure that all eternal unions are true and happy.
- 1. The earthly marriage was terminated in the resurrection; or
- 2. The wife Yah'shua (Jesus) was married to was not a mere human but of a nature and substance like His own.
The second proposition requires that we accept the presence on earth of what must amount to 'Elohim-women' of the same or similar order to that of Yah'shua (Jesus), the Elohim-Man. In this area we are, without any direct revelation on the subject in Scripture, purely in the realm of speculation based merely on logical reasoning which might be wrong, even if it follows divine tavnith (pattern). Those like myself who believe not only in a married mortal Messiah but in eternal marriage must explain how such a woman (or women) could even exist given that Yah'shua (Jesus) alone was without sin and alone was our Atoner, and was uniquely "begotten". This does not, however, preclude the possibility of some other form of 'begetting'.
I do not for one minute believe that any theoretical wife was sinless or a co-atoner, which would approach the Catholic heresy of Co-Redemptrix (co-Saviour) ascribed to His biological mother, the virgin Mary. The most likely candidate for Yah'shua's (Jesus') wife, and as is proposed by a number of extra-biblical sources, is, of course, Mary Magdalene who, before her deliverance and salvation, was afflicted by seven demons. (I do no, incidentally, subscribe to the theory that she was a formerly a prostitute, which I believe to be of Catholic origin in its suggestion). This is usually enough to persuade most that a union between the sinless and a sinner was either impossible or undesirable. On the other hand, how could Yah'shua (Jesus) have been tempted by sin in all points, as Scripture testifies, if He were exluded from the possibility of being tempted by sin both inside and outside the marriage estate? What indeed constitutes being tempted in every respect?
This begs the question: how is He able to aid humans, who have many temptations in marriage, if He did not face similar temptations in His humanity as we do?
"For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted" (Heb.2:18, NKJV).
I do wish to underline that I am just thinking out aloud here and speculating, considering all the alternatives. Who could these prospective 'Elohim-women' possibly be, and what would be the manner of their conception or entry into mortality? The only clue we have - and therefore the only visible possibility - is that she (or they) mirror the seven Ruachim (Spirits) of Elohim (God), that is, of Yahweh, which you can read more about in a couple of articles entitled The Deity of the Holy Spirit and Yah'shua the Messiah and His Place in the Godhead. The thesis here would be that as there are Seven Ruachs of the Father that there would also be seven Ruachs of the Son.
I can understand how those raised in the Trinitarian doctrine and in the belief that Yah'shua (Jesus) was an unmarried celibate might be on the edge of having a spiritual breakdown in considering these questions, or even believing that what has been said is sacreligious. The trouble with that kind of mindset is that it rarely considers that the Trinity doctrine is not of biblical origin but from elsewhere. And many believe the Catholic Creeds on the Godhead are Scripture too, breaking their Sola Scriptura rule. I invite those of such a disposition to read The Trinity Dogma: The Very 'Mystery Babylon'?. Most orthodox Christians refuse to examine the Trinity doctrine and hide behind the circular logic which states that those who reject it are ipso facto 'cultists'.
I said I would be throwing around hot potatoes - perhaps 'scalding' potatoes would be a better word. I do want to reassure any who may be fearful that I reject the Trinity because most anti-Trinitarians reject the doctrine that Yah'shua (Jesus) is totally Elohim (God), as some Messianics regrettably do, along with Muslims and others. I absolutely believe Yah'shua (Jesus) is Elohim (God) and always has been. That's one of the reasons examining the idea that Yah'shua (Jesus) was married is such a tricky one. My beef with the Trinity formulation is that it goes way beyond what Scripture says, it can be traced to ancient Babylon, and it denies the Divine feminine which the Tanakh (Old Testament) absolutely stamps as emet (truth).
It's complicated, isn't it? Which is why we need to be careful and undogmatic. And we do absolutely have to be careful not to allowt occultic lies to slip in as, for example, with the Heavenly Mother teaching. We're not, as have said before, here to endorse any 'Holy Grail' lies but to stick closely to biblical emet (truth).
In the end, it's a question of weighing evidence and with the data that is currently available to us we cannot say with 100% certainty, one way of the other, that Yah'shua (Jesus) was either married or celibate. But in my view the evidence definitely weighs in favour of Him being married in mortality. How we explain that, or the deeper implications, is another question altogether and perhaps must, for now, remain a mystery.
I suppose we need to end today by asking the question: Does it even matter? To the extent that emet (truth) sets us free and lies get us entangled in darkness, I would say, yes, it is important so long as such questions are being asked. We cannot choose to remain in ignorance, neither can we ignore honest questions, and so long as Christians and Messianics refuse to discuss this subject intelligently and without going into a 'heresy rant', unbelievers with legitimate questions are not only going to be unimpressed but will be little attracted to what actually does matter the most - salvation in the Elohim-Man (God-Man), Yah'shua the Messiah (Jesus Christ).
Any maybe this is too sacred to discuss in any degree of intimacy, simply because marriage is set-apart (holy). There are many, like myself, who never discuss our marriages in public because we don't feel it is right. These things are for friends only. And perhaps that is why such things are not discussed in Scripture either but may have beenr eserved for the inner circle of the apostles - there is historical evidence that such conversations took place. Very few marriages are exposed to public scrutiny in the Bible, the exceptions being Adam and Eve (the first couple), Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, David, Solomon, Hosea and one or two others. Hardly anything is said about marriages in the New Testament - we know nothing about the wives of the apostles! The focus, rather, is on our relationship to Messiah, the allegorical Mystical Mariage of Messiah.
I hope you have enjoyed this brief exploration and that it will encourage you to search out the deeper things with an open mind but with sufficient scepticism that your brains don't drop out. I have discharged my promise and will simply leave this now as an open-ended question, with no bad feelings which ever way you decide.