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God has always desired believers to be united with believers. When Abraham was well advanced in years, he told his servant to promise him Genesis 24:3-4 “that you will not get a wife for my son from the daughters of the Canaanites, among whom I am living, but you shall go to my country and to my family, and take a wife for my son Isaac." God has clearly stated that our close relationships are to be with true believers only.
After Adam and Eve disobeyed and fell into sin, God established a covenant with Abraham that was international in scope—irrespective of cultural boundaries or color of skin. Through Abraham's offspring, all the nations of the earth would be spiritually blessed—if they trusted God in believing faith as Abraham did. God said Genesis 12:2 “I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing.”
All humans are descended from Adam, who was created by God. Adam’s skin color would have been as God designed it. Not long after creation, a worldwide flood destroyed all humans on earth except Noah, his wife, his three sons and their wives. Genesis 9:1 ”And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.”
For the few centuries until Babel, there was one language and one culture group—with no barriers to marriage within this group of similar skin tone. A few hundred years later, people chose to disobey God. Genesis 11:4 ”They said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.”
Genesis 11:1 ”The whole earth was of one language, and of one speech,” but God judged their disobedience by imposing different languages, so that they could not communicate and work together against God. The confusion forced the people to scatter over the earth, and forming many people groups.
As these groups migrated from Babel, they encountered new and different climate zones. This dispersion at Babel would break up a large intermarrying group into smaller groups. These groups would have had different mixes of genes for various physical features—later being called races. The physical characteristics of each group would then tend to change to suit their new and different climate and the environment in which they lived.
From the beginning, God clearly instructed the Israelites not to make any covenant of fellowship with unbelieving nations—Deuteronomy 7:3-4 "Nor shall you make marriages with them. You shall not give your daughter to their son, nor take their daughter for your son. For they will turn your sons away from following Me, to serve other gods; so the anger of the Lord will be aroused against you and destroy you suddenly.” Nothing is said about skin tone; only about faith in God.
The reason God commanded Israel against intermarriage with other nations, was that the people of these nations were idolaters who worshipped false gods, and were rebellious toward Him. The Israelites would be led astray from faithful trust on God, if they intermarried with unbelieving and rebellious people who did not trust God in faith.
That same divine principle of truth is in the New Testament. 2 Corinthians 6:14-15 ”Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever?” Nothing mentioned about cultures or color; just believers or unbelievers; spiritual darkness or spiritual light.
Just as Israelite believers were commanded not to marry rebellious idolaters, so New Testament believers were commanded not to marry rebellious unbelievers. The Bible does not say that marriage is wrong among differing nationalities or cultures or colors, but that marriage is wrong among differing beliefs in the one true God.
2 Corinthians 6:16-17 ”What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: ‘I will dwell in them And walk among them. I will be their God, And they shall be My people.’ Therefore ‘Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you.’"
Since there is no favoritism with God, there can be no favoritism with believers concerning nationality or the color of one’s skin. James 2:9 ”If you are making distinctions between one man and another, you are guilty of sin, and are convicted by the Law as offenders.” Believing faith in Christ—not the color of one’s skin—is the biblical standard for choosing a spouse.
Choosing a life companion is not an issue of skin color, but of two hearts that love and trust God in faith. A life-time union has always been a serious matter to place before God in prayer, and asking Him for divine guidance in selecting someone who shares a common faith and trust on Him; because John 3:3 "unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
Anyone of differing skin color, who decides to marry, may have to deal with prejudice from unbelievers. The couple would have to take this into consideration and be ready to meet it in a scriptural way, should they decide to marry. The only biblical restriction then is whether the other person is also a true believer in Christ—committed to trusting God in faith, and desiring to attend a church that teaches His full Truth.
All human beings are descendants of one man and one woman—Genesis 3:20 “Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.” 1 Corinthians 15:45 ”The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening [life-giving] spirit.” Biologically there is only one group of humans on earth. Acts 17:26 "He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth.”
After an in-depth study of genetics, the researchers unanimously declared that there is only one race—the human race. They concluded that the common labels used to distinguish people by race have no biological meaning. From an observational and biblical perspective then, interracial marriage does not exist—but rather union with a different people group or cultural group.
The Bible does not prohibit marriage between individual believers of differing skin color or from a different culture. As true believers forming one body in Christ, we need to consider such matters in light of the Scriptures, instead of being influenced by long-standing prejudices.
There are only two groups of people—according to Scripture—those of the kingdom of light, and those of the kingdom of darkness—believers or unbelievers—righteous or lawless. The Bible teaches that a true believer in Christ should not marry a non-believer in the world.
The union of a married couple is defined. Ephesians 5:24-27 ”Just as the Church submits to Christ, so also married women should be entirely submissive to their husbands. Married men, love your wives, as Christ also loved the Church and gave Himself up to death for her; in order to make her holy, cleansing her with the baptismal water by the word, that He might present the Church to Himself a glorious bride, without spot or wrinkle or any other defect, but to be holy and unblemished.”
Some Pharisees asked Jesus about divorce. He replied: Matthew 19:4-6 "Have you not read [Genesis 2:24], that He who made them ‘made them’ from the beginning ‘male and female, and said, For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two shall be one’? Thus they are no longer two, but ‘one’! What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate."
The Israelites were warned not to marry the unbelieving Canaanites. Rahab, however, was a Canaanite who is in the genealogy of the Lord Jesus Matthew 1:5—which reminds us that repentance is always available to anyone of any nation or culture. By her own free-will choice, Rahab stopped being a Canaanite, and became an Israelite, when she decided to trust Israel’s one true God. After repentance and conversion, she would be of the same spiritual group of true believers as all of Abraham’s true children.
Even though there are cultural differences, at times, if a man and a woman truly believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and they both trust God in faith for every aspect of their life, there is nothing in Scripture that would prevent their union in marriage. True believers must consider the close union of marriage, as God thinks about us—our inward heart attitude toward Him is the only thing that matters.
When the prophet Samuel anointed Israel’s king, he thought the oldest of Jesse’s sons was the obvious choice—due to his impressive appearance. The Lord said 1 Samuel 16:7, "Do not consider his appearance or his height [physical stature], for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
When believers are truly in Christ, there are no barriers in Scripture. Galatians 3:26-28 ”You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus; for all of you who have been baptized into Christ, have clothed yourselves with Christ. In Him the distinctions between Jew and Gentile, slave and free man, male and female, disappear; you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
The apostle John was given a glimpse of heaven and of God’s true people. Revelation 7:9 ”I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands.”
This is in perfect agreement with the Great Commission Matthew 28:19-20 to “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” God's plan of salvation includes individuals from every nation, tribe, people, and language on earth.
God does not consider outward biological appearance, but He sees our inward spiritual condition. When considering marriage, every individual must consult God in prayer—asking Him to reveal the inward spiritual attitude of a probable mate, and to guide them in making a right and scriptural decision.
It is a lifetime commitment of two, as they journey together on the one path of believing faith in Christ—the only road that leads to God’s kingdom. Galatians 3:29 ”If you belong to Christ, then you are indeed true descendants of Abraham, and are heirs in fulfillment of the promise.” True believers united and God’s inheritance received!
First Century Gospel Church © 2017