Joseph K Stephen
April 2003-July 2008
When I was married, I said I'd never have children. I did not want to bring children into this evil world. I had no idea at all what the Bible said about children or what God thought about them. Its not that I did not want to know, I just was never taught. My wife was also told she would find it very difficult to conceive. The negativity toward children was part of the baggage we had both inherited from our parents and culture. In late 1998 we found out that Florence was pregnant with our firstborn son, Caleb. Then hot on his heels came Gideon. When Micah came along, we thought he'd be the last, what a handful, three boys under 3! That year however through some reading and research, Florence began to see that not all parents thought like we did. It began a journey which caused me to search the scriptures from cover to cover to see what God thought about children. It was life changing! It was also a challenge to us, me being blind, Florence not having her family around to help and neither of us being particularly fond of some of the challenges they brought! After giving this to the Lord, the next test of our faith came when in late 2003, we discovered that Florence was pregnant with twins! We surrendered our wills to God and accepted the challenge and purposed to live by faith, trusting that God would provide in our lack of ability and experience. Hannah and Esther were born in July 2004 and the Lord chose to take Esther back on July 21 2004, when she was two days old. Amos was born in December of 2006 and baby number 7 we were told was due on July 21 2008, exactly 4 years after the Lord took Esther. Moses Hezekiah came a bit earlier than his due date and arrived on July 11 2008. His birth is another entire testimony of its own. While this seminar may contain some new truths for some of you, I encourage you that we did not always see things as we do today and remind you of the grace of God which covers us in our journey from obscurity to understanding on all matters of life we entrust to God. I will also not stand here and tell you it is easy to have a large family. My wife has had three caesarians and each time God brings us a blessing, there is much trepidation as we must deal with the hospital system and all that it entails. Raising children is not easy as any parent will tell you however God has not left us alone but has provided us much wisdom and guidance through precept, pattern and principle in His infallible Word. It does however take diligence and grace to apply these principles in a consistent manner.
Can you guess who made the following rather strong remarks about the lack of love for children?
"... the purpose of marriage is not to have pleasure and to be idle but to procreate and bring up children, to support a household. This, of course, is a huge burden full of great cares and toils. But you have been created by God to be a husband or a wife and that you may learn to bear these troubles. Those who have no love for children are swine, stocks, and logs unworthy of being called men or women; for they despise the blessing of God, the Creator and Author of marriage." (Martin Luther)
While our standard is God's word and not our fathers in the faith, it is encouraging to know that the prevailing understanding of Christians for 19 centuries was what I am about to share with you today and that our modern attitudes are at odds with the history of God's people right from creation.
Charles D Provan, in his helpful book, "The Bible and Birth Control", made the following comment:
"... we have found not one orthodox theologian to defend Birth Control before the 1900's. NOT ONE! On the other hand, we have found that many highly regarded Protestant theologians were enthusiastically opposed to it, all the way back to the very beginning of the Reformation. ... those in favor of Birth Control will find no one in the orthodox Protestant camp for the first four centuries to ally themselves with." (Charles D Provan, The Bible and Birth Control 1989)
Man's opinions aside, let us see what the Bible itself says about children.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
The very first commandment given to both animals and man was to multiply and replenish the earth, to take dominion of it and subdue it. For 19 centuries of church history this was well accepted and rarely an issue. This century, with the prominence of feminism, the power of the media and the carnality and worldliness of the church, the majority of Christians have embraced without question the ways of the surrounding culture. Even the animals who only received one command (Genesis 1:22) still multiply in abundance. This command was repeated again to Noah in Genesis 9:1 and again to Jacob in Genesis 35:11. It was never revoked. Modern experts teach us that the world is over populated but this is a myth. If this were a danger, God would have told us, afterall, He has revealed much about this time period but the overpopulation danger is not part of that revelation. His command was to be fruitful and multiply and replenish the earth. Since we have only populated less than 1 percent of the earth's useable surface, we've got a long way to go. In countries where starvation is occurring, it is due to political corruption, mismanagement of resources and animals having dominion over man rather than man having dominion over the animals, worshiping the created rather than the creator (Proverbs 13:23, Genesis 1:26, 28, Romans 1:22-25).
Proverbs 13:23 Much food is in the tillage of the poor: but there is that is destroyed for want of judgment.
What about large families contributing to Global Warming?
Quote from Global Warming, Global Governance (http://www.globalwarmingglobalgovernance.com/)
produced by Sovereignty International:
"If you were to ask ten people on the street if mankind was causing global warming, at least eight out of ten would say yes. After all, Al Gore’s Inconvenient Truth provides incontrovertible evidence that this is the case. Yet, contrary to what is heard in the media, there is overwhelming evidence that the warming we are experiencing is natural, part of natural cycles caused by the sun and solar activity, with maybe a small amount contributed by man’s activities and emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2). Nor is there any scientific consensus. The debate is still raging within the scientific community. Sovereignty International has put together interviews of climate scientists and biologists from numerous sources who explain, step by step, why Al Gore and the global warming alarmists are incorrect. In some cases, blatantly so. It also provides evidence that the global warming agenda is being funded with tens of billions of dollars as a mechanism to create global governance with treaties and laws like the Kyoto Protocol. Hear from congressmen, experts and even well-known news broadcasters how global governance puts global institutions, especially the United Nations (UN), that are not accountable to the American people in control of every aspect of our economy. The U.S. government is very close to making this a reality. Very close. Every American, every citizen of the world, needs to hear the other side of the global warming story."
One paraphrased quote from this DVD puts it like this:
Proponents of Global Warming use two separate graphs to show how CO2 influences global warming. The scientist explains the phalacy of the use of this graph this way: We all die, and we all breathe oxygen, therefore breathing oxygen causes death. We all know this to be a crazy conclusion for what is actually the opposite, ie oxygen is necessary for life. He points out that if you superimpose the graphs on each other, CO2 rises as temperature rises, not the other wway around. CO2 emmitions which mankind is responsible for make up about 3 to 4% which is negligible. We also know that CO2 is good for plants and in fact increasing CO2 causes plants to thrive which in turn produces more oxygen. So, large families, fear not, you will not be contributing to the destruction of the planet.
18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.
20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.
21 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof;
22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.
23 And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.
24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.
Marriage was established and the woman created for the man as his helpmeet (as no animal was suitable. The saying that a dog is a man's best friend is humanistic and not God's design).
Note on verse 24 that the leaving of father and mother does not necessarily mean physical leaving but the leaving of one's jurisdiction to establish one's own. Abraham dwelt with Isaac and Jacob (Hebrews 11:9). Verse 24 also indicates the intimacy of the marriage covenant, since they were now one flesh, one flesh shouldn't be divided.
Malachi reinforces not only the importance and sanctity of the marriage covenant but the purpose of it:
15 And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.
We shall return to the purpose of a Godly seed later.
Genesis 4:1 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.
Eve acknowledges that her child is from God. These are not the words of a simplistic "cave woman" as some would have us believe, but the words of the most inteligent woman who ever lived. Adam and Eve had perfect knowledge of the biological functions of the body but Eve still acknowledges God's provision of her son. Jacob also acknowledges that his children are gracious gifts from God (Gen 33:5) as does Joseph in Genesis 48:9.
3 Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.
4 As arrows are in the hand of a mighty man; so are children of the youth.
5 Happy is the man that hath his quiver full of them: they shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.
How many is a quiver full? The quiver here is a warrior’s quiver and it probably held 12 to 15 arrows. The point is not so much how many but that God is the one who fills it until He deems it full.
1 <> Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways.
2 For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee.
3 Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table.
4 Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD.
Children are likened to olive plants and arrows (Psalm 127:3-5, 128:1-4). Olive plants if not pruned and controlled become a wild nuisance. On the other hand, small olive plants which are nurtured and trained in the way they should grow do not grow wild and have no scars from pruning since the pruning was done while they were young and tender. The later you leave the training, the more scars will be seen and the less likely the success at directing their growth. Olive oil in the scriptures is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. Olive plants nurtured by Godly parents will yield Holy Spirit filled and directed children of God as the children embrace the God of their parents as their own. Arrows in the wrong hands cause much destruction. Well trained arrows however can save a nation. No arrow will change course mid-flight.
Note carefully: "Behold, that thus shall the man be blessed that feareth the LORD."
Are these just the psalmist’s words?
10 Take heed that ye despise not one of these little ones; for I say unto you, That in heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father which is in heaven.
13 And they brought young children to him, that he should touch them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them.
14 But when Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for of such is the kingdom of God.
There are only two incidents recorded in the gospels where the Lord Jesus was provoked to sore displeasure, this incident and the incident where the people had turned the temple into a house of merchandise (John 2:13-17). I believe this says something very powerfully about what God thinks of children as does the following:
Mark 9:36, 37, 42
36 And he took a child, and set him in the midst of them: and when he had taken him in his arms, he said unto them,
37 Whosoever shall receive one of such children in my name, receiveth me: and whosoever shall receive me, receiveth not me, but him that sent me.
42 And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.
Do we recognize children as Jacob describes in Genesis 33:5 as gracious giffts from God? The word receive in Mark 9:37 is decomai which has the meaning of
1. to receive into one's family to bring up or educate
2. to receive favourably, give ear to, embrace, make one's own, approve, not to reject
This is very significant and means so much more than a mental ascent to liking children.
Listen to what the Lord said as the women bewailed him on the way to Golgotha. While this may have direct application to the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD and to the Great Tribulation, it certainly reflects the sentiments of many today and indicates the rapid social decline leading up to the end.
28 But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.
29 For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed are the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck.
Note it says "they shall say", not that God says. In 70 AD people may have thought it better not to have to bring children through such a terrible time but their motive was to save the children. These days it is selfishness that creates this sentiment. Today, children are portrayed as a nuisance, a burden, something which stands in the way of a career or leisure and the majority of western society limit their number by birth control. I know of a Godly woman who was branded filthy by an elder of a church when he learned that she was expecting her 6th child. The parents of any large family, especially a home schooling one which perhaps also run a family business will tell you that they are extremely busy people. Marital intimacy is not at the top of the list of the way they spend their time! I don't know how many comments I've had over the past few years insinuating that “that is what happens when you don’t have a television”. I mention this to dispel this myth. Even if it were true, Hebrews 13:4 says that Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled ... and woe to them that call evil good and good evil (Isaiah 5:20). The filthiness was in the mind of that elder, not in the heart of this dear sister. For if believers search the scriptures they would see that nowhere does God call children a nuisance or something to be avoided or limited. God never called a woman filthy for having many children. Rebekah's family sent her off with the following blessing, written for our learning:
Genesis 24:60 And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them.
On the contrary, they are a blessing, and those who had none were the cursed ones in scripture, not those with them. Besides, God commanded us to be fruitful and throughout the scriptures it is assumed that marriage would result in children (except where the woman was barren). Even in barrenness there are examples of where prayer turned this barrenness into fruitfulness (See Genesis 25:21, 1 Samuel 1:11-17).
Certainly no offence is intended to those sisters in the Lord who through no fault of their own remain childless even after prayer. For the unmarried, the childless or elderly, the encouragement is to love what God loves and hate what God hates and to recognize that the modern attitudes toward children are antiscriptural. Even if one is without children, knowing what the scriptures teach should dictate ones attitude toward children or young families around you. Practical help should be given to meet the needs of a growing young family, a pregnant mother or a mother with a newborn or to help care for children whose parents are ill, etc. At the least, you can show encouragement rather than disdain for what God loves.
In the one case of the use of birth control in Genesis 38:8-10, where Onan spilled his seed on the ground, God showed His displeasure at Onan's selfish attitude to raising up seed to his dead brother by destroying Onan. His motive for not raising up seed was selfishness. It wasn’t just that he didn’t want to raise up seed, this had a punishment far less severe which amounted to humiliation see Deut 25:7-9 where the wife is to take off his shoe and spit in his face.
Some may disagree with this interpretation of the acount of Onan and yet the absolute majority of commentators from the past agree with this interpretation which I believe is borne out by other scriptures. In 1 Cor 12:23, God bestows honor on the members of our body which we think are less honourable, this is of course analogous to our physical body where God bestows very high honor to the man’s procreative member, this is clear from Deut 25:11-12 where the hand of a woman was to be cut off if she damaged a man's secret part rescuing her husband from a fight. Just as the life is in the blood and God tells us to respect blood (Lev 17:14), He also makes it clear that we are to respect the procreative seed. It is God who has the prerogative to open or closed the womb in scripture, not the will of man (See Genesis 4:25, 20:18, 29:31, 30:22, Exodus 23:26, Deuteronomy 7:14, Psalm 113:9.
The question may be asked, what about finances? Isn't it bad stewardship not to use birth control? Let me ask, if God gives the increase (which He does), that is, no child is an accident but a gift from God, won't He supply for the need provided we are obedient? (2 Thessalonians 3:10-12, 2 Timothy 2:20-21, Proverbs 6:6-8, 13:4, 10:4, 12:24, 12:27, 20:4, 22:29, 27:23, etc). What does David say?
25 I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.
What does Paul say?
19 But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.
What does the Lord himself say?
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek :) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
It has been said, if the Lord is not Lord of ALL He is not Lord at all. If children are a gift from the Lord, which the scriptures say they are, then He will provide for His gifts provided we are obedient and choose wisely when it comes to our own choices of how we use our time, money and other resources!
In considering what God thinks of children, let us return to the primary reason why God loves children and commanded us to be fruitful and multiply. The key to the entire subject of why children are a blessing and why as parents we are to treat our task of training, protecting, and eventually releasing these precious gifts with the utmost diligence is found back in Malachi 2:15:
15 And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.
Starting or continuing a line of Godliness and faithfulness has been, since the foundation of the world, and continues to be the purpose of the family.
May I finish with a poem I wrote a couple of years ago as I pondered this whole subject:
JKS 11 April 2007
Children are blessings from the LORD according to His holy Word. As arrows in the warriors hands sharpened by training in God's commands.
Just as they sacrificed their sons of old, career and lifestyle are the gods of gold. Abortion and the use of birth control, are the modern fires which take their toll.
If we love God our hearts should grieve. We should love what He loves, if we believe. God loves children, He hath said, yet even Christians want dogs instead.
Some may ask who will provide? Faith and wisdom will decide. One who works, who chooses well, to them the floodgates are opened wide.
Take note of the Psalms as David said, “the righteous not forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.”
Today it seems the tables are turned: the barren are blessed and the fruitful are scorned; But what is our worldview, God's word hasn't changed.
humanism and feminism are now what is learned.
How far we've strayed from God's holy plan and forgotten the first task given to man. Did you know, overpopulation is just a lie,our selfish lifestyles to justify.
If we would raise up Godly seed, and train up warriors who can lead, revival would spread across the land, the difference made would be profound.
Even Muslims know this rule yet Christians have learned from the wrong school. Its time to stop believing the lie and Be fruitful and multiply.
 Shock teen abortion rate
The Advertiser January 04, 2008 09:55pm
MORE South Australian teenagers had abortions than gave birth in 2006, Health Department figures show.
The Pregnancy Outcomes report shows 982 women aged 15 to 19 had abortions, while 877 gave birth.
The 2006 statistics also show about one in three pregnancies in women aged between 20 and 24 was terminated.
[i] Psalm 127:3-5, 128:1-4, Genesis 17:6, 17:20, 24:60, 28:3, 41:52, 49:25, Deuteronomy 7:13.
[ii] Jeremiah 32:35, Leviticus 18:21. R J Rushdoony, "The Philosophy of the Christian Curriculum" pp112-113 describes the essence of the worship of Moloch is Stateism.
[iii] Matthew 19:14, Mark 10:14, Luke 18:16.
[iv] Proverbs 10:4, 12:24, 13:4, 22:29, 2 Thessalonians 3:10.
[v] Psalms 37:25.
[vi] Luke 23:29.
[vii] Genesis 1:28, 9:1, 9:7, 35:11.
[viii] http://www.juntosociety.com/guest/sperlazzo/bs_opm1010903.html, http://www.pop.org/, http://www.jefflindsay.com/Overpop.shtml, http://www.whatyouknowmightnotbeso.com/overpop.html.
[ix] Exodus 1:9-20.
"The Bible and Birth Control" by Charles D. Provan 2989