Questions & Answers
First posted: February 18, 2005
In Indian culture, it is permissible for cousins to marry cousins. Is it permissible according to Scripture?
I tried to find a verse in the Old Testament that might prohibit marriage between cousins. Despite the many prohibitions in Leviticus chapter 18 and chapter 20, there seems to be no direct ban of marriage between cousins. The closest thing I found was a ban against marriage between a man and his sister, even if she is only his half-sister.
Most believe that the word "fornication" used in Acts 15:20 includes the marriage prohibitions of Leviticus 18:6-18, yet the Hebrew word for "fornication" in the Old Testament,
zanah, does not appear in chapter 18 of Leviticus. It does appear in chapter 17 and chapter 19 of Leviticus and in many other passages, but it always seems to be used in the context of idolatry, not marriage between relatives.
"You shall only marry the person whom the Lord tells you to marry"
while Paul waited for them at Athens, his
spirit was stirred in him,
when he saw the city wholly
given to idolatry. 17Therefore
disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews,
and with the devout persons, and in
the market daily with them
that met with him." (
"16Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. 17Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him." (Acts 17:16-17)
[The word "stirred" in verse 16 is a mistranslation of the Greek word paroxuno, which is derived from the words para, meaning "besides", and oxus, meaning "sharp", which is also related to the Greek word meaning "acid". In other words, paroxuno speaks of something sharp pricking a person's side, provoking that person to action. Because of its connection to the word "acid", it also has the connotation of "provoked anger".
Notice that verse 17 begins with the word "therefore". This means that the anger or reaction provoked in Paul by the idolatry he saw propelled him to dispute in the synagogue. He didn't dispute with the "pagans" first. He started with the Jews, the natural people of God, and with the "devout" persons. Why? Because the idolatry of the "unbelievers" is sustained by the idolatry inside the House of God. If there is idolatry inside the Church, the idolatry outside the Church will be strengthened. If the Church is not repulsed by idolatry, it will be weak and useless in stopping the idolatry outside. This is why a Church that idolizes "full-time ministers" by turning them into sacred cows has no spiritual authority to overcome the sacred cows worshipped by the world.
Christian evangelists in idolatry-filled places such as India are so lovey-dovey towards idolatry that they become spiritually powerless against it. In their blatant effort not to "offend" anyone, they water down the spiritual authority of the Gospel and reduce it to one of many other "religious" options. Just as Paul disputed with the Jews and the devout in the synagogue, I am now disputing with the Church, so no one can dare say, in the presence of the Holy Spirit, that I am not being Scriptural here!!!
A brother in Christ recently e-mailed us and shared with us that "mother" Theresa once said the following about her work in India: "My work for the Lord helps the Christian be a better Christian, the Hindu be a better Hindu, and the Moslem a better Moslem." For crying out loud, how could a supposedly "Christian" woman say such a stupid thing!!! Cursed be the men and women who water down the Gospel "in the name of Jesus"! Cursed be the workers of iniquity (Matthew 7:23) who delay God's true restoration by implanting a false restoration that acts as a deceitful placebo, as "opium to the masses" (to quote an odious unbeliever). It is no wonder that the unbelievers profane the name of God because of us (Ezekiel 36:23)! God will change this in the latter days. He will restore His Name among the nations by first judging the pathetic body of "pastorized" believers who have watered down His Gospel.]
Paul stood in the midst of Marsí
hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive
that in all things ye are too superstitious. 23For as I passed by,
and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE
UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
"22Then Paul stood in the midst of Marsí hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. 23For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.24God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; 25Neither is worshipped with menís hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things" (Acts 17:22-25)
[The words "Mars' hill" was translated from the Greek words "Areios Pagos", where "Areios" is derived from "Ares", the Greek deity of war. Notice how the story of Paul in Athens is written in the context of a red-horse rider taking the peace from the Earth (Revelation 6:4) and causing spiritual turmoil in the midst of the idolatry. By standing on the hill of the Greek deity of war, he was directly challenging the Greek deities to spiritual confrontation.
Notice how Paul was not afraid to directly confront the Athenians' idolatry in verses 24 and 25. Instead of circumventing the issue or pampering them with a message of "tolerance" and "mutual understanding", he told them that they were wrong in their idolatry.]
the times of this ignorance
God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:
31Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he
will judge the world in righteousness by
that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in
that he hath raised him from the dead." (
"30And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 31Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead." (Acts 17:30-31)
[Notice how Paul called their idolatrous behavior "ignorant" in verse 30, and he tells them that God is now commanding (not "suggesting") them to repent from this "ignorant" behavior. Notice that, in verse 31, Paul speaks of a God who judges, not a mushy "God" who feels no repulsion in the face of blatant idolatry. He tells them that the time of God "winking at" (or "overlooking") their ignorant behavior was up, and that they would now be held accountable for their idolatry because the Truth was now being preached to them. It is a shame that very few (if any) Christians in places like India speak with such boldness!!! Fellow believer, even if you are not in India, send your judgment against the spirit of idolatry through your prayers. In the Spirit, there are no physical limitations. God will hear your prayers and unleash punishing judgments on the spirits of idolatry and on those who stubbornly work to perpetuate that idolatry. The Lord will also judge the mushy Christians who are too "politically correct" to confront that idolatry.
According to this passage, God no longer overlooks idolatry, and He is commanding idolaters to repent. This passage was written almost 2000 years ago!!!]
when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said,
We will hear thee again of this matter. 33So Paul departed from among
them. 34Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and
believed: among the
which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with
"32And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter. 33So Paul departed from among them. 34Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them." (Acts 17:32-34)
[Notice how the crowd was divided as a result of Paul's words. The red-horse anointing produces division that separates those who are willing to believe from those who are not.
Notice that Paul did not say, "Please, pretty please, will you be kind enough to believe me? Did I say something that you didn't like?" He simply departed, as if to say, "I told you the Truth. You were not accountable before, but you are accountable now and are now under judgment (v31) because you heard the Truth and you simply mocked it and belittled it (v32). Those who were willing to believe had to be brave enough to break away from the mocking and belittling idolaters in order to follow the Truth (v34). By walking away, Paul forced the believing into the uncomfortable position of having to openly buck the trend of the rest and swim upstream. Idolatry can only be broken through open confrontation, but most Christian evangelists in places like India are too cowardly to take such a stand. It is no wonder, therefore, that after centuries of persistent "evangelism", India and the rest of South Asia remain an idolatrous wasteland. These evangelists and missionaries are so spiritually asleep that even the December 26, 2004 tsunami did not wake them up!!! Among the tsunami casualties you will find pastors, pastors' wives and children, and even Christian church buildings that were wiped away, yet Christians there refuse to understand that our God is a God of love who executes judgments, not a mushy, appeasing "God". Those who truly love the people there and want to see God's Glory openly manifested in that region understand that it is only through purifying judgments that the spiritual strongholds there will be demolished.]