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666 in the Bible and the Koran

September 16, 2017 Leave a comment

The symbolic number, 666, is attributed to the Antichrist in the Bible. (Revelation 13:18) It is the number of his name. Muslims call the Antichrist the Dajjal. I have never seen any place in the Koran where this number appears.

Here are the only three places in the Bible where this number appears.

The weight of gold that came to Solomon yearly was six hundred and sixty-six talents of gold. (I Kings 10:14, NKJV)

The people of Adonikam, six hundred and sixty-six. (Ezra 2:13, NKJV)

Here is wisdom. Let him who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man: his number is 666. (Revelation 13:18, NKJV)

This number is a symbolic number. The number six is the sum of the first three prime numbers: 1, 2, and 3. (A prime number is a number that is not divisible by any other number.) Six is also the third even number. (2,4,6) 6 x 6 = 36. 36 was called by the ancients a spherical number. A spherical number is a number that ends in the same number that one must multiply by itself to obtain it. 36 ends in 6. Another example of a spherical number is 25. 5 x 5 = 25.  16 is not a spherical number, because 4 x 4 = 16 and 16 does not end in a 4, but a 6. Actually, 36 is the third spherical number. 1 is the first spherical number. 1 x 1 = 1. The sum of all numbers from 1 to 36 is 666.

To determine who is the Antichrist, one needs to use the ancient Greek number system, not the ancient Hebrew number system. The ancient Hebrew number system was invented after all of the books of the Bible had been written.

If you write the Antichrist’s name using Greek letters, the sum of the values of the letters of his name according to the ancient Greek number system will add up to 666.

Now for some Bible-Koran trivia using this number, 666.

The 666th verse in the Bible is Genesis 25:7.

This is the sum of the years of Abraham’s life which he lived: one hundred and seventy-five years. (Genesis 25:7, NKJV)

The 666th verse in the New Testament is Matthew 20:18.

Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and to the scribes; and they will condemn Him to death. (Matthew 20:18, NKJV)

The 666th verse in the Koran is Koran 4:173.

And as for those who believed and did righteous deeds, He will give them in full their rewards and grant them extra from His bounty. But as for those who disdained and were arrogant, He will punish them with a painful punishment, and they will not find for themselves besides Allah any protector or helper. (Koran 4:173, Sahih International)

I do not think that this verse from the Koran is saying that one must earn God’s mercy. Actually, that is impossible according to the Koran.

If Allah took mankind to task by that which they deserve, He would not leave a living creature on the surface of the earth; but He reprieveth them unto an appointed term, and when their term cometh – then verily (they will know that) Allah is ever Seer of His slaves. (Quran 35:45, Pickthall)

It is saying that we must have righteous deeds which accompany our faith. This is the same thing that St. James taught when he said that faith without works is dead. (James 2:26) This is the same thing that St. Paul taught when he told the Corinthian Christians that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God. (I Corinthians 6:9,10) This is also the same thing that Jesus taught when He said that only those who do the will of God will enter the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 7:21) However, we can never be good enough, so, in the end we enter the kingdom of God by His mercy. God is, according to the Koran, the most-merciful of those who show mercy. (Koran 12:92)

The 6th verse of the 6th chapter of the 6th book of the Bible is Joshua 6:6.

Then Joshua the son of Nun called the priests and said to them, “Take up the ark of the covenant, and let seven priests bear seven trumpets of rams’ horns before the ark of the Lord.” (Joshua 6:6, NKJV)

I Chronicles 6:66 is:

Now some of the families of the sons of Kohath were given cities as their territory from the tribe of Ephraim. (I Chronicles 6:66, NKJV)

Psalm 66:6 according to the Hebrew Masoretic text is:

He turned the sea into dry land; they went through the river on foot. There we will rejoice in Him. (Psalm 66:6, NKJV)

The Psalms are not numbered the same way in the Greek Septuagint as they are in the Hebrew. Psalm 66:6 in the Greek Septuagint is:

The earth has yielded her fruit; let God, our God bless us. (Psalm 66:6, LXX)

Isaiah 66:6 is:

The sound of noise from the city! A voice from the temple! The voice of the Lord, who fully repays His enemies! (Isaiah 66:6, NKJV)

The 6th verse of the 6th chapter of the 6th book of the Twelve Minor Prophets is:

With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the High God? Shall I come before Him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? (Micah 6:6, NKJV)

In the Orthodox Old Testament, Jonah is the sixth book of the Twelve Minor Prophets. The Book of Jonah does not have six chapters.

John 6:66 says:

From that time many of His disciples went back and walked with Him no more. (John 6:66, NKJV)

Jesus had just told the Jews and His disciples that they must eat His flesh and drink His blood in order to have eternal life. Some of His disciples left Him after He said this. (The Twelve Apostles and the Seventy Apostles did not leave Him. These were others who had followed Him.)

The 66th verse of the 6th book of the New Testament is:

But if our unrighteousness demonstrates the righteousness of God, what shall we say? Is God unjust who inflicts wrath? (I speak as a man.) (Romans 3:5, NKJV)

The 6th verse of the 6th chapter of the 6th book of the New Testament is:

Knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. (Romans 6:6, NKJV)

66th verse of the 6th Epistle of St. Paul is:

Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. (Philippians 3:6, NKJV)

The 6th verse of the 6th chapter of the 6th wisdom book of the Old Testament is:

If one counts the prologue to this book as the first chapter, then the 6th verse of the 6th chapter of this book is:

And say not His mercy is great; He will be pacified for the multitude of my sins: for mercy and wrath come from Him, and His indignation resteth upon sinners. (Sirach 5:6, KJV)

Sirach was written before Wisdom, but if someone says that Wisdom is the 6th wisdom book, the 6th verse of the 6th chapter is:

For mercy will soon pardon the meanest: but mighty men shall be mightily tormented. (Wisdom 6:6, KJV)

The Letter of Jeremiah is attached the Book of Baruch as the sixth chapter of Baruch in many Bibles. In the Septuagint, the Letter of Jeremiah comes after the Lamentations of Jeremiah. The Lamentations of Jeremiah consists of five chapters. The 66th verse of the Letter of Jeremiah is:

For they can neither curse nor bless kings. (Letter of Jeremiah 66, KJV)

The Prophet Jeremiah was talking about idols. Idols are incapable of benefiting their worshipers.

The Church Fathers grouped Baruch and the Letter of Jeremiah together with Jeremiah and the Lamentations of Jeremiah. The Church Fathers classified these books as canonical and not Ecclesiastical. To them, canonical meant the books that the Jews accepted as part of the canon of the Old Testament prior to the Council of Jamnia in 100 A.D. The Ecclesiastical books were the Old Testament books that were written after the Hebrew and Aramaic books of the Old Testament had been translated into Greek by the seventy Palestinian Jews during the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus (309-246 B.C.) Baruch and the Letter of Jeremiah were among those books that the Seventy translated. Therefore, the Church Fathers classified them as canonical. Seven other books were written after this Greek translation had been made. These books were accepted by the Church, but not by the Jews. Therefore, they were labeled Ecclesiastical. The Church Fathers quoted from these books calling them “Holy Scripture,” “divinely inspired Scripture,” etc.

The 6th verse of the 6th chapter of the 6th Ecclesiastical book of the Old Testament is:

Neither was it lawful for a man to keep sabbath days or ancient fasts, or to profess himself at all to be a Jew. (II Maccabees 6:6, KJV)

Koran 6:66 says:

Thy people (O Muhammad) have denied it, though it is the Truth. Say: I am not put in charge of you. (Koran 6:66, Pickthall)

This  verse states a recurrent theme in the Koran. Muhammad was not a compeller over the people  to whom he preached. (Koran 10:99,100; 50:45) He was merely a plain warner and a bringer of glad tidings. (Koran 2:119; 25:56; 27:92; 33:45; 38:70, etc.) The hadiths written down over two years after Muhammad had died present a totally different Muhammad — one that forces people to convert to Islam. Those hadiths are hearsay and should not be given much attention or credence. Islam, according to the Koran, is submission to God and believing God’s messengers. It is not any of the elaborate religious systems that people call Islam today.

Koran 66:6 says:

O ye who believe! Ward off from yourselves and your families a Fire whereof the fuel is men and stones, over which are set angels strong, severe, who resist not Allah in that which He commandeth them, but do that which they are commanded. (Koran 66:6, Pickthall)

The Koran uses some graphic language when speaking about the torments that the damned will experience in the hereafter. This verse was addressed to believers. Muhammad did not teach that believers are guaranteed Paradise. Anyone can fall away after believing. None of the Church Fathers taught that people are “eternally saved” after believing either. We must strive to enter the “narrow gate” (Matthew 7:13) and take the kingdom of heaven by the force of our wills. (Matthew 11:12) Without holiness no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14) Despite all of our efforts to become holy and abstain from sin, we will still be welcomed into God’s kingdom only by His mercy. We can never be good enough. We must still continue to strive to do what is right and good.

I have included these verses from the Koran for all of those Koranophobes out there. Someone was circulating an e-mail around many years ago saying that Koran 6:66 said something about the 9-11 attacks in 2001. The person who started circulating that e-mail was not quoting the Koran. He invented a verse that does not exist in the Koran. I have found that the Koran is relatively benign. The Sunna, however, has some barbaric stuff in it. I am glad that there are Muslims who do not accept those hadiths that teach barbarism even though they are graded sahih (authentic) by the compilers. To me, the Sunna is a massive collection of hearsay.

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Who are the Hypocrites?

September 4, 2017 Leave a comment

In the Koran and also in the Bible, there is mention made of hypocrites. In this blog post, I intend to look at some of those passages and talk about the characteristics of a hypocrite.

No professing believer should want to practice hypocrisy. The eternal consequences can be devastating. In the Gospel according to St. Matthew, Jesus said:

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21-23, NKJV)

Praying to Jesus, prophesying in His name, casting out demons in His name, and performing miracles in His name do not guarantee one a place in the Kingdom of Heaven. Doing the will of God does insure one a place there. The Lord will accuse those who are damned of practicing lawlessness. Sin is lawlessness. (I John 3:4) Those who practice sin (that is, break God’s commandments) are practicing lawlessness and should not think that their prayers and other activities done in Jesus’ name will secure them a place in God’s kingdom at the end of this present age.

St. Paul said that love is the fulfillment of the Law. Those who love others instinctively keep the commandments.

Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:8-10, NKJV)

Someone who harbors hatred in his heart toward another person or group of persons is a murderer.

Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him. (I John 3:15, NKJV)

St. Paul said that people who practice certain sins will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:19-21, NKJV)

Murder is one of those sins. Hatred is a form of murder. It  is murder in one’s heart. So, anyone who harbors hatred in his heart does not have eternal life abiding in him and he will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

If a man truly loves another man’s wife as himself, he will not commit adultery with her. If he truly loves an unmarried woman, he, likewise, will not commit fornication with her. By practicing adultery and fornication, he bars both himself and the women with he does such acts from the Kingdom of God. St. Paul warns us not to be deceived.

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. (I Corinthians 6:9,10, NKJV)

People who are practicing fornication and adultery and thinking that they will inherit the Kingdom of God are deceived. They separate themselves from God, by not loving God. If they truly loved God, they would abstain from fornication and adultery. So, the adulterers and fornicators who think that they love each other really do not. No one can truly love another person unless he first loves God above all else. Those who practice the other sins mentioned in I Corinthians 6:9,10 and Galatians 5:19-21 should not think that they will inherit the Kingdom of God either.

In the Koran, it says:

Whoso doeth right it is for his soul, and whoso doeth wrong it is against it. And thy Lord is not at all a tyrant to His slaves. (Koran 41:46, Pickthall)

People who do wrong, wrong their own souls. However, it is possible to have miraculous gifts, give away all of one’s goods to feed the poor, die as a “martyr,” and still lose one’s soul.

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing. (I Corinthians 13:1-3, NKJV)

The absence of love is hate. Those who hate others are murderers. Murderers do not have eternal life abiding in them and they will never inherit the Kingdom of God. One might still wonder whether those who feed the poor have love. Maybe they do, but it is still possible to do all of that and not have love. That is what St. Paul was teaching in the passage quoted from I Corinthians 13.  In the Koran, it says:

And feed with food the needy wretch, the orphan and the prisoner, for love of Him. (Koran 76:8, Pickthall)

Those who do these acts of kindness out of love for God are the ones who profit spiritually and have a reward from God in the afterlife. Love for God produces love for others.

If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? (I John 4:20, NKJV)

Love for others produces charitable deeds.

But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him? (I John 3:17, NKJV)

Likewise, it is possible to profess faith in God and not possess faith in God. In the Catholic Epistle of James, it says:

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. (James 2:14-17, NKJV)

The Koran says:

Thus is the Word of thy Lord justified concerning those who do wrong: that they believe not. (Koran 10:33, Pickthall)

People who practice unrighteousness are not true believers. Jesus said that there will be unbelievers mixed among the believers until the end of this present age.

Another parable He put forth to them, saying: “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field; but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way. But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared. So the servants of the owner came and said to him, ‘Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?’ He said to them, ‘An enemy has done this.’ The servants said to him, ‘Do you want us then to go and gather them up?’ But he said, ‘No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.”’” (Matthew 13:24-30, NKJV)

I remember someone telling me about people who would party and fornicate on Saturday night and then get up Sunday morning and go to church. I also remember attending an event for single Christians. Someone there was telling me about all of the women there at that event. He said that he had fornicated with some of them in the back seat of his car. I was immediately turned off when I heard that. Tares among the wheat. The tares are the hypocrites. In the Koran, it says:

Verily Allah knoweth those who believe, and verily He knoweth the hypocrites. (Koran 29:11, Pickthall)

Hypocrites are people who say they believe in God, but in reality they do not. The kind of lives they live demonstrate their unbelief. “Faith without works is dead.” (James 2:26)

When the hypocrites come unto thee (O Muhammad), they say: We bear witness that thou art indeed Allah’s messenger. And Allah knoweth that thou art indeed His messenger, and Allah beareth witness that the hypocrites indeed are speaking falsely. (Koran 63:1, Pickthall)

There will be hypocrites mixed in with the believers until the end of this present age. God knows who they are.

Hypocrites tell people to obey God’s commandments, but they do not obey them. Their walk does not match their talk.

Then Jesus spoke to the multitudes and to His disciples, saying: “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do… “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.” (Matthew 23:1-3,13, NKJV)

Hypocrites might also tell people that it is all right to break God’s commandments. I have met many people over the years who think that the words, “saved by grace through faith,” in Ephesians 2:8 have granted Christians a license to sin. It is true that we are saved by God’s mercy, but no one has been given by God a license to sin. In the Koran, it says:

O Prophet! Keep thy duty to Allah and obey not the disbelievers and the hypocrites. Lo! Allah is Knower, Wise. (Koran 33:1, Pickthall)

If one is keeping one’s duty to God, then one is obeying God. Apparently, the disbelievers and the hypocrites in this verse wanted Muhammad to disobey God. That is why it says “obey not the disbelievers and the hypocrites.”

Hypocrites strive to win converts and then teach the converts to travel the path to hell.

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves. (Matthew 23:15, NKJV)

Allah promiseth the hypocrites, both men and women, and the disbelievers fire of hell for their abode. It will suffice them. Allah curseth them, and theirs is lasting torment. (Koran 9:68, Pickthall)

Hypocrites do good deeds in order to be seen by men. They love the praise of men more than the praise of God.

Lo! the hypocrites seek to beguile Allah, but it is He Who beguileth them. When they stand up to worship they perform it languidly and to be seen of men, and are mindful of Allah but little. (Koran 4:142, Pickthall)

But all their works they do to be seen by men. They make their phylacteries broad and enlarge the borders of their garments… Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayers. Therefore you will receive greater condemnation. (Matthew 23:5,14, NKJV)

So, hypocrites are people who profess to believe in God, but in reality they do not. They do not possess love for God and others. They do not have genuine faith which is manifested in good deeds. If they do good deeds, they do not do them out of love for God and one’s fellow man. They do them in order to be seen by men and receive praise from others. Hypocrites lead others to hell by teaching them to practice their ungodly lifestyle. Hypocrites profess to believe in God, but encourage others to disobey God.

The Woodis

September 3, 2017 Leave a comment

I am posting these three videos here. If you have time to watch all three of them, that would be great. These videos show Muslims debating against David Wood. In the first video, he debates against a Sunni Muslim. The Sunni does not accept all of the hadiths that David Wood cites. There are Sunnis who believe that if a hadith contradicts the teachings of the Koran, it is a false hadith — even if the hadith has been graded sahih. Sahih means authentic. In the second video, David Wood and Robert Spencer debate against two Shiite clerics. The Shiites have a different collection of hadiths than the Sunnis do. These Shiites apparently do not accept all of the hadiths in their Sunna as authentic. They say that if the hadith contradicts the Koran, it must be rejected. In the last video, David Wood talks about his version of Islam. He accepts all of the sahih hadiths and interprets the Koran differently from the Sunnis and the Shiites. I call David Wood’s version of Islam Woodi Islam. I do not know about you, but I am very glad that not all of the Muslims in the world are Woodis.

Here are the videos.

 

 

 

It would seem that David Wood would have learned something from all of those Muslims he has debated by now. Not all Muslims practice the type of Islam that he teaches. Not all Muslims are Woodis.

Polygamy in the Bible and the Koran

September 3, 2017 Leave a comment

In this blog post, I want to talk about polygamy — more specifically, polygyny — the practice of having more than one wife. I will quote from the Church Fathers and ancient Christian writers as well as from the Bible and the Koran.

Polygamy has been around for thousands of years. It is still practiced in some parts of the world. The first mention of a polygamous marriage in the Bible is in the Book of Genesis it says that Lamech had two wives, Adah and Zillah. (Genesis 4:19) Abraham had a wife and a concubine. His wife was Sarah and his concubine was Hagar. Later, Abraham took another concubine, Keturah, to be his wife. A concubine is a slave who is also a wife. There were Old Testament laws that regulated this practice of polygamy. (Exodus 21:10,11; Deuteronomy 21:15-17) Abraham’s son, Isaac, had only one wife, but his grandson, Jacob, had two wives and two concubines. King David had several wives. King Solomon also had several wives. The prophet, Hosea, had two wives in obedience to God’s commandments. (Hosea 1:2,3; 3:1-5) Tertullian wrote:

We do not indeed forbid the union of man and woman, blest by God as the seminary of the human race, and devised for the replenishment of the earth and the furnishing of the world,(Genesis 1:28) and therefore permitted, yet singly. For Adam was the one husband of Eve, and Eve his one wife, one woman, one rib. (Genesis 2:21,22) We grant, that among our ancestors, and the patriarchs themselves, it was lawful not only to marry, but even to multiply wives. There were concubines, too, (in those days.) But although the Church did come in figuratively in the synagogue, yet (to interpret simply) it was necessary to institute (certain things) which should afterward deserve to be either lopped off or modified. For the Law was (in due time) to supervene. (Nor was that enough:) for it was meet that causes for making up the deficiencies of the Law should have forerun (Him who was to supply those deficiencies). And so to the Law presently had to succeed the Word of God introducing the spiritual circumcision. (Romans 2:28,29; Philippians 3:3; Colossians 2:11) Therefore, by means of the wide licence of those days, materials for subsequent emendations were furnished beforehand, of which materials the Lord by His Gospel, and then the apostle in the last days of the (Jewish) age, either cut off the redundancies or regulated the disorders. (To His Wife, Book I, vol. 4, p. 39, by Tertullian,145-220, Ante-Nicene Fathers)

St. Basil the Great wrote:

The Fathers say nothing of polygamy as being beastly, and a thing unagreeable to human nature. To us it appears a greater sin than fornication: Let therefore such [as are guilty of it] be liable to the canons, viz.: after they have been mourners one year — let them be prostrators three years — and then be received. (Canon LXXX, St. Basil the Great, 329-379, vol. 14, p. 609, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series)

Polygamy was acceptable in Old Testament times, but gradually became a discouraged practice. St. Methodius of Patara wrote:

   If, however, any one should venture to find fault with our argument as destitute of Scripture proof, we will bring forward the writings of the prophets, and more fully demonstrate the truth of the statements already made. Now Abraham, when he first received the covenant of circumcision, seems to signify, by receiving circumcision in a member of his own body, nothing else than this, that one should no longer beget children with one born of the same parent; showing that every one should abstain from intercourse with his own sister, as his own flesh. And thus, from the time of Abraham, the custom of marrying with sisters has ceased; and from the times of the prophets the contracting of marriage with several wives has been done away with; for we read, “Go not after thy lusts, but refrain thyself front thine appetites” (Sirach 18:30); for “wine and women will make men of understanding to fall away ” (Sirach 19:2); and in another place, “Let thy fountain be blessed; and rejoice with the wife of thy youth” (Proverbs 5:18), manifestly forbidding a plurality of wives. And Jeremiah clearly gives the name of “fed horses” (Jeremiah 5:8) to those who lust after other women; and we read, “The multiplying brood of the ungodly shall not thrive, nor take deep rooting from bastard slips, nor lay any fast foundation.” (Wisdom 4:3)
Lest, however, we should seem prolix in collecting the testimonies of the prophets, let us again point out how chastity succeeded to marriage with one wife, taking away by degrees the lusts of the flesh, until it removed entirely the inclination for sexual intercourse engendered by habit. For presently one is introduced earnestly deprecating, from henceforth, this seduction, saying, “O Lord, Father, and Governor of my life, leave me not to their counsels; give me not a proud look; let not the greediness of the belly, nor lust of the flesh, take hold of me.” (Sirach 23:1,4,6) And in the Book of Wisdom, a book full of all virtue, the Holy Spirit, now openly drawing His hearers to continence and chastity, sings on this wise, “Better it is to have no children, and to have virtue, for the memorial thereof is immortal; because it is known with God and with men. When it is present men take example at it; and when it is gone they desire it: it weareth a crown and triumpheth for ever, having gotten the victory, striving for undefiled rewards.” (Wisdom 4:1,2) (The Banquet of the Ten Virgins, Discourse I, chapter 3, St. Methodius of Patara, 260-312, vol. 6, p. 312, Ante-Nicene Fathers)

The purpose of polygamy was to increase the number of offspring one could have. Having more than one wife made it possible for a man to have more children.

To pious and discerning readers of the sacred Scriptures evidence of the chastity of the holy men who are said to have had several wives is found in this, that Solomon, who by his polygamy gratified his passions, instead of seeking for offspring, is expressly noted as chargeable with being a lover of women. This, as we are informed by the truth which accepts no man’s person, led him down into the abyss of idolatry. (Reply to Faustus the Manichaean, Book XXII, by Blessed Augustine of Hippo, 354-430, vol. 4, pp. 289-290, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series)

The example of Tobit in the Old Testament teaches us that we should not marry because of lust.

And now, O Lord, I take not this my sister for lust but uprightly: therefore mercifully ordain that we may become aged together. (Tobit 8:7, KJV)

St. Paul taught that one should marry in order to avoid falling into the sin of fornication. (I Corinthians 7:2)

In the beginning, however, the first human marriage was a monogamous one according to the Bible. (Genesis 1:27; 2:21-25) Monogamy is the rule laid down for Christians in the New Testament. The New Testament elevated marriage to the level of a Sacrament. (Ephesians 5:22-33) St. Paul called marriage a “great mystery.” (Ephesians 5:32) “Mystery” is another word for “Sacrament.” In the Orthodox Church, we call the Sacraments the Holy Mysteries. Tertullian wrote:

“But withal the blessed patriarchs,” you say, “made mingled alliances not only with more wives (than one), but with concubines likewise.” Shall that, then, make it lawful for us also to marry without limit? I grant that it will, if there still remain types — sacraments of something future — for your nuptials to figure; or if even now there is room for that command, “Grow and multiply” (Genesis 1:28); that is, if no other command has yet supervened: “The time is already wound up; it remains that both they who have wives act as if they had not:” (I Corinthians 7:29) for, of course, by enjoining continence, and restraining concubitance, the seminary of our race, (this latter command) has abolished that “Grow and multiply.” (Genesis 1:28) (An Exhortation to Chastity, chapter 6, by Tertullian,145-220, vol. 4, p. 53,Ante-Nicene Fathers)

In the Sacrament of Marriage, the man represents Christ and the woman represents the Church. Christ has only one bride, the Church. Therefore, a Christian man can have only one wife. During this present age, the Church is betrothed to Christ. (II Corinthians 11:2) After the resurrection of the dead and the Last Judgment, the Church will become married to Christ in some mystical sense. (Revelation 19:7-9) So, the Sacrament of Marriage prefigures something to come in the future.

Although an Orthodox Christian is forbidden to live in a polygamous relationship with more than one wife at a time, he is permitted to re-marry after the death of his wife or after a divorce determined to be obtained for legitimate reasons by the Church. An Orthodox woman can, likewise, re-marry after the death of her husband or after a divorce obtained for legitimate reasons. An Orthodox Christian may not have more than three spouses during his or her lifetime.

In the case of trigamy and polygamy they laid down the same rule, in proportion, as in the case of digamy; namely one year for digamy (some authorities say two years); for trigamy men are separated for three and often for four years; but this is no longer described as marriage at all, but as polygamy; nay rather as limited fornication. It is for this reason that the Lord said to the woman of Samaria, who had had five husbands, “he whom thou now hast is not thy husband.” (John 4:18) He does not reckon those who had exceeded the limits of a second marriage as worthy of the title of husband or wife. In cases of trigamy we have accepted a seclusion of five years, not by the canons, but following the precept of our predecessors. Such offenders ought not to be altogether prohibited from the privileges of the Church; they should be considered deserving of hearing after two or three years, and afterwards of being permitted to stand in their place; but they must be kept from the communion of the good gift, and only restored to the place of communion after showing some fruit of repentance. (Letter CLXXX, Canon IV, St. Basil the Great, 329-379, vol. 8, pp. 225,226, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series)

There is no law as to trigamy: a third marriage is not contracted by law. We look upon such things as the defilements of the Church. But we do not subject them to public condemnation, as being better than unrestrained fornication. (Letter CXCIX, Canon L, St. Basil the Great, 329-379, vol. 8, p. 240, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series)

There are commandments in the Bible to care for widows and orphans.

Ye shall hurt no widow or orphan. And if ye should afflict them by ill treatment, and they should cry aloud to me, I will surely hear their voice. And I will be very angry, and will slay you with the sword, and your wives shall be widows and your children orphans. (Exodus 22:22-24, LXX)

Learn to do well; diligently seek judgement, deliver him that is suffering wrong, plead for the orphan, and obtain justice for the widow. (Isaiah 1:17, LXX)

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. (James 1:27, NKJV)

There are commandments in the Bible to care for the poor and needy.

Break thy bread to the hungry, and lead the unsheltered poor to thy house: if thou seest one naked, clothe him, and thou shalt not disregard the relations of thine own seed. (Isaiah 58:7, LXX)

“‘For I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink; I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.’ Then they also will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?’ Then He will answer them, saying, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’” (Matthew 25:42-45, NKJV)

The Koran, likewise, commands us to care for the poor, the needy, the widows, and the orphans.

It is not righteousness that ye turn your faces to the East and the West; but righteous is he who believeth in Allah and the Last Day and the angels and the Scripture and the prophets; and giveth wealth, for love of Him, to kinsfolk and to orphans and the needy and the wayfarer and to those who ask, and to set slaves free; and observeth proper worship and payeth the poor-due. And those who keep their treaty when they make one, and the patient in tribulation and adversity and time of stress. Such are they who are sincere. Such are the God-fearing. (Koran 2:177, Pickthall)

They ask thee, (O Muhammad), what they shall spend. Say: that which ye spend for good (must go) to parents and near kindred and orphans and the needy and the wayfarer. And whatsoever good ye do, lo! Allah is Aware of it. (Koran 2:215, Pickthall)

Upon the world and the Hereafter. And they question thee concerning orphans. Say: To improve their lot is best. And if ye mingle your affairs with theirs, then (they are) your brothers. Allah knoweth him who spoileth from him who improveth. Had Allah willed He could have overburdened you. Allah is Mighty, Wise. (Koran 2:220, Pickthall)

The likeness of those who spend their wealth in Allah’s way is as the likeness of a grain which groweth seven ears, in every ear a hundred grains. Allah giveth increase manifold to whom He will. Allah is All-Embracing, All-Knowing. (Koran 2:261, Pickthall)

The Koran uses the term “spending” for “giving.” One is not supposed to give to those in need something that one disdains.

O ye who believe! Spend of the good things which ye have earned, and of that which We bring forth from the earth for you, and seek not the bad (with intent) to spend thereof (in charity) when ye would not take it for yourselves save with disdain; and know that Allah is Absolute, Owner of Praise. (Koran 2:267, Pickthall)

So, if you have some rotten apples, you should not give them to the needy. You should give him some good apples. The Koran, further, states:

Ye will not attain unto piety until ye spend of that which ye love. And whatsoever ye spend, Allah is Aware thereof. (Koran 3:92, Pickthall)

Giving involves sacrifice.

There is a passage in the Fourth Surah which talks about caring for orphans and polygamy.

1 O mankind! Be careful of your duty to your Lord Who created you from a single soul and from it created its mate and from them twain hath spread abroad a multitude of men and women. Be careful of your duty toward Allah in Whom ye claim (your rights) of one another, and toward the wombs (that bare you). Lo! Allah hath been a watcher over you.
2 Give unto orphans their wealth. Exchange not the good for the bad (in your management thereof) nor absorb their wealth into your own wealth. Lo! that would be a great sin.
3 And if ye fear that ye will not deal fairly by the orphans, marry of the women, who seem good to you, two or three or four; and if ye fear that ye cannot do justice (to so many) then one (only) or (the captives) that your right hands possess. Thus it is more likely that ye will not do injustice. (Koran 4:1-3, Pickthall)

The first verse in this passage states what the Bible also teaches. The first marriage was a monogamous one. Everyone is descended from the first man and the first woman.

The second verse talks about just treatment of orphans. After their father died, they inherit from their father. One should not deprive an orphan of his inheritance.

The third verse says that one should marry one to three widows with children if one does not think that he can deal fairly with the orphans. The purpose of the second, third, and fourth marriages was to insure that one dealt fairly with the orphans. If one does not think that he can do justice to so many wives, then he should have only one wife or a concubine. (A slave that is a wife is a concubine.)

The Koran is, therefore, teaching that a man may marry a virgin as his first wife and widows with children as his second, third, and fourth wives. One is not supposed to marry the second, third, and fourth wives out of lust, but in order to insure that he cares for them and their children. A man is more likely to care for a woman and her orphaned children if they are part of his household. However, in verse 129 of this same surah, it says:

Ye will not be able to deal equally between (your) wives, however much ye wish (to do so). But turn not altogether away (from one), leaving her as in suspense. If ye do good and keep from evil, lo! Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful. (Koran 4:129, Pickthall)

The Bible says:

And if he take another to himself, he shall not deprive her of necessaries and her apparel, and her companionship with him. (Exodus 21:10, LXX)

So, a man has a choice. He can marry up to three more women who are widows with children or he can refrain from marrying anymore and just have only one wife. The Koran teaches that a man cannot live up to the high standard of morality taught in these passages regardless of what he chooses to do.

The Koran says:

If Allah took mankind to task by that which they deserve, He would not leave a living creature on the surface of the earth; but He reprieveth them unto an appointed term, and when their term cometh — then verily (they will know that) Allah is ever Seer of His slaves. (Quran 35:45, Pickthall)

The Prophet Isaiah said:

And we are all become as unclean, and all our righteousness as a filthy rag. (Isaiah 64:6, LXX)

We all in the end need mercy, because none of us are good enough regardless of how hard we try to do what is right.

He said: Have no fear this day! May Allah forgive you, and He is the Most Merciful of those who show mercy. (Quran 12:92, Pickthall)

And they bid thee hasten on the evil rather than the good, when exemplary punishments have indeed occurred before them. But lo! thy Lord is rich in pardon for mankind despite their wrong, and lo! thy Lord is strong in punishment. (Quran 13:6, Pickthall)

The Koran gave seventh century Muslims an option: marry the widows to insure that they and their children are cared for or stay monogamous. If one stays monogamous, one must still look after the widows and the orphans. If one becomes polygamous, one must deal fairly with the additional wives and the orphans. In the 21st century, there are government agencies and private charities which assist widows and orphans. So, polygamy for the purpose of insuring that one fulfills his God-given responsibility to care for the widows and orphans is not necessary.

Christians are only allowed to have one wife. The Koran makes us aware that we need to care for orphans and widows. A married Christian man has only one choice in regard to the widows and orphans. Make sure that they are cared for. A married Christian man can adopt widows as spiritual wives. That is to say, be a husband to them, but do not make love to them. Make sure that they have all of the necessities of life and are cared for. He can also be a father to the orphans without adopting them.

Why moreover, Christian, are you so conditioned, that you cannot (so travel) without a wife? “In my present (widowed) state, too, a consort in domestic works is necessary.” (Then) take some spiritual wife. Take to yourself from among the widows one fair in faith, dowered with poverty, sealed with age. You will (thus) make a good marriage. A plurality of such wives is pleasing to God. (On Exhortation to Chastity, chapter 12, by Tertullian,145-220, vol. 4, p. 56, Ante-Nicene Fathers)

Such, we read, was the reward which the blessed Job obtained who was certainly crowned (for a victory) on the right hand, when he was the father of seven sons and walked as a rich and wealthy man, and yet offered daily sacrifices to the Lord for their purification, in his anxiety that they might prove acceptable and dear to God rather than to himself, when his gates stood open to every stranger, when he was “feet to lame and eyes to blind,” (Job 29:15) when the shoulders of the suffering were kept warm by the wool of his sheep, when he was a father to orphans and a husband to widows, when he did not even in his heart rejoice at the fall of his enemy. And again it was the same man who with still greater virtue triumphed over adversity on the left hand, when deprived in one moment of his seven sons he was not as a father overcome with bitter grief but as a true servant of God rejoiced in the will of his Creator. (The Conferences, Conference VI, chapter 10, by St. John Cassian, 360-435, vol. 11, p. 356, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series)

In conclusion, the Old Testament permitted polygamy for the purpose of increasing the number of offspring one could have. The later writings in the Old Testament discouraged polygamy. The New Testament elevated marriage to the level of a Sacrament. The man in the Sacrament represents Christ and the woman in the Sacrament represents the Church. The Church is in its betrothal stage now. After Christ returns, the Church will be in its married state to Him. The Sacrament of Marriage prefigures Christ’s future relationship with the Church. The Bible and the Koran teach that we should take care of the poor, the needy, the widows, and the orphans. Muslim men in the seventh century were permitted to marry widows with orphaned children in order to insure that they dealt fairly with them and they were cared for. A man cannot deal equally with his wives in a polygamous marriage. So, a Muslim man has a choice. He can stay monogamous and strive to deal fairly with the widows and orphans, or he can marry up to three widows with children in addition to his first wife. He has a struggle either way. However, God is the most merciful of those who show mercy. So, regardless of what he does, he still needs to look to God for mercy. A married Christian man can be a husband to the widows, that is, have them as spiritual wives that one cares for, but does not cohabit with them. He can also be a father to the orphans without adopting them.