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Sometimes it’s good to revisit old myths about the Bible. Many people unknowingly teach wrong things about the Bible, even though they may be very sincere. I’ve written about this topic before in my post, The Truth About Shacking Up. It is true that the English word fornication means “sex before marriage”. However, the Bible was not written in English. Both the Hebrew and Greek words have a much deeper and much more profound meaning.
- Hebrew – zanah (play the prostitute)
- Greek – porneia (fornication, immorality)
- Latin – fornix (vaulted archway, cellar)
I talked about the significance of these words in the previous post so I won’t go over it again this time. However, I will point out that vaulted archways and cellars are where prostitutes hung out in Rome. The reason I try to point this out to many Christians is because there is much more to what is being said than, “don’t have sex until you get married”. This has absolutely nothing to do with sex before marriage. It has to do with a direct act of disrespect toward God.
There are 613 laws and commandments and I have only found one about having sex before marriage,
“And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife. If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins.” – Exodus 22:16-17
The majority of the fornication verses are actually directed at prostitution, and not pre-marital sex.
“Do not prostitute thy daughter, to cause her to be a whore; lest the land fall to whoredom, and the land become full of wickedness.” – Leviticus 19:29
Before I drive home my theory, which is just that, a theory. I want to point out another strange rule that appears involving divorce. The confusion comes from the English definition for fornication.
“But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.” – Matthew 5:32
That makes absolutely no sense at all. If she has already committed fornication how can her husband cause her to commit adultery by getting a divorce? If she was having sex outside of marriage it would be referred to as adultery and not fornication. That means that fornication must mean something different. Let’s look at the OT law for idol worship vs. adultery.
“And the man that committeth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.” – Leviticus 20:10
“Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;” – Exodus 20:3-5
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In the case of adultery, the penalty is death and that is left up to men to carry out. In the case of idolatry, God Himself deals with it. Leviticus 26:1 repeats the commandment and still there is no mention of death. That explains why the man would put away his wife for fornication and stone her for adultery. The word fornication seems to have a spiritual element to it because it is usually seen in reference to worshiping idols and false gods. When we get down to the physical element of fornication, we see why it requires God’s personal attention.
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?” – 1 Corinthians 6:19
Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. That is why it is so disrespectful to God to engage in ritual prostitution. What is worse than using your temple to worship an idol or false god? It is a direct act of disrespect toward not just God, but the Holy Spirit. This is what I believe is what Jesus was referring to as blaspheming the Holy Spirit.
“And whosoever shall speak a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but unto him that blasphemeth against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven.” – Luke 12:10
I personally have not been able to think of anything more blasphemous than to give yourself over physically, emotionally, and spiritually to another idol or god while committing this act in the temple of the Holy Spirit. Sounds much more offensive to God than just having sex before marriage. Then again, it’s just my opinion and I could be wrong. Feel free to leave your comments and repost this so others can add theirs.