Separation from Unbelievers in marriage

by Pastor Jack Hyles (1926-2001)

(Chapter 9 from the excellent book, Jack Hyles Speaks On Biblical Separation)

Nothing quite so displeases God as when His children intermarry with children of wrath, for nothing so corrupts a nation as does polluting of the people of God by intermarriage.

1. Intermarriage with unbelievers was the main cause of the flood. God says that the flood was caused because the wickedness of man was great in the earth. Genesis 6:5-7, "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth Me that I have made them." The basis of this wickedness, however, was the intermarriage of the descendants of Seth with the descendants of Cain. Genesis 6:1-4, "And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, that the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. And the Lord said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh; yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown." Because of this intermarriage between God's people and the heathen, God's wrath was so stirred that He destroyed every person on the face of the earth except eight. Think of it! The flood was caused because the godly line of Seth, that is, God's people, intermarried with unsaved people. The descendants of these marriages became so wicked that God destroyed earth with a flood. You see, when a lost person marries a saved person, the children usually follow the unsaved parent instead of the saved one. The reason for this is that the disobedience of the saved person in marrying an unsaved person usually causes him to lose his testimony so the children usually follow the unsaved parent instead of the saved one. Such was the case when the descendants of Seth married the descendants of Cain. They followed the way of Cain instead of Seth until the earth became so wicked that God destroyed it.

2. God gave different languages in order to prevent intermarriage. In Genesis 11 the people built a tower called the Tower of Babel. Genesis 11:6-9, "And the Lord said, Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let Us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth." Notice again verse 6, "Now nothing will be restrained from them which they have imagined to do." Compare that with Genesis 6:5 when before the flood God said, "that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." The imagination in Genesis 6:5 was intermarriage. Now God says that since the races are getting together in the building of the tower of Babel, they will once again imagine what they imagined before the flood and nothing will be restrained from them, which means intermarriage between God's people and the heathen. Because of this, man's language was confounded in an effort to prevent intermarriage.

3. The unholy union between Abraham and Hagar shows God's displeasure with the mixing of His people. A famine came in the land. Abraham and Sarah, at a time when their faith had lapsed, fled to Egypt. There they hired a young lady named Hagar to be a servant. When they returned to Canaan, Hagar went with them. In the process of time, Abraham had sexual relations with Hagar in an effort to perpetuate his seed. Not only was the adultery wrong, but the crossing of lines between God's people and heathen people was also wrong. From their unholy union came a son named Ishmael. Ishmael became the father of the Arabs. He and his descendants claimed that the Promised Land was theirs because God had promised this land to Abraham and to his seed. Genesis 12:7, "And the Lord appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land; and there builded he an altar unto the Lord, Who appeared unto him." Ishmael justifiably had a right to claim it, for he was the firstborn son of Abraham. On the other hand, Isaac had a right to claim it because he was the son of promise and was given to Abraham and Sarah in their old age. So we have two races- the Jews and the Arabs- both justifiably claiming the land, the Arabs claiming it because Ishmael was the first son of Abraham, and the Jews claiming it because Isaac was the son of promise. Now for nearly 4000 years there has been nothing but war and strife in Canaan because of this unscriptural union between Abraham and Hagar. Hagar was a descendant of Cush, who was a son of Ham.

4. Esau married a heathen woman against the will of God. Esau married Ishmael's daughter, who was also Hagar's granddaughter. Esau's name was changed to Edom, which means "red" because he had sold his birthright for a bowl of red soup. This unholy union between Hagar's granddaughter and Esau brought forth a heathen nation known as the Edomites. They were a constant thorn in the flesh to God's people, giving special trouble to them as the Israelites entered into the Promised Land after their departure from Egypt and their forty years in the wilderness. Generations of heartache have been caused by God's people marrying unbelievers.

5. Moses erred in marrying the Ethiopian woman. Now to be sure, Miriam's criticism of Moses and this marriage was punished by God because the judgment belongs to the Lord, not to Miriam or any other human being, but the fact is, Moses saw few good days after this unscriptural marriage.

6. The error of Balaam was leading God's people to intermarry with the heathen. Jude 11, "Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core." When Balaam went to Moab for a reward, he did not intend to compromise his message, but he should not have gone to Moab. Because he did go to Moab, God's people followed and the inevitable intermarriage followed. Not only was the purity of the race destroyed but the purity of their faith was also destroyed.

7. David's marriage with Bathsheba was an example of an unscriptural yoke in marriage. So much is said, and rightly so, about David's sin with Bathsheba and his murder of Uriah the Hittite, Bathsheba's husband. Little is said that David's marriage to Bathsheba was unscriptural. David was one of God's people. Bathsheba and Uriah were Hittites. The Hittites were descendants of Heth. Genesis 10:15, "And Canaan begat Sidon his firstborn, and Heth." Heth's father was Sidon; his grandfather was Canaan, who was a son of Ham. Genesis 10:6, "And the sons of Ham; Cush and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan." So David's sin was more than adultery and murder; it was an unscriptural yoke in marriage.

8. Samson and Delilah formed an unholy yoke. Judges 16:4, 5, "And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and said unto her, Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him: and we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver." You will notice that Delilah was a Philistine. The Philistines came from Philistim. Genesis 10:14, "And Pathrusim, and Casluhim, (out of whom came Philistim,) and Caphtorim." Philistim was the son of Casluhim, who was the son of Mizraim, who was the son of Ham. Genesis 10:6,13,14, "And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan. And Mizraim begat Ludim, and Anamim, and Lehabim, and Naphtuhim, and Pathrusim, and Casluhim, (out of whom came Philistim,) and Caphtorim." Once again, there was more than adultery involved; there was a mixing of the seed of God's people and those who were not God's people.

9. Jezebel and Ahab corrupted Israel by an unscriptural yoke in marriage. Ahab was an Israelite; Jezebel was the daughter of the king of Sidon. Sidon was the son of Canaan and the grandson of Ham. Genesis 10:6, 15, "And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan. And Canaan begat Sidon his firstborn, and Heth." Not only was Jezebel a wicked woman, but she was an unbelieving woman, and she led Israel into wickedness and idolatry. This was unnecessary and would not have happened if Ahab had not disobeyed the commands of God in an unholy yoke in marriage.

10. Solomon married unsaved women who turned away his heart. I Kings 11:4, 5, "For it came to pass, when Solomon was old, that his wives turned away his heart after other gods: and his heart was not perfect with the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father. For Solomon went after Ashtoreth the goddess of the Zidonians, and after Milcom the abomination of the Ammonites." Because of this, God removed the ten tribes of the kingdom from Solomon's son. Solomon's downfall was marrying heathen women.

11. Nehemiah rebuked the Jewish remnant because they married unsaved women. He used Solomon as an example of such unholy action. Nehemiah 13:23-27, "In those days also saw I Jews that had married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and Moab: and their children spake half in the speech of Ashdod, and could not speak in the Jews' language, but according to the language of each people. And I contended with them, and cursed them, and smote certain of them, and plucked off their hair, and made them swear by God, saying, Ye shall not give your daughters unto their sons, nor take their daughters unto your sons, or for yourselves. Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? yet among many nations was there no king like him, who was beloved of his God, and God made him king over all Israel: nevertheless even him did outlandish women cause to sin. Shall we then hearken unto you to do all this great evil, to transgress against our God in marrying strange wives?"

12. The Samaritans became bitter enemies of Cod's people and were people founded on unscriptural marriages between God's people and unbelievers. When Nebuchadnezzar took the Israelites captive to Babylon, he took the wealthy and middle class, but did not want the poor people. They were left in the land. Assyrians migrated into the land while most of the Israelites were in captivity and intermarried with the remnant that was left. Now these Assyrians were from Babylon. Their founder was Nimrod, who was the son of Cush, who was the son of Ham. From this unscriptural union came the Samaritan people, who are bitter enemies of the Jews and cause them much heartache.

13. God forbade the Israelites to intermarry with the Canaanites when they came to the Promised Land. The Canaanites were the descendants of Canaan, who was the son of Ham. Genesis 10:6, "And the sons of Ham; Cush, and Mizraim, and Phut, and Canaan." As such, they were heathen people. This is the reason God wanted the Israelites to drive the Canaanites out of the land. They were idolatrous people and God did not want His people to intermarry with them.

When God's people intermarry with unbelievers, they are rebelling against the Word of God and sinning against God. They are also sinning against their unborn children and their children and their children. It should be ingrained in every child in his earliest days that he should never marry an unsaved person. Hence, he should be taught that he should never date unsaved people. Think of it! Intermarriage between God's people and the heathen caused the entire world to be destroyed and also caused man to have his language differ from others. This has caused and is causing all the trouble in the Middle East and has brought grief and heartache to millions of people who have violated the command of God and to millions of people who are children and grandchildren of those who have violated the command of God. Marriage is a yoke, and we are plainly commanded not to yoke up with unbelievers.


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