Two Reflections For Husbands And Wives
Now, in view of all of that, I would say that the prohibitions of sexual relations during menstruation are not demanded of us as Christians. I think thats the implication of Romans 7:46, which I quoted a minute ago.
So, the question becomes: If we dont have an absolute prohibition, what should guide us in this matter? Ill suggest two considerations for a husband and a wife to think and pray about. One is the roots of the prohibition in the Old Testament, and the other is the path of love between a husband and wife.
According To The Bible Why Do Women Have Periods
Its a natural process. Its a biological process. Every 28 days or so, a woman bleeds. Its linked to our fertility. Its linked to our physiology. Its linked to our femininity. And it just happens.
But why? As Rachel Jones writes in her great book A Brief Theology of Periods, periods are seemingly nonsensical from an evolutionary point of view. Theyre resource heavy all that endometrium takes a lot of nutrients to build up. Apart from humans, only a small and curious selection of other mammals shed it externally.
Jones doesnt delve too deep into the question as to why women have periods largely because its an unknown. We can only speculate. The Bible only reveals so much of what God decided was important to communicate. This means that some questions we might have are just not questions that are answered in the Bible which answers the ultimate questions on life and salvation and eternity. But even with the general revelation of scripture and what our bodies communicate about Gods creation of us in his image, as Jones helpfully points out there are some pointers that can be helpful. Because this is an profound question. For women experiencing monthly pain, mood swings, logistical wardrobe nightmares, social activity restrictions and emotional fragility, this can be important for us to try and understand.
The main section of the Old Testament that talks about menstruation is Leviticus 15, and specifically for women, Leviticus 15:19-30. Here:
Question: Is It Okay To Have Sex With My Husband When I Am Having My Periods
Answer: There are several Old Testament passages telling husbands not to have sexual relations with their wife during her period. Leviticus 15:19-24 talks about the impurity of a woman during her monthly flow. Verse 24 says, And if any man lies with her at all, so that her impurity is on him, he shall be unclean seven days and every bed on which he lies shall be unclean.
Leviticus 18:19 says, Do not approach a woman to have sexual relations during the uncleaness of her monthly period. Leviticus 20:18 If a man lies with a woman during her monthly period and has sexual relations with her, he has exposed the source of her flow, and she has uncovered it. Both of them must be cut off from their people.
In describing a righteous man, Ezekiel 18:6 says, He does not defile his neighbors wife or lie with a woman during her period. In Ezekiel 22, God is confronting Jerusalem with the sins they have been committing. In Ezekiel 22:10 it says In you are those who violate women during their period, when they are ceremonially unclean.
These are all Old Testament references, which came under the law. We are no longer under the law, but under grace in the New Testament. Does this mean we can ignore the laws that are only stated in the Old Testament? Romans 3:31 says Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.
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What Is Menstruation And Period
Before we begin understanding Menstruation we have to define what it is.
A Menstruation is the cycle between each Period, which is usually 28-30 days approximately.
A Period will lasts seven days, which is from the day blood comes out of the vagina, this blood is the releasing of an unfertilized egg and tissue from the uterus.
The Period may also be called the Menstrual blood.
You can see the images below of the stages of menstruation:
What The Bible Says About Ejaculation
As mentioned earlier, many may not know that the bible talks about ejaculation, but it does
Check the scriptures below:
16 And if any mans seed of copulation go out from him, then he shall wash all his flesh in water, and be unclean until the even.
17 And every garment, and every skin, whereon is the seed of copulation, shall be washed with water, and be unclean until the even.
18 The woman also with whom man shall lie with seed of copulation, they shall both bathe themselves in water, and be unclean until the even.
Here we see the phrase seed of copulation, which means a discharge of semen .
We are told that when a man has a discharge of semen he becomes unclean until the evening. we are also told to clean anything that the semen touches, because it also becomes unclean until evening .
This also includes the woman that the man has had sex with, as well as bed sheets.
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What Happened To The Dinosaurs
The Bible does not comment on the disappearance of the dinosaurs. However, it does state that all things were created because of will, so God clearly had a purpose for making dinosaurs. When that purpose was fulfilled, God allowed the dinosaurs to become extinct.
^ The fossil record proves that dinosaurs existed. In fact, fossils show that for a time dinosaurs were abundant in a great variety of forms and sizes.
Were The Regulations Good Or Bad
These basic regulations seem harsh/impractical to a modern woman who does not allow herself, or cannot afford, time out during her period of menstruation.
But the ancient regulations created time out for women, periods of separation away from their husbands and other male members of family and community.
Of course the regulations divided the community by gender, but menstruating women themselves formed a community for the period of menstruation, and at the end of their seven days they went together to the pool for ritual bathing.
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Our Bodies Preach Hope
The Old Testament is full of stories of unlikely birthswhich all point forward to the birth of the Lord Jesus. Kathleen makes this point:
That Jesus Christ should enter affirms the goodness of this creation. Entering through the body of a woman, in the process of childbirth, he also participated in the painful judgment of this fallen creation: Jesus entered through blood and pain. All the judgment of sin Jesus embraced, took on himself, finally, at the cross. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God . And so was fulfilled the promise of Genesis 3 v 15: that by the offspring of woman the serpent would be finally crushed.
Womens bodies preach this storyfrom creation, to the fall, to the redemption that stretches out into eternity. Listening to this preaching, you can look at your bodyall that you have been given and all that you have not been givenand offer your body in service to your Creator and Redeemer, knowing that his good hand is shaping every molecule and moment of your existence. You too can say, as Mary did, I am the Lords servant May your word to me be fulfilled .
Were Behemoth And Leviathan Dinosaurs
No. Although these animals mentioned in the book of Job cannot be identified with certainty, Behemoth is generally identified as the hippopotamus and Leviathan as the crocodile. These identifications match the descriptions of them given in the Scriptures. In any case, the terms Behemoth and Leviathan cannot refer to dinosaurs. God told Job to observe these animals personally, and Job lived long after the dinosaurs had passed off the scene.Job 40:16 41:8.
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What Does The Bible Say About Sexual Intercourse
El sex it’s good.
El sex was part of the good creation of God . The sex it is designed to provide pleasure and satisfaction . both the man and women have been given the gift of being able to experience pleasure and enjoyment within marriage.
Can I Read The Bible Or Go To Church During My Periods
The Bible specifically does not say anything about reading the scriptures while menstruating thus it should be okay for a woman to read the scriptures and pray as long as she doesnt go before the Lords presence in a church or a place of worship.
The new testament was a game changer among Christians in that, some women read the bible and go to church claiming that Jesus died on the cross to wash all our uncleanliness.
While this remains a subject of discussion among Christians, Muslims totally do not accept any woman to go to a place of worship as she is considered unclean during her periods before God.
You may be wondering if God listens to your prayers during your monthly periods but it is important to know that God is the one who will judge the living and the dead not humans.
Bible verse on Menstruation:
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Yesterdays Old Testament Roots
Now, think with me about the roots of this Old Testament prohibition of sex during menstruation. Here are two verses.
You shall not approach a woman to uncover her nakedness while she is in her menstrual uncleanness.
If a man lies with a woman during her menstrual period and uncovers her nakedness, he has made naked her fountain, and she has uncovered the fountain of her blood.
Two issues, it seems, then, lie behind the prohibition: uncleanness and the exposure of the fountain of blood whatever that means.
Now, the term uncleanness, very importantly, does not refer to sinful impurity. We know this because no sacrifice was required in Leviticus because of this, but only washing with water . In other words, theres no sin involved in her menstrual flow. Thats not what the uncleanness refers to. Its not sexual or sinful impurity.
The issue was ritual purity rooted in real cleanliness. Before the more modern ways of dealing with the menstrual flow, for countless generations, menstrual bleeding was a perennial problem for women of cleanliness. Menstrual rags were metaphorical in the Bible for filthiness. This was the word used in Isaiah 64:6: All our righteous deeds are like . It was a tremendous burden for women to have to deal with. And very likely, the issue of sexual relations was simply considered extremely unsanitary and made the whole challenge of a womans cleanliness even more difficult if there were sexual intercourse involved.
Fountain of Life
Menstruation In Biblical Metaphor
In the Prophets and Writings, the people of Israel, the land of Israel, or the city of Jerusalem is sometimes likened to a menstruating woman.
One such case is Ezekiel 36:17: O mortal, when the House of Israel dwelt on their own soil, they defiled it with their ways and their deeds their ways were in my sight like the impurity of a menstruous woman . Ezekiel, more than any other book of the Bible, associates sin with impurity. In this verse, menstrual impurity is regarded as so severe that it is used to emphasize the gravity of Israels sin. The image of menstrual impurity transferring to the surface on which the menstruant sits reflects the idea that sins contaminate the land, a notion also found in Leviticus 18 .
The idea that sin contaminates the land is also found in Ezra 9, a late biblical text that is heavily dependent on Leviticus 18. Ezra describes the land of Judah as a niddah-land, which has been contaminated by the niddah of the peoples who occupied it during the Babylonian exile . Here, the term niddah, which usually refers to menstrual impurity, takes the place of tumah, impurity, in Leviticus 18. This change of terminology may be intended to compare sinful people to a menstruating woman whose impurity is transferred to the land. However, the term niddah is sometimes used for impurity in general rather than menstrual impurity specifically, especially in late biblical texts, so it is possible that no such overtones are intended.
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Women Periods And The Bible
The research for this post began in frustration and a little anger I’ll admit. Recently I read Jerusalem’s Queen by Angela Hunt. It’s a biblical fiction novel set in the period between the old and new testaments. It was a great read! There was one historical detail within the story that stuck with me, and that was the fact that menstruating women were unclean. The women in this book seclude themselves away so that they don’t touch anything and pass their uncleanliness onto others.
My first thought was, is this accurate? My second was, how did this work? From a practical standpoint, this idea seems impossible, especially in poorer households where extra servants can’t pick up the slack. On top of these questions, as a modern woman in a developed, 21st century country, the concept seems bizarre and insulting. It also reminded me of the hardships felt by young women in parts of the world who still experience stigma when they are having their periodcausing them to miss out on education, employment, gatherings, and other opportunities. It made me wonder, did God want it to be this way? Is God picking on women by giving them a natural biological function and then punishing them for it? I couldn’t believe that to be true, but I needed to know.
I began by first digging into the Old Testament books of law to see what it said about unclean people and things.
The list of things/animals/people considered unclean includes:
A Niddah’s Restrictions On Worship
Based on Leviticus 15:31, a niddah’s restrictions would have mostly been on her involvement in temple worship and not excluding others from temple worship. This is likely which is why a Jewish men’s prayer says, Blessed are you, Lord our God, Ruler of the Universe, who has not made me a woman. This prayer, which sounds incredibly sexist, also praises God that they were not made a Gentile or a slave.
As bad as this prayer sounds to us, this was not a snide barb at women, but a man’s willing commitment to follow a greater number of commandments that a womanbecause of times of uncleanlinesswould not be required to fulfill. Jewish men were commanded to attend festivals, pay certain taxes, and perform duties that women did not have to. A pious Jewish man was happy to step up and serve the Lordhence the prayer praising God that they were not born a slave, a Gentile, or a woman.
What the scriptures DO NOT say is important. They do not speak of a woman’s shame. Indeed for all of the listed unclean persons, there is no permission to be cruel, to humiliate, or to blame. Uncleanliness affected both genders at different times. BOTH men and women were considered unclean when they had bodily discharges. BOTH men and women could transfer uncleanliness to others when they were unclean.
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Modern Christianity And Menstruation
There has always been an argument between physical cleanliness and spiritual cleanliness. Christians who base their belief on being spiritually clean will always argue that it is okay for a woman to pray, read the bible or go to church during menstruation.
A Christian woman once challenged that if menstruation in the bible is still considered to be unclean even after the coming of Jesus Christ, then why is it that some of the old Christian ways life sacrificing lambs are not practiced?
It will only be fair if we ban everything and start a new chapter in Christ. Remember, Christians and Muslims only differ because of the new testament. It is okay for Menstruation to be unclean in Islam because they practice a religion based on the old testament.
Christians should not judge any woman to be unclean because she is on her periods because Jesus took away all our unclean nature and made us righteous before God. All we need to do is to repent and all our sins are forgiven.
This is why the modern Christian woman will pray, read the bible, and go to church during her menstruation. She is not considered unclean during her periods because she has been set clean by the blood of Jesus and she is set free from any spiritual chains.
However, having sex during menstruation is not really something that most women will agree with both in the old times and now.
Menstruation As A Source Of Ritual Impurity
In contrast to this early narrative, most references to menstruation in the Bible portray it as a source of impurity . Leviticus 15, which belongs to the P source, deals with menstruation within the broader context of genital discharges. The text divides roughly into two sections: verses 218 deal with male discharges, and verses 1930 deal with female discharges. Each of these sections is further subdivided into what might be described as normal and abnormal discharges. The text has a chiastic structure: abnormal male discharges come first , followed by normal male discharges , then normal female discharges , and finally, abnormal female discharges .
For a man, the normal discharge is ejaculation, whether within or outside intercourse, which causes impurity until evening. Abnormal discharges include flows or blockages, presumably due to infection or disease. Such discharges cause impurity as long as they last and for an additional seven days after they cease, at the end of which the man must present two birds as offerings.
For a woman, the normal discharge is regular menstruation, which causes impurity for seven days from the onset of bleeding . An abnormal discharge is an off-cycle flow of blood that lasts for many days . Like an abnormal male discharge, this causes impurity for the duration of the condition and for an additional seven days, after which the woman must present two birds as offerings.
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