This is my one hundred and sixty-seventh monthly teaching letter and continues my fourteenth year of publication. I started this series entitled The Greatest Love Story Ever Told with WTL #137, giving a general overview, which I am expanding on with a more detailed seven stages of the story, as follows: (1) the courtship, (2) the marriage, (3) the honeymoon, (4) the estrangement, (5) the divorce, (6) the reconciliation, and (7) the remarriage.
THE GREATEST LOVE STORY EVER TOLD, Part 26:
HOW YAHWEH PRESERVES THE FAMILY LINE:
There are many idiosyncrasies peculiar to wedlock. The ideal marriage, according to Yahweh’s sovereign will, is one virgin woman to one virgin man. But the ideal is not always possible, and this is where Yahweh’s permissive will comes into play, as long as the progeny of that union is of pure Adamic genetic seed. I covered this subject at length in my Watchman’s Teaching Letter #161. What I didn’t address in that lesson was that Yahweh commanded “levirate law”. I will now cite several commentaries on this subject, although I do not fully agree with everything they promote! Rousas John Rushdoony, in his book The Institute Of Biblical Law, has this to say (in part) about the Hebrew Levirate law, pages 375-378:
“The Levirate: Mace observed, concerning ‘the true cause of Hebrew polygamy’, that ‘There can be no doubt that this was the desire for an heir.’ This is true if we realize that the desire for an heir was more than simply a love of a son. The family was basic to Biblical society and culture; the godly family had to be perpetuated, and the ungodly family cut off. The bastard was cut off from church, and state, insofar as any legal status was concerned, to the tenth generation [or for ever] (Deut. 23:2). He might be a godly man, but he was not a citizen. In canon law, ‘the church’ [sic] barred bastards [by their own definition] from church orders, although exceptions were made by papal dispensations. The purpose of Hebrew polygamy, which was usually bigamy, to be accurate, was thus the perpetuation of the family. Moreover, in terms of the facts, as Mace pointed out, ‘we are bound to envisage the community as being in general almost entirely monogamous.’
“The family as the basic social and religious unit was forbidden by the law of incest from becoming ingrown and withdrawn from its society, because the law not only forbade consanguinity but consanguinity plus affinity, that is, a father’s wife, a son’s wife, a brother’s wife, or the like. These were classified as incest religiously although not incest genetically, although some scientific evidence for the woman’s physical change by marriage may exist.† The Bible clearly affirms that sexual relations do establish a profound physical relationship between two persons, so that even a casual sexual union with a prostitute establishes a union, according to St. Paul (I Cor. 6:16). As a result, union with in-laws is incest. Sexual union makes two people ‘one flesh’ (Gen. 1:24). They may not be ‘one mind,’ but they are ‘one flesh.’ (Older versions of the Book of Common Prayer carried Ussher’s ‘A Table of Kindred and Affinity,’ listing forbidden marital relationships.) [†Note: There is no possible way sexual intercourse can change the genetic code of another! If true, Christ would have been genetically impure! C.A.E.]
“The recognition that sexual union does in some profound and as yet not understood sense establish a relationship or communicate something physically between the two parties is common to most cultures. Superstitious applications of this belief abound, as witness Tantra Yoga, and the donnoi relationships of the Troubadours, Cathars, and other such groups of the Middle Ages. Very commonly, old men slept with virgins, without sexual consummation, in the belief that this served as a rejuvenator. The practice was widely used in 18th century Paris, and was practiced regularly by Mahatma Gandhi. The doctors who ministered to King David may have been influenced by similar ideas in making use of Abishag (I Kings 1:1-4); however, in this case, consummation seems to have been the goal of the doctors.
“In more recent years, a notable example of such thinking has been the artist Pablo Picasso, who has been given not only to young women but also to robbing his young son of articles of clothing in the hopes ‘that some of Claude’s youth would enter into his own body.’
“These are manifest absurdities, but they do witness to the widely recognized fact* that physical union does communicate something. The Biblical ban on marriage and/or sexual relations with relatives by marriage is based on this fact. [*recognized fact or fiction? C.A.E.]
“The ability of the skin to absorb and to be affected by touch and contact is not sufficiently appreciated, except where poisons are concerned. The vagina in particular is most absorbant as sexual insufflation reveals. Where a lover blows violently into the vagina, the air passes into the blood vessels and brings death to the woman from an embolism. Cases of rectal insufflation have been reported among homosexuals, with death usually resulting. [More conjecture C.A.E.]
“Because sexual union makes, according to Scripture, the two ‘one flesh’, marriage by a widow or a widower to in-laws is barred as incest [More conjecture C.A.E.], with a single exception.
“The one exception permitted is the law of the levirate (Deut. 25:5-10). According to this law, if a man died childless, his next of kin had the duty to take the widow as wife and rear up a family bearing the name of the dead man. This law was older than Moses, and was applied in Judah’s household (Gen. 38:8). In Ruth we have a later example of the law of the levirate. The levirate was common also to other peoples of antiquity ...
“Josephus’ [Antiquities IV, viii 23] gives us his reaction to the meaning of the law of the levirate:
“‘.... for this procedure will be for the benefit of the public, because thereby families will not fail, and the estate will continue among the kindred; and this will be for the solace of wives under their affliction, that they are to be married to the next relation of their former husbands.’
“The protection and perpetuation of the family is thus the basic purpose of the levirate for Josephus. This is, of course, the clear intent of the law: ‘that his name be not put out of Israel’ (Deut. 25:6). According to Luther,
“‘The law that a man should take the wife left behind by his brother and raise up a seed for the deceased brother was established for a very good reason. First, as the text sets forth, households should not die out but should be multiplied; this concerns the fostering and enlarging of the commonwealth. Secondly, in this way God provides for widows and the pitiable sex, to sustain and support them; for the woman, by herself a weak and pitiable vessel, is even more so when she is a widow, since she is at the same time forsaken and despised. He enforces this charity, however, by means of an outstanding disgrace. Such a man is to be called shoeless, and people are to spit out before him: ‘Fie upon you!’ He deserves the contempt of all. They are to spit on the ground and say, ‘You have a ‘Fie on you!’ coming!’ because he does not cultivate or increase the commonwealth in which he sojourns and whose laws he enjoys. His bared foot is to be a sign of shame and a cause of unending denunciation. He deserves to be naked of foot, that is, without household and dependents, which are denoted by foot covering; for through this one deed he makes himself naked of foot in his obligation to sustain the household of his brother. Thus the sign is similar to the deed in which he sins.’ (Martin Luther Lectures on Deuteronomy, p. 248f.)
“Calvin’s comments are also of interest, especially since he sees the denial of the levirate as a robbery of the dead man:
“‘This law has some similarity with that which permits a betrothed person to return to the wife whom he has not yet taken; since the object of both is to preserve to every man what he possesses, so that he may not be obliged to leave it to strangers, but that he may have heirs begotten of his own body: for, when a son succeeds to the father, whom he represents, there seems to be hardly any change made. Hence, too, it is manifest how greatly pleasing to God it is that no one should be deprived of his property, since He makes a provision even for the dying, that what they could not resign to others without regret and annoyance, should be preserved to their offspring. Unless, therefore, his kinsman should obviate the dead man’s childlessness, this unhumanity is accounted [as] a kind of theft. For, since to be childless was a curse of God, it was a consolation in this condition to hope for a borrowed offspring, that the name might not be altogether extinct.’ (John Calvin, Commentaries on the Four Last Books of Moses, III, 177f.)
“Calvin doubted that the term ‘brother’ here meant literally that, since it contradicted, seemingly, the laws against incest. However, the law obviously meant ‘brother’ and any next of kin if no brother existed; the case of Judah’s sons confirms this (Gen. 38:8), as does the text case cited by the Sadducees concerning the seven childless brothers (Matt. 22:23-33), in which the lawfulness of their levirate marriages with the one woman is accepted by all.
“The levirate, at any rate, was not treated as an obsolete legal relic by Luther and Calvin. It has existed through the centuries. The levirate was practiced in Scotland very commonly to the eleventh century. It still exists among Christian Abyssinians, with the additional factor that, if a man is emasculated in war, and is therefore incapable of begetting children, the levirate applies. There are evidences of its practice in Europe ...
“To understand the meaning of the levirate, it is important to examine the Biblical doctrine of marriage afresh, and set it in a perspective which will throw light on the levirate.” .... Rousas John Rushdoony goes on to quote and comment on what the Cain-Canaanite-Edomite-jews say in their Babylonian Talmud, which I will not cite here.
Warren W. Wiersbe, in his The Bible Expository Commentary, raises “A Question about Moses (Luke 20:27-40)” – some of which is accurate – and some inaccurate:
“Next in line were the Sadducees with a hypothetical question based on the Jewish [sic Israelite] law of ‘levirate marriage’ (Gen. 38; Deut. 25:5-10). The word levirate comes from the Latin levir, which means ‘a husband’s brother.’ The Sadducees accepted as Scripture only the Five Books of Moses, and they did not believe in angels, spirits, or the resurrection of the dead (Acts 23:8). They claimed that Moses did not write about any of these doctrines. The priestly party in Israel [sic Judaea] was composed of Sadducees, which explains why the priests opposed the Apostles’ preaching of the Resurrection (Acts 4:1-2) and why they wanted to kill Lazarus, who was raised from the dead (John 12:10-11).
“Jesus pointed out that His opponents were wrong and that their question revealed assumptions that limited God’s power and denied God’s Word. Resurrection is not reconstruction; it is the miraculous granting of a new body that has continuity with the old body but not identity. Paul compared our present body to a planted seed and the future resurrection body to the glorious flower and fruit (1 Cor. 15:35-50). Our Lord’s resurrected body was the same as before His death and yet different! His friends recognized Him and even felt Him; He could eat food and yet He could also walk through closed doors, change His appearance, and vanish suddenly.
“The future life with God is not a mere continuation of the present life [but] only on ‘a higher scale.’ We will maintain our identities and know each other, but there will be no more death – hence, no need for marriage and procreation. Christians do not become angels. In heaven we will share the image of Jesus Christ and be much higher than the angels (1 John 3:2). Angels appear in Scripture as men, but they are spirit beings without sexuality. It is in this regard that we will be like them. There will be no marriage or childbearing in heaven.
“Is not God powerful enough to raise the dead and give them new bodies suited to their new environment? If today He can give different bodies to the various things in creation, why can He not give people new bodies at the resurrection? (1 Cor. 15:35-44) In their attempt to be ‘rational,’ the Sadducees denied the very power of God!
“But Jesus went beyond logic and referred them to the Word of God, particularly what happened to Moses as recorded in Exodus 3. There God identified Himself with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and thus affirmed that these three patriarchs were very much alive. But if they were alive, then they were ‘out of the body,’ for they had died (James 2:26). There must be a real world of spirit beings or Moses would not have written these words. (By the way, Moses also affirmed the existence of angels: Gen. 19:1, 15; 28:12; 32:1.)
“But Jesus said that Exodus 3:6, 15-16 taught not only the truth of life after death but also the reality of the resurrection. In what way? Not by direct statement but by inference. God is the God of the whole person – spirit, soul, and body (1 Thes. 5:23) – because He created the whole person. He does not simply ‘save our souls’ and ignore the rest of our being. Inherent in the very nature of God’s creative act is His concern for the total person. Hence, He will not keep us disembodied spirits forever but will give us glorious bodies to match our heavenly perfection.
“Another factor is God’s covenental relationship with the patriarchs. He made promises of earthly blessing to them and their descendants, but He cannot fulfill these promises if His people are going to live forever only as disembodied spirits. Can there be a glorious new heaven and earth but no corporeal glory for the people of God?
“Jesus affirmed what the Sadducees denied: the existence of angels, the reality of life after death, and the hope of a future resurrection – and He did it with only one passage from Moses! Of course, He could have referred to other passages that teach a future resurrection, but He met His adversaries on their own ground (see Job 14:14; 19:25-27; Pss. 16:9-10; 17:15; Isa. 26:19; ... Dan. 12:2).”
The Bible Knowledge Commentary, vol. 1 by Walvoord & Zuck, pp. 306-307, states at Deut. 25:5:
“... Levirate marriage (25:5-10). 25:5-6. In only one kind of circumstance was marriage to a close relative permitted. Marriage to a divorced or widowed sister-in-law was forbidden (Lev. 18:16) unless the following conditions were met. The brothers must have been living together (i.e., they inherited their father’s property jointly), [not true, note the case of Ruth, C.A.E.] and the deceased brother must have died without a male heir. If both of these conditions were met, then levirate (from the Latin levir, ‘brother-in-law’ or husband’s brother) marriage was to take place. Levirate marriage thus would provide a male heir who in turn could care for the parents in their old age and prevent the alienation of family property.
“Furthermore the first son born from the levirate marriage was given the deceased brother’s name ... so that his name would not be blotted out from Israel. In this way even though a man died before the Lord fulfilled the covenant promises made to Abraham and his descendants (Gen. 15:5, 17:, 21; 22:17-18; 28:13-14; 35:12) he could participate, in a sense, in the glorious future of Israel through his descendants.
“25:7-10. If a widow’s brother-in-law refused to fulfill his duty – either through greed (not wanting to share the family inheritance with his sister-in-law) or through dislike of his sister-in-law – she could tell the elders of his town about it. She could then remove one of his sandals and spit in his face. These actions would show her strong disapproval of his refusal. This embarrassment to him, along with the stigma of being known for his refusal, illustrates how God used social pressure to motivate His people to obedience.”
The Bible Knowledge Commentary, vol. 2 by Walvoord & Zuck, pp. 162-153, states at Mark 12:18:
“The Question concerning the Resurrection (Mark 12:18-27) (Matt. 22:23-33; Luke 20:27-40):
“Mk 12:18. The Sadducees ... came to Jesus with a question in another attempt to discredit Him (cf. 11:27; 12:13). It is generally believed that they were the Jewish aristocratic party whose members came largely from the priesthood and the upper classes. Though less numerous and popular than the Pharisees, they occupied influential positions on the Sanhedrin, the Jewish supreme court and generally cooperated with the Roman authorities. They denied the truths of the resurrection, future judgment, and the existence of angels and spirits (cf. Acts 23:6-8). They accepted only the Books of Moses (the Pentateuch) as authoritative and rejected the oral traditions observed as binding by the Pharisees. This is Mark’s only reference to the Sadducees.
“Mk. 12:19-23. After formally addressing Jesus as Teacher (cf. v. 14), they gave a free rendering of the Mosaic regulation concerning levirate (from Latin, levir, ‘husband’s brother’) marriage (cf. Deut. 25:5-10). If a husband died without leaving a male heir his (unmarried) brother (or, if none, his nearest male relative) was to marry his widow. The first son of that union was given the name of the dead brother and was considered his child. This was to prevent extinction of a family line and thereby kept the family inheritance intact.
“The Sadducees made up a story about seven brothers who successively fulfilled the duty of levirate marriage to their first brother’s wife but all seven died childless. Then the woman died also. They asked Jesus: At the resurrection whose wife will she be? Clearly they were ridiculing belief in the resurrection.
“Mk. 12:24. Using a two-pronged counterquestion expecting a positive answer in Greek, Jesus cited two reasons why they were in error (planasthe, ‘you are deceiving yourselves’; cf. v. 27): (a) they did not know the Scriptures – their true meaning, not merely their contents; and (b) they did not know the power of God – His power to overcome death and give life. Then Jesus amplified each reason starting with the second (v. 25) and then the first (vv. 26-27).
“Mk. 12:25. The Sadducees wrongly assumed that marriages would be resumed after the resurrection. In resurrection-life people will neither marry (contract a marriage) nor be given in marriage (have a marriage arranged by parents). Rather, like the angels in heaven, they will be immortal beings in God’s presence.
“Marriage is necessary and suitable for the present world order, in which death prevails, in order to continue the human race. But angels, whose existence the Sadducees denied (cf. Acts 23:8), are deathless and live in a different order of existence where they have no need for marital relations or reproduction of offspring. Their lives center totally around fellowship with God. So it will be in the afterlife for human beings rightly related to God.
“The Sadducees did not grasp that God will establish a whole new order of life after death and resolve all apparent difficulties connected with it. In short, their question was irrelevant.
“Mk. 12:26-27. The Sadducees wrongly alleged that the idea of a resurrection was absent from the Pentateuch. But Jesus, using a question expecting a positive answer, appealed to the Book of Moses, the Pentateuch, and spoke of the burning bush (Ex. 3:1-6).
“In this passage God identified Himself to Moses, affirming, I am the God of Abraham ... Isaac, and ... Jacob (Ex. 3:6). God implied that the patriarchs were still alive and that He had a continuing relationship with them as their covenant-keeping God, even though they had died long before. This demonstrates, Jesus concluded, that He is not the God of the dead, in the Sadducean understanding of death as extinction, but of the living. He is still the patriarchs’ God which would not be true had they ceased to exist at death, that is, if death ends it all. And His covenant faithfulness implicitly guarantees their bodily resurrection.
“Jesus’ answer clearly affirmed the fact of life after death. Apparently He assumed that this was enough to prove that the resurrection of the body will occur as well. In Hebrew thought people are regarded as a unity of the material (body) and immaterial (soul/spirit). One is incomplete without the other (cf. 2 Cor. 5:1-8). Thus authentic human existence in the eternal order of life demands the union of soul/spirit with the body (cf. Phil. 3:21). Both bodily resurrection and life after death depend on the faithfulness of ‘the God of the living.’
“Jesus’ final remark, recorded only by Mark, emphasized how seriously mistaken (planasthe, ‘you are deceiving yourselves’; cf. Mark 12:24) they were to deny the resurrection and life after death.”
I will repeat again, here, that I don’t necessarily adhere to all the premises advanced by these above citations I have made! I will next cite the passages of Scripture where Christ assailed the Sadducees for their unreasonable supposition concerning the levirate law commanded in the Old Testament, at Matt. 22:23-32; Mark 12:18-26; Luke 20:27-38:
Matt. 22:23-32: “23 The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him, 24 Saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. 25 Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: 26 Likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. 27 And last of all the woman died also. 28 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her. 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. 30 For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. 31 But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, 32 I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”
Mark 12:18-27: “18 Then come unto him the Sadducees, which say there is no resurrection; and they asked him, saying, 19 Master, Moses wrote unto us, If a man’s brother die, and leave his wife behind him, and leave no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. 20 Now there were seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and dying left no seed. 21 And the second took her, and died, neither left he any seed: and the third likewise. 22 And the seven had her, and left no seed: last of all the woman died also. 23 In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them? for the seven had her to wife. 24 And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God? 25 For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven. 26 And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? 27 He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.”
Luke 20:27-38: “27 Then came to him certain of the Sadducees, which deny that there is any resurrection; and they asked him, 28 Saying, Master, Moses wrote unto us, If any man’s brother die, having a wife, and he die without children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. 29 There were therefore seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and died without children. 30 And the second took her to wife, and he died childless. 31 And the third took her; and in like manner the seven also: and they left no children, and died. 32 Last of all the woman died also. 33 Therefore in the resurrection whose wife of them is she? for seven had her to wife. 34 And Jesus answering said unto them, The children of this world [sic age] marry, and are given in marriage: 35 But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world [sic age], and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage: 36 Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. 37 Now that the dead are raised, even Moses shewed at the bush, when he calleth the Lord the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. 38 For he is not a God of the dead, but of the living: for all live unto him.”
All three of these passages add a dimension to this story, but of the three, one must admit that Luke’s account is the best. The Sadducees asked our Savior one question, but He gave them more answers of significance than they wanted. If one will studiously inspect Christ’s answers to the Sadducees, it will be discovered that He by speaking of the children of this age was also by inference referring to the the “god of this (i.e., the 1st century) age” and the “God of that age” (i.e., a future age to come). During the life of Christ with His disciples on earth, Satan (represented by the Kenite-Edomite-jews) was the “god of this world [age]”, and that has continued up until the present time. By this we know who “the children of this world” (v. 34) were, and still are! So, Christ on the one hand was addressing the Cain-Canaanite-Edomite-jews, and on the other, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the separate descendants of both. And, unless we completely segregate these two entities, we will err as greatly as did the Sadducees! Not only did Christ speak of two distinct entities, but He also identified only the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob as “living”, even after they are in their graves. Therefore, we have to rightly divide what He told the Sadducees from what He said to His true Israelite kinsmen! When Christ spoke of “the sons of this world” (i.e., “age”, Luke 20:34), He was addressing the Sadducees in particular, for they shall not share in the resurrection with the children of Yahweh.
While Luke 20:34 clearly states, “... but they that are accounted worthy to attain that world (i.e., age), and the resurrection from the [living] dead, neither marry, nor are given in marriage ...” Inasmuch as they never entirely died, but like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are counted among the living, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be separated from their former earthly spouses, for they are of “Yahweh the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob” (v. 37). It appears, then, that the promise to our spouse, “till death do us part”, might be a lot longer than we ever anticipated! If this should be the case, evidently an earthly divorce would be eternal also, since we cannot sacrifice ourselves and raise ourselves back to life, as Yahweh in the flesh did!
Before we jump to an illogical conclusion on this matter, we should contemplate the fact that without Sarah, there would have been no Isaac, and without Rebekah there would have been no Jacob, and without Leah, Zilpah, Rachel and Bilhah, there would have been no Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph or Benjamin! If in the future resurrection, Jacob’s four wives are no longer his, then will Jacob also be cut off from his twelve sons! It is evident, from Christ’s words, that Jacob and his four wives will not procreate more children in the life hereafter, but surely he will have some kind of close relationship with them. After all, it is stated at Gen. 2:24: “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” And no where in Scripture is it stated that they will be divided back into two fleshes again, except in the case of divorce. And even if divorced, the children of the first union continue to be one flesh with their Adamic father and mother. If both parties are not Adamic, it is not counted as a marriage, and any children are counted as bastards!
As the serious Bible student should be beginning to comprehend, the levirate law plays an important part in Israel society. It is also apparent that Yahweh our creator knew all about DNA (i.e., deoxyribonucleic acid) and chromosomes, inasmuch as He knew that every brother in a family with the same father and mother was carrying the identical genetic sperm, and that in the case of the death of an older brother, a younger brother could donate his sperm to perpetuate his older brother’s family. It should be obvious, then, if Yahweh would go to the extreme length to preserve the seed (i.e., sperm) of a single Israelite man, He is not about to break up the family ties already established during our approximate 7,500 years since Adam. However, Yahweh is not interested in preserving the seed (i.e., sperm) of a half-and-half “satyr”!
YAHWEH WILL NOT NEGATE THE FAMILY UNIT
Just as Yahweh established the levirate law to preserve the family unit in this life, I am sure He will do the same for the children of the resurrection. I can still remember back in the 1930’s, during the summer months, in all of the city parks in northwestern Ohio, different families would organize a family reunion. Some of the family members would drive over a hundred miles to attend. I can still remember how my grandfather Keiser (on my mother’s side), when it came to the appointed day for the reunion, would take the large 30 to 40 foot “Keiser” banner to the Fostoria city park early on a Sunday morning and stringing it about 30 feet high between two large trees. As the various family members began to assemble, usually games of horse-shoes and softball would get under way, while the women cleaned the park tables and arranged the various foods they had brought for the occasion, with someone always bringing a full hand-cranked ice-cream freezer for desert. Sometimes the family conversations and other activities would last nearly to sunset. Nearly everyone from the various branches of the family attended, from the newest baby to the oldest man or woman. I can remember that every Sunday of the summer, when passing the various city parks in northwestern Ohio, there were family banners in every area they could squeeze one into.
Surely, at last, when we are either resurrected or we are transformed, there will be many family reunions, including the families raised up under Yahweh’s levirate law by a younger brother for his older brother who had died prematurely before he could establish a family. No doubt, in many cases that younger brother already had a wife and found himself obligated to support a second woman. This highly suggests that the older brother’s wife is still married to the older brother, even after his death! There’s more to this than many imagine!