Spiritual male and female, part 1
Jan 09, 2019
Paul says in Galatians 3:28,
28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
It is plain that Paul was not talking about in-the-world conditions, because we see everywhere ethnic, social, and gender differences. The context shows that the apostle was talking about equality as children of God. Hence, the next verse says,
29 And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring, heirs according to the promise.
Specifically, to be an “heir” one must “belong to Christ.” Further, to be Abraham’s offspring, or seed, one must belong to Christ. This is the conclusion of a long passage proving this, which begins in Galatians 3:7,
7 Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham.
Again, he says in Galatians 3:22,
22 But the Scripture has shut up all men under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.
Paul was telling us that Jesus Christ essentially leveled the playing field. Jesus did not change the law to make all men and women equal as children of God; the law was always supposed to be applied in this way. Jesus merely corrected a long-forgotten truth that had been buried in a culture of exclusivism and favoritism.
In other words, Judaism had defined the idea of a “chosen people” to mean that they alone, by virtue of their ethnicity, could be chosen heirs of the promises of God. In fact, Jewish men were more privileged than Jewish women, and for this reason the women were barred from drawing near to God in the temple.
In those days there was a wall that separated the men from the women and kept the women at a distance. It was finally destroyed physically in 70 A.D., by the Romans, and the sign threatening death to any man or non-Jew who would cross that barrier was discovered by M. Ganneau in 1871. The sign said:
“No Gentile may enter beyond the dividing wall into the court around the Holy Place; whoever is caught will be to blame for his subsequent death.”
The emotional attachment that the people had toward this wall became evident when they mistakenly thought that Paul had taken Timothy, a converted Greek, through the gate into the forbidden area (Acts 21:28, 29, 30). The people were ready to kill Paul for that infraction.
Christ broke down this dividing wall, Paul says in Ephesians 2:14 and 15,
14 For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, 15 … that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace.
In other words, it would not have been a violation of God’s law for Timothy, a believer in Christ, to draw near to God as one who was equal to Jewish men. The traditions of men, which misunderstood the law of God, unjustly treated Greeks and women, consigning them to a lower status than what God had willed.
This “one new man” was about giving equal “chosen” status to all who have faith in Jesus Christ, whether Jew or Greek, slave or free man, man or woman. The result, Paul says, is “peace,” or reconciliation between those who had been in disagreement or conflict.
Male and Female Sacrifices
The law, which points to Christ and lays down spiritual principles from the mind of God, tells us in Leviticus 3:1,
1 Now if his offering is a sacrifice of peace offerings, if he is going to offer out of the herd, whether male or female, he shall offer it without defect before the Lord.
We see here that a man might offer an animal sacrifice that was either male or female. Either way, the animal was to be “without defect,” signifying moral perfection. Leviticus 4:3 says that if a priest sinned, he was to offer a bull (male). But there was also a time to offer a red heifer (female) to cleanse all who had become unclean, as we read in Numbers 19:2.
Likewise, “when a leader sins” (Leviticus 4:22, 23), he was to bring “for his offering a goat, a male without defect.” But “if anyone of the common people sins” (Leviticus 4:27, 28), he was to bring “a goat, a female without defect.”
If anyone swore an unlawful oath, binding himself by his word to sin or to do something that he later found impossible to fulfill, he was to offer a female goat as a sin offering (Leviticus 5:4, 5, 6). This shows that breaking one’s word is indeed a sin, even if one is unable by circumstances to keep it. He was to confess it as a sin, obtain forgiveness, and then move on. This provision has often been used by those who are withdrawing from certain secret societies, such as Freemasonry, where many oaths are required of their members.
Presumably, if a political or religious leader had made such an unlawful vow, he would have to offer a male goat. However, the law is silent here on that particular point.
Finally, if a man sins “against the Lord’s holy things” (Leviticus 5:15), he was to bring “a ram without defect” as his offering. A ram, of course, is a male goat, whereas a ewe is a female.
The law makes clear distinctions between male and female sacrifices and offerings. Each had its own purpose that was based on one’s level of political or religious authority. Yet there was no distinction among the common people themselves. In other words, all of the common people, both male and female, were to bring a female goat for their sin offering. There was no distinction between men and women on this level.
That is because “male” has to do with authority, not gender per se, and “female” has to do with the common people who were under authority. Since both men and women were under the authority of their leaders, they all offered female offerings. This is a good example of how the law is spiritual, for these types and shadows are the source of Paul’s doctrine of equality.
Christ Fulfills the Law
Jesus came to fulfill the law and the prophets (Matthew 5:17). This does not mean that He abolished the law but that the law prophesied of Him and He did all that the law commanded in its moral principles. He also fulfilled all the prophecies built into its types and shadows.
Hence, all of the animal sacrifices, both male and female, prophesied of Jesus Christ. He was both the King and a Commoner at the same time. And so when it came time for Him to die on the cross, He became the Passover Lamb without defect (Exodus 12:5), which was a male sheep or goat.
The slaying of these lambs set the timing for Christ’s death on the cross, for He died at the ninth hour of the day (mid-afternoon), which, in Hebrew terminology, was precisely “between the two evenings” (Exodus 12:6, literal translation). The first evening began at noon, and the second at sunset. Between the two evenings was mid-afternoon.
As the female portion of the fulfillment, Christ bore His cross “outside the camp” (Hebrews 13:11, 12, 13, 14). He was crucified outside of Jerusalem on the Mount of Olives, where the ashes of the red heifer were stored (Numbers 19:3). Jesus fulfilled the law of the red heifer in His crucifixion at the same time that He was fulfilling the law of the male Passover lamb.
The prophecy of the male Passover lamb established the timing of His death on the cross; the prophecy of the female red heifer established the location of His sacrificial death. We see, then, that in His death, He was both male and female, prophetically speaking.
The Male-Female Aspect of “Sonship”
The “sons of God” idea (as a movement) arose out of the Charismatic Movement in the 1960’s. It was known as the Manifested Sons of God movement. The movement itself had some serious distortions on account of their misunderstanding of the law. I ran across it first in 1970 when I was attending the University of Minnesota and declined their invitation to live in their co-ed commune.
Many Charismatic leaders saw flaws in that movement and so they rejected the message of sonship altogether. Some would say, “There’s something unhealthy about MSG.” Certainly, that was the case, but instead of pursuing the truth, most were content to reject it or avoid it, thereby blinding themselves to greater revelation.
Those who did accept the sonship message studied the New Testament but did not really understand the law on which their message was based. Hence, they tended to think of sonship as a male-dominated role, leaving out the necessary role that women must take to make the message balanced and complete.
To start, leadership requires someone to lead. A king needs a kingdom, just as a kingdom needs a king. Neither can really exist without the other. Likewise, heaven and earth play the same roles, based on male and female. All of these applications are based on the principle of marriage that was established at the beginning of history, where God declared, “It is not good for the man to be alone” (Genesis 2:18). He might have said too: “It is not good for heaven to be alone.” The idea was to create a marriage between heaven and earth and between spirit and matter.
This was something denied by many religions, who thought that matter was evil and women were defiling. The goal of such religions was to separate spirit from matter, so that it would no longer be defiled by evil. In the same vein, many sought to separate men from women through doctrines of celibacy or (as it was usually practiced) through social or class separation. In other words, women formed a lower class of inferior beings, and marriage was tolerated only to procreate or as a concession to a man’s sexual urges.
Such views are warped because they are based on a rejection or misunderstanding of marriage in Genesis 2. It is self-evident from nature that there are no sons (children) apart from two parents, male and female. It is the same in the spiritual realm. To degrade or downplay either role perpetuates injustice, often with outright oppression, and is not based on truth.
The law establishes rights. Just as leaders have rights, so also do the common people. Since the laws of sacrifice link those common people to female sacrifices—which are equally effective and which were fulfilled in Christ—we cannot deny the rights of women in general without denying the rights of the common people on another level.
Further, it is because the church has failed to extend rights to women that the world has taken up the challenge. The problem is that the world is even less knowledgeable of God’s law than the church, so they make a royal mess of it by confusing equality with sameness. They try to eradicate all differences between male and female, as if that is the problem. Their solution is very destructive and absolutely contrary to nature and natural law, which is God’s law.
Fighting the world’s feminist movement is not the solution in itself. We need to know the truth of God’s word and implement it according to the mind and intent of God. We need to recognize that women have indeed been oppressed as the result of the Hagar (bondwoman) mindset that has pervaded most theology. It is only when we truly understand the important role that women have in this matter of sonship that we can truly walk according to the sonship message.
This is part 1 of a series titled "Spiritual Male and Female" To view all parts, click the link below.