Family Planning

In Matthew 24, Prophecy, Salvation, The Last Days, Time of the End on November 14, 2009 at 12:16 am

Childbearing In the Last Days

Often we are asked whether or not we have children and when we answer no we are often asked when we are planning to have children. When we answer that we are not we are encouraged to have children or questioned why we have made this decision. I know that there are many people who unable to bear children, there must be many like us who have not tried to and are also bombarded with curious and sometimes unthoughtful questions. This study is not just for you (however, you may find it very helpful,) but also to those thinking of having children.

This is a very serious and can be a sensitive issue so first let me make it clear that I do like children. I very much enjoy babies. I find them to be amazing and awesome miracles. However, I realize that they do not stay babies and they are people who are in a battle for their souls as all of us are. I know that we must as with all things in our life consider the councils that God has given us in regards to beginning a lifelong joy and responsibility of child bearing in the last days.

The Blessings of Children

God planned that Adam and Eve should be fruitful, He commanded that Noah and his family replenish the earth. There are other times recorded in Holy Script when God specifically called men to have families. Hosea was called to marry a prostitute and bear children to show the children of Israel their condition. Isaiah also was called for the same purpose; Isaiah  8:18   Behold, I and the children whom the LORD hath given me [are] for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion.”

Noble traits are developed through child rearing, “the sympathy, forbearance, and love required in dealing with children would be a blessing in any household.” For “a child brought up in the fear of the Lord is a blessing.”{AH 160.3} Enoch experienced a closer relationship to God through his relationship with his son for He realized “more fully his own obligations and responsibility as a son of God.” {AH 160.5}

Children are not just a joy but also a responsibility; a precious trust. “children are committed to their parents as a precious trust, which God will one day require at their hands.” {AH 161.1} We find that as God commanded some to have children, He commanded others not to have families. Jeremiah, for instance was told in Jeremiah 16:2  “ Thou shalt not take thee a wife, neither shalt thou have sons or daughters in this place.” If you read the rest of the chapter you will find that there were very serious consequences for those who did have children.

The question is then how should each of us know if we should or should not have children?

A Time To Stop Bearing Children?

Jesus himself gave warning to times in which having children would cause difficulty. In His discourse with the disciples. Jesus laid down a line of prophecy for them and for us.

Matthew  24:19   And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!

Mark  13:17   But woe to them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!

Luke 21:23   But woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck, in those days! for there shall be great distress in the land, and wrath upon this people.

Here Jesus is speaking of the destruction of Jerusalem. He is also speaking about the last days. For the children of Ancient Israel are a example to our own time. The events surrounding Jesus’ first coming specifically give us council to that of His second Coming. If Jesus would point out that a time would be on the earth where a woe is pronounced on those with child and them that have small children then it is up to us to heed this council as it corresponds to our time.

In Luke 23:27-31 Jesus again speaks to the women of Israel during His passion.

“And there followed him a great company of people, and of women, which also bewailed and lamented him.

But Jesus turning unto them said, Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.

For, behold, the days are coming, in the which they shall say, Blessed [are] the barren, and the wombs that never bare, and the paps which never gave suck.

Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us.

For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?”

“Not a few women are in the crowd that follow the Uncondemned to His cruel death. Their attention is fixed upon Jesus. Some of them have seen Him before. Some have carried to Him their sick and suffering ones. Some have themselves been healed. The story of the scenes that have taken place is related. They wonder at the hatred of the crowd toward Him for whom their own hearts are melting and ready to break. And notwithstanding the action of the maddened throng, and the angry words of the priests and rulers, these women give expression to their sympathy. As Jesus falls fainting beneath the cross, they break forth into mournful wailing.  {DA 742.4}

This was the only thing that attracted Christ’s attention. Although full of suffering, while bearing the sins of the world, He was not indifferent to the expression of grief. He looked upon these women with tender compassion. They were not believers in Him; He knew that they were not lamenting Him as one sent from God, but were moved by feelings of human pity. He did not despise their sympathy, but it awakened in His heart a deeper sympathy for them. “Daughters of Jerusalem,” He said, “weep not for Me, but weep for yourselves, and for your children.” From the scene before Him, Christ looked forward to the time of Jerusalem’s destruction. In that terrible scene, many of those who were now weeping for Him were to perish with their children.  {DA 743.1}

From the fall of Jerusalem the thoughts of Jesus passed to a wider judgment. In the destruction of the impenitent city He saw a symbol of the final destruction to come upon the world. He said, “Then shall they begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us; and to the hills, Cover us. For if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?” By the green tree, Jesus represented Himself, the innocent Redeemer. God suffered His wrath against transgression to fall on His beloved Son. Jesus was to be crucified for the sins of men. What suffering, then, would the sinner bear who continued in sin? All the impenitent and unbelieving would know a sorrow and misery that language would fail to express.”{DA 743.2}

Jesus was not alone in his council for the last days, of not having children to care for while you are preparing for the last hours of probation. Paul also gave in his letter to the Corinthians.

Paul’s Council 1 Corinthians 7:26-35

“I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, [I say], that [it is] good for a man so to be.

Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife.

But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.

But this I say, brethren, the time [is] short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;

And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not;

And they that use this world, as not abusing [it]: for the fashion of this world passeth away.

But I would have you without carefulness. He that is unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:

But he that is married careth for the things that are of the world, how he may please [his] wife.

There is difference [also] between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please [her] husband.

And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that ye may attend upon the Lord without distraction.

As we read in Paul’s council that we are to be as we are in the time of distress. If we are married we are not to get divorced and if we are single we are not to be married. Then he makes it clear that marriage is not a sin, and one does not sin just because he is getting married. But that they will have trouble in the flesh. This trouble he does not explain at this point.

Then Paul tells us in verse 29 that when we are at the end of time that it will be important for everyone who is married to act as though they are not. Now we know that he does not mean to get a divorce because he has just made that clear in verse  10 “And unto the married I command, [yet] not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from [her] husband”, in verse 11 “But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to [her] husband: and let not the husband put away [his] wife”, and in verse 27 “Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed.”  He does explain that the unmarried man “careth for the things that belong to the Lord, how he may please the Lord:” and the unmarried woman “careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit:”. So Paul is teaching that when time is short we should avoid extra cares and endeavor to “attend upon the Lord without distraction.”

Now there are many distractions in the world, and Paul is clear to add that he is writing not to make things hard in our marriages and lives but to make things easier for us to be faithful to God. He does qualify that his council is for when time is short. Because getting married and having children is not a sin in of itself. But if at the end of the world we are marrying and giving in marriage without seeking God’s guidance we are like the Antediluvians, which Jesus warns in Matthew 24:37 – 39. “But as the days of Noe [were], so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.  For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” Jesus shows that there is a danger of not realizing the shortness of time in which we are living. There is a danger in getting involved with things that would be normal and expected and forgetting that we are in a time of judgment. In a parable of the seed found in Matthew 13:22,  some seed fell on thorny ground. This ground represented those who hear the word but the cares of life choke the life from it. This is an important lesson taught by Jesus;  there is a way to loose salvation by just being busy. Jesus shows in His discourse with Mary and Martha (Luke 10) that there is a way to be busy even with things that are necessary, that will take from us the precious words of life for our eternal soul. Paul when speaking about being married and acting as if you are not married tells us that married individuals “careth for the things that are of the world.” Be careful that you are aware of the time in which we are living and not more of your personal relationships but God’s work for you now in your personal salvation and of the salvation of others. 1 Peter 4:7 “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.”

How Not To Be Barren

In the Bible there are numerous places in which women who were barren prayed for children and did receive them. Being barren was a sort of curse, and God makes promises of His children not being barren. Peter uses this concept in a way that we often do not consider when He shares the precious truth of his ladder to sanctification. Found in 2 Peter 1:2-7

Promises of Peter’s Latter

2 Peter   1:8   For if these things be in you, and abound, they make [you that ye shall] neither [be] barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

There is a way to be barren of a knowledge of God. We can lack a knowledge of God and consequentially be unfruitful. Alternately, if you follow the way in which God has graciously given you have the promise of success of righteousness.

2 Peter 1:10 “Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:”

Peter gives a warning that if you fail to go the path God has placed before us all you will not be able to see the things to come. In verse 9 he writes “But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins.” This is exactly what Jesus warns of the last days, in the time of Noah, they could not see what was coming even though they could see Noah building a boat and others getting ready.

As we see the signs of Christ coming thickening around us we must be careful not to get busy doing what would be normal in any other time. For the closing hours of probation and the Day of Atonement are sacred and not to be esteemed lightly. Let us always bring God into our plans and seeks His council on whatever we do. We show our faith in Him when we are willing to sacrifice our wants now as Christ did and believe that He knows what is best for us.

Council On Family Planning

When considering the size of your family:

Consider the effect on society

“There are parents who, without consideration as to whether or not they can do justice to a large family, fill their houses with these helpless little beings, who are wholly dependent upon their parents for care and instruction. . . . This is a grievous wrong, not only to the mother, but to her children and to society. . . .”  {AH 162.1}

Consider the future of your children

“Parents should always bear in mind the future good of their children. They should not be compelled to devote every hour to taxing labor in order to provide the necessaries of life.”  {AH 162.2}

Consider your economic capabilities

“Before increasing their family, they should take into consideration whether God would be glorified or dishonored by their bringing children into the world. They should seek to glorify God by their union from the first, and during every year of their married life. They should calmly consider what provision can be made for their children. They have no right to bring children into the world to be a burden to others. Have they a business that they can rely upon to sustain a family, so that they need not become a burden to others? If they have not, they commit a crime in bringing children into the world to suffer for want of proper care, food, and clothing.” {MYP 462.2}

“Those who are seriously deficient in business tact, and who are the least qualified to get along in the world, generally fill their houses with children; while men who have ability to acquire property generally have no more children than they can well provide for. Those who are not qualified to take care of themselves should not have children.” {AH 165.1}

Consider the Mother’s health

“In view of the responsibility that devolves upon parents, it should be carefully considered whether it is best to bring children into the family. Has the mother sufficient strength to care for her children? And can the father give such advantages as will rightly mold and educate the child? How little is the destiny of the child considered! The gratification of passion is the only thought, and burdens are brought upon the wife and mother which undermine her vitality and paralyze her spiritual power. In broken health and with discouraged spirits she finds herself surrounded by a little flock whom she cannot care for as she should. Lacking the instruction they should have, they grow up to dishonor God and to communicate to others the evil of their own natures, and thus an army is raised up whom Satan manages as he pleases.” {AH 162.4}

Consider the ability to educate

“God would have parents act as rational beings and live in such a manner that each child may be properly educated, that the mother may have strength and time to employ her mental powers in disciplining her little ones for the society of the angels. She should have courage to act nobly her part and to do her work in the fear and love of God, that her children may prove a blessing to the family and to society.  {AH 163.1}

The husband and father should consider all these things lest the wife and mother of his children be overtaxed and thus overwhelmed with despondency. He should see to it that the mother of his children is not placed in a position where she cannot possibly do justice to her numerous little ones, so that they have to come up without proper training.  {AH 163.2}

Parents should not increase their families any faster than they know that their children can be well cared for and educated. A child in the mother’s arms from year to year is great injustice to her. It lessens, and often destroys, social enjoyment and increases domestic wretchedness. It robs their children of that care, education, and happiness which parents should feel it their duty to bestow upon them.”  {AH 163.3}

Consider will my children be saved?

“The question to be settled by you is, “Am I raising a family of children to strengthen the influence and swell the ranks of the powers of darkness, or am I bringing up children for Christ?” {AH 163.4}

If you do not govern your children and mold their characters to meet the requirements of God, then the fewer children there are to suffer from your defective training the better it will be for you, their parents, and the better it will be for society. Unless children can be trained and disciplined from their babyhood by a wise and judicious mother who is conscientious and intelligent, and who rules her household in the fear of the Lord, molding and shaping their characters to meet the standard of righteousness, it is a sin to increase your family. God has given you reason, and He requires you to use it.  {AH 164.1}

Fathers and mothers, when you know that you are deficient in a knowledge of how to train your children for the Master, why do you not learn your lessons? Why do you continue to bring children into the world to swell the numbers in Satan’s ranks? Is God pleased with this showing? When you see that a large family will severely tax your resources, when you see that it is giving the mother her hands full of children, and that she has not time intervening between their births to do the work every mother needs to do, why do you not consider the sure result? Every child draws upon the vitality of the mother, and when fathers and mothers do not use their reason in this matter, what chance is given to parents or children to be properly disciplined? The Lord calls upon parents to consider this matter in the light of future eternal realities.”  {AH 164.2}

Consider are you better suited to be a missionary? —

“In sending missionaries to distant countries, those men should be selected who know how to economize, who have not large families, and who, realizing the shortness of time and the great work to be accomplished, will not fill their hands and houses with children, but will keep themselves as free as possible from everything that will divert their minds from their one great work. The wife, if devoted and left free to do so, can, by standing by the side of her husband, accomplish as much as he. God has blessed woman with talents to be used to His glory in bringing many sons and daughters to God; but many who might be efficient laborers are kept at home to care for their little ones.  {AH 165.3}

We want missionaries who are missionaries in the fullest sense of the word; who will put aside selfish considerations and let the cause of God come first; and who, working with an eye single to His glory, will keep themselves as minute men to go where He shall bid and to work in any capacity to spread the knowledge of the truth. Men who have wives that love and fear God and that can help them in the work are needed in the missionary field. Many who have families go out to labor, but they do not give themselves entirely to the work. Their minds are divided. Wife and children draw them from their labor and often keep them out of fields that they might enter were it not that they think they must be near their home.”{AH 166.1}

“By accepting the work of rearing children in these last days of uncertainty and peril, many place themselves in a position where they can not labor either in the canvassing field or in any other branch of the cause of God, and some lose all interest to do this. They are content with a common, low level, and assimilate to the position they have chosen. The bewitching power of Satan’s deception wrought within the human heart its evil work. Instead of candidly considering the time in which we live, and the work they might do in leading others to the truth they reason from a selfish standpoint, and follow the impulse of their own unconsecrated hearts. “(SPTb16, 17)

Special Note to Ministers

1 TImoothy 3:1-5

This [is] a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work.

A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach;

Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous;

One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity;

(For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?)

1 Timothy 3:1-5  tells us that if you desire to minister for God that there are requirements for you. These requirements include being able to rule your household. Therefore those with children can become minister’s only if their children are in subjection to them, for “if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?” This is not to say that Ministers must have children.

For Minster’s wives there is specific counsel that “if she has no inclination or fitness to engage in missionary work outside her home, and feels it her duty to take orphan children and care for them, she may do a good work… But if the minister’s wife can herself act a part in the work of educating others, she should consecrate her powers to God as a Christian worker. She should be a true helper to her husband, assisting him in his work, improving her intellect, and helping to give the message. The way is open for humble, consecrated women, dignified by the grace of Christ, to visit those in need of help and shed light into discouraged souls. They can lift up the bowed down by praying with them and pointing them to Christ. Such should not devote their time and strength to one helpless little mortal that requires constant care and attention. They should not thus voluntarily tie their hands.” {AH 169.2}

If you already have children, pray and fast, that you might raise them aright, take comfort that with much suffering your children can be a blessing in the work.

“When properly conducted, church schools will be the means of lifting the standard of truth in the places where they are established; for children who are receiving a Christian education will be witnesses for Christ. As Jesus in the temple solved the mysteries which priests and rulers had not discerned, so in the closing work of his earth children who have been rightly educated will in their simplicity speak words which will be an astonishment to men who now talk of “higher education.” As the children sang in the temple courts, “Hosanna; Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord,” so in these last days children’s voices will be raised to give the last message of warning to a perishing world. When heavenly intelligences see that men are no longer permitted to present the truth, the Spirit of God will come upon the children, and they will do a work in the proclamation of the truth which the older workers cannot do, because their way will be hedged up.”(PH048, 29)

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