Do you teach that the Bible discourages or prohibits interracial marriages?


We do. It is important to understand what the Bible has to say about the subject of interracial marriages.

us first of all explain that no ethnic group, race or color is superior
or better than another. The concept, as taught by Hitler and others,
that there exists a master race is simply demonic. This Satanic concept
was derived from the equally demonic concept of the Evolution Theory,
which holds that only the fittest animals survive and that those less
fit die out. Hitler, adopting racial theories taught by quite a few at
his time inside and outside Germany, applied the Evolution Theory to
man (after all, according to that abominable concept, man is just the
highest developed form of an animal). Hitler postulated that the
Germanic race was a superior master race to all other races. As
mentioned, this idea, which caused mass murders of millions of innocent
people, is clearly inspired by Satan and nowhere taught in the Bible.

Word teaches, however, that God created different races or colors for a
purpose. Biblically speaking, and as explained below, God created
basically three different races or colors–the yellow, the white and
the black. God made of one blood all the nations of men (Acts 17:26).
Eve is identified as the mother of all humans (Genesis 3:20). All
humans are children of God through Adam, and God intends for all to
repent in order to attain to the potential of man–the reason for man’s
creation: to become a born-again spiritual member of the God Family
(Galatians 3:28-29; 1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9; Revelation 21:3-7).

a letter from the Personal Correspondence Department of the Worldwide
Church of God, dated January 1988, the long-standing teaching of the
Church was set forth as follows: “God created Eve with the capability
of producing children having the varied characteristics that are now
manifested in the different races… The children and grandchildren of
Adam and Eve would have naturally separated into families of racially
similar people, and as they continued to marry within their own groups,
distinct racial traits would have become established. God tells us that
He separated the families of man and decreed the boundaries of their
dwelling places (Deuteronomy 32:8; Acts 17:26). Natural barriers, such
as mountain ranges and oceans, would have served to keep the racial
families apart and prevent amalgamation. Thus, God intended that there
be different races and He caused them to develop.”

In a related
letter from the Personal Correspondence Department of the Worldwide
Church of God, dated January 1988, these additional statements were

“Anciently, God separated the different races by giving
each its own area of the world to develop (Genesis 10:5, 32…). He
placed them where geographic features… formed great natural barriers
and boundaries between them. He obviously did not want different people
to intermingle. Notice also that Abraham… was deeply concerned that
his son Isaac should find a wife among his own people rather than from
among the Canaanites, who were a different people (Genesis 24). In
turn, Isaac instructed his son Jacob to go back to their ancestral home
to find a wife (Genesis 28:1-2)… It is in keeping with these biblical
principles, then, for a person to marry someone of the same race and
who is compatible in personality, culture, temperament, and outlook on
life. Disregarding these principles is likely to result in problems and
hardships for the couple and for the children.”

Some claim that
Abraham and Isaac only asked their sons not to marry a Canaanite woman
because the Canaanites were pagan idol worshippers. They say that the
request had nothing to do with race–even though Isaac and Jacob were
white, while the Canaanites were black (Canaan was the son of Ham. The
word Ham means “dark.” On the other hand, Genesis 22:11 describes
Sarai, Abram’s wife, as “fair” or of “beautiful countenance.” The word
in Hebrew means, “bright.” A scroll from the Dead Sea states about
Sarai that “her brightness was lovely.”)

The concept that
Abraham’s and Isaac’s son were not to marry a Canaanite woman just
because of her religion cannot be correct. We read in Genesis 11:28
that Abraham (then called Abram) lived in Ur of the Chaldeans. Ur means
“fire”–it was a place of worship of the pagan fire god. Joshua 24:2,
14 tells us that Abram’s relatives were idol worshippers. The Broadman
Bible Commentary states: “Both Ur and Haran [where Abram went, when he
left Ur] were important centers of moon worship, and his living there
indicates that Terah [Abram’s father] probably was involved in that
cult. The fact, however, that Terah practiced idolatry (Josh. 24:2)
does not mean that he was not also acquainted with the true God. Laban
asserts that the God of Nahor and Terah was the God of Abraham

The Bible strongly indicates that Abraham’s
relatives, Laban, Rebekkah and Rachel, were still involved in idolatry
at the time when Abraham’s servant appeared to seek a wife for Isaac,
and when Jacob came to live with that family. We read that upon Jacob’s
departure, his wife Rachel stole the housegod idols of her father Laban
(Genesis 31:34, 30). From this it follows that Abraham’s and Isaac’s
request of their sons not to marry a Canaanite woman (the Canaanites
were idol worshippers) was not ONLY based on religion (as Laban and his
household were still engaged in idol worship, too). It HAD to also be
based on race. The following explanations will make this fact clearer.

introduce the next section, let us just state that the Church of the
Eternal God and its corporate affiliates, the Church of God, a
Christian Fellowship in Canada, and the Global Church of God in the
United Kingdom, reconfirmed our position during our last conference in
March of 2006 that we teach what was taught under Mr. Herbert W.
Armstrong (1892-1986), who was the late human leader of the Church of
God. Unless we can prove from Scripture that doctrines or practices,
which were taught by Mr. Armstrong, were wrong, we will abide by those
doctrines and practices.

With this background, let us focus on
Mr. Armstrong’s book “Mystery of the Ages.” In that book, Mr. Armstrong
had much to say about the origin of the races and the concept of
interracial marriage. When discussing the reasons for the worldwide
flood at the time of Noah, Mr. Armstrong pointed out the following, on
page 147 (hard copy):

“Noah was ‘perfect’ in his generations
[Genesis 6:9 reads: “Noah was a just man, perfect in his
generations.”]. That is, his heredity, ancestry (Genesis 6:9). Proof of
this lies in the meaning of the Hebrew word translated ‘perfect.’ It
may refer either to spiritual character (Genesis 17:1) or to physical
characteristics (Leviticus 22:21). Therefore Genesis 6:9 allows the
translation that Noah was either ‘blameless’ or ‘unblemished.’ The
context (Genesis 6:2) clearly indicates the latter is the intended
meaning of ‘perfect.’ So a good rendering of Genesis 6:9 is that Noah
was the only ‘just’ man (in spiritual character), and also
‘unblemished’ (in his genetic heritage) among his contemporaries.”

26 of The Companion Bible seems to confirm this understanding. Note its
comments about this Hebrew word, translated “perfect” or “unblemished”
in verse 9 of Genesis 6:

“The Heb. word tamiym means without
blemish, and is the technical word for bodily and physical perfection,
and, not moral. Hence it is used of animals of sacrificial
purity. It is rendered without blemish in Ex. 12.5; 29.1;
Lev. 1.3, 10; 3.1, 6; 4.3, 23, 28, 32; 5.12, 18; 6.6; 9.2, 3; 14.10;
22.19; 23.12, 18; Num. 6.14; 28.19, 31; 29.2, 8, 13, 20, 23, 29, 32,
36; Ezek. 43.22, 23, 25; 45.18, 23; 46.4, 6, 13. Without spot: Num.
19.2; 28.3, 9, 11; 29.17, 26.”

Mr. Armstrong, when describing the worldwide conditions at the time of Noah, continued on pages 148-149:

men ‘took them wives of all which THEY chose [Genesis 6:2].’ There was
rampant and universal interracial marriage–so exceedingly universal
that Noah, only, was unblemished or perfect in his generations–his
ancestry. He was of the original white strain. It is amply evident that
by the time of Noah there were at least the three primary or major
racial strains on earth, the white, yellow and black, although
interracial marriage produced many racial mixtures. God does not reveal
in the Bible the precise origin of the different races. It is evident
that Adam and Eve were created white. God’s chosen nation Israel was
white. Jesus was white. But it is a fair conjecture that in mother Eve
were created ovaries containing the yellow and black genes, as well as
white, so that some of the children of Adam and Eve gave rise to black,
yellow, as well as white. The one man God chose to PRESERVE the human
race alive after the Flood was perfect in his generations–all his
ancestry back to Adam was of the one strain, and undoubtedly that
happened to be white–NOT that white is in any sense superior…
[Noah’s] wife and three sons were of that same white strain. But
Japheth evidently had married an Oriental woman, and Ham a

Another way of explaining the existence of
different races would be that the three sons of Noah–Shem, Ham and
Japheth–were white, black and yellow. As mentioned before, the meaning
of the word “Ham” is black. This would mean that God created Eve with
the capacity of producing black, white and yellow offspring.

the Flood, Noah’s descendants tried to build a great tower at Babel, so
that they would not be “scattered abroad.” Mr. Armstrong comments on
these events on pages 151 and 152 of his book:

“These people were
not only of one language, they were of three races or families–white,
yellow and black. Just as God created varieties in many species of
flowers and of animals–for example, many varieties and colors of
roses–for greater beauty, so God created the three races and colors of
human skin. God intended to prevent racial intermarriages. But man has
always wanted to violate God’s laws, intentions and ways. They wanted
to become one race or family through intermarriage of races… God had
set the bounds of the races, providing for geographical segregation, in
peace and harmony but without discrimination. But the people wanted to
be of one amalgamated people. One purpose of the tower of Babel was to
unite them, and to prevent them from being scattered…”

But we read that God confounded their languages and scattered them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

claim that Judah, one of Jacob’s sons, married Shua, purportedly a
woman from a different race. This would not prove, however, that God
favored interracial marriages. The Bible contains many examples when
Judah did not live up to God’s standards. He even violated his own
daughter-in-law, and he was instrumental in selling his own brother
Joseph into slavery.

Some say that interracial marriage is
perfectly acceptable to God, as Joseph married an Egyptian and Moses an
Ethiopian. We discuss these episodes in the Q&A’s of Updates #138
and #136. IF Joseph married a pagan idol worshipper from a different
race, he would have been wrong (In any event, this argument does not
assist those who advocate interracial marriages, as they still have to
admit that Joseph would have acted wrongly by marrying an idol
worshipper.). But Joseph might not have done any of this. And Moses’
conduct might have occurred long before his conversion–before he
actually knew God and His laws, which would explain why God was angry
with Miriam and Aaron to bring up something which might have occurred
more than 40 years earlier. In any event, both episodes cannot be used
to prove that interracial marriages are in accordance with God’s will,
as both Updates explain in detail.

When God chose the nation of
Israel to offer them physical blessings, He never called them for
salvation. God fulfilled an unconditional promise that He had made to
Abraham, because of his unquestioned obedience and loyalty to God. On
pages 166-173, Mr. Armstrong explains the reason for the nation’s call
to PHYSICAL greatness:

“WHY did God raise up this special Hebrew
nation as the ‘chosen people’? WHY, when God never made accessible to
them his Holy Spirit? One point to notice here. The probability is that
these people were all–or nearly all– of the white racial strain,
unchanged since creation. After Jacob and his sons and families had
come into Egypt at Joseph’s behest, they were kept in the locale of
Goshen–geographically separated from the Egyptians, marrying among
themselves. In this connection, go back momentarily to Abraham. He
prevented his son Isaac from intermarrying among the dark Canaanites
then in the land… Jacob had six sons by Leah, two from Rachel–all of
the same original racial stock, and two each from the maids of Rachel
and Leah… Even the maids of Leah and Rachel undoubtedly were of pure
Hebrew stock… [Israel] became God’s chosen nation. BUT WHY?…

one reason was to preserve the original physical racial strain… Here
was a people of almost clear racial strain, and the God believing
heredity of Abraham, Isaac and Israel… They, despite their favorable
heredity, FAILED UTTERLY TO QUALIFY… The Promised Land was then
called Canaan. Canaanites, racially dark, had settled in the land. But
God had given this land to the racial descendants of Abraham BY
PROMISE! It did not belong to the Canaanites or other races settled
there… GOD INTENDED TO KEEP THEM [the nation of Israel] PHYSICALLY
SEPARATE from other nations–both nationally (racially) and
religiously. For them to intermarry with other races would result in
two things: It would interbreed them into other races, and mix them
into other idolatrous religions!… Much later, after the captivities
of both Israel and Judah, God sent a colony of Jews… to Jerusalem…
Against God’s command, the people of the colony began to intermarry
with Canaanites, Hittites, Perizzites, Jebusites and other races, ‘so
that the holy seed [racially pure, for they had not the Holy Spirit] had mingled themselves with the people of those lands…’ (Ezra 9:2).”

Mr. Armstrong goes on to explain, God proved, by choosing a physical
nation with everything going for them, that they were still unable to
obey Him without His Holy Spirit within them. Their heredity and
environment, and even the fact that God Himself was among them, did NOT
prevent them from sinning and rebelling against Him. What a lesson of
history–and what a warning for us today, not to neglect the gift of
God’s Holy Spirit within us.

Some have claimed that Paul teaches
in Galatians 3:28 that interracial marriages are now in accordance with
God’s will. This is not true. Galatians 3:28 addresses the spiritual
potential of all men, from all races, ethnic groups or cultures. It
says: “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free,
there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ
Jesus.” This Scripture cannot be used to justify interracial
marriages; because with the same argument, we might as well justify
homosexual or lesbian relationships (as it says, “there is neither male
nor female.”). As stated, this Scripture strictly addresses the
equality of our calling. “But in every nation whoever fears Him and
works righteousness is accepted by Him” (Acts 10:35).

From all
the Biblical evidence at our disposal, and considering the
long-standing teaching of the Church on this subject, we must conclude
that it is not in accordance with God’s will to marry interracially.
However, couples who are married interracially are not to despair–and
they are most certainly not to separate for that reason. The Church has
NEVER asked interracially married couples to separate. This article is
written to caution those who might be thinking of marrying
interracially. Administratively, ministers of the Church of the Eternal
God and its corporate affiliates have carefully considered this issue
and concluded, barring extraordinary circumstances, that they could
not, in good conscience, officiate over a marriage, which is clearly,
obviously and visibly interracial. However, this would not include
marriage candidates who are of “mixed” blood. The Church has always
taught, for instance, that a child of a black and a white parent is
free to marry a black or a white person. We are only addressing clear
cases, in concern for the well-being and happiness of the persons

God designed all ethnic groups and races from one human
ancestor and all members of every ethnic group and race are made in the
image and likeness of God. All Spirit-begotten members in
the Church are spiritual brethren, irrespective of any other
consideration. It is God’s purpose and command that we preach the true
gospel to every ethnic group and race in the world, without fear or
favor. The Bible forbids a marriage between a believer and an
unbeliever, and the Scriptural evidence shows us that marrying someone
of another color, as explained in this Q&A, is also not in
accordance with God’s Will.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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