WOMAN’S GREAT DESTINY.
778. That we might make no mistake as to God’s own approval upon women of old who broke the silence of public assemblies, we have it expressly told us that Miriam, Deborah, Huldah and Anna were all “prophetesses,”¾for they are so called where their names are mentioned. It behooves us to ask, What is it to prophesy, in the Biblical use of the word? Scholars will agree that the primal thought of the word is that of one who is acting as spokesman for another. The idea of prediction is not necessarily implied. But as a true prophet in the Bible is one who speaks for God, and as God does not live, nor necessarily speak, within the limits of time, by which mortals are bound (but, to Him, yesterday, today and tomorrow are all present), therefore it follows that what He causes mortals to say for Him often relates to a future as yet not experienced by them; hence we use this verb in a secondary sense, “to foretell.” But let us keep in mind its proper meaning,¾to speak for God.
779. It is certain that women were not, as theology has claimed, subordinated to men from the day Eve sinned. History proves that that subordination was gradually brought about by men themselves, and was not accomplished for hundreds of years. It is as certain that not one syllable can be found in the Old Testament ordering women to “keep silence” in the Jewish public assemblies; and it would be astounding, since women were NOT silenced under the Old Covenant, if it were true that they were silenced for the sin of Eve under the New, the very heart of the teaching of which is, “There is therefore NOW no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1).
780. The congregation of Israel, a religious body called by God out of bondage and into the wilderness, was certainly a “church.” Indeed, Stephen spoke of it as “the church in the wilderness,” Acts 7:38. The very first note of praise raised to God in that “church,” was responded to by Miriam and her women, with timbrel and dance,¾“Miriam the prophetess” (Exodus 15:20). And why should she have been called by the inspired Word “the prophetess,” if God had never, and did never use her voice to declare His will to Israel? God gives no empty (lying) titles. And this woman prophetess, was one of three great leaders of whom God said: “I brought thee up out of the land of Egypt . . . and I sent before thee Moses, Aaron and Miriam” (Micah 6:4).
781. And women were not silent in the Tabernacle, after the children of Israel became a settled people in the Promised Land. Where else did Hannah sing that wonderful psalm of praise she composed for the dedication of Samuel to the Lord’s service at the Tabernacle? All the context here goes to show she “prayed” it (1 Samuel 2:1) in public (compare 1:28 and 2:11); and it became public property, preserved to us to the present day, and its comforting words re-echoed in a dozen Psalms, composed in later days, like this, for the service of the Temple.
782. And women were not silent in the Temple: We have high authority for believing that two Psalms, at least, were meant for women’s voices alone (Psalms 8 and 45). Hannah must have been gifted in music. Her Song proved this; and her son Samuel, as can be gleaned from many incidental statements in the Bible (and as has been so well brought out in a book by Dean Payne-Smith—“Prophecy a Preparation for Christ”), taught his young prophets, whom he had in training, to praise the Lord in song.
783. This writer says: “One of that choir [of the prophet Samuel] was Heman, the son of Joel, Samuel’s first-born (1 Chronicles 6:33; 1 Samuel 8:2), who there acquired that mastery of music which made him one of the three singers selected by David . . . to arrange and preside over the Temple service (1 Chronicles 25). Blessed with a numerous family, who all seem to have inherited Samuel’s musical ability, he trained them all for song in the house of Jehovah, with cymbals, psalteries and harps (1 Chronicles 25:6), and it is remarkable that no less that fourteen of the twenty-four courses of singers were Samuel’s own descendants, and that as long as the first Temple stood they were the chief performers of that Psalmody which he had instituted.”
784. “God gave Heman fourteen sons and three daughters. All these were under the hands of their father for song in the house of the Lord.” This certainly proves that women did not “keep silence in the Temple. We know this also from the mention of the “women singers” in Ezra 2:65, and Nehemiah 7:67. The same thing is made clear by the description of a religious procession, Psalm 68:25. If, as Dean Payne-Smith says, “Psalmody commenced with that hymn of triumph sung by Miriam and the women on the shores of the Red Sea, with timbrel and dance,” surely psalmody was introduced into the Temple service by the Song of Hannah, taken up by Samuel and his female as well as male descendants, through Heman, and extended through the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, by both women and men. There is no just reason for supposing that women ever ceased to have their part in prophecy with song, up to the days of Anna, the aged prophetess, who never left the Temple, but preached there, to the worshippers, that Messiah had come (Luke 2:36,38).
785. It was not until after woman had brought the Redeemer into the world,¾not until after she had given her testimony to the most important facts in the Christian’s faith, and convinced the early disciples of their truth; not until long after Paul’s days, when “grievous wolves” had entered the flock, as Paul said they would do (Acts 20:29); and wrested Paul’s language, as Peter said they did (2 Peter 3:15-16), that the teaching arose that Paul had silenced women, veiled them, and subordinated them to men. We have shown that his language is capable of more consistent interpretation.
786. Woman has the honor of being the subject of a GREAT PROPHECY. That prophecy is, that the Seed of the women shall bruise the Serpent’s head; and, as we have shown, that prophecy was only fulfilled in part by the advent of Jesus Christ into this world. He has not yet come in power, to bruise the Serpent’s head; and when He does come the second time, women will have prepared the way by preaching that second coming. Woman is to have a special part with Him in this late war upon Satan; for not only is Christ the enemy of Satan, but we know, by the express word of God, that woman is destined to be the same,¾“I will put enmity between thee and the woman,” is said quite as plainly as,“¾between they seed and her Seed.
787. God revealed to Satan, by this saying, not merely what woman was, not even what she now is, but what woman is to become. And this is the meaning of her sufferings, which were predicted in Genesis 3:16, all through the ages. This is why she corresponds, in shadow, to the substance,¾“A woman of sorrows, and acquainted with grief,” Isaiah 53:3; that all the thousands of millions of human beings who have entered this world, came along the pathway of woman’s agony. This is why every woman should have an unutterable horror of godlessness and atheism. Without God, man is Satan’s slave, and woman is the slave of Satan’s slave.
788. As God revealed to Jacob (even while he was yet a most unworthy man, fleeing from the wrath of his brother), his future destiny, and the providence of God that overshadowed him (Genesis 28:12-15), in order to arouse in Jacob those aspirations which would eventually seal his destiny to him; so has God revealed to woman, even while yet very unworthy, her destiny, so that she may be able to seal it to herself by exalted aspiration. She will yet appear as God’s ally, in a tremendous conflict with evil, which will end in the binding of Satan for a thousand years, and the complete crushing of his head.