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Gender Equality in Biblical Times

Women In The Bible That Held High Offices And Gender Equality 

Did women of the Biblical times hold high offices that were equal to man? 

Certainly that is a question posed by all women. In some religious denominations such as Roman Catholic, The Church of Later Day Saints and some Pentecostal Churches. So lets see if this is true according to the Bible itself and biblical history.

I often wonder how their church gets them to believe anything that the priest, minister, pastor says above all else. Surely it has to be some kind of brain-washing because they are taught to read their Bibles and adhere to their doctrine. They seem to gloss over any roles in the Bible that women played that equaled that of man. There were a few stories in the Bible itself of women who were equalled in the responsibility of preaching/teaching and prophesying. Jesus was a supporter for gender equality. He did have women disciples and one of their story is brought to life in this hub along with another that was in the Old Testament.

According to Laurence Gardner, in his book The Bloodline of the Holy Grail The Hidden Lineage of Jesus, he states: 
"The first criterion was that the New Testament Gospels must be written in the names of Jesus' own apostles. Matthew was, of course, an apostle, as was John - but Mark was not an apostle of Jesus as far as we know, neither was Luke; they were both colleagues of the later St. Paul. Thomas and Philip, on the other hand, were among the original twelve, and yet the Gospels in their names were excluded. Not only that but, along with various other texts, they was sentenced to be destroyed. And so, throughout the Mediterranean world, numerous unapproved books were buried and hidden in the 5th century.

Although many of these books were not rediscovered until the 20th century, they were used openly by the early Christians. Certain of them, including the Gospels mentioned, along with the Gospel of Truth, the Gospel of the Egyptians and others, were actually mentioned in the 2nd-century writings of early churchmen such as Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus of Lyon and Origen of Alexandria.
So, why were these and other apostolic Gospels not selected? Because there was a second, far more important criterion to consider - the criterion by which, in truth, the Gospel selection was really made. It was, in fact, a wholly sexist regulation which precluded anything that upheld the status of women in Church or community society. Indeed, the Church's own Apostolic Constitutions were formulated on this basis. They state: "We do not permit our women to teach in the Church, only to pray and to hear those who teach. Our master, when he sent us the twelve, did nowhere send out a woman - for the head of the woman is the man, and it is not reasonable that the body should govern the head".
This was an outrageous statement with no apparent foundation, but it was for this very reason that dozens of Gospels were not selected, because they made it quite clear that there were many active women in the ministry of Jesus - women such as Mary Magdalene, Martha, Helena-Salome, Mary-Jacob Cleopas and Joanna. These were not only ministering disciples, but priestesses in their own right, running exemplary schools of worship in the Nazarene tradition.
The Church was so frightened of women that it implemented a rule of celibacy for its priests - a rule that became a law in 1138; a rule that persists today. But this rule has never been quite what it appears on the surface, for it was never sexual activity as such that bothered the Church. The more specific problem was priestly intimacy with women. Why? Because women become mothers, and the very nature of motherhood is a perpetuation of bloodlines. It was this that caused such concern - a taboo subject which, at all costs, had to be separated from the necessary image of Jesus.
We have all learned to go along with what we are taught about the Gospels "
Also in the Bible women were exalted and praised for their contribution to their families and society of that time. You can read that in Proverbs 31.

Pentecostal Beliefs

According to ALLSANDS the pentecostal church and it's beliefs and teachings is very rigid. One author describes the doctrine in this way. "They are fundamentalists with a narrow interpretation of the Bible. There is no room for smokers, drinkers, gamblers or worldly movies. These are vices that will keep you from Heaven and membership in the Church. Questionable pagan celebrations like Halloween are ignored. While "grace" is an essential element of most Christian doctrine, I find that Pentecostals, more than most, are legalistic and exclusive. They have the answers and all other churches are suspect in many areas. Behavior is closely scrutinized in the light of their own orthodoxy. If you're not willing to quit smoking or buying lottery tickets, I recommend leaving because you will never become one with them. "
Here is what Pentecostal Denominations believe in regards to women:
"Pentecostalism" espouses religion as a "romantic" philosophy, that the heart of man has reasons which his mind knows not of, and that man's feelings are the highest authority.
Pentecostalism believes and teaches that women may participate in leading in prayer, teaching, and preaching in public, and doing the work of an evangelist and teacher.
1. The Holy Spirit contrasted the duties of men from that of women in public prayer. (1 Tim 2:8-15).
2. Women are to learn in silence. (1 Cor 14:34). They are not to teach in any capacity over a man.
3. Women may teach younger women. (Titus 2:4). They may teach a man in private. (Acts 18:25).
a. Timothy was taught in private. Apollos was taught in private.
4. Women many not "teach" (deliver discourses). Women are forbidden to preach. (1 Cor. 14:34)

Roman Catholic Beliefs

In an article about Women's rights in the Roman Catholic Church these are the stipulations of what role a woman is in the church function and household.

""As in all the churches of the saints, the women should keep silence in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be subordinate, as even the law says. If there is anything they desire to know, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church. . . . what I am writing to you is a command of the Lord." (1 Cor 14:33-35, 37)"
"Let a woman learn in silence with all submissiveness. I permit no woman to teach or to have authority over men; she is to keep silent." (1 Tim 2:11-12) 
"Wives, be submissive to your husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior." (Ephesians 5:22) 

Women are not to be in an political, police, or a soldier. They are not to teach adult men or have any kind of authority over a man weather it be in the home or in the workplace.The article goes on and on and the website even has tings such as how a woman is to dress.
You can also read about two Nun's stories about how they came away from being a NUN in the Catholic Church: Mary C. Hertel and Mary Ann Collins

The Church Of The Latter Day Saints - Mormons

In an article by Maxine Hanks, a former Mormon, PERSPECTIVE ON MORMON WOMEN, A Struggle to Reclaim Authority she states that the roles of women in the Church has changed. Here is some of what she wrote:
"Mormon women obtained authority early in the history of the church and then fought a losing battle to keep it. Their concerns were not taken seriously, so men's authority prevailed. Feminism emerged in the struggle, in the energy of women's rhetoric and work and in their resistance to male agendas. "
"During the first 20 years of Mormonism, from 1830 to 1850, women received authority for blessings, healing and prophecy; priesthood keys, powers and rituals; and missionary calls.
"In 1884, Eliza R. Snow, "prophetess" and president over all women and girls in the church, made it clear that the women's Relief Society, which she headed, was "designed to be a self-governing organization. "If difficulties arise," she wrote, ". . . the matter should be referred to (the) president and her counselors." Later, when men assumed governance over women, they usurped women's authority."

It seems to me that the Church went through some sort of metamorphosis when it came to women's roles. I am not sure if that was due to societal influence or not. It is obvious that the roles of women in the church have changed drastically though and the men seem to love that power and will not go back to the way it used to be. Women were equals to their husband in every way and now they are deemed different. Makes a person wonder what happened.

Deborah -Prophetess and Judge Over Israel

Deborah Prophetess
The book of Judges, Chapter 4and 5 tells the story of Deborah chosen by GOD to be the Judge and prophetess of Israel.
Verses 4 and 5 states who she is and her role as an equal to men of that time:
4And Deborah, a woman inspired, wife of Lapidoth, she is judging Israel at that time,
5and she is dwelling under the palm-tree of Deborah, between Ramah and Beth-El, in the hill-country of Ephraim, and the sons of Israel go up unto her for judgment.
Please read the whole chapter and not just these two verses. It completes that part of her story.
Deborah as the Judge of Israel counsels Barak and he defeated Sisera and
freed Israel from the tyranny of the Canaanite King Yavin. She was the only female to hold such a high office, equalling that of an man of Israel. The men were to unwilling to hold hat position. Since the laws of that time forbade women to be alone in a house with a man she would sit under a tree for those to come to her for judgment.

Deborah is but one of the 5 women prophetesses and many others that were of notable, mentioned in the Bible. There were many more. You can find the list of names and a short bio of each on the site Notable Women Of The Bible. She prophesied that if she went with Barak into battle that Sisera would be delivered into a woman's hands. And so Barak asked that she go with him and she did and the Canaanites were delivered into her hands. She would be considered the real leader of Israel....and so she was.

Her song of victory is the whole of Judges Chapter 5.
Her song is one of the greatest of ancient literature. in the Bible. What a great song it is.

Dorcas/Tabitha Disciple of Christ

Tabitha a Disciple of Christ
In Acts 9, there is a story of a woman by the name of Tabitha or Dorcas as she would have been called in those days. She was raised from the dead by Peter. Here is the story of Tabitha. She was indeed a disciple of Christ with the other men and held in that office with Peter's help.
36And in Joppa there was a certain female disciple, by name Tabitha, (which interpreted, is called Dorcas,) this woman was full of good works and kind acts that she was doing;
37and it came to pass in those days she, having ailed, died, and having bathed her, they laid her in an upper chamber,
38and Lydda being nigh to Joppa, the disciples having heard that Peter is in that [place], sent two men unto him, calling on him not to delay to come through unto them.
39And Peter having risen, went with them, whom having come, they brought into the upper chamber, and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing coats and garments, as many as Dorcas was making while she was with them.
40And Peter having put them all forth without, having bowed the knees, did pray, and having turned unto the body said, `Tabitha, arise;' and she opened her eyes, and having seen Peter, she sat up,
41and having given her [his] hand, he lifted her up, and having called the saints and the widows, he presented her alive,

The Verse They Use in Error

This be the verse that they pull from the whole story: 1 Timothy 2 12-14 (italicized and underlined) to prove their point but if you read the whole chapter it is revealed that women are equal to the man. It even goes to say that women are saved through child-birth. I will not go into why some women cannot have children and if they are not saved or not. That is another subject matter altogether.
The whole chapter for your edification:
1 Timothy 2
1I exhort, then, first of all, there be made supplications, prayers, intercessions, thanksgivings, for all men:
2for kings, and all who are in authority, that a quiet and peaceable life we may lead in all piety and gravity,
3for this [is] right and acceptable before God our Saviour,
4who doth will all men to be saved, and to come to the full knowledge of the truth;
5for one [is] God, one also [is] mediator of God and of men, the man Christ Jesus,
6who did give himself a ransom for all -- the testimony in its own times --
7in regard to which I was set a preacher and apostle -- truth I say in Christ, I do not lie -- a teacher of nations, in faith and truth.
8I wish, therefore, that men pray in every place, lifting up kind hands, apart from anger and reasoning;
9in like manner also the women, in becoming apparel, with modesty and sobriety to adorn themselves, not in braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or garments of great price,
10but -- which becometh women professing godly piety -- through good works.
11Let a woman in quietness learn in all subjection,
12and a woman I do not suffer to teach, nor to rule a husband, but to be in quietness,
13for Adam was first formed, then Eve,
14and Adam was not deceived, but the woman, having been deceived, into transgression came,
15and she shall be saved through the child-bearing, if they remain in faith, and love, and sanctification, with sobriety.


10Thy company have dwelt in it, Thou preparest in Thy goodness for the poor, O God.
 11The Lord doth give the saying, The female proclaimers [are] a numerous host.
 12Kings of hosts flee utterly away, And a female inhabitant of the house apportioneth spoil.
 13Though ye do lie between two boundaries, Wings of a dove covered with silver, And her pinions with yellow gold.