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"Uncovering The Nakedness Of Your Near Of Kin?"

Hi M____,

Thanks for your question. You ask:


Canaan was the son of Ham, and Ham was the son of Noah. So if he had intercourse with anyone it would have been with his grandmother, Noah's wife, if you take the statement, in Leviticus 18:8 to interpret the phrase "thy father's nakedness" to mean the nakedness of Noah's wife:

Lev 18:6  None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness: I am the LORD.
Lev 18:8  The nakedness of thy father's wife shalt thou not uncover: it is thy father's nakedness.
But there is no spiritual instruction for you or for me when we try to figure out the physical circumstances of such an event. But when we consider the spiritual meaning of the word 'nakedness,' and we understand that nakedness is a Biblical parable for sins and transgressions, then we can understand the spiritual intent of why we are not to be uncovering the nakedness of our near kin.

When we compare spiritual things with spiritual we can see that what we are really being instructed to do here is to concern ourselves first with our own nakedness. A man and a woman in a marriage relationship are called "one flesh." Therefore a man's wife is indeed "his nakedness" and vice-versa.

This admonition which instructs us to avoid uncovering the nakedness of our near kin, is nothing more than this spiritual truth:
Jas 5:19  Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;
Jas 5:20  Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.
"Erring from the truth" is becoming spiritually naked. It is much better to go to a brother between you and him alone, and discuss with that brother or sister the "error of his way," and see that brother or sister repent and be converted from the error of his way, than it is to "uncover his nakedness" and tell others about it as Canaan did and as we all tend to do. Don't ever be guilty of doing such a thing; rather "hide a multitude of sins" and go to that brother alone:

Mat 18:15  Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
Had Canaan followed the examples of his older uncles, he would have done well. Instead he went around telling everyone about "the error of Noah's way."

There is nothing in scripture that tells us that we are not to take note of nakedness when it is in our midst. Nakedness equates to leaven and leaven will corrupt a whole loaf if left unchecked. In dealing with a blatant fornicator within the church of Corinth, Paul encourages the Corinthian church to put the man "out of their midst, and in so doing he makes this statement for our admonition:

1Co 5:6  Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
We are never to tolerate open sin or heresy in our midst. This warning is reiterated in the epistle to the Galatians as it related to spiritual leaven, which in this case was the heresy of Judaizers:

Gal 5:6  For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
Gal 5:7  Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?
Gal 5:8  This [Judaizing] persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you.
Gal 5:9  A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.
So when we are confronted with those who flaunt their physical or spiritual nakedness here is what we are instructed:
Mat 18:16  But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
Mat 18:17  And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
And we have this very same admonition repeated in the epistle to Titus:

Tit 3:10  A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;
Tit 3:11  Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.
So there you have it. There is the spiritual lesson about "covering Noah's nakedness," and "hiding a multitude of sins and converting a brother."

Jas 5:19  Brethren, if any of you do err from the truth, and one convert him;
Jas 5:20  Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins
That is the ideal result of the proper approach to dealing with sin and leaven in the midst of God's church. It had its desired fruit in this case in Corinth, and this fornicator repented and was restored to fellowship:

2Co 2:6  Sufficient to such a man is this punishment, which was inflicted of many.
2Co 2:7  So that contrariwise ye ought rather to forgive him, and comfort him, lest perhaps such a one should be swallowed up with overmuch sorrow.
2Co 2:8  Wherefore I beseech you that ye would confirm your love toward him.
2Co 2:9  For to this end also did I write, that I might know the proof of you, whether ye be obedient in all things.
2Co 2:10  To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ;
2Co 2:11  Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.
But flaunting one's nakedness, as the church at Corinth did, is not to be tolerated and is to be dealt with immediately:
1Co 5:3  For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed,
1Co 5:4  In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
1Co 5:5  To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.
1Co 5:6  Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
1Co 5:7  Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us:
This is to be done "in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ." That is true Biblical love, because it is in obedience to this very command. To ignore this command would be to ignore God, and that is not love in any case. Look at how God drives this truth home:

1Jn 5:2  By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
1Jn 5:3  For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
Here again is that same principle in its spiritual application, as Paul is dealing with the false doctrine which was teaching the need to return to the law of Moses.

Gal 5:6  For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.
Gal 5:7  Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth?
Gal 5:8  This [Judaizing] persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you.
Gal 5:9  A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.
The Corinthians were tolerating physical fornication, and the Galatians were tolerating spiritual fornication. Both were permitting the entire church to become leavened with "old leaven," by returning to their old ways, and in the process they were not only tolerating "uncovering the nakedness of near of kin," but they were actually participating in that leaven and in that sin.

Tit 3:10  A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject;
Tit 3:11  Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.
1Jn 5:2  By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
1Jn 5:3  For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
Obedience to God's commands only is love. Obedience to God may seem to many to be less than loving, but the truth is that anything less is participating in the act of "uncovering the nakedness of your near of kin."

Your brother in Christ,

Mike