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Should young people greet each other with a "holy kiss?"
As a youth leader at a Fundamental Independent Baptist Church, we are continually discouraging physical contact between our young people for the obvious spiritual reason of keeping them pure for marriage. I have had a young person challenge me in saying that Paul on numerous occasions told the brethren to greet each other with a "holy kiss." Although I know that the casual hugging and kissing (on the cheek) between young people is most likely not the "holy kiss" that Paul wrote of, I would like to know just what that means. I have yet to find any publication that deals with this matter. Thanks.
The word kiss appears 20 times in the Bible, and the word kissed appears 26 times. Genesis 27:26 says, And his father Isaac said unto him, Come near now, and KISS ME, MY SON.Genesis 31:27,28 says, Wherefore didst thou flee away secretly, and steal away from me; and didst not tell me, that I might have sent thee away with mirth, and with songs, with tabret, and with harp? And hast not suffered me TO KISS MY SONS AND MY DAUGHTERS? thou hast now done foolishly in so doing. I Kings 19:20 says, And he left the oxen, and ran after Elijah, and said, Let me, I pray thee, KISS MY FATHER AND MY MOTHER, and then I will follow thee. These examples are kisses between parents and children. II Samuel 20:9 says, And Joab said to Amasa, Art thou in health, my brother? And Joab took Amasa by the beard with the right hand TO KISS HIM. Matthew 26:47-50 says, And while he yet spake, lo, Judas, one of the twelve, came, and with him a great multitude with swords and staves, from the chief priests and elders of the people. Now he that betrayed him gave them a sign, saying, Whomsoever I shall kiss, that same is he: hold him fast. And forthwith he came to Jesus, and said, Hail, master; and KISSED HIM. And Jesus said unto him, FRIEND, WHEREFORE ART THOU COME? Then came they, and laid hands on Jesus, and took him. These are examples of deceitful kisses of (supposed) friends. Song of Solomon 1:1,2 says, The song of songs, which is Solomon's. LET HIM KISS ME with the kisses of his mouth: for thy love is better than wine. Song of Solomon 8:1,2 says, O that thou wert as my brother, that sucked the breasts of my mother! when I should find thee without, I WOULD KISS THEE; yea, I should not be despised. I would lead thee, and bring thee into my mother's house, who would instruct me. These verses are looking forward to marriage and the honeymoon, and the kisses of affection that accompany that relationship. Such affection between men and women (or boys and girls) who are not married, is forbidden, as is clearly seen in I Corinthians 7:1,2, Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: IT IS GOOD FOR A MAN NOT TO TOUCH A WOMAN. Nevertheless, TO AVOID FORNICATION, LET EVERY MAN HAVE HIS OWN WIFE, AND LET EVERY WOMAN HAVE HER OWN HUSBAND. Men and women are not to touch each other in an affectionate way, unless they are married. Proverbs 6:27 says, Can a man take fire in his bosom, and his clothes not be burned? The verses that deal with the saints greeting one another, according to the rest of the context of Scripture, would be of men greeting other men, and women other women. Corinth was known for its false religions and immorality involved with it all. That is no doubt why Paul wrote to them that a man should not touch another woman (in an affectionate way), unless that woman is his wife. Romans 16:16 says, Salute one another with AN HOLY KISS. The churches of Christ salute you. I Corinthians 16:20 says, All the brethren greet you. Greet ye one another with AN HOLY KISS. I Thessalonians 5:26 says, Greet all the brethren with AN HOLY KISS. Notice the emphasis upon the word holy. Young people know that if they kissed others of the opposite gender, it would not be an holy kiss, but a lustful kiss. It would be like what we see happening in Proverbs 7:1-25, My son, keep my words, and lay up my commandments with thee. Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye. Bind them upon thy fingers, write them upon the table of thine heart. Say unto wisdom, Thou art my sister; and call understanding thy kinswoman: That they may keep thee from the strange woman, from the stranger which flattereth with her words. For at the window of my house I looked through my casement, And beheld among the simple ones, I discerned among the youths, a young man void of understanding, Passing through the street near her corner; and he went the way to her house, In the twilight, in the evening, in the black and dark night: And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot, and subtle of heart. (She is loud and stubborn; her feet abide not in her house: Now is she without, now in the streets, and lieth in wait at every corner.) SO SHE CAUGHT HIM, AND KISSED HIM, and with an impudent face said unto him, I have peace offerings with me; this day have I payed my vows. Therefore came I forth to meet thee, diligently to seek thy face, and I have found thee. I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves. For the goodman is not at home, he is gone a long journey: He hath taken a bag of money with him, and will come home at the day appointed. With her much fair speech she caused him to yield, with the flattering of her lips she forced him. He goeth after her straightway, as an ox goeth to the slaughter, or as a fool to the correction of the stocks; Till a dart strike through his liver; as a bird hasteth to the snare, and knoweth not that it is for his life. Hearken unto me now therefore, O ye children, and attend to the words of my mouth. Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. The kisses of greeting in the Scripture are normally between people of the same gender. Kisses of affection are to be only between husband and wife, and kisses of family love between parents and children. We do see Jacob kissing Rachel when he first sees her, but the context shows that he did it because she was family, even though it did not take long for him to become attracted to her. Genesis 29:10-13 says, And it came to pass, when Jacob saw Rachel the daughter of Laban his mother's brother, and the sheep of Laban his mother's brother, that Jacob went near, and rolled the stone from the well's mouth, and watered the flock of Laban his mother's brother. And JACOB KISSED RACHEL, and lifted up his voice, and wept. And Jacob told Rachel that he was her father's brother, and that he was Rebekah's son: and she ran and told her father. And it came to pass, when LABAN heard the tidings of Jacob his sister's son, that he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and KISSED HIM, and brought him to his house. And he told Laban all these things. Today in our culture, a greeting by a handshake is considered appropriate. If men were to go around kissing other men in our culture, it would give the appearance of sodomy. I Thessalonians 5:22 says, Abstain from all appearance of evil.
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