In your new booklet, “And Lawlessness Will Abound…”, you are referring, on page 11, to the “law of jealousy,” as quoted in Numbers 5:29-30, as a “ritualistic procedure” to determine whether a wife had committed adultery or not. What is that “spirit of jealousy”? Is this law still to be applied and practiced today? If not, how are we in the Church to determine whether a wife is guilty of adultery or not?
In Numbers 5:11-31, God gave Old Testament Israel a supernatural means of determining whether a wife had committed adultery or not, although she had not been caught, and no witness was present (Numbers 5:13). When “the spirit of jealousy” came upon the husband, so that he suspected a transgression of his wife, the husband could bring his wife to the priest, and he had to bring at the same time the “grain offering of jealousy.” (Numbers 5:15).
It is possible that the “spirit of jealousy” describes the fact that the husband became jealous in his spirit or mind. It is also possible, that the “spirit of jealousy” was at times actually a spirit being causing the husband to become jealous. We need to note that the “spirit of jealousy” would at times come upon the husband even when his suspicions were false. Since God would not give a husband a spirit of jealousy if his suspicions were baseless, it is possible that in such a case, the husband upon whom the “spirit of jealousy” came, might have actually been influenced by an evil spirit.
The priest gave the woman “holy” or “bitter” water to drink, after she had denied, under oath, any transgression. God then saw to it, that her belly would swell, if she was in deed guilty.
This ritual law and its different “components” are no longer binding for us today, as the application of the law was inseparably connected with the bringing of an oath and of sacrifices. Christians today are not to swear (Matthew 5: 33-37; James 5:12), and sacrifices are no longer required.
Today, God has given His ministers the ability, through the workings of the Holy Spirit within them, to discern sinful conduct and the existence or lack of repentance (John 20:22-23). At times, as is recorded in Acts 5:1-11, God might still supernaturally intervene in spectacular ways to make known circumstances and the truth to the Church. Barring those unusual occurrences, no accusation against anyone, including the accusation of adulterous conduct, is to be received by the ministry, unless at least two witnesses can support the accusation (Deut. 17:6-7; John 8:16-17). Although a guilty person might seemingly get away with sin for a while, we must always remember that, unless sins are repented of and forgiven, we will have to give account of them to God in due time (1 Peter 4:17; Romans 14:10-12; 2 Corinthians 5:10).
In addition, God requires of His ministers to be merciful, as Christ was, when judging a given situation (John 8:10-11). They are to look at the heart, as much as God allows and inspires them to, in order to determine whether the person is repentant and deserving of forgiveness.