Who Is Your ‘Next Of Kin’ From Biblical Standpoint?

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Udofia,                             Oduyemi                          Ekejekwu

The ubiquitous phrase ‘next of kin’ is quite controversial, as different people have ascribed different meanings to it. This is due largely to the fact that a whole lot goes into the making of a ‘next of kin,’ who, more often than not, stands to benefit immensely from the estate left behind in the case of death. And this precisely is where the problem lies. The very fact that money and properties are involved is enough to draw the attention and interest of all concerned. So, while some schools of thought believe the spouse or children should automatically be the next of kin in the case of married people, others feel otherwise. To this category of people, the parents or relatives are better suited for such purpose, especially in the African context, where some cultures place the extended family above the nuclear family. It is quite a common phenomenon in Nigeria for people to be brutally deprived of the inheritance left behind by their departed loved ones, even when the Will specifically stated otherwise. But sentiments and customs aside, who ideally should be the next of kin? What qualifies someone as the next of kin? Why is there so much misgivings and acrimony regarding this issue? Some clerics told CHRIS IREKAMBA that all this could have been averted, if only people would practise the injunction that “…The two shall become One…” 

‘Next Of Kin Can Be Either My Wife, Or My First Born’ (His Grace, Most Revd. Emmanuel Josiah Udofia, Primate, The African Church/President, Christian Council of Nigeria) MY next of kin can be either my wife, or any of my children, especially my first-born.

Speaking from the biblical point of view in Numbers chapter 27, a certain man died without having a male child and the family was to be denied of their inheritance.

The man’s daughters went to Moses to complain that their father had no male child but they were alive and were their father’s next of kin. So, in verse 5 and 6 of the above chapter, Moses inquired of the Lord about it, and the Lord answered and said that the man’s daughters were qualified as ‘next of kin’ to possess whatever belonged to their father.

So, from the biblical point of view, if somebody has no male children, the daughters can have access to the inheritance of their father’s property.

The only problem that may arise from this part of the world is that here, only male children are made to inherit the father’s properties, whereas in the developed world, a woman can equally have a share in what belongs to the father.

But before God, there is neither male nor female. Everybody is regarded as one in the Lord’s sight. And if God Himself doesn’t show partiality against any one, I think nobody should have any right to show any disparity between a man and woman or who should inherit somebody’s property.

If a man has property and maybe the wife is not alive and unfortunately did not have male children, the man’s daughters have the right to inherit whatever belongs to their father.

Nobody knows who will leave this world before the other and that is why often times, the children’s names are put there in the document. In case the wife leaves after her husband’s death.

So, in such a situation, the children are preferred. We still have many Moses today; we still have people who are still speaking the mind of Lord today.

That is why we need to read God’s word everyday, which is the mind of God to every believer. What I read to you is from the Bible and if any man or woman reads that portion of the Bible and practises it, a lot of problem would have been solved.

Next Of Kin Is Somebody You Can Trust’ (Rev. Mrs. Roselyn Oduyemi, General Overseer, Bethel Worship Centre for all Nations, Lekki, Lagos) MY next of kin from the biblical point of view, if I’m married, would be my husband because the two have become one.

In addition, you can add the children. The next of kin is somebody close to you and who can take charge when you are not there. For a married person, it should be the spouse.

It is amazing that sometimes people choose other persons as their next of kin, when their spouse is there. Biblically, that is how it should be, but sometimes it doesn’t happen that way because there isn’t any trust.

The person has to be somebody you can trust. He/she should be responsible, but one would expect that your husband or wife is responsible enough to qualify for that post. This is referring to biblical standard.

Unfortunately, however, the human nature makes it so sometimes and at other times not so. People usually think such things happen to only women, but I just spoke to a young man whose wife died recently.

What happened next is that the wife’s family rose up and did not want him to be the next of kin any more. So, the cheque for the wife’s was written in her father’s name. So, you find that there are just so many complications about this.

Dr.-Dennis-Inyang

Dr.-Dennis-Inyang

And this is why it is important for people to really put their houses in order and for couples to be truly one. That takes me back to the Bible, where the Lord says two people have become one after marriage. In this kind of situation, it is only natural for the next person to be next of kin, but because of human frailty other things can happen.

It’s a matter of trust. You have to trust somebody before you can make him or her your next of kin. It’s a very important decision to make, as the person has to be responsible.

Why do you think that sometimes parents or fathers make the second son the next of kin instead of the first son? If the first son were irresponsible, no parent or family would allow him to destroy everything they laboured to build. People naturally choose whoever is responsible, even if this happens to be the second son or daughter.

If a father has three sons, he would choose the most responsible among them as the next of kin, though it really should be his wife. But in our society, it is not like that because people are just wicked; they don’t give the woman a chance. And they think that when the husband is not there she becomes irrelevant, which is unfortunate. ‘

Biblically, Your Spouse Is Your Next Of Kin’ (Pastor (Mrs.) Ngozi Oluwagbemiga, Famous Gospel Proclaimers Ministry, Ojudu, Lagos/CEO, Charity Mission Empowerment Foundation in Africa) MY next of kin is my husband.

Next of kin means next to my skin. And who is next to your skin? The spouse should be the next to your skin. The Bible says in Genesis 2:23, ‘he shall be the bone of my bones and the flesh of my flesh.’

But because of the African problem of who should inherit the married man’s property when he is no more, a lot of issues arise regarding this subject. And basically, that is why some people put their son as their next of kin.

But biblically, it should be the one next to your skin, which is your wife or husband. What qualifies him/her is because God has made it so from the scripture, which I read to you in Genesis above.

Because of the problems of inheritance, sharing and Africa’s problematic cultures, people include their son or daughter to suit their selfish desires.

Some men don’t like their wives; so they might not allow them have access to their properties. Some African men even put their uncles and relatives as their next of kin, while some put their son, if they have one.

God made man and woman and they were the next to each other. In the case of both spouses’ death, the post could be passed on to the children, since they are the products of the relationship. ‘

But in our society, it is not like that because people are just wicked; they don’t give the woman a chance. And they think that when the husband is not there she becomes irrelevant, which is unfortunate

At 73, I Am Not Thinking About ‘Next Of Kin’ (Pastor Chris Ekejekwu, National/International Coordinator, Obedience To God’s Assembly, Lagos) AS at today, my ‘next of kin’ is before the temple of God. He is the owner of my life.

He has put me on the lineage of Abraham. God has made me to understand that I have 120 years to live and I’m now only 73. So, I am not thinking about who is my ‘next of kin’ because I am the property of Almighty God.

He knows everything about me, as well as and what will happen tomorrow. The problems we are having today emanated from this ‘next of kin’ issue.

People are busy thinking about their next of kin, thereby piling up everything for their next of kin and when they die, what you see around is chaos and troubles all around. Check out the history of many big men after their death and the commotion in the families of these personalities.

That is why I prefer that the ‘next of kin’ be left in the hands of Almighty God. People usually choose next of kin by the flesh and because they are living carnally, they keep changing their next of kin till the day they die.

Pastor-(Mrs.)-Ngozi-Oluwagbemiga

Pastor-(Mrs.)-Ngozi-Oluwagbemiga

But if you are in tune with God’s word, He will handle everything and when you pass on, there won’t be any problem. Can you see the bitter fighting going on among the families of all the great men that have died? And all this because they want to share the property the deceased left behind. For now, I’m only interested in the work of God and obeying Him.

He knows who will be next of kin. I don’t know for now. I have stepped aside from the lineage of tradition and I cannot talk as an African. I cannot serve God and mammon at the same time.

In African tradition, you have to change certain things and when you die, your relations will gather to go against what you have said when you were alive. That is also the problem among us, who are ministers of the word.

Some are thinking about their next of kin, while they trample on other people’s liberty and right. It is a terrible thing. It has not crossed my mind at all and if you say your next of kin is your wife, what happens if she dies before you? Or if you make your daughter the next of kin, what if she dies before you? We should understand that God has the final say concerning our lives, what we do or believe.

If we know this, then we shall have lesser problems in this world. Such issues bring about a lot of selfishness, because people are not open, they are not transparent.

For Somebody Who Is Married, Husband Or Wife Is The ‘Next Of Kin’ (Rt. Rev. Msgr John Aniagwu, Vicar-General, Catholic Archdiocese of Lagos/Parish Priest, St. Leo’s Catholic Church, Ikeja, Lagos) IT depends.

If the person is not married, the ‘next of kin’ are the parents i.e. the father or mother. But for somebody who is married, the husband or wife is the ‘next of kin’.

What qualifies the person is blood relationship or marriage. In the case of the minor, it is the blood relationship or biological relationship with the parents.

So, the parents are the next of kin for someone who is not married. But for someone who is married, it is said, ‘a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and they shall be one.’ an adult and is married because the Bible in Genesis 2 says from that moment, the father and mother are no longer the next of kin. It is now the spouse i.e. the husband or wife.

As for us Christians, no problem should arise because the word of God is very clear on who is your ‘next of kin.’ As far as Christians are concerned, once you are married, your next of kin, as I quoted above, is your husband or wife. But if you are not married and are a minor, then your next of kin would be your parents, if they were alive.

And if they are not there, of course, it has to be your siblings, whether the eldest brother or sister, who are alive, would be the ‘next of kin.’ ‘My Wife Is Not Even ‘Next Of Kin,’ She Is My Blood And Flesh’ (Pastor (Dr.) Dennis Inyang, presiding pastor, Sure Word Assembly, The Megalife Centre, Okota, Lagos) I DON’T know this ‘next of kin’ thing because it is not a Biblical requirement.

But if you are asking who should be appointed such or who is the closest person to me, of course, it goes without question that my wife is my other half.

God has joined us together and we have become one. And there is really nobody that can answer any question about my life outside my wife. I think she will probably be the person to tell anybody anything regarding me.

So, in that sense, if I were to fill a document and I have ‘next of kin’ I will not think twice before putting my wife’s name. Actually, that is what I have been filling in all my documents. Next of kin is next in the order of natural relationship but I said that my wife and I in biblical context are one.

So, she is not even ‘next of kin,’ she is my blood and flesh. She is me and so, if it is with regards to whatever thing or if there is anything that concerns me, then, of course, my wife is the person scripturally speaking that you would need to talk with.

If you put, for example, your younger brother as the next of kin, or your aunty or elder sister or even your father, that means should there be anything, that is the person that the law would recognise and be called upon. And those people may not even know enough about whatever thing that is going on.

On the other hand, if there is some benefits that the man is actually entitled to upon his demise, it means also that such will now go to maybe the brother or sister.

In some cases, a man could even make his son the next of kin and the wife that had shared his life is left out of the picture. So, there could be some problems, where a man writing his next of kin as somebody other than the person that has shared his life over a period. Naturally, there could be problem arising from this.

If the next of kin dies before the man, that means the man will probably need to alter the documentation and put another next of kind but he/she should actually be someone they can refer to, who will either be called upon should there be an emergency or some benefits.

The scripture, which I referred to initially, says ‘a man shall leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and the two shall become one flesh.’

And I have said that you cannot refer to anybody else apart from that woman regarding who your ‘next of kin’ should be. And I think it should be vice versa because the two of them have become one.

In fact, the Bible says ‘they are joint heirs of the graces of light.’ And so, if that is the case, it means whether there are benefits or not, that is the person that should be referred to.



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