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Discussion Forum : General Topics : Divorce and Re Marriage

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Joined: 2004/4/1
Posts: 323


I looked up some other comments about 1 Cor 7:15, there is much debate about this, so I don't think this can be resolved on this site so easily. I have found other research that supports the context I believe this verse is referring to, that disagrees with other points of view here, that "not being bound in such cases" does not automatically allow for remarriage but is only referring to letting them go in peace. God has not shown me Scripture to support remarriage outside of adultery, even then, only the offended party seems able to remarry, and not the other, as stated in Matt 19:9. This is a personal thing between God and each person, but these kinds of things should be at least given some thought before doing it. I pray God gives us wisdom about this subject, and His children will love their spouses as much as Christ loves the church.


 2004/5/7 23:49Profile

Joined: 2004/4/27
Posts: 431
New York


I've been following this thread with some interest.

The LAW of Moses clearly states that:

Lev 20:10
If there is a man who commits adultery with another man's wife, one who commits adultery with his friend's wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

If this is so, why did Jesus violate the Law by preventing the stoning of a woman caught in adultery and He Himself letting her not be stoned?

Scripture says: "Lev 20:17-18
If there is a man who takes his sister, his father's daughter or his mother's daughter, so that he sees her nakedness and she sees his nakedness, it is a disgrace; and they shall be cut off in the sight of the sons of their people. He has uncovered his sister's nakedness; he bears his guilt."

How is it then that Abraham married Sarah, his half sister, and no guilt was laid on him for doing so. Also, did not the many children of Adam and Eve marry each other? How is it that it was not wrong in the eyes of God that brothers and sisters married each other back then? Indeed He instructed them to marry and multiply.

Did not Jacob bear children by Leah and Rachel, his two wives, and at their request he also bore children by each wife's personal maidservant, Why was this not adultery?

Both Abraham before the Mosaic Law, and David after the issuance of the Mosaic Law, were sexually active with multiple wives and concubines. Why was sex with the non-wives (i.e. concubines) not considered adultery or fornication? Though David is never admonished for having sex with concubines, yet when David had sex with Beersheba and had her husband murdered to cover-up their adulterous relationship, God took David to task for commiting adultery and murder. Yet God does not invoke the Death penalty of "Stoning" on David and Beersheba, as is required by the Mosaic Law. How can this be?

There are some here who do not know scripture very well nor understand what Christ actually accomplished for us. The prohibition of marriage is a great burden to place on any two unmarried people who genuinely love and long for each other, even if one or both had been divorced. For guidance, here are other scriptures:

Matt 7:1-3

" Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.


James 2:12-13

Speak and act as those who are going to be judged by the law that gives freedom, because judgment without mercy will be shown to anyone who has not been merciful. Mercy triumphs over judgment!


Holiness is not the absence of sin in one's life, a rock is sinless. Holiness is the presence of God in one's life.

I will start a new thread called "Messiah" and hopefully clarify some of the above.

Arthur Biele

 2004/5/11 1:37Profile

Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK


Sometimes we have to broaden an issue before we can narrow it. There are at least three issues affecting fellowship which the Church has struggled with for hundreds of years; repentant apostates, the marriage of divorcees, and taking up arms in war. Opposing sides have been taken by Godly men in their different persuasions. Often, as the saying goes 'we generated more heat than light'. It is easier to come to decisions about these matters in our studies than in our pastoral care of the saints. It is relatively easy to come to fixed position theologically; if we were dealing with boxes and not people life would be uncomplicated.

Before we can define 'remarriage' we have to define 'divorce', but before we define 'divorce' we have to define 'marriage'. For a couple of hundred years there has been a 'Christian consensus' for a definition; usually it would involve the notions of consent, covenant and consumation. It has been a bulwark for society and the family, but we are now living in a society which is much more like that of the first century and it would be good if we understood what that society was like.

As far as I can ascertain there are no Hebrew words nor Greek words for 'husband' or 'wife'. :-o Both languages use the simple words for 'man' or 'woman' and they add a possessive pronoun. eg Jesus says to the Samaritan woman "thou hast had 5 men and he whom thou now hast is not thy man". The question then is what makes 'a man' hers or 'a woman' his. and we are back to our need for a definition of marriage!

There are no marriage 'ceremonies' in the Old Testament. There is a wedding celebration in John 2 and we have a good idea of the pattern of betrothal and marriage in Jewish society. Some say that God authenticates the Jewish pattern, but do not usually say where or how.

At this point in history Roman wedding patterns were in transition. Roman family life with its rights and responsibilities is very complicated for folks brought up in our cultures. The Romans had 5 recognized forms of marriage! In some of them 'ownership' of the woman changed. In some it did not. The one closest to our traditional 'Christian marriage' was called 'Confarreatio'.
Confarreatio was an elaborate religious ceremony,
* with ten witnesses,
* the flamen dialis (himself married confarreatio) and
* pontifex maximus in attendance.
* Only the children of parents married confarreatio were eligible.
* The grain far was baked into a special wedding cake (farreum) for the occasion; hence, the name confarreatio.

It was only available for the patrician class. (the upper strata of Ronan society) Technically this made the bride her father-in-law's possession.

Another familiar form of marriage was known an USUS and has similarities with what we would now call 'common law marriage'. This would have been the form of marriage for much of the lower 'strata' of Roman society. Under this form of marriage
* After a year's cohabitation, the woman came under her husband's manum, (authority)
* unless she stayed away for three nights (trinoctium abesse).
* Since she wasn't living with her pater familias, and
* since she wasn't under the hand of her husband,
* she acquired some freedom.

We have no records of Roman marriages being 'blessed' by Christians and it is most unlikely that early Christians were required to be formally married by 'Christian priests'.

One of the things we 21st Century christians need to think through is the implications of all this. Is a common-law marriage between two faithful partners less 'valid' that a legal marriage in Las Vegas that lasts for an hour or two? Can someone live a life of promiscuity but still be regarded as 'unmarried' and therefore eligible for 'Christian Marriage'?

The words of the Lord are very striking; They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. (Mat 19:7-8 KJV)

In particular we should notice
1. his change from 'command' to 'allow' in his statement regarding Moses,
2. that the original design (from the beginning) had been allowed to be 'modified'.
3. the reason for the modification was 'hardness of heart'.

The Moses commandment was part of a Law-Code which began at Sinai (and hence did not include Adam, Abraham, Jacog etc) and ended when the 'seed came to whom the promise was made'. (Gal 3:19). This means we must be very cautious about the way we use the Old Testament to understand the New Testament. The New Covenant contains a promise of a new-heart, so is there now any accommodation for 'hardness of heart' in the Church? are we back to 'as it was in the beginning?'.

In all these considerations we need a spirit of patience love and, often, specific discernment. This is a plea from an old pastor who once had all this sorted out theoretically, but real people just kept getting in the way! :-)

Just one more comment by way of loving provocation; one of the reasons we have such difficulties with this issue is because churches have taken on the role of 'marriage facilitators'. Why do we 'marry' people? If we left this in the hands of the civil authority we might be able to see some of the issues more clearly. Just my thoughts... we know in part...

Ron Bailey

 2004/5/11 10:02Profile

Joined: 2004/4/27
Posts: 431
New York

 Re: Jewish Marriage 1st Century AD

If the marriage was not an arranged marriage from infancy, the way for a man to obtain a bride can be done in 3 posssible ways: the man's father could make arrangements for his son; an agent working on behalf of the father can make the arrangements; or the would be Bridegroom can make his own arrangements.

Once the arrangements are made with the potential bride-to-be's family, the two families gather at her father's home. The potential groom-to-be takes three things with him: a large sum of money to purchase his wife, a a betrothal contract, and a skin of wine. The Bridegroom then meets with the bride's father/brothers and he shows them the betrothal contract, a glass of wine is poured out, and he then negotiates a price to be paid for the bride. If an agreement is reached, the bride is called in. The potential bridegroom drinks of the cup and offers it to her, If she agrees, she drinks of the cup of the wine, and in so doing she has made the marriage contract binding. They are legally married at this point and their union can only be dissolved by divorce. Still, their relationship at this point is that of betrothed, Bridegroom and Bride, and not that of fully married.

The groom then announces that he will he will go to his father's house to prepare a place for her. He returns to his father's house to build the chamber and honeymoon bed. The room is made beautiful and provided with every comfort. If the groom is asked when the room will be ready, his answer would be "no one knows except my father." This is because by custom, the father has to be satisfied that everything was just right before he gave his permission to the son to go get his bride.

The bride, having been bought with a price and having accepted the bridegroom's offer of bethrothal, must spend time preparing to live as wife. Her days in waiting for her husband are spent in learning how to please her husband.

The groom enlists two close friends to assist him in securing his bride and to assist during the actual ceremony. Jewish custon call these two "The friends of the bridegroom". They also function as the two witnesses required for a Jewish wedding. On the day when all prepations for the ceremony are ready, one of the two 'friends of the bridegroom' is sent to assist the bride and bring her to the ceremony. The other is stationed with the bridegroom.

At the wedding ceremony, the groom and bride sign a new contract, the Ketubah, which is witnessed by his 'friends', it contains his promises to the bride.

Arthur Biele

 2004/5/11 14:14Profile

Joined: 2004/2/11
Posts: 60

 Re: Divorce and Re Marriage

Dave: I realize there have been other views on this subject expressed, but here's my [i]opinion[/i].

Don't let a mistake you made in your past life (you are dead to sin, that life is no more) affect God's plan for your life. If God is behind this relationship-- A fact which will be confirmed in you and her through the Spirit-- then I think you should get married.

Remember that God is a Spirit Being. He is outside of time. [b]If this is the person God wanted you to marry, then by marrying her you aren't committing adultery to your past spouse; on the contrary, by marrying your past spouse you committed adultery with the spouse God intended for you. And that sin was wiped away on the cross.[/b]

I hope I have made this clear. Let me state this another way.

God designed you to be married to a specific person. By marrying someone other than that person, then marrying the person God wanted, you commit adultery against God's chosen spouse with the other person, regardless of which relationship came first (since God sees all time as one unit, and not as a progression of experiences like we do).

Hard to explain, but, you will agree, logical, if I am not mistaken.

 2004/5/11 17:17Profile

Joined: 2004/4/22
Posts: 57


Maybe I'm in the minority with this, but I don't think there is a biblical case that God's will for your life is a dot that you have to somehow find. So I don't believe there is ONE person for you to marry. (I don't see it in the bible).

Further, It is a danger for us to try to listen for the spirit apart from the word--though I don't think that is what was suggested--it's dangerous. When listening for the "voice" it is far too easy for our opinions and desires to get in the way. What must be done is to search the mind of God by reading the word of God...Many things are often done in God's name that God would never support. Tey ran after what THEY thought--not what God thought.

Anything more I'm sure has already been stated. Only be sure of this. The Spirit will never lead anyone into sin. His leading is never against what is taught in scripture.

I am not meaning any hostility (sometimes I'm frank at the expence of diplomacy) forgive me if that has happened here.



matthew bauer

 2004/5/11 17:42Profile

Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK


Shazbot writes God designed you to be married to a specific person. By marrying someone other than that person, then marrying the person God wanted, you commit adultery against God's chosen spouse with the other person, regardless of which relationship came first (since God sees all time as one unit, and not as a progression of experiences like we do).

Hard to explain, but, you will agree, logical, if I am not mistaken.

This is more dangerous than you can imagine. I have known more than one gifted servant of God who has followed the 'logic' of this into adulterous relationships with their 'true, God-intended, spouses'.

Ron Bailey

 2004/5/11 18:12Profile

Joined: 2004/3/28
Posts: 354


Shazbot, you did say it was only your opinion, so I hope my responding opinion does not seem too harsh, but I would like to echo Ron's response and add my own thoughts.

If this is the person God wanted you to marry, then by marrying her you aren't committing adultery to your past spouse; on the contrary, by marrying your past spouse you committed adultery with the spouse God intended for you.

I know of no Scriptural support for the ideas:
1) God has a specific spouse in mind for each person He intends to have marry. (Gary Friesen wrote a very good book on decision making and the will of God, which addresses this and other questions)
2) Even if He did, that God considers it adultery to marry anyone else. (As I understand it, in Scripture it's always if we marry, and [b]then[/b] have sex outside that marriage that it is considered adultery)
3) That God would ever will us to do something that would be transgressing one of His moral laws (i.e. [b]if[/b] divorce and remarriage in a given situation is such a transgression, God would [b]never[/b] will us to divorce and remarry in such a situation).

Not that you're advocating #3, but it does clarify that the real question isn't which woman God intended Dave to marry, but rather if it is a transgression of one of God's moral laws for Dave to remarry in this situation.

By marrying someone other than that person, then marrying the person God wanted, you commit adultery against God's chosen spouse with the other person, regardless of which relationship came first (since God sees all time as one unit, and not as a progression of experiences like we do).

Are we held accountable according to the knowledge God has, or the knowledge we have? Certainly, if God told me to marry a specific person it would be sin (not adultery, but general disobedience to the known will of God) to marry someone else, but if He does not inform me I do not see Scriptural basis for it being sin to marry someone else (or not marry at all, for that matter).

This kind of concept would seem particularly dangerous when combined with Holiness (which I believe), because according to that adulterers go to hell. But I suppose you weren't intending to get anywhere near that conclusion.

May God guide all of us, in Spirit and in Truth,

 2004/5/11 19:45Profile

 Re: Divorce and Re Marriage

 2006/5/8 13:30



KeithLaMothe wrote:
That's quite a dilemma, I'm sorry you're put in this situation by a pre-conversion decision.

I'll be blunt about my own position: If a man and a woman marry, then divorce, neither can lawfully (by God's law) marry another person so long as both remain alive.

The only reason I believe that is because I believe the Scriptures teach it. If I had a good Scriptural argument for anything less harsh I'd probably leap for it.

Matthew 5
32 But I say unto you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, except for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery; and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.

The clause "except for the cause of fornication" has been interpreted (reasonably) to mean that if either person commits adultery then divorce is lawful and presumably remarriage as well (of the non-adulterating person, at least). I've heard, however, that Jesus was referring to the Jewish custom where if the woman fornicated during the espousal period, the engagement could be called off lawfully; nothing to do with sexual misconduct after the marriage had taken place. I think there's support for that interpretation in that Matthew has a more Jewish audience than the other 3 Gospels (right?), and Jesus' other statements on the matter do not include this exception clause.

Mark 10
11 And He said unto them, "Whosoever shall put away his wife and marry another, committeth adultery against her.
12 And if a woman shall put away her husband and be married to another, she committeth adultery."

Luke 16
18 "Whosoever putteth away his wife and marrieth another committeth adultery; and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband committeth adultery.

I'd put more time into investigating this, and I'll ask a friend of mine who has been researching it, but right now I have to finish up a term project. Will pm you if I have anything worthwhile.

Again, the Scriptural evidence is the only reason I hold this position, it's definately not my natural preference, but we must obey God.

I shall pray for you, at the least.

Fornication (porneia g4202) cannot mean illicit sexual activity only 'during Jewish betrothal" as some try to state.

The word porneia (rendered 'fornication) is directed SPECIFICALLY to GENTILES converts in Acts 15 to tell them to abstain from 'fornication' (porneia G4202).

"Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood.
(Act 15:19-20)

From G4203; harlotry (including adultery and incest); figuratively idolatry: - fornication.

Since betrothal is a Jewish custom, using this word 'porneia' to instruct the gentiles means that porneia cannot in any way specifically mean, and limited to, sexual sin during the JEWISH betrothal period.


Matthew written to Jews, do the differences matter

Some state that because Matt. was written to Jews that the difference of the exception clause (Matthew 19:9 and 5:32...the part that says ‘’except for fornication” (porneia) applied only to the Jews because of their betrothal customs.
The assertion that because the exception clause is present in Matthew, yet not in Mark that it is only for Jews is absurdity.
Lets look at the example of the empty tomb and see the great differences there. between these two writers.

Mat 28:2-6 And behold, a great earthquake occurred; for an angel of the Lord, having come down out of heaven, came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. (3) And His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. (4) And the guards were shaken for fear of him, and became like dead men. (5) But the angel answered and said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. (6) He is not here! For He is risen, just as He said. Come; see the place where the Lord was lying.

Mar 16:5-8 And entering into the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right clothed with a white robe, and they were alarmed. (6) But he said to them, "Do not be alarmed. You are seeking Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has arisen! He is not here! See the place where they put Him. (7) But go, say to His disciples, and Peter, that He is going before you into Galilee; there you shall see Him, just as He said to you." (8) And going out, they fled from the tomb, but trembling and amazement held them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

See how Marks description of the Angel(s) is lacking greatly compared to Matthews?
Marks writing seems many times to just be recording occurances without adding a lot of detail.
Possibly why Mark is the shortest of the Gospels
Mark doesnt even mention this "Great Earthquake" that Matthew tells about.

So WHICH is right.....Mark to the Gentile, Matthew to the Jews ?
Was it One angel or two?
Did they appear like a young man in a white robe to Marks audience, or like lightening to Matthews?
Do these record TWO different events or one ?

Did the great earthquake happen according to Matthews account or not?
Was the earthquake taught to Jews and not to Gentiles ? Some would have to say as much by the way they teach that Matthew is written to Jews and Mark to Gentiles.

ALL of them are right, we take the TOGETHER in CONTEXT and find the HARMONY between them.

We see other discrepancies, even among the SAME writer Luke in Acts.

And the men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one.
(Act 9:7 EMTV)


"And those who were with me observed the light and became terrified, but they did not hear the voice of the One speaking to me.
(Act 22:9 EMTV)

We have them hearing, but not seeing in chap 9, then just the opposite in chap 22.
Which is correct?

Possibly its meaningless as that isnt the point of the text, but we can cleary see that even when its the same writer discrepancies can occur, let alone a writer simply not recording every detail that another has.

Matthew being written to Jews has NO bearing on this matter.
There are other books such as Hebrews to those Hebrew converts and James being written to those of the twelve tribes scattered abroad.
Will we say ''these are written to Jew and therefore not for us gentiles" ?
Will we cast aside ANY teaching we dont like if it wasnt written to us gentiles specifically?

Jesus didnt SAY it was only for Jews and their betrothal year. He made on clear exception for divorce and remarriage...ONLY for whoredom or you commit adultery when you remarry.

We know this, God gives His law to humanity. He wants all people everywhere to obey Him.
When God distinguishes that a rule is for one group and not the whole, He states it clearly (below about Levitical priests forbidden to take wives ''put away'').

Since Jesus did not specify that this only applied to Jews, there is no reason to think that it did.
Since Jesus also did not specify ''espoused wife'' but clearly the word for ''wife'' was used, He must have been upholding that, as it always has, the sexual sins of the guilty break the conditional covenant of marriage. Jesus states we can put away a wife for this reason alone.

So we know that when some proclaim that Matthew was written to Jews, that it is irrelevant, it was written for the followers of Jesus Christ.
The rules apply evenly to all, the Jews do not receive some special ability to protect themselves from a whoring spouse while the rest of His children are left open to abuse. To state as much would be an absurdity.

*IF* it made ANY difference that Matthew had differences, then to follow proper rules of interpretation, we would have to do the same with EVERY book in the bible. Anything that was written to a Jewish christians would NOT apply to gentile christians if it were not repeated in a book written TO gentiles.

The fact is this is absurd.
The rules of Christianity are given to ALL of us, not some rules for this group and some to the other.
When you hear someone hand you a line like ''Matthew was written to Jews and applies to the betrothal period'' ask them to PROVE it conclusively...keeping in mind all the other material in this site.
They have not a single clear verse that makes the assertion...all they do is fill in the gaps with thier own ideas, rejecting the facts in the matter as we have discussed on this website. (ex. Porneia being ALL inclusive of sexual sin and NOT just premarital sex)

 2006/5/8 20:38

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