Points concerning divorce and remarriage.
Rightly dividing the word of truth.
These are some of the items that come up in discussions about divorce and remarriage.
This article is not defending all divorce and remarriage, only those remarriages where one spouse engaged in unlawful sex with another person and, after given the chance to cease, refused to do so.
Im not making any comments in this about divorce or remarriage for desertion, abuse, etc.
[b] Herod and Herodias [/b]
The first thing to remember is that Jesus had not yet begun His ministry when John started accusing Herod and Herodias.(Luke 3:19-23)
Johns ministy was the beginning of, the transition into, the gospel kingdom
Herodias was the niece of Phillip and Herod, the daughter their own brother Aristobulus.
Thus marrying her was unlawful for either Phillip or Herod as she was closely related.
Another sin that was commited was that Herod and Herodias met and conspired to put away their spouses for no good reason, then marry each other.
This is backed by Josephus in book 18, chapter 5. As is how Herodias had defied the laws of the land by divorcing Phillip ''while he still lived''. But on that point, who can divorce a dead man, she would have been freed of the law of Phillip with his death. Her divorce was invalid as the wife did not have this right.
The old dispensation had passed with Johns preaching, but things didnt just change overnite.
John condemned Herod and Herodias with the Mosiac Law.
Those sexual laws are still intact in this covenant. We know sex with a sister or with a brothers wife is still effective.
Herodias was still the wife of Phillip lawfully as Jewish custom, nor Mosiac law, permitted a woman to divorce.
And most of all because Herodias hadnt put him away for a scriptural reason, she just wanted Herod, a new man.
God doesnt have to recognize divorce under circumstances He doesnt permit.
[b] What were the pharisees asking Jesus and what was His response? [/b]
The pharisees didnt ask Jesus ''can we divorce''. (Matt 19:3)
This is a very key point to Jesus' response.
What they asked Him is ''can we divorce for any reason'', then they proceeded to argue that Moses had permitted them to just hand the wife divorce papers and send them packing. They didnt have to have any good reason at all.
So Jesus wasnt responding to ''can we divorce''
He was answering ''can we divorce for any reason at all"
Jesus returned things to their beginning state. A marriage was for life, thats how God created it.
Jesus said ''only for whoredom'' (any unlawful sex) can we divorce
[b] Josephs putting Mary away [/b]
Jesus had not been yet born to teach.
Joseph and Mary were under Mosaic Law and thus Deut 24:1-4 was still in force.
Joe could have put Mary away for any number of reasons and as such their example would be irrelevant to this topic regardless of the situation involved.
We dont know if Joe would have put Mary away under the rule change that Jesus made.
Everything about that situation is hypothetical and cannot be used as proof of anything.
Whoredom, harlotry, illicit sex of any kind.
This included every sexual sin of every nature.
Sex with men, women, animals or any other perversion in existance or any new ones that a person can come up with.
This can be commited by anyone. A husband or wife or a single person.
When porneia (any sexual sin) is carried out by the married, the crime of adultery is commited.
[b]Did Jesus say ''wife'' or "espoused" wife[/b]
If Jesus had been only refering to the betrothal period in the exception clause, He would have used the very term used for Mary at times...."espoused wife'' or ''espoused'' (see G3423).
He didnt. He clearly used the word that means ''wife'' or woman. A mans woman was his wife.
She was his lawful wife from the moment the marriage was contracted.
Jesus knew this.
When He said ''wife'' He was refering to whoredom of a wife, pre or post consumation.
(compare Matt 19.9 and 5:32 with Luke 2:5)
[b]What is ''one flesh'' and what is it that God joins together? [/b]
We cannot assert that ''one flesh'' is anything beyond mere sex.
The reason is that Paul states in 1 Corinth. 6:16 that even having sex with a harlot makes us one body with her. Paul uses the example of ''one flesh'' as in marriage.
If we assert that ''one flesh'' is anything beyond sex (consumation in marraige), then we must apply that to sex with the harlot as well, just as Paul presents.
What God joins together is the man and woman in His marital covenant. This covenant is not unconditional. It never has been.
(compare 1 Cor. 6:16 with Mark 10:8), Paul even quotes the phrase used to show its the same thing)
[b]A wife is a lawful wife even during the betrothal year and punishable as such[/b]
A woman was the covenant wife of her husband during the whole betrothal year.
So Jesus isnt refering to premarital sex, the two were married lawfully.
Jesus said 'wife''
A wife was a "wife" lawfully as soon as she was betrothed/contracted in marriage.
Jesus was not only refering to premarital sex, because in the custom Jesus lived in "betrothed" was not a PREmarital state, it was unconsumated marriage. It was Lawful, binding, permanent marriage.
There is no distinction made between ''epoused wife'' and ''wife'' as far as the punishment for willful sexual sin in the OT.
When Jesus says ''except for whoredom you cannot put your ''wife'' away'' He shows that that has not changed.
What has changed, though is mercy to the sinner. By not issuing the death of the woman found in adultery, Jesus has shown that the adulteress isnt to be put to death because of mercys sake.
[b]Matthew written to Jews, do the differences matter
Some state that because Matt. was written to Jews that the difference of the exception clause applies only to the Jews.[/b]
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.
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.
Luk 24:2-9 But they found the stone having been rolled away from the tomb. (3) And going in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. (4) And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. (5) Then, as they became afraid and bowed their faces to the ground, they said to them, "Why do you seek the living among the dead? (6) He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, (7) saying, 'The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.' " (8) And they remembered His words. (9) And returning from the tomb, they reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest.
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.
and in John, no one is mentioned at all.
Joh 20:1-2 On the first day of the week Mary Magdalene went to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. (2) Therefore she ran and came to Simon Peter, and to the other disciple, whom Jesus loved, and said to them, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him."---
Three different descriptions given of who was there, and Johns account makes no mention at all of anyone.
Does that mean John taught there was no angel present at the tomb to his followers?
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.
[b]Are covenants breakable[/b]
A covenant is made by one person to another. The two can make covenants together, like marriage vows being given by both the husband and the bride.
There are unconditional covenants that can be carried out no matter what, such as the covenant that God made to Abraham concerning that He would preserve Israel, which He has through the remnant.
Then there are conditional covenants, such as the one presented to Israel in the OT.
Over and over again throughout the OT God says Israel is breaking His covenant.
For them to break it, it must be conditional.
The conditional covenant maker can also finally break it if it is persistantly disregarded by the person it is made to.(such as a whoring nation or a whoring spouse)
Israel had continually broken Gods covenant He made to them.
So fully and finally He broke it entirely, so as to end it.
And I took my staff, even Beauty, and cut it asunder, that I might break my covenant which I had made with all the people.
And it was broken in that day: and so the poor of the flock that waited upon me knew that it was the word of the LORD.
(Zec 11:10-11 KJV)
There is one more OT prophet, Malachi, which reads like a dear John letter from a departing spouse, then silence from God for 400+ years until John the baptist who was the promised ''Elijah'' that would come. (Malachi 4:5)
Marriage is not an unconditional covenant.
Jesus proves this with ''except for whoredom"
[b]Does sexual sin break the marriage covenant[/b]
Willful sexual sin in the OT within marriage always was punishable by death.
No distinction is made for the year long betrothal period.
Jesus kept right in stride with this idea when He said only for whoredom can we divorce and remarry without commiting adultery.
Mat 19:9 `And I say to you, that, whoever may put away his wife, if not for whoredom, and may marry another, doth commit adultery; and he who did marry her that hath been put away, doth commit adultery.'
The marriage covenant is not unconditional.
Gods original intent was that the only condition that would end a union was whoredom.
This is represented in the law that makes this crime a death punishable offense.
[b]Did "putting away" and remarriage happen pre-Deuteronomy 24?[/b]
Men were evil and put away thier wives for all sorts of things.
That putting away was happening is proven in Leviticus.
The priests alone are told not to marry a women who had been put away.
Women who are put away unjustly still need food, water, a place to sleep and love.
God did not forbid them from remarrying in general, only to those priests (who were a foreshadow of our Lord)
Some will tell you that putting away and remarriage did not happen pre-Deut, but this a absolutely a lie.
If it werent happening, then there would have been no need to prohibit the priests from doing so.
The priests are the only ones with this prohibition.
(Lev 21:7 and 21:14)
[b]Evidences of divorce and remarriage in the Church[/b]
Evidences that there were divorcees who had remarried in the church are found in the list of widows and the requirements for bishops.
>-1Tim 5:9 Do not let a widow be enrolled having become less than sixty years old, the wife of one man,
>-Titus 1:6 if anyone is blameless, husband of one wife, having believing children, not accused of loose behavior, or disobedient.
>-1Tim 3:2 Then it behooves the overseer to be without reproach, husband of one wife, temperate, sensible, well-ordered, hospitable, apt at teaching,
The remarried widow(er) was not prohibited or restricted in any manner I have seen, Paul even recommends that younger widows remarry.
Paul would be purposefully making it impossible for a woman to later to be accepted to this list of widows for no good reason if he were speaking the remarried widow in 1 tim 5:9 above instead of a remarried divorcee.
Of all the possibilities, ONLY divorce and remarriage is corrected clearly in scripture.
We can assume that frivolous divorce and remarriage would immediately bar one from the prominent position of bishop.
But Paul makes no distinction, so we must assume that he also means those who divorced an adulteress then remarried as well (just to be on the safe side).
Showing that these, athough not the most prominent persons, were indeed still in fellowship with the rest of our brethren.
Some will state that this have put away these second marriages, but what I find very peculiar is that, if this matter were so crucial to salvation, Paul should surely have made a point of it. "Only if these second wives have been put away''.
The way its left, it sounds very much like they could have still been with the person.
Another issue is that those of the anti-remarriage camp state that this second "marriage" is not a marriage at all, but an adulterous affair.
The clear implication above is that the second marriage is a recognized one, if it werent, then Paul would have simply called these people adulterers and surely they wouldnt even be in fellowship. Let alone being considered for the position of Bishop.
[b]The wife is bound by law until the husband is dead[/b]
In Romans Paul was speaking to those who knew the law.
The law reigned over a man all his days.
Paul uses this analogy of marriage, the wife being bound to her husband all his days, to represent that it was the same.
What Paul didnt state, and those knowing the law would know this, is that there was provision in the law for a husband to put away his wife. Deut 24:1-4.
This shows conclusively that Paul was not laying out the whole scope of rules on marrige in Romans 7, but was using one aspect of it to explain our relationship to the law and to the new covenant.
This idea is presented again in 1 Corinthians 7:39. The wife is bound to the husband until his death.
The only problem is that Paul isnt dealing with adultery from his words to the church there.
Seemingly he is presenting his instruction to those in that were leaving and divorcing a spouse for no scriptural reason .
In this chapter he starts off presenting that to avoid fornication seemingly by taking a spouse.
Corinth was the sexual sin capitol of the area, so we can imagine many of the people were used to just having sex whenever it pleased them.
Sex is only lawful within the confines of a marriage, Let each man and woman have their own spouse.
verse 7:39 states that, again, the wife is bound by law as long as her husband lives.
Again we have the issue that Paul isnt telling the whole story here as the very law he keeps speaking of, made provision for divorce (Deut24:1-4).
Deut 24 had given a man the authority to divorce for just about any reason.
Jesus, as seen above, did away with this idea and returned things to their original state.
A wife must break the covenant with whoredom or she cannot just be cast away.
To do so, then to remarry, would be to commit adultery against that union.