Divorce and Remarriage, is it Allowed?
Divorce and Remarriage
Marriage and Divorce
By Your servant, Dan Baxley
Divorce and Remarriage Law:
First, we are going to cover what YaHshua taught concerning Marriage. His authority over the Law, which He often called, “the Law of Moses” (Luke 24:44, John 7:19, 23 and Acts 13:39). His authority becomes obvious when He quotes the Law then circumvents its popular meaning or teaching. Either we believe and accept YaHshua as the Son of God, who rightly has this authority, or we do not. Not that He is changing the Law, not at all, but He is giving it a broader, deeper meaning, a spiritual understanding -- delivering the intended purpose, which men have taken and made into a burden for their own purposes -- Luke 11:42-46. They were good at teaching and enforcing the Law but not doing what was right, leaving justice in the dust, having no mercy on the fallen -- perhaps, even taking pleasure in the enforcement of the Law, or shaping the Law to fit their own views or lusts in having power over the people. It is from this understanding that we approach the subject of Divorce and Remarriage in the Church (comgregation).
2Co 11:2 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I (Paul) have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ (The Anointed).
2Co 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from (away from) the simplicity that is in Christ.
(Mat 11:28-30) Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light."
He continually corrected the religious leaders in their understanding -- they saw only the physical application, as well as an outright misuse of the Truth in Torah (Law) as a tool for power and control and YaHshua threatened that control. Not unlike today, the members of any particular group are all too willing to hand over idividual rights and responsibilities to those they see as their religious leaders, Apostles, Pastors or Prophets in handling their salvation. The teachers who have led seekers of truth astray, will have to answer for their conduct toward the membership, but we, as believers have a certain responsibility of our own --
Php 2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
Remember, we are told that He has been given all things by His Heavenly Father and not only that, but that He, YaHshua, has been from the beginning -- John 1-3, 14 -- and that He was the tool through and by whom all things were created, making YaHshua the Creator of all that we see -- Heb 1:1-4 -- and He is the Radiance (Birghtness) of the Father's Glory. Actually, this needs to be read, and believed. This is one of the biggest reveals in the entire Bible. In some places it is hinted about but here it is stright out truth, needing not interpretaion.
Hebrew 1:1-4: In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe (Worlds -KJV). The Son is the radiance of God's glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by His powerful Word (John 1:1:3,14). After he had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven. So He became as much superior to the angels as the Name He has inherited is superior to theirs.
Please read the following verse from your own Bible then return to this study – Hebrews 1:2, John 5:22, Ephesians 3:9, Colossians 1:16, John 1:1-3&14, Psalms 121:2; 124:8, Revelation 14:7 – The conclusion can only be that our Creator and the God, the God of Israel, YHWH, was and is YaHshua come in the flesh – BUT – YaHshua now who was YaHWeH previously is NOT the FATHER. He came to reveal the Father – Matthew 11:27. What this means is that if there is anyone that could enlighten mankind about the LAW of Moses, it would be Him, as He is the One who spoke to Moses.
YaHshua is the Authority
It would not be unreasonable to say we follow YaHshua and believe in Him as our Savior and then ignore or twist what He is saying. Once we see Him as the authority over the Law itself, we can understand, better, the things He was teaching and the reasoning behind His teachings.
After we look at what He taught we will then look at what His Apostles taught concerning the Church, the Ecclesia (group or congregation), which comprised a mixture of Jews and Gentiles believers. Actually, this mixture, during the lifetime of the Apostles was limited, very limited, virtually non-existence, within the first 15-20 years actually -- the Jewish believers of that first century, for the most part, did not mingle with the Gentile Converts (John 4:9, Mat 10:5, Acts 11:2-4) -- also an episode between Paul and Peter demonstrates this continuing Jewish prejudice at an event taking place at Galatia when Peter separated himself from the Gentile brethren for fear of what the Jewish brothers would think -- Gal 2:12 – Jewish prejudice toward those unclean gentiles. It was a problem for the First Church, especially as the Church in the first few decades were mainly Jews. Once the Gentiles grew in numbers and ultimately gained control, especially after the collapse of the Jewish state, with the destruction of the Temple, ending the Jerusalem's Ecclesia leadership, leading to a Gentile take over, something that is a prophetic event, continuing to this very day -- Times of the Gentiles -- Luke 21:24 -- reading this and the question will come up, Is the times of the Gentiles come to an end with the nation of Israel reborn? That would be a discussion for another time, but here is a link that touches on this -- Wake up Israel.
But what about marriage in the Church, the living body of the Anointed (Messiah, Christ) on Earth, you ask? I’m getting there but felt it beneficial that you should know and realize the extended authority of YaHshua, concerning the Law, and that the first believers were primarily Jews and not until years later do we see any real, active evangelizing of the Gentile populations (Acts 13:2, 46; 14:1; 15:1-2). The Apostles were prejudiced against all Gentiles, even Peter, even after His revelation and baptism of the Cornelius household he was still reluctant to deal with Gentiles – this is the reason Paul is called into action (Acts 9:15). We need to understand that the people of Israel/Judah, the Jews, were allowed to putting away, that is divorce in today's language. Not only this but Gentiles too -- the point being -- the first converts had to have had many divorced and remarried people among those being baptized into the New Covenant. And it would seem that no one was denied Baptism because of this -- no one. This is what we need to look into. Why? For those not in this situation it has little meaning, but for those who have been married before becoming a believer and for those who have remarried, a lot of pressure is place on those in this situation to divorce or separate, again, because some teach that it is a sin to be divorced and remarried. So, let's find out.
What YaHshua Taught
First let’s look at what YaHshua taught, in plain language, and common sense. His remarks and teachings were not couched in secrecy. We have already seen how YaHshua placed His authority over the Law of Moses, the Law imposed on the Jews by the Priests and Rabbis authority, and even by Moses himself. I make this point because the “spirit” of the Law was lost but the penalty, at the hands of men, was not. YaHshua would change this. In clarifying the intent of the Law, YaHshua, as the Son of the Living God in Heaven, says, “But I say to you…” and so it is, and should be, for all things are turned over to Him. What ever the Torah says or is thought to say or is interpreted, our Savior has the authority to change it, if He wanted to, but in these things He expanded the understanding.
Adultery is Forbidden
First, let’s understand this thing about “adultery” and how the people saw it and were taught it, and then how our Savior saw it, and taught it and by His authority explains it.
(Mat 5:27-28)"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart. ESV
What, if I have a lustful thought am guilty of sin? Yes, from what our Savior says, even if you have lustful thoughts about a woman or a woman has lustful thoughts about a man and they are not married then they are guilty of committing “adultery” which is a sin. I know, shocking, right, but yes, by His definition, by His authority, if you have thoughts of a sexual nature toward someone else, someone you are not married to it is sin.
We need to get a handle on this thing called, “adultery” and understand this is a term that is very specific. By definition “adultery” can only mean sex outside of marriage. And for those of you that may not know; adultery is having sex with someone else besides your spouse. From that limited definition, some confusion can arise and has.
There can be no mistaking the application of this term, adultery, in the context of what YaHshua is saying is the lusting for another person outside of a marriage relationship. Oh, I was just flirting, someone might say, but according to YaHshua, you were being untrue to your mate.
Anyone having lustful thoughts toward anyone else, married or not, That is, you might be married but the one lusted after may not, is committing adultery. And this is by our Savior’s definition. The term, “adultery” is most often used to indicate married people, so it is to be understood here too, but it would only seem reasonable to say our Savior meant it to include everyone, married or not, in a spiritual sense, in the mind, so the act of sexual lust is not limited to married couples (?) only, but is the primary meaning.
Remember, in the Messiah, there is neither male nor female when it comes to the principles that we are to live by in the eyes of our God and Savior. When we say, “mankind” no one reasons that only “men” are meant, also there are times when the term “man” is used to include both sexes, letting the context dictate – this application of “lust” applies to both sexes.
Let’s have another look at this opening verse touching on the subject of “adultery” as our Savior expands His teaching during His Sermon on the Mount, moving forward into the area of “divorce” and we see another term introduced -- fornication --
(Mat 5:27-28)"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall not commit adultery. But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
(Mat 5:32)But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causes her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committed adultery. KJV
You will notice YaHshua does not say “for the cause of adultery”, but for the “cause of fornication”. At this He is making a definite point, introducing another term, besides “adultery” yet He is still aiming his remarks toward the married, as opposed to the unmarried. In today’s language the term, “fornication” is applied to unmarried people having sex, or “fornicating”, whereas “adultery” is applied mostly to married people. The teachers of the past and some today misuse or apply these two terms incorrectly and have ruined families, unnecessarily, by their own righteousness in what they think YaHshua meant or should have meant. This law of divorce gives the clergy of any church great power over families.
Again, while this lesson in conduct could be applied to the unmarried as well as the married, in a spiritual sense, the point being driven home by YaHshua surround married people and the confusing part, for many commentators and Teachers, concerning doctrine among various groups, circles around this word “fornication” – how can it possibly be applied to married people? Too many teachers think that the word, adultery, applies to married people “only” and the word, fornication, is applied “only” to those outside of marriage. All too often religious leaders, like those in the Roman Catholic Church and some in the Protestant arena and some Evangelical Church of God, do not allow for divorce and call for the dissolution of families that are formed due to divorce. Some, while tolerating divorced people among their ranks look down on them as lesser citizens.
According to YaHshua there is a cause by which divorce is allowed and by this cause the marriage is no longer bound – “for the cause of fornication”, He says – not your, not me not some preacher of Pope, but He, YaHshua, says, “… saving for the cause of fornication…”. We need to know what this “cause” is and what it means.
We are dealing with a New Covenant teaching as opposed to an Old Covenant teaching made with the people of Israel. Moving the one covenant to the side, not destroying it but setting aside temporarily, for the benefit of understanding the New Covenant – a Covenant to be made with all people. YaHshua is most definitely doing just that, not changing what was being taught in the Law of Moses but returning it to what it was originally supposed to be -- He quotes the Old Testament Law of Moses in the previous verse then continues to make a change, for a better understanding in the Law. There is, for lack of a better word, a “change” is made in the ears of the listeners, those who have been governed to accept something not originally intended. Listen --
(Mat 5:31)It has been said, “Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement”:
No one disputes YaHshua is quoting from the Law of the Old Covenant. It is easy to prove by quoting the verse from the Law that He is quoting –
(Deut 24:1) When a man has taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favor in his eyes, because he has found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.
After mentioning this, YaHshua goes on to correct, not just a correction but an improvement based upon what He knew to be absolutely true – the Creator of man and woman had always meant for man and woman, in marriage, to become, or to be, as one. In the perfect world, divorce would be out of the question and it would always be, a man and his wife – or wives (more on that later)? When questioned further YaHshua made it known that the reason this “bill of divorcement” is found in the Law is because of the hardness of man’s heart (Mat 19:8-9, more on these verses later).
With all of this in mind, there is something He has added something that is not mentioned in the quote He used from the Old Testament – the rule of the “exception” and the “cause”. He clearly says, “...except (saving) for the cause (action) of fornication, divorcing one’s mate will cause the sin of “adultery”. So, what is this “fornication” exception, what does it mean?
We have already seen that YaHshua used the term, “adultery” in a way that can include everyone but is aimed at the married people in particular. The term, “fornication” would seem out of place if it were to apply only to the unmarried. It seems this term, fornication, can be applied to the married as well and is something that can cause a married person to commit “adultery”. Fornication then is something that can cause “adultery”. Fornication, then is not for unmarried people only, as so many teach. While this word may have come to mean sex before marriage, exclusively, that is not how our Messiah, YaHshua, meant it.
Forget about all of those teachers trying to limit the term, “fornication” to the unmarried only. Maybe in today’s moral slide none of this means much you or society in general, after all, the divorce rate has climbed over the 50% mark and has become an acceptable occurrence in modern society, but still, the stigma among some very powerful religious groups, like the Roman Church prevails. We need to understand this and get a balanced handle on the subject of divorce among professing believers. This is also something that those being called may be able to share this truth with others being called and stop tearing families apart unnecessarily.
God hates divorce but allows it if one of the partners is guilty of “fornication” and for this reason divorce is allowed. Shocking as it may sound for some, there is a condition by which our Lord allows for divorce. We need to define this word, “fornication”, as our Lord meant it, as He used it, so we much consider the language He was familiar with, not English.
Fornication -- What Is It?
What about this business of “fornication”, how is it possible for married people to commit “fornication”? From the contexts of the verses, we can see and have seen that this word applies to something more than is suggested by the word itself as it is used today. Fornication, by the American Dictionary definition – “consensual sexual intercourse between two persons not married to each other”, and this is where the trouble begins.
This modern term and definition is so limiting in its application as a reference to sex outside of marriage that to make sense of it many commentators and teachers have resorted to all sorts of explanations for what YaHshua meant. Most have decided He must be talking about something happening between a man and a woman before they are married.
This is totally wrong, as we will see.
We can gain a better respect for the intent and meaning of what our Savior is saying by going to the Greek from which the translators of the King James Bible arrived at the term, “fornication”. The Greek term is “porneia”, a word from which the English derive the term, “porn”. What this word from the Greek really means and is intended to mean covers much more than what some want you to think.
The basic meaning of “porneia” is “sexual immorality”, and this definition covers a whole slew of sexual disorders, and this is why YaHshua purposely used a term like “proneia” and not “fornication”, ad it is defined today. Fornication, in this case, as found in the New Covenant writing, is supposed to be used to cover sexual conduct covering a much larger spectrum of meaning than and would cover the word, “adultery”, as well.
The change in the definition of the word Fornication means that it is not the right word to be used in expressing our Lord’s meaning. Porneia is much more than just adultery. Porneia, in the original Greek, mistakenly translated as fornication, covers things such as uncleanness, sexual misconduct, homosexuality, adultery, lewdness, whoredom, pedophilia, and any number of other detestable activities – it is the whole package of “sexual immorality”, and could even include “pornographic” activity as well – as mentioned before, the word “porneia”, in the Greek is the very word the English arrive at the world “porn”, as used to mean published material of a sexual nature.
If you are married to a partner that is a sexual deviate or perverted in some way -- homosexual, adulterous, or even physically or mentally abusive, along those lines – various types of sexual abuse. Most of that kind of abuse almost always has sexual overtones. By the expanded view of our Lord and His correction to the Law of Moses, and you suffer under sexual abuse from a spouse you are then allowed to issue a writing of divorcement, and, according to YaHshua, you are not bound. Adultery would be one of the things in sexual abuse that would be allowing divorce from an unclean partner for the cause of porneia, but adultery is only one reason found within the original definition of the word, porneia.
Let’s read this in a modern translation, one that is recognized as a word-for-word and then go to the Greek Dictionary to define this word “porneia” which has been mistranslated, “fornication”.
(Mat 5:32)But I say to you that everyone who divorces his wife, except on the ground of sexual immorality, makes her commit adultery, and whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery. EVS
The English Standard Version (ESV) drops the confusing term, “fornication”, and rightly so, giving a better rendering of the meaning than does the King James Version.
Strong’s Greek Dictionary -- Porneia -- por-ni'-ah
From G4203; harlotry (including adultery and incest); figuratively idolatry: - fornication.
It is interesting that Strongs also identifies the definition for this Greek word – “figuratively idolatry”. What this can mean, then, is that spiritual misconduct, much as we see with the people of Israel and YaHWeH, historically, when they would go whoring after other gods, being spiritually unfaithful to Him. It is my opinion that our Savior intended for this loop-hole to exist, not in the perfect world, but in this imperfect world. Notice the range between the words describing this act of porneia – from incest to adultery, and to include idolatry which then would include a spiritual element.
This should be the end of it, really, but sadly it is not. Too many have confused the whole issue by insisting that we live in the perfect condition originally intended by our Creator and we are to do this in an imperfect world? A world where the idea of marriage forever and where there is no divorce is the world we are waiting for, a world restored to the righteousness of our Creator. In this imperfect world with imperfect people is such a thing possible? Yes, everything is possible with God, but we are not God and He knows this better than we do, of course. There will be no such thing as divorce in the Kingdom when it comes, but for now, we need to stop looking down our noses at the world for practicing the only solution it sees in solving problems among humans in the marriage union. People struggle with one another and in some cases, divorce is a better solution than murder – get it?
YaHshua was not talking to the world but to the people of Israel and quoting the Law they were supposed to be living by, as an example to the world. This does not lessen His teaching but places it where it belongs, in the lap of those claiming to be His people, his followers, especially those claiming Him as their Savior, but at that time His message was expressing the spiritual side of a physical Law and of the original intent from which the people and the leaders of the people of this Law of Moses had drifted. Even then, according to the Old Testament record, the people of Israel/Judah were anxious to commit to the Law with their lips but were always quick to turn to the gods of other nations.
Let us deal with this subject as directed -- at His people -- not the world at large. For those ignorant of the Law, outside of the Law, there is no Law. The following verses make this plain, but I would suggest you read the chapters for more detail and to stay in context. Please understand, we, as believers, have been moved outside of the law, where there is not law – this has been removed, put out of the way so we, His people can live in an imperfect world, living at peace with all men, as much as possible. We cannot leave this world and our Savior has made it possible for us to live here without hiding in the wilderness, in caves, withdrawn into cult compounds unable to share the Gospel. Here we live and wait, setting an example of truthful living until His return and it will be then that all things will be restored to the righteousness of our Heavenly Father under the Headship of our Savior, YaHshua. Consider the following quotes concerning “sin” and the Law – isn’t it interesting that “sin” existed before the “law”?
(Gal 5:18) But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. ESV
(Rom 4:15) For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression. ESV
(Rom 5:13) …for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. ESV
We will not get into all of the issues surrounding the whole of the Law of Moses as this study concerns the single subject surrounding divorce and remarriage – among professing believers. Also, YaHshua, as we have already read, has the authority to circumvent the Law, to either improve it or set it aside. The point in bringing this up is to clear up any misunderstanding concerning the Law of Moses concerning the issue of divorce as opposed to the rest of the world, the Gentiles, heathen, pagan, etc. Sin existed before the Law, but the Law that defined sin for Israel did not define sin for the world at large. Mankind being ignorant of the Law, the Law given to Israel, there is no sin, then, in regards to this Law of Moses as it defines sin, but they, the Gentiles still have sin present. So, what is sin, before the Law?
(Gal 5:18) But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.
This is not talking about Gentiles of old but of anyone, Jew or Gentile, that is led by His Spirit. The real sin for the world is not ignoring how to keep the Holy Days or how to properly observe a Sabbath or things most of the Gentile world has any knowledge. No, sin defined for the world, before and after the Law of Moses, concern the things of the flesh.
(Gal 5:19-21) Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. (This is the ultimate definition of “porneia”)
(Gal 5:22-23) But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
(Gal 5:24-5) And those who belong to the Christ YaHshua have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. ESV
You will notice in the message to the Church at Galatia that the context has to do with “sin” and the “law” and that the Law is not called “sin”, sin is a separate thing, for without knowledge of the Law, before and after, apart from the Law there is still sin -- sin of the flesh. The Law came later and was defined for the people of Israel as laws and rules of conduct they were to live by as a nation. Gentiles are not bound by the Law of Moses, and never have been, with one exception -- when a Gentile could be allowed to live among the Israelites as equal citizens if they willingly accepted the Laws and customs, then the Israelites were to allow this integration – this was part of their immigration policy – immigrants were allowed to enter the land of Israel and live as citizens only if they agreed to live by all of the Laws of Moses. You can see this running throughout the history of Israel. Remember the story of Ruth, a Moabite gentile, married into the family of Boaz, a Judean chief whose family line follows up to our Messiah, YaHshua. At any rate, the Law of Moses was only on those living within the Kingdom, the Kingdom of Israel.
(1Co 6:12-13) All things are lawful unto me (Paul, Apostle to the Gentiles), but all things are not expedient (convenient, or profitable): all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any. Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats: but God shall destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord; and the Lord for the body.
As a spirit living believer Paul tells us the Law is not over him, as a freed-man under the Christ YaHshua, but look at his revelation closely, “…but not all things are expedient”, so what is he saying? Some translation renders this word, “expedient” as “beneficial” which brings this into a better understanding. Paul is telling us that while we are free from the Law this is not always “beneficial” if we ignore the Law. For example – the law says not to steal, and if Paul does steal, then he is a thief and even if not caught and punished by civil law and he does not repent and continues to steal then he will not be allowed into the Kingdom – no thieves in the Kingdom.
Now, the Law says not to commit adultery, but we find we are not subject to the Law, so we are free to commit adultery? No, of course not, this would be one of those “unprofitable” things and except for porneia we should not go looking for a divorce. As believers are we, not under any law, are we then to become lawbreakers? Never, we have to struggle in the flesh to bring the flesh under control, repenting of the sins of the flesh. By the Law we know our Creator’s attitude in certain kinds of conduct. We can learn from the Law. We can learn something about our Creator’s personality, but need not get bound up as prisoners to the Law of Death.
(Rom 7:25) I thank God (the Father) through YaHshua the Christ our Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin.
It is a struggle and we do not always win. Paul is our first example in this and readily admits his failing. When we read his instructions to the Gentile and Jew alike, we find he wanted us not to bind ourselves to the “religious” laws of anyone, or any religion, but to experience the freedom we have in YaHshua.
Our New Testament instructions do have limitations and many of these limitations are expressed in the Law, but we find men wanting to enslave people to laws and rules and customs not expressed in the law or laws of Scripture. Much of a Christian’s moral life in the Spirit reflects much that is found in the Law of Moses. To live by the Law alone Gentiles would have to become Israelites, or Jews, in order to come under the Law – the better Law of the Christ removes these Laws of Moses out of the way so that Gentiles do not have to become part of Israel or convert to being Jewish, but live in the freedom found in YaHshua, able to live at peace with all men, no matter their race or the country they live in. His is the more perfect law. But we do have restrictions.
(Rom 6:6) We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that the Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God (the Father). So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God (the Father) in the Christ YaHshua. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions.
The Law of Moses does not deliver salvation. But you will notice in the message to the Gentile believers, the Galatian, and the Romans Paul expresses the conduct of the flesh that nearly every society recognizes as faults in human nature, not blessings or things to be sought after.
If we are led by the Spirit we do not allow these things to rule in our being, so this becomes the Law of sin, apart from the Law of Moses. When we give way to sin we are to repent and continue on in the Spirit of YaHshua – we cannot expect to win every battle in and of ourselves. There are other conditions as well in defining the actions of those that will not be allowed into the Kingdom and they, like those listed in previous verses quoted, are activities of humans that existed before Law was given to Israel through Moses and after. Notice what is missing – sacrificial laws, Holy Day laws, the Old Covenant focus on Sabbath days, New Moons, and the keeping of times. YaHshua has freed not only Gentiles to worship YaHshua and our Heavenly Father by the Spirit, apart from any law, but also the Israelite – but again, if one can approach these things, the customs and traditions, in the right mindset, there would be nothing wrong in the observances of Old Testament rules and laws, but what happens most often is just the opposite. Certain groups and certain persons teach that it is the Christian obligation to restore the Old Covenant, minus the sacrificial laws, of course, becoming Jewish, or Hebrew – claiming to be something they are not, we are not (Rev 3:9).
Don’t misunderstand, please, allow me to express this further in the hope of clarifying how to honor the Law, which YaHshua says is just and good, and that He did not come to abolish (Mat 5:17), and wherein its proper application can be and is allowed. But to say that anyone not fashioning one’s life as a Jew under the Old Covenant is in danger of Hell Fire is absolutely wrong and beyond the ruling of any man or men, or women. I am not saying it is a sin to observe days or times in honor of our Creator, but make sure that is what it is, honoring Him, and not some self-filling righteousness for yourself or for someone else. Make sure in your own mind it is not because you have given up your right to the freedom found in our Savior by following some self-indulged prophet or preacher. And it is my opinion that no one should judge you in this, however, this does not seem to be the case on either side of this issue, for the most part. Let each judge himself or herself in these matters.
Make sure that your reasons are yours and not someone else’s. Never turn from your pursuit of the truth and conducting your own bible studies and checking out what your pastor or preacher or prophet is telling you – yes, judge your leaders by the Word. Be relentless in this pursuit, ready to adjust the truth as it is revealed to you. We do not have to agree on every point, save one – YaHshua is Messiah and Savior, who came in the flesh from His Father. He suffered in the flesh finding perfection in death, becoming more perfect than any other spiritual being, except for the Father. Doctrines can be chains of bondage or paths to freedom, not by command but by guidance, by suggestion. YaHshua is the key and it is by Him we are set free from the penalty of the Law which demands the death penalty – He paid this price for us – our salvation is found in Him and only Him.
(Rom 8:2) For the law of the Spirit of life in the Christ YaHshua has made me free from the law of sin and death.
(Rom 10:4) For the Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth.
Make no mistake, we, as believers, are not set free to sin in the flesh. In the Law of the Spirit and in the life we have in YaHshua there is no sin, no death. Putting the above verses with those in Galatians 5 you will know what sin really is. You do not need the Law delivered to Israel to understand this. We are not called to any law we are called to YaHshua. A time is coming when YaHshua will establish His Kingdom on Earth and the Law will then go forth from the Center Point of His City, Jerusalem (YaH-shalom).
(Micah 4:1-2) It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the YHWH shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and it shall be lifted up above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it, and many nations shall come, and say: "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the YHWH, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the law and the word of the YHWH from Jerusalem.
Argue all you want, disagree if you like, but you cannot deny what you just read. It is difficult to say the Law is just and good, which it is, and then say it has no power over the believer that actually practices his or her faith. Some mistakenly think that the only way to honor the Law is to do it as part of their religious obligation. The sincerity is there, but the Law has no hold on you, as the Spirit YaHshua does or should. When He returns He will deliver the proper knowledge and understanding in these things in what is and is not a requirement. From the City He has chosen to put His Name, the Law will go forth – not the Law of Moses but the Law of God the Father as taught by YaHshua the Son – it is the Law of the Christ we, as truthful followers, live today (Gal 6:2, Php 3:9). If it is the Old covenant that is to be restored then what benefit is His sacrifice for us?
You want to observe days and times, fine but when you say everyone must do the same as you or suffer eternal death, then there is a real problem and it is you that has passed “condemnation” upon your brethren and this is not your right to do. What happens all too often is the Law of Moses gets in the way of the righteousness we are to have, by faith, in YaHshua. The Law or the rules and the customs become the focal point and it can become hard to tell if it is YaHshua we worship or the Law, and the rituals and customs. This is not only a problem with the Hebrew Movement people but with many Christian organizations too – the Catholic Church comes to mind and there are others too that make something more out of the ritual of the flesh than they should. History is filled with religion, in the hands of men, killing people for not towing the party line – some thinking they are doing God a service, this kind of affliction did not plague the Jews only but the Christians too.
We should now have a simple grasp of “sin”, and see it is not just something expressed by the Law of Moses as these Laws were set down for a Nation, the Nation of Israel and for them, sin was defined by the Law (1 John 3:4) but now believers in YaHshua SIN is defined by the flesh as it was and has been from the beginning.
Sin was before the Law, as we have read. Seeing YaHshua’s clarification concerning the Law of Divorce, and how He has the authority to change it, we can conclude that the Law as written out in the Old Covenant is not so much written in stone as some think, for even Gentiles, outside of the Law are counted among the righteous if they do what is right. Sin is all of the bad points of the natural nature of the flesh. We need to read and reread the letter Paul writes to the Romans. In Romans chapter 2 we read Paul making mention of the “LAW” over and over again, concerning SIN. We need to read through to the end of this chapter and we see the Law He is referring to. It is the Law of the flesh, not Holy Days, and Sabbaths, or traditions or customs, but of things of the flesh, dealing primarily with those things defined as “morality” in our lives, both Jew and Gentile (Romans 2).
This is why some humanitarians define sin as nonexistent and express their freedom to do anything in the flesh they want, or what others want, saying there is no Law, but this is totally untrue, it is just which Law we are discussing, the Law of Moses or the Law of SIN. For Israel, under the Old Covenant, they were under the Law of Moses but today under the New Covenant, we are under the Law of Sin – wrong thinking and actions of immorality.
Adam sinned before the Law of Moses and his sin was disobedience, lust of the flesh, and greed, and giving up his inner authority to the baseness of the flesh and allowing for the destruction of the man in the man-woman relationship. Abraham was a sinner too, before the Law of Moses, but he found righteousness, not in the law or obedience to any law, but in the mere fact that he believed the words His Creator told him without question, and it was by this faith, this pure belief in what he was told, that “righteousness” was imputed to him. This was “righteousness” outside of any law and above any sin, whether natural sin to the flesh or sin found in breaking a law.
We are of Abraham in this same manner or should be. As children of Abraham, we are not children of the Law and not children or slaves to SIN. The Law is just and good, expressing our Creator’s attitude and defining morality, but for now, has no power over the Believer.
(Rom 4:15-16) For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression. That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring--not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, ESV
Notice carefully, “…not to that only which is of the law (Israel), but to that also which is of faith of Abraham…” (KJV). That, my friends, would be all of those that accept the Christ outside of Israel -- those “of the Law” and those of “the faith” in one Body of the Christ. It is said Abraham “…is the father of us all”. Jew and Gentile alike have been called by the Father and having accepted YaHshua as Savior all having the same Father of the Faith, Abraham, and the same Heavenly Father. Abraham was the first to attain righteousness in the eyes of Creator outside of any law, outside of any sin, believing His Word and looking forward to the promises, just as we look forward, without evidence, to the Promise of YaHshua’s return and our Salvation – we believe His Word and words.
By the Law, divorce was allowed – the Law of Moses made provision for allowing divorce among the people. YaHshua changed this divorce law to be allowed under one condition, “fornication” – “porneia” – Sexual misconduct of any sort, be it sexual battery or pedophilia, or even adultery. This one condition, porneia, turns out to be more than one simple thing but covers a whole realm of moral misconduct. Some will still insist divorce is not allowed at all, while others will ignore the word altogether and tell us what they think which usually means divorce for any reason, just think of something, and divorce and remarriage become as casual as changing shoes or shucking your boots.
YaHshua has allowed for divorce and never intended unreasonable humans, and unrepentant humans to abuse each other endlessly because He, our Creator, initially meant marriage to be one man one woman forever. He allowed Moses to enter the divorce clause because of man’s hard heart. And now we have seen YaHshua, while, upholding the intent from the beginning, even, Himself, placed a condition allowing for the desolation of a marriage, besides the death of one or the other partner.
What about other teachings on this subject? What about the teaching and instructions delivered to the Church apart from the world? We must not forget when the first Jewish believers answered the call at Pentecost some 3,000 souls all Jewish, were baptized into YaHshua and we must assume, having lived under the Law of Moses that some of these new converts had experienced divorce and remarriage and perhaps more than once. Peter did not stand up and tell them they all had to separate or put away the divorced person. This did not seem to be a concern until much later.
YaHshua did have a teaching on this, as we have seen, and He addressed this issue more than once. We have already seen His response early on in His ministry, and now later, close to the end of His earthly ministry, we will see the consistency of His teaching being elaborated on.
What God Has Joined Together
Marriage is meant to be a lasting relationship. There were no allowances from the beginning for the putting away of one’s mate. The writing of divorcement for someone tired of being married, or for any flimsy excuse, like, having grown apart, is not to be found in Scripture. But, here is the thing – this marriage law was given to Israel, not the Gentiles. Perhaps we make too much of this thing we call marriage. Did you know King David had 7 wives? Solomon had 1,000 wives and it was not unusual for a leader of the people to have more than one wife or to have concubines, usually servants of the first wife, all sharing his bed and having children by them. But, the Law of
Moses seems to only cover the one husband, one wife when dealing with the writing of divorcement – no mention of multiple wives. One of David’s betrothed, Michal, a daughter of King Saul from whom David had been separated while he was on the run from her father had been given to another man as a wife. After Saul’s death, David was crowned King of the Jews and grew in strength against Israel. David ordered Ishbotheth, the only remaining son of Saul, to return Michal to him. Ishbotheth’s desire for peace with David led him to comply. Michal’s husband followed her, weeping and crying, all the way to meet David (a very dangerous thing to have done). David took Michal and simply told her husband to leave and he did. Michal would be David’s 7th wife. Later David would take another wife, Bathsheba, and they would have a son everyone knows, Solomon. Wives totaling 8, sons, 7, and in this, I think we can see a great flexibility in the marriage laws of the Jews.
This is the climate under which the Jewish people lived and practiced the Law, so I think we can be pretty certain that the first believers, all Jewish, came into the Church in many different configurations of marriage and divorce – not an issue, it seems, for conversion and baptism. But let’s have another look as we head toward the instruction eventually delivered to the Gentile Church. It will help to hear from the Law of Moses.
(Deut 24:1) When a man has taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favor in his eyes, because he has found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give it in her hand, and send her out of his house.
What About Before This?
Abraham is the father of the Promise and he predates the Covenant made with the people of Israel. Abraham had a wife but look what happened when his wife, Sarah, encouraged him to take another wife. Well, they did not call her a wife but this woman, Hagar, was given to Abraham and He had a child by her. Long story short, Hagar was put away, literally, and had to fend for herself and her son, Ishmael, the firstborn of Abraham. Technically, by today’s modern society’s definition, Abraham had two wives and had children with both and divorced one of them – he put her away to fend for herself.
But look at this, something few, none, really, recognizes, or admit – the God of the Bible is a divorcee. Not only that, he had two wives, in the spiritual sense, Israel and Judah. As a people YaHWeH related to them as a Husband they, each collectively, as wives. Read it for yourself.
(Jer 3:8 KJV) And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce; yet her treacherous sister Judah feared not, but went and played the harlot also.
Still, the God of Israel, and our God too, has said He would take them back if only they would “REPENT” and return to Him. YaHshua came and they reject Him and to this day, as a nation, they have not returned. They are still playing the whore, trying to make peace with nations around them without making peace with the God that created them. He has allowed their return to the land, to the land He has chosen, and for a reason. Without a representation of Israel, as a people, in the land prophecy could not continue. The prophetic Word, proving YaHWeH/YaHshua is true and right could not move forward until the Jews returned. Their return is not the promise, to them, of a coming Kingdom but in spite of them as they continue to deny Him and look to others for their salvation. He has put them away, divorced them, but is willing to take them back, but now only on His terms and with a price.
Marriage Among Gentiles
Gentiles had their own laws governing divorce some similar, some not. Marriage we know was taken seriously even by the Gentiles and many of the Gentile kings practiced an “until death do you part” clause as we find out in the accounts of Abraham and Isaac, both having lovely wives they feared for their lives thinking the Gentile kings would kill them so they could have free title to their wives – only death breaking the “marriage covenant”. Kings in those days, before and after, saw themselves as the ‘sons of the gods’ (Gen 6:4) and these kings would take wives from among the common folk from time to time, whomever they chose. If a king, or son of god, any god, were to lust after a married woman to wife, he would simply have the husband killed. This is how men reason. King David did this in acquiring Bathsheba. And if you remember more recent history, King Henry the Eighth had several wives put to death to bread the marriage covenant so he could marry someone else.
When you read the Law of Divorcement you see there is a clause or cause to be met allowing for this paper of divorcement and that is the clause of “uncleanness”, by the OT Marriage Covenant. This is not so unlike the clause of “fornication” (porneia), Yahshua spoke of, being a rather broad term, while “porneia” is confined to sexual misconduct and mistreatment, it covers a wide spectrum of actions as does the clause for “uncleanness”. We will not argue over what is meant, suffice it to say, for any “sexual misconduct” which would render the woman, or even the man, “unclean” in the relationship, by our Messiah’s definition. The OT Covenant, on marriage, gave the husband even greater authority over the marriage, he could call just about anything unclean, but in the end, and if contested, the Priest would have the final say, especially in matters of clean and unclean. Our Lord, YaHshua, placed this “uncleanness” clause within the confines of “sexual misconduct”, and this is the exact reason, we just read, that YaHWeH put Judah away by divorcing her.
Even in those days of the Old Covenant, it was understood what this word really meant.
Hebrew Dictionary – “uncleanness” – ‘ervah - nudity, literally (especially the pudenda) or figuratively (disgrace, blemish): - nakedness, shame, unclean (-ness).
This is to say, in a polite way, “sexual misconduct” is expressed as “nakedness” or “nudity” (‘ervah) that a condition to be only enjoyed by the husband or the wife. The “uncleanness” suggests the spouse of one or the other has exposed themselves to someone outside of the marriage. This is not unlike and similar to the “porneia” YaHshua mentions as a rightful cause for divorce. Still, the OT Covenant left the door open for an even broader interpretation and soon it seems for any reason someone could obtain a divorce. Still, there were other legal ramifications and a wife could seek better treatment by going to the Priest or the King and asking for satisfaction. YaHshua, however, boxed the reason for divorce in by the use of the word “porneia”, sexual misconduct.
YaHshua Remains Consistent in His Position
YaHshua is confronted by the Pharisees once again; apparently, they were not present when YaHshua presented His Sermon on the Mount a couple of years earlier.
(Mat 19:3) And Pharisees came up to Him and tested Him by asking, "Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any cause?"
(Mat 19:4-5) He answered, "Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, 'Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh'?
(Mat 19:6)So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together let not man separate."
(Mat 19:7) They said to him, "Why then did Moses command one to give a certificate of divorce and to send her away?"
(Notice, that these Pharisees did not quote the whole Law)
(Mat 19:8-9) He, YaHshua, said to them, "Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so. And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries commits adultery." ESV
The KJV adds the following to the end -- and whoso marries her which is put away doth commit adultery.
No other translations contain this addition, but it would only seem natural, to be fair, that this would be true as well, at least this is how the King James translators saw it. But maybe they are mistaken? After all King David’s 1st wife, Michal, had been married to another man -- her father, King Saul, gave her to another man to spite Davie. After Saul's death and David taking the throne, he took Michal back as his wife, clearly, a violation and no one accused him or her of adultery (1 Sam 18:27; 25:44). At this David already had another wife, a woman who had been married someone else as well. He had as many as six wives but the number of wives is not the point here, but what is, is the fact one of the wives, Abigal had been the wife of Naval the Karmelite. Did all of these wives and their varied backgrounds, in an out of marriage cause his God, YaHWeH to abandon him? Not at all.
YaHshua says --
In the Sermon on the Mount, YaHshua says, “except for fornication” and in this later confrontation with the religious authority of His day, He says, “except for sexual immorality”. Now, without a dictionary, or commentary we know what He meant from the beginning. He, YaHshua, has an “exception” for or a “cause” we have identified as “sexual immorality” which, like “fornication” (proneia) covers a great deal of territory and when we look into this definition of sexual immorality we discover adultery is one of the terms included in the acts of “immorality”. If your mate is a whore monger or engages in unspeakable sexual activity you, are not bound in the eyes of God – so says our Savior YaHshua.
Even with this allowance for divorce, by YaHshua, His disciples are appalled and astonished. Apparently, when they heard Him teach this in the Sermon on the Mount, they did not hear, did not believe it, or thought He meant something else. Listen to what they say now and notice how silent the Pharisees are.
(Mat 19:10) The disciples said to Him, "If such is the case of a man with his wife, it is better not to marry."
Apparently, the disciples having lived under the Law of Moses were used to a much more liberal “writing of divorcement”, and the position YaHshua was taking appeared to them much too stringent. Take note of His response to His disciple’s negative response.
(Mat 19:11-12) But he said to them, "Not everyone can receive this saying, but only those to whom it is given. For there are eunuchs who have been so from birth, and there are eunuchs who have been made eunuchs by men, and there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven. Let the one who is able to receive this receive it."
YaHshua’s teaching in this matter and from the beginning of creation is for a perfect world, where the hearts of men are not hardened. The reality is that not everyone can live by this principle of marriage, even though it is a principle from God Himself -- not every man was meant to have one wife for his whole life, until death do they part, and YaHshua is telling His disciples that sometimes it is a matter of nature, how a person is born, or what men have done to other men, and others still, committing themselves to a celibate life, so there are exceptions, lots of them. We need to get our heads around this idea of “virginity” hundreds of years before YaHshua came in the flesh, and after.
The Law of Moses and Virginity
We need to understand this business of “virginity” before we delve into the Apostle Paul’s teaching on this subject and the subject of marriage and divorce. Today, of course, this idea of being or remaining a “virgin” before marriage seems too old fashioned. But you know, think about it, what if this were still an expectation? Fewer single mothers, smaller welfare rolls, etc, etc. Even with the Laws of Moses, given to him by YaHWeH, the Jews and Israelis had their problems. Today, however, it is not even considered a shame as the percentages of brides go to the altar pregnant, and now the new movement toward a couple living together, having children, and then getting married three kids later, and the lack of shame is demonstrated in the bride going to the altar for the vows dressed in the “virgins” color of white.
((Deu 22:16-17) And the damsel's father shall say to the elders, I gave my daughter to this man to wife, and he hates her; …and behold, he has accused her of misconduct, saying, "I did not find in your daughter evidence of virginity." And yet this is the evidence of my daughter's virginity.' And they shall spread the cloak before the elders of the city.
If a woman married a man and was found by the man not to be a virgin then the man could claim the marriage null and void. But if the father of the woman brings the evidence of her virginity before the elders then the man will be flogged for falsely accusing the woman. The proof of virginity was usually a light-colored sheet spread over the marriage bed and a woman having sex for the first time would shed blood and the sheet then was taken by her family as proof their daughter was indeed a virgin.
(Deu 22:18-19) Then the elders of that city shall take the man and whip him, and they shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver and give them to the father of the young woman, because he has brought a bad name upon a virgin of Israel. And she shall be his wife. He may not divorce her all his days.
(Deut 22:28-29) "If a man meets a virgin who is not betrothed, and seizes her and lies with her, and they are found, then the man who lay with her shall give to the father of the young woman fifty shekels of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he has violated her. He may not divorce her all his days.
(Deut 24:1-4) "When a man takes a wife and marries her, if then she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency (uncleanness) in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, and she departs out of his house, and if she goes and becomes another man's wife, and the latter man hates her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter man dies, who took her to be his wife, then her former husband, who sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after she has been defiled, for that is an abomination before the LORD. And you shall not bring sin upon the land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance.
There is to be no going back to a previous husband after a divorced spouse becomes another man’s wife. The Mosaic Laws seem pretty detailed and simple, but by today’s standards, harsh. Today, in the modern world, the trend seems to be to sleep around, babies before marriage, dead beat dads, dead beat moms – and if you are a virgin there must be something wrong with you. But still, Israel, having all the advantages of the LAW they struggled. And if they, the chosen of God, struggled, even after meeting their God and hearing Him speak how much more of a struggle for those outside of this Kingdom, who have never heard Him speak outside the pages of the Bible?
But that is the world at large, right, not people seeking YaHshua? We need to be careful and not be too full of pride. The Law (Torah) tells us about things our Creator considers to be foolish and things considered by Him, to be abominations. We need to apply these laws in a way that compliments the New Covenant made with us. The Law no longer applies to us, as children of the Kingdom, but the Law does give us insight into our Heavenly Father's way of thinking and attitude about our conduct, and we should pay attention.
Enter the New Covenant
We have instructions from our Savior and His Apostle Paul giving some pretty good instructions (advice) concerning the married and unmarried in the Body of the Christ. So, while we can apply this advice from Paul to ourselves it would be wrong to apply these things to the world outside of the Body of the Christ.
Paul’s Teaching. Certain things are for those professing YaHshua as Messiah and not for everyone, not yet anyway. The time is coming, when the world will be ready to hear, but it is not now, not yet.
It should be made clear, from the start, that Paul clearly makes known what his teaching is and is not. He clearly tells us what is and what is not a command, separating His thoughts from those of our Lord (1 Cor 7:10-12). Paul is giving guidance to the Church, and after a simple and straight forward “command” from our Lord regarding married couples in the Church, he then gives his own advice as to how he sees it, interjecting his own advice. But at the end of his instructions, he does say he feels his advice is as inspired as any other – for this reason, we need to listen and take to heart what he as well as our Savior has to say concerning believer's conduct.
Gentile Rules and Jewish Rules
Reading Acts 15 we see a conflict between the teachings of the Jewish brethren and the teaching on the Gentile side. The meeting that took place among the Elders and other leaders of the Church it was decided to lay no burden on the Gentile brethren concerning the Law of Moses and to give them no instruction beyond not drinking the blood of animals, idol worship, and sexual immorality. Gentile believers were to refrain from “fornication” or “porneia the same term used by our Savior in Mat 5:32. And as we have seen, this word covers a multitude of offenses which also includes “adultery”.
Sexual immorality is a serious thing and is not to be found among any believers. Reading the letters to the Church we find these problems of morality and read instruction to turn away from sexual misconduct. So, when someone falls into this sin or has been unknowingly living in this sin of “porneia” or “fornication” you are not thrown out of the body of the Christ, you are given a chance to turn around, to repent. It is something that is discouraged and is not to be tolerated among the people of YaHshua, the Children of God – and – this kind of conduct is grounds for divorce, even among believers.
(1Co 6:16-19) What? know you not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? For two, says He, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Every sin that a man does is without the body; but he that commits fornication sins against his own body. What? Know you not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit which is in you, which you have of God, and you are not your own?
As believers professing Yahshua as our Messiah we are instructed to “flee from fornication”, and as we have already seen this “porneia” covers all sin of a sexual nature, and as Paul points out, this is a most serious sin. If you joined in a sexual union with a whore you are becoming part of her, as one flesh. This is never more evident in the STD epidemic of today. Sexually transmitted diseases are rampant as people join one another in a bonding that can destroy lives and does destroy lives and dreams. To the married, it is most definitely a sin against your own body. In the first place, a married couple is the perfect union of two in one, but when one in this single union goes to another they have most definitely sinned against their own body, sinned against their mate. Many times this sin is uncovered by one of the partners coming down with an STD brought home by the offending partner. The Church, the Body of the Christ on Earth is not to engage in such conduct and if this happens it is grounds for divorce and is permissible by the order of YaHshua Himself -- for the “cause of fornication”, the uncleanness of a partner, for the sexual immorality of a partner -- the partnership can be broken. This is not all there is, still more instructions concerning the Gentile believers conduct in this area of “sexual immorality” --
Paul instructs the Church in Marriage and Virginity
Certainly, Paul is as inspired in his teachings as other Apostles but we need to remember, as we read his instructions, that he reminds the reader twice that some of what he is teaching is not a “command” from our Lord, it is his personal advice (1 Cor 7:12). Paul, in the latter portion of his instructions, says he feels he is as inspired in this as anyone and therefore concludes the Holy Spirit approves what he has instructed. The reason for this is that what he is advising is not found in the Old Testament and apparently Paul was not given any direct communication from our Lord in these matters. This does not give anyone a pass but we should all listen carefully to what Paul is teaching and apply it to our Lives in the Body of YaHshua. Paul was not only a preacher of the Word, but qualified as and Apostle of YaHshua, as well (1Tim2:7, Rom 1:1, 1 Cor 9:1)
The teaching from our Lord is clear, now that we understand what the misapplied term, “fornication”, really means and needs no further interpretation. Paul in his teachings concerning this matter and the matter of ‘virginity” clearly state when it is his teaching or our Lord’s. Keep in mind, these instructions are attempting to cover issues in the Gentile portion of the Church, while the Jewish believers, for the most part, were still following the Law of Moses, and rightly so. The Jewish brethren had, by this time, been notified of the Jerusalem Councils decision concerning the Gentile believer -- not to put them under the Laws of Moses, the Torah, making no obligations on their part other than to give up the practice of drinking blood and -- well, let's read it from our Bible.
(Act 15:28-29 KJV) For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you (Gentiles) no greater burden than these necessary things; That you abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things strangled, and from fornication: from which if ye keep yourselves, ye shall do well. Fare you well.
There it is, right there. So long as the Temple stood the Jews, even believing Jews were bound to the Laws of Moses. These instructions were handed over to Paul and Barnabas to take to the Gentile believers and calling for the Jewish brethren to stop pushing the Gentile believers into being followers of Torah, or some kind of Jewish proselyte.
It would only be natural for some Jewish brethren to still be suspicious of the Gentile brethren and even for some Jewish brethren to seek the same freedom the Gentile brethren were enjoying. The instruction Paul is providing is to the Gentile brethren, outside of the Law of Moses. We do not read Paul’s instructions quoting the Law of Moses, he does mention our Savior’s teaching and then elaborates on other matters of concern. We must assume, following YaHshua greater instruction concerning the “writing of divorcement”, that there would be a mixture of believers in various situations not fully addressed by our Savior. In these modern days all of these instructions may seem past their prime but not for the believers, Jew or Gentile.
There is a point in Paul’s teaching surrounding another word and its application which the Jewish brethren seems to have already sorted out in the Law of Moses, as we have already read. The Gentile brethren were not attempting to live as a Jew or to be part of some Hebrew Roots Movement but were instead trying to find their own way being guided by the Holy Spirit and teaching concerning our Savior YaHshua as the center of their faith. A concern for one’s own “virginity” came into question among the Corinthians. For some reason, commentators and teachers have been confused and have confused themselves and others in the misapplication of this one word, “virgin” as it is used in these instructions to the Corinthians.
Hopefully, we can clear this up.
The confusion is in misidentifying the “virgin” Paul is speaking about. Much of the misunderstanding is inherited from the KJV translators and commentators of old. In the West we look at this word, “virgin”, in a very limited way applying it only to young women never having experienced intercourse – rarely is it used concerning men. The short sightedness of many teachers begin to twist and twirl what is being said by Paul, originally, into something that makes no sense and is not supported by any ancient documents. Let’s look at the instruction in question –
(1Co 7:25) Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that has obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.
(1Co 7:36) But if any man thinks that he behaves himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sins not: let them marry.
The commentators attempt to make this all about a father having control over his virgin daughter, and some go so far as to suggest this concerns a man betrothed to a virgin, “…his virgin…”? This will be explained further in the commentary I will be making, verse by verse, at the finish of this article. For now, suffice it to say, the "virgin" is the man's own, or young man's own virgin -- men can be virgins too, in the sense of never having sexual intercourse.
We will use the KJV because it is from this version so many have established their doctrinal teachings concerning divorce and remarriage. The wording in the KJV is dubious and too easily manipulated among believers not familiar with the Old English style of language. Readable, yes, but not so easy to understand at times and easily misused by the misapplication of terms and words that have changed in scope or even meaning since the KJV was first introduced – actually the KJV has gone through several revisions, the original of 1611 is nearly unreadable, but this is preferred by some fringe teachers – I think it suits them to have a copy of the Bible that their followers have to rely on them to explain what it is saying – lazy Christians letting others dictate what the truth is.
So as it is, I will be using a modern revision of the KJV all the same, and at the same time displaying another reason we should not be basing any doctrine on the outdated KJV alone.
It seemed to me much more beneficial to give the whole context of the instructions in question with my comments inserted. Not that I have all the answers, but common sense and with a little bit of the Holy Spirit I think we can see our way through this and find some peace of mind for many confused by this issue concerning divorce and remarriage in the Church, especially in this day and age of switching partners and experiencing multiple sexual partners. Believe me, the first Church, comprised mostly of Jews had contained many divorced and remarried adults and all through the New Testament accounts hardly a peep about this – remember, the Law of Moses allowed for divorce – from a Jewish point of view, for just about anything could constitute conditions for divorce, so there must have been a large number of these people in the Church, and if Jewish believers, how many more the Gentiles?
After the Jewish converts and many Pharisee believers, we see a large influx of Gentile believers with the numbers growing and surpassing the number with Jewish background. Among the Gentiles they enjoyed more personal freedom than those in a Jewish household, the wives putting away husbands among these groups would not have been unusual? Yet we only have the briefest of instructions from one Apostle, Paul. If divorce and remarriage is such a big problem then why is so little mentioned?
Having already covered the importance of marriage and our Savior’s concerns and attitude in this area, we now have apostolic instructions within the Church. Multiple marriages, concubine, mistress and slaves as part of the household and while the Jewish side of things may have been more toward the one wife, one husband, they still allowed for concubine and certainly some had mistresses – after all, nearly all of the Old Testament Patriarchs had more than one sexual companion, be it wife, or concubine or slave wife. Today, by their standards we might be considered the prudes. Let us examine Paul’s instructions for the Gentile Church --
Instructions from Paul with comments by this author:
(1Co 7:6) But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.
(1Co 7:7) For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.
(1Co 7:8) I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I.
(1Co 7:9) But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.
Servant’s Comment: This is Paul’s instruction, that if it is possible to remain single without lusting after the flesh then do so. He understands that this is not possible with all people, and for that reason then it is better to have a marriage partner than to burn with desire which would eventually lead to things unmentionable. This was and is Paul’s advice and seems perfectly in line with the will of the Spirit, finding no contradiction in Scripture. If you can live a single life, which can lead to greater service for our Lord, then be at peace with that, and do not seek marriage. You see, marriage is not commanded in Paul’s view – marriage is not a requirement of those dedicated to the service of YaHshua.
(1Co 7:10-11) And to the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.
Servant’s Comment: In the Old Testament the “putting away” and the “writing of divorce” was always slanted from the man’s point of view toward, or against the woman. Here we see clearly that the woman is able (allowed) to “depart” from the husband. So, obviously, the rules of “departing” and “putting away” (divorce) was something common in the Gentile world of the First Century.
Simply put, the Believing follower of YaHshua should not seek to put away his or her mate, but if such is the case, then they are to remain “unmarried” – get it? This concerns a “believing couple”, which means both parties are believers in the Lord YaHshua. This would also apply to anyone claiming to be a believer in the Gospel of the New Testament, professing these words for themselves, words to live by – as believers. This does not concern those outside of the Body of the Messiah, not that it would not benefit them and the world but the application as an apostolic instruction is the property of the Church – meaning the ecclesia of the New Covenant.
Again, making sure this is clear -- if you are a professing believer and are married to a professing believer you are not to seek divorce, but, if you separate, you are to remain “unmarried”, and if you do anything else it is to settle your differences and reunite with your believing partner and if you cannot then you are to remain unmarried (separated) and this applies to both parties. No remarriage to someone else. Paul says this is not from him, in this case, but a command from our Lord.
We are not judging here by anything other than the Word. This is not my judgment and not yours or the Pope or any other leader that may seem to be a leader but from our Lord YaHshua Himself as Paul, His Apostle makes clear. “…not I but the Lord…”
(1Co 7:12) But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.
(1Co 7:13) And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.
(1Co 7:14) For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.
Servant’s Comment: This is pretty straight forward and Paul makes it plain that this is his advice and not a command. Still, we understand the principle governing inspiration and we cannot deny Paul is speaking by inspiration. So, while this may not be a direct command it is rules to live by -- rules in a marriage between a believer and non-believer. How is this possible? Of course, we all know the answer, when one partner answers the call and the other does not, this happened then as it does to this day.
One mate gets religion and the other does not and this can cause for some unsettling conversations. But, notice, the believer is not to seek separation or divorce. Then again, if the unbelieving mate cannot stand it and wants to leave the believing mate it is allowed. Paul is pretty specific too, mentioning both sides, male and female – equality in marriage and out of marriage. Paul’s reasoning for this is a bit faulty, however, concerning the cleanness or uncleanness of the children? He is clearly trying to make a point and to influence the believer more than the unbeliever.
The unbeliever, if seeking separation, would care little about this business of “clean or unclean”, the believer, however, would be very disturbed at this and would, if for no other reason, not seek separation solely for the reason that their mate is not a believer. Why is the reasoning faulty? Because it would suggest that if even the unbeliever left then the children would be unclean and I do not believe this to be the case. I think, in my opinion, Paul was trying to leverage his argument against the believer seeking separation from a non-believing spouse. This type of instruction would lead one to the assumption that this was happening a lot, so Paul laid a little spiritual motivation on the believing spouse to hang in there. Remember, Paul tells us that this is his advice and not a commandment from our Lord.
(1Co 7:15) But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.
(1Co 7:16) For what know you, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how know you, O man, whether you shall save your wife?
Servant’s Comment: Here we have the breaking of the bond in a religiously mixed marriage. “A brother or sister (in the faith) is not under bondage in such cases” can it be any plainer? Remember YaHshua’s instruction, “For what God has joined together, let no man separate” (my paraphrase)? By this instruction, if a non-believing mate, spouse, male or female, cannot stand to live with the believer then the believing mate is to stand aside and allow the unbelieving mate to leave the believer, and she or he is then no longer bound in marriage to that individual. You see, it is God Himself that calls the one person and not the other and we are following the instructions of His Apostle to the Gentiles, then who is really breaking this bond?
Again, however, if the unbelieving mate wants to stay then it is allowed because in that case we do not know but that the conduct of the believing spouse just might bring about the conversion of the non-believer – in YaHshua we pray.
(1Co 7:17) But as God hath distributed to every man, as the Lord hath called every one, so let him walk. And so ordain I in all churches.
(1Co 7:18) Is any man called being circumcised? let him not become uncircumcised. Is any called in uncircumcision? let him not be circumcised.
(1Co 7:19) Circumcision is nothing, and uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the commandments of God.
Servant’s Comment: Are you called to our Lord YaHshua a Jew, then do not seek to be a Gentile. Are you called to our Lord YaHshua as a Gentile, then do not seek to be a Jew. This teaching from Paul is focused on the condition of individuals in the marriage union but clearly applies in other areas too. It is our very different nature, one from another that our Heavenly Father may have plans to use.
(1Co 7:20) Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.
(1Co 7:21) Are you called being a servant? care not for it: but if you may be made free, use it rather.
(1Co 7:22) For he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman: likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant.
Servant’s Comment: The modern application of “servant” would be “employee”. While we may be in a service industry or some high tech service, a farmer, a mechanic, a CEO of some company, whatever it is, we are not to seek unemployment or to use our conversion as an excuse to leave our current occupation. Certainly, there were slaves, a class of people that were the responsibility of a single person or household, some were treated like property while others were treated like family members. Paul’s advice is to remain in the condition you are in when called, but if freedom were to present itself, in such conditions as servitude then the believer was to go ahead and take the opportunity to be a free man, or woman.
The reason is clear, He, God the Father may have called you to His Son for no other reason than the position you have in life, slave or not, perhaps for a skill set you have, for the experiences you have at whatever it is that you are doing, or to bring someone else to the Lord. What may seem small to you may not be so small in the scheme of things. If He wants you doing something else, and wants to put your potential somewhere else, don’t worry, you will end up there. But, for now, once you see the truth and as difficult as it may seem, at first, stand still, let the Spirit of Truth settle or you might fall into a pit. Your conversion may lead others in your position to the Lord as well, you don’t know, maybe not, maybe so, be patient and you will see.
What this instruction really should do is put the new believer’s mind at rest concerning grand ideas about being the next Billy Graham. All too often in these days, people begin to imagine all sorts of reasons they are called or see a truth no one else seems to see and then assume they are the next Elijah or something. Once someone takes that road it is nearly impossible to convince them otherwise.
There is certainly a drive, a desire to share this new awakening with others but this does not mean you give up the farm to preach to the world. When the Kingdom is here there will be many that will be awakened to this – ah, I was not called to be a prophet but a farmer, wow, now I see (Zech 13:5). You know, in the Kingdom farmers will be in high demand, much more than prophets. Think about it, are you working for McDonalds? Maybe, just maybe, in the Kingdom to come you will be the Spiritual head of McKing Burger? I’m just making a point not teaching a doctrine.
(1Co 7:23) You are bought with a price; be not you the servants of men.
(1Co 7:24) Brethren, let every man, wherein he is called, therein abide with God.
Servant’s Comment: While we may be employed by men we become free in the Christ and in this liberty are not to seek freedom from our employer for we have real freedom in our Savior, and our real service is then to YaHshua. It is Him that we work for, no longer as man pleasers but for Him (1 Co 7:22), we work at our work and for whomever we are employed as if we are working or enslaved to our Savior, YaHshua. In our service to YaHshua, we become more attentive, more loyal, not to our employer but to YaHshua, and this leads to being more trustworthy on the job, in our occupation, whatever it may be.
In this, there is great benefit, as I have myself witnessed. When we live as if we are working for our Lord our conduct does not go unnoticed and many times promotion follows. Hating your job, as many do, leads to nothing, but having a change of mind you see things differently, everything changes and as the new man or woman in the Christ you will see the job you hate becoming more than a job but an opportunity to serve you Savior and you will reap the benefits, believe me.
If you are in a dead end job and a chance to move on to something else presents itself and it means you are no longer a “slave” then take it, that’s what Paul advises. If however, this is not the case then be patient in Him, abide in Him, work from the point of your conversion as if you were really working for Him – you do not have to be a preacher to have an impact or to make a difference – many times the smaller things are turned into bigger things, even things we do not see, but He does.
(1Co 7:25) Now concerning virgins I have no commandment of the Lord: yet I give my judgment, as one that has obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful.
Servant’s Comment: Again we have Paul reminding us that this is his opinion, an educated opinion but not something he received as a direct “commandment” from our Lord. What he is telling us is that you will not find anything covering this in the Word and so it is his opinion. What is the subject? Virginity is the subject. This is a term applied mostly to young women but we must recognize that this is not exclusive to women only, but to men also. In the very next verse this becomes plain and will unravel some of the wording and understanding in later verses concerning this subject of the “virgin”.
(1Co 7:26) I suppose therefore that this is good for the present distress, I say, that it is good for a man so to be.
Servant’s Comment: “It is good for a man to be so”? And what do you suppose Paul means by that? It is good for a man to remain a “virgin” -- to be a “virgin” does not apply only to women. Of course, Paul meant this to apply to a person never having experienced a union with a woman, or a woman with a man. In this particular instance, he places the emphasis on the man and it is important we understand this.
Persecution of the Church was intensifying and on top of that, the leaders of the Church thought they were going to witness the return of our Lord in their lifetime. Paul is merely saying that the single man (or woman) would be better off remaining single in the troubled times ahead. In those days it was frowned upon to be sexually active before marriage, especially for those in the Church. The attitude of the citizens of the Roman Empire was very liberal when it came to sex and Christians were to be different in their moral conduct. Paul is recommending the single, virgin male stay that way. Many today believe we are living in the end days, so this advice should be taken to heart for anyone that is single in the Church as something to consider – if you truly believe these are the end days maybe our single people should consider spiritual things more than things of the flesh, working for our Lord, awaiting His return. Guess what, we are told that there is just such a group awaiting His return (Rev 14:14) and they will join Him at His return and go with Him where ever He goes. There are other views on who these virgins of Revelation 7 an 14 maybe, but taken by the words written alone the 144,000 will be all males -- all virgin males. Continuing with Paul’s instructions --
(1Co 7:27-28) Are you bound to a wife? Seek not to be loosed. Are you loosed from a wife? Seek not a wife. But and if you marry, you have not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she has not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.
Servant’s Comment: This is again back to remaining in the condition were found in when called. But please notice something, nearly everyone teaches divorced people are not allowed in the Church. Read it again, “Are you loosed (divorced) from a wife”? “But and if you marry, you have not sinned…” Remember, Paul is talking to believers, not the world.
This is worth repeating as it is taught by some that divorced people are not allowed to remarry. Paul is trying to deal with believers coming into the Church, called by God the Father to YaHshua and he is making room for them within the context of a new morality from where they came from. Notice the instruction for the believer that is loosed, separated, divorced or whatever, are first advised not to seek a wife. This instruction from Paul, as explained before, is because of the “distress” they were living under at the time. He apparently saw it would be easier to remain single and not have additional responsibilities in a family way, making it easier to cope with the conditions of the distress of those days with the return of YaHshua being so close, or perceived as being so close (1Pet 4:7, Rom 16:20). What follows is amazing when you consider the teachings from the other side of this question. Paul says something that should leave no room for further interpretation concerning those who have been divorced -- “But, if you marry you have not sinned”, read it again.
(1Co 7:29-31) But this I say, brethren, the time is short: it remains, that both they that have wives be as though they had none; And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not; And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passes away.
Servant’s Comment: There is evidence the Apostles and the believers of that day felt they were living in the end-times and would witness the return of YaHshua. Paul thought they were on the brink of the end and the new beginning with the coming of the Kingdom. This explains what he is saying, “…for the fashion of this world passes away”. The gravity of what he is saying is bigger than anyone was thinking then or now.
(1Co 7:34) There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married cares for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.
Servants Comment: Here we see Paul understands fully what a virgin is, and in his view, it is an unmarried woman and in a like manner an unmarried man should be considered a “virgin”. Let’s not forget it is men that are called “virgins” in Revelation 7 & 14. He then explains why he is suggesting the unmarred stay unmarried.
(1Co 7:35) And this I speak for your own profit; not that I may cast a snare upon you, but for that which is comely, and that you may attend upon the Lord without distraction.
Servant’s Comment: This is so true and is evident from the beginning of creation. Eve was told that her desire for her husband would always be and this is carried on down through all women. Adam was told that he would 88888 cling mother to please (cling to) the wife. These qualities are God-ordained in married couples (Genesis 2:24 and 3:16) and in Paul’s estimation being married would interfere with the desire to please and serve the Lord totally.
Next, Paul enters into the advice of another flavor, and this is the verse so misunderstood none of the commentators seem to agree completely. And, again, it has to do with identifying what or who the “virgin” is.
(1Co 7:36) But if any man think that he behaves himself uncomely toward his virgin, if she pass the flower of her age, and need so require, let him do what he will, he sins not: let them marry.
Servant’s Comment: This, in my opinion, is one of the most misunderstood verses in the Bible. In previous verses we have already read that Paul includes men under the umbrella of “virginity” and he applies it equally to both male and female. In this verse we need to understand this in order to make sense of it.
What others are teaching is that this verse is talking about a father and his actions toward his virgin daughter. Others teach that this verse is talking about a woman betrothed to a man, and the man’s attitude toward his virgin wife to be. These are vain efforts attempting to make sense of the “he” and the “she” and the “her” and the “him” being used erratically in this verse. Hopefully, we can come to a better understanding and clear this up.
If we can understand that this instruction is about a man’s own virginity then the verse comes clear. What is it for a man to “behave uncomely toward his virgin”? His virgin, his own personal virginity, what does that mean? Do you see, Paul is not talking about a man having some kind of control over a virgin female, but over his own virginity? Notice the “her” in italics, which indicates the translators added this, it is not in the original context. This is true throughout the KJV translation any and all italicized words were added by the translators in their educated efforts to make better sense of verses from the Greek to the English.
Now, if you continue in the verse you will see how the translators have messed it up as they ignored the first verses in this chapter regarding male virginity and scrambling this verse between male and female causing some to apply this verse exclusively to mean a young “virgin woman” over whom some strange male seems to have some kind of control. The commentators have had a field day with this one.
Simply put, if a male virgin cannot control his lust, acting uncomely toward his own virginity, and feels guilty about it then he should get married before he is old or past the “flower of age”, past his prime. This would and could also apply to a virgin woman, if she acts uncomely toward her own virginity then it would be better to marry would indicate passing one’s prime.
(1Co 7:37) Nevertheless he that stands steadfast in his heart, having no necessity, but has power over his own will, and hath so decreed in his heart that he will keep his virgin, doeth well.
Servant’s Comment: This verse makes sense when we continue to understand the virgin is the man’s own personal virginity, not some male control over a female. Look at this verse and it should become even plainer, this is instruction for a male believer. Whose “will” is the subject? His “own will”, the man’s “will” and if he has made up his mind to keep his virgin which is to stay celibate then he does well, according to Paul.
(1Co 7:38) So then he that gives her in marriage doeth well; but he that gives her not in marriage doeth better.
Servant’s Comment: This verse is self-explanatory when you realize, as mentioned before, the italicized word, her, is added by the translators, it could just have easily say, “he”. In that present time of distress, Paul is saying, it is better not to marry and if you are a virgin you do well, if you can stand being a virgin whether man or woman, then in Paul’s estimation you are better off, considering the difficult times ahead. Even Paul could not tell the immediate future.
Paul shifts gears and gives advice to the married and to those finding themselves unmarried or widowed.
(1Co 7:39-40) The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband lives; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord. But she is happier if she so abide, after my judgment: and I think also that I have the Spirit of God.
Servant’s Comment: “Until death do us part”, sound familiar? Our Savior gave only one condition breaking the “bond” of the marriage relationship and that was the condition of “fornication” (porneia) and as we have already seen previously in this study, this covers a whole slew of sexual improprieties and acts of uncleanness, which includes but is not exclusive to adultery. Here Paul includes death but notice Paul says something very interesting, “…only in the Lord” and this can be applied two way – he means this ruling is applicable only in the Body of the Messiah, only among believers, and thus does not apply the world at large. The second application to what Paul is teaching is that if a widow or widower remarries they are to marry another believer, “…only in the Lord”.
Earlier we read how Paul makes the point that the union of a believer with a non-believer is only bound so long as they remain together, but if the unbeliever departs (divorces) the believer is no longer bound. When YaHshua gave His instruction He was speaking with those still under the Old Covenant made with the people of Israel. Contained in the Old Covenant is the Law of Moses which grants divorce under the condition, or for the cause of “uncleanness” (Deut 24:1), covering a variety of conditions all surrounding “nakedness”.
In His instructions in regards to this law of “divorcement” contained in the Old Covenant and His new teaching delivered in the Sermon on the Mount, He, YaHshua, is speaking with those considered to be the children of God, at that time, not those outside of the Laws of Moses. YaHshua demonstrates His consistency in this teaching when later in His ministry he faces the Pharisees with the same question and the same answer. With YaHshua’s death on the cross, everything changed, a New Covenant is introduced and eventually a new people are brought in. Not that His teaching changes for the Jews, it doesn’t, but the application, as Paul demonstrates is more detailed because they are outside of the traditions and customs of the Jews and the Law of Moses.
Paul is dealing with believers and how they should act among themselves as the children of God within this New Covenant that was activated only after YaHshua died for us and rose from the dead making a change in the priesthood (Heb 7:12).
Strong Word but Fair
In the marriage union between two believers, there is only one thing that can break that union and that is the death of one or the other – this is only a rule between two confessing believers. They can separate, that is allowed, but remarriage is not, except for the one instance and that is for the cause of “porneia”, which Paul does not cover here because he doesn’t have to, our Lord has already covered that rule and everyone would have been fully aware of it just as we have read in previous verses, quotes from our Savior and His teaching for those Holy to God, first the Jew and then the Gentile (Mat 5:31-32 and Mat 19:9, Romans 1:16).
Paul then says, “… I think also that I have the Spirit of God”, expressing his heartfelt authority from whom he gives these instructions, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. So be it, as it is written.
Marriage and Divorce – Homosexuals Marry – Churches condone deviant Behavior -- and other Information
“Married, once and for all time, until death do you part” This is a topic that used to carry some weight within Christian Churches and organizations, far for approving of deviant life styles, one man one woman law, not of just God, or the Bible, but of nature itself. We do not need to argue about all of this, the fact remains, that sexual immorality has been a leader in the distruction of human life without doubt. The Bible aside, nature itself teaches mankind that homosexual conduct is not the norm. If you are a religious person and you think homosexuality is just another form of love then you are truly blind and in denial.
In these modern times, this and other issues are, like accepting men that want to be women or women that want to be men being reconsidered by many churches and the Government and States attempting to be more understanding, more forgiving, more righteous than God Himself. Maybe it is because the Progressives (pronounced, “politically correct”) seem to be winning the battle over the Western definition of marriage, one man to one woman. The Roman Catholic Church, however, is one of the few groups of professing Christians still upholding the teaching, “until death do you part”, an oath which is actually based on Scriptural teaching from the New Testament (1 Cor 7:39). Even the Catholic Church, however, has many little loopholes through which you can move to make things right with the Church concerning the issue of divorce and remarriage, but so far they are holding firm on banning the Idea of Gay (homosexual) marriages.
If you want to decide for yourself if a marriage between Harry and Larry is perfectly alright and is a “love teaching” of the New Testament go to Romans 1 and 1 Cor 6:9 and think again.
On Second thought, let’s read some of this together –
(1Co 6:9) Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders... NIV
(Rom 1:20-21) For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--His eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.
(Rom 1:22-22) Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
(Rom 1:24-25) Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator--who is forever praised. Amen.
(Rom 1:26-27) Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion. NIV
Argue with the Word of God, not with me. Go to His word and prove otherwise. Go on, if you disagree, get your spiritual feet wet and prove otherwise and that the Word of God does not mean what it says. It is a shame and a sham that some in the religious communities condone homosexuality and that some in the homosexual community have started Churches of their own, claim to be loving Christians. We all need to take seriously the idea that one day we are all going to face God and everything is going to be exposed. We read about a clear statement, needing no interpretation, that certain people will not get into the Kingdom, but our Savior came and cleared the way for those in these groups to find forgiveness and to start over as new people belonging to God but all of this can only come through His Son, YaHshua. You can live the lie and convince yourself you are right and the Word of God is wrong. None of this matters, your opinion, against Him and His Word, does not matter and will not change anything -- those mentioned, who fall into any of those categories, will not be allowed into the Kingdom of eternity -- what those in those lifestyles, not living a repentant life will be cast out.
Read the Holy Bible without preconceived bias or opinion, if you can, and you will clearly see that homosexual conduct of any kind is not approved in New Testament teachings, any more than liars, deceivers, thieves, and murderers will be awarded access to eternity unless they repent and accept YaHshua as Savior and come under the grace and forgiveness of our Heavenly Father.
Any minister or self-proclaimed preacher telling you otherwise can be identified as one of the wolves in sheep clothing looking to devour the sheep in the Church. The first big Church that comes to mind is the Lutheran Church, condoning Homosexual marriage and priests allowed to marry same sex couple. Astounding, they condone homosexual marriage, a sexual deviation never intended by our Creator to be accepted as normal conduct -- but then the Lutheran Church is in the process of creating their own religion, and have been for some time -- Luther would be ashamed. They are not alone in this, as homosexual marriages are becoming accepted more and more among the population and the states of the Union.
Update: Since the original writing of this study article the US Supreme Court decided, 5 to 4 vote, that same sex marriage is not legal. Now, what happens when a Church with non-profit rights by the grace of the Federal government, goes against the Supreme Court and refuses to honor this new law? Eventually, those objecting and refusing to go by the Supreme Court ruling will have their non-profit status revoked and they will have to pay taxes or be audited or even put in jail. Now laws are being passed to forbid any morally deviant person out of your business or home or church. The Christians are being tested and may end up losing everything and tagged as evil bigots, and bigots are then denied work or the ability to earn money so long as they do not accept homosexuals and other deviant activities as normal. Look how quickly this seemed to happen?
I want to encourage you to look the up verses quoted above in any of the modern translations where the wording is much more to the point and direct than the polite King James Version. Even in the KJB please notice two words, "fornicate" and "adultery", "lust", "effeminate", prostitute, and many other words identifying individuals within and outside of the marriage union that is condemned in Scripture. Our Savior had some things to say about this kind of conduct. In His teachings from the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew chapter 5) , known also as the Beatitude, a word defined by the American Heritage Dictionary – “A state of utmost bliss” – (from the Latin, beatitude). It is interesting to note this definition for "beatitude" implies these teachings of YaHshua were understood to be in a “perfect state”, in other words, in a “perfect world”, this is how it should be – but – in the world of yesterday and today, we are still waiting for that perfect world when these teachings we call the beatitudes will then come into their fullness.
His words have been twisted and turned by those with some kind of agenda, whether attempting to restore the Old Covenant or denying our Savior allowed for any form of divorce. Some go to great lengths to explain what “love” is and is not in the marriage union. What is strange are some of those attempting to restore the Old Covenant (Torah Law) and work the teachings around in the Law to coincide with the perceived teaching of YaHshua against divorce of any kind. You see, the Old Covenant does allow for divorce, just as our Savior points out Himself. But, those wanting to place believers back under the restriction of the Law of Moses have then twisted and turned the Law to fit. Our Savior, YaHshua, dealt with fornication and adultery among married and unmarried couples -- it is not as confusing as some have made it. Remember, among the people of God there were many divorced couples, but among these people of Israel, homosexuality was not acceptable, among the Romans it was much more acceptable.
YaHshua is teaching the general population around the land of Israel and some extended Jewish territories. His ministry and the commission He gave to His disciples were centered and dedicated to the House of Israel only.
(Mat 10:5-7) These twelve YaHshua sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter you not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying, The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand.
(Mat 15:24) He answered, "I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel."
Contrary to many, our Savior was not sent to the World, no, that would be the mission set by Him, later by and through His disciples, after His death on the Cross. His earthly ministry was to Israel, and certainly a lesson for non-Israelites but His message was a call for Israel to turn around. They refused, the religious leaders of the day and the majority of Jews decided to persecute any brother or sister listening to or accepting the Gospel message. The religious leaders of that day were not ready to give up their authority and continued to dictate, to the people how they were to follow the Torah. By this one act of denial and rejection and helping to bring about the Crucified Lord, YaHshua, they unwittingly opened the Kingdom of God to the Gentiles, to the nations.
YaHshua's message, however, was primarily to them, Israel, and this explains some of the confusion found among some in the Hebrew Root Movement (HRM) as they attempt to restore the Old Covenant as an obligation over the believer. The teachings of YaHshua were directed at the people of Israel/Jews in a manner reflecting what their obligation was supposed to be at that time and before, under the Law of Moses – the times of the Gentiles had not arrived yet, not until after the Cross of the Christ. Just because we recognize and accept our Lord’s true birth Name does not, or should not, translate into restoring the Old Covenant, a Covenant made with the people of Israel, not with the Gentiles or the Nations –
(Luke 21:24) They (people of Israel) will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.
Like It or not, we are living in the Times of the Gentiles, not the Time of Israel or Moses. Our Savior, YaHshua, saw what was coming, and uttered those prophetic words. And did this happen to the people of Israel? We, my friends, have a historical witness to the truth of His words. Who is it that has possession of the Temple Mount? Not the Jews of today, but the Arabs. The Jews were taken captive by the Roman Government and dispersed throughout the Empire. From there the Jews have been chased around the globe and only recently were again established, as a nation, back in the land of Palestine -- May 1948. The Temple was destroyed around 68-70 Ad, after 3 1/2 years of Roman siege. Then some 70 years later Jerusalem, the city was ground into power and all of its people and the people take again into captivity and dispersed throughout the Empire. So, for nearly 1808 years the Jewish people have struggled to maintain their identity without a country. Now there is a representation of Israel, Modern Israel, back in the land, and are they promoting the worship of YaHWeH? Nope, not at all. Israel had to be reconstituted, to some degree so that Biblical prophecy could continue as much of Bible prophecy surrounds the future of Israel and the place our Creator has chosen to put His Name.
Does Modern Israel have the City of Jerusalem? Yes, but only in part, the city is divided along racial and religious lines. Don't forget, this Modern Jerusalem is built on top of the original Jerusalem, and in some places the original Jerusalem is some 70 feet below the modern streets of today. For the prophetic words of the Bible, Christian and Hebrew, there had to be a Nation Israel, and today as we are approaching the End Times and the end of the Times of the Gentiles -- Israel had to be in place before this could happen.
Imagine, less than a hundred years ago, if you had suggested a Nation of Israel would once again be in the Middle East you would have been laughed at. Now, of course, we are all much smarter, aren’t we, because there obviously is a Nation of Israel -- the Prophetic Word is ready to spring forward. I must repeat: The prophetic word centers around there being a representation of the people of Israel in the land again, and there is. What has happened to Israel as a people and is still to happen in coming world events, will be for us an example, examples to learn from. The Gentiles will rage and do rage in the Face of Israel's Creator and without fear seek to destroy Israel. Much of the world, without any logical reasoning, seek to destroy a people our Creator God is determined to save.
Certainly,these are life lessons concerning Israel -- her on again off again love affair with their God -- should tell us a lot about the God we too claim and His attitude toward the actions of the people, Jew and Gentile alike. Those Gentiles seeking to destroy the Jews are in danger of being destroyed themselves, it is but a matter of time when the Time of the Gentiles is finished.
YaHshua was not instructing Gentiles, He was holding the people of Israel, particularly the religious leaders, accountable for how far away from the “spiritual truth” they had fallen. He in no way commanded the Gentile populations, the nations, to be circumcised in the Law – This was clearly decided at the Council of Jerusalem as recorded in Acts 15 and restated some years later by James in Acts 21:25.
Still, the Law is just and good, and we should listen to it, now that we are awakened we should apply the principles of its wise guidance, after all, who is the author of the LAW. But it is YaHshua that rules in us by His Spirit and we will try to do what is right by His love in us – while yet in the flesh there is always a struggle.
For Israel and the World, everything changes after YaHshua is rejected and hung on the Cross. Because of this one selfless act, the way is opened for us, Gentiles, as well as those having lost their identity as a people—the lost tribes of Israel. His message and the message of His Apostles were not to convert all people into becoming Hebrew or Jewish, His message was how we could all come into the Kingdom as one body of people, neither as Jew or Gentile but as Children of the living God by way of YaHshua.
(John 4:22) You worship you know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.
Now it changes ---
(John 4:23) But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship Him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth.
Can you see the change? Salvation is of the Jews, YaHshua is of Jewish descent, just as the prophets foretold of His coming and it is only fitting that the Savior of the World would be concerned for the people through whom He chose, even though they would kill Him, but for that prophetic act alone opened the way for the Gentiles to also take part or claim the eternal Promise of salvation. Notice He says they, the Jews, know what they worship and then He follows this up with, “…the hour comes, and NOW IS when the true worshippers worship the Father in spirit and in truth…” He moves from Jews to “true worshipers” indicating a change from the physical applications that had become a stumbling block for the people and reveals what our Heavenly Father truly desires. YaHshua has opened the way for us to access our Heavenly Father in Spirit. HalleluYaH.
A Changing God?
Some say God does not change and reason that what was good for the people of Israel is good for us, meaning those attempting to restore the Old Covenant, but they fail to realize the context of such things in Scripture because YaHWeH has and does change His mind. YaHWeH was going to destroy Israel in the desert for their actions and so soon after crossing the Red Sea, but Moses pleaded with Him and He changed His mind (Ex 32:10-11 – He does change His Mind).
We need to understand this so we can clearly see the spiritual applications our Savior places on the Law. It is the spiritual applications that teach us the reality of our Savior and our Heavenly Father both of whom are Spirit. Yes, YaHshua was in the flesh, real flesh and blood, but He has been quickened and is far more than human today (Rev 1:13-18 – read this and you will see what I mean). Do we think He is still flesh and blood? The read this and ask yourself, if He is flesh, still, then why does Paul say we do not yet know what we will be? Well, read it for yourself –
(1Jn 3:2) Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is.
We do not know exactly what our Savior has become. We know He has the power to appear as human but in His world He is something else, a powerful being that is going to return in power to rule the nations with a rod of iron – and we are going to be like Him.
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