MY RESPONSES WILL BE IN BLUE. I sincerely hope that you will receive my exhortation and reproof rather than seek an argument while assuming I cannot possibly be right — you cannot find truth this way. We both must only be concerned with valid arguments based on a proper exegesis of Scripture. It is obvious that you are not well versed in principles of interpretation; but seem to think you can do whatever you want with interpreting Scripture. This is dangerous error, and could get you in deep trouble with the author of Scripture.
I hope this letter finds you well and prospering in Jesus. Sorry this rebuttal took a long time coming. Since I take this issue extremely seriously, I have done my best to use the better part of three months since our last correspondence to undertake an exhaustive research of the subject from all angles possible and to compile a set of arguments tailor fit specifically to your objections from the last thesis I wrote. I studied your objections carefully, went through your book again, and the result of my laborious labors are outlined in the 7 core arguments paper copied below. Argument 3 is my biggest section and the "Section Notes" margin at the bottom of this argument contains 5 key sub-arguments that concisely address your arguments from the last email.
I have concluded, at least to myself, that my rebuttal in this work is thorough and without "chinks", so I welcome you to go through this outline carefully and with an open mind in order to ascertain if indeed such is the case. I say this only because I undertook this painstaking work with lots of prayer for wisdom, insight, and revelation. I fear to teach and preach error, as I know teachers will receive a greater degree of accountability and condemnation (James 3:1). I believe that any insights given to us are strictly through the Spirit and the problem I recognize today is that too many are led by their intellect rather than a fervent love for God and an earnest recognition of our innate blindness (foolishness to the carnal mind) to the Word, apart from His grace bestowed on us when we cry out to Him in all sincerity and without natural bias. I tell you the truth Mark, I really would love if your teaching concerning this issue was true. It would make my life much easier. I did not grow up in the plain circles and was held at a distance by regular Believers back when we went to a standard assembly and maintained these beliefs....Anyway, I'm a fervent Believer in the ministry of the Spirit and have attached my writing about this subject at the bottom of this letter.
I wonder how much experience you have had when saying my beliefs would make your life easier. The truth is that my beliefs have made my life a continual battle with mainstream ideology, whereas if I believed your way, I would fit into a mainstream with many benefits. So, this doesn’t ring true to me unless you are just affected by the grass looking greener on the other side. You have never experienced this side, but I invite you to see how easy it is — the whole package, not just one aspect. Does your wife wear modest apparel and head covering? Does your church group enforce standards of holiness upon pain of excommunication? Check out the whole package of apostolic faith and practice.
Also, once you have studied my thesis, I would like to invite you into a Youtube discussion (I don't debate) about this matter in an orderly and non-aggressive manner. I plan to post these writings online with your name attached to this discussion in order to give people an understanding of your position and your approach to defining this argument.
I also plan to attach this document with my responses on our website when it is all done, but will leave your complete name off hoping you will abandon your error.
One thing I have noticed from your previous email is that you consider the teaching of unconditional love to be heresy. You challenge me to provide one scripture proving this. Here is your challenge copied from the last email: UNCONDITIONAL LOVE IS NOT TAUGHT IN THE BIBLE; BUT IS HERESY --- SHOW ME ONE VERSE THAT TEACHES UNCONDITIONAL LOVE
I could provide several scriptures that teach unconditional love. First, God is our example, and if He practices this type of love then we better too, but even Paul admonishes us to practice this selfless kind of love, as a result of the "love of God shed abroad in our hearts". If you haven't experienced it, I urge you to cry out to God for it. Notice the following Scriptures:
My Friend, this is what I mean by just looking for an argument and running headlong without first considering the issue properly. Do you not know the difference between “unconditional” and “unselfish”? There is a world of difference between the two. All godly love is unselfish, because selfish love is sin and godly love is the opposite of self love. “Unconditional” on the other hand is a whole different subject, and all the Scriptures testify that unconditional love does not exist in God’s economy. Your “proof texts” only prove you wrong. Let’s see:
John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
God loves the whole world indiscriminately and without conditions just as He claims.
If God’s love is without conditions then there will be no one perishing and going to Hell; but IS THAT WHAT THE VERSE SAYS? Absolutely not!! The verse gives the conditions upon receiving this love — “whosoever believeth in Him should not perish” — What if we don’t meet the conditions? We PERISH — the love is conditional! Brother, if we have to argue such elementary issues, how will we make headway in the Kingdom of God?
Romans 5:7-8 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
Jesus died for us while we were still sinners and He loved us enough to do this without conditions, don't you agree?
God’s love provided salvation; but if this was unconditional love, then it would save everyone — IT DOES NOT. Listen to Jesus in John 15:10 “If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.” Sure, the loving heart is there; but you cannot enter or abide in it without meeting the conditions. The Jesus that died to provide salvation WILL NOT GIVE IT TO ANYONE WHO DOESN’T MEET THE CONDITIONS. If I loved my poor neighbors and provided a feast at my own expense with them in mind; but would only allow them to come and eat of it if they dressed modest, then my love is not unconditional; but the partaking of my love has conditions and only those who meet the conditions can partake. This is what Jesus did in providing salvation.
I Cor 13, Jer 3, and Hos 2 are just a few examples where unconditional love is exemplified or taught to us. I think perhaps you meant to say unconditional forgiveness is never taught in Scripture?? And I would certainly assent to that.
Do you not see that unconditional love demands unconditional forgiveness??? If love is unconditional then where would conditional forgiveness come in?? THE BIBLE DOES NOT TEACH UNCONDITIONAL LOVE. I hope you see your error and can receive this instruction. Can you see the conditional aspect in the verses below? God’s love is ALWAYS conditioned upon repentance and obedience — otherwise you won’t receive it, but you will receive His wrath instead. NO VERSE OR PASSAGE CONTRADICTS THIS.
John 15:21 “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.
22 Judas saith unto him, not Iscariot, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us, and not unto the world?
23 Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”
Side note: Also, your statement took me by surprise because I gathered from your writings that you were against Calvinism/Predestination. This is one of their own arguments.
I fear you misunderstand them too. They believe in “unconditional election” (really random election) which is basically unconditional love for the elect only — but even that is a condition. They don’t believe what I believe, because they don’t believe in free will responsibility to meet conditions.
Furthermore, you stated emphatically that Paul never once taught anything new or contrary to the Law. I care to differ. Paul taught that men should not grow their hair long as it is contrary to nature, that women should veil their heads when praying, and that men should not pray with their heads covered. Dear sir, please show me a single shred of evidence for these teachings in the Old Covenant. In fact, the Old Testament teaches otherwise to these things. Yet, we practice these things in the NT because of Paul, not Jesus or Moses.
Above you quoted me, and here you don’t — the reason is because you are not properly representing my words. I said that Paul never taught anything contrary to the Old Testament Scriptures as the Holy Ghost never contradicts or corrects Himself. The reception of the Gentiles is NEW, but not inconsistent or contrary to God’s inspired Word. The resurrection of Christ is NEW, but not contrary to the Scriptures. However, what Paul taught about men’s long hair and women’s head coverings as well as men praying with their heads covered were part of the common Jewish beliefs of the day and they got these from the Scriptures they had — the OT. This was not new or contrary to the Scriptures. Why do you think it is? Paul never taught anything contrary to Jewish morality — nor did Jesus.
So, you actually believe that Paul made this up? In the Old Testament the Nazarites would let their hair grow during the time of their vow, and then shave their heads — Paul was still doing this in the New Covenant — Acts 18:18 and 21. If it was common as you say for men to wear their hair long in the OT, then what was different about the Nazarite? Most all ancient societies believed in women wearing head coverings in public, and it was a part of the Jewish laws at the time of Christ, which they gathered from oral tradition and historic Judaism. We get glimpses of these things in Scriptures such as Isa. 47:2; but history is also a valuable source of information. Even Rebekah understood such standards in her day and pulled her veil over her face when meeting Isaac for the first time. We know what the Jews believed because we can read their writings and commentaries on the Scriptures.
Paul preached to Jews first in every city and the first church members were Jews who searched the Scriptures to verify his teachings and thus believed. If Paul had been innovating of his own accord, they would have rightly said he was a false prophet. When Paul gave counsel from his own Spirit inspired mind on something that Jesus didn’t address on earth, he clarified that he was doing so — as in I Cor. 7:6 & 10. Paul and Peter and Jesus preached the same gospel message from the same source — The Holy Ghost. The apostolic churches all believed the same faith and practice regardless of which apostle was ministering to them. Paul is the one who clearly said, “2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” YOUR DISBELIEF IN THIS VERSE IS THE BASIS FOR YOUR WHOLE ARGUMENT.
Moses’ Law was still valid for all believers until 12 years after Pentecost when Cornelius was received without the ceremonial law. THAT IS ALL THAT CHANGED. The Jewish believers were still practicing ALL Moses’ Law until at least AD 70 when the Temple was destroyed making it impossible. In Acts 21 (29 years after Pentecost) we find that Paul and James are still practicing ALL THE LAW and agreeing that only the Gentiles were released from the ceremonial law. The moral law is binding on all believers for all time and eternity where it is applicable (Romans 8:1-4) BECAUSE IT IS THE BASIS OF THE NEW COVENANT. If you aren’t loving and practicing God’s Moral Law through Moses, then you are not in the New Covenant, because the New Covenant is God writing His Laws in our hearts by the Holy Ghost!
Again, you are mistaken, and I hope you can see it for your own sake.
Also, I would like to bring you into an event that transpired in my life just recently. Read the following excerpts that were sent out in email by me to our Fellowship:
"Last night, I was privileged to gather in our home with a precious elder Brother, a man of faith. Incidentally, he traveled last year to Auckland NZ with another Br. from Canada to meet with Brethren from Auckland who are standing for the Permanence view of marriage. There are very few in NZ that do. This man, some of you know him, has had his personal testimony published through CAM and has been praying for his adulterous wife, clinging in faith for over twenty years that God would at last restore their marriage. He is such a precious broken vessel and a spiritual father, a real inspiration to me. We spent a long season in prayer. Holding hands, we wept and cried together. We plead with God on behalf of His wife so she would receive a vision of Christ and be restored to her husband and children. We agreed together as the Bible instructs and carried each other's burdens. He pled with God on our behalf and I for him. What a beautiful picture of the Body of Christ functioning together in unity and attending to one another's wounds. I would like to ask us to consider the last time we wept with another over their vexation of heart. Or allowed the love of Christ to brim and overflow in our vessels on behalf of others. Isn't this what Christ has called us to as a Body (John 17:21)? Let us encourage each other to pursue this vibrant and beautiful expression of the Body."
"....Finally, I have a great praise report to share with you. If you recall, in one of my last group letters, I mentioned our dear Brother Elmer, an elder friend who has been separated from his wife for over twenty years as a result of divorce (not of his choosing). We had spent the first week of September in prayer, not only for the revival of the Church, but also for the restoration of his marriage. He had a chance recently to visit with his wife at their grandson's birthday celebration. Prior to this, he called asking us to keep him in prayer during the celebration and so we did. The following day, he called again to give us an update. He notified us that during the party God impressed upon him to reach out and hold his wife's hand. The amazing thing was that God granted him the courage to make such a bold gesture. He had never attempted such a thing before, as they always kept a pretty formal attitude toward one another during previous encounters. More amazing still, was that Carlos did not pull away, but allowed him to hold her hand for quite some time. Not only, but later on invited him to drive along for some shopping together. During the drive, they discussed arranging a private meeting sometime to rehash matters of the past and their relationship. This Br. is living in the reality of a sheer miracle! He is overwhelmed by how God has decided to act on his behalf at such a time as this and after so many years of being painfully separated. This proves that when Brethren meet in unity of heart and agree together in prayer, the Lord is able to work wonders! Please keep Carlos and Elmer in your prayers as they prepare to meet again sometime soon."
WHAT DO WE BUILD UPON — GOD’S WORD OR MAN’S EMOTIONS???
GOD ALMIGHTY SAID THAT IF A COUPLE DIVORCES AND ONE REMARRIES THAT THE ORIGINAL RELATIONSHIP CANNOT BE RENEWED AS THAT WOULD BE AN ABOMINATION AND CAUSE THE LAND TO SIN. Does this bother you?
You call her an adulterous wife so I assume you mean she remarried??? If not, then that would make a BIG DIFFERENCE; but was she single when he held her hand or was he holding the hand of another man’s wife? I’m surprised you don’t see the need to clarify these things. If she was called an adulterous wife because she remarried, then he cannot restore that relationship according to God’s Word in Deut. 24:1-4.
Again listen to the Apostle Paul: “2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.”
Side Note: A couple of the following arguments may seem redundant, but I do not repeat old fudder. You will find that I dissect the same argument while including new information and proofs. So please go through them carefully without skimming.
Marriage, Divorce, & Remarriage
7 Core “Exception” Arguments Refuted
ARGUMENT 1: Deuteronomy 24:1-4 clearly permits divorce and remarriage in the case of adultery.
ANSWER: Deut. 24:1-4 does not even address the issue of adultery. What we find instead is a concession dealing specifically with the practice of divorce as a result of its common abuse (cf. Mathew 19:8). Many misappropriate the instruction here applying it to adultery rather than a matter of “uncleanness”, as clearly expressed by the text itself. However, scholars agree that said uncleanness was anything less than sexual infidelity, a serious offense punishable by death (cf. Lev. 20:10, 11; Deut. 22:22; John 8:1-11).
You say the word “uncleanness” is “anything less” than sexual infidelity? So the Pharisees were right??? What scholars are you listening too??? I fear you are confused. Now you are advocating “every cause” as the interpretation of Deut. 24.
The definition of Concession is: a thing that is granted, especially in response to demands; a thing conceded. So, your view of God’s Holy Law through His inspired prophet to his chosen people is that they were abusing divorce and remarriage; and so God conceded to allow sinful activity because they demanded it. This is a wicked view of God’s Law. Deut. 24 is God’s remedy for man’s sinful circumstances and problems. It is the most holy and appropriate thing to do under the circumstances. Deut. 24:1-4 is what God referred to when giving Israel a bill of divorce and putting her away for adultery —
Jer 3:8 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.
Do you or the scholars understand God’s Word better than HE? No, and not all scholars agree with you, either. How arrogant to state such things when God himself not only used his own law in that way; but also called Joseph a just man for considering the same thing with Mary. NEVER build doctrine on your understanding of one verse divorced from the whole counsel of God on the subject — that, my friend, is the sure road to heresy.
Jesus was being asked about Moses’ “exception” or “allowance” for divorce when He clearly stated that “immorality” was the true interpretation of Moses’ “matter of nakedness” or “uncleanness” — that Hebrew word is translated “nakedness” 51 times in the Bible. Jesus defined it by the word “pornea” which also refers to matters of nakedness or immorality. Jesus was answering their question about Deut. 24. YES, stoning was the highest penalty; but from the Scriptures we can clearly see that divorce was a merciful alternative used by God, considered by the just Joseph, and explained by Jesus.
NONE OF GOD’S HOLY LAW WAS A COMPROMISE WITH SIN. GOD’S HOLY WORD WAS ALWAYS THE VERY BEST AND MOST HOLY THING TO DO UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES. When Jesus said this law was written due to the hardness of men’s hearts, he was telling them that it was not a goal of excellence in society, but a remedy for fallen society’s problems; but God never compromises with sin. ALL THE LAWS ARE MADE TO CORRECT THE PROBLEMS BROUGHT IN BY MAN’S FALLEN CONDITION. JESUS SAID THIS TO CORRECT THEIR PRIDEFUL PERSPECTIVE.
One thing you miss is that God set up civil authorities to monitor the use of these laws, and so a man or woman wasn’t supposed to be able to simply come up with an excuse and divorce over a whim — the judges were to oversee these things if they were doing their job. Many times the judges were godly Levites who loved and feared God — THIS WAS THE PLAN. Moses wasn’t specific on what “uncleanness” was because there were to be judges who judged the worthiness of the matter. What Paul taught in I Cor. 7 is consistent with God’s Law and Jesus — Of course! They come from the exact same source — God’s Holy Spirit!
The biggest objection I have to this argument is that it’s highly inconsistent. Here’s why. Which present-day Bible teachers using Deut. 24:1-4 as proof text to support their claims are giving equal credence to the remaining portions of this book? Why not? What’s wrong with observing the other rulings also? Just look at the list we conveniently leave out of our lessons: 15:20 (Slavery), 21:10-14 (Treatment of Women Prisoners), 21:15 (Multiple Wives/Polygamy), 21:18-21 (Stoning of Rebellious Children), 23:2 (No Bastards 10th Gen.), etc. Of course, such observance is foolish and contrary to the New Covenant spirit.
WOE TO THE MAN WHO CALLS GOD’S INSPIRED HOLY LAW “FOOLISH AND CONTRARY TO THE NEW COVENANT SPIRIT!!” What Spirit inspired those laws?? You really ought to sit down and stop trying to teach until you get a proper view of God’s Word. WHAT IS THE NEW COVENANT, BUT GOD WRITING HIS HOLY LAW IN OUR HEARTS BY HIS HOLY SPIRIT THAT INSPIRED THEM!!! “I will write my LAWS in their hearts” — This is the New Covenant and all those laws you call foolish WERE THE VERY BEST AND MOST APPROPRIATE THING TO DO UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES, AND ARE STILL THE VERY BEST THING TO DO UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES. YOU ARE A CLOAKED UNBELIEVER AND DON’T EVEN REALIZE IT: REMEMBER “2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works [IN THE NEW COVENANT].”
The purpose of Christ dying and giving the Spirit was so the righteousness of God’s Law could be fulfilled in us by God’s Spirit writing his law in our hearts. Romans 8:3 For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: 4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. THIS IS THE NEW COVENANT.
DO YOU BELIEVE THIS??? DO YOU?? PAUL DID!! JESUS DID!! YOUR WHOLE ARGUMENT FALLS WHEN GOD’S INSPIRED WORD IS GIVEN ITS PROPER PLACE.
ARGUMENT 2: God’s divorce of Israel (Jer 3) sets a universal precedent for all generations to follow.
This is a straw man of your own making — I didn’t say this. We gleaned from this passage what was appropriate; but you are abusing the situation.
ANSWER: The reader must only read carefully through Jeremiah 3 to see that such a precedent is false and misconstrued. In fact, Jeremiah 3 is the greatest evidence that God never set up the edict in Deut. 24 to legitimize divorce and remarriage, but rather to legislate and control its ill effects. Let us review these verses carefully: They say, If a man put away his wife, and she go from him, and become another man’s, shall he return unto her again? Shall not that land be greatly polluted? But thou hast played the harlot with many lovers; yet return again to me, saith the Lord. 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. Go and proclaim these words toward the north, and say, Return, thou backsliding Israel, saith the Lord; and I will not cause mine anger to fall upon you: for I am merciful, saith the Lord, and I will not keep anger for ever. Turn, O backsliding children, saith the Lord; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion (Jer 3:1,8,12,14).
Beginning in verse one, God effectively cancels the ruling in Deut. 24 just after quoting it. He encourages Israel to return back to Him even though He had divorced her (spiritually) and she had become corrupt. Later in verse 14, He goes as far as to acknowledge that He is still married to her. This is proof that God’s form of divorce was merely separation with hopes of reconciliation, just as taught by Paul in the New Testament (I Cor 7:11).
Anyone acquainted with God’s Word can see clearly that God’s use of marriage here is in “type” (as you later admit) just as Paul uses it to represent Christ and the church — OBVIOUSLY THESE TYPES HAVE LIMITATIONS. God is dealing with a nation of multitudes of people, not an individual wife, and He is not denying His own precepts; but attempting to help the people see the magnitude of their insult to Him. He is telling them that their crime against Him is as a wife who played the harlot, was divorced, and who would never be allowed back due to the depth of the sin; but YET, God says I am willing to receive you back — as God could in this situation since it wasn’t actual human marriage and divorce. Notice in verse 14 He calls them “children” and then says, “I am married to you” — Oh MY! are we so foolish as to think God is teaching multiple marriages to children???? OF COURSE NOT! In that passage he speaks of being married to two sisters — Israel and Judah — are we to do this? You are missing the point of the passage and therefore misusing it.
God never cancels His own inspired Word! That idea is heresy and perversion.
Ps. 19: 7 ¶ The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. 8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. 11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.
DO YOU BELIEVE THIS? IF NOT, THEN YOU ARE AN UNBELIEVER.
A similar analogy to Jer. 3 is played out physically in Hosea 1. It is here God brokers a unique marriage between a whore and one of the holy prophets. Hosea is expected to remain faithful to Gomer in spite of her unchastity. Through their story, God uses the most powerful covenant symbol (marriage) to portray His enduring faithfulness and forgiveness toward Israel. In verse 7 of chapter 2, while in the role of a husband, God urges them to repent and turn back to Him from idolatry: And she shall follow after her lovers, but she shall not overtake them; and she shall seek them, but shall not find them: then shall she say, I will go and return to my first husband; for then was it better with me than now. Now just imagine God had “remarried”, how would this story punch line end for unfaithful Israel? Where would that leave her (us)? This Old Covenant allegory, one of forgiveness and redemption, was to become the exercise/practice of the New Covenant spouse (husband or wife).
First, since you are building on your misuse of Jeremiah, you are missing the point.
This is most likely a vision, not something that required many years — marriage and three children. Also Hosea doesn’t marry a whore; but a wife that becomes a whore; which is a fitting type of Israel. She isn’t divorced and remarried; but is unfaithful, so taking her back upon repentance wasn’t against God’s Law. God would only take Israel back if there was repentance.
God’s Law and Jesus’ words are clear as to what people are allowed to actually do in cases of immorality in the marriage. God’s law doesn’t command divorce; but allows divorce. Divorce is lawful when immorality mars a marriage and breaks the covenant - not commanded; and reconciliation is allowed when remarriage has not taken place. If Gomer was divorced and remarried according to God’s Law, then she wouldn’t be called a whore who played the harlot, nor would Israel. It is clear that God doesn’t contradict himself; and we know that His command to not renew a marriage where divorce and remarriage had taken place (Deut 24) was meant for the people to DO, and was inspired and infallible.
NEVER build doctrine on an unclear passage so as to make it contradict a very clear passage. This is bad exegesis. We don’t know the details of Hosea’s actual dealings which may have been a vision. Stop trying to avoid the obvious by interpreting the obscure. Jesus and Moses agreed!! Listen to Hebrews 1:1 “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son” WHO IS THE SPEAKER IN BOTH CASES? GOD IS THE SPEAKER! GOD IS IMMUTABLE AND UNCHANGING IN HIS MORAL JUDGMENTS. ANY INTERPRETATION OF THE WORD THAT PITS HIS MORAL JUDGMENTS IN ONE PLACE AGAINST HIS MORAL JUDGMENTS IN ANOTHER IS A DOCTRINE OF THE DEVIL!
ARGUMENT 3: Mathew 5 & 19 clearly provide grounds for divorce and remarriage in the event of adultery.
ANSWER: Not at all. When studying the context of these two chapters, the issue at large is not divorce due to adultery, and could not have been. Both Jesus and the Pharisees understood that adultery was rewarded by stoning, not divorce. Such a debate would have proven both sides ignorant of the law. However, there are some who cite Jer. 3 as an example where divorce was used as an alternative to stoning. But this argument is mere conjecture since it relates to a spiritual type–God is divorcing a nation of people. A physical counterpart cannot be found anywhere in Scripture. If a single example of such an alternative existed, in either the Old or New Testaments, we could presume said practice to be legitimate, otherwise the opposite is true. Moreover, the use of divorce in Jer. 3, as exemplified by God, was in connection to idolatry (spiritual adultery), not adultery. Besides these obvious objections, I’ve already demonstrated in my previous argument how God cancelled the ruling of Deut. 24 by inviting Israel back to Him. He even went so far as to acknowledge their continued state of marriage (Jer 3:14).
YOU ARE BUILDING ERROR UPON ERROR. The Jews asked Jesus if Deut 24 was allowed for “every cause”. This proves they were talking about Marriage — not betrothal. Jesus answered that divorce and remarriage was allowable under Deut. 24 in the case of Pornea — immorality. Joseph understood this! You say, “Well that was betrothal” — The Law was the same for both and the penalty was the same, so it counts and is consistent to realize that Deut 24 was a merciful alternative. The fact that God speaks of it in that light proves they understood it that way. How amazing that you think such an argument would prove them both ignorant of the law, because they then wouldn’t agree with your interpretation of the law??!! Come on! The Jewish Rabbis of the day were arguing whether Deut 24 was allowed to be used for “every cause” or just -- that’s right — Pornea! Were they all ignorant of the law???
Tertullian understood the exception clause to apply to “unchastity” in the wife, which would include adultery — He lived in the same part of the world and was familiar with the language better than we are.
So let’s discuss the exact meaning of the exception clause. The exception excludes a particular something, but what exactly? The answer is found in verse nine, And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery (Matthew 19:9). Essentially, Christ was saying, you may only put away (separate from) your wife on grounds of immorality, not anything else. But this type of separation is not a legal one, like a bill of divorce. Rather, it falls into the category of excommunication, as carried out by the Church.
Where on earth did you get this? PUT AWAY always means divorce, especially when answering the Jew’s question in the same context. The Jews were asking if DIVORCE and remarriage was lawful through the bill of divorce for ‘EVERY CAUSE’. They knew that when divorce was lawful, remarriage was too — anyone can see that in Deut. 24.
The word is not exclusion, but exception. The definition of exclusion is: the process or state of excluding or being excluded. The definition of exception is: a case where a rule does not apply. They are similar, but not the same. Grammatically Jesus is saying that if you put away your wife to marry another it is adultery for you and whoever marries the woman EXCEPT the divorce be for fornication, THEN DIFFERENT RULES APPLY AND THEN ADULTERY IS NOT COMMITTED WHEN YOU DIVORCE AND REMARRY.
Friend, you just said that Jesus and the Pharisees both understood that immorality was rewarded by death not divorce, but now you say that Jesus was allowing separation for immorality. So you are saying He was a false prophet teaching contrary to the Scriptures that He himself supposedly authored?
THE TRUTH IS:
1. “Put away” means divorce, not separation
2. The exception clause modifies the entire sentence and scenario. Your problem is that your interpretation of Jesus’ words is the exact opposite of what He said — Listen:
a. Jesus said, “Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.”
b. YOU BELIEVE: “Whosoever shall put away his wife, EVEN IF it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery.”
3. New Testament excommunication was spiritual divorce, which caused the one excommunicated to lose his salvation — it was legal divorce spiritually.
In summary, we understand Christ was restricting all legal divorce. However, a man was permitted to “put away” (separate from) a wife engaged in immorality, but not marry another (remarry), and shall marry another, committeth adultery. The act of remarriage would permanently cut off future prospects of reconciliation and this was not the action Jesus wished to condone, hence he allows the “putting away” as a temporary ultimatum. Once again, remember God’s example of divorce, which provided ample invitation for reconciliation and restoration. Remarriage cuts off both!
HOW TERRIBLE TO INTERPRET JESUS’ WORDS TO MEAN THE EXACT OPPOSITE OF WHAT HE SAID. You play with Bible exegesis like nobody I ever knew. Don’t you know that there are rules that must be followed in deciding on what Jesus was saying?? You don’t know what you are saying, friend, and you could get in big trouble with God for playing thus with His Word.
Now allow me to demonstrate a logical method for dissecting the exception clause. I hope this will prove beyond doubt that Jesus was in no way making provision for remarriage. If you pay close attention to the narratives in Matthew and Mark you will find they are a near perfect match. In fact, they are twin reports. Both describe the same event and subject. However, each is missing key information belonging to the other and vital to the overall picture. Put them together and they solve a very complex mystery. As we do, I want you to note carefully the manner in which the disciples respond to Christ’s words. Note also, the question they pose, because His reply will help dispel any confusion.
YES, IT IS PROPER TO ADD ALL THE INFORMATION TOGETHER IN THE FOUR GOSPELS.
NOTICE: I will keep to Matthew’s version and summary of events. Mark’s relevant passages will appear in red, inserted where appropriate, since both accounts are identical elsewhere.
Matthew 19: 3 The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? 4 And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, 5 And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? 6 Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. 7 They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? 8 He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. 9 And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. 10 And in the house his disciples asked him again of the same matter. 11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. 12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery. 10 His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. 11 But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given. 12 For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.
So you see, by merging both gospel presentations into one, Mark’s version boils down the meaning of the exception clause to satisfy either report. His interpretation is the one valid for Christians today because it was addressed personally to the disciples and not the Pharisees. But in case you object to this merging together of gospel accounts. In case you feel these narratives are different events, read the preceding verses and those following the accounts. You will find them to match in either gospel. This means both provide relevant information to complement the overall story and need to be pieced together like a puzzle. Also, try combining them in any other manner and you will wreak havoc on the arrangement, thus creating a fully disjointed discussion.
First, the Pharisees asked a different question in Mark and again Jesus points to the fact that they are not using Deut 24 in the light of Genesis; but without consideration of God’s original intent. Second, Mark’s version records Jesus’ teaching for all believers just like Matthew’s does for all believers — as they were both written by apostles for the sake of believer’s instruction. Jesus, in both cases, was speaking to Jews about the Law of Moses both times; and what He said was consistent with the Scriptures available at that time, which was the OT, or He would have been a false prophet justly killed by the Jews. The fact that the apostles wrote about Jesus’ dealing with the Jews concerning Moses’ Law only proves that Moses’ Law being interpreted properly was very important to those in the New Covenant — as Moses’ Laws written in our hearts is the basis for the New Covenant — AND THE ONLY REASON GIVEN BY GOD FOR MAKING IT.
Mark’s gospel records Jesus’ answer to the disciples later in the house; and (if one pays close attention) Jesus is saying the same thing He did to the Jews, but in such a way that there was no need for stating the exception clause — listen close: Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. Now, if the wife was put away for committing adultery against him, then there is no way he would be also committing adultery against her in the divorce and remarriage. So, the exception is understood by the way it was said. Since polygamy was never called adultery, the adultery spoken of here is the breaking of the marriage covenant unlawfully with one wife in order to marry another, rather than simply taking a second wife, which was never called adultery in the Bible. He would do this so he wouldn’t have to take care of both. Tertullian understood Jesus’ words correctly to mean Whoever puts away his wife for the “express reason” of marrying another, he commits adultery against the first wife.
ALL PROPER INTERPRETATION MUST BE BASED ON PROPER GRAMMAR, PROPER HISTORIC ACCURACY, AND A PROPER UNDERSTANDING OF JEWISH THOUGHT AND PRACTICE.
Having merged the two gospel accounts together, I would like to recount the story line by line to see if this format makes sense:
Seizing an opportunity, the Pharisees challenge Jesus on the issue of divorce. Their goal is to alienate Him from Orthodox Judaism and catch Him in heresy. They know full well He often spoke things that seemed to contradict the Law (Torah). So they pose their question: Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause? To which Christ responds with the following answer (recorded by Matthew), And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. Later this verse would comprise the now infamous “exception clause”.....Being part of the audience at the time, the disciples found Christ’s jargon very confusing. But they’ve learned that when Jesus spoke to the Pharisees, He often kept them in the dark, complicating His words or cloaking the meaning in parables (Matthew 13:10-13). So they waited patiently for the right moment…. Soon after, in the privacy of a house, they asked Christ for clarification into the matter. They wanted to hear the simplified version (recorded by Mark) and that’s exactly what they received.
On the contrary, They were trying to get Jesus to say something contrary to the Law so they could rightfully stone him as a false prophet — HE NEVER DID. Later, when they knew He would not speak contrary to God’s Word, they tried to use this against Him to get Him in trouble with either Rome or the Sanhedrin — Examples — 1. Paying tribute to Caesar 2. The woman taken in adultery
Brother, I believe you and your crowd are the only ones kept in the dark. You are trying so hard to make Jesus say what you believe! But He didn’t. WHAT RIGHT DO YOU HAVE CALLING JESUS’ PLAIN WORDS — “the now infamous “exception clause” — Everything in God’s Word that doesn’t fit with your beliefs is either a “concession” of God that He cancelled, or an “infamous exception” that was just to confuse the disciples and keep the Jews in the dark???!!! WHAT?? YOU CLAIM TO BE A BELIEVER??
Now look at a simple comparison of the verses as they appear in either Gospel:
To the Pharisees (complicated version): And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except it be for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery (Mat 19:9).
To the Disciples (simplified version): And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery (Mark 10:11-12).
Amazingly, when these texts are harmonized with their counterparts they create a much more coherent narrative. However, only Matthew captures the disciples’ shocked response, which we now realize was delivered after the simplified version in Mark’s narrative: His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry (Matthew 19:10). Meaning, if this is truly so, it is far better to stay single than stuck with the same woman for life.
Is it no wonder that Christians today, trying to decipher Matthew’s text, are hard pressed to piece it together satisfactorily and end up terribly confused? Yet when Christ clears up the smoke by offering an easy to understand interpretation, as located in Mark’s Gospel, we balk at the meaning and choose rather to misconstrue Mathew’s text.
Did you know that the different apostles wrote the four gospels at different times to instruct their converts, and didn’t expect there to be a necessity of the converts having to have all four gospels to receive proper instruction?? You really need to come under a learned pastor and learn for a while before you assume the right to teach God’s Word. The disciples were surprised that a Jewish man could not put away a wife simply because she was difficult to get along with — this was a shock to Jewish mentality. They had been affected by the common error of their day as to the view of Deut. 24. NOBODY ever thought Jesus meant a man couldn’t divorce an adulterous wife — Only a false prophet would say such a thing in the light of God’s clear Word which they had and knew. Everybody knew from God’s Word that lawful divorce allowed for lawful remarriage, and Jesus never changed this.
1. Some try to use the story of Joseph and Mary (Mat 1:19) as a prime example of divorce being implemented contrary to the law when judicial punishment prescribed the death penalty instead (Deut 22:17). It is true that Joseph would have been justified in making Mary a public example. He could have demanded legal trial resulting in punishment. But since he could not prove her guilty and only a confirmed case of adultery resulted in stoning (Num. 5:24), he chose rather to be merciful and put her away in private. I do not feel this is contrary to the claims I have made, as my assertion revolves around the fact that the Bible never offers a single case when confirmed adultery resulted in divorce rather than the death penalty.
O MY! DO YOU NOT THINK THAT PREGNANCY IN A BETROTHED WOMAN IS PROOF POSITIVE OF UNFAITHFULNESS WHEN YOU KNOW IT WASN’T YOU?? A little biology takes care of the doubts. He did not believe her story, or he would not have even considered putting her away! She did not claim to have been raped, so this was not a possibility. He pondered two options before the angel spoke to him: 1. Public example and 2. Private divorce. He believed she was guilty, because she was pregnant!
This is contrary to the claims you have made; and rather prove the claims I have made that Deut 24 was seen as a merciful alternative to stoning for the unfaithful wife — whether betrothed or married. The fact that God’s Holy Spirit calls Joseph a “just man” for considering this method PROVES it was a proper and acceptable method AND that everyone reading the account would see this as proper — not a presumptuous innovation.
2. For those who teach adultery is grounds for divorce today, permit me to insert a few questions here. If so, how would we apply this teaching? Just how far would we go? Could a wife request a divorce because she saw a gleam in her husband’s eye when he looked at another woman? How silly a notion, right? Yet, Christ teaches that to look at a woman with lust is adultery at heart.
You see, if we take the position that Jesus was simply siding with Rabbi Shamai’s interpretation of the exception clause, then just imagine how many reasons we could come up with to justify divorce and remarriage today. How about promiscuous behavior, immodest dress, obscene language, lustful yearnings, pornography, etc? Add to it the misconception that Paul taught spousal abandonment as justifiable cause as well, and now you have 101 legitimate exceptions for divorce and remarriage. Where does it end?
Now we understand why you have a problem with God’s clear Word — you are not willing to allow God’s wisdom to deal with these problems, but think He needs your help to prevent chaos. If you only believed that God’s Word in the OT and the NT is always consistent and always the very best thing to do under the circumstances; you would simply follow it and be much wiser for doing so. Everything Paul said about marriage was based on Moses’ Law — the Scriptures he had; and he even says so in Romans 7:1 and I Cor. 7:39. I have been married for 27 years and haven’t had to consider divorce for any of the issues you name. All the issues you name would thwart a godly man’s attempt at having a godly home before God, and thus would justify putting the woman out to keep the home pure and holy. This is what God’s remedies are for — they are for sincere people to have solutions to problems caused by sin. This is why they are given, and this is the only reason they ought to be used — anything else is abuse. YOU NEED TO REVERENCE GOD’S HOLY WORD. This would solve all your problems.
One thing you miss is that God set up civil authorities to monitor the use of these laws, and so a man or woman wasn’t supposed to be able to simply come up with an excuse and divorce over a whim — the judges were to oversee these things if they were doing their job. Many times the judges were godly Levites who loved and feared God — THIS WAS THE PLAN. What Paul taught in I Cor. 7 is consistent with God’s Law and Jesus — Of course! They come from the exact same source — God’s Holy Spirit!
This is why we do not believe Jesus taught adultery or moral uncleanness as grounds for divorce, but rather as an opportunity to manifest Christ like forgiveness. Just as Jesus forgave the woman caught in adultery and did not condemn her, we are instructed to do the same. When one resorts to legal divorce or remarriage, they are practicing retribution, not forgiveness. They are repaying just dues (Old Testament style) to the offending party, rather than leaving this up to God. The Lord does not permit this (Rom 12:19).
O, my friend, you are confused:
1. Jesus was confronted with the scammed “woman taken in adultery” because they knew He was faithful to God’s Holy Law, and they thought they could get him in trouble with the authorities by him commanding her to be stoned according to the Law; BUT they forgot a very important aspect of the law — That there must be two witnesses, and they must cast the first stones. So, Jesus DID uphold the law and put the ball back into their court by saying if there were anyone who would step forward and claim to be a righteous witness in this situation, that they should cast the first stone. There was no witness without sin in this accusation, and they knew it. The men knew this was a frame up because, if the woman was really caught in the very act, there would be a man involved and an angry husband pressing charges against her; but there was neither. THE POINT IS THAT JESUS UPHELD GOD’S LAW PERFECTLY, WHICH HAS BUILT IN SAFETIES AGAINST SUCH ABUSES. Jesus used the Law lawfully and the built in safety mechanism proved true and exposed the fraud. Once the “witnesses” were gone, JESUS COULD NOT LAWFULLY CONDEMN HER TO DEATH, though he did condemn adultery as a sin and told her to go and sin no more. She was probably framed, but still had some guilt in the matter, and Jesus acted in perfect appropriateness in accord with God’s Word.
2. God’s Law never taught personal retribution, but lawful and just punishment of sin. If God’s Law gave permission to divorce as a remedy to sins problems, then it was an appropriate thing to do, and not just personal vengeance. You people who are so caught up in relegating the Old Testament to “less than appropriate thing to do” or “less holy than what Jesus taught” or “contrary to the spirit of the New Testament” need to read your Bible a little slower so you can notice that in Romans 12:19-20 PAUL IS BASING HIS TEACHING ON THE OLD TESTAMENT BY QUOTING IT AS HIS AUTHORITY! This can only mean that what Paul was teaching WAS IN THE SAME SPIRIT AS THE OLD TESTAMENT!
3. Most scholars agree, following what is known as the “Marcan hypothesis”, that the authors of Matthew and Luke used Mark as a source when writing their gospels after the Gospel of Mark was completed (written 60-75 CE). There is said to be a 5-10 year gap between the Gospel of Mark and the others. Today, we argue about this subject after having access to all four Gospel accounts. But what of the early Church, with no access to the Mathew account, is it no wonder first century Christians believed strictly in no divorce or remarriage.
Friend, this is pure hogwash. These scholars have absolutely no evidence of this and many other scholars believe that Matthew was the first and was originally written in Hebrew — but this is ALL conjecture and not worthy of building upon. It is a real embarrassing lie for you to say that first century Christians believed strictly in no divorce or remarriage — THE ONLY WRITINGS WE HAVE THAT WE KNOW WERE WRITTEN IN THE FIRST CENTURY ARE THE SCRIPTURES THEMSELVES AND THEY TESTIFY OTHERWISE. Moses’ Law was the basis of the New Covenant with God’s laws being written on men’s hearts. HOW CAN YOU JUST SAY THINGS THAT ARE SIMPLY FABRICATIONS?? WHERE ARE YOU GETTING THESE LIES? Mark is perfectly consistent with Matthew and everyone in the first century fully understood that. Everything said in the New Testament about marriage is based on God’s Law through Moses — THIS CAN AND HAS BEEN PROVEN.
4. If the exception rule truly applies to adultery/immorality, then essentially, once either spouse or both are guilty, they are free to remarry. If you take this to be the valid interpretation of Matthew 5 & 19, you are perverting God’s justice. Only a criminal God would reward both the offender and the offended with a license to remarry as long as one or both are guilty of said crime.
This is more of your confusion — “as long as both are guilty of the same crime” doesn’t fit anywhere in this discussion. Your interpretation says that if one mate becomes a whore or whoremonger, then the innocent party has to live single the rest of their lives; but God is so much smarter than you; and Paul makes it clear in I Cor. 7 that making people stay single when they burn for companionship is not smart; but leads to fornication and many problems. Jesus said that “not all men can receive” singleness as a lifestyle. YOU ARE NOT GOD, and God’s Word is what we follow, not our own little brains. It is wicked pride to avoid the clear Word of God just because we think we have a better idea. It is amazing how hard you work to avoid God’s clear Word.
5. Earlier I alluded to the powerful covenant symbolism of marriage. I would like to deepen our knowledge of this subject with the following brief study:
….the wife of thy youth (THE FIRST ONE YOU MARRIED)…Yet is she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant (SHE IS THE ONE AND ONLY IN TRUE COVENANT WITH YOU). And did not he make one?” (Mal 2:14-15).
Yes, I am so glad you chose to quote Malachi, as Malachi clearly proves you to be in error. How?
1. Malachi clearly says that God’s Law through Moses is God’s righteous ways; but Israel was abusing it by only using what they liked — just like you. (Mal. 2:1-9)
2. Malachi clearly speaks against divorce as dealing treacherously with one’s wife; but this is the abuse of God’s Law, not the proper use of God’s Law (Mal 2-4).
3. Malachi clearly says that when Messiah comes He will defend God’s Laws and show that God hasn’t changed His mind; and in doing this He will preach against adulterers. This Jesus did; but “adulterers” refers to the abuse of Moses’ Law, not the proper USE of Moses’ Law or Malachi was a false prophet. (Mal. 3-4)
4. Malachi clearly says that the best thing for the people to do was to obey and keep Moses’ Law as God intended, because when Messiah comes, He will call them back to God’s precepts “as in the days of old”. (Mal. 3-4)
Malachi proves that Jesus did not speak contrary to Moses’ Law; but actually came to call the people back to it. OF COURSE HE DID, AS THE NEW COVENANT IS THE WRITING OF THESE LAWS IN MEN’S HEARTS.
It is necessary to note that many of God’s covenants often involved either sacrifice or blood, or both. In fact, the biblical word for “covenant” comes from the Hebrew expression, meaning “to cut”. This explains why in Jeremiah 34:18, we find an example of covenant making which involved passing through the slain parts of an animal. This made for a pretty severe looking ceremony and well represented the grave consequences for failing to uphold either side of the agreement.
Essentially, a covenant was the strongest, most binding pact one could make. The Apostle Paul reminded the Galatians of this important truth, Brothers, as a man I say it: a covenant, even though it is man’s, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls it, or adds to it (Galatians 3:15). Paul expressed two crucial qualities regarding covenant. First, no one can annul it (dissolve or undue). Second, it could not be revised (changed) in any way. Covenants are permanent! In contrast, contracts are often temporary and conditional. They are also negotiable and can be broken depending on either party’s performance. So which of these describes marriage, covenant or contract?
Again, you are making up your own definitions and conclusions based on fabrications. A covenant was dependent on the performance of both parties, and the ratifying of a new covenant annulled the old -- OTHERWISE WE ARE STILL UNDER THE OLD COVENANT. Do you not think where your lack of logic is leading you? The Bible says too much to paste here about people breaking God’s covenant with them. Here are a few
De 31:16 And the LORD said unto Moses, Behold, thou shalt sleep with thy fathers; and this people will rise up, and go a whoring after the gods of the strangers of the land, whither they go to be among them, and will forsake me, and break my covenant which I have made with them.
De 31:20 For when I shall have brought them into the land which I sware unto their fathers, that floweth with milk and honey; and they shall have eaten and filled themselves, and waxen fat; then will they turn unto other gods, and serve them, and provoke me, and break my covenant.
Jer 31:32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD:
In Genesis 2:21-23, God performs a radical surgery. Adam is opened and one of his ribs removed in order to create his helpmate and wife, Eve. Some believe Adam may have been cut open, which would significantly correspond to our earlier definition of covenant. Although it doesn’t specifically mention this, it does say God closed up the flesh in its place (Gen 2:21b). This indicates that Adam experienced some type of incision. But is it a mistake that God may have cut Adam apart to remove one of his ribs? Remember also the Hebrew meaning for the word covenant, “to cut, or to separate”. Nevertheless, in the next verse of the same chapter, God states, “For this cause...”, or “because of this” (verse 24), referring to the operation He had just performed. This “rib-extraction” was the sign of the marriage covenant. It brought husband and wife inseparably together into one person–one flesh (Gen 2:24). As a result, we could easily call this covenant the “one-flesh covenant”. How powerful!!
Have you every listened to what the inspired apostle said about the ONE FLESH connection? 1Co 6:16 What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. God is the one to define His own terms, and Deut. 24:1-4 is God’s clear definition of His terms, as well as his own use of those terms in dealing with Israel. You are wresting God’s Word for your own purposes. Beware.
It is no mistake that when Eve was presented to Adam by God, Adam made this highly profound statement: …This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man (Genesis 2:23). This clearly demonstrates the binding nature of the one-flesh covenant. To better illustrate this point, a wise Sunday school instructor presented his class with the following illustration. Taking two pieces of clay, one blue and the other yellow, he proceeded to squash them together until the two became a solid green lump. He then urged any willing participant to come forward and separate the blue from the yellow. When none volunteered, it was hardly a surprise. This story aptly illustrates the words of Christ in Matthew 19:6, Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together let not man put asunder (divide).
We agree with Jesus that man should not put asunder what God joined, therefore we hold to God’s Law which tells us when God allows the putting asunder -- This is God putting asunder because it is HIS LAW. HIS LAW IS THE BASIS OF THE NEW COVENANT.
There are those who try to undermine the insoluble nature of this one-flesh covenant by twisting Paul’s words in I Corinthians 6:16 to mean more than they do. Notice this verse, What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh. While none would dare suggest that the apostle was establishing the acts of adultery or fornication as a substitute to marriage, they nevertheless toy with the idea as if it were tenable merely to alter or invalidate the permanent status of marriage. So what exactly was Paul trying to relate to us? Paul was using this analogy simply to illustrate that the act of sex used in a perverted and non-sanctified manner was equal to the desecration of the one flesh covenant and was no better in God’s eyes.
Paul fully believed in God’s Law, and says in I Cor. 7 that the wife is bound by God’s Law, which validates all that the law says about marriage. God’s Laws were the basis of the New Covenant. Paul was not saying that sex alone is marriage; but HE DID NOT BELIEVE THAT “ONE FLESH” MEANT THE CONNECTION WAS INSOLUBLE. He begins his thought by saying that since we are the body of Christ, we are making the members of Christ’s body the members of an harlot’s body. Paul’s argument would fall flat if “one flesh” was not speaking of the sexual connection between man and woman. Paul did not see this phrase or concept speaking of an unbreakable connection.
ARGUMENT 4: I Corinthians 7 employs the following phrases in connection to marriage, “bound and loosed” and “not under bondage”. This proves one is no longer obliged to remain with their spouse due to specific circumstances and is free to remarry.
ANSWER: The Apostle Paul employs these phrases in various combinations and to convey different meanings. There is no such formula proving he is releasing couples from matrimonial “bondage”. In fact, we will reveal the opposite by looking at the Greek words themselves and also to the context. Let me demonstrate:
1. Art thou bound (GREEK WORD IS DEO, meaning, bond/knit/tie) unto a wife? seek not to be loosed (GREEK WORD IS LUSIS, meaning divorce). Art thou loosed (GREEK WORD IS LUO, dissolved or invalid) from a wife? seek not a wife. But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned… (I Cor 7:27-28).
To give you the benefit of the doubt, I will assume you are ignorant and not trying to be deceptive in what you just stated. Here again you are trying to distract people from the obvious meaning of Scripture. “Art thou loosed from a wife” can only be by death or divorce; and it cannot only mean death, as it has the same connotations as the previous “loosed”, which cannot mean by death, but by divorce. Loosed means that something was bound, and is no longer bound and SO “IF THOU MARRY, THOU HAST NOT SINNED”. When lawfully loosed, you can lawfully remarry. Paul is speaking consistent with God’s Law — which he is working to write on men’s hearts.
2. But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage (GREEK WORD IS DOULOO, MEANING ENSLAVED)in such cases: but God hath called us to peace (I Cor 7:15).
“Enslaved” is only one use of that word — the bond of marriage is another, which is obvious in the context. You can run, but you cannot hide from the clear use of words. This is also consistent with God’s Law inspired by the SAME SPIRIT.
3. For the woman which hath an husband is bound (GREEK WORD IS DEO, meaning, bond/knit/tie) by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man (Rom 7:2-3).
Again, Paul is speaking consistent with God’s Law — Romans 7:1 (which you left out) says, “ 1 ¶ Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?”
The first use of these words appears in Rom 7. Here Paul expresses an important truth that upholds the belief in the permanency of marriage. A woman is bound (unable to depart) to her husband until he is dead, after which she is free to remarry. We concur with Paul and believe He is expressing the spirit of the Law of God, and not the letter, as there is absolutely nowhere in the actual Mosaic Law limiting a woman’s right to remarry only upon her husband’s death.
The spirit of the law of God never goes contrary to the letter of the law; but the letter of the law is meant to be obeyed according to the spirit of the law — the spirit of the law is simply the ORIGINALLY INTENDED USE of that law. To use the letter apart from the spirit of the law is to abuse the law. TO ASSUME TO USE THE SPIRIT CONTRARY TO THE LETTER IS TO BE A FALSE PROPHET. Paul is using the general principle that a woman is bound by the law to her husband until death — OF COURSE THIS IS WHAT GOD INTENDED. The laws that deal with exceptions to this deal with failures on one part of this arrangement that require remedies — failures like adultery, apostasy, and capital crime. The illustration Paul used can be said of many like issues: My car is by law my property until death — this is a general principle; but that same law that binds that car to me says I can sell it. The same law that binds the wife says that certain things can break the covenant. Why are you running from the obvious message of Scripture?
Moving on to I Cor. 7:15, we discover Paul using the phrase, not under bondage, in order to release a Believing spouse from co-habitating together under one roof, if that’s what it takes to restore peace, … but God hath called us to peace. This does not give the separated wife or husband the right to remarry. It simply releases them from being enslaved to perpetual conflict.
SAYS WHO? Not God’s Law or Paul. These verses are set in contrast to the previous situation where two believers are temporarily separated, but cannot remarry and must reconcile. In this situation (Mixed marriage) Paul clearly says it is different and that the believer is not under bondage is THIS CASE like they would have been in the previous case. Any unbiased scholar can see this. You are trying to make both cases the same; but Paul set them in contrast and even said that Jesus did not include this scenario in His teaching as He was speaking to covenant Jews about God’s Law to covenant Jews.
When Paul admonishes those that are bound to their wives not “to seek to be loosed”, he is encouraging them not to divorce their wives or opt out of their marital union. Interestingly enough, verse 15 employs two separate Greek words to describe our English verb “loosed”. The first is “lusis”, referring directly to divorce, while the second, “luo” refers to a dissolved or invalidated union, pointing to the deceased spouse, after which Paul says, but and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned…
“pointing to a deceased spouse” YES, IT CAN MEAN THAT TOO; BUT THERE IS NOTHING THAT SAYS IT ONLY MEANS THAT. On the contrary, this word is different BECAUSE Paul wanted to include all possibilities; but NOTHING confines this word to death only. You are again building upon sand of your own making. Divorce, according to God’s Law, also dissolves the marriage union.
Lastly, to be sure Paul is not invalidating the teachings of Jesus, he begins his own teachings on this matter by echoing directly the words of Christ in verses 10-11 of the same chapter. Notice: And unto 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 (I Cor 7:10-11).
YES, JESUS WAS SPEAKING TO COVENANT JEWS ABOUT MARRIAGES BETWEEN COVENANT JEWS, and He was not speaking about mixed marriages of believer and unbeliever as Paul later does. Paul echoes the same sentiments concerning a marriage of two believers - That a marriage covenant, according to Moses’ Law, could not be lawfully broken by disagreement, marital spat, incompatibility, etc.; but only by immoral conduct. Paul is inspired by the same Spirit that inspired Moses and Jesus. The general principle is that marriage is intended to be permanent till death do us part. Sin is what brings other laws into play.
ARGUMENT 5: Life begins after conversion.
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new (2 Corinthians 5:17).
ANSWER: Imagine telling your unsaved friend who has persisted in his marriage for over 20 years that it was all in vain since God doesn’t even honor the vows of an unbeliever. I’ll agree such a philosophy of absolution is appealing to many, but it simply does not compute. For example, we do not tell converts with a criminal past that restitution is no longer necessary since “all things are passed away and have become new”. What if we allowed homosexuals or polygamists to get away with this type of reasoning also?
You are only showing your deceptiveness or ignorance. I never assert what you are implying that I assert — WHY DON’T YOU QUOTE WHAT I SAY? Shame on you. Here is what I said:
v Even Tertullian, who believed that marrying again after the death of your first mate was sinful and wrong, said the following about Paul's clear instructions in I Cor. 7: (Tertullian) "Thou hast been bound to a wife, seek not loosing; thou hast been loosed from a wife, seek not a wife." "But if thou shalt have taken to thyself a wife, thou hast not sinned;" because to one who, before believing, had been "loosed from a wife," she will not be counted a second wife who, subsequently to believing, is the first; for it is from the time of our believing that our life itself dates its origin." Tertullian was one of the strictest on monogamy, but here he shares WHY we don't find any divorce before baptism!!! They gave everyone a fresh start at conversion. "LIFE BEGINS AT CONVERSION"
One obvious fact that stands out to me in relation to this issue is the story of John the Baptist and King Herod. Herod was half Samaritan and half Indumean, a complete non Jew. Having committed adultery with his brother Phillip’s wife, he had then married her. Nevertheless, as a follower of Christ, John was not sparing this pagan any part of the Gospel, whether it would discourage the King or not: For Herod himself had sent forth and laid hold upon John, and bound him in prison for Herodias' sake, his brother Philip's wife: for he had married her. For John had said unto Herod, It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother's wife (Mark 6:17-18).
Once again it would be good if you would get an education before teaching the Bible. Herod was a practicing JEW, though not one by birth. John is preaching the LAW to him! It was against the LAW to marry your brother’s wife as they had done — she ran away from Philip to “marry” Herod. LISTEN TO JOHN, “It is not LAWFUL for thee to have thy brother’s wife”
Since they were already married, John could have taken the position of most modern-day evangelicals and told the King to repent of his sin and dedicate this new union to God. This palatable message would not have offended the king in the least. It certainly would not have threatened Herodias or made her desperate enough to request his head on a platter. But because John kept insisting they absolve their adulterous affair, she wanted him dead as soon as possible.
YOU SIMPLY DO NOT KNOW WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT
It is interesting that she continues to be referred to as Phillip’s wife in all the gospel accounts, in spite of the fact she had remarried and could not be returned back to Phillip, according to the prohibition found in Deut. 24.
SHE WAS NEVER LAWFULLY DIVORCED, BUT RAN AWAY WITH HEROD!
ARGUMENT 6: There is no evidence that the first century Church split up couples with divorce and remarriage in their past. Nor does Paul require it anywhere in his letters.
ANSWER: We must never take the absence of information on an issue as proof for or against it. An argument from silence is no argument at all. Up until now, we have shown innumerable proofs that Christ and the Apostle Paul taught clearly that marriage was indissoluble apart from death. We have also drawn heavily from the Old Covenant itself to demonstrate the permanency of the marriage covenant. To assume anything more than what is already spelled out for us would be adding to Scripture.
YOU ARE THE ONE ARGUING FROM SILENCE AGAINST CLEAR SCRIPTURE.
We should also take into account the teachings of the early Church on this matter, as this will help us perceive the attitude of first century Christians toward divorce and remarriage. It is of great significance that from the very first century all the way into the third century A.D. the Church was exclusively unanimous on their position of no divorce or remarriage for any reason. This is probably due to the Marcan hypothesis, since they did not have access to the Matthew account and were able to establish Church doctrine based on the reading of Mark and Luke.
Dreaming again? This is false information that is clearly exposed in our book that you claimed to have read. There is no evidence of demanding separation of remarried couples before baptism ANYWHERE! The few misled writers who seem to agree with you are way off on many issues because they have forsaken the Hebrew roots of the gospel and are adding their own Gentiles ideologies to the Gospel.
Not until Ambrose entered the picture in the late third century was there any variation in opinion regarding this matter. That in itself is a strong argument against the exception view proponents.
SAYS WHO? This is simply a lie and our book exposes this with real evidence.
Probably the earliest writing we possess on this issue came to us from Hermas, responsible for writing, The Shepherd of Hermas circa A.D. 160. The writings of the Shepherd are important as they were held in the highest regard by early Christians. These writings were seen as quasi-canonical and were often bound together with other portions of Scripture, specifically whatever gospels the congregation had. In his second book, Commandments, Hermas speaks about putting away one’s wife for adultery. He writes:
If any one has a wife who trusts in the Lord, and if he detects her in adultery, does the man sin if he continues to live with her?” And he said to me, “As long as he remains ignorant of her sin, the husband commits no transgression in living with her. But if the husband knows that his wife has gone astray, and if the woman does not repent, but persists in her fornication, and yet the husband continues to live with her, he is also guilty of her crime, and a sharer in her adultery.” And I said to him, “What then, sir, is the husband to do, if his wife continues in her vicious practices? And he said, the husband should put her away, and remain by himself. But if he puts his wife away and marries another, he also commits adultery.” And I said to him, “What if the woman put away should repent, and wish to return to her husband: Shall she not be taken back by her husband?” And he said to me, “Assuredly. If the husband does not take her back, he sins, and brings a great sin upon himself; for he ought to take back the sinner who has repented. But not frequently.
Hermas believed that the man who continued to live with an adulterous wife, in a sense, shared in her adultery. It also was a logical application of 1 Cor. 6:15-17 which teaches that Christians should never have sexual relations with a prostitute (pornes).
ANYONE WHO HAS READ HERMAS CAN CLEARLY SEE HE IS A PERVERT, AND SPEAKS CONTRARY TO GOD’S WORD. It is truly sad that you wish to believe these fallible men rather than adhere to God’s inspired Word. God’s Law is obviously not written on your heart — nor on Hermas’. I would be ashamed to claim Hermas to support my case on anything.
Justin Martyr (A.D. 110-165) wrote his First Apology circa A.D. 150. Chapters 15-17 are a Christian catechism based on the Sermon on the Mount and other Gospel portions. Chapter 15 is subtitled, “What Christ Himself Taught.” Justin Martyr quotes Matthew 5:32 and Matthew 19:12. He gives no exceptions for remarriage. He lists lust and remarriage as sinning against Christ:
Whosoever shall marry her that is divorced from another husband, commits adultery. And, there are some who have been born eunuchs of men, and some who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake; but all cannot receive this saying. So that all who, by human law, are twice married, are in the eyes of our Master sinners, and those who look upon a woman to lust after her.
Here you assume he is on your side; but we are not advocating men being twice married by “human law”; but by God’s law. However, Justin was also one who had left the Hebrew roots of the Gospel. Jesus and God’s Law never called a man with two wives an adulterer. Paul didn’t either, but just said they couldn’t be in leadership. Justin could have been a grievous wolf as Paul warned about — so could Hermas — How would you know? YOU DON’T and that is why we only build doctrine on Scripture.
Athenagoras wrote his Plea for Christians around A.D. 177:
For we bestow our attention, not on the study of words, but on the exhibition and teaching of actions, that a person should either remain as he was born, or be content with one marriage...For whosoever puts away his wife, says He and marries another, commits adultery; not permitting a man to send her away whose virginity he has brought to an end, nor to marry again.
With what you quoted as a general rule, we can whole-heartedly agree. For one to be discontent with one marriage and thus put away his wife in order to get another is an abuser of God’s Law and an adulterer. But this man believed that if a widower remarried, he was a cloaked adulterer. This is clearly a departure from the Bible. Do you believe this? These men were not reliable, NOR WERE THEY THE VOICE OF ALL THE CHRISTIANS, BUT SIMPLY SPOUTED THEIR OWN VIEWS.
Clement of Alexandria (ca. A.D. 153-217) was the headmaster of the Christian school in Alexandria, Egypt from A.D. 190-202. Book II of the Stromata or Miscellanies was written to show that Christian morality was superior to paganism. Book III is an exposition on Christian marriage.
Clement has this to say regarding the biblical understanding of marriage:
Now that the Scripture counsels marriage, and allows no release from the union, is expressly contained in the law, “Thou shall not put away thy wife, except for the cause of fornication;” and it regards as fornication, the marriage of those separated while the other is alive...“He that takes a woman that has been put away,” it is said, “commits adultery; and if one puts away his wife, he makes her an adulteress,” that is compels her to commit adultery. And not only is he who puts her away guilty of this, but he who takes her, by giving to the woman the opportunity of sinning; for did he not take her, she would return to her husband.
All that is said here could easily be consistent with what I believe and does not support your case, as he clearly acknowledges the validity of the “infamous exception clause”. These men are just men like you, and to build on them is to build on sand — they are not inspired any more than you or I.
Theophilus (A.D. 115-181 or 188). In book 3, chapter 13 Theophilus writes:
And the voice of the Gospel teaches still more concerning chastity, saying: “Whosoever looks on a woman who is not his own wife, to lust after her has committed adultery already with her in his heart.” “And he that marries,” say the Gospel, “her that is divorced from her husband, commits adultery; and whosoever puts away his wife, except for the cause of fornication, causes her to commit adultery”.
This does not support you against me; but only quotes what Jesus said. You assume too much.
Irenaeus (A.D. 120-202) was born in Asia Minor and raised in Smyrna. He claims to have known Polycarp who was taught by the apostle John. In Against Heresies, Irenaeus quotes Genesis 2:24 and Matthew 19:7-8 to show God’s original intent for the permanence of marriage. He shows that the Mosaic Law was enacted only because of the hardness of men’s hearts:
And not only so, but the Lord also showed that certain precepts were enacted for them by Moses, on account of their hardness of heart, and because of their unwillingness to be obedient, when, on their saying to Him, “Why then did Moses command to give a writing of divorcement, and to send away a wife?” He said to them, “Because of the hardness of their hearts he permitted these things to you; but from the beginning it was not so;” thus exculpating Moses as a faithful servant, but acknowledging one God, who from the beginning made male and female, and reproving them as hard hearted and disobedient.
Why didn’t you quote the rest of the statement? Here it is:
n And not only so, but the Lord also showed that certain precepts were enacted for them by Moses, on account of their hardness [of heart], and because of their unwillingness to be obedient, when, on their saying to Him, "Why then did Moses command to give a writing of divorcement, and to send away a wife?" He said to them, "Because of the hardness of your hearts he permitted these things to you; but from the beginning it was not so;"(6) thus exculpating Moses as a faithful servant, but acknowledging one God, who from the beginning made male and female, and reproving them as hard-hearted and disobedient. And therefore it was that they received from Moses this law of divorcement, adapted to their hard nature. But why say I these things concerning the Old Testament? For in the New also are the apostles found doing this very thing, on the ground which has been mentioned, Paul plainly declaring, But these things I say, not the Lord."(7) And again: "But this I speak by permission, not by commandment."(8) And again: "Now, as concerning virgins, I have no commandment from the Lord; yet I give my judgment, as one that hath obtained mercy of the Lord to be faithful."(9) But further, in another place he says: "That Satan tempt you not for your incontinence."(10) If, therefore, even in the New Testament, the apostles are found granting certain precepts in consideration of human infirmity, because of the incontinence of some, lest such persons, having grown obdurate, and despairing altogether of their salvation, should become apostates from God,--it ought not to be wondered at, if also in the Old Testament the same God permitted similar indulgences for the benefit of His people, drawing them on by means of the ordinances already mentioned, so that they might obtain the gift of salvation through them, while they obeyed the Decalogue, and being restrained by Him, should not revert to idolatry, nor apostatize from God, but learn to love Him with the whole heart.
Is he saying that God makes laws in consideration of our needs, infirmities, and abilities through his inspired writers – as in the Old Testament, so in the New? OR is Irenaeus saying that Moses and Paul were not inspired when giving these precepts? Or is he saying that God and Paul compromised with sin? Hopefully not. Either way, he is not saying what you think, because he believes that men still have hard hearts and the New Testament makes similar rules to accommodate them as the Old – so why would he believe the Old are repealed? Now what else did Irenaeus believe about whether or not Jesus was correcting Moses?
Irenaeus book IV. CHAP.II3. But since the writings (litera) of Moses are the words of Christ, He does Himself declare to the Jews, as John has recorded in the Gospel: "If ye had believed Moses, ye would have believed Me: for he wrote of Me. But if ye believe not his writings, neither will ye believe My words."(3) He thus indicates in the clearest manner that the writings of Moses are His words. If, then, [this be the case with regard] to Moses, so also, beyond a doubt, the words of the other prophets are His [words], as I have pointed out. And again, the Lord Himself exhibits Abraham as having said to the rich man, with reference to all those who were still alive: "If they do not obey Moses and the prophets, neither, if any one were to rise from the dead and go to them, will they believe him."(4) ...Lest, therefore, we should incur the same punishment as these men, the Lord reveals [to us] their end; showing at the same time, that if they obeyed Moses and the prophets, they would believe in Him whom these had preached, the Son of God, who rose from the dead, and bestows life upon us; and He shows that all are from one essence, that is, Abraham, and Moses, and the prophets, and also the Lord Himself, who rose from the dead, in whom many believe who are of the circumcision, who do also hear Moses and the prophets announcing the coming of the Son of God.
Much more from this writer can be seen in my response to Caneyville in our debate, which can be read online under “OBJECTIONS ANSWERED” OR “CANEYVILLE LETTERS” on our web homepage at THEFAITHONCEDELIVERED.INFO.
Tertullain (A.D. 145-220) was an elder in Carthage. He wrote in Latin and was a voluminous theologian. He was born into a pagan household and seems to have been educated in Rome. Tertullian transitions from an orthodox Christian period to semi-Montantist and Montanist periods. His Montanist beliefs led him astray in certain areas. Nevertheless, his writings concerning the permanence of marriage reflect the general consensus of the early church. In Against Marcion book 4 chapter 24 Tertullian’s writings are quite lengthy. The reader is encouraged to obtain a copy and read it in context. Chapter 24 includes these statements:
But Christ prohibits divorce, saying, “whosoever puts away his wife and marries another, commits adultery; and whosoever marries her that is put away from her husband also commits adultery”. In order to forbid divorce, he makes it unlawful to marry a woman that has been put away… For in the Gospel of Matthew he says, “whosoever shall put away his wife, except for the cause of fornication, causes her to commit adultery”. He also is deemed equally guilty of adultery, who marries a woman put away by her husband.
Why don’t you properly represent Tertullian? You must have read my quote in our book — did you read it or not? Here is a quote from our book on divorce and remarriage:
“Tertullian (160-230 AD), a Gentile Christian, who is faulted with being radically strict in the area of marriage, said this of the words of Christ when contending with Marcion (a heretic who taught the creator was an evil God, and not the Father of Jesus):
"But, observe, if this Christ be yours when he teaches contrary to Moses and the Creator, on the same principle must He be mine if I can show that His teaching is not contrary to them. I maintain, then, that there was a condition in the prohibition which he now made of divorce; the case supposed being, that a man put away his wife for the express purpose of marrying another. His words are: "Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery; and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from her husband, also committeth adultery," -- "put away," that is, for the reason wherefore a woman ought not to be dismissed, that another wife may be obtained. For he who marries a woman who is unlawfully put away is as much of an adulterer as the man who marries one who is undivorced. Permanent is the marriage which is not rightly dissolved; to marry, therefore, whilst matrimony is undissolved, is to commit adultery. Since, therefore, His prohibition of divorce was a conditional one, He did not prohibit absolutely; and what He did not absolutely forbid, that He permitted on some occasions, when there is an absence of the cause why He gave the prohibition. In very deed His teaching is not contrary to Moses, whose precept he partially defends, I will not say confirms. If, however, you deny that divorce is in any way permitted by Christ, how is it that you on your side destroy marriage, not uniting man and woman, nor admitting to the sacrament of baptism and of the eucharist those who have been united in marriage anywhere else, unless they should agree together to repudiate the fruit of their marriage, and so the very Creator Himself? Well, then, what is a husband to do in your sect, if his wife commit adultery? Shall he keep her? But your own apostle, you know, does not permit "the members of Christ to be joined to a harlot." Divorce, therefore, when justly deserved, has even in Christ a defender. So that Moses for the future must be considered as being confirmed by Him, since he allows divorce in the same sense as Christ does, if any unchastity should occur in the wife. For in the Gospel of Matthew he says, "Whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery." ...The Creator, however, except on account of adultery, does not put asunder what He Himself joined together....He prohibits divorce when He will have the marriage inviolable; he permits divorce when the marriage is spotted with unfaithfulness." Tertullian 3.404,405
Notice: Tertullian didn't even mention the espousal theory; he understood the exception clause to mean unchastity (immorality) and adultery; he understood Christ wasn't changing Moses; he believed the adultery of remarriage was due to "unlawful divorce"; he didn't believe in a separation short of divorce; and he had the Gospel of Matthew in Africa.”
I don’t build on Tertullian because he also departed from the Hebrew roots of the gospel in some areas; but here he plainly understands Jesus to speak consistent with Moses. This proves your statement above to be false “Not until Ambrose entered the picture in the late third century was there any variation in opinion regarding this matter.”
Origen (A.D. 185-254) wrote extensive commentaries on the Scriptures. He writes this in his Commentary on Matthew:
But as a woman is an adulteress, even though she seems to be married to a man, while the former husband is still living, so also the man who seems to marry her who has been put away, does not so much marry her as commit adultery with her according to the declaration of our Savior.
Origen was condemned as a heretic by the church for teaching reincarnation, universal salvation — even for the Devil, and many other heresies. He is not a reliable foundation.
ARGUMENT 7: The Woman at Jacob’s Well.
ANSWER: In John 4, we are given the story of Jesus’ private dialogue with the woman at Jacob’s well. In this story, Christ reveals several hidden facts about her life, including the exact number of her previous husbands: Jesus saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that sadist thou truly (John 4:18).
Based on this information, Christians jump to the following conclusions: “Jesus clearly distinguished between a live-in and a husband. Jesus recognized the legal contract of marriage between her and her previous husbands. If Jesus recognized all five of her husbands as legal husbands, how can He discount the remarriage of Christian couples today?...”
However, these points fail on two counts. First, there is no mention anywhere in the text that all five preceding husbands were surviving ex-partners before they became the next “ex”. They could have very easily been deceased at the time of her subsequent remarriage. And in light of that era’s survival prospects (economic hardship, war, and no modern medicine), it is very likely they were. Second, the author forces a foreign notion into the text by inferring that Christ’s classification of these men (i.e. husbands) was positive confirmation of their legitimacy (being legal), and thus His approval of their status. For instance, a prophet, false or otherwise, is still a prophet. Finally, we can infer that the woman’s last partner, whom Christ exposed, was simply a live-in boyfriend.
This is sloppy at best. First, the survival prospects were probably worse for child-bearing women than men in those days — but this proves nothing. Second, Jesus was speaking according to Moses’ Law, which the Samaritan’s had and claimed go follow. Third, Jesus makes a clear distinction between all five husbands and the present situation she was in. If they were not legitimate, but only adulterous affairs, then there was no difference between them and the present one; and Jesus would have stated that after your first husband, you have had five affairs. Fourth, when Jesus says that men were slow of heart “to believe all that the prophets have spoken” He was clearly only speaking of TRUE prophets. Jesus uses the word prophets many times, but only means false prophets when he says false prophets. This is bad logic.
Old Covenant Continuity
A Brief Rebuttal
There are those who preach that Christ didn’t come to correct Moses. Meaning Jesus couldn’t have undermined the prior rulings of God under the Mosaic period else this would have made Him a false prophet and justified the Jews in killing Him. Key scriptures are used to defend this argument, particularly those in Matthew 5, Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven (Mat 5:17-19).
Moreover, they use this argument to establish continuity between covenants regarding Deuteronomy 24 and the issue of divorce and remarriage. Their top contention is that while the ceremonial and civic portions of the Law are obsolete, God’s moral laws are valid and binding. This assertion is based on the fact that God’s morality is somehow tied into His immutable character and to defy this is to discredit Malachi 3:6 and Hebrews 13:8.
God’s morality is not tied to His immutable character? How foolish to deny such. God’s moral laws are what He desires to write in our hearts as the basis of the New Covenant, and just because you haven’t the brains to understand them all, doesn’t mean God made a mistake or improved His moral judgments. Men today have the same hard hearts that men had then; and even born again believers are continually warned to avoid hard heartedness and not allow the deceitfulness of sin to harden their hearts.
We do not teach that the ceremonial and civic are obsolete. The ceremonial are fulfilled in Christ, as they all were types of his sacrifice and priesthood. The civic are still a fitting example for rulers today, if they would study the principles behind them. The Jews were commanded by God to stone any “prophet” who led them away from God’s precepts — thus if Jesus were doing so, they were just and righteous is killing Him. YOUR DOCTRINE MAKES JESUS A FALSE PROPHET — WHICH MAKES YOU A FALSE PROPHET.
While I agree that God’s character is immutable, I think we sometimes confuse many of the moral commands found in Deuteronomy and elsewhere in the Law as being a perfect standard of God’s morality. When in fact, as demonstrated earlier, these were mere concessions made toward a hardhearted people. Just like the concession allowing for polygamy (Deut. 21:15) or the forced marriage between the rapist and his victim (Deut. 22:19-22). This is prime proof that not all moral rulings were to be considered eternally binding.
This is prime proof that you think you are smarter than God and wish to pass judgment on God’s moral judgments. Jesus said,
Matt 5:17 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. 19 Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
YOU WILL THEREFORE BE CALLED LEAST OR DISREGARDED IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.
n Did God force a marriage between a girl and her rapist as you accuse Him of OR IS THIS MORE OF YOUR LACK OF UNDERSTANDING OF GOD’S WORD?
Ex.22:16 And if a man entice a maid that is not betrothed, and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife. 17 If her father utterly refuse to give her unto him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins.
Deuteronomy means “second law” and was a second rehearsing of the Laws already given. This means you should take ALL the law says on a subject, not just one spot divorced from the rest. All these transactions were overseen by God’s authority structure — In this case if the father said NO, then the judges would only punish the offender and the marriage would be off. It behooved fathers and daughters to be carful about modesty and safety so this would not happen. If they were not careful in being modest and protected from unnecessary exposure, then they shared in the guilt, and God knew this. Girls who enticed and then claimed innocents might just end up married for life to this man — better think before you wink!
YOU ARE OFFENSIVE TO GOD IN YOUR ALLEGATIONS AGAINST HIS WISE MORAL JUDGMENTS. SO WOULD JESUS HAVE SAID SOMETHING DIFFERENT IF HE WAS ALIVE AT THE TIME? MOSES’ WORDS WERE JESUS’ WORDS!!
GOD NEVER COMPROMISED WITH SIN, BUT GAVE REMEDIES FOR SIN. WHAT GOD COMMANDED WAS ALWAYS THE SMARTEST, WISEST, BEST, MOST APPROPRIATE THING TO DO UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES — ALWAYS — AND STILL IS THE SMARTEST, BEST, WISEST, AND MOST APPROPRIATE THING TO DO UNDER THOSE SAME CIRCUMSTANCES. God is not ashamed of what He said; and these wise laws ARE God’s best answer to the problems. These laws will be followed when Jesus reigns over the earth with a rod of iron.
Heb. 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son,
GOD CANNOT IMPROVE ON GOD — HE IS THE SPEAKER BOTH TIMES!
What we need to realize is that these temporary reforms were instituted until the “setting of all matters straight”, a concept introduced to us in the New Covenant. So called Old Covenant continuity is true to a point, but there exists a definite dichotomy between covenants which many do not realize. Notice these Scriptures: Who in times past suffered all nations (INCLUDING ISRAEL) to walk in their own ways (Act 14:16). And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent (Act 17:30). I think it’s important to understand that God’s morality is not perfectly expressed in the Law of Moses, but rather in the ministry and teachings of His Son, Jesus Christ, under the New Covenant dispensation.
Paul is speaking about idolatry in Acts 14:16, and that did not include Israel!! God judged Israel severely for idolatry. Again, you need to get to know your Bible before you set yourself up to teach it. God’s Moral judgments were not temporary reforms, but are the basis of the New Covenant!! Get this in your head PLEASE. The New Covenant is God writing His Laws in our hearts!
Jesus said that the two greatest commandments were what ALL THE LAW AND PROPHETS HUNG FROM. Jesus said that the golden rule he stated WAS THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS. Listen to Jesus rebuke people like yourself:
Mark 7:5 Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands? 6 He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. 7 Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. 8 For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. 9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. 10 For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: 11 But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. 12 And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; 13 Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition,
You are doing the very same thing in principle that these Pharisees were doing. They thought they were smarter than God’s Word through Moses, so laying aside God’s command, they taught their own tradition, which made God’s Law through Moses of none affect. Notice this is in Mark, so you can listen to it. Notice that Jesus equated God’s Word and the commandment of God with “Moses said”. You are in deep water with your false concepts about God’s inspired Word. YOU DO NOT BELIEVE THE FOLLOWING VERSES:
“2Ti 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works [IN THE NEW COVENANT].”
Ps. 19: 7 ¶ The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. 8 The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes.9 The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. 10 More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. 11 Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping of them there is great reward.
In closing, I want to encourage us to pursue God until the fire of the Holy Spirit is poured out upon us. It is my prayer that we might receive the Spirit's anointing and through this be permanently changed in our way of life and ministry.
Love in Jesus,
Friend, you are clearly zealous, but poorly informed on many issues, and I beg you to stop trying to teach until you learn the Word as God wrote it. READ THE OLD TESTAMENT and listen to God’s opinion of His Word. God’s Spirit will NEVER fill a man with your view of the Word, because God’s Spirit inspired it and you call it foolish! He must be highly offended at your arrogant view against His inspired Word. Start listening to what the Word actually says and stop reading your own ideas into it.
2 Peter 1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.