Hyperlinked Table of Contents
- Chapter 1: How to Read the Bible
- Chapter 2: A Short View on Relationships
- “Will a relationship be good if the man wants to do what pleases the woman and the woman wants to do what pleases the man?”
- “If love is seeking the highest, best interest of another without regard to self, and if the opposite is seeking one’s own interest without regard to another (which is selfishness), if two love each other, they would be able to get along, right?”
- “When is seeking the highest, best interest of a relationship without regard to self wrong?”
- “But if the husband also seeks what is best for the relationship, he won’t force her to stay the same. He will give her room, including room to become a Believer.”
- Chapter 3: The Pivotal Text
- Other Pertinent Texts
- Greek Words
- A Warning about Pharisees
- The Trap and the Answer
- About the Christian Jesus
- The Text
- “What about adultery? Is not adultery a cause for divorce?”
- “Since the Law of Moses is not the law of the United States, would divorce be allowed in the case of adultery?”
- To Whom was the ‘Law of Moses’ Given?
- Chapter 4: The Rule for the Priests
- Chapter 5: The Great Biblical Divorce
- Angels Marrying Women?
- The Hebrew Word to Fall
- Back to the Priests
- Chapter 6: The Standard for Christians
- The Standard of a Christian: Two Who are Jewish
- “Is there a distinction between Jewish and non-Jewish Christians? Aren’t they both one in Messiah, part of the Church, and living under the same standards?”
- “Many Christian men marry unbelieving women, and they don’t realize that it is not right, or they thought that their wives were Christians.”
- A Note about the Cases
- Case 1: Two Jewish Believers Who Don’t Get Along
- Case 2: Two Jewish Believers, One Adulterer
- Case 3: Two Jewish Believers Fight over the Sabbath
- Case 4: Two Jewish Believers Stress over Money
- The Standard of a Christian: Two Who are non-Jewish
- Case 5: A Believing Couple Troubled by Pornography
- Case 6: A Believing Couple Has a Third Participating Counselor
- Case 7: A Believing Couple Fights over Childrearing
- Case 8: A Believing Couple Has a Loyalty Issue
- The Standard of a Christian: Married to a non-Christian
- Believer Married to an Unbeliever
- Sanctified and Holy
- “On what basis is divorce an option in this case?”
- Chapter 7: Unbelievers (Non-Christians) and Divorce
- Homosexuals and Lesbians
- Case 9: An Unbelieving Couple with Mixed Faiths
- Case 10: An Unbelieving Homosexual Couple
- Rules Regarding the Conduct of Unbelievers
- Case 11: Two Jewish Unbelievers; One Becomes a Believer
- Chapter 8: Cases of Jews Married to Non-Jews
- Case 12: Christian Woman and Torah-Fervent Husband
- Case 13: A Godly Jewish Woman and a Messianic Jewish Man
- Case 14: Believers from Mixed Backgrounds
- Chapter 9: Dealing with Divorcees
- “Should I deal with a divorced person in a way different from anyone else? My pastor wants to start a special class for the divorced. Are they different?”
- “Well, what if the divorced person has done wrong by illegitimately divorcing a mate? Should not that person be treated as a wrong doer?”
- “But what if the person obtained an illegitimate divorce while being a Believer?”
- “Suppose a person obtained a divorce on grounds that are not right, then the person became a Believer after this, and has not remarried. Is this person obliged to remarry the partner now?”
- Case 15: A Woman’s Moral Dilemma
- Case 16: A Believing Woman Scorned
- “But is this not just making a new problem, since several denominations would see this marriage as illegitimate?”
- Chapter 10: Dealing with Unmarrieds
- Case 17: Two Shacking Unbelievers
- Case 18 Living Together No More
- Case 19: Just Two Doing What Comes Naturally
- “Well, what if they realize that they don’t love each other? Should they not have the right to not marry?”
- More on Rulings
- Case 20: A Woman and an Abusive Man
- Case 21: Teen Pregnancy
- “What about the obvious—adopting out the child? Isn’t that the best option?”
- Case 22: Raping a Stepdaughter
- Chapter 11: Remarriage after Divorce
- Case 23: Unbelieving Jews Fight
- Case 24: Two Jewish Unbelievers Divorce
- Case 25: A Jewish-Catholic Divorce
- Chapter 12: Would Yehovah get a Divorce?
- “God hates divorce. My pastor told me that if I get a divorce, I will be sinning, and if I marry someone else, I will be put out of the church. He said that God would never get a divorce, and I should never seek one, either. Is this true?”
- “How will things be different for unbelieving Jews who get divorces without cause from unbelieving non-Jews who do the same?”
- “I married, hoping that my spouse’s faith would change. I have been working toward this for a while. What should I do now, since I was wrong?”
- “What about some person in some far-away corner of the world who cannot read and has no access to the Bible? This person has no chance!”
- “What if I married thinking that my spouse was a Believer, and now I realize that he is not?”
- Chapter 13: Counseling
- ‘Christian’ Counseling
- Choosing Counselors to Avert a Divorce
- “Isn’t it a shame for a Christian to go to a non-Christian for counseling?”.
- Logic and Emotion
- Chapter 14: A Basic Summary of Grounds for Divorce
Anyone who will properly understand the Bible must understand the whole Bible. Those who only view the ‘New Testament’ as authoritative and dismiss the ‘Old Testament’ do not understand the Bible, and will come to wrong conclusions on very important matters. Anyone who reads only the New Testament will understand the New Testament … wrong. I am not saying that he will not understand it—he will understand it, and it will make sense, but his understanding will be wrong.
Yehovah designed the Bible so that anyone of any persuasion could read it and derive ample evidences and proofs of his own persuasion from the Bible. Those who desire Truth will see truth from the Bible, and all others will find proofs for their erroneous views.
Those who call themselves ‘New Testament Christians’ have the greatest disadvantage in the area of divorce, especially if they understand New Testament Christianity to mean faith in the New Testament to the exclusion of the Old Testament. Denominations such as the Churches of Christ, the Christian Church, many Baptist churches and individual churches from many other denominations practice this view. The result is great Biblical injustice. Those who should be granted a divorce cannot be granted one by these churches. Their faithful tolerate great abuse and evil.
The Bible is a complete book. Justice is not done when pieces of the Bible are used to the exclusion of the whole Bible. When those pieces are the last ones written (like the ‘New Testament’), the whole foundation of Truth (found in Genesis) is missing. Broken pieces of a foundation cannot support a structure.
- The Bible must be taken literally except when doing so would produce an understanding that violates other literal texts of Scriptures (such cases are rare). Taking the Bible in any other sense than the literal sense will produce nonsense. Yehovah is a God of His Word. He must be understood that way.
- Get to know the Torah—the first six books of the Bible. The rest of the Bible has no foundation without knowing these six books. Yehovah made them the foundation. They are not difficult to learn.
- Study the Saints. Their behaviour shows much about Yehovah and His ways. The topic of divorce will be especially pronounced in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah (chapters cited below).
- Always look for obvious things in the Bible. Do not try to find invisible or hidden things. Anyone seeking hidden things will find many opportunities to make up theology. He cannot learn truth because he is too busy making error. If he looks for Bible codes, he will find them! If he looks for hidden messages spelled out in the Hebrew by skipping to every fourth letter, he will find them and will destroy his own way.
- Notice every detail. The answers to the toughest questions will be found in details of events that seem unrelated to the questions. Do not skip-read. Important details will usually consist of briefly stated blatant statements.
- The Bible is often not in chronological order. Exceptions include the Books of Revelation, Kings, Esther, Judges, Ruth and Chronicles. Even Revelation occasionally leaves its sequence. Biblical facts regarding any one topic are not all placed together. You must compare texts with texts and gather the complete listing of the facts in order to completely understand any issue. (There are some unusual exceptions where the facts are brief and in one place.)
- The Biblical vocabulary does not include many words. Every word has one or several meanings, and these meanings do not necessarily correspond to today’s English vocabulary. Popular Bible dictionaries give definitions that are often not correct and are the result of theologians’ opinions.
- The best way to find the meaning of a Biblical word is to read the Bible and derive the definition yourself from its usage. This can be very time-consuming, but it is worth the time and effort. Erroneous understandings will certainly arise without a correct understanding of word definitions. Use whatever means you have to get to know the meanings of words. Prove the meanings by testing them. Look the words up in a concordance to find where the words are used. See if your meanings fit every text in which the words are used.
- If you already have your mind made up regarding the meaning of a word or a text so that your mind will not be changed no matter what you find, why waste your time? Read the Bible to learn. Learning implies not just the addition of information, but also the subtraction of error. If a text teaches something contrary to what you understood, be willing to change your view.
- Men often approach the Bible with an improper view of women. Since most theologians are men, the Bible is often viewed as being male-centred. A proper view of women will not lead to this conclusion. The Bible shows that more women do well in the categories of Spiritual faithfulness, logic and boldness than men. Men who approach the Bible with beliefs that women are to be kept subject to men will derive logical and wrong answers to their questions.
- Carefully distinguish between similar texts. Just because one text has wording that is very close to another text does not mean that the two texts are related. Many errors have come about by wrong assumptions.
- Read the Bible with realism. It is not a sugar-coated book of promises, nor is it a book designed to help racists prove their points. It gives a realistic picture of man and God. View it as being a book written in a very practical way to show very practical things. If a text seems to prove a point that makes no sense, find other related texts and fit them all together. If you cannot find these texts, keep reading the Bible through without skipping. You will likely find other related texts that answer your questions. Be patient. Some answers take years.
- Come to understand the construction of the prophetic texts. Yehovah determined their design, and they are consistent. Prophecies are topically oriented and are scattered throughout the Bible. Many questions can be answered from prophetic texts. Timings and situations must be determined to avoid making common and stupid mistakes of misapplication and misappropriation. Take time to check your conclusions.
- Look out for violently perverted translations! A basic rule of thumb is this: the more modern the translation, the more liberal (in a bad sense) the rendering is, and the less accurate the text is. Translators are the best examples of the theology of the times, and the theology of our modern times is the worst that it has been in history. More individuals own Bibles, and more are ignorant of the contents of their Bibles than in any other time in history. Stay with the most literal translation that you can find. Avoid dynamically equivalent translations that are opinions of the translators rather than honest renderings. They read very smoothly and change vital texts into new meanings that the original texts never contained. They are the bestway to learn the theology of the Bible solidly and wrongly. Struggle with translations that are harder to read, but are more literal. If you must choose between the so-called New International Version and the King James Version, choose the King James Version. They do not say the same thing. They describe totally different gods.
- Do not automatically believe your preacher or pastor. He (or she) may be right, but how do you know? Read the Bible! If your pastor is right, tell him! If he is wrong, do what you want (if it is legal and not unethical). Never take the word of a man regarding the Bible. He may have gone to Bible school or seminary, but that merely gave him a degree; it never gave him sense.
- Do not view any portion of the Bible as a devotional. The Bible is a valuable book teaching things that are able to save a human from death. A devotional appeals to nice folks. The Bible is an authority, not a recommendation. Devotionals are sweet and cheap, pleasant blasphemies wrapped in chocolate.
- When you go to study a text, avoid the arrogant error of applying the text to yourself—as if you were something important. Why prove your lack of humility? Be interested in applying yourself to the Bible. Take the view that the Word of God is important. These two perspectives are opposites, not different slants on the same thing.
“Will a relationship be good if the man wants to do what pleases the woman and the woman wants to do what pleases the man?”
Not necessarily. This is not a proper building of a relationship. Any relationship based upon pleasure is liable to be short-lived. Dating is based on this foolishness, and the results are obvious.
Two totally unmatched individuals who should not be able to deal well with each other under any circumstance can have a good relationship if they keep one thing in mind and if they live according to that one thing: they must seek the highest, best interest of the relationship without regard to themselves. There are rare times when this is wrong to do, but it is usually right. Any relationship can and will succeed if both follow this rule.
“If love is seeking the highest, best interest of another without regard to self, and if the opposite is seeking one’s own interest without regard to another (which is selfishness), if two love each other, they would be able to get along, right?”
Not necessarily. In rare cases, two can seek the highest, best interest of each other without regard to themselves, and disagree on what the highest, best interest is! The result could be a devastating series of disputes leading to the view by one or both that they are mismatched and are therefore harmful to each other. A divorce can result. If, on the other hand, two were to seek what is the highest and best for the relationship, it is unlikely that the results will be harmful, and it is likely that the results will be very good. They are working together and not as separate agents trying to work on each other.
The attempt to please another is more manipulative than loving. One who tries to please another is doing things to achieve a particular response, not to do what is best. What is best is often not very desirable. Parents who try to please their children usually end up with rebellious brats. (While excellent childrearing does not necessarily lead to right-behaving children, very poor childrearing can temporarily set a child who will have very good character into behaviours that appear quite rebellious.)
It is wrong when one’s faith or one’s ethics must be compromised or disregarded to achieve this result. Suppose a man wants his wife to quit having contact with true Godliness from the Bible because their relationship is being hurt from this contact. He is right. The wife’s reading (let’s say) is teaching her the ways of Godliness, and the husband is feeling more and more distant from this woman. If she seeks the highest, best interest of the relationship, she will stop the pursuit of truth, and will concentrate on her relationship with her husband. If she becomes Godly, she may destroy the relationship with her husband. She must make up her mind.
“But if the husband also seeks what is best for the relationship, he won’t force her to stay the same. He will give her room, including room to become a Believer.”
Even if the husband were to do this, the relationship could still be destroyed. No matter what he tries and no matter what he does, he might have to compromise to the point that he cannot stomach the relationship. It is possible to compromise to achieve a good relationship, but it is not the best relationship. Ethical and moral compromise is a disaster. Compromise often seems best, but it often destroys. The best is often something different from what each one might propose. A wise counselor can help.
It is rare to find a couple where both are totally dedicated to the highest and best for the relationship. One of the two might be dedicated, but usually neither one has even thought of this concept. Give-and-take is the cold framework of most relationships. They both then perceive that one usually gives and the other usually takes! There are relationships where neither one gives willingly, and violence or deceit is the rule. There are relationships where one person is bitter or is in self-pity. Trying to shore up these types of destructive relationships is often a futile task.
Matthew 5:32 But I say unto you that whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causes her to commit adultery. And whosoever shall marry her that is divorced commits adultery.
Whenever anyone takes and uses a Biblical text, the result can either be very good, incorrect or devastating. Those who divided the Bible into chapters and verses did a great service for others who have used verses and chapters to find texts. They did a terrible disservice for those who thought that one verse is a separable and useful thought without the need to consider surrounding texts and other pertinent texts. One verse may be quoted alone, but the verse is not alone. A technique that the false “Witnesses of Jehovah” often use is to quote one or two verses to prove a point. For example, they will quote from their favorite book, Ecclesiastes, to show that when a man is dead, he is unconscious. They will quote,
Ecclesiastes 9:5 For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not anything, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten.
I could go one step further with the above verse by stating that the Bible teaches no reward, no judgment, no afterlife. I do not believe this, however, and the Bible does not teach this. Solomon wrote Ecclesiastes as an inspired and infallible view from “under the heavens,”—a view that ungodly men have, and not God. Solomon was also prophesying; the book prophesies of events to come, events that never historically occurred. It addresses the futility of the pursuit of worldly things. Many folks use many texts in the very same manner. One who fears God and trembles at His Word has no right to mishandle the Bible in this way. One who does not fear God may do as he pleases. Yehovah will reward him according to his works.
The first question that an honest reader should ask regarding a text is, “What is the entire text?” Here is the text in full:
Matthew 5:31 “It has been said, ‘Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement.’ But I say unto you that whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causes her to commit adultery. And whosoever shall marry her that is divorced commits adultery.”
I will discuss this text later.
It is often not enough to merely quote the entire text. Other pertinent texts must be quoted in order to properly understand a text. The following texts are directly pertinent to the issue:
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?” 4And He answered and said unto them, “Have ye not read that He Who made [them] at the beginning made them male and female, 5and said, ‘For this cause shall a man leave father and mother and shall cleave to his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh’? 6Therefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What God has therefore joined together, let not man put asunder.” 7They say unto Him, “Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement and to put her away?” 8He says unto them, “Moses suffered you to put away your wives because of the hardness of your hearts. But it was not so from the beginning. 9And I say unto you, whosoever shall put away his wife, except for fornication, and shall marry another, commits adultery. And whoso marries her who is put away commits adultery!” 10His disciples say unto Him, “If the case of the man is so with the wife, it is not good to marry!” 11But He said unto them, “All cannot receive this saying except to whom it is given. 12For there are some eunuchs who were born so from the mother’s womb, and there are some eunuchs who were made eunuchs of men. And there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive, let him receive!”
Mark 10:2 And the Pharisees came to Him. And they asked Him, “Is it lawful for a man to put away the wife?” tempting Him. 3And He answered and said unto them, “What did Moses command you?” 4And they said, “Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement and to put away.” 5And Jesus answered and said unto them, “He wrote you this precept for the hardness of your heart! 6But God made them male and female from the beginning of the creation. 7For this cause a man shall leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife. 8And they twain shall be one flesh. So then they are no more twain, but one flesh. 9What God has therefore joined together, let not man put asunder!” 10And His disciples asked Him again of the same in the house. 11And He says unto them, “Whosoever shall put away his wife and marry another commits adultery against her. 12And if a woman shall put away her husband and be married to another, she commits adultery.”
Luke 16:16 “The law and the prophets are until John. Since that time, the kingdom of God is preached and every man presses into it. 17And it is easier for the heavens and the land to pass than one tittle of the law to fail. 18Whosoever puts away his wife and marries another commits adultery. And whosoever marries her that is put away from the husband commits adultery.”
(A tittle is a calligraphy flag-type top to Hebrew Scroll lettering.)
Compare these texts. They teach much more than Matthew 5 alone. I will consider one text at a time.
Matthew 5:31 “It has been said, ‘Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement.’ But I say unto you that whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causes her to commit adultery. And whosoever shall marry her that is divorced commits adultery.”
The first phrase is, “It has been said.” By whom has it been said? Whenever Messiah quotes the Bible, He says, “It is written.” Just because something has been said does not mean that it is from God or that it is true. There is no verse in the Bible that says, “Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement.” Messiah is correcting wrong theology in these verses by saying, “But I say unto you…” Other nearby verses (in Matthew 5) say things like, “ye have heard that it has been said by them of old time.” This does not mean that what was said long ago was correct, nor does it prove that what was heard (that it has been said) was true. Many hear things that were supposedly said, but never were. For example, if I were to say to you, “It has been said by Solomon, ‘Pride goes before a fall,’” you might believe me. But this is not what Solomon said. He said,
Proverbs 16:18 Pride is before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Many misquotations of the Bible are in circulation. Messiah was focusing on just one of them.
Messiah continued, “Whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication…” Some claim that fornication refers to a whole list of sexual sins. Why didn’t Messiah just say adultery or sexual perversion? If this text were viewed alone without other related texts, this text would not even allow divorce for adultery! Fornication is not the same as adultery:
Galatians 5:19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, that are adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness…
Once one is married, having sexual intercourse with another who is not part of that legal union is an act of adultery. Fornication can only take place between two unmarried individuals. This text is addressing a particular issue that has happened before marriage. The Greek word In Matthew 5 is , porneias. The word fornication in Galatians 5:19 is , another form of the same word, and the word for adultery is , moicheia, a different word. They are not the same thing.
Why would Messiah be referring to an event before they were married? This will be answered later.
Messiah explained that such a person “causes her to commit adultery.” It does not say in this text that he, himself, commits adultery. This text deals with the evil being done to the wife, not the sin status of the husband. One who causes another to sin is doing a great evil, and is putting himself in that terrible category of a worker of iniquity. (Iniquity is the state of true guilt before Yehovah). This is a very strong accusation. He is putting a woman of Israel into a terrible circumstance.
Messiah is addressing Israel, not ‘the Church’ (as so many in Christianity misunderstand it). Texts must be taken literally. The reader must discern who the speaker is, to whom the speaker is speaking, and about whom the speaker is speaking. Messiah’s earthly ministry was to the Jews, as He Himself stated:
Matthew 15:24 But He answered and said, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”
“Whosoever shall marry her that is divorced commits adultery.” If this text is taken alone, any woman who has ever been divorced, even if her husband from whom she was divorced is dead, is ineligible for legitimate marriage. Few understand this text in this manner, but a text taken alone and misapplied can do much damage to the lives of folks to whom it is wrongly applied.
Suppose that a man divorces his wife. Suppose that this man marries another woman. Is she still ineligible for marriage? Messiah is referring to a woman who has been divorced for some other reason “saving for the cause of fornication.”
By now, you should have many questions regarding this text. What about the woman who is divorced because her husband has committed adultery? What about the woman who is divorced because her husband was a child molester? What about the woman who is divorced because her husband abandoned her?
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?” 4And He answered and said unto them, “Have ye not read that He Who made [them] at the beginning made them male and female, 5and said, ‘For this cause shall a man leave father and mother and shall cleave to his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh’? 6Therefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What God has joined together, therefore, let not man put asunder.” 7They say unto Him, “Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement and to put her away?” 8He says unto them, “Moses suffered you to put away your wives because of the hardness of your hearts, but it was not so from the beginning. 9And I say unto you, whosoever shall put away his wife, except for fornication, and shall marry another, commits adultery. And whoso marries her who is put away commits adultery!” 10His disciples say unto Him, “If the case of the man be so with the wife, it is not good to marry!” 11But He said unto them, “All cannot receive this saying except to whom it is given. 12For there are some eunuchs who were so born from the mother’s womb, and there are some eunuchs who were made eunuchs of men. And there are eunuchs who have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive, let him receive!”
The first quoted verse says, “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?’”
There are some who use the word Pharisee as a synonym for hypocrite. They consider all Pharisees evil and false teachers. This is a form of anti-Jewishness, and it is wrong. The Pharisees were separatists, those who believed that one who is Godly must be separate from the world. They believed that righteousness must be practiced. Some, however, established forms of righteousness that were apart from the commandments of God. Others followed the commandments of God in a very good way. Messiah commanded Israel to obey the Pharisees (He never did that regarding the liberal Sadducees). He would never have done so had they been wrong in their basic commands:
Matthew 23:1 Then Jesus spoke to the multitude and to His disciples, 2saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat. 3All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, observe and do. But do not ye after their works. For they say, and do not!”
Some of the Pharisees believed in Messiah and wholeheartedly followed Him. They were the ones who maintained the strictest Godliness because of their love of Truth. Others were fakes, not caring about things of God, but caring much about how they appeared. Still others were somewhere between the extremes. Do not take a stand against the Pharisees. Messiah is a Pharisee teaching faith, separation, and whole-hearted Godliness.
A few Pharisees are attempting to set Messiah up in the Matthew 19 text. If He says, “No,” He will be challenging a common Roman practice and a popular practice among some of the Jewish leaders; He will be standing against the authorities. If He says, “Yes,” He will be giving a blanket license for divorce. Some of the Pharisees had divorced their wives for causes other than sexual immorality—causes that were minor and not even sin.
And He answered and said unto them, “Have ye not read that He Who made [them] at the beginning made them male and female, 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’? Therefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What God has therefore joined together, let not man put asunder.”
Messiah gave them an answer regarding the basic issue of marriage, though they had asked regarding divorce. He challenged them by asking, “Have ye not read?” It was quite an insult! They continued their attempted trap, however: “Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?” Moses did not do this. They asked a question akin to this: “Have you stopped beating your wife?” The question assumes that an error is truth. There are only two elements involved in the Pharisees’ description: the writing of divorcement and putting her away. There were at least two other elements in the original command.
Messiah replied to this statement not by refuting them on their error, but by a further accusation: “Moses suffered you to put away your wives because of the hardness of your hearts. But it was not so from the beginning.” When He stated, “the hardness of your hearts,” He was accusing these tempters of being part of a group of sinners whose hearts are hardened. It both answered their question and cast doubt on their reputation for innocence. Messiah continued, “Whosoever shall put away his wife, except for fornication, and shall marry another, commits adultery.” This text also says except for fornication as distinct from except for adultery. If the man marries another, he commits adultery.
What if his wife abandons him and goes to live with other men? Must he remain in that state for the rest of his life? If he gets a divorce, is he prohibited from marrying another? Matthew 19:10 shows that the disciples did not get what Messiah was saying. Messiah answered them according to their understanding, but they did not realize the meaning of the text from which these texts derive. (Have you found the first text? It is not found in Matthew, Mark or Luke. It is found before these texts. I will address it later.)
The next text to be explored is found in Mark:
Mark 10:2 And the Pharisees came to Him. And they asked Him, “Is it lawful for a man to put away the wife?” tempting Him. 3And He answered. And He said unto them, “What did Moses command you?” 4And they said, “Moses suffered to write a bill of divorcement and to put away.” 5And Jesus answered and said unto them, “He wrote you this precept because of the hardness of your heart! 6But God made them male and female from the beginning of the creation. 7For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and cleave to his wife. 8And they twain shall be one flesh. So then they are no more twain, but one flesh. 9What God has therefore joined together, let not man put asunder!” 10And His disciples asked Him again of the same in the house. 11And He says unto them, “Whosoever shall put away his wife and marry another commits adultery against her. 12And if a woman shall put away her husband and be married to another, she commits adultery.”
This text is almost the same as the Matthew 19 text with the exception of the last two verses: “Whosoever shall put away his wife and marry another commits adultery against her. And if a woman shall put away her husband and be married to another, she commits adultery.” If these texts were taken alone, no one would be able to get a divorce! But the combined texts teach that divorce without sufficient cause is wrong. If the Bible specifies a cause that allows for divorce, divorce is allowed. Only fornication has been considered sufficient, and this could only occur before the couple was married. What kind of premarital fornication might be cause for a post-marital divorce?
Luke 16:16 “The law and the prophets are until John. Since that time, the kingdom of God is preached, and every man presses into it. 17And it is easier for the heavens and earth to pass than one tittle of the law to fail. 18Whosoever puts away his wife and marries another commits adultery. And whosoever marries her that is put away from the husband commits adultery.”
A direct link is established between the issue of divorce and the Law (the Torah). The text in the Torah (Genesis through Joshua) is vital. The questions that have not yet been answered are answered in the Torah.
Most ‘Christians’ are not believers in Yehovah/Yeshua the God of Israel (by Biblical standards), denying the importance of Israel in one way or the other. Yehovah identifies with Israel throughout the Bible, and many are jealous. The umbrella of ‘Christianity’ covers many very differently described gods who are all called Jesus Christ, Lord, God, Master, and so on. Descriptions of these gods are so various that they cannot be describing the same deity. The Biblical Jesus Christ, God, the Lord, and so on is a very different being from the one normally described in churches. Anyone can make an idol and call him Jesus Christ. Picking and choosing just the right Bible texts will give the sound and appearance of legitimacy to these idols. No fearer of God will do this. He will believe the Bible, not redesign God into his image.
Every denomination and non-denomination that has ever been formed has been the product of flagrant disobedience and sin:
1 Corinthians 3:3 “For ye are yet carnal. For whereas [there is] among you envying and strife and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? 4For while one says, ‘I am of Paul!’ and another, ‘I am of Apollos!’ are ye not carnal? 5Who then is Paul and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man?”
Each denomination and non-denomination (still always having a denomination, a name in order to receive a 501c-3 religious tax exempt status) describes Jesus, God, the Holy Spirit, the will of God, the gifts of God, etc. in different ways, often having much variation within its churches and organizations! No two denominations and non-denominations can say (with any degree of honesty) that they together believe and practice one faith. The Bible teaches that there is:
Ephesians 4:4 one body and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling, 5one Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6one God and Father of all Who is above all and through all and in you all.
One who is both honest and candid, and who looks at the variations and numbers of churches, will recognize that I am writing the truth about this.
Because so many claim to be Christian while being unbelievers, the issue of divorce becomes an issue of who is and who is not truly a Christian.
The rules for non-Jewish unbelievers regarding divorce are simple: “Do whatever feels right. You will pay later.” There does not have to be a reason for divorce. If it is legal in your country and you want one, and if you think you can afford it, go for it! The Bible puts few rules on non-Jewish unbelievers, instead commanding them to believe.
The Torah determines what is allowed for the unbelieving Israeli.
How do I know that there are few rules for unbelievers?
Consider King Ahasuerus. He had a wife named Vashti. The woman was beautiful. King Ahasuerus got drunk, and was drunk for half a year. (He was a real liver.) He decided to show Queen Vashti’s beauty while in this state. He ordered her to come with the royal crown on her head. Now, I propose that anyone in the court knew what her face looked like. Her beauty was in more locations than in her face. The king was ordering her to come and show her body, and she knew it. He was commanding her to come naked, but with the crown (how sexy!). She refused. King Ahasuerus was advised to never see this woman again and to take on a new queen. Someone may say that this was not a divorce, but once a woman is banished from the role of queen, she is divorced. Her child (if any) will not inherit. The king took on another queen (through a sexual beauty contest), Hadassah (later called Esther). Yehovah’s hand was in the choice of Esther; much of the Jewish race was saved through Esther and her relative Mordecai. Yehovah did not damage the king at all for this.
Pagans may do pretty much as they please. They will give an account at the final judgment, and they will be held responsible for what they knew or for what they could have known but refused to know.
Is adultery sin? Is homosexuality sin? A sinner sins. That is why he is called a sinner. It is not a strange phenomenon for a sinner to sin. If a city is filled with nothing but sinners, and the sins become violent enough and last long enough, Yehovah destroys the city’s inhabitants (as He did with Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah and Zeboim) on the basis that they knew truth and/or refused truth. Yehovah has compassion on the ignorant, as He had on Nineveh. Nineveh temporarily turned from violence after being condemned. Adulterers and Adulteresses who are non-Jewish unbelievers are just doing what is according to their nature. They are following their feelings and their gods. If they want a divorce, the Bible does not speak to them except to warn them in general of the judgment and wrath to come.
Some claiming faith are outraged that an unbeliever would sin—especially in certain capacities (like in abortion). Why aren’t they more concerned about Saints who sin? The Bible speaks only to those who will hearken to it literally, who are at least interested in what it literally has to say, or who want to find the Truth. (It also provides much material for the masses who pick and choose what they want to believe and who twist it to say what they thought it should say.) Yehovah rarely forces Truth on unbelievers until the time of judgment.
Deuteronomy 24:1 When a man has taken a wife and married her, and it come to pass that she finds no favour in his eyes because he has found some uncleanness in her, then let him write her a bill of divorcement and give in her hand, and send her out of his house. 2And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s. 3And [if] the latter husband hates her and write her a bill of divorcement, and gives in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter husband die who took her [to be] his wife, 4her former husband who sent her away may not take her again to be his wife after she is defiled, for that is abomination before Yehovah! And thou shalt not cause the land that Yehovah thy God gives thee an inheritance to sin.
Verse 1 uses the words some uncleanness. The Hebrew is ,, ervat davar. In Gesenius’s lexicon, the word ervah is rendered as follows:
1. nakedness. Metaphysically the nakedness of the land, i.e. the exposed part, where it is unfortified, easy of access.
2. pudenda, especially as exposed, nakedness [referring to a woman’s vagina or to a man’s penis or testicular area].
3. shame, uncleanness, filthiness. Any filthy thing, excrement, Deuteronomy 23:15; a foul blemish found in a woman, 24:1. Hence ignominy, disgrace.
A man takes a virgin woman to be his wife. He then finds that she has been sexually exposed to someone else at some previous time, and she did not inform him (for had she informed him, he could have taken steps before the marriage; instead, he found it). This is the fornication issue of which Messiah spoke in the Matthew, Mark and Luke passages. A man in such a case has the right to divorce this new wife (not a wife to whom he has been married for some time after finding out about this issue). Since the Law of Yehovah shows justice, were a woman to find that a man whom she had just married had been sexually promiscuous, she also could put him away (divorce him).
The woman in the Deuteronomy text may marry another man without sinning, and the man who divorced her may marry another woman. Yehovah does not permit the mistreatment of a daughter of Israel. The former husband did not have proof that the woman had been immoral, but something had happened. She may have fallen while playing and broken her hymen, and her new husband might have thought that she had been involved with some sexual impropriety, for example. There were no witnesses. She would not be harmed. If she had been involved in fornication (or sexual abuse), no witness coming forward and no way to find out what happened, she would not be forced to marry or to confess. It could have happened when she was a child.
The Torah is very specific about handling both fornication and adultery when it and all participants are known. Yehovah will deal with all other cases in His Good Time.
Contrast this to the Matthew 5 text:
Matthew 5:31 “It has been said, ‘Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement.’ But I say unto you that whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causes her to commit adultery. And whosoever shall marry her that is divorced commits adultery.”
This “It has been said” is different from the “It is written” statement, the former being from a tradition of men and the latter being the Word of God. What is written does not give open license for divorce. There must be some provable sexual problem with this woman, though there is no command to have a trial.
Messiah is speaking according to the Deuteronomy text.
The Law of Moses (the Law of Yehovah) made no provision for divorce due to adultery. Adultery does not demand divorce; it demands death!
Leviticus 20:10 And the man who commits adultery with a man’s wife, who commits adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.
No divorce is necessary or permitted. (No lawyer is paid.)
“Since the Law of Moses is not the law of the United States, would divorce be allowed in the case of adultery?”
Any death penalty offense in the Law of Moses freed the surviving spouse for a new marriage. If a woman found her husband practicing idolatry, he would have been killed. She could then marry another man (hopefully one who is not an idolater). If a man had a wife who violated the Sabbath, she would be put to death, and he could then take another wife. The Sabbath was given to only Israel, however, and this does not hold for Gentiles living outside of Israel.
- Any offense that would be a death-penalty offense for Jews living in Israel under the Law is an appropriate cause for divorce and potential marriage to another for Jews who are citizens of the United States.
- Any offense that would be a death-penalty offense for non-Jews living outside of Israel, according to the standards of Yehovah, is an appropriate cause for divorce and potential marriage to another.
The following are all causes for divorce, and they give the divorced parties the right to marry someone else:
- Sexual perversion
- Pornography (the same as idolatry)
- Rebellion against properly constituted authority
- Manslaughter of one whom the manslaughterer hates
- Being a false witness in a death-penalty case
- Participating in a mob action where a life is taken
There are others. I will leave it up to you to read the Torah (‘Law’) of Moses.
The Law of Moses (the Law of Yehovah, or far better, the Teaching of Yehovah) was given to unbelieving Israelis to preserve them until they came to faith:
Galatians 3:19 Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions until the seed to whom the promise was made will come, ordained by messengers in the hand of a mediator. 20Now a mediator is not [a mediator] of one, but God is one. 21Is the law, then, against the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if there had been a law given that could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. 22But the Scripture has concluded all under sin so that the promise might be given to them who believe by faith of Jesus Christ. 23But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith that will afterwards be revealed. 24Therefore the law was our schoolmaster unto Messiah so that we will be justified by faith. 25But after faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.
The divorce texts were for unbelieving Israelis. Godly Israelis had (and have) a different standard to follow—a noticeably higher standard. Messiah said that divorce was given because of the hardness of the Israelis’ hearts. The Saint has no business having a hardened heart.
If a Godly Israeli took a woman to be his wife, and found that she had been involved in fornication, his response would probably differ from an ungodly Israeli’s response (the ungodly Israeli might do what is right). If he found that she had intentionally deceived him to obtain the marriage, and she tended toward immorality, he would still divorce her. If he found that she truly had been a victim, however, and she did not know that she was responsible to disclose such things, or if she did not remember, he would have compassion on her and would bond all the closer to her. In the case of intentional deceit, the hardness of the woman’s heart would force the man to consider divorce. In the second case, his selflessness would push him to consider her estate and the service he could do for her for the rest of their lives.
If the Torah was given to ungodly Israelis, what does this have to do with Christians today? Not much! Messiah’s ministry was to Israel, not to Christians.
- Christians and unbelieving Israelis have different rules.
- Believing Israelis and non-Jewish Believers have different rules.
- Another set of rules is for non-Jewish unbelievers, but do they care?
- Another set of rules exists for the priests (Cohens) of Israel.
- Another set of rules exists for the High Priest in Israel.
In order to understand the regulations for Christians, the regulations regarding Israelis under the Teaching of Moses must be known. These are the principles by which Paul and Messiah taught, and by which the true fearer of God must abide.
Leviticus 21:1 And Yehovah said to Moses, “Speak unto the priests, the sons of Aaron. And say unto them, ‘There shall none make himself unclean for a dead person among his peoples 2except for his immediate relation who is near unto him—for his mother and for his father and for his son and for his daughter and for his brother 3and for his sister–a virgin who is near unto him, who has had no husband. He may make himself unclean for her. 4He shall not make himself unclean [who is] a chief among his peoples, to profane himself. 5They shall not make any baldness upon their head, neither shall they shave off the corners of their beard nor make any cuttings in their flesh. 6They shall be holy unto their God, and not profane the Name of their God. For they present Yehovah’s offerings by fire, the bread of their God. Therefore they shall be holy. 7They shall not take a whore or a dishonoured woman as wife, neither shall they take a woman put away from her husband. For he is holy unto his God.
The first part of this text identifies the group in question: the Priests. They are the property of God (they are holy). No priest may marry a divorced woman. The other Israelis may marry divorced women. The only cause for divorce in the Torah is given in Deuteronomy 24 as we have seen. Once a woman has been divorced, she may not marry a priest.
Does this text apply to Christians? If it applied to Christians, no Christian man would be allowed to marry a divorced woman no matter what the cause if one believes in the priesthood of all Believers. It is not written for Christians (unless a priest is also a Christian).
The above text is connected to Deuteronomy 24 (that specifies the only legitimate cause for divorce). Why is it connected? The entire Torah is called one commandment. No man can take just one text of the Torah and isolate it. All texts are essential. Deuteronomy 24 describes circumstances under which legitimate divorce and remarriage among Israelis may occur as long as they are not priests. Which text would apply to Christians? The one that applies to the priest, or the one that applies to the common Israeli? This is the problem with wrenching one text out of its placement, then reapplying it to a case in which it just does not fit. The above text regarding priests cannot be applied to Christians, and the Deuteronomy 24 text has too low a standard to apply to Christians.
Deuteronomy 22:28 If a man finds a damsel, a virgin who is not betrothed, and lays hold on her, and lies with her, and they are found, 29then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty [shekels] of silver, and she shall be his wife, because he has humbled her. He may not put her away all his days.
Is this a case of rape, or is it fornication? If it is rape, she is commanded to scream if she is in a city. If she does not scream, and if this occurred within a city, it is considered consensual and therefore fornication. If it is in a field away from civilization, it is considered rape. Other texts show that the father may refuse to give his daughter to this man to marry her. If it is consensual, however, that is different. The man must pay a price and must marry the woman, and he is never allowed to divorce her under any circumstance. (The text does not say that she cannot divorce him.) If he mistreats this woman, the Torah has definite ways of dealing with him, like giving him a very painful whipping of up to 40 lashes. The woman is protected from the man mistreating her after he lay with her. He has acquired a wife, and he has no option of divorce.
Two lengthy texts are quoted next. Look carefully at what took place focusing on the justice.
Ezra 9:1 “Now when these things were completed, the princes came to me, saying, ‘The people of Israel and the priests and the Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands, according to their abominations—of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians and the Amorites. 2For they have taken from their daughters for themselves and for their sons, and have mingled the holy seed with the peoples of the lands. And the hand of the princes and rulers has been chief in this unfaithfulness.’ 3And when I heard this thing, I rent my mantle and my garment, and plucked off the hair of my head and of my beard. And I sat down overwhelmed. 4Then were assembled to me everyone who trembled at the words of the God of Israel because of the unfaithfulness of those who had been carried away. And I sat overwhelmed until the evening oblation. 5And at the evening oblation, I arose up from my humiliation. And with my mantle and my garment torn, I fell on my knees and spread out my hands to Yehovah my God. 6And I said, ‘My God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to Thee, my God. For our iniquities are increased over [our] head, and our trespass is grown up to the heavens. 7Since the days of our fathers to this day, we have been in great trespass. And we, our kings, our priests, have been given into the hand of the kings of the lands, to the sword and to captivity and to spoil and to confusion of face for our iniquities, as it is this day. 8And now for a little space there has been favour from Yehovah our God to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a nail in His holy place, that our God may lighten our eyes and give us a little reviving in our bondage. 9For we are slaves. Yet, our God has not forsaken us in our slavery, but has extended mercy unto us before the kings of Persia to give us a reviving, to set up the House of our God and to repair the ruins thereof, and to give us a wall in Judah and in Jerusalem. 10And now, what shall we say after this, our God? For we have forsaken Thy commandments 11that Thou hast commanded by Thy servants the prophets, saying, “The land unto which ye go to possess is an unclean land through the filthiness of the peoples of the lands, through their abominations with which they have filled it from one end to another through their uncleanness. 12Now, therefore, do not give your daughters to their sons, neither take their daughters to your sons, nor seek their peace or their prosperity forever that ye may be strong and eat the good of the land and leave it for an inheritance to your children for ever.” 13And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds and for our great trespass, seeing that Thou our God hast punished us less than our iniquities, and hast given us such deliverance as this, 14should we again break Thy commandments and join in affinity with the peoples of these abominations? Wouldn’t Thou be angry with us until Thou had consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor any to escape? 15Yehovah, God of Israel, Thou art righteous. For we are a remnant that is escaped, as this day. Behold, we are before Thee in our trespasses. For there is no standing before Thee because of this!’” 1And while Ezra prayed and made confession, weeping and falling down before the house of God, a very great congregation of men and women and children were gathered to him out of Israel. For the people wept very much. 2And Shechaniah the son of Jehiel, of the sons of Elam, answered and said to Ezra, “We have acted unfaithfully toward our God, and have taken foreign wives of the peoples of the land. Yet now there is hope for Israel concerning this thing. 3And now let us make a covenant with our God to put away all the wives, and such as are born of them, according to the counsel of the lord and of those who tremble at the commandments of our God. And let it be done according to the law. 4Arise, for this matter is incumbent on thee. And we will be with thee! Be of good courage, and do!” 5Then Ezra arose. And he made the chiefs of the priests, of the Levites and of all Israel to swear that they would do according to this word. And they swore. 6And Ezra arose from before the house of God. And he went into the chamber of Jehohanan the son of Eliashib. And when he came there, he ate no bread and drank no water. For he mourned because of the unfaithfulness of them who had been carried away. 7And they made proclamation in Judah and Jerusalem to all the children of the captivity that they should gather themselves together unto Jerusalem, 8and that whosoever would not come within three days according to the counsel of the princes and the elders, all his substance should be confiscated, and himself separated from the congregation of those who had been carried away. 9Then were all the men of Judah and Benjamin gathered together at Jerusalem within three days. It was the ninth month, on the twentieth of the month. And all the people sat in the open space of the House of God, trembling because of the matter, and because of the pouring rain. 10And Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, “Ye have acted unfaithfully and have taken foreign wives to increase the trespass of Israel! 11And now make confession to Yehovah the God of your fathers, and do His pleasure! And separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from the foreign wives!” 12And the whole congregation answered and said with a loud voice, “Yes! It is for us to do according to thy words. 13But the people are many, and it is a time of pouring rain, and it is not possible to stand outside, neither is this a work for one day or two. For we are many who have transgressed in this thing. 14Our princes shall stand for all the congregation while this matter is going on, and all those who have taken foreign wives in our cities shall come at the appointed times, and the elders of every city with them, and the judges thereof until the fierce anger of our God be turned from us.” 15Only Jonathan the son of Asahel and Jahzeiah the son of Tikvah stood up against this. And Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite helped them. 16And the children of the captivity did so. And Ezra the priest [and] certain of the chief fathers were separated according to their fathers’ houses, and all of them by name. And they sat down on the first day of the tenth month to examine the matter. 17And they ended with all the men who had taken foreign wives by the first day of the first month. 18And among the sons of the priests, there were found who had taken foreign wives–of the sons of Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and his brethren–Maaseiah and Eliezer and Jarib and Gedaliah. 19And they gave their hand to send away their wives. And they offered a ram of the flock as trespass-offering for their guilt. 20And of the children of Immer: Hanani and Zebadiah. 21And of the children of Harim: Maaseiah and Elijah and Shemaiah and Jehiel and Uzziah. 22And of the children of Pashhur: Elioenai, Maaseiah, Ishmael, Nethaneel, Jozabad and Elasah. 23And of the Levites: Jozabad and Shimei and Kelaiah (that is, Kelita), Pethahiah, Judah and Eliezer. 24And of the singers: Eliashib. And of the doorkeepers: Shallum and Telem and Uri. 25And of Israel, of the children of Parosh: Ramiah and Jizzijah and Malchijah and Mijamin and Eleazar and Malchijah and Benaiah. 26And of the children of Elam: Mattaniah, Zechariah and Jehiel and Abdi and Jeremoth and Elijah. 27And of the children of Zattu: Elioenai, Eliashib, Mattaniah and Jeremoth and Zabad and Aziza. 28And of the children of Bebai: Jehohanan, Hananiah, Zabbai, Athlai. 29And of the children of Bani: Meshullam, Malluch and Adaiah, Jashub and Sheal and Ramoth. 30And of the children of Pahath-Moab: Adna and Chelal, Benaiah, Maaseiah, Mattaniah, Bezaleel and Binnui and Manasseh. 31And the children of Harim: Eliezer, Jishijah, Malchijah, Shemaiah, Simeon, 32Benjamin, Malluch, Shemariah. 33Of the children of Hashum: Mattenai, Mattattah, Zabad, Eliphelet, Jeremai, Manasseh, Shimei. 34Of the sons of Bani: Maadai, Amram and Uel, 35Benaiah, Bediah, Cheluhu, 36Vaniah, Meremoth, Eliashib, 37Mattaniah, Mattenai and Jaasai 38and Bani and Binnui, Shimei 39and Shelemiah and Nathan and Adaiah, 40Machnadbai, Shashai, Sharai, 41Azareel and Shelemiah, Shemariah, 42Shallum, Amariah, Joseph. 43Of the children of Nebo: Jeiel, Mattithiah, Zabad, Zebina, Jaddai and Joel, Benaiah. 44All these had taken foreign wives. And there were among them wives who had had children.
Nehemiah 13:23 “In those days also I saw Jews who had married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, of Moab. 24And their children spoke half in the language of Ashdod and could not speak in the Jews’ language, but according to the language of each people. 25And I contended with them and cursed them. And I smote certain of them and plucked off their hair. And I adjured them by God, ‘Ye shall not give your daughters to their sons, nor take their daughters for your sons or for yourselves! 26Did not Solomon king of Israel sin by these things? Yet among the many races there was no king like him who was beloved of his God. And God made him king over all Israel. But foreign wives caused even him to sin! 27And should we hearken to you to do all this great evil, to act unfaithfully to our God by marrying foreign wives?’ 28And [one] of the sons of Joiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest, was son-in-law to Sanballat the Horonite. And I chased him from me. 29 ‘Remember them, my God! For they are polluters of the priesthood and of the covenant of the priesthood and of the Levites!’ 30And I purified them from all foreigners. And I appointed the charges of the priests and the Levites, every one in his service, 31and for the wood-offering, at times appointed, and for the first-fruits. Remember me, my God, for good!”
Ezra 10:3 is where the first decision was made: “And now we shall make a covenant with our God to put away all the wives and such as are born of them according to the counsel of the lord and of those who tremble at the commandments of our God. And let it be done according to the law.” The decision was:
- to put away all the wives and the children born to them, and
- to do it according to the law.
This was for all who “tremble at the commandments of our God.” This mainly describes Believers. Anyone who does not tremble at the commandments of Yehovah is no fearer of Him, and is unredeemed. Some will even tremble at the commandments without being believers. A Believer will certainly tremble.
Ezra was not satisfied with a mere agreement. “Then Ezra arose and made the chiefs of the priests, of the Levites and of all Israel to swear that they would do according to this word. And they swore.” They took one more step to solidify the ruling: “whosoever would not come within three days, according to the counsel of the princes and the elders, all his substance should be confiscated, and himself separated from the congregation of those who had been carried away.” Who says that divorce is always wrong? In this case, it was mandated. Anyone who argues with this must believe that Ezra and Nehemiah were not men of God.
What was God’s pleasure in this case? “And now make confession to Yehovah the God of your fathers. And do His pleasure. And separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from the foreign wives.” Has God changed? He said,
Malachi 3:6 “For I am Yehovah. I change not. Therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed!”
Yehovah’s changelessness guarantees Israel’s continued existence. Anyone who claims that Yehovah and/or His standards have changed does not believe in the Biblical Yehovah. Yehovah’s will was for these men to divorce these foreign wives (though His will was that they not marry idolatrous women in the first place).
The Nehemiah text shows the violent rage that Nehemiah demonstrated upon learning that some Israelis, including Levites, had married women of Moab, Amon and Ashdod. When men are married to ungodly women who practice vile idolatry as they did, the results are never good and rarely stable. It is even worse if the man is a priest of Yehovah!
The cry against divorce today should be slight compared to the cry of a Saint being married to an openly idolatrous and pagan non-saint. The opposite is true, today. A man who is Godly and who would divorce a faithful, yet openly idolatrous and vile wife would be viewed as an evildoer!
A commonly misunderstood text shows the results of Godly men marrying ungodly women:
Genesis 6:4 There were giants in the earth in those days. And also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare to them, the same are mighty men that [were] of old, men of renown. 5And GOD saw that the wickedness of man [was] great in the earth, and [that] every imagination of the thoughts of his heart [was] only evil continually.
Genesis 6:4 literally: The fallen ones were in the land in those days and also afterward when the sons of the Elohim came unto the daughters of the Adam. And they bare to them. They are the valiant-ones who are men of the Name from Hider. 5And Yehovah saw that the bad of the Adam is great in the land. And every formation of the thoughts of his heart is only bad all the day.
The word rendered giants is simply fallen-ones from the Hebrew word , nafal, meaning to fall. The text explains how so many fallen ones arose. The land refers to the place where men were dwelling. The phrase, “And also afterward that the sons of the Elohim came unto the daughters of the Adam,” starts out with “And also afterward.” These things took place after these sons of the Elohim had come unto the “daughters of the Adam.” The sons of the Elohim are Sons of the Elohim (Elohim = Gods, and can refer to either false gods or to the real and living Gods, Yehovah). They were fearers of and Believers in Yehovah, so this refers to the real and living Gods, Yehovah.
They were not angels as some suppose. Are male angels given reproductive powers as in Greek mythology? Who degrades the Bible to the status of myths? Had male angels been able to make babies, female angels would have been able to do the same. Sheol is a female angel:
Isaiah 5:14 “Therefore Sheol has enlarged herself and opened her mouth without measure. And their glory and their multitude and their pomp and he that rejoices shall descend into it her.”
There would have been a huge herd of angel babies running around by now! Since they would have the characteristics of angels, they would not be destroyed in the flood. Angels do not die, and they cannot be drowned.
This verse in Genesis is not explaining about angelic reproduction; it is instead showing how the planet got to be in such a state that Yehovah chose to drown every land creature.
The daughters of the Adam are unbelieving women. (The Adam refers to both the first man and to the human race.) They are not daughters of the Elohim—they are not born of God.
The text does not indicate that all or even many men were sons of God. It refers to what the men did who were sons of God: they married normal unbelieving women, and they bare to them. Who were these men? They are the valiant-ones. They had valour. They had boldness. They were sons of the Elohim. They were known “as men of the name from Hider.” (Hider refers to the time outside of Biblically revealed time—either before the opening of the Bible or after the destruction of this planet.) The term men of the name may be understood when combined with the following text:
Genesis 4:26 And to Seth, to him also there was born a son. And he called his name Enos. Then began men to call upon the Name Yehovah.
A literal Hebrew rendering of the last phrase is, “Then was begun to call via Name Yehovah.” Men began to identify themselves with Yehovah as a distinction from others who did not desire such an identity. These men were known as “men of the Name,” the Name Yehovah.
Godly men married ungodly women, and they had children. The children had no interest in the faith of their fathers, but went with the faithlessness of their mothers. Fewer and fewer had faith in Yehovah until finally Noah was alone. Children will tend toward the stronger and more lenient parent when considering faith.
Yehovah commanded Israeli priests to marry women who met certain standards. All Israelis, with few exceptions, were unbelievers, so the Torah did not command against Israelis marrying unbelievers. There was an absolute command against any idolater being kept alive in Israel:
Deuteronomy 13:6 If thy brother the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend who is as thine own soul entices thee secretly, saying, “We shall go and serve other gods” that thou hast not known–thou nor thy fathers, 7of the gods of the people who are round about you, nigh unto thee, or far off from thee, from the end of the land even unto the end of the land, 8thou shalt not consent unto him nor hearken unto him–neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him. 9But thou shalt surely kill him! Thy hand shall be first upon him to put him to death, and afterwards the hand of all the people. 10And thou shalt stone him with stones that he die, because he has sought to thrust thee away from Yehovah thy God Who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage. 11And all Israel shall hear and fear, and shall do no more any such wickedness as this is among you!
Christians (assume that I mean real Christians) have a higher standard. If they behave according to the commands given to Israelis who are not fearers of Yehovah, their status as Christians is illegitimate.
Deuteronomy 22:13 If a man take a wife and go in unto her, and hate her, 14and charge her with things for scandalous talk, and cause an evil name against her to be spread abroad, and say, “I have taken this woman! And I came in unto her! And I did not find her a virgin!” 15then shall the father of the damsel and her mother take and bring forth the tokens of the damsel’s virginity unto the elders of the city in the gate. 16And the damsel’s father shall say unto the elders, “I gave my daughter unto this man as wife, and he hates her! 17And behold, he charges her with things for scandalous talk, saying, ‘I didn’t find thy daughter a virgin!’ And here are the tokens of my daughter’s virginity!” And they shall spread the cloth before the elders of the city. 18And the elders of that city shall take the man and chastise him. 19And they shall fine him a hundred shekels of silver, and give them unto the father of the damsel because he has caused an evil name to be spread abroad against a virgin in Israel. And she shall remain his wife. He may not put her away all his days. 20But if this thing is true, virginity has not been found with the damsel, 21then they shall bring out the damsel unto the entrance of her father’s house. And the men of her city shall stone her with stones so that she die. For she has wrought infamy in Israel, committing fornication in her father’s house. And thou shalt put evil away from thy midst.
The above case shows that if the woman had participated willingly in fornication, and the evidence was there, she would be considered as a whore and would be killed. This also must be combined with the Deuteronomy 24 text. When I reviewed that text, I said that if she had been sexually active, whether willingly or unwillingly, her husband could divorce her. In this case, she has no indicators of her virginity, and her new husband has found that she has been voluntarily sexually active before he married her. He may accuse her. If this is proven, she will die. If, on the other hand, her parents have these tokens (I do not know what they were, though I have suspicions, like a blood-stained sheet from her first sexual intercourse with this husband) that she was a virgin, this man is chastised and fined, and he cannot divorce this woman. If he mistreats her, there are other Israelis who may take action against him either in the city gates (the court system) or personally. (She might also beat him up—Israeli women can be feminine and tough at the same time.)
The Torah must be taken as a single unit. Deuteronomy 24 and Deuteronomy 22 do not disagree with each other. Both must be considered in order to make a proper judgment under the Torah. No person has the right to apply one text and ignore another text that deals with more information on the same subject. (This is the common practice among modern denominations!)
Does this apply to Christians? Messianic Believers, whether Jewish or non-Jewish, do not have the right to call for the death penalty at this time.
“Is there a distinction between Jewish and non-Jewish Christians? Aren’t they both one in Messiah, part of the Church, and living under the same standards?”
Both the Jewish and the non-Jewish individual have the same Salvational standing in Messiah.
- A woman and a man have different roles and responsibilities.
- A slave and a free person have different roles and responsibilities.
- The Jewish Saint and the non-Jewish Saint have different responsibilities.
I do not say Gentile, because the term does not apply to those who are born of God. Ephesians 2:11 states, “Wherefore remember that ye, in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands…”
Paul often writes separately to Believing Jews and Believing non-Jews. The Book of Romans has entire sections dealing with one group, then the other. This role difference will continue as long as the earth lasts.
Many in Jewish leadership do not acknowledge even the possibility of a person being Jewish and Christian at the same time. I will not labour on this foolishness. These same folks recognize Buddhist Jews, Ethiopian Jews, Hindu Jews, American Jews, living Jews and dead Jews, but they refuse to swallow the idea that a person could possibly be Jewish (a fact of physical birth) and believe in ‘Jesus’ (Yeshua, a Jewish Rabbi Who lived 2,000 years ago). That is simply junior high prejudices, bitterness and hatred. Since all the first Christians were Jews, these folks are ignoring Christianity as a legitimate religious persuasion in this world.
The first standard of a Jewish Believer in Messiah is to fear God. He must recognize this: how he treats others, and certainly a wife (I will speak from the aspect of the man, but this equally goes both ways), will have everything to do with how Yehovah will treat him in the judgment! His fear of Yehovah will keep him from angering Him Who is quick to hear the shouts of one being mistreated. The fear of God is essential to prevent a man from sinning, and only if that fear is forgotten (in very rare cases) will a Saint be in danger of sinning and doing gross injustice.
A man who is a fearer of God, who voluntarily marries an unbelieving woman, must be careful to avoid doing her an injustice. He must live according to the standards of his God, and he must not force her to conform. She is a helper to him; he must treat her as sent from Yehovah. Joseph in Genesis, among other Biblical Saints, took women for wives who had no association with the Biblical God. Joseph’s marriage was a good one.
Misusing the following text isn’t wise:
2 Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship does righteousness have with unrighteousness? And what communion does light have with darkness? 15And what concord does the Messiah have with Belial? Or what part does he who believes have with a faithless-[one]? 16And what agreement does the Temple of God have with idols? For ye are the Temple of the living God as God has said, “I will dwell in them, and walk in them. And I will be their God! And they shall be my people!” 17 “Therefore come out from among them, and be ye separate,” says Yehovah, “And do not touch the unclean. And I will receive you. 18And I will be a Father unto you. And ye shall be my sons and daughters,” says the Lord Almighty. 1 Therefore having these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
This text doesn’t mention marriage, and it isn’t in a section referring to marriage. As you will see further down, Yehovah married an unbelieving woman.
“Many Christian men marry unbelieving women, and they don’t realize that it is not right, or they thought that their wives were Christians.”
Many men have adopted the Christian religion, but have not truly feared. Few know how to tell if another is a Believer or not, and modern Christianity teaches its adherents to not judge!
The best wives in the Bible were not necessarily born of God. Did Avraham’s slave that Avraham sent to acquire a wife for Isaac ask about Rebecca’s faith? That was not his concern. His concern was that Yehovah would show him which woman was right. She was a perfect choice in every way. She wasn’t a religious woman. She was practical, and she asked Yehovah questions.
If anyone lacks Spiritual sense, it is not because he is a baby, it is because he is dead. There is no way on this planet that faith can possibly come to a human without two ingredients preceding it:
- The person must obtain and look into the Word of God.
- The person must hearken to the Word of God.
Only after these two steps is there even the possibility of a Biblical faith being formed.
Romans 10:17 Faith comes by hearkening, and hearkening by the word of God.
Ignorance of the Torah of God is no excuse. A man who does not take the time to consider Yehovah’s Teaching deserves what he gets, and the woman who is victimized deserves more than she gets out of the divorce.
Men who have claimed to be in the faith of Yeshua have married unbelieving women by being deceived about themselves and the women. Some thought they could change their wives. Others were socially forced into it by a cultural or moral mandate (like getting her pregnant). There is a great difference between having a claim of faith and truly being born of God. Any man who is truly born of God and who marries an unbelieving woman thinking she is born of God has a great likelihood of mistreating her at a later time. Yehovah will see this wrong, and will hold it against that man.
Any man who is truly born of God and who marries an unbelieving woman because she deceived him has grounds for divorce or annulment. If he voluntarily stays in such a union, he can expect the worst kind of trouble, especially if they have children. He needs to establish how the home will be run, but she has the right to run it as she pleases. If the man is part of a culture in which he has no choice whom to marry, and others make the arrangements, he has a good opportunity to demonstrate Godliness in the same way as a man who became a believer after he was married. One born of God doesn’t mistreat unbelievers.
The cases discussed below contain proposed answers. Any considerate and thinking person will realize that more than one answer can often fit one dilemma. While some will appear to be ‘cut and dried,’ others won’t seem so certain. Think them through. Be certain that an answer you supply doesn’t violate the Bible, and doesn’t put an extra burden on the innocent person (if one is innocent).
I will use the label Believer (with a capital B) to refer to one who believes the Bible and the God of the Bible. You can take this to mean that the person believes in the God of the Tenach, the ‘Old Testament,’ or in the God of the entire Bible, since there is only One True and Living God. The answers will be the same.
Two Believers who are Jewish are married. They don’t get along. One or both is thinking about divorce. Is that an option? This is where the higher standard enters. The Torah does not allow for a divorce for unregenerate Israelis (those who are not born of God) on these grounds, so there certainly is no ground for divorce for this couple. They have an obligation before Yehovah to make peace. If they do get a divorce, they have no right to marry another; that would be adultery.
They must very carefully consider what the problem is in their relationship (not what the problem is with the other person). They must begin to take steps to solve this problem. They are shaming the Name of Yehovah by their behaviour. They are showing a deficiency in all of the following:
They are one flesh, so blaming the other would be like one cylinder in a six-cylinder engine blaming the other cylinder for the engine not running smoothly. It is an us problem, not a you problem. Thinking about divorce is like thinking about fixing the engine by setting it on a railroad track. It is stupid thinking (unless they need a break from each other, in which case they can live apart for a while). Being apart might provide them with enough time to consider where they stand with Yehovah.
Any two humans in the world can get along if they have enough incentive to do so. If the fear of God is not enough incentive, there is no fear of God. Couples need to fight (not physically, and not abusively) with each other, but their fights need to be of a nature that they both will strengthen each other, will prod each other to greater strength and wisdom.
Two Believing Jews are married to each other. One manages to do what King David did: committing adultery, causing the Name of Yehovah to be blasphemed by enemies of Truth, and so on. Are there grounds for divorce? Such behaviour obtained the death penalty in the Torah. King David was not killed, because who would do it and touch Yehovah’s anointed king? Yehovah did not do it, and He forgave King David. The devastating results are recorded, however; even forgiven sin can easily have deadly consequences. King David lived, and the wages of sin proved to be death for many others.
There are grounds for divorce in this situation of unfaithfulness. It is not mandated, but it certainly is a proper choice (among other choices).
Yehovah Himself will make sure that sin will expose this evildoer. Even if he turns and repents, she doesn’t have to stay in the marriage. She may marry another without doing wrong.
A Believing Jewish man and a Believing Jewish woman marry. One wants to keep the Sabbath as best as it can be kept and the other thinks that this is just too difficult. They fight over this. It finally gets to the point that divorce becomes a consideration. Do they have a right to divorce? This couple is in the same situation as the couple mentioned in case 1. Their quarrel is Spiritual. One does not understand the importance of the Sabbath to Israel, and the other does not understand the responsibility to help make the Celebration a delight. If anyone truly has no respect for even part of the Torah, he is not born of God. That would remove the situation from being discussed among other two-Believers’ situations.
Many who claim to be Christians believe that the Torah has been abolished. These same thoughtless individuals would find it totally unreasonable for anyone to say that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John have been superseded by Paul’s writings.
Messiah stated that the Law would not be abolished until the end of the earth:
Matthew 5:17 “Think not that I am come to destroy the law or the prophets. I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. 18For verily I say unto you, until the heavens and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, until all be fulfilled.”
Some blind guides claim that the Bible is inspired and infallible while they tear out the first six books of the Bible. Godly men and women do not treat any part of the Word of God lightly or with contempt. They read it literally.
The Law was given to Israel to physically live out, not the Gentiles. No one has the right or the power to take it away.
A Believing Jewish couple is married. The man foolishly spends money, putting the family in jeopardy. The wife is outraged, hurt, sick and tired of his ruinous behaviour. Does she have grounds for divorce? She has grounds for reconsidering his faith! The following text states:
1 John 2:15 Love not the world, neither the things in the world. If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the pride of life—is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17And the world passes away, and the lust thereof. But he that does the will of God abides forever.
Anyone who shows a love of the world that exceeds a love for his wife (never mind a love for Yehovah) is an unbeliever. One spouse has the right to question the faith of the other spouse in many cases. It is sometimes wise to do this to the spouse’s face with respect and with firmness. (Using such accusations as a weapon shows a contempt for God.)
In the above case, there will be peace if the man repents and turns from this behaviour. If he does not, and if he is not pleased to dwell with his wife according to her faith (that is not centered on the pursuit of worldliness), she has grounds to divorce him. The Scriptures teach,
1 Timothy 5:8 But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he has denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.
Can she then marry another? She had grounds for divorce, but has this man done a death-penalty offense? Denying the faith is not a death-penalty offense for Jewish individuals; the Torah was given to Jewish unbelievers in the first place. She does not have sufficient grounds to marry another at this point. If she did, being married to an unbeliever would always be sufficient grounds for divorce and marriage to another. The man may yet turn, realizing that the faith he claimed was what he has truly desired. If he becomes unfaithful after the divorce, or if he goes after other gods, she certainly has grounds to marry another if she desires. She would do well to wait and see what will become of him.
The cases in the previous section apply here, except when a command of the Torah given only to Israel is considered.
A Believing couple is married. The husband has begun to behave curiously, and his wife finds pornographic literature or pornographic web site content. Does she have cause for divorce? She has cause to reconsider his faith! Pornography is direct idolatry just as much as bowing down to Molech. In pornography, a woman, a man, a child or a combination of the above is/are seen posing or behaving in a manner that excites the viewer and gives him the impression that he would receive greater sexual fulfillment if he could only take part.
Any source from which one obtains fulfillment and/or security in life is a god.
The purpose of many of the historic deities was exactly the same as modern pornography. The gods and goddesses were sexually designed, and men and women acted out supposed behaviours of the gods for public and private viewing in live pornographic plays.
In the above case, the wife has a husband who supposedly fears Yehovah the God of Israel, but who is worshipping before the feet of goddesses (if his pornographic images are of women). She has every right to divorce this evil, idolatrous man. He isn’t merely sick or twisted; he is a secret worshipper of idols. She does not have to divorce him; she may confront him. She needs to be aware that he may repent before her and clean things up just to keep her, continuing in his idolatry with more care, however. The idolatry of pornography is very difficult to escape unless the idolater truly turns to God in fear. The wife would be wise to view this behaviour in the same light as adultery. The Torah commands the same death sentence for both. She may freely marry someone else if she desires.
A believing couple has run into a problem. The wife listens to another man who gives her counsel, and the husband is becoming distressed that she seems to have consolation from this other man. He begins to feel quite distressed about this, and becomes suspicious that his wife is getting attached to this man. Does he have grounds for divorce?
He has grounds for confronting his wife. He is feeling jealousy at this point. (Jealousy in such matters is not wrong. Yehovah exhibits jealousy.) This can and will grow if it is not resolved. No grounds are present for any divorce action. Yet.
His wife may also have grounds for confronting him. The advice she is receiving may be needed (but better from a woman) because the husband may be mistreating the relationship.
In such cases, who is wrong? The question should be, “Who is right?” If someone can be established as being truly right, that is good. All issues must be addressed if neither one appears to be completely right. (One issue at a time is the only wise way; fighting over which issue to consider is just harmful.)
If a husband Biblically loves his wife, he will deal with his wife as Abraham dealt with Sarah. If he does not, perhaps he doesn’t have the faith of Abraham. The wife, on the other hand, needs to deal with her husband as Sarah dealt with Abraham. If she does not, it could be that she doesn’t have the faith of Sarah. Yehovah stood with Sarah in a very important decision regarding Hagar. Men are wise who listen to their wives and who carefully consider what the wives say. Men are foolish who too quickly “rule over” their wives. Wives are wise who understand the way their husbands think (or, in some cases, don’t think).
Popular (“pop”) psychology teaches that men are usually more logical than women, and that women are more emotional than men. The Bible teaches the reverse. Men are too often driven by their emotions, with logic sometimes following, and women usually exhibit sound logic before emotions. If this is not the case, the Bible has given a wrong view of man. (Such a study required that I consider every man and woman in the Bible, and every decision that each made. That is how I concluded the way I did.) I have observed this over and over again by watching males and females around me. It is up to you to verify or disprove this.
If the man in the above case will increase his listening skills and will curb his answering in harmful ways, she will probably begin to speak to him instead of the counselor when she can.
A believing couple has children. Each one has a very different view of child rearing. The husband is very lax, and the wife resents always being the one who has to take action against misbehaviour in the children. The husband and wife fight. The home has much tension, and the wife is finally tired of the lack of support by the husband. Does she have cause to divorce?
You may think that the answer is obvious: No! She has no cause. Yet this is a case where a husband has abandoned at least part of his responsibility. Yet, the wife has the freedom to rear the children with diligence; her husband is not interfering in this area. This man claims to be a believer, but the claim doesn’t extend to his participation in rearing. He shows signs of being similar to Eli in the Bible.
One who doesn’t know better might try to use texts like the following on him:
Proverbs 15:19 The way of the slothful is as a hedge of thorns. And the way of the righteous is made plain.
Proverbs 13:24 He who spares his rod hates his son. And he who loves him chastens him betimes.
Proverbs, like many other sections of the Bible, is warning readers about folks and situations during the Tribulation. (The Tribulation is that important in the plans of Yehovah.) It is not a book of daily, practical wisdom (as is almost universally taught in Christianity throughout the world) any more than the Book of Revelation is a book of daily, practical wisdom. It is quite pointed, designed to save lives in that future time. Since most readers will refuse to even consider the veracity of this, however, the book will continue to be wrongly used to try to leverage others to conform to some type of ‘Christian norm.’
Even if the wife determines that the man is not born of God, she still does not have cause for divorce with subsequent marriage to another. If he is pleased to dwell with her as she lives in a Godly manner, she is not to divorce him. She needs to cease from trying to browbeat him into his responsibilities; he just doesn’t see, for whatever reason. She has cause for divorce only if he refuses to work to support the family when he is able, or if he is not pleased to dwell with her. Her behaviour must include graciousness, a fervent love for her husband as well as her children, and recognition that her responsibilities would be the same if he suddenly died. She can do it.
A couple is married, both being Believers. The wife clings to her parents, and the husband is distressed over this split loyalty. He feels as if she will not wholeheartedly participate with him, and him alone, in family issues.
This is no cause for divorce and subsequent marriage to another. They need to speak about these things, but he must not go by his feelings.
The Bible has something to say about this:
- Genesis 2:24 A man shall therefore leave his father and his mother, and he shall cling unto his wife. And they shall be one flesh.
The text never states the opposite—that a woman shall leave her father and her mother. This case would be much worse if the man clung to his parents and they to him, for she might find herself alienated in his culture.
The husband needs to reconsider how he deals with his wife. The wife would be wise to realize that she is one flesh with her husband, and not with both her husband and the rest of her family. Her husband must not deal unkindly with her. If he sees that she needs to be away from her family, he must refrain from embittering her by wrenching her away by force. He needs her cooperation. She is a person. Husbands who care about their own agendas and not about the views of their own wives are setting up for a disaster. If she cannot separate from her family, for whatever reason, he would be wise to help solve this problem; why not win her family over? They may be able to help.
The best would be if they both sought the highest, best interest of the relationship without regard to themselves.
Though many on this planet think that they are born of God, Messiah said,
Matthew 7:13 Enter ye in at the strait gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many there be who go in thereat. 14For strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leads unto life, and few there be that find it.
Luke 13:23 Then said one unto him, “Lord, are there few that be saved?” And He said unto them, 24“Strive to enter in at the strait gate! For many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able! 25When once the master of the house is risen up and has shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord! Lord!! Open unto us!!’ And He shall answer and say unto you, ‘I know you not whence ye are!’ 26Then shall ye begin to say, ‘We have eaten and drunk in Thy presence, and Thou hast taught in our streets!’ 27But He shall say, ‘I tell you, I don’t know you—whence ye are! Depart from me, all workers of iniquity!’”
Did you think that I properly used the above texts? Do you see how easy it is to use texts to prove points that those texts do not prove? The above texts both have very specific timings. They must be taken very literally if what Messiah said will be of real benefit. The timing is the Tribulation. That strait gate is a real gate, just as the wide gate and the broad way are real. While the Bible does teach the scarcity of true Saints (those who are truly born of God), these texts are speaking to non-saints who are being commanded how to find life! (The strait—that is, constricted gate opens to the narrow way, and the narrow way described here leads to life! It isn’t life itself.)
Saints married to non-saints is not a usual phenomenon, since there are so few Saints. It is even rarer to find Saints married to Saints.
As for ‘Christians’ married to ‘Christians,’ this is common, since the various forms of ‘Christianity’ are religious, and there are many who are part of ‘Christianity’ in this world. Most have little or nothing to do with the Bible.
What is the standard of such a ‘Christian’? The Bible doesn’t address it in its own category.
What is the standard for the Believer who is married to an unbeliever? Paul gave the standard:
1 Corinthians 7:12 But to the rest speak I, not the Lord. If any brother has a wife who doesn’t believe, and she is pleased to dwell with him, he shall not put her away. 13And the woman who has a husband who doesn’t believe, and if he is pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him. 14For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband—else your children would be unclean; but now they are holy. 15But if the unbelieving departs, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such, but God has called us to peace. 16For what knowest thou, wife, whether thou shalt save the husband? Or how knowest thou, man, whether thou shalt save the wife? 17But as God has distributed to every man, as the Lord has called every one, so let him walk. And so I ordain in all churches.
The text starts with, “If any brother has a wife who doesn’t believe, and she is pleased to dwell with him, he shall not put her away.” An unbelieving spouse can feel restricted by the Believing spouse. The unbeliever may have goals, aspirations and behaviours that cannot be pursued according to the conscience of the Believer. There can be sexual ‘adventures’ that the unbeliever would like to fulfill, and that cannot happen without compromise on the part of the Believer. There can be social events that would put the Believer into turmoil. It is sometimes very hard for two to maintain agreement if they have very different ethics and morality. Yet, in the event that the unbeliever truly loves the Believing spouse as a Believer, and is truly pleased (not merely content) to dwell with the Believer (as King Ahasuerus was with Queen Esther), there is no reason to consider divorce with subsequent marriage to another. “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband.”
The word sanctified is commonly misunderstood. Some think that sanctification is a process that the Spirit of God performs in the life of the Believer. The above text shows the foolishness of this view. The word sanctified means having the status of being owned, or more simply put, owned. It is the opposite of profane, for public use, unowned, secular. (Profanity in the Bible has nothing to do with cuss words.) When two enter into holy matrimony (holy and sanctified are exactly the same thing), the husband becomes the property of the wife, and the wife becomes the property of the husband. When a woman buys a car, that car becomes holy to her. When a child is given a doll, the doll becomes holy to the child. The statement, “It’s mine!” made by the child is a declaration of holiness. Do not define holy using the phrase, set apart. That will make the definition wrong.
Yehovah told Israel,
Leviticus 20:26 And ye shall be holy unto me! For I Yehovah am holy and have severed you from the peoples so that ye shall be mine.
Yehovah is also holy:
Exodus 3:6 And He said, “I am the God of thy father–the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.”
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob own Yehovah as their God. The above Leviticus text demonstrates the equivalence of the status of holiness that a man and Yehovah have. The word holier is used only one time in the Bible, and in a deprecatory way:
Isaiah 65:3 “…the people the provokers of me continually to anger to my faces, sacrificers in gardens and incensers upon altars of brick, 4sitters in graves, and they will lodge via guardposts, the eaters of swine’s flesh, and the broth of abominables is their vessels, 5that say, ‘Stand by thyself! Come not near to me! For I am holier than thou!’ These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burns all the day!”
No one can be becoming holy. Either he is holy or he is not.
The word holy is also used in the Bible for pagan temple prostitutes and pagan temple homosexuals who perform sexual acts to earn money for the temples. One can be holy to a false god. Holy/Sanctified in Hebrew is not an exclusively religious word. (No word used in the Bible is exclusively religious; every word has a proper secular fit.) It is a practical word. In the text, “For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband,” the unbelieving spouse is the property of the Believer, and has special privileges based on this. None of those privileges has anything to do with Salvation or the obtaining of Salvation. Lot saw these privileges in action when his wife and two of his daughters were rescued with him, and he saw the suspension of these privileges when his wife, turning back, was destroyed.
Verse 14 ends with, “else were your children unclean. But now are they holy.” The children of one Believing parent are sanctified by the believing parent in the same way as the unbelieving spouse is sanctified by the believing spouse.
Some presumptuous religious individuals have used this concept as ‘proof’ that their children are “special to God.” Aaron’s sons were sanctified too, and two of his sons were burned to death because of a violation. Yehovah saved Noah’s children from the flood based on this sanctification. This does not mean, however, that Yehovah sees children in the light that some presume. Yehovah had a fervent hatred for Eli’s sons who were workers of iniquity. Isaac had two sons, and Yehovah hated one while He loves the other. This sanctification does not overlook justice. It only temporarily places sanctified ones in a special status. Yehovah will consider the Believing parent and that parent’s children when He takes action.
Verse 15 states, “But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such, but God has called us to peace.” If the unbelieving spouse has no desire to live under such constraints (assuming that the Believing spouse is being both Godly and reasonable in expectations for the relationship), the Believing spouse must not stop the unbelieving spouse from leaving. Once the unbelieving spouse has left (or has thrown the Believing spouse out of the house), divorce and marriage to someone else are Biblically ethical and moral possibilities.
Yehovah does not command divorce (except in one case I previously mentioned). If it is obtained, the Believing spouse does not have to marry again, but it is an appropriate option. (The Believing spouse may determine to wait and see if the unbelieving spouse turns.)
The Believing spouse may or may not obtain the children in a split. That matters far less than the behaviour of the Believing spouse in the entire situation. Fighting over who gets the children is often far more damaging than anything else two can do in a breakup. Those in Christianity who think they have the power to effect Godliness in their children by rearing and example are truly self-deceived. Was not Yehovah a good parent to Adam? Did Adam believe? Rearing and example are important, but faith cannot be passed on. Each person must arrive at or reject faith on his or her own. This is unrelated to the Grace that Yehovah gives in Salvation; that is on His part, not on the part of the person.
The text states, “A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such.” The marriage bond, which is a good form of bondage, does not hold in this case. A Saint has no obligation to remain married to an unbeliever if the unbeliever is not pleased to dwell with the Saint living in faith (and who is therefore not obnoxious or prideful). Paul ends the statement with this: “God has called us to peace.” It is not right for the Saint to force his faith-behaviour on the non-saint, making strife. The Saint has been called to peace. The Saint may weep bitterly and be heart-broken over the circumstance, but the Saint is not to cling to the non-saint if the non-saint wants to depart.
The Saint must continue to demonstrate humility (knowing properly one’s true rank, position and responsibility before God and man, and living according to that rank). “For what knowest thou, wife, whether thou shalt save the husband? Or how knowest thou, man, whether thou shalt save the wife?” Thinking that you can save another is arrogance. Do you think you can change the other person? Are you stronger that the Holy Spirit? Anyone who thinks along these lines has the logic of an abused woman—a logic of pride, a view of self-exaltation: “I will not give up as others would! I will eventually prove that my patient waiting and my willingness to endure hardship was worthwhile when I show to the world the true and noble character of my spouse when my spouse makes the change for which I have been working and enduring all this suffering! They will see that I am truly strong in faith!” Such a person is taking a contemptible position. If the unbelieving spouse desires to leave, do not stop him.
Homosexuals and lesbians have a different set of faiths with gods that differ from the One I am Biblically considering. Their gods are for the love of homosexuality and lesbianism. Their gods are their standards for life and living, for love and fellowship, for who is a Christian and who isn’t. They must follow their gods according to their own consciences.
When I refer to them as unbelievers, I mean that they are unbelievers in the God I am considering, just as I am an unbeliever in their gods. I refer to their gods (plurally) because homosexuals and lesbians don’t all have the same god; they have differences in their faiths just like the Methodists and Baptists have differences in their faiths. Thus, calling them unbelievers isn’t insulting them; they would find the God in whom I believe to have a very bad character.
A person who fears the God of the Bible, believing it literally, has no business judging homosexuals and lesbians, and has a mandate to behave toward folks of different faiths and different gods as the Saints in the Bible did. The Saints in the Bible demonstrated a love that was totally unfeigned toward their neighbours who held different gods, even making covenants with them (consider Jacob and Laban in Genesis). The Saints knew that judgment was for Yehovah, not for them. Instead, Saints saved the lives of their neighbours when Yehovah gave such opportunities. This is the only right attitude.
It is a privilege to benefit those who have a different faith as long as that benefit doesn’t give the impression of supporting the faith itself. The Bible is about saving lives, not about hurling accusations and condemnation.
Two unbelievers (in the God of the Bible) are married. The man is a Moslem and the woman is a Baptist. The Moslem does not like the way the woman spends their money. He also does not like the bad attitude that she has toward his family. Does he have grounds for divorce?
The Bible does not speak to this issue; he needs to use the Koran. If he wants to divorce her, there is nothing to stop him. His own Moslem laws give him the right to divorce this infidel woman, though in his country he might be able to do even more. His deity is not Yehovah of the Hebrew Bible.
Two men are married, having obtained their marriage in Hawaii. They find they are incompatible, and one of the men has been seeing another man on the side. Do they have grounds for divorce?
The Bible does not deal with the issue of such marriages or divorces. Homosexuality and lesbianism are part of the worship of the gods of homosexuality and lesbianism. Saints have no business judging those who hold another faith (except when a Biblical Saint is a legal, secular judge; then he or she must judge only using the laws of the land). The Bible strictly teaches:
1 Corinthians 5:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner–with such an one–no, not to eat. 12For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? Do not ye judge them that are within? 13But God judges them who are without. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.
The wicked person is a man who is called a brother and who is sinning. Others of like faith recognized that person as born of God. Saints have no business judging those who are not recognized as believers. God will judge them.
Saints will judge the world after the Millennium:
1 Corinthians 6:2 Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? And if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? 3Know ye not that we shall judge angels? How much more things that pertain to this life?
Revelation 20:5 But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 11And I saw a great white throne, and Him Who sat on it, from Whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. 12And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God. And the books were opened. And another book was opened, that is of life. And the dead were judged out of those things that were written in the books according to their works. 13And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, and death and hades delivered up the dead who were in them. And they were judged every man according to their works.
I am not saying that there are no rules regarding the conduct of unbelievers; whatever rules there are, the Bible is not meant to be a rule in the hand of Saints with which to judge non-saints. Saints cannot use the Bible to declare the behaviour of a non-saint as legal or illegal before God (with the exception of unbelieving Israelis). Non-saints are condemned already. Why condemn the behaviour of a condemned man?
John 3:18 He who believes on Him is not condemned, but he who doesn’t believe is condemned already because he has not believed in the Name of the only begotten Son of God. 19And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. 20For every one who does evil hates the light, neither comes to the light lest his deeds should be reproved. 21But he who does truth comes to the light so that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.
Saints in the Bible understood and lived according to this. Abraham did not condemn his pagan neighbours; instead, he had peace with them, and they accompanied him on a ‘suicide mission’ to which Yehovah gave complete success! Joseph did not condemn his fellow prisoners who were idolaters. Daniel did not condemn the occult practitioners. He was put in charge to make sure that they followed the laws of the land:
Daniel 2:24 Therefore Daniel went in unto Arioch, whom the king had ordained to destroy the wise [men] of Babylon. He went and said thus unto him, “Destroy not the wise [men] of Babylon! Bring me in before the king, and I will shew unto the king the interpretation.” … 27Daniel answered in the presence of the king, and said, “The secret that the king has demanded–the wise [men], the astrologers, the magicians, the soothsayers, cannot show unto the king. 28But there is a God in the heavens Who reveals secrets, and makes known to the king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days.” … 47The king answered unto Daniel and said, “Of a truth [it is] that your God is a God of gods and a Lord of kings and a revealer of secrets, seeing thou could reveal this secret!” 48Then the king made Daniel a great man, and gave him many great gifts, and made him ruler over the whole province of Babylon, and chief of the governors over all the wise [men] of Babylon.
Wise men indicates astrologers. They are part of the occult practitioners. Daniel was put in charge of these men, and he accepted the duty, doing it faithfully! He did not try to apply the Torah to these men. The Torah said that occult practitioners of Israel were to be put to death. Daniel knew that this was true for Israel. It was not true for Babylon. Daniel saved their lives! Daniel was wise, unlike many today who claim to be Christians and who show no such sense!
Divorce rulings of the Bible have nothing to do with non-Jewish unbelievers. Even if they did, God will judge. Saints must address Saints regarding sin issues. Saints must address non-saints on issues of life and faith, fear and judgment, Truth and righteousness, but only when the time is right, and the opportunity is proper and from God. If unbelievers desire truth, show them truth. The Bible teaches that all men are born Dead in Sin, and are condemned already.
Are not Jewish unbelievers in the very same category? Jewish unbelievers are not in the same category. The Torah is given to them, and the Torah teaches them right from wrong even while they are in unbelief. They will be judged with a greater judgment.
No Jewish unbeliever may simply divorce and marry another without proper cause, without bringing consequences upon Israel as a whole. Yehovah holds Israel to the Torah to this day. Pogroms and violence against Israel have continued because of Israel’s refusal to follow the Torah! No race has been so horribly and continuously mistreated as Israel, and this is according to the promise of Yehovah. Yehovah promised,
Deuteronomy 28:1 And it shall come to pass, if thou shalt hearken diligently unto the voice of Yehovah thy God to take heed to do all His commandments that I command thee this day, Yehovah thy God will set thee supreme above all nations of the land. 2And all these blessings shall come on thee and shall overtake thee if thou shalt hearken unto the voice of Yehovah thy God. 15But it shall come to pass, if thou wilt not hearken unto the voice of Yehovah thy God to take heed to do all His commandments and His statutes that I command thee this day, that all these curses shall come upon thee and overtake thee.
These promises are guaranteed until the earth ends. Yehovah holds all Israel responsible for the actions of individual Israelis, as He did in the days of Joshua. One man (Achan—see Joshua chapter 7) sinned, and Yehovah took victory away from Israel. Some Israelis died in the battle for Ai. Yehovah told Joshua that Israel sinned. The facts that most Israelis do not believe that there is a God, and few Israelis have anything to do with the Torah, do not change what has happened to Israel in history, and they don’t alter the Truth of the Bible. It is not a book promoting democracy.
Yehovah is angry at Israel. He has been merciful and gracious to Israel, and will continue to be. Pogroms and Holocausts will continue to occur against Israel—the Torah has guaranteed this, however. Israel will have many warning tastes of the coming Tribulation.
Israel as a single unit refuses to take His Torah seriously. No one can touch Israel without Yehovah’s cooperation. Some are very bitter because of this, but bitterness does not stop Yehovah from wrath. (Those who participate in harming Israel will obtain Yehovah’s everlasting wrath unless they turn! There will be no anti-Semites on the New Earth; all will be in the Lake of Fire and Sulfur.)
Suppose two Jewish unbelievers (not believing in the Bible or its God) marry, and the man then becomes a Believer in Yeshua (in the true Biblical sense). Does he have the right to divorce her on this ground? Paul addresses this issue:
1 Corinthians 7:12 But I speak to the rest, not the Lord. If any brother has a wife that doesn’t believe, and she is pleased to dwell with him, he shall not put her away. 13And the woman who has a husband that doesn’t believe, and if he is pleased to dwell with her, she shall not leave him. 14For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband. Else were your children unclean. But now are they holy. 15But if the unbelieving departs, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such [cases], but God has called us to peace. 16For what knowest thou, wife, whether thou shalt save the husband? Or how knowest thou, man, whether thou shalt save the wife?
How did Paul know this (besides by the Spirit of God from whom he prophesied)? Lot (in the book of Genesis) is one example. He had a wife who was not a believer in Yehovah, and he had children. When the angels came to take Lot out of Sodom (before destroying it with three other cities), Lot, his wife and the children who were willing to come were forcibly removed from the city. Lot’s wife had been pleased to dwell with Lot while they lived in Sodom. Miles later, as they journeyed away from the flaming city, she lost her pleasure, desiring to return back to Sodom where she had at least two other daughters. She died with the city at that moment. The two daughters who were willing to stay with Lot lived. They were sanctified because of Lot.
Answering the above question, he does not have the right to divorce her if she is pleased to dwell with him. She will be pleased to dwell with him if she is willing and happy for him to live according to his faith. Willingness alone is not good enough. She may be willing, but the lifestyle may be killing her. He must not be unkind to her.
Some complications occur in the divorce issue when a Jewish person is married to a non-Jewish person. If both are unbelievers, they will do whatever they choose, and the complications will have nothing to do with the Bible.
The woman claims to be a Christian, and resents her husband’s fervency after the Torah. She especially does not appreciate his refusal to each certain foods such as pork, shrimp and lobster, when she knows that he used to love those foods. The man feels very bad about this, and has tried to show her that the commands of God to the Jewish People were given until the earth ends. Even Daniel adhered to food considerations, and Yehovah sent him deliverance from the unclean food of the king. She feels strapped by his legalism, and their relationship is deteriorating. Does he have the right to divorce her? The normal resounding answer would be, “No! This is so petty! God has given freedom! She cannot be put under his improper legalism!”
Suppose, though, that this same issue had been brought up when the Torah sacrifices were going on–what did Yehovah command? When she became his wife, she joined Israel. Eating unclean foods became a death-penalty offense! She would have been killed! But this is the 20th Century. The Law has been done away with, right? The Law has never been abolished! It has established for Israel, and will continue until this earth ends. Israel is always in jeopardy because of the Torah! The very Holocausts of history are due to the Torah being active. If the Torah had been abolished, so would the curses written in the Torah have been even if Israel violates the Torah.
There is a more pertinent question. Does this wife fear the God of Israel? Since when does one who fears God in truth find the commandments of God to Israel to be a burden? A woman who is non-Jewish and who fears God would delight in her husband’s relationship with God and with the Torah. She would not balk at the commandments. She would be a strong advocate, having little or no respect for any man of Israel who would despise the commandments of Yehovah!
Oh, she is a ‘Christian’ all right, of the caliber of the majority of so-called ‘Christians’ today who reject the first six books of the Bible, thinking that this rejection is somehow different from rejecting the first four books of the ‘New Testament!’
This couple has a problem, fighting over two different gods. The wife does not love the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. She sees Him as distinct and different from the ‘Jesus’ whom she supposedly knows.
Whether or not she is free to eat foods is not the problem; her despising the Torah is the problem. It is part of the Bible! No Believer despises the Word of God. He trembles at His Word!
Some will try to classify this as a legalism issue. If I commit adultery, may I claim that one who finds fault with me is being legalistic? There is right and there is wrong. Yehovah commanded the Israelis to keep an extra set of right commandments in order to teach. Who will despise these commands while fearing God?
Does this man have the right to divorce her? He needs to consider whether she is pleased to dwell with him. If this food issue is the only issue over which they disagree, and if she doesn’t like what he won’t eat, but is willing to function with his diet, that certainly isn’t a reason to divorce and subsequently marry another. If, on the other hand, she despises him over this (and other things), and isn’t pleased to dwell with him, he has no business holding her to his faith; that would be cruel and wrong. She certainly may divorce him! He has no business divorcing her, as if she is the wrongdoer; she doesn’t hold his faith.
If, however, she insists on rearing the children contrary to his faith, and if she insists on showing contempt for him and how he lives, if this is that important to her, she needs to leave, get a divorce, and live another life. If she chooses to stay and make his live intolerable, he certainly may pursue a divorce. The divorce itself isn’t the issue. What one does after the divorce is.
May he marry another after such a divorce, if he meets a woman who will be at peace with his living according to the Scriptures, or would that be adultery? This goes back to the cases of Ezra and Nehemiah! He may marry another; it will not be adultery. He may also desire to wait for a while to see if his former wife will become at peace over this issue. It may seem small, but contempt for any part of the Torah is no small matter.
A Godly non-Jewish woman is married to a Messianic Jewish man. The woman delights in the entire Bible, including the Torah. The Messianic Jewish man enjoys activities of the modern Messianic movements (those movements speak of Yeshua or Y’shua, who is Jesus) and he strongly identifies with Israel. He likes to do the Sabbath and will eat things that are according to the Law of God. He believes in the doctrines of popular fundamental Christianity except where those doctrines ignore or insult Israel. He does not put much stock in a coming Tribulation, but likes ‘Messianic Joy’ activities. His wife sees a much deeper reality to the Bible, and is heart-broken over the faithlessness of the majority of Israel. He wants to celebrate. She feels like mourning. They have very strong disagreements over the rearing of the children because she wants to teach them to fear God, to have a fear and an investment in all of His Word, and to refuse to participate in what she sees as much paganism in the Messianic movement (including the misuse of Scriptures to selfishly claim promises given to Israel as a whole in the Millennium as if they are promises for Jewish individuals now). Her husband loves to claim the promises of God. She has become so discontented with this that she is frustrated in their relationship. She hates going to the Messianic Synagogue that she sees as being flippant and contemptible. He delights to dwell with her, and cannot understand her problem with his faith.
The problem is with the wife. She has not asked herself one question: “Is my husband born of God?” This man has taken on the trappings of Messianic Jewishness, but he has not understood the God of Abraham. He is into the selfish popular religion of many of the Messianics (Jewish ‘Christians’).
Most Messianics hold faiths that are forms of Reform Judaism with ‘Yeshua’ thrown in. Reform Judaism is the Judaism of Reform, holding that each generation must reevaluate and reconsider the pertinence of the Torah, determining what should be taken literally and applied now, and what was meant only for former times and situations.
If she were to compare or contrast her husband’s view of life with the Saints in the Bible, she would see that there is no comparison, but only a contrast. She needs to quit fighting with her husband over this, and to recognize him as a Messianic religious unbeliever. She does not need to confront him about this. She does need to teach her children the Truth of the Word of God. He isn’t fighting her over this. As long as he is pleased to dwell with her and has not insisted that she compromise her faith, but is willing for her to teach her faith (that he thinks is the same as his) at home, she should not even consider a divorce; she has no proper grounds. Their fights has been because she assumed that he is born of God when he is not. She assumed that he would see and understand things that he cannot see or understand. Her expectations of him have been all wrong.
Suppose that the man in the above case insists that his wife go with him to attend the local Messianic Congregation. He cannot understand why she is so reluctant. He tells her that it is a celebration of Messianic praise, and he can’t understand why she seems so sour. She “needs some joy!” What should she do? Her faith is in a different God. She sees her husband’s god as flippant, holding a very low standard, projecting Jewish pride rather than teaching humility, as having an “I’m ok and you’re ok” view of Jews who claim Y’shua as their Saviour. They put on Jewish trappings, but they show none of the deepest and best character attributes of the Saints in the Bible, including excellence in justice, righteousness, good works, selflessness, a real view of Israel’s real status of being in Yehovah’s wrathful eye and in unbelief, and so on.
She views the Messianic ‘rabbi’ as one who misuses texts and teaches a false faith. She cannot participate in this in good conscience, but she can demonstrate great graciousness. She can go to ‘services,’ but she can also teach her children the Word of God without restriction. Her husband is for her teaching them! She can make certain that her children are not placed in positions of conforming to a false faith. She has no power to instill faith into her children, however. No human has that capacity. Thus, she can teach them Truth, but they will later determine what they believe no matter what she does.
If her husband becomes displeased dwelling with her under these conditions, she should not stop him from departing, but I don’t think he will become dissatisfied. She is the one showing dissatisfaction, and she needs to ‘get over it’ and do what is right with contentment. If he cannot tolerate her faith, and if he demands that she change or get a divorce, she must not cling. This isn’t likely to occur, however.
A Jewish woman is married to a non-Jewish man. They are both Believers. The Jewish woman wants to keep the Sabbath, and the non-Jewish man replies that this is not possible with the Temple not being present. He is not against their resting, but he is against her treating it as an absolute according to all the commands given to Israel for the times when the Temple stood and when the Temple will stand in the future. This has grown into a very strong argument, and the relationship is becoming rocky. Do they have grounds for divorce?
No. The Sabbath in its complete form is a gift of Yehovah for the Israelis while in the land. That gift is for their benefit and for instruction of the races; it is a type (something that is important and real in itself, that stands for something else that is also real and far more important). The Sabbath can be kept in part anywhere in the world, but not in full.
An argument based on what cannot be established with certainty is no grounds. They need to decide what they both can do and will do. When the Temple is restored and the Sabbath sacrifices are resumed, some in Israel will keep the Sabbath. All Israelis in the world will keep the Sabbath only just before and when the Messiah comes. Until then, there will be some Israelis who refuse to believe in Yehovah the God of Israel; thus Israel won’t be keeping the Sabbath as long as it cannot be kept and as long as one Israeli isn’t keeping it.
These two are shaming the purpose of marriage by their arguments. They are demanding things of each other rather than being of benefit to each other in the marriage; yet neither one is demanding that the other change some behaviour (like quitting eating kosher). They are fighting over concepts, not works. This is very puerile. They both need to learn selflessness, humility, and a few other things that show sense and a true Biblical faith. They both need to seek the highest, best interest of the relationship without regard to themselves, in the fear of God.
“Should I deal with a divorced person in a way different from anyone else? My pastor wants to start a special class for the divorced. Are they different?”
Many divorced persons suffer wounds from their divorces. Those who are divorced, like those who have lost mates, may suffer from feelings of clumsiness when in groups or when doing functions with couples. Feelings are real, but they are not the essence of life.
A divorced person should be treated in the same way as any person should be treated, not elevated, demeaned or isolated. Singling them out or doing functions where their lack of a mate is obvious is cruel. A little consideration can make all the difference. (Seating at a restaurant is so minor, and it can become so major. If the women sat together (and the men thus did the same) instead of sitting by couples, the single person would not feel so removed from the prevalent pattern.)
“Well, what if the divorced person has done wrong by illegitimately divorcing a mate? Should not that person be treated as a wrong doer?”
I ask, “Is this person a Believer?” If he is not, against whom did this person do wrong? This person followed his own god. Yehovah will judge this person.
It is wrong to assume that what now is will be what will always be.
Kindness can sometimes bring repentance and turning to Truth. What right does a Saint have to judge an unbeliever? It doesn’t matter that the person considers himself as a Believer.
Besides this, illegitimately divorcing isn’t a permanent state. If either of the divorced couple marries another, now it is a permanent state. Folks who have obtained divorces on wrong grounds can learn and can remarry each other, if they desire, as long as they haven’t been married to someone else in the meantime.
Do not assume that divorce itself is wrong! If it is wrong in and of itself, Yehovah sinned! What one does after the divorce is the issue, as I stated above.
I would first challenge whether this person is a believer or is just a pretender. If the person proved to truly be a Believer, I would address him to find out what his perspective is. (A wrong perspective can lead to wrong behaviour.) I would desire to know why he did what he did. Once I found why he did what he did, I would desire to reconsider things with him to give him a new perspective. That is sometimes all that is necessary for a person to turn from doing wrong to doing right.
If I found that he had no desire to do right, I would again challenge his status as a Believer. If he then married another without having proper cause for divorce, what he did was a violent sin against God and against his former spouse. This is adultery.
“Suppose a person obtained a divorce on grounds that are not right, then the person became a Believer after this, and has not remarried. Is this person obliged to remarry the partner now?”
(Suppose it is the husband who obtained this wrong divorce.) Does his wife desire a return to the relationship now that it will be absolutely new? Since he is now a Believer, his behaviour and his ways of viewing things will be different (or else he is not a new creation). They need to do some talking and thinking! If she will not be pleased, or if she will be tormented, he is not to remarry her. If her ethics and morality will destroy the relationship, he must not remarry her. If, however, she is very willing to seek the highest, best interest of the relationship with this man, the marriage will probably work extremely well.
Suppose that she is a perpetual complainer. If she continues this conduct, even with him doing right, she is not pleased (complaining is proof), and he should not remarry her.
What if she would be very happy to remarry, but he knows that she wants to watch things on television that are not good, that she participates in things contrary to his faith, etc.? He must consider these things. He has no business using the potential of remarriage to leverage her to follow his ethics; that is cruel. He must not torture this woman.
If he does not marry her, should he remain single? If she will continue as an unbeliever, and one not pleased to dwell with him, he may be another woman’s husband. If she will continue as an unbeliever, but greatly desires to dwell with him, he has an excellent opportunity with her and with the relationship. She is still his wife, divorced or not.
If she will not be pleased to dwell with him under the conditions of his being a Believer, he is not obliged to wait for her. Will he save her? As Paul said,
1 Corinthians 7:15 But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such, but God has called us to peace. 16For what knowest thou, wife, whether thou shalt save the husband? Or how knowest thou, man, whether thou shalt save the wife?
If he is willing to wait for a while just to see what she does, that may be wise.
A woman who is now a Believer obtained a divorce before entering into her present marriage. She is quite upset about this, and does not know how to deal with this. What should she do?
If she obtained the divorce before she became a Believer, it is a non-issue. While she committed adultery as an unbeliever, she is now born of God. She is now married to this man. If she obtained the divorce after she had become a Believer, whether through bad counsel or through some other ignorance on her part, her present marriage is the one that stands now, and she must view her present marriage as if it were the first. She is not allowed to return to a former marriage partner once she has been married to another (or once the former marriage partner has been married to another):
Deuteronomy 24:3 And if the latter husband hate her and write her a letter of divorce, and give it into her hand and send her out of his house, or if the latter husband die who took her as his wife, 4her first husband, who sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife after she is defiled, for it is an abomination before Yehovah. And thou shalt not cause the land that Yehovah thy God gives thee for an inheritance to sin.
Though the case is different in the above text, the principle should be clear: it is an abomination to Yehovah for one to return to a former marriage partner once either one of them has been married to another.
If she obtained the divorce through defiance after she had become a Believer, in the above case, the legitimacy of her faith must be questioned. This makes no sense. It does not portray the fear of Yehovah.
What if a person was married, was divorced, married another, divorced the other person, and then remarried the first person, doing what is an abomination to Yehovah—should that person divorce? No. The person who fears God should stay, and should now do what is right in that marriage.
An unbelieving husband divorces a Believing woman; he just couldn’t tolerate her living according to her faith. She meets a Believing man who is training to be a pastor. They work very well together in the ministry. Her former husband has never remarried. Can these two get married?
Several denominations of today heartily would say, No! Those denominations’ teachings are Biblically wrong. If the priests in the book of Ezra could remarry (and they could; no restrictions are recorded), the pastor can marry this woman. They do not need to wait for her former husband to break the bond by marrying another. He divorced her because he wasn’t pleased to dwell with her, and she is free to marry another.
This man who is training to be a pastor will probably be excluded from the possibility of being a pastor by his denomination, if it isn’t a liberal denomination. This pastor in training needs to be wise; the only pastor in training in the Bible of which I am aware is Joshua, and Yehovah still called him later with a direct calling. Almost all pastoral callings that are claimed are illegitimate, if a person takes the Bible literally.
“But is this not just making a new problem, since several denominations would see this marriage as illegitimate?”
Those same denominations recognize the ordination of many men who Biblically are unbelievers because they use a wrong measurement of both faith and calling. Yehovah is the only One who has the right to call anyone to the pastorate, and He does not legitimatize the spiritual callings of men.
Two great errors exist in all denominations and non-denominations of Christianity and Judaism: being liberal (that is, giving allowance for sin and wrong in some areas), and being arrogant: adding rules to the Bible as if they came from God. Both are equally wrong:
Deuteronomy 4:2 Ye shall not add to the word that I command you, neither shall ye take from it, that ye may keep the commandments of Yehovah your God that I command you.
Deuteronomy 12:32 Everything that I command you, ye shall take heed to do it. Thou shalt not add thereto, nor take from it.
Making higher standards than God is an act of arrogance, and it is an accusation against God. If anyone wants to hold himself to a personal standard that is higher than God’s standard, that is fine. If a group (like a denomination) that claims to represent the God of the Bible does forms a higher standard and makes it a rule for acceptance, this is arrogation against God and the Body of Christ, and it is sin. (This is the popular practice of all denominations and non-denominations.)
No group has the right to speak for God unless God sends a true prophet, acknowledged by all who fear Him, to establish that group as a spokesperson for God. Any other group that has made its own rules (that is, ethical and/or moral rules) violates the Bible.
When any group does ‘improvements’ on the rulings of God, it invariably also drops other more important issues. A group may require that all its members refrain from drinking wine, but it may allow a person to become a member on the flimsy, verbal acknowledgement of faith.
Two unbelievers ‘shack up.’ One later becomes a Believer, and the relationship is now stressed over this; they are getting along well apart from this. They have had children together. They have no relatives, and they are poor. She is not attending any church and has not set foot in a church in fourteen years. She became a Believer while reading the Bible. He works hard, and is very cooperative. Their monetary status is much better while they remain unmarried. He loves her very much. What should they do?
There are some situations that have absolutely no reasonable answer, but rather present excellent opportunities. She has no reason or possibility to divorce her man; she is not married to him in the first place, and he is treating her and the children very well in the second place. Her alternatives are simple and few. (The fewer the alternatives, the easier it is to eliminate inferior ones.) Since she cannot leave without bringing ruin to her children (they cannot get along without her, and she cannot afford them and another place), she must stay. She could marry the man right now, but she feels that this would be binding him into something he doesn’t understand, potentially damaging a relationship that is good.
What she can do includes the following:
- Continue to study the Bible with zeal. She has probably only read a small portion of it, but she believed what she read. She needs to understand this faith well and not make a foolish decision based on what she thinks would be the right thing, or worse, what others tell her is the ‘right thing.’
- Treat her man very well, and refuse to participate in sexual intimacy. Sexual intimacy would give him, her children and others the impression that it is consistent with her new faith, and that she has no moral objections within her new faith to live together unmarried. Treating him well, listening and speaking to him with respect and grace is only right. She is not to do this in order to manipulate him toward God; she is to do this because it is right. (Even if she does it for the wrong reason, it is still right to do.) Her new morality includes her belief that sexual intercourse outside of marriage is wrong.
- She would be wise to teach her children what she is learning in the Bible, and she can show what she is learning to her man too if he is interested (he probably will be interested). She must avoid making comments that sound like editorials of wrongdoing against her husband.
- She must make her request to the God of the Bible to send her deliverance from the ethical and moral dilemma in which she got herself, using any means He chooses. She must express her preference: that her man becomes a fearer of Him. She is in the same spot as Naaman was:
2 Kings 5:1 And Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable. For Yehovah had given deliverance unto Syria by him. He was also a mighty man in valour, a leper. 2And the Syrians had gone out by companies and had brought away a little maid captive out of the land of Israel. And she waited on Naaman’s wife. 3And she said unto her mistress, “Who will give my lord to be with the prophet that is in Samaria? For he will recover him of his leprosy!” 4And he went in and told his lord, saying, the maid that is of the land of Israel said thus and thus. 5And the king of Syria said, “Go for thyself! Go! And I will send a letter unto the king of Israel.” And he departed and took with him ten talents of silver and six thousand of gold, and ten changes of raiment. 6And he brought the letter to the king of Israel, saying, “And when this letter is come unto thee, behold, I have sent Naaman my servant to thee that thou mayest recover him of his leprosy!” 7And it came to pass, when the king of Israel had read the letter, that he tore his clothes. And he said, “Am I God, to kill and to make alive, that this man doth send unto me to recover a man of his leprosy? Therefore consider, I pray you, and see how he seeks a quarrel against me!” 8And it was, when Elisha the man of God had heard that the king of Israel had torn his clothes, that he sent to the king, saying, “Why hast thou torn thy clothes? He shall come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel!” 9So Naaman came with his horses and with his chariot, and stood at the door of the house of Elisha. 10And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, “Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee. And thou shalt be clean.” 11But Naaman was furious. And he went away. And he said, “Behold, I thought, ‘He will surely come out to me! And he will stand, and call on the name Yehovah his God! And he will strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper!’ 12Are not Abana and Pharpar Rivers of Damascus better than all the waters of Israel? May I not wash in them, and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage. 13And his servants came near. And they spoke unto him. And they said, “My father, the prophet had bid thee a great thing! Would thou not have done? How much rather then, when he says to thee, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” 14Then he went down. And he dipped himself in Jordan seven times according to the saying of the man of God. And his flesh came again like unto the flesh of a little child. And he was clean. 15And he returned to the man of God, he and all his company, and came, and stood before him. And he said, “Behold, now I know that no God is in all the land but in Israel! And now, I pray thee, take a blessing of thy servant.” 16But he said, “Yehovah lives before whom I stand. I will receive none.” And he urged him to take, but he refused. 17And Naaman said, “Shall there not then, I pray thee, be given to thy servant two mules’ burden of soil? For thy servant will henceforth offer neither ascension nor sacrifice unto other gods, but unto Yehovah. 18Yehovah pardon thy servant in this thing: when my master goes into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leans on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon, when I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon, Yehovah pardon thy servant in this thing!” 19And he said unto him, “Go in peace.”
A small amount of Biblical wisdom will give answers to the most difficult moral dilemmas.
If the man in the case above truly loves his woman, he will also understand her moral dilemma, and he will ask if they can be married. They can then discuss how the relationship will change, for a married relationship always differs from living together. Once they have solved that, if that is his desire, they can indeed get married. His faith status has nothing to do with anything regarding this.
A man and a woman are unmarried and living together with children. The man becomes a Believer. What should he do if she doesn’t desire to live with him now that he has this new faith? He should depart without the children unless she doesn’t want them. He changed; he has no business defrauding her of her children. If the children desire to live with their father, if they are old enough to decide and she wants the children, he must not do violence against her.
In the Book of Ezra, the men sent the children with the women. The women already had taught the children the ways of paganism, and it was not right to cause more pain beyond what the men had caused by deceitfully taking on these wives.
This man caused this confusion by having children without commitment. (The woman did too, but he now knows better.) He must do right and try his best for peace. That may mean sharing the children and treating her monetarily well.
No matter how children are reared, the children will individually decide which way they will go regarding faith. Faith can never be instilled into another.
The man can wait to see what the woman does over time; he may also marry another woman.
Two unmarrieds have sexual intercourse. They both claim to be Believers. No pregnancy results. Should they marry? Well first, are they Believers? What was the circumstance? Was this during war or some terrible crisis by which they could not be legally married? What happened? For one Saint to sin is unusual; for two to sin would be very strange. (There is no concept of ‘they just couldn’t wait’ in a non-emergency situation.)
If the standard for unbelieving Israelis was marriage or the payment of the bride price and no marriage, what should the standard be for Saints?
If, on the other hand, they were not believers, what does it matter?
What if they are under age, and their families claim to be Christian? If they are too young, they should not marry, and they certainly should not be alone with each other where this looseness can be repeated. The parents (if they are responsible, no matter what their faiths) should have a say in any continuation of the relationship. If both parents love both youths (a rare, but possible case after behaviour like this), and would like to see the two marry, they can participate in pre-marriage teachings so that these two can prepare themselves to marry each other if they seem to love each other.
If they are of age, and if they both claim to be Christians, are they Christians? If they are truly born of God, will they just drop each other, now? If they truly love each other and seek what is best for the relationship, won’t the marriage be a very good one?
“Well, what if they realize that they don’t love each other? Should they not have the right to not marry?”
If the youths are living at home and are underage, their parents do have the right to put a halt to the relationship (until they are of age, and especially has moved out). If these teenagers are both Believers, however, they will fear God, and they must watch how they behave. They will learn about love and the dangers of feelings. A Believer cannot be ignorant. Faith is not based on ignorance. Anyone who has little or no knowledge of the Word of God is incapable of legitimately claiming faith.
In what ways don’t they love each other, if they are both Believers? Something isn’t right. Do they mean that they don’t love each other in a marriage-sort-of-way? If they were to feel forced to marry under this circumstance, the likelihood of the marriage being good is very low.
If they are not Believers, or if one of the two isn’t a Believer, they should not marry. They committed fornication; they can stop.
The cases above discussing Believers are quite rare and unique. Most cases in life involve two unbelievers who participate in fornication. Some will be victims of rape, some will be rapists, some will be victims of incest, etc. The Bible holds no rule for them concerning how they should handle such cases unless they are Jewish.
Using part of the Torah to decide ‘a ruling’ while ignoring other parts of the Torah that would protect a person from ‘the ruling’ is cruel. For example, in the case of fornication, there are four different rulings in the Torah, depending on the circumstances. They are as follows:
Exodus 22:16 And if a man entices a maid that is not betrothed, and lies with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife. 17If her father utterly refuses to give her unto him, he shall pay money according to the dowry of virgins.
Deuteronomy 22:23 If a damsel, a virgin, is betrothed unto a husband, and a man finds her in the city and lies with her, 24then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die: the damsel, because she didn’t scream in the city, and the man, because he has humbled his neighbour’s wife. So thou shalt put away evil from among you. 25But if a man finds a betrothed damsel in the field, and the man forces her and lies with her, then the man only that lay with her shall die. 26And thou shalt do nothing unto the damsel. No sin of death is in the damsel. For as when a man rises against his neighbour and slays him, even so is this matter. 27For he found her in the field. The betrothed damsel screamed, and [there was] none to save her! 28If a man finds a damsel, a virgin who is not betrothed, and lays hold on her and lies with her, and they are found, 29then the man that lay with her shall give unto the damsel’s father fifty [shekels] of silver, and she shall be his wife. He may not put her away all his days because he humbled her.
The protection in the last verse above is for the sake of the woman. He may not put her away (divorce her) all his days. If the Torah is not in effect, this protection for her does not exist. To insist that she and he must marry while denying her that protection is cruel to her. The Torah must be taken as a single unit, and not in its various parts. When Messiah returns, He will enforce the Torah in Israel and will use it to teach the other races justice and righteousness.
An unmarried woman with children is living with an abusive man. She becomes a Believer. She cannot afford to leave. Her income is too small. What should she do? If Salvation is of Yehovah, Salvation is of Yehovah! If He cannot provide for this woman when she turns to do right, He cannot everlastingly do anything. Do we need to teach God how to deliver? She must ask Yehovah to deliver; she can certainly seek help and flee from this man.
Teenagers are dating. They both claim to be Christians. They do what comes naturally and she gets pregnant through their fornication. What is she to do? Should she marry him? The following issues must be considered:
- Are they both Believers? (This must be heavily questioned.)
- How old are they?
- What part will the parents play in making the decisions?
- Is marriage a temporary patch until a later divorce?
I will consider each in detail.
Are they both Believers? If one is a believer and the other is not, marriage can be a great error. Such a forced marriage will probably end badly, so it shouldn’t be started. If they truly love each other and will work hard for the relationship, it will work.
If the woman is not a believer and if the man is, he will help with the support and the upbringing of the child. If he isn’t old enough, and if his parents will cooperate, they three can aid the woman in the support of the child unless or until she proves to be just a user, or marries someone else; then the man and his parents need to let it drop, doing only what a court demands.
There are many ifs, and there are many different scenarios. Think of any combination of situations, and finding a good and reasonable answer will probably not be too difficult.
I have heard this many times. It is fine as a last resort option; it is a very poor choice, otherwise. Not many in the Bible adopted their children away; I cannot see why this is such a good option. Some children are very bitter because they were adopted away when they found that their mother or father could have kept them (with the help of others), but took the most convenient route. This solution may be necessary in some cases, but it isn’t in most cases. Young parents can be reared with their infant children if others with sense and means will help.
What part will the parents of the young-and-pregnant couple play in making the decisions? If the parents are of no real ability to participate with the young couple (supposing that this couple cannot support itself), either because the moral or financial conditions of all the parents are poor, the child may have to be adopted to another couple. If the parents are able and willing to help, this is a real opportunity to turn things around for the sake of the little one. (If neither teenager is Godly, but if a parent of either teenager is Godly, the parent may want to personally adopt, if this is an option. It is a risk, however, because the teenagers may then fool around again, seeing how happy a new baby made one of their parents, or may interfere.) If none of the parents is godly, and the teenagers are not godly, someone with wisdom should help find a solution.
Would marriage for this newly pregnant couple be a temporary patch until a later divorce? If one or both of these teenage parents-to-be are immature and selfish (they go hand-in-hand), marriage would only be a patch that will tear (supposing they are old enough to marry). Such a marriage would be foolish. If the more mature teenager can handle the child with help from either (or both) set of parents, and if this teenager will work diligently for the financial benefit of the child and will willingly spend time with the little one to teach, this can be a good arrangement.
As you can see, one can come up with many, many cases. A little careful consideration and willingness can bring good plans in many cases.
An ungodly man and Godly woman are married. The man has a 16-year-old stepdaughter. He rapes her and she becomes pregnant (because she didn’t immediately go to the hospital to stop the potential pregnancy). What should be done? The Godly woman should accuse the man and divorce him (he can never be trusted no matter how repentant he is).
What about the 16-year-old girl’s pregnancy? Is she a Believer? If she is not a Believer, Biblical ethics do not apply to her, but only to her Godly parent. Is she mature enough to bring to term? If not, save the 16-year-old and refuse the little one. If a choice must be made between the mother’s life and the baby’s life, save the mother. If the 16-year-old can bring the little one to term (and it is likely that she can), and if she is a Believer, she has no reason to show contempt for her own flesh and blood by an act against the unborn little one. If her mother or another Godly woman is willing to help her with the child, and if she is willing to work hard for the benefit of the little one (that would be true if she is Godly), she can rear the child well. If she is not a Believer, and if one of her parents is a Believer, the parent and she need to carefully discuss the future of the child and of her.
Forcing her to carry through with a pregnancy in the name of your God is a good way to embitter a youth. When a 16-year-old girl aborts without its being a case of self-defense, there are other devastating results. This is why it is vital for others who are Godly to willingly participate to help the girl do right to the degree that she is willing. A Saint must be selfless. Many unbelievers will do the right thing in these cases!
Though I have covered this to some degree in previous sections, I will cover it again and in greater detail because of the separate interest that many have for this.
As I previously stated, there are no Biblical rules for non-Jewish unbelievers. They may marry and divorce as often as they desire. They will be judged according to how much Truth they had (or refused to have) and used (or refused to use), and their works. If they know that adultery is wrong (and few are ignorant of this), and if they commit adultery, they will be judged for this. Every additional sin will increase the intensity of the wrath of Yehovah in the Lake of Fire and Sulfur.
Non-Jewish Saints have specific restrictions for marriage after divorce. Yehovah must recognize the divorce as legitimate for marriage to another, or else marriage to another is adultery.
Jewish non-saints (unbelievers) have the Torah. Some may not have access to a copy of it, but if any Jewish person desires a copy or better, the Truth (since the copy may be in a language the person doesn’t understand, or it may be in the form of a very liberal translation), Yehovah has never had difficulty bringing that to anyone under any circumstance. Who will accuse God of being impotent?
If a Jewish person is ignorant of the Torah’s contents based upon the refusal to care, that is the same thing as knowing it and not doing it. An American who travels abroad may decide to drive in another country just as he would drive in the United States, figuring that the rules must be the same. When he is arrested and imprisoned, he may plead, “I didn’t know!” The judges will see it differently: “You opted to use our roads, our fuel and our country, and you showed contempt for us by arrogantly violating our laws. If you did not take the time and trouble to learn our laws, this shows all the more contempt and arrogance.” Yehovah will not spare a Jewish person who had access to the Torah and who refused to care enough to study and believe it.
If a Jewish person obtains a divorce for a legitimate reason, either because the newly married spouse had previous sexual experience but kept silent regarding this, pretending to be a virgin, or because the newly married spouse commits a death-penalty offense according to the Torah, his marriage to another (or to the original spouse again if neither one has since been married) may take place without violation.
Suppose that an unbelieving Jewish man marries an unbelieving Jewish woman. They both claim to follow the Torah. The Jewish man voluntarily works on the Sabbath, and the Jewish woman feels that this is wrong. She becomes angry with her husband for ignoring the Sabbath, and finally sues for divorce. Upon receiving the divorce, is she permitted to marry another? She is.
But suppose that the only thing in the Torah about which she cares is the Sabbath. She does not realize that every Holy Day of Israel is a Sabbath too, so she ignores these. She eats pork on occasions and leavened bread on Pesach (Passover). Is she still allowed to marry another? Her violations of the Sabbath (every Holy Day that God gave to Israel is a Sabbath) show her to be a hypocrite.
No Jewish person can Biblically keep the Sabbath at the present time, since the Priests, the sons of Levi, must be making sacrifices in Israel in the places where Yehovah put His Name according to the Torah. This cannot be done until the Temple is built and functional.
Since the wife was using his Sabbath violation as an excuse for the divorce, and she really has no conviction, she is in the same ‘boat’ as he is. Neither one cares about the Torah except where it personally matters to each, and both will be judged according to the Torah that they have spurned. It does not matter what they do; they will only dig a deeper place into the Lake of Fire and Sulfur. Had they feared Yehovah the God of Israel, they would not have minimized any part of the Scriptures.
Suppose that she deeply cares about the Sabbath and all other Sabbaths, though she realizes that she cannot be responsible for the sacrifices, the lack of a priesthood, or the lack of a Temple, but she truly wants to delight in the Torah. Is she right to obtain a divorce and potentially marry another?
She may obtain a divorce, and she may remarry for any death penalty offense including his contempt for the Sabbath and the God of the Sabbath. If she marries a man who is not serious about the Torah, she is asking for another failed marriage. If she marries one who is conscientious about the Torah, she is marrying equally if he is of the same faith as she.
I described her as being an unbeliever, by which I mean that she does not believe in Yeshua. She may be a believer in the God of the Tenach (the ‘Old Testament’) to the degree that she has learned about Him in Truth. She may have a fair amount of tradition mixed into her beliefs. If he holds the same views as she does, or is willing to go along with her in these matters, and if they determine to seek what is best for the relationship, they will do well.
Two Jewish unbelievers are married. They grow tired of the constant fighting and anger. They obtain a divorce. May the wife marry another man?
If she marries another (the same is true for him!), it will be adultery according to the Torah. If they ignore the Torah, they will still be judged by it (since they have access to a copy). If they have no access to the Torah because they live in the part of Siberia where there is no copy of the Torah, if either one desires Truth, Yehovah will bring it. If they still obtain a divorce, and either remarries, it is adultery even if they do not know! They will be held responsible according to what they knew (or could have known had they not determined to ignore it) when they are judged.
No person is isolated from the Truth of God if that person desires to know. The Spirit of Yehovah is sovereign and omnipresent.
The Jewish couple in question should have worked out their difficulties, and should have taught each other by example to be gracious. Even some Gentiles know this! What is their excuse?
Being an unbeliever isn’t an excuse. It can be a cause of wrong behaviour, but then again it doesn’t have to be! Just because a person is an unbeliever in the Bible doesn’t mean that the person behaves badly. Some of the worst examples of bad behaviour are shown by religious individuals.
All will be judged by their works and what they knew or refused to know, not by their beliefs, if the Bible is Truth.
A Jewish man is married to a Catholic woman. They are in disagreement over the way the children will be reared. She wants the children to learn the Catholic Catechism, and he wants them to go to Hebrew school. The argument becomes bitter. The Jewish man meets another lady who is Jewish. He really likes her. He decides to divorce his wife. Does he have the right to marry this Jewish woman?
The first question is, What is he trying to accomplish? He is married to a Catholic lady, and wants to send his children to Hebrew school? They will be very confused children. What will they believe? Is he planning to train them to become Orthodox Jewish children?
Orthodox Judaism puts stock in the views of the great Rabbis rather than in a direct reading and understanding of the Jewish Scriptures.
Roman Catholicism puts stock in the views of great priests, popes, and other ranking Roman Catholic theologians rather than in a direct reading and understanding of the Jewish Scriptures.
The two faiths are practically twins in these regards.
Does he adhere to the Torah? That is unlikely. If he does, does the Jewish woman in whom he has found this new love interest adhere to the Torah? What cause does this man have to divorce his Catholic wife?
Now, if he were spiritually serious like the serious Israelis were under Ezra and Nehemiah, he might have cause for a divorce. Instead, he is just like his Roman Catholic wife!
He isn’t very interested in the Torah; he is interested in traditions.
Suppose the Jewish man has decided to become very Orthodox and strict in Judaism, and on this ground cannot be any longer married to this Catholic woman. (She has no intention of keeping a kosher home.) Does he have grounds to divorce her? He does, because Orthodoxy views Catholicism as idolatry. He may then marry an Orthodox Jewish woman. Jewish Orthodoxy is the faith of the Bible and of the Torah only if the Rabbis who define the faith are right and infallible.
Most Roman Catholic/Jewish marriages work fine for non-Orthodox folks of both faiths. There usually isn’t a major conflict because the two faiths are so much alike.
Divorce must be in keeping with a person’s own faith. If the Bible is Truth, each person will be judged according to the standards of the God of the Bible regardless of faith, and according to each one’s works. This only matters to folks who believe the Bible, however.
“God hates divorce. My pastor told me that if I get a divorce, I will be sinning, and if I marry someone else, I will be put out of the church. He said that God would never get a divorce, and I should never seek one, either. Is this true?”
The following texts will answer the question:
Jeremiah 3:6 And Yehovah said unto me in the days of Josiah the king, “Hast thou seen what backsliding Israel has done? She has gone up upon every high mountain and under every green tree, and there has committed whoredom. 7And I said, ‘After she has done all these, she will return unto me!’ But she didn’t return. And her treacherous sister Judah saw. 8And I saw that when, for all the causes wherein backsliding Israel committed adultery, I had put her away and given her a bill of divorce, yet treacherous Judah, her sister, feared not, but also went and committed whoredom! 9And it came to pass through the lightness of her whoredom that she polluted the land, and committed adultery with stones and with stocks! 10And even for all this her treacherous sister Judah has not returned unto me with her whole heart, but with falsehood!” says Yehovah. 11And Yehovah said unto me, “Backsliding Israel has shown herself more righteous than treacherous Judah!”
Isaiah 50:1 Thus says Yehovah, “Where is the bill of your mother’s divorcement, whom I have put away?”
Yehovah Himself is presently divorced. He states when He will marry Israel to Himself again:
Hosea 2:14 “Therefore behold, I will allure her. And I will bring her into the wilderness, and speak to her heart. 15And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope. And she shall sing there as in the days of her youth and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt. 16And it shall be, in that day,” says Yehovah, “thou shalt call me, ‘My husband!’ and shall no longer call me, ‘My master.’ 17For I will take away the names of the Baals [masters] out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name. 18And I will make a covenant for them in that day with the beasts of the field and with the fowl of the heavens and the creeping things of the ground. And I will break bow and sword and battle out of the land. And I will make them to lie down safely. 19And I will betroth thee unto me to Hider. And I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness and in justice and in grace and in mercies. 20And I will betroth thee unto me in faithfulness. And thou shalt know Yehovah.”
Yehovah was married to Israel. Israel belongs to Yehovah now. He will destroy anyone who puts his hand against Israel, the pupil of His eye. Yet, He is angry at Israel, and will put Israel through the Tribulation. After Israel has turned, He will remarry her.
Since Yehovah has divorced, it is not proper theology to state that divorce is always wrong (unless you will accuse Yehovah of doing wrong). There are cases where divorce is the “least worst” alternative.
There are some who have taken the view that divorce is a good alternative to a bad marriage, and that anyone can always get out of a bad marriage. Such a view also doesn’t represent the Bible.
“How will things be different for unbelieving Jews who get divorces without cause from unbelieving non-Jews who do the same?”
As I mentioned above, unbelieving Jews will be held to the Torah in the Judgment because they had the Torah, and Yehovah has no difficulty delivering the Torah to anyone who desires Truth. Unbelieving non-Jews will be judged on the basis of what they had and knew from God; this will vary. Yehovah’s judgments will be right and in perfect accord with justice. Consider the following text:
Romans 2:14 For when the Gentiles who don’t have the Torah naturally do the things contained in the Torah, these, not having the Torah, are a Torah unto themselves 15who show the work of the Torah written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and thoughts meanwhile accusing or else excusing one another.
Thus, non-Jewish folks can have access to Yehovah’s Torah (Teaching) through their consciences and thoughts. Yehovah designed it that way. Even very young children demonstrate a sense of right and wrong, justice and injustice.
“I married, hoping that my spouse’s faith would change. I have been working toward this for a while. What should I do now, since I was wrong?”
Quit trying to change the spouse. Quit destroying the reputation of your god (or God, depending on your real faith status). Live Godly and ‘unobnoxiously,’ and with joy to the degree that this is possible. Do what is right.
If you have never carefully read the Bible (and you therefore don’t have a Biblical faith, no matter what you claim), or if you have read the Bible but haven’t understood it, read the Bible literally. Consider its Salvation. (Absolutely no one can believe what the person does not know.) Get to know Yehovah’s justice. No Godly man or woman in the Bible ever tried to convert a spouse. You married the other person for a deceitful and deceptive reason if you planned to turn your spouse into your image of a ‘Christian’! What did you vow? Think! You have tried to be GOD to your spouse. You turn to God. Then live righteously. If your spouse is not pleased to dwell with you, you were the deceitful one.
“What about some person in some far-away corner of the world who cannot read and has no access to the Bible? This person has no chance!”
No person is isolated from the Word of God! Yehovah wrote it on the stars! How do you think that the astrologers who visited Messiah after His birth knew what they knew? Yehovah showed them through the constellations! The expression, ‘wise men’ means astrologers.
When the Israelis and other races began worshipping the stars rather than the Creator, Yehovah commanded the Israelis against the use of constellations for idolatry. He sent prophets who wrote texts that contained the same information (but more of it) found in the constellations. These texts comprise the Bible. He then made occult use of astrology by Israel a death-penalty offense. Members of other races have no such restrictions. If they have no Bible and no access to the Word of God, they can still see the same Truth in the constellations as at the beginning. (Yehovah will instruct any person to read the constellations literally who needs the Word of God in that form.) The heavens declare the Glory of God. The firmament shows the work of His hands! (Those are two good End Times texts!) No person is isolated. But what is your excuse, careless and deluded sinner, for claiming to be a Christian, claiming a faith that you do not know? You are lying to yourself. Will you fool God?
I return back to the question:
If you were honestly fooled by another, you have good grounds for getting out of the marriage if your deceitful spouse is not pleased to dwell with you (assuming that you are Godly as you claim). If your spouse is pleased to dwell with you, and you are therefore not being asked to compromise by sinning, remain married. If he only sins outside of the home, cheating on his taxes (that you sign), fooling around with other women, lying, or doing many other things that do bring disrepute on the home, though he may say that he is pleased to dwell with you, he is not, and you need to part ways with this worker of iniquity.
Were you truly fooled, or did you voluntarily opt to not consider the facts? Do not deceive yourself. If you were truly fooled, would you be fooled again? Have you gotten to know the marks and characteristics of Saints? If you have not, you are not fooled. You are intentionally ignorant of what you claim to be your faith. You are not born of God. One who is born of God loves the things of God, and especially the Word of God. One who loves anything heartily goes after it.
Romans 10:17 So then faith is by hearkening, and hearkening by the word of God.
If you do not know the Word of God, to what do you hearken? Faith cannot come unless and until hearkening first comes! On what do you base your faith? Is it based on what some preacher said? Faith that is based on ignorance is not faith. Faith must be based on what is known with certainty, not on what one would like it to be. Who can honestly say, “I have believed!” except one who can also say, “I have understood, I have hearkened, and now I know what I believe!”?
Beware of so-called ‘Christian’ counseling. It is often the worst form of counsel that one can receive. While there are exceptions, many so-called ‘Christian counselors’ are neither Biblical Christians nor wise counselors. One has a far greater likelihood of finding wise counsel from secular counselors. Religious counselors almost universally have no real concept of the God of the Bible or His ways, and assume terribly erroneous things about the standards of the Bible.
Many cases can be solved with simple practicality. A relationship may sometimes be turned from bad to good with the simplest change in the behaviour of the one who has some wisdom!
When couples are considering divorce, they sometimes choose to seek help to save the faulty relationship. If one or both are Christian, they might consult with a Christian counselor. A counselor who thinks he is a Christian will give what he thinks is the right and best guidance. A secular counselor who has no pretense of faith is often more realistic and takes a broader view of the problem than a religious counselor.
There are foolish counselors in every faith or faithless category, of course. A secular counselor who is good tends to understand the importance of religion, but sees many causes for marriage problems that don’t come back to religion. A truly good Christian counselor will deal with religious individuals in the same ways as good-quality secular counselors. A Christian counselor who is merely religious and self-deceived will miss flaws in the basic understandings that he also has, and will tend to give oversimplified assignments and guidance.
An example of an error of some popular Christian counselors is found in the area of self-esteem. One view holds that self-esteem plays a role in healthy behaviour. Anyone who sees himself as a valuable jewel of God will be able to stand firm against life’s difficulties. A wise secular counselor (or a very unusual Christian counselor) will know that anyone’s value is not based on esteem, but on his sensitivity to and investment in the needs and benefits of others, and in his stand on doing right and being a person of justice according to some absolute standard.
Self-esteem is self-delusion. Circumspection, looking around to see how one’s behaviour affects himself and others, and choosing to behave in a way that is beneficial and according to truth is the best way to make sound decisions. Christian counselors are normal Christians of today, and that certainly is not praiseworthy. Those who are very good and truly Christian are too rare to consider.
A wise counselor will start with the truth. She will cut through excuses, lies and garbage. One or both in the relationship have invested much time and effort in some destructive ‘nothing,’ and will likely want to continue in that pursuit. The counselor will not start with the premise of the basic goodness of man, but with the premise that humans often mess things up, and that humans can participate in excellent and loving relationships. Non-Christian counselors know that works are vital for any relationship to do well. Pseudo-Christian counselors tend to shy away from the theological importance of works. Truly Godly counselors will teach that good works are a must and that no one’s faith is of any consequence if the works are bad, damaging or of no benefit.
A good number of non-Christian counselors can deal well with true Christians. These counselors see religion as important only as it affects the behaviour of the clients.
Too many Christian counselors foolishly and stupidly accept the claim of their clients’ Christianity. They will skip the first step of finding out if this is the case. Since it is usually not the case, such counselors will expect behaviours of their clients that their clients cannot achieve, or their clients can learn to imitate–only to the further destruction of trust.
Never trust a Christian counselor more than a secular one. Never trust any counselor who is not disinterested. Put another way, never trust any counselor who has an agenda (like the salvation of client’s souls) that he or she can freely follow while counseling. Even what appear to be good agendas will tend to blind the counselor to issues vital for resolution.
Always choose a counselor according to her willingness to deal with the truth. Any counselor who sugarcoats the situation or the behaviour of either client is worth nothing. Any counselor who claims to speak for God (like, “God wants you to be happy and to have a good relationship”) is a liar. What God wants, if this is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is Truth, the love of Grace, doing justice, selflessness, the fear of Him, etc. This list may not presently include the type of ‘happiness’ that folks think is so important. Some prophets who were doing right had much reason to not be happy; they saw the innocent being killed by the guilty.
Saints go to non-saints for counseling on physical ailments, on stock options, and on work-related matters. If non-saints have sense, some will have sense regarding interpersonal relationships. They will often see what religious counselors miss, having a very different focus. Their solutions will often be within the framework of Christian ethics.
Some ‘Christian’ counselors give solutions that are far outside the framework of Christian ethics. Telling a person to love a worker of iniquity because it is supposedly his duty to do so is a violation of Christian ethics. A worker of iniquity is hated by God according to Psalm 5:5: “The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.” A secular counselor is more likely to give proper advice: stay away from such a person, and turn him in if he is violating children or is endangering the life of an innocent person. That counsel includes Church pastors and priests who are workers of iniquity. (Some marriages are stressed because congregants hearken to such evil pastors.)
When choosing a counselor, look for these things:
- Direct and clear insight from direct and clear questions
- A response against wrong-doing and a sense of real joy when things are done right
- The refusal to believe anything based upon the testimony of only one person (including your testimony)
- The refusal to deflect responsibility for your actions away from you and onto another (including your rotten parents)
- A willingness to truly anger you when that must be done
- The refusal to use religious jargon
- The refusal to make claims about what God wants for you or what Satan wants
- The refusal to claim knowledge of motives of others, and the refusal to base anything on the motives of others
- The refusal to claim texts that belong solely to Israel as if it were for the modern Christian ‘Church’ or for you, individually
- The refusal to counsel you in such a way that when you leave, you feel more angry at others rather than when you came; instead, you are thinking more about your own behaviour and its affect on others
- The refusal to claim foolish things like Nobody’s perfect (when doing only what is right and being what is right are the only acceptable standards)
- The refusal to keep you coming, paying and paying until your debts become a part of the problem
- The refusal to make you dependent, always striving rather to cause you to be independent in every way, including from your counselor
- Always demonstrating real and true disinterestedness—not having a personal agenda in the outcome
Don’t be fooled. Many counselors make a good living working with the problems of others. Some feel justified dragging clients on and on, bringing them into debt. Others are highly ethical, and truly desire to see their clients learn to handle life’s issues very well. Choose wisely. A couple with marriage problems that seeks wise counsel is doing right. Any marriage will work if both have the right view of relationship and set themselves to do what is required.
One great troubler of relationships is male pride. It comes out in many ways. A common and very erroneous belief is that men are mainly logical and women are mainly emotional. The Bible teaches otherwise. Look at every male and every female mentioned in the Bible. (it won’t take you that long.) Women are usually portrayed as initially and finally logical, and men are portrayed as initially emotional and sometimes finally logical, sometimes finally emotional. Is the Bible correct?
The logic of women can be very good, or it can be used for great cunning and evil. The emotionalism of men makes them tend to be unstable and too quick to improperly, unbeneficially, and foolishly react. Other cultures portray these facts more openly. Middle Eastern men tend to be openly emotional, and women tend to be logical in their responses to life.
If a man works hard to drive his wife to emotionalism so that he can take advantage of this and portray her as weak, he will greatly harm or destroy his relationship with her. If the man gives credit to his wife when she shows real wisdom (if he is not afraid to give her credit), his relationship can turn out to be very strong.
Beware of the so-called ‘Proverbs 31 woman’ (beginning at Proverbs 31:10). She isn’t human since she runs a seven-day-a-week, 24-hours-a-day shift. She is a logical woman who is wise and prudent in all things; I propose that she is a city. (A surprising number of texts in the Bible portray locations, including Mount Zion, Jerusalem and Israel, as persons who speak, react and portray moral behaviours.) Some women desire to be ‘Proverbs 31 women,’ and find that they can’t achieve such a goal. They will find failure, and will wrongly conclude that they cannot please God or their husbands. Plenty of men like to see their women attempt to fit this mold—except where their wives are truly independent (the ‘Proverbs 31 woman’ is definitely independent!).
Women have had to maintain a sense of logic to survive in societies where they have not been treated well. A woman who refuses to use good and sound logic and chooses instead to abase herself by following whims and emotions will do great harm. Men who follow their emotions can end up spending too much money, drinking too much alcohol, sleeping around, buy bass boats that they can’t afford, and so on. Women who follow their emotions instead of following their given logic abase themselves and prove mainly useless. Men have some natural logic, but the logic of women is quick and in greater amounts. For example,
Exodus 4:24 And it came to pass, on the way in the inn, that Yehovah came upon [Moses] and sought to slay him. 25Then Zipporah took a stone and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet. And she said, “A bloody husband indeed art thou to me!” 26And He let him go. Then she said, “A bloody husband!”–because of the circumcision.
The quickness of the logic of woman is seen in the cases of Samson’s parents, Abigail and David, and Martha and Mary (Yeshua’s mother). A good relationship must consider the excellences of the husband and the wife, not the supposed inferiorities. Men who ‘keep their wives down’ are fools, and are usually religious fools.
Anyone who understands the following text will know that I am writing what is true:
Genesis 2:18 And Yehovah Elohim said, “It is not good that the man should be alone. I will make him a help appropriate for him.”
Anyone who is a help must have even greater capacity and insight in areas that the one being helped is deficient. An emotional basket case would not be of much help. A logical and prudent person can be a great help.
If two Saints are married, there are few grounds for divorce (unless one commits a capital punishment offense). A Saint is known for abhorring sin. One who abhors something will avoid it even if avoiding it is very costly. If a Saint commits a capital punishment sin, his salvation needs to be re-examined. Something has gone terribly wrong. It is possible for a Saint to sin; King David did. It is just not likely. The Saint will have the same attitude (by the same Spirit of Yehovah) that Joseph took when he said,
Genesis 39:9 “None is greater in this house than I, neither has he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife. How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God?”
This corresponds to the verse in 1 John:
1 John 3:9 Whosoever is born of God doesn’t commit sin (for His seed remains in him, and He cannot sin) because he is born of God.
Only a child or a Saint would say, “I can’t,” when it comes to sinning.
If a Saint and a non-saint are married, there can be many grounds for divorce, some of which are listed below:
- If the non-saint cannot tolerate the home being run according to the standards of Godliness, and thus is not pleased to dwell with the Saint
- If the non-saint does death-penalty offenses (such as adultery, sexual perversion, molestation, murder, open idolatry, etc.)
- If the non-saint abandons the home or refuses to participate in its support
- If the non-saint pushes the Saint to compromise on faith for the sake of peace
- If the non-saint is involved with illegal means of profit for which the Saint would also be held responsible
- If the non-saint lies and destroys the trust
- If the non-saint takes a stand against Israel, and demands compliance
If the Saint practices any of the above, there are grounds for considering that the person might not be a Saint!
If two non-Jewish non-saints are married, they may do as they please. They do not need Biblical grounds for a divorce because the Bible doesn’t represent their faith(s).
Many non-saints hold to a very high level of faithfulness and wisdom. Some forms of idol worship promote permanent and good marriage relationships under even horrible conditions! Non-saints follow their own gods, and Yehovah will judge them according to their works (the same standard by which He will judge Saints). They will be held responsible for what they knew or could have known had they cared enough to look and to seek Truth.
Jewish non-saints will be judged according to their works using the standards of the Torah and their consciences (constructed and given by Yehovah). The conscience is much greater than what many recognize:
Romans 2:2 We are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them who commit such things. 3And thinkest thou this, man, who judges them who do such things, and doest the same, that thou shalt escape the judgment of God? 4Or dost thou despise the riches of His goodness and forbearance and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads thee to repentance? 5But thou treasurest up wrath unto thyself after thy hardness and impenitent heart against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God 6Who will render to every man according to his deeds— 7to them who seek for glory and honour and immortality—eternal life—by patient continuance in well doing, 8but unto them who are contentious and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath, 9tribulation and anguish upon every soul of man that does evil—of the Jew first, and also of the Greek, 10but glory, honour and peace to every man who works good—to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. 11For there is no respect of persons with God. 12For as many as have sinned without Torah shall also perish without Torah, and as many as have sinned in the Torah shall be judged by the Torah. 13For the hearers of the Torah are not righteous before God, but the doers of the Torah shall be justified! 14For when the Gentiles who don’t have the Torah naturally do the things contained in the Torah, these are a Torah unto themselves, not having the law, 15who show the work of the Torah written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and thoughts accusing or else excusing one another the mean while, 16in the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Messiah Yeshua, according to my gospel.
If such a person has burned his own conscience into a non-functional state, that is deliberate sabotage of what Yehovah gave for knowledge of right and wrong.
If a Jewish non-saint is married to a non-Jewish non-saint, the Jewish non-saint will be held accountable to the Torah as in the paragraph above, and the non-Jewish non-saint will be judged by Yehovah according to what he knew or could have known had he cared to look, and by the conscience. Folks can ignore their consciences just as they can the Torah, and folks can misread their own consciences just as they misread Scriptures. An overactive conscience can condemn when nothing is wrong, and a burnt conscience can give little information when something should be wrong. Thus, one must learn how to use the conscience. It is a tool for morality and ethics, and is God-given. Nature cannot provide a conscience.
If two religiously oriented so-called ‘Christians’ are married, neither one being born of God, they will be judged by the book that they claimed to follow whether they followed it or not. They took the Name of the Messiah of Israel into their mouths, and they claimed to represent Him. They will be held responsible for their living denial of the truth, including any and all blasphemy that they did in the process.
If anyone has obtained a divorce and then marries another on improper grounds, and has now realized this and feels guilty, the conscience works. If he desires to do right now, and is in the middle of the dilemma whether to stay in a present improperly formed relationship or return to a former one, once marriage has occurred, returning back is an abomination. The person must do right now.
If two so-called ‘Christians’ divorced, and if neither has married another, if both are willing to return, they can do so if that is wise and if they have solved the problems.
If two are unmarried and living together, and one has become a Believer, the Believer must be wise. Jumping into marriage may not be wise, and destroying the relationship may not be wise. Think carefully. If children are involved, determine the wisest course. Don’t make a religious decision! Knowing what to do is often easier than it first appears. If the marriage will not survive, get out of the relationship. If the marriage will survive, if no compromise on Godliness will be necessary, if the unbelieving potential ‘spouse’ is pleased to dwell with the Believing potential ‘spouse,’ consider making the marriage legal; cheating the government is sin. Wisely give the unbelieving spouse an opportunity to consider the issue of faith without pressure. Use wisdom. Be patient. Do not be quick to make radical decisions in this circumstance. Doing the wrong thing won’t correct a wrong situation. The Saint is not required to marry for the sake of the children.
Anyone who is wise will carefully inspect before getting married. If you are already married and have become a Believer, think carefully before you do something that you regret, and think thoroughly lest you do nothing, and your new faith is destroyed before any fruit can come. Seek wise counsel if you do not know what to do, and seek a number of counselors:
Proverbs 11:14 Where no counsel is, the people fall. But in the multitude of counselors is safety.
Proverbs 15:22 Without counsel, purposes are disappointed. But in the multitude of counselors they are established.
(Those texts have specific timings, but I think you can see the wisdom in divorce/marriage considerations.)
If you are unable to find any wise counselors, Yehovah will give you wise counsel Himself if you are patient, and if you seek it from Him. (Don’t use the Bible as an Ouija Board.) No one who seeks Truth and Wisdom will ever be left in an ethically or morally impossible position to the violation of righteousness. I propose that the following promise to Israelis will not be denied to anyone who truly and fervently seeks this from God:
James 1:5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he shall ask from God Who gives to all liberally and doesn’t upbraid, and it shall be given him.
You probably will have to pay a price for righteousness, and the price may be steep, but it will be far less than the price that you will pay if you refuse to pursue righteousness.
Do what is right.