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Marriage, Divorce and Remarriage (2) : Divorce and Remarriage

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SIH STSTA ICONMal 2:13-16 (KJV)

13) And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth [it] with good will at your hand.  14) Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet [is] she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.  15) And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.  16) For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for [one] covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.

As one of the most important institutions that the Lord established, marriage is a very important subject that Christians need to understand and honor.  In this series we will be looking at:

  1. What we need to know about marriage to understand divorce.
  2. The definition, allowance and purpose of divorce and allowance of remarriage.
  3. The Biblical grounds for divorce (fornication).
  4. The Biblical grounds for divorce (loss of favour).
  5. The Biblical grounds for divorce (departure).
  6. A Summary Of Our Study and Closing Thoughts

What does the Bible mean when it speaks of divorce?
Does God allow divorce?
If God allows divorce, what is His purpose in this allowance?
Does God allow remarriage following divorce?

Folks, these are very important and, in some ways, complicated questions that we are about to attempt to answer.  For some, our beliefs have been based upon a personal study of God’s Word and we have become convinced of our beliefs by the Holy Spirit.  It is to this group that I have a great deal of respect as you have sought to come to your conclusions based upon the Word and the leading of the holy Spirit.

There are many others who have simply accepted what they have heard taught about this complicated subject and have accepted the teachings of man without ever searching the Scriptures and becoming convinced of their beliefs by the indwelling Spirit of God.  To this group I would like to send a friendly reminder… we are all responsible to study these things on our own.  If we are saved and, therefore, have the Spirit of God within us we have the ability to understand these truths and be assured of their validity Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.  For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake [as they were] moved by the Holy Ghost.”  2Pet 1:20-21 (KJV)

It is of this spirit that I begin this study on this very difficult subject.  It is not to attempt to persuade anyone of my beliefs.  It is only to share with you what I believe God’s Word teaches us, with an understanding that you will pursue your own study of this subject and, through the leadership of the Spirit, come to your own convictions on this subject.  My one plea is for you to not continue to accept anyone’s beliefs (including my own) without doing your own, personal, study of this subject.

Far too often this subject has been confused and perverted, causing some to believe that which is not true.  There can only be one set of teachings that are true.  The existence of many different views on this subject proves that there is much false teaching that is being accepted as truth.

Let’s continue our study by attempting to answer some of the questions we have posed in the beginning paragraphs of this introduction.  I will be answering these questions as simply as possible by making reference to Bible verses and allowing them to speak for themselves.

THE SCRIPTURES:

Deut 24 1-4;  Mal 2:13-16;  Matt 5:27-32;  Matt 19:3-9;  Mark 10:2-12;  Luke 16:18;
1Cor 7:10-16;  1Cor 7:39-40

THE STUDY:

QUESTION #1 – What does the Bible mean when it speaks of divorce?

The Bible uses several different terms to describe divorce:

1. Divorcement –  This term helps us to understand that the divorce is the act of destroying, or removing the marital covenant resulting in the covenant being rendered void and going out of existence. Note some of the meanings of this term are : to destroy, to consume, and to remove.

OT – kriythuwth – to cut off, to destroy, to consume – Deu 24:1,3; Isa 50:1
NT – apostasion – to separate, to remove, to withdrawl – Matt 5:31; Matt 19:7; Mark 10:4

2. To put away – This term helps us to understand that once a divorce occurs each party is relieved of the obligations of that covenant.  Note some of the definitions of the term in relationship to the marital covenant… the covenant is “withdrawn”, the covenantal responsibilities are “forsaken” and “sent away”, the covenant is “undone”, “laid aside”, and “plucked away”.   The parties of the covenant are “loosed” from their responsibilities to fulfill the covenant.  They are “pardoned’ in the sense of released from further obligation.  They are given “leave” of their obligations.

OT – yatsa’ – to go out, to come out, to depart, to withdrawl, – Ezra 10:3, 19;
OT – shalach – to send away, to leave, to depart, to forsake – Isa 50:1; Jer 3:1;
OT – cuwr – to turn off, to lay aside, to be undone, to pluck away – Jer 4:1
NT – apoluo – to release, to loose, to pardon, to depart – Matt 5:31,32,19:3,8,9;  Mark 2:10,11,12; Luke 16:18,
NT – aphiemi – to send forth, to forgive, to omit, to leave – 1 Cor 7:11

3.  To put asunder – This term helps us to see that a divorce is placing a separation between the parties of the covenant.  Because the covenant is destroyed the relationship between the parties no longer exists… they are now “separated” from one another.  Before they were “united” and now they are “pulled apart” and “room is placed between them”.

OT – None
NT – chorizo – to pull apart, to separate, to place room between – Matt 19:6, Mark 10:9

4. To send out – This term used to express the act of the divorcer against the divorcee.  The one who decides the divorce (whether scriptural or not) is the one who is “pushing away” their spouse, they are “departing” from their spouse, it is as if they are “shooting out their spouse” from the relationship to which they had entered.

OT – shalach – to send away, to send out, to push away, to let depart, to shoot out – Deut 24:1,3

ANSWER:  Based upon our look at the terms for the act of divorce in the Bible we can find a very simple, yet, important definition for “divorce”….

Scripturally, divorce is the declaration that a marital covenant has been destroyed resulting in the removal of the obligations of the covenant and a separation of the parties who had been united by the covenant.  This act of divorce is based upon the actions and decisions of the parties of the covenant bringing upon them the responsibility for the rupturing of the marital union.

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QUESTION #2 – Does God allow divorce?

 Due to Loss of Favour (or Hatred)
Deut 24
1) When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give [it] in her hand, and send her out of his house.  2) And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s [wife].  3) And [if] the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth [it] in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her [to be] his wife;  4) Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that [is] abomination before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee [for] an inheritance.

Due to Fornication
Matt 5:27-32 (KJV)
27) Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:  28) But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.  29) And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast [it] from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not [that] thy whole body should be cast into hell.  30) And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast [it] from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not [that] thy whole body should be cast into hell.  31)  It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:  32) But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.
(Matt 19:3-9, Mark 10:3-12)

Due to Departure 
1Cor 7:10-16 (KJV)
10) And unto the married I command, [yet] not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from [her] husband:  11) But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to [her] husband: and let not the husband put away [his] wife.  12) But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.  13) And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.  14) For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.  15) But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such [cases]: but God hath called us to peace.  16) For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save [thy] husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save [thy] wife?

ANSWER:Based upon the above verses, in both Testaments, we find that divorce is allowed in some cases.  Those cases are “loss of favour”, “fornication”, and “departure”

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QUESTION #3:- What is God’s purpose in allowing divorce?

Matt 19:3-9 (KJV) – protection of the innocent – “hardness of heart”…
3) The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?  4) And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made [them] at the beginning made them male and female,  5) And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?  6) Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.  7) They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away?  8) He saith unto them,  Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away your wives: but from the beginning it was not so.  9) And I say unto you, Whosoever shall put away his wife, except [it be] for fornication, and shall marry another, committeth adultery: and whoso marrieth her which is put away doth commit adultery. (Mark 10:3-12)

Note the hardness of heart shown by  “finds no favour” and “hate her”
Deut 24
1) When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give [it] in her hand, and send her out of his house.  2) And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s [wife].  3) And [if] the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth [it] in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her [to be] his wife;  4) Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that [is] abomination before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee [for] an inheritance.

hardness of heart shown by  “dealt treacherously” and “violence” against spouse
Malachi 2
13) And this have ye done again, covering the altar of the LORD with tears, with weeping, and with crying out, insomuch that he regardeth not the offering any more, or receiveth [it] with good will at your hand.  14) Yet ye say, Wherefore? Because the LORD hath been witness between thee and the wife of thy youth, against whom thou hast dealt treacherously: yet [is] she thy companion, and the wife of thy covenant.  15) And did not he make one? Yet had he the residue of the spirit. And wherefore one? That he might seek a godly seed. Therefore take heed to your spirit, and let none deal treacherously against the wife of his youth.  16) For the LORD, the God of Israel, saith that he hateth putting away: for [one] covereth violence with his garment, saith the LORD of hosts: therefore take heed to your spirit, that ye deal not treacherously.

ANSWER: God allows divorce to protect the hated party of the marital agreement from abuse and mistreatment due to the hardness (hatred) of a spouse’s heart.Malachi describes this as “dealing treacherously” with a person’s spouse. 

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QUESTION #4:-  Does God allow remarriage following divorce?

The allowance – she may go and be another man’s wife
Deut 24:1-4
1) When a man hath taken a wife, and married her, and it come to pass that she find no favour in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her: then let him write her a bill of divorcement, and give [it] in her hand, and send her out of his house.  2) And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s [wife].  3) And [if] the latter husband hate her, and write her a bill of divorcement, and giveth [it] in her hand, and sendeth her out of his house; or if the latter husband die, which took her [to be] his wife;  4) Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled; for that [is] abomination before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee [for] an inheritance.

The allowance – let him give her a writing of divorcement (this allowed her to remarry)…. That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery (if fornication is present, remarriage DOES NOT CAUSE ADULTERY)…
Matt 5:28-32
28) But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.  29) And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast [it] from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not [that] thy whole body should be cast into hell.  30) And if thy right hand offend thee, cut it off, and cast [it] from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not [that] thy whole body should be cast into hell.  31)  It hath been said, Whosoever shall put away his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement:  32) But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced committeth adultery.  (Matt 19:3-9)

The allowance – a brother or sister is not under bondage in such cases.
1Cor 7:10-16
10) And unto the married I command, [yet] not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from [her] husband:  11) But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to [her] husband: and let not the husband put away [his] wife.  12) But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.  13) And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.  14) For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.  15) But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such [cases]: but God hath called us to peace.  16) For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save [thy] husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save [thy] wife?

ANSWER:  In both Testaments, the Lord allows for remarriage following divorce in the cases of “loss of favour”, “fornication” and “departure”.

As we can clearly see, to understand the Bible teachings concerning divorce and remarriage we must come to an understanding of the Biblical grounds of “loss of favour”, “fornication” and “departure”.  As we continue our study we will be looking at which each one involves by taking a more detailed look at several of the passages we have referenced in this study.

SUMMARY:

What we have seen so far can be summarized as follows:

In lesson #1:
1. Marriage is a covenant relationship
2. The parties of the covenant are the husband and wife
3. God is the witness to the making of the covenant, He is not a party in the covenant
4. God as witness will hold each party accountable to keep the promise they made to each other.
5. Marriage is described as a “cleaving” and a “one-flesh” relationship
6. Both of these descriptions imply a closeness, unity and intimacy between the couple
7. The marriage union SHOULD NOT BE broken by man but CAN BE broken by man.
8. Man’s responsibility in a marriage union can be summarized as “to love” and “to nourish” and “to cherish” the wife
9. Woman’s responsibility in a marriage union can be summarized as “to be a help meet” and “to be a companion” to the husband.

In lesson #2:
1.   Divorce is the act of destroying, or removing the marital covenant resulting in the covenant being rendered void and going out of existence. The parties of the covenant are held responsible for the breaking of it.
2.   Divorce is allowed in cases of “loss of favour”, “fornication”, or “departure”
3.   God allows divorce to protect the innocent party from abuse and mistreatment.
4.   God allows for remarriage following divorce in the cases of “loss of favour”, “fornication” and “departure”

As we continue our study, we need to try to remember the above points about marriage and divorce.  In our next lesson we will be continuing to look at God’s teachings on divorce.

For a free copy of this series in book form pdf version: please go to: http://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/mardivremprotected.pdf

For a free copy of this series in book form docx version: please go to: http://settledinheaven.files.wordpress.com/2012/09/mardivremprotected1.docx

Settled In Heaven Ministries Text Blog: http://settledinheaven.wordpress.com


6 Comments

  1. terry1954 says:

    thank you Rob for this great Sunday sermon

  2. SLIMJIM says:

    Never was conscious of the loss of favor passage before…need to look into that more. Thanks for sharing that passage and this study.

    • Rob Barkman says:

      During the course of preparing for this study, I ran across several things that are not normally included in a study on M/D/R. The whole experience has been a real learning experience for me. I am grateful the Lord has brought some of these to my attention and has allowed me to share what He has shown me. I trust the Lord will continue to bless you in your study on this subject.

  3. While I understand your explanation of the fact it is a covenant of man under God which the two are responsible and God is the witness …therefore even though God wants us to keep it…it is man’s decision …

    What I have difficulty with is that the NT seems to be narrower in when divorce is allowed and more cut and dried…but I think I’ll have to re-read it…Thanks for the insight given..Diane…

    • Rob Barkman says:

      Hi Diane,
      Thanks so much for your input. The way you look at things is a very common teaching. Basically, there are many who base their beliefs on M/D/R on the NT scriptures only without taking account of the OT passages. Many (but not all) of those that see a difference in these commands hold to a doctrinal mindset called “dispensationalism”. When I was in Bible college I was taught that doctrinal system but over the years I have come to see it goes against the teachings of Scripture.

      Over the years, I have come to realize that the only parts of the OT that no longer apply to us are the commands in the civil law (the law given to the Nation of Israel) and the ceremonial law (things like the sacrifices, the priestly duties etc). I believe that the OT limitations on divorce are a part of the moral commands of God (other of the moral commands are do not lie, do not steal, death penalty, nature of the marriage covenant etc). Since the marriage union described in the OT is the exact same marriage union in the NT, I have a difficult time understanding why the limitations on divorce should not be applied to the NT times as well.

      As the series progresses you will see it is possible to reconcile all of the commands concerning marriage and divorce found in both testaments. As a matter of fact, we will see that the limitations onm divorce that Christ and Paul gave in the NT are the EXACT SAME limitation that the OT puts on divorce. There really is no difference between the two teastaments when it comes to the grounds for divorce.

      You will understand more about what I am saying as the series progresses.

      Lord bless you Diane. Really glad to hear your input. May the Lord bless you as you come to your own understanding of the Scriptures on these points.

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