Divorce & Remarriage (2)
Biblical Teachings On The Subject:
The five books of Moses, known as the Pentateuch, are revered because of the pedigree of the writer, Moses, who spoke to God face-to-face. In the beginning, God instituted the union called marriage by creating Eve from Adam’s Rib. It was a perfect union of love and trust until the fall of man. The fall of man brought a great distrust in buck-passing from Adam to Eve and from Eve to the Serpent. The fall of man also brought in the most significant breach of troth with God and the two; the great disobedience in eating the forbidden fruit. That resulted in the rupture of the divinely instituted order of right, troth, and love, putting the conjugal bond asunder.
The Marriage Teaching of Old Testament (OT) is not in conformity with the divine Institution as created in the beginning but as it evolved from the rupture of the divine Institution (Marriage). That was why Moses permitted divorce on any grounds. Deuteronomy 24:1-3 forms the protasis, stating the divorce conditions, while verse 4 is the apodosis according to S. R. Driver. Joseph Reider explained these verses in the sentence, “The chief concern of the law is to prevent remarriage after divorce.”
Other passages in the Pentateuch reveal the practice of divorce, such as Lev. 21:7, 14; 22:13; Num. 30:9 (10); Dt. 22:19, 29; cf Isa. 50:1; Jer 3:1; Ezek 44:22). Driver says: “Hebrew law, does not institute divorce, but tolerates it, because of the imperfections of human nature.“ John Murray remarked that in the very act of divorce, there is an intrinsically wrong not compatible with the absolute standard of right. Christ is the illumination to all things right and good. Certain acts are directly recognized as universally and unconditionally wrong. Falsehood, for example, is known to be wrong, not from its incompatibility with social well-being but its very nature. Honesty is exemplary, not because of its financial and social results.
Marriage Teachings Of New Testament (NT)
The typical Jewish conception was that marriage was the proper and honorable estate for all men. ‘Any Jew without a wife is no man’ (Talmud). The view of the Essene that avoided marriage as unclean and degraded is not in NT (1Tim 4:3). Jesus Christ, however, emphasizes the propriety of the unmarried state in certain instances (Matt 19:12).
James Hastings in Hastings Dictionary said Paul’s views undoubtedly changed. Paul in I Th. 4:4 regard marriage as a safeguard against immorality. He makes the subject prominent in 1 Co. In 7:1, 7, 8, 38, he prefers the unmarried state, allowing marriage for the same reason as in 1 Th. (1 Co 7: 2, 9, 36). Paul gives three reasons for his attitude, the one purely temporary, and the others valid under certain conditions:
- (a) it is connected with the view he afterward abandoned of the nearness of the Parousia (V.31); there would be no need to provide for the continuance of the race.
- (b) It was a time of distress, i.e., hardship and persecution (v.26), and
- (c) Marriage brings distractions and cares (v. 32).
The one-sidedness of this view was corrected by his later teaching as to the sanctity of the marriage state. The keynote is struck by our Lord’s action in the significance of the Cana miracle (Jn 2). It corresponds with Christ’s teaching that marriage is a Divine Institution (Matt 19:9). So Eph 5: 22, Col 3:18, and the Pastoral Epistles’ assume that the married state is normal in the Christian Church. It is raised to the highest pinnacle as the type of union between Christ and His Church. This conception emphasizes the honorableness of the estate and the heinousness of all sins against it; husband and wife are one flesh (Eph 5; cf. He 13:4). It is then right and proper to be married and be happy. Without marriage, it is assumed you are incomplete.
A Serious Look At A Serious Problem:
Paul warned us through the Scripture not to be unequally yoked. Unequal yoking leads to separation and, at times, divorce. Jesus preached on repentance and forgiveness. The reality on the ground is that our hearts are hardened. We are stubborn like the Israelites of old; many unresolved issues lead to separation. That is the reason for the rampant dissolution of marriages.
All error is the Devil’s error. And honestly, the Devil is at work sending scripts into Christian doctrines and shaking the Christian faith’s foundation. Despite the Christian teachings and values, the divorce rate among Christians is climbing. There is no difference between the Church and the world in divorce matters. The Pulpit is not spared either; Pastors and Ministers of God divorce their wives and remarry others. I dare not downplay the fearful gravity of this matter.
Most Christians who sincerely believe they know the morality of divorce and remarriage are unaware that their understanding of the Bible’s teaching on this subject is dangerously shallow. I need you to ponder seriously on the points I am making; do not jump to a conclusion until you read my closing line. I am appealing also that you do not get confused because you will discover that some points seem pro-divorce and some seem anti-divorce. That’s because I am harmonizing the views to sieve them clearly for the manifestation of God’s perspective. Let us carefully examine the marital bond’s origin, “The Institution of Marriage, carefully.”
Divorce is an unscripted word (idiom) that crept into the home and Church and caught us unaware. God instituted marriage and not divorce. He created marriage as a blissful union. God did not want the man to be alone, so God gave the man a helpmeet. He created one man and one woman to be united for life—one flesh, as one before God. What God has joined together, let no man separate (Mt 19:6, Mk 10:9). The Principle is simple: God never contemplated separation, and he never desires that such a holy union as marriage should be dissolved. Divorce is one of the weird intrusions into men’s affairs by the Devil’s poisonous injection. Jesus in Matt 19:4-6 begins by going back to the beginning; God’s original design. That is indicative of the genuine desire of God. Gen. 2: 23, 24 set out the nature and basis of marriage. It implies that divorce could not be and should not be contemplated.
Divorce crept in as an output of the rupture of the divinely instituted order of right, troth, and love created by God. This rupture is the resultant effect of the breach of troth with God; that occurred during the Fall of Man. The sin of Adam and Eve defiled all relationships, including the sanctity of the marriage bond. The man was separated from God at the fall of man; the restoration of humankind came only through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, who shed His blood on the Cross. Only in Christ can one be made truly new and inherit eternal life by repentance and forgiveness of sin. The Jewish culture understands that once a marriage covenant is established, the bride would be set apart exclusively for the bridegroom.
King Solomon warned about arousing or awakening love until it so desires (in marriage) – Song of Songs 2: 7, 3: 5, 8: 4: Daughters of Jerusalem, I charge you by the gazelles and by the does of the field; Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires.
***read Divorce & Remarriage (3) on Wednesday, July 27, 2022.