6 April 2021
Series: Bible study
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Divorce and remarriage in the Bible

Speaker: Apostle Ernie

DIVORCE AND REMARRIAGE IN THE BIBLE

Do you, as a Christian, believe the Bible? Of course, you do; as a Christian, you accept the Bible when it says there is only one way to God: through the death, burial, and resurrection of God’s Son Jesus Christ. As a Christian, do you believe a thief and a murderer can inherit the Kingdom of God (heaven)? Of course not, 1.Chor 6:9 says no murderer and no thief can inherit the Kingdom of God, only a repented murderer and a repented thief who profess faith in Christ can enter heaven. What does it mean to repent? It means we admit we have sinned and we quit sinning; we stop doing what God sees as sin. If there is no repentance, you as a Christian would never believe someone is saved, even if they profess faith in Jesus as their Lord and Savior. 

If another Christian came along and said, Christians need to accept homosexuality and abortion. They even said Christians should encourage people to have an abortion; you would rightfully say they were not a true Christian. No true Christian can encourage people to murder their children and do what is an abomination in the eyes of our God. 

The Bible even agrees with you; it says in Isaiah 5:20, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” In Prov 17:15, the Bible says those who call evil good and good evil are detestable to Yehovah (God). According to the Bible, if anyone said homosexuality and abortion is a good thing, they would be detestable to Yehovah. 

In Matthew 5:32, we read, “But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” 

The Greek word used here for sexual immorality is porneia which means fornication. Fornication is consensual sex between a man and a woman not married to each other. The Greek word used here for adultery is moicheuo which means adultery. Adultery is consensual sex between a married person and a person who is not their spouse. So, according to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, the only grounds for divorce is fornication. You can’t commit fornication if you are already married because fornication can only happen between a man or a woman who is not married. But if you divorce after you have gotten married, you become guilty of adultery, and if you marry someone who is divorced, you are guilty of adultery. 

What exactly is Jesus saying here? 

The Gospel of Matthew was originally written in Hebrew to Jewish believers. Today, the church suffers under years of antisemitic leaders such as Martin Luther, Emperor Constantine, and the accepted heresy of Marcion of Sinope and Simon Magus. Because such heresy has been adopted and accepted as Biblical doctrine, the church has lost contact with its Jewish roots. 

In Judaism, the betrothal period (the engagement) is considered to be legally binding as a marriage even if they are not yet married to each other. So when Jesus says the only reason for divorce is fornication, and we can only be guilty of fornication if we are not married, we understand He is referring to the betrothal period. He is saying here is this; if you discover your fiancee has been unfaithful to you, you are permitted to break off the engagement. But if you got through with the wedding and you then divorce, you become guilty of adultery. If you marry someone who is already divorced, you become guilty of adultery. Adultery is sex between a married person and someone who is not their spouse. If he says marrying someone who is divorced makes us guilty of adultery, He shows us that a divorced person is still married to their first spouse. 

In Malachi 2:16, our God says divorce is hateful, so it is a hateful thing to do when someone divorces someone. We all know Jesus says in the Gospels if you hate someone, you are guilty of murder. 

So let us try to summarize what we know so far:

  1. Jesus says you are only allowed to break off the engagement if your fiancee has been unfaithful to you. 
  2. If you go through with the wedding, you can not divorce under any circumstances. 
  3. If you ignore this and choose to divorce your spouse, you are guilty of adultery AND murder. 
  4. If you marry someone who is divorced, you are guilty of adultery.

Paul says in 1.Chor 6 no adulterers can enter heaven when they die. John says in 1. John 3:15 no murderers can enter heaven when they die. 

So if you are divorced and remarried, God sees you as an adulterer. If you are the one who divorced your spouse, God sees you as a murderer AND as an adulterer. 

But what about Paul? Did he not make an exception?

In 1.Chor 7:10-11, Paul says the same thing as Jesus. Do not divorce under any circumstances. Paul also says that if a spouse has no choice, they have to leave because of abuse, they are to remain single for the rest of their lives or reconcile to their first spouse. In 1.Chor 7:15, Paul says if an unbeliever wants out of the marriage, they should be allowed to leave. Paul does not say the believing spouse is free to remarry, so if an unbeliever wants out, let them go, but you have no choice in the matter; you have to stay single. 

Do you know what the first sin of man was? It was not eating of the apple from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In Genesis, we see Eve adding to God’s word before she ate of the apple. Because she changed God’s instructions, the serpent was able to tempt her to eat the apple. Changing God’s word, adding to it, or removing something from it is a sin with serious consequences. Paul says in 1.Chor 7:15 we should let the unbelieving spouse depart; he does not say we are free to remarry. If we choose to interpret Paul to mean that we are free to remarry, we become guilty of the exact same sin as Eve. 

So what do we know so far? 

Both Paul and Jesus agree: 

A divorce is never an option; you will become guilty of murder and adultery if you choose to divorce. If you marry someone who is divorced, you will become guilty of adultery. If you are in an abusive marriage, you can separate to protect yourself, but you can never divorce or remarry. You either stay single or reconcile with your first spouse. If you have an unbelieving spouse who desires to leave the marriage, he or she is free to divorce, but you are not free to remarry. 

What about Moses? Did Moses permit divorce and remarriage? 

In Deut 24:1, Moses says: If a man marries a woman who becomes displeasing to him because he finds something indecent about her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce, gives it to her and sends her from his house. 

The word used here for the indecent thing is the Hebrew word erwat. Erwat in Hebrew is best translated as fornication. We would automatically see fornication as consensual sex between a man and a woman who is not married. But in Deut 22:13-21, Moses says sex before marriage demands the death penalty by stoning, and in Deut 24:1, he says we are to divorce and send them away. So this proves Deut 24:1 is not about fornication meaning consensual sex between a man and a woman who is not married.

The word erwat can also be interpreted to mean idol worship. As Moses says elsewhere in the Old Testament and Jesus says in the Gospel of John, we are guilty of fornication when we worship idols. In this case, in Deut 24:1 Moses, the indecent thing that is ground for divorce is idol worship. 

This is the same thing as Paul says in 1.Chor 7:15 if you have a spouse who refuses to worship the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, they are free to leave the marriage if they want to. Moses then says that they (the unbelieving spouse) are free to remarry but nowhere does Moses say that the believing spouse is free to remarry. 

Moses and Paul’s only apparent difference is that Moses seems to say that if the unbelieving spouse desires to return to her first husband, the first husband is not allowed to take her back. When Paul says, in 1.Chor 7, the unbelieving spouse is free to depart; he never says they are free to return, and he never says the believing spouse is free to remarry. 

In the book of Acts, Paul is repeatedly accused of preaching against Moses and the law of Moses. Time and time again, we see Paul proving their accusations wrong. None of his accusers were able to prove that he had preached against Moses. This shows us how Paul could not disagree with Moses in Deut 24 because if he had disagreed, then their accusations would have been proven right. 

We have to remember one important thing; when Paul is preaching to the Corinthians, he preaches to an assembly of gentile God-fearers and Jewish believers in Jesus. What is a God-fearer? A God-fearer is a gentile who has almost converted to Judaism and openly worships Yehovah, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This is a gentile who keeps all the laws of Moses pertaining to his or her in a time when the temple was still standing. So the assembly in Corinth was very different from today’s Christian churches. 

We also have to remember one other important thing; when Paul wrote Corinthians, the New Testament did not exist. The New Testament would not exist for another 3-400 years, so the only Bible the corinthians had in their possession was the Old Testament. Even though they lived after the cross and the ascension of Christ, they still saw the Old Testament as being relevant. 

This shows us how the assembly in Corinth knew very well what Moses had said in Deut 24. So what Paul says in 1.Chor 7:15 is not in opposition to Deut 24. 

So how are we to understand Deut 24 and 1.Chor 7:15? 

If we have an unbelieving spouse who wants out of the marriage, they are free to go. If they desire to remarry someone else, we can not stop them from doing so. We who are saved and believers are not permitted to remarry under any circumstances; we are not allowed to take our first spouse back even if they want to come back. 

This is why the Bible says we are forbidden to marry someone who is an unbeliever. And if both spouses start of as unbelievers, and then only one of them gets saved, then we have to accept the possibility that they might leave, and we are left to remain single for the rest of our lives. 

Paul never says in 1.Chor 7:15 we are allowed to take the unbelieving spouse back. He never says we are allowed to remarry. If we try to make Paul say something he did not say, we are doing the exact same sin as Eve did when she added to the word of God. 

Does it seem unfair that you have to live the rest of your life single if you unbelieving spouse departs? There are many areas of the world where Christians are persecuted for their faith. We have brothers and sisters in Christ in these areas of the world who are forced every day to choose between Christ or their spouse because their spouse is an unbeliever. The Bible does not promise us it would be easy to be a Christian; we in the western world have been exempt so far from having to suffer for being a Christian. Does your spouse mean more to you than the Blood of Christ? Having to choose between your spouse and the Blood of Christ should not be a difficult choice to make. The Blood of Christ is for eternity, a marriage is for a short lifetime here on earth. Hopefully you will never have to make that choice; hopefully you can have both. But some of you will have to make that choice, and both Paul and Moses say, you can not under any circumstances remarry anyone, not even your first unbelieving spouse. 

The only time the Bible permits remarriage is when your first spouse dies. If you have to separate to protect yourself from abuse, you can do so, but you have to live single if you can’t reconcile with your first spouse. 

If another Christian came along and said, Christians need to accept homosexuality and abortion. They even said Christians should encourage people to have an abortion; you would rightfully say they were not a true Christian. No true Christian can encourage people to murder their children and do what is an abomination in the eyes of our God. 

The Bible even agrees with you; it says in Isaiah 5:20, “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.” In Prov 17:15, the Bible says those who call evil good and good evil are detestable to Yehovah (God). According to the Bible, if anyone said homosexuality and abortion is a good thing, they would be detestable to Yehovah. 

When Christians accept and sometimes encourage remarriages and divorce, we are no better than the Christian who believes it is ok to practice homosexuality and promote abortions. 

The Bible says anyone who considers homosexuality, abortion, murder, and adultery a good thing is detestable to Yehovah. 

Divorce is murder; remarriage is adultery. 

Repent and come out of your sins while it is still time. Repentance means admit it and quit it. If you can’t come back to your first spouse, remain single until he or she dies, then you can remarry. If you can reconcile to your first spouse, then return to him or her. If your first spouse has left because of their unbelief, you can under no circumstance take them back, and you can under no circumstance remarry someone else as long as they are alive. 

Marriage is for only a short time here on earth, but hell is for an eternity, and the Bible says no murderers and no adulterers can enter heaven when they die. 

If you are not divorced and remarried, but you believe it is ok for a Christian to divorce and remarry, you are calling adultery and murder a good thing. Prov 17 says if you call adultery and murder a good thing, you are detestable to Yehovah. 

Do not be detestable to Yehovah, do not call adultery and murder a good thing when Yehovah says it is evil and wicked. Repent while it is still time.