8. Misinterpretations of the Compassion of God

By John Thiel, Restoration of the Marriage Institution Seminar, Study 8, mp3

We are to come to the Lord and let him take self out of the equation of our life. If we do that then Jesus will become everything to us. The subject of self is involved in the marriage institution in today’s mentality. We have studied the subject of the marriage institution and the restoration of that which God’s people should be engaged in today. It is important when entering into such a subject we are free of human discussion and debate. We are to enter this subject as Nicodemus did when he confronted Jesus and Jesus said ye must be born again. Nicodemus discovered his Pharisaic research of scripture fell short of what true Bible study is meant to be for the salvation of our own soul. 

There is a difference between legal religion and gospel religion. Legal religion focuses on the law and says everything the law says I must do. That is what the children of Israel did. They heard the Ten Commandments and they said everything God said we will do, but what happened? They failed miserably and so will we all. The only hope we have is our focus on Jesus Christ and the power of the gospel. We are to be gospel Christians who will restore all the institutions and all the paths to dwell in. One of those paths was the marriage institution. God’s true principle of marriage was that He chose a help meet for Adam by putting someone beside him who was one equivalent to him. This is true marriage. Human marriage is a symbol of heavenly marriage, the bonding of the divine nature with the human. The exception to the rule is God’s compassion. We are not to misinterpret the compassion of God. Our present reality is the following:

Isaiah 60:2 For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.

Here is the dilemma of the time we live in. We are not just living in darkness, we are living in gross darkness. This is such a contradiction of terms when we think we are living in such an enlightened state whereas Jesus says;

Matthew 6:23 But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great [is] that darkness!

You think you are in light when you are in gross darkness in reality.

Matthew 24:37 But as the days of Noe [were], so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. 38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, 39 And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

We are living in gross darkness like in the days of Noah where they were eating and drinking and marrying and giving in marriage. Sr White says marrying is not a sin. There is nothing wrong with it. What is addressed with the verse in Matthew? It is the whole mind focus of concentrating on marriage because if it fails in one they look for another. They were multiplying in multiple marriages.

The focus was eating and drinking and marrying and giving in marriage instead of the terrible time in which they were living and getting ready to enter the ark. That is our problem today. It is gross darkness. In this time of gross darkness, God has a people that he calls his bride, his church. Those who are approved of God are rightly dividing the word of truth, are teachers approved of God and a people of Gods appointment. In this time God still has such a people.

1 Timothy 3:15 But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

God has his church which is the pillar and ground of the truth in a time where there is gross darkness and where people are marrying and giving in marriage.

The Lord has provided His church with capabilities and blessings, that they may present to the world an image of His own sufficiency, and that His church may be complete in Him, a continual representation of another, even the eternal world, of laws that are higher than earthly laws. His church is to be a temple built after the divine similitude, and the angelic architect has brought his golden measuring rod from heaven, that every stone may be hewed and squared by the divine measurement and polished to shine as an emblem of heaven, radiating in all directions the bright, clear beams of the Sun of Righteousness. {TM 17.1}

What a privilege it is if we can be part of such a people. A people who are representing to the world the pillar and ground of truth and in the darkness they shine as an emblem of heaven radiating in all directions, the bright clear beams of the son of righteousness, not legalism. That is what Gods church is meant to be conveying. Jesus speaks of such a ministry. In the darkness there are this people, this ministry. Jesus had just been speaking of the days of Noah and said;

Matthew 24:44 Therefore be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh. 45 Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? 46 Blessed [is] that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.

In this time of gross darkness he asks the question, who is the faithful wise servant who gives meat in due season, the spiritual messages that are relevant for the time in which we live, the whole platform of truth, meat in due season? As we are pursuing this topic through this seminar in a time when people are marrying and giving in marriage, the description of today’s marital status is a disaster both for those that are married and those that are divorced. There are very few marriages that are happy today because it is not Gods wonderful way that has been followed. Besides that, the concept of marrying and giving in marriage has affected the mentality of youth today. There is a precursor injected into the understanding. I’ve fallen in love with someone and it’s wonderful and if he or she gets nasty with me we’ll separate and get someone better.

Young couples marry with a divorce possibility in mind. God’s perfect institution has been marred right from the beginning and the churches that are in need of dealing with this dilemma are affected by a prevailing opinion and they look for a Bible justification so that when people who have broken their marriages and found another marriage partner so they as ministers could remarry. They look for Bible justification to be able to do that. Will they find it? Yes they do.

Except It Be For Fornication

Matthew 19:9 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.

We have an excuse as a ministry. We can marry somebody. These are the words of Jesus and the testimony of Jesus is true. How does the church that is appointed of God relate to this? How is it going to relate to such scripture to give meat in due season? How is it going to meat that? To embrace it not in a legalistic term but in the terms of gospel religion. We are to read here a little and there a little.

Isaiah 28:10 For precept [must be] upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, [and] there a little:

We are to be approved of God.

2 Timothy 2:15 Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

True reformers in the time of martin Luther understood this principle.

The Holy Scriptures ought to be explained by other and clearer texts; .{GC 203.1}

If you have a serious question that seems to be contradictory it needs to be explained. How do you explain it? By discussion? By opinionated interpretation? It must be explained by other clearer texts.

God designs that men shall not decide from impulse, but from weight of evidence, carefully comparing scripture with scripture. {DA 458.3}

We are to compare scripture with scripture and establish our conclusions by the explanation of clear texts, so that by comparing scripture with scripture carefully we may make decisions by weight of evidence.

Acts 17:1 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: 2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,

This is what Sabbath school is meant to be. Reasoning out of the scriptures. We are endeavouring to do this very thing. We are to come to Mathew 19:9 and to reason this scripture from clearer texts, to reason out of the scriptures. Let us do that in the case of this subject. To reason out of the scriptures by width of evidence so we can come from reasoning to a correct conclusion. According to weight of evidence of marriage and divorce we read;

Romans 7:1 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? 2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to [her] husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of [her] husband. 3 So then if, while [her] husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.

That’s straight forward. There needs to be no interpretation. It says only death should separate them. Only if death has taken place, can there be a remarriage. If the other partner is still alive then if they marry again then it is still adultery.

In the youthful mind, marriage is clothed with romance, and it is difficult to divest it of this feature, with which imagination covers it, and to impress the mind with a sense of the weighty responsibilities involved in the marriage vow. This vow links the destinies of the two individuals with bonds which nought but the hand of death should sever. {4T 506.3}

It is so self-evident. The testimony of Jesus says this tThat the vows of marriage link the destiny of two individuals.

1 Corinthians 7:39 The wife is bound by the law as long as her husband liveth; but if her husband be dead, she is at liberty to be married to whom she will; only in the Lord.

The Bible is to be explained by clearer Bible texts. In the mouth of two or three witnesses a matter is to be established.

1 Corinthians 7:10 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.

No interpretation needed.

Mark 10:11 And he saith unto them, Whosoever shall put away his wife, and marry another, committeth adultery against her. 12 And if a woman shall put away her husband, and be married to another, she committeth adultery.

Luke 16:18 Whosoever putteth away his wife, and marrieth another, committeth adultery: and whosoever marrieth her that is put away from [her] husband committeth adultery.

You can’t explain this away, it’s very clear. We have three witnesses, the weight of evidence and the spirit of prophecy.

Now we come to that one scripture that seems to contradict.

Matthew 19:9 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.

These were the words of Jesus and there appears to be a concept for fornication whether it be for adulterous or pre-marital, if he puts away his wife away for that reason, he can marry another.

Among the Jews a man was permitted to put away his wife for the most trivial offenses, and the woman was then at liberty to marry again. This practice led to great wretchedness and sin. In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus declared plainly that there could be no dissolution of the marriage tie, except for unfaithfulness to the marriage vow. “Everyone,” He said, “that putteth away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, maketh her an adulteress: and whosoever shall marry her when she is put away committeth adultery.” R.V. {MB 63.1}

Adventist Home and Sister Johnson

A woman may be legally divorced from her husband by the laws of the land and yet not divorced in the sight of God and according to the higher law. There is only one sin, which is adultery, which can place the husband or wife in a position where they can be free from the marriage vow in the sight of God. Although the laws of the land may grant a divorce, yet they are husband and wife still in the Bible light, according to the laws of God. {AH 344.2}

I saw that Sister Johnson as yet, has no right to marry another man; but if she, or any other woman, should obtain a divorce legally on the ground that her husband was guilty of adultery, then she is free to be married to whom she chooses. {AH 344.3}

Is this the testimony of Jesus? I can’t say it isn’t. I can’t say that it is wrong. This has been my dilemma in this argument for years. This is in the minority of other scriptures and it is the weight of evidence that we are to establish our principles. Satan came to Jesus and said if you dash your foot against a stone, God will send his angels. Jesus answered and said but it is also written.

Matthew 4:7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.

This principle applies here also. The statements from the book The Mount of Blessing and Adventist Home can be used and misused as it is also written. We need to get this in perspective what is written under inspiration and where we apply it. If we are looking for the church that is faithful in its conclusions, what are its members and minsters predominantly occupied with in this time of earths history when there is so much divorce and breaking of the marriage bond? Under what context is this restoration to be done?

Matthew 24:38 For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,  42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.

Put that into the framework of the gospel in the last days. What is the church of God occupied with so they will be watching and will not be caught by surprise? What is the message for this time that pertains to watch? For you do not know what hour your lord doth come.

Watch ye therefore: for ye know not when the Master of the house cometh, at even, or at midnight, or at the cockcrowing, or in the morning: lest coming suddenly He find you sleeping. And what I say unto you I say unto all, Watch.” We are waiting and watching for the return of the Master, who is to bring the morning, lest coming suddenly He find us sleeping. What time is here referred to? Not to the revelation of Christ in the clouds of heaven to find a people asleep. No; but to His return from His ministration in the most holy place of the heavenly sanctuary, when He lays off His priestly attire and clothes Himself with garments of vengeance, and when the mandate goes forth: “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still; and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” {2T 190.1}

When Jesus ceases to plead for man, the cases of all are forever decided. This is the time of reckoning with His servants. To those who have neglected the preparation of purity and holiness, which fits them to be waiting ones to welcome their Lord, the sun sets in gloom and darkness, and rises not again. Probation closes; Christ’s intercessions cease in heaven. This time finally comes suddenly upon all, and those who have neglected to purify their souls by obeying the truth are found sleeping. They became weary of waiting and watching; they became indifferent in regard to the coming of their Master. They longed not for His appearing, and thought there was no need of such continued, persevering watching. They had been disappointed in their expectations and might be again. They concluded that there was time enough yet to arouse. They would be sure not to lose the opportunity of securing an earthly treasure. It would be safe to get all of this world they could. And in securing this object, they lost all anxiety and interest in the appearing of the Master. They became indifferent and careless, as though His coming were yet in the distance. But while their interest was buried up in their worldly gains, the work closed in the heavenly sanctuary, and they were unprepared. {2T 191.1}

They were marrying and giving in marriage and where not concentrating on the most essential subject because Jesus was dealing with their case in the heavenly sanctuary. This is what Gods church is heavily occupied in. If we are occupied with that we will understand the clause.

Those who would share the benefits of the Saviour’s mediation should permit nothing to interfere with their duty to perfect holiness in the fear of God. {GC 488.2}

Gods watching church is doing that and must permit nothing to interfere with that.

The precious hours, instead of being given to pleasure, to display, or to gain seeking, should be devoted to an earnest, prayerful study of the word of truth. The subject of the sanctuary and the investigative judgment should be clearly understood by the people of God. All need knowledge for themselves of the position and work of their great High Priest. Otherwise it will be impossible for them to exercise the faith which is essential at this time or to occupy the position which God designs them to fill. {GC 488.2}

God’s people on earth are permitting nothing to interfere with this focal point.

1 Corinthians 7:29 But this I say, brethren, the time [is] short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;

If you are married and you focus your attention on your marital experience and on each other, you are not focusing on the most important work. You are just indulging marital relationships.

1 Corinthians 7:30 And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not;

You cry over spilt milk and what is the most important subject to concentrate on?

1 Corinthians 7:31 And they that use this world, as not abusing [it]: for the fashion of this world passeth away.

This includes marriage. This is what Gods church is occupied with.

In this age of the world, as the scenes of earth’s history are soon to close and we are about to enter upon the time of trouble such as never was, the fewer the marriages contracted, the better for all, both men and women. {5T 366.1}

What Sr White wrote about divorce and remarriage is the testimony of Jesus but the same testimony says this about Sr Johnson

I saw that Sister Johnson as yet has no right to marry another man, but if she or any other woman should obtain a divorce legally on the ground that her husband was guilty of adultery, then she is free to be married to whom she chooses. {17MR 156.2}

I saw that Sister Johnson was not free to marry again. {17MR 156.3}

She saw it was right for someone to remarry if there was adultery.

Re-Marriage Will Injure the Cause of Present Truth

Then the matter was presented in another light. If there were no difficulties and Albert could marry her according to the laws of the land and not violate God’s law, yet he ought not to do so if by so doing he injures the cause of present truth. That cause should be dearer to him than life itself; and if by marrying he should bring one stain upon the cause of God, his wife is dearly purchased, and he cannot be happy, for God’s blessing will not attend him. {17MR 156.4}

The testimony of Jesus says legally there can be a divorce and remarriage by the sin of adultery but there is another side of the coin. The cause we uphold is the cause of getting ready for Jesus to come and the closer we get to the end the fewer marriages the better. Why? We are to be concentrating on this life and death matter. As we witness to that cause, we marry as though we marry not.

If there is a divorce that happens, am I going to be so occupied to be married again when there is another consideration – the cause of truth and the meat in due season? Under inspiration, the testimony of Jesus says that although if there were not difficulties according to the laws of the land and it does not violate Gods law, yet he ought not to do so. If you marry after divorce you are revealing something that you are not concentrating the most important issue. Jesus is in the most holy place and saying come into the ark but people are saying oh wait I have to get married first. That is the mentality.

John the Baptist met sin with open rebuke in men of humble occupation and in men of high degree. He declared the truth to kings and nobles, whether they would hear or reject it. He spoke personally and pointedly. He reproved the Pharisees of the Sanhedrim because their religion consisted in forms and not in righteousness of pure, willing obedience. . . . He spoke to Herod in regard to his marriage with Herodias, saying, it is not lawful for thee to have her. He spoke to him of a future retribution, when God would judge every man according to his works. . . . {2SM 149.4}

This is the restorers of paths to dwell in.

The message we bear must be as direct as was the message of John. He rebuked kings for their iniquity. He rebuked the adultery of Herod. Notwithstanding his life was in peril, the truth did not languish upon his lips. And our work in this age must be as faithfully done. The inhabitants of the world at this time are represented by the dwellers upon the earth at the time of the Flood. {2SM 151.1}

There are special duties to be done, special reproofs to be given in this period of the earth’s history. The Lord will not leave His church without reproofs and warnings. Sins have become fashionable; but they are none the less aggravating in the sight of God. They are glossed over, palliated, and excused; the right hand of fellowship is given to the very men who are bringing in false theories and false sentiments, confusing the minds of the people of God, deadening their sensibilities as to what constitutes right principles. Conscience has thus become insensible to the counsels and the reproofs which have been given. The light given, calling to repentance, has been extinguished in the clouds of unbelief and opposition brought in by human plans and human inventions. {2SM 151.2}

If we are going to be defenders and the cause for this time, are we going to get ourselves entrenched on the divorce and remarriage issue to palliate it? Even if it was possible because of Gods compassion in that exception to the rule, there is another side of the story. If a marriage falls into disarray there is a relationship with Jesus that is more precious than any other relationship which can take us through that scene which is a life long sore.

In this age, just prior to the second coming of Christ in the clouds of heaven, the Lord calls for men who will be earnest and prepare a people to stand in the great day of the Lord. {2SM 152.3}

If we are going to be faithful to that cause, we will not lay aside anything that favours marrying and giving in marriage as in the days of Noah? Self-evident. These things carry the weight. It is written. I can’t deny it – it is also written. Whatever has been done in the past that wasn’t quite right, doesn’t matter, at the time of ignorance God winked at but now we concentrate on the real thing.


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Posted on 14/07/2010, in Restoration of the Marriage Institution (Seminar) and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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