Divorce and Remarriage is it ever legitimate?

DIVORCE. – A correspondent sends to the Office the following request: “Will you give your opinion in regard to divorces, as there are some that do not feel satisfied on this subject?” {April 15, 1862 JWe, ARSH 160.1}

ANSWER. – We think that for one cause, that mentioned by our Lord as recorded in Matt.xix,9, divorce may lawfully be obtained, and that the parties divorced are as free as if the marriage contract had never existed between them. Some have drawn what are evidently extreme views from Paul’s language in Rom.vii,1-3. But Paul is there only giving us an illustration, and not laying down rules in regard to the marriage relation. To enforce his illustration, he takes the general rule; and it would be by no means proper for him in that connection to go out of his way to state exceptions. U. S. {April 15, 1862 JWe, ARSH 160.2}

“There is only one other record of official action on divorce and remarriage during the 19th century. At the General Conference Session in 1887, the following resolution was passed:

WHEREAS, Our Saviour has laid down the one sole ground on which parties once married can be divorced; and,  WHEREAS, the practices of society have become most deplorable in this respect, as seen in the prevalence of unscriptural divorces; therefore,  RESOLVED, That we express our deprecation of this great evil, and instruct our ministers not to unite in marriage any parties so divorced. This resolution made official what was surely the consensus of Adventists at the time: only adultery was “grounds” for divorce and remarriage. To this was added one of the first official rules regarding second marriages, namely, that Seventh-day Adventist ministers should not perform weddings for people entering second marriages without biblical justification. A decade after Ellen White’s death, Seventh-day Adventists still had very little in the way of official policy on divorce and remarriage. As the church grew both in size and complexity of organization, there was greater need felt for such policy. In 1925, the church adopted a brief statement of general policy on divorce. The Autumn Council that year approved of a statement that deplored divorce and placed “emphatic disapproval upon any legal action for the separation of those once married, on any ground other than that given in Matthew 5:32.”(10) The church had not yet developed a church manual, so such resolutions like this were considered advisory.”  http://family.adventist.org/home—divorce-and-remarriage-in-the-seventh-day-adventist-church—sda-policy-on-divorce-and-remarr.html

Ordination of divorced elders

1. How shall we treat divorced marriages? {October 14, 1862 JWe, ARSH 157.33}

2. Shall preachers from other denominations embracing the message, preach and baptize among us, on the strength of their former ordination and standing as ministers? {October 14, 1862 JWe, ARSH 157.34}

3. Shall young preachers, before being ordained, be allowed to baptize? {October 14, 1862 JWe, ARSH 157.35}

4. Shall Bro. T. M. Steward have a letter of commendation as a preacher among us? {October 14, 1862 JWe, ARSH 157.36}

Bro. White calls for a full and clear definition of the expression “divorced marriages.” Bro. Sanborn explains that he means by it, those who have been divorced from their former husbands or wives for other causes than that mentioned by the Saviour in Matt.xix, and under that divorce have married again. Shall such persons subsequently embracing present truth, be received among us? {October 14, 1862 JWe, ARSH 157.37}

In reference to these items the following action was taken: {October 14, 1862 JWe, ARSH 157.38}

1. Resolved, That the matter of divorced marriages be referred to the Conference committee. {October 14, 1862 JWe, ARSH 157.39}

2. Resolved, That ministers of other denominations, embracing present truth, should give proof of being called to preach the message, and be ordained among us, before administering the ordinances. {October 14, 1862 JWe, ARSH 157.40}

3. Resolved, That no person, young or old, should administer the ordinances before being ordained. {October 14, 1862 JWe, ARSH 157.41}

4. In reference to Bro. Steward’s case, it was suggested by Bro. Loughborough that, as Bro. Steward now occupies a position somewhat similar to that of a young minister, further time be allowed him to give proof of his ministry, before giving him a letter. A resolution was offered by Bro. White as follows: {October 14, 1862 JWe, ARSH 157.42}

Resolved, That when Elder T. M. Steward gives perfect satisfaction to the ministers and churches of Wisconsin, the Michigan Conference will be perfectly satisfied with him. {October 14, 1862 JWe, ARSH 157.43}

The husband of one wife not necessarily a married man, but that he shall not have more than one wife. 

Is remarriage ever legitimate?

Four Questions:

1. Is a marriage dissoluble[1]? (For your convenience, please find definitions in footnotes.)

Deut 24:1-4 “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. And when she is departed out of his house, she may go and be another man’s wife. 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; Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after that she is defiled;[2] for that is abomination [3] before the LORD: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance.”

If returning to a spouse after someone has married someone else is an abomination to God and if God is “the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Heb 13:8), then it remains an abomination to God in the 21st century. This is not about ceremonies; it is about the character of God. Furthermore, it says that this causes the land to sin, then it is a moral issue. The character of God is sinless. Playing games with something as serious as marriage was and is and will always be an abomination to God.

If marriage were not dissoluble, then it could not be an abomination to return to ones “true” wife. Moses clearly says “he may not take her again to be his wife”. This means she is not his wife. This means the marriage is permanently over. To encourage people to divorce their spouses and return to their first spouses is to make them abominable before God! (Please read my paper on the meaning of “abomination”!)

2. What legitimately dissolves the marriage?

Matt 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.”

1 Cor 7:15 “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.”

There are two legitimate, Biblical reasons for which God accepts divorce, 1) when the marriage has been adulterated by fornication[4] and 2) when an unbelieving spouse chooses to divorce the believer.

3. If marriage is legitimately dissoluble, what proofs have we that this is not a complete dissolution?

None. Rather we have proof that the dissolution of the marriage is complete.

This proof we find in Matthew 19:9 already quoted above, in that Christ excepts remarriage from being adultery when there has been a divorce for fornication, but also in 1 Cor 7: 27-28.

“Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be loosed. Art thou loosed from a wife? seek not a wife. But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you.”

Clearly here, Paul advises people who are “loosed” not to remarry, but he is just as clear that if they choose to marry, they do not sin.

4. Does 1 Corinthians 7:10-11 pose a contradiction to verses 27-28?

“And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband: 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. The above verse states the general law to the Corinthians who have been used to being able to marry, divorce and remarry at will. And it is further evident from reading the subsequent verses of 12 through 16, that this law is only for believing couples, not for couples in which only one of the spouses was converted to Christianity. In Israel, all the Jews were considered believers. But this was not the case in Corinth.

The exception that Jesus gave is not a contradiction. Jesus would never contradict his own law. Sometimes small children object to exceptions. But we are not children. Exceptions are as old as Adam and Eve, and perhaps even common in Heaven. They have never been considered contradictions. If that were the case, then the Bible would be full of contradictions, the laws of every country would be full of contradictions, parents would be contradicting themselves all the time, even nature would be full of contradictions. Then our very salvation would be a contradiction – conversely salvation is the most wonderful exception in the history of the universe!

EGW says,

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}

“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.” {1MR 159.3}

Thus a person who divorces his or her spouse for illegitimate reasons may be legally divorced but not legitimately divorced in God’s eyes; God has not released that person from his or her marriage vow. Neither of the two parties are loosed.

If a person is legitimately “loosed” in the eyes of God for the Biblical reasons quoted above, then according to 1 Corinthians 7:28, to marry is not sin. And no matter how hard you try, you will find nothing in the Bible that contradicts this clear truth.

“I advise that these unfortunate ones be left to God and their own consciences, and that the church shall not treat them as sinners until they have evidence that they are such in the sight of the Holy God. He reads hearts as an open book. He will not judge as man judgeth. Letter 5, 1891, pp. 1, 2. {1MR 164.3} Case not Bettered by Leaving Present Wife I have just read your letter concerning _____. I regard the matter in the same light that you do, and think it a cruel, wicked thing that the father of _____ should take the course that he is taking…. I would say that his case cannot be improved by leaving the present wife. It would not better the case to go to the other woman in question.{1MR 165.1} I consider the case of the father one that is singular, and his record is one that he will not be pleased to meet in the day of God. He needs to repent before God of his spirit and his works. The best thing for him to do is to cease to stir up strife…. Let the father and brother make diligent work for themselves. They both need the converting power of God. May the Lord help these poor souls to remove spot and stain from their own characters, and repent of their wrongs, and leave _____ with the Lord.{1MR 165.2} I am so sorry for the man; for his course is in such a shape that it will not answer to be meddled with, for there are difficulties upon difficulties. I would say that the Lord understands the situation, and if _____ will seek Him with all his heart, He will be found of him. If he will do his best, God will pardon and receive him.{1MR 165.3} O, how precious it is to know that we have One who does know and understand, and will help the ones who are most helpless. But the rebuke of God is upon the father and the brother who would drive to destruction and perdition one who stands in the sight of God under no worse condemnation than themselves; and yet they will so use their gifts of speech as to dishearten, discourage, and drive_____ to despair. {1MR 165.4} _____ may hope in God and do the best he can to serve God in all humility of mind, casting his helpless soul upon the great Sin-bearer. I have not written a word to either father or son. I would gladly do something to help poor _____ to make things right, but this cannot be done as matters are now situated, without someone being wronged. Letter 175, 1901, pp. 1-3.{1MR 166.1} The Separation of Hopelessly Mismatched Persons I have received your letter, and in reply to it I would say, I cannot advise you to return to _____ _____ unless you see decided changes in him. The Lord is not pleased with the ideas he has had in the past of what is due to a wife…. If Brother _____ holds to his former views, the future would be no better for you than the past has been. He does not know how to treat a wife.{1MR 166.2} I feel very sad about this matter. I feel indeed sorry for _____, but I cannot advise you to go to him against your judgment. I speak to you as candidly as I spoke to him; it would be perilous for you to again place yourself under his dictation. I had hoped that he would change….{1MR 166.3} The Lord understands all about your experiences, Sister _____. Be of good courage in the Lord; He will not leave you nor forsake you. My heart goes out in tenderest sympathy for you.” Letter 148, 1907, pp. 1, 2.{1MR 166.4}

W. C. White statement: “sister white did not sympathize with those who took the ground that a person who had separated from a companion on other than scriptural ground, and married again, that this second marriage must be broken up if they were to be accepted or retained in an sda church. {TSB 223.4}

“Sister white fully recognized that these people in most cases had sinned, that some had sinned grievously, and that they should not be accepted into fellowship of our churches unless that sin was repented of. Sister white did not accept the contention that such repentance could not be genuine without breaking the new bond, and making an earnest effort to return to former companions. She recognized the fact that in most instances a reunion with the parties formerly connected with in marriage would be either impossible or exceedingly unprofitable. She also recognized that the vows entered into in the second marriage called for such an action as was most merciful and kind to the contracting parties. {TSB 223.5}

“She sometimes referred to the teaching of Paul, who having reached a certain point in his experience, said, ‘but i spare you.’ he knew there were existing conditions that people were living in relations resulting from sin. He also knew that Christ would accept their genuine repentance, and that in many cases it would make matters worse if existing relations were torn up to prepare a way for a reunion with the parties who were incompanionable, so sister white used to say, ‘but i spare you.’ {TSB 224.1}

“Sister white’s next older sister, Sarah Harmon, was married to Stephen Belden and became the mother of five children. After her death, in pity for his children, he married a woman who had many years been a faithful servant in his household. Shortly after this, the measles visited the vicinity, and she with others had the measles in a severe form. The measles went to her brain, and she became insane, and had to be taken to the asylum. Brother belden struggled along for some time, trying to care for his five children, then for their sake married a very good, efficient woman. She helped him make a home and bring up his children, and was with him in Norfolk island when he died. At various times, individuals where brother Belden lived undertook to secure his exclusion from the church because he had married without separation from his wife on the charge of adultery. When appealed to in regard to this matter, sister white said, ‘let them alone.'”–w. C. White letter, February 21, 1927.] {tsb 224.2}

Dear Sister: [WRITTEN AUGUST 26, 1895, TO THE MOTHER OF WALTER C’S SECOND WIFE.] In regard to the marriage of your daughter with Walter C, I see where you are troubled. But the marriage took place with your consent, and your daughter, knowing all about him, accepted him as her husband; and now I can see no reason why you should carry any burden over this matter. Your daughter loves Walter C, and it may be that this marriage is in the order of God in order that both Walter and your daughter may have a richer Christian experience and be built up where they are deficient. Your daughter has pledged herself to Walter C in marriage, and to break her marriage vows would be far from right. She cannot now disannul her obligations to him. {TSB 67.3}

You say that Walter was engaged to some young lady in Topeka. I cannot speak concerning this, for I have not heard Walter’s reasons for breaking his engagement, if he did so. But I had a personal knowledge of his former relations with his first wife, Laura. Walter loved Laura far too well, for she was not worthy of his regard. He did all in his power to help her, and sought in every possible way to retain her as his wife. He could not have done more than he did do. I pleaded with her, and tried to show her the inconsistency of her course, and begged her not to obtain a divorce; but she was determined and willful and stubborn, and would have her own way. While she lived with him she sought to secure all the money possible from him, but she would not treat him kindly as a wife should treat her husband. {TSB 68.1}

A Right to Happiness. Walter did not put his wife away. She left him, and put him away, and married another man. I see nothing in the Scripture that forbids him to marry again in the Lord. He has a right to the affection of a woman who, knowing his physical defect, shall choose to give him her love. The time has come when a sterile condition is not the worst condition to be in. I see wives who have borne large families of children, and they are unable to give them proper care. These women do not have time to recover from the weakness of bearing one child before they are with child again. {TSB 68.2}

Many of these women are the wives of poor men who have not sufficient means to support their increasing families, and I am at the present time helping them to feed and clothe and educate their children. But notwithstanding their inability to support their offspring, children are brought into the world as fast as possible. But God is not in this kind of doing. {TSB 68.3}

The husbands of these women seem to think that their wives are for no other purpose than to gratify their lustful passions. Children are brought into the world so rapidly, responsibilities accumulate so speedily, that the wives and mothers have no chance for the cultivation of their minds, no time or opportunity to devote to religious work. God is not glorified in such families. {TSB 69.1}

Many of our young women missionaries marry, and in a few months’ time they have children to care for and are taken out of the missionary field. You may rejoice that your daughter will not be thus hindered in her work for the Master. She can accompany her husband in his travels and be a help to him, and when she is left at home she can work for the Lord as though she were unmarried. This is my view of the matter. {TSB 69.2}

I have confidence in Walter and believe that he is a Christian. I had occasion to know something of the temper of his spirit when he was going through his trial with his first wife. She tried to extract money from him when she saw she had the advantage of him, and he was willing to do tenfold more for her than it was her right to expect, or his duty to do. He had sore and hard trials on her account. I have tried to help him all that I could. {TSB 69.3}

I have tried to enable Laura to see and understand her duty. But as she has taken the course that she has, I cannot see that this new union should be disturbed. It is a serious matter to part a man and his wife. There is no Scriptural ground upon which to take such a step in this case. He did not leave her, she left him. He did not marry again until she had obtained a divorce. When Laura divorced herself from Walter he suffered most keenly, and it was not until Laura had married another man that Walter married again. The one he has chosen, I feel certain, will be a help to him, and he can be a help to her. {TSB 69.4}

Walter is not perfect in character. He has some objectionable characteristics. He has been entrusted with means, and he does not always put it to the very best account. Sometimes he is very lavish of his money, and sometimes very narrow in its use, and severely economical. But a good God-fearing woman at his side will be able to advise him not to move impulsively, and counsel him to place his money in the treasury of the Lord. {TSB 70.1}

Walter is in a responsible position, but if the members of the family to which he has allied himself in marriage will prove true to him, they will influence him to become a wise steward of his Lord’s goods. Then he will bestow his means as if in the view of the whole universe of heaven. He will not participate in any unlawful scheme for making money but will move with an eye single to the glory of God. He will eschew all petty tricks and avoid all mean, dishonest devices, and will do nothing that will [in] any way work against the cultivation of true piety. He will realize that all his business transactions lie within the domain of God. {TSB 70.2}

We must not lose sight of the fact that the steward is to trade with his Lord’s goods, and that he is handling a sacred responsibility. The Bible requires that men buy and sell and transact all their business with as keen a sense of their religious obligation as they have when offering up petitions to their heavenly Father, asking for strength and grace. The Lord has not left anyone to do as he pleases with his goods, and to give as impulse shall dictate, or as friends may demand. The money he handles is not his, and is not to be expended unnecessarily, for the vineyard of the Lord is to be worked, and its working requires the expenditure of means. {TSB 70.3}

Now is our day of trust, and the day of reckoning is yet to come. The Lord has entrusted means to His stewards to be used wisely, for all are moral agents and are required to bear responsibilities. Our varied trusts are given in proportion to our ability to use, but we are not to use God’s means merely for the gratification of selfish desires, and as inclination may dictate. {TSB 71.1}

Walter C has failed at times in the past in handling his Lord’s goods, and has not always considered whether he was using the money entrusted to him in a way that would please his Master and advance the cause of truth. He must give an account of how he disposes of the means given in trust to him. He cannot study his own will in this matter. He must seek wisdom from God. I do not desire Walter to bestow one dollar in this destitute field unwillingly, for unwilling offerings are not accompanied with the blessing of God. I have no urging to do and do not wish to force money from anyone even for the work of God. {TSB 71.2}

God has a work to do, and I am using all the means that I can spare, and provide myself with home, livelihood, and common conveniences. There are others who gladly and willingly help me in this part of the Lord’s vineyard. If all do their duty according to the measure of their responsibilities, the amount entrusted to them will be doubled. He who gives back to God His own will be honored for his fidelity and will hear the Master say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant.” But it is not proper for persons to give just as the notion may strike them. Christ has a right to all that we have. {TSB 71.3}

You must not be surprised that Walter does not feel free to help your son. If your son has not appreciated the opportunities and privileges he has had, if he has misapplied his own powers, and wasted his God-given talents, the question is, will he do better upon a second trial? Has he learned the lesson that God wills he should learn? There are many precious souls who would be so glad of a chance to obtain an education, who will not sow wild oats, but will use every capability in obtaining knowledge with which to do good. {TSB 71.4}

I am surprised that Walter did not at once accede to your request, as you were the mother of his wife whom he loves. It may be that he is learning caution, and is taking the lesson of the past to heart. He has helped many whom it was not his duty to help. You should take his refusal to give you money as an evidence of his sincerity in that he will not compromise himself to win your favor. I am sure that Walter means to do his duty. The mistakes he made in bestowing his money on his first wife’s family have probably taught him not to repeat the experiment. I hope that his refusal to give you means to enable your son to go to Battle Creek or to Union College will not cause you to become prejudiced against him. It should have no such influence. {TSB 72.1}

If your daughter loves Walter C, I see nothing in the Word of God that would require her to separate from him. As you have asked my advice, I will freely give it to you. If Walter had given you the money you asked for, would it not have been something like trying to buy your favor? Would it not be much more fitting for your son to go to work and secure money for himself, and educate himself, rather than to be dependent upon anybody for such a favor? There is such a thing as giving unwise help to our children. {TSB 72.2}

Those who work their way through college appreciate their advantages more than those who are provided with them at someone else’s expense, for they know their cost. We must not carry our children until they become helpless burdens. Educate your son to be diligent, able to sustain himself, and to help others.{TSB 72.3}

God is the proprietor of the universe. Every man, woman, and child, with all the time and talents that have been bestowed upon them, belongs to God. He has given ability to men that they may use it to His glory and thus have increased ability, wisdom, and understanding. God has a claim upon every soul, and we are responsible agents, and should give Him constant service. Body, soul, and spirit, we should consecrate ourselves to His service, and do those things that will forward His cause in the earth. We are to do His will upon the earth. Our pleasure is not to be consulted, nor permitted to be the governing impulse. {TSB 73.1}

Now, my dear sister, I will send you this letter, and also forward a copy of it to Walter C. I desire to act the part of a mother to him. In times of affliction he has needed a mother. Every penny he has placed in my hands has been used for the saving of perishing souls, and in time to come may it be his experience to hear from the lips of the Master, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” {TSB 73.2}

I am truly sorry that you have taken upon yourself unnecessary burdens. Do you not see that in separating Walter and your daughter, you would create two evils instead of curing one? Your daughter has married Walter, and there is no reason why she should be separated from him. You have no just excuse for desiring them to cease living and working together as man and wife. You may give publicity to the evil reports that may come to you, and be the means of making yourself, your daughter, and her husband miserable. Let these two, as children of God, unite their interests as their marriage vows require them to do, let them consecrate themselves to God to do His will, to be vessels unto honor, meet for the Master’s use. {TSB 73.3}

On your part, act as a faithful mother should. Be wise to counsel and help them in every way that lies in your power. Knowing that you all belong to God, deal justly and lovingly with each other. Be frank, be kind, cultivate whole-souled integrity, and you will win a crown of life that fadeth not away. Have perfect trust in God, and He will bless you, and give you peace and rest.–Letter 50, 1895. {TSB 73.4}

After Christ make a covenant with Israel that if they obeyed, he would be their God and they would be his people, did Israel’s disobedience give him the right to break the covenant and renounce Israel as his people?

“ And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce” (Jer.3:8). Did Christ keep his part of the covenant though Israel repeatedly broke the covenant? Will Christ remarry after divorcing the adulterous nation of Israel?

The church is the bride, the Lamb’s wife. She should keep herself pure, sanctified, holy. Never should she indulge in any foolishness; for she is the bride of a King. Yet she does not realize her exalted position. If she understood this, she would be all-glorious within (Ellen G White Letter 177, 1901). {7BC 986.1} Christ, then, has chosen a new bride!

The Leaven of the Pharisees

Jesus said to his disciples “Beware ye of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.” Luke 12:1.

The leaven placed in the meal works imperceptibly, changing the whole mass to its own nature. So if hypocrisy is allowed to exist in the heart, it permeates the character and the life. A striking example of the hypocrisy of the Pharisees, Christ had already rebuked in denouncing the practice of “Corban,” by which a neglect of filial duty was concealed under a pretense of liberality to the temple. The scribes and Pharisees were insinuating deceptive principles. They concealed the real tendency of their doctrines, and improved every occasion to instill them artfully into the minds of their hearers. These false principles, when once accepted, worked like leaven in the meal, permeating and transforming the character. It was this deceptive teaching that made it so hard for the people to receive the words of Christ. {DA 408.3}

The same influences are working today through those who try to explain the law of God in such a way as to make it conform to their practices. This class do not attack the law openly, but put forward speculative theories that undermine its principles. They explain it so as to destroy its force. {DA 408.4}

Does just putting away your wife mean you have committed adultery?

No. She may be beating your kids, spiking your drinks or ruining your credit. You may be forced to separate from or even to divorce her. But you are not committing adultery by doing so.

Does just marrying another mean you have committed adultery?

No. You may just be putting away your girlfriend. Or your wife may have died.

You only commit adultery if you have put away your wife AND married another.

How does the exception clause alter the sentence?

The exception clause limits the putting away that can be combined with marrying another that constitutes adultery. Only the putting away that is not for fornication when combined with marrying another constitutes adultery.

“I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn (1 Cor 7:8-9).

Here is another text that gets interpreted away. Here church leaders must change the meaning from “unmarried” to “never married” in order to get away with teaching our marriage doctrine.

“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}.

If then adultery is the one sin that places the husband or wife in a position where they can be free from the marriage vow in the sight of God, and if an “innocent party” chooses to get a divorce after his or her spouse commits adultery, then he or she becomes unmarried. What does “free from the marriage vow” mean if it doesn’t mean that you become unmarried – single, without the moral or any other support of a life’s companion?

I don’t think the words “unmarried” and “never married” mean the same thing, do you? Why don’t we accept the word that is written? Why do we mess with the meaning of words?

Just like when you tell one lie, you have to keep telling lies to cover up, when you mess with the meaning of one passage, you have to mess with a lot of other ones to maintain your ground.

The passage above says about the unmarried–that is, about all the single, lonely people who are without the support of a life’s companion–“It is good for them if they abide even as I. But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.”

What right do we have to say, “It is better for you, who have been discarded by your spouses, to burn than to marry; Jesus will be your spouse”? I have read a number of statements about Jesus being the husband of Israel, Judah and the NewTestamentChurch, but I have never heard anything about Jesus agreeing to marry one human being.

EGW says, “When the divine principles are recognized and obeyed in this relation, marriage is a blessing; it guards the purity and happiness of the race, it provides for man’s social needs, it elevates the physical, the intellectual, and the moral nature” (PP46.3).

These needs were meant to be filled by marriage. I have heard from our church no practical reason for giving back to God the responsibility God intended a couple to fill for each other. God doesn’t need the blessings of marriage–we do.

“Raw Adultery”: When a married man is given to lust. This man may be having sex with a woman other than his wife, with a relative, with a man or an animal. The Law of Moses required this type of adulterer to be executed (Deut 22: 21-25; Lev 18, esp v. 29; for definition of “cut off” see Ex 31:14-15).

“Soft Adultery”: When a man is not satisfied with his present wife and divorces her and marries another. This may be motivated by frustration, loneliness or covetousness, but seldom by impersonal lust. The Law of Moses did not label this adultery, neither was a punishment prescribed for this, but rather it was tolerated (Deut 24:1-4). However, Jesus classified this as adultery (Matt 19:9).

Matthew 19:9 exempts the re-married man, whose wife has committed fornication, from any classification of adultery.

What is the difference between adultery and fornication: Fornication is every type of sexual infraction whether a person is married or not. Adultery always involves a married person. When fornication is committed by a married person he or she has adulterated (polluted) the marriage.

It is entirely true that neither Mark, Luke, nor Paul mention permission to remarry after putting away a spouse for fornication. However, it is also true that none of them mention permission to even put away a spouse in case of fornication. They have no exception clause at all. The “Principle of the Three Witnesses”, then, requires us to forbid divorce altogether. Based on this principle, Jesus’ entire exception would be a mistake! If we were consistent, it would make no difference if a husband is beating his wife to pulp, she would still be bound to him, obliged to perform the duties of marriage!

1 Corinthians 7:10-11 indicates that God does tolerate separation. But such toleration is only mentioned once – neither Matthew, Mark or Luke mention that God tolerates separation. Based on the “Principle of the Three Witnesses”, Paul was wrong.

According to 1 Corinthians 7:12-16, in a mixed marriage a divorce could be legitimate. Yes, if the unbeliever divorces the believer. If not, the believer is stuck. However, Paul’s exception for the mixed marriage isn’t found in Matthew, Mark or Luke either, making also this exception invalid. The believer is married still and obliged to perform the duties of marriage.

When an unbeliever divorces a believer, the believer legally loses all privileges of marriage. However, she would still be bound and must still submit herself to her “husband”– even sexually (Eph. 5:22, Col. 3:18 and 1 Cor. 7:3-4 – three passages). She would be stuck in a one way commitment! Her husband might have orgies with scores of men, yet she must submit herself. And we don’t have three Bible witnesses giving her the right to protect herself from STDs! All passages that allow for an escape are singular! She is in BIG trouble!

Both Jesus and Paul agreed with the disciples that it is better not to marry. That’s more than three witnesses! So how about teaching all our youth that in reality, God only tolerates marriage and that he really is calling everyone to stay single?

Matthew 4:4, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.”

Question: Shall men live only by the word that God repeated 3 times? Or every word?

Matt 28:19-20 “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

Question: Should we teach only those things that Jesus commanded 3 times? Or all things?

Acts 20:26-27, “Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.”

Question: How much of Scripture is inspired of God? Should we use all Scripture for doctrine or should we toss the ones that were not repeated 3 times?

Deut 12:32, “What thing soever I command you…do it: thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.”

What happens if we do mess with the Word of God? “And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:19).

Now that we can forget the false notion of the “Principal of the Three Witnesses”, we can look at some facts. If needed, we have more than enough witnesses that support Christ’s exception.

Genesis 2:18 “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him”

We read: Man was not created to be celibate and he should have a companion.

Deuteronomy 24:3-4, “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; 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.”

We read: When a spouse remarries, the marriage is permanently dissolved. Add Genesis 2:18: When a man’s marriage is permanently dissolved, God intends for him to remarry.

But there is more evidence.

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.

Jesus tells us here that remarriage after a divorce for fornication is not adultery.

Verses 10-12 “His disciples say unto him, If the case of the man be so with his wife, it is not good to marry. But he said unto them, All men cannot receive this saying, save they to whom it is given [it’s a gift!]. For there are some eunuchs, which were so born from their mother’s womb: and there are some eunuchs, which were made eunuchs of men: and there be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it. ”

Here Jesus agrees with the disciples that it’s better not to marry, but explains that everyone cannot live a celibate lifestyle. Only eunuchs or those who have a “gift of God”, as Paul put it, are able to stay single, since man was not created to be single.

1 Corinthians 7:2, 7“To avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband… For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God.”

Paul note the weakness of man and one of many serious disadvantage of singleness. Here Paul is essentially agreeing with Jesus.

Verses 12-16, “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. And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.… But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases…”

Thankfully, Paul releases the person divorced by an unbeliever from the marriage vow.

Verses 27-28 “… Art thou loosed (G3080 divorced) from a wife? seek not a wife. But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned” (v 27-28).

Speaking to a divorcee, Paul recommends singleness, but declares this way of life voluntary.

In conclusion:

Christian couples, in which neither spouse has fornicated, cannot get a legitimate divorce and therefore cannot remarry. Their marriage is salvageable. Whether or not they choose to separate for a time, God requires each partners to work on his or her own sanctification and resolve their differences (Matthew 5:27-32, Mark 10:2-12, 1 Corinthians 7:10-11).

A believer married to an unbeliever should try to preserve his or her marriage. If the unbeliever chooses to divorce the believer, the believer is free and may remarry, like the widow, this time “only in the Lord” (Genesis 2:18, 1 Corinthians 7:2, 12-16, 39).

A believer who divorces a spouse for committing fornication may also remarry in the Lord (Genesis 2:18, Matthew 19:9, 1 Corinthians 7:2, 27-28).

Does just marrying another mean you have committed adultery?

No. You may put away your girlfriend, your wife may have died. Then it’s not wrong to marry another.

You only commit adultery if you have put away your wife AND married another.

How does the exception clause alter the sentence?

The exception clause limits the putting away that can be combined with marrying another that constitutes adultery. Only the putting away that is not for fornication when combined with marrying another constitutes adultery.

Thou Hast Not Sinned!

“Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be (1) loosed (G3089). Art thou (2) loosed (G3080) from a wife? seek not a wife. (3) But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you” (1 Corinthians7:27-28).

A man is addressed in the above verses.

I. What does loosed mean?

G3089 ëýù luoô loo’-o: A primary verb; to “loosen” (literally or figuratively):—break (up), destroy,

dissolve, (un-) loose, melt, put off. Compare G4486.

G3080 ëýóéò lusis loo’-sis: From G3089; a loosening, that is, (specifically) divorce:—to be loosed.

I can think of only two ways a man can be loosed from a wife.

1) When the wife dies.

2) When the wife has committed adultery and he obtains a legitimate, biblical divorce.

Agreed?

II. the verses:

“Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be (1) loosed (G3089).”

We would be hard pressed to interpret that as seeking the wife to die.

I think we can conclude that Paul was talking about divorce.

Can this be safely translated: “Are you married, don’t seek a divorce”?

Now the second half of the verse:

Art thou (2) loosed (G3080) from a wife? seek not a wife.

The word “loosed” is related to the first word in that the first word is the root of the second. However in the second definition the word divorce is specifically given.

Can this be safely translated: “Are you divorced, don’t seek a wife”?

In the information immediately following this:

3) But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned;

Who is “thou”? The man who was loosed or divorced. It is not a sin, then, to marry when you have gotten a legitimate divorce.

Paul goes to great lengths to discourage marriage and re-marriage, but he also makes it very clear throughout this chapter that singleness is voluntary for those who have the “gift” of singleness (v.7).

The Marriage of Christ

Christ was very patient and forgiving with Israel. But even he, with all his divine love and patience came to the point where he had enough. He divorced Israel and is now engaged to marry the New Testament church:

“ And I saw, when for all the causes whereby backsliding Israel committed adultery I had put her away, and given her a bill of divorce” (Jer.3:8). Is Christ keeping his part of the covenant though Israel repeatedly broke the covenant?

No! Christ will remarry. The church is the bride, the Lamb’s wife. She should keep herself pure, sanctified, holy.

Never should she indulge in any foolishness; for she is the bride of a King. Yet she does not realize her exalted position. If she understood this, she would be all-glorious within (Letter 177, 1901). {7BC 986.1}

But Israel as a nation had divorced herself from God. The natural branches of the olive tree were broken off. Looking for the last time upon the interior of the temple, Jesus said with mournful pathos, “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see Me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord.” Hitherto He had called the temple His Father’s house; but now, as the Son of God should pass out from those walls, God’s presence would be withdrawn forever from the temple built to His glory. Henceforth its ceremonies would be meaningless, its services a mockery. {DA 620.4}

John said, “Ye yourselves bear me witness, that I said, I am not the Christ, but that I am sent before Him. He that hath the bride is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, which standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice.” John represented himself as the friend who acted as a messenger between the betrothed parties, preparing the way for the marriage. When the bridegroom had received his bride, the mission of the friend was fulfilled. He rejoiced in the happiness of those whose union he had promoted. So John had been called to direct the people to Jesus, and it was his joy to witness the success of the Saviour’s work.” {DA 179.3}

Even though Israel is not yet dead, Christ is betrothed (engaged) to church of the “New Testament” or the “New Covenant”.

“In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2-3).

Jesus is preparing to take his bride home.

Why Jesus Used Porneia and Moichao in the Same Verse

There is speculation about why Jesus used different ways to say adultery in the same verse – fornication (porneia) and adultery (moichao). Hmmm. What’s wrong with concluding that when Jesus said porneia, He meant porneia and when He said moichao, He meant moichao?

There is a difference in meaning.

[5]Porneia (G4202 πορνεία) comes from G4203; harlotry (including adultery and incest); figuratively idolatry: – fornication.

If we look up G4203 (πορνεύω) we get from G4204; to act the harlot, that is, (literally) indulge unlawful lust (of either sex), or (figuratively) practice idolatry: – commit (fornication).

So Porneia refers to all crimes of sexual lust – married or not. Would it make sense for God to grant a legitimate divorce to a woman whose husband is sleeping with the neighbor lady, but not if he were sleeping with her husband? Which is the worse crime? In fact, a close study of the word abomination would reveal for a man to sleep with another man is the greater crime. And would he not be adulterating the marriage? What about if a woman discovers her husband is sleeping with their daughter? This is called incest, but is it not also adultery? Cannot a woman get a legitimate divorce from her husband if he were harming their daughter and thus also adulterating the marriage? What if he were having sex with their dog? Wouldn’t that be adulterating the marriage and risking disease as much as other sexual crimes?

So when Jesus said porneia, he meant that a person can legitimately divorce a spouse if he commits any of these gross sexual crimes.

Moichao (G3429 μοιχάω) is from G3432; (middle voice) to commit adultery: – commit adultery.

Moichao, then, just means simple adultery – sex that breaks a marriage vow. It does not include the gross sexual crimes which were referred to as abominations in the books of Moses. (The books of Moses limit the word abomination to only certain serious sins. In other books of the Old Testament the word, abomination, is used more generally for all kinds of sin.)

Jesus chose to use the word Moichao because a person who divorces his or her spouse for illegitimate reasons and then remarries has committed simple adultery. He is not a homosexual or guilty of incest or bestiality, he is an adulterer only.

“Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed?” And finding how difficult a task it was to refute the arguments drawn from the prophetic periods, many discouraged the study of the prophecies, teaching that the prophetic books were sealed and were not to be understood. Multitudes, trusting implicitly to their pastors, refused to listen to the warning; {GC 379-80}

Her which is put away

9And I sayG3004 unto you, WhosoeverG3739-G302 shall putG630 awayG630 his wifeG1135, exceptG1508 it be for fornicationG4202, and shall marryG1060 anotherG243, committethG3429 adulteryG3429: and whosoG3588 marriethG1060 her whichG3588 is putG630 awayG630 doth commitG3429 adulteryG3429.

http://www.greekbible.com/index.php

legw de umin oti oV an apolush thn gunaika autou mh epi porneia kai gamhsh allhn moicatai.

http://www.sacred-texts.com/bib/gnt/mat019.htm#009

λέγω δὲ ὑμῖν ὅτι ὃς ἂν ἀπολύσῃ τὴν γυναῖκα αὐτοῦ μὴ ἐπὶ πορνείᾳ καὶ γαμήσῃ ἄλλην μοιχᾶται.

http://www-user.uni-bremen.de/~wie/GNT/Matthew.html

Wescott and Hort 1881 version

legw de umin oti os an apolush thn gunaika autou mh epi porneia kai gamhsh allhn moicatai

G3588

¿, ½, ôü

ho heô to

ho, hay, to

The masculine, feminine (second) and neuter (third) forms, in all their

inflections; the definite article; the (sometimes to be supplied, at others omitted,

in English idiom):—the, this, that, one, he, she, it, etc.

G630

Pðïëýù

apoluoô

ap-ol-oo’-o

From G575 and G3089; to free fully, that is, (literally) relieve, release,

dismiss (reflexively depart), or (figuratively) let die, pardon, or (specifically)

divorce:—(let) depart, dismiss, divorce, forgive, let go, loose, put (send) away,

release, set at liberty.

Thou Hast Not Sinned!

“Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be (1) loosed (G3089). Art thou (2) loosed (G3080) from a wife? seek not a wife. (3) But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned; and if a virgin marry, she hath not sinned. Nevertheless such shall have trouble in the flesh: but I spare you” (1 Corinthians7:27-28).

A man is addressed in the above verses.

I. What does loosed mean?

G3089 ëýù luoô loo’-o: A primary verb; to “loosen” (literally or figuratively):—break (up), destroy,

dissolve, (un-) loose, melt, put off. Compare G4486.

G3080 ëýóéò lusis loo’-sis: From G3089; a loosening, that is, (specifically) divorce:—to be loosed.

I can think of only two ways a man can be loosed from a wife.

1) When the wife dies.

2) When the wife has committed adultery and he obtains a legitimate, biblical divorce.

Agreed?

II. the verses:

“Art thou bound unto a wife? seek not to be (1) loosed (G3089).”

We would be hard pressed to interpret that as seeking the wife to die.

I think we can conclude that Paul was talking about divorce.

Can this be safely translated: “Are you married, don’t seek a divorce”?

Now the second half of the verse:

Art thou (2) loosed (G3080) from a wife? seek not a wife.

The word “loosed” is related to the first word in that the first word is the root of the second. However in the second definition the word divorce is specifically given.

Can this be safely translated: “Are you divorced, don’t seek a wife”?

In the information immediately following this:

3) But and if thou marry, thou hast not sinned;

Who is “thou”? The man who was loosed or divorced. It is not a sin, then, to marry when you have gotten a legitimate divorce.

Paul goes to great lengths to discourage marriage and re-marriage, but he also makes it very clear throughout this chapter that singleness is voluntary for those who have the “gift” of singleness (v.7).

“Put away” verses “depart”

Mark 10 is the only place in the Bible that alludes to the possibility of the woman divorcing her husband. Women are allowed by Paul only to “depart”. So using the “three witness test”, it would be against our religion to allow our sisters to divorce their husbands because we don’t have clear permission in the Bible for her to do so. While Men are generally the abusers, they may divorce but women who are generally the victims may only separate. I think God wants us to use our heads! He is not sexist!

Exodus 23:13 “And in all things that I have said unto you be circumspect”

Definitions and Meanings:

Cir·cum·spect (sûr’kəm-spěkt’) adj. Heedful of circumstances and potential consequences; prudent.

“Put away” G630 Pðïëýù apoluoô ap-ol-oo’-o

From G575 and G3089; to free fully, that is, (literally) relieve, release,

dismiss (reflexively depart), or (figuratively) let die, pardon, or (specifically)

divorce:—(let) depart, dismiss, divorce, forgive, let go, loose, put (send) away,

release, set at liberty.

“Depart” G5562 ÷ùñÝù choôreoô kho-reh’-o

From G5561; to be in (give) space, that is, (intransitively) to pass, enter, or

(transitively) to hold, admit (literally or figuratively):—come, contain, go, have,

place, (can, be room to) receive.

[1] Word Origin & History: Dissolve: late 14c., from L. dissolvere ”to loosen up, break apart,” from dis- ”apart” + solvere ”to loose, loosen” (see solve). Related: Dissolved ; dissolving. Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

[2] H2930 “to be foul, especially in a ceremonial or moral sense”

[3] What does Abomination mean? The word comes from the Hebrew word tow`ebah, Strong’s H8441:

Outline of Biblical Usage

1) a disgusting thing, abomination, abominable

2) in ritual sense (of unclean food, idols, mixed marriages)

3) in ethical sense (of wickedness etc)

4) Strong’s G4202 – porneia Outline of Biblical Usage

1) illicit sexual intercourse

a) adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lesbianism, intercourse with animals etc.

b) sexual intercourse with close relatives; Lev. 18

c) sexual intercourse with a divorced man or woman; Mk. 10:11,12

2) metaph. the worship of idols

a) of the defilement of idolatry, as incurred by eating the sacrifices offered to idols

H2181 (Three passages, 2 Chron 21:11, Isa 23:17, Ezek 16:26)

zaònaòh zaw-naw’ A primitive root (highly fed and therefore wanton); to commit adultery (usually of the female, and less often of simple fornication, rarely of involuntary ravishment); figuratively to commit idolatry (the Jewish people being regarded as the spouse of Jehovah):—(cause to) commit fornication, X continually, X great, (be an, play the) harlot, (cause to be, play the) whore, (commit, fall to) whoredom, (cause to) go a-whoring, whorish.

[5] Source of all the Greek definitions: E-sword, which is a free program that can be downloaded from the internet.

Posted on April 1, 2014, in Divorce and Remmariage. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: