MARRIAGE, DIVORCE, & REMARRIAGE
     A Biblical Response to a Controversial Subject



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Marriage & Fidelity

And YHWH1 God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him…. And YHWH God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; and the rib, which YHWH God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh…. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh. (Genesis 2:18-24)2

This, of course, is the story of Adam and Eve. A love story. How thrilled Adam must have been when he first gazed upon Eve. How he must have treasured her companionship and love after living alone. How thankful he must have been that Yahweh’s3 plan for him included a wife and children. It has been the same ever since for untold numbers of men and women.

In verse 18 of Genesis 2, we are informed that Yahweh did not consider it good for man to be alone. King Solomon agreed:

He who finds a wife finds a good thing, and obtains favor from YHWH. (Proverbs 18:22)

According to these passages, marriage is a wonderful thing. From the beginning, Yahweh ordained and blessed matrimony between a man and a woman. He used it as a type for His own special relationship with His people Israel. He was married to Israel and they to Him. Yeshua4 (Jesus’ given Hebrew name) commenced to unveil His divinity by performing His first miracle at a marriage ceremony. All of this testifies to the fact that the sacrament of marriage is highly esteemed and even loved by Yahweh. Would it not then be safe to say that the opposite is just as true – that He hates divorce? Many Christians5 would affirm this by referring to the Prophet Malachi:

For I hate divorce, says YHWH, the God of Israel. (Malachi 2:16, NASB)

Based upon Malachi 2, Christians have adopted the mantra “God hates divorce!” But is this perception of Yahweh correct? Although He certainly hates the consequences of divorce, He was not speaking of divorce in Malachi 2 – as will be explained in the pages to follow.

The Tragedy of Divorce

The tragic effects of divorce last for generations. In most instances, it leaves deep and often permanent scars on one or both divorced partners, sometimes even resulting in suicide and murder. Probably the most grievous aspect of divorce is its impact upon children. After studying 131 children under thirteen years of age whose parents were divorced, one report declared “…the most pervasive fact to emerge from the study was the enormity of the grief all the children studied felt over their parents’ divorce. They were sad beyond measure.”6

In the Gospel of Matthew, Yeshua warned:

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe unto the world because of offences! For it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! (Matthew 18:6-7)

While helping his mother make cookies, a six-year-old boy I knew used a cookie cutter to produce a heart-shaped piece of dough. “Our family has a lot of this,” he declared. He then tore the heart in half and said, “This is what happens to hearts when people are divorced.” This boy spoke more truth than his young mind could comprehend. Or possibly he understood the truth about divorce better than the hardened and callused minds of most adults.

As harmful as divorce is upon the immediate children of divorced parents, let us not forget that the sins of the fathers are visited upon the children to the third and fourth generations – Deuteronomy 5:9-10. Divorce often becomes generational, until one generation finally breaks the cycle.

Grandparents are also victims of divorce. When couples divorce, they not only divorce each other, but in many instances, they also divorce the grandparents from their grandchildren. Often, one of the divorced parents remarries and moves away with the children. In some cases, the genetic grandparents on one side are told that their grandchildren now have new grandparents and that it would be best if they stayed out of the lives of their grandchildren to avoid confusing them. When grandchildren lose their grandparents, one of the most important influences in their lives is sacrificed on the altar of divorce.

There are other consequences of divorce:

Divorced or separated men receive in-patient psychiatric care 21 times more frequently than do married men, and heighten their risk of cancer (5/4 World). As a rule today, divorced women see a decline in their standard of living of about 73%.... Day-care costs, and the long-term effects on children, are other consequences to be considered.7

Divorce is almost always a losing proposition; it wreaks grief, heartache, and havoc upon everyone it touches. Before deciding to marry, a couple should understand that getting married is like buying a phonograph record: you buy it for what is on one side, but you have to take the flip side as well. Divorce, however, is like getting the hole in the middle.

The answer to divorce, simply put, is marriage. Yahweh’s design for men is for them to cleave to their wives. Far too many people look upon marriage as an event, when in actuality the wedding is the event and marriage is a lifetime accomplishment.

So, does this mean Yahweh prohibits divorce altogether?

Modern-Day Wedding Vows

While it is my intent to present a scriptural presentation of marriage, divorce, and remarriage – one that does not put Yeshua at odds with Yahweh – it is not my intent to promote divorce. Although Yahweh has provided for divorce and remarriage, today’s marriage vows cannot be cast aside lightly.

It is doubtful that today’s wedding vows are the same as in biblical times. Although the father of the prospective bride presumably required the prospective husband to declare his intentions and vow to protect and provide for the daughter, nuptial vows are nowhere required in the Bible. Exodus 19:8 provides the only example of marriage vows. Following Yahweh’s proposal of marriage to the nation of Israel, the people vowed to do all that Yahweh had required.

Nevertheless, today’s wedding vows cannot be flippantly disregarded just because the Bible does not say anything specific concerning them. A vow is always a serious matter with Yahweh:

…This is the thing which YHWH hath commanded. If a man vow a vow unto YHWH, or swear an oath to bind his soul with a bond; he shall not break his word, he shall do according to all that proceedeth out of his mouth. (Numbers 30:1-2)

When thou shalt vow a vow unto YHWH thy God, thou shalt not slack to pay it: for YHWH thy God will surely require it of thee; and it would be sin in thee. But if thou shalt forbear to vow, it shall be no sin in thee. That which is gone out of thy lips thou shalt keep and perform; even a freewill offering, according as thou hast vowed unto YHWH thy God, which thou hast promised with thy mouth. (Deuteronomy 23:21-23)

When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay. (Ecclesiastes 5:4-5)

Although these passages describe a vow or an oath made specifically to Yahweh or sworn in His name, Christians need to remember that every word we say represents our King:

…whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Yeshua, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. (Colossians 3:17)

If we claim to be Christians, everything we do is done in His name. Everything we do and say represents the King whose name we wear and whose ambassadors we are. This particularly applies to marriage vows. When a couple recites their vows, they often do so in such way that they are not only covenanting with each other, but with Yahweh Himself.

Most couples, today, vow to remain faithful to their spouses in sickness and in health, whether rich or poor, and until death parts them. In other words, while it is true that Yahweh’s law provides for divorce, most wedding vows preclude the possibility.

Scriptural Divorce

In Matthew 19:4-8, Yeshua declared that it had been Yahweh’s design from the beginning for husbands and wives to remain together. Does this mean that He hates divorce? Even though I suspect Yahweh hates the consequences of divorce, He still clearly provided for divorce:

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.
(Deuteronomy 24:1-2)

In Psalm 19:7, David declared that Yahweh’s law – including Deuteronomy 24:1-2 – is perfect. And what is perfect cannot be sin – no matter how many preachers say otherwise. Because Yahweh knew that not all men and women would be able to fulfill His plan concerning marriage, He provided the means for a couple to end an unwholesome or dangerous relationship.

Under what conditions did He allow for divorce? Moses wrote that a husband may divorce his wife if she has “no favor in his eyes, because he hath found some uncleanness in her.” But many preachers and commentators insist that Yeshua changed Yahweh’s law on divorce because, in the gospels, Yeshua appears to limit divorce to cases of adultery.

The modern interpretation of Yeshua’s statements in Mark 10 – that is, that Yeshua is speaking of divorce – has Him declaring the exact opposite of Yahweh’s law:

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

It is doubtful that Christians who do not differentiate between divorce and putting away understand what their interpretation implies. If their interpretation is correct, Yeshua would have been a sinner, or at the very least He would have been promoting sin. In order for Yeshua to have been our perfect, sinless sacrifice, He had to fully keep and accurately teach the Old Covenant law. In 1 John 3:4, the Apostle John declared: “Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness.” If Yeshua had broken or changed Yahweh’s law, He would have been a sinner and could not be our Savior.

Even if Yahweh’s law had been changed or abolished under the New Covenant dispensation (as some people erroneously teach), Yeshua’s dissertations on divorce in the Gospels were given prior to His death and therefore during the Old Covenant dispensation (Hebrews 9:15-17). Yeshua never refuted Yahweh’s laws or indicated they would one day be abolished. Instead, He asserted that the law was operative for all time:

…Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. (Matthew 5:18)

Not the smallest letter or stroke of Yahweh’s law on divorce in Deuteronomy 24 was changed by Yeshua. Instead, He perfectly upheld Yahweh’s law on divorce and remarriage.

We can trace the erroneous interpretation of Yeshua’s instructions to two modern mistakes. The first mistake is most Christians’ belief that Yahweh’s commandments, statutes, and judgments have been abolished and replaced – thus, they seldom consult them.8 The second mistake is the consequence of translation errors in most modern English versions of the Bible.9

Divorce and Remarriage

Deuteronomy 24:1-2 stipulates three elements that comprise a lawful divorce: 1) the husband must write out a certificate of divorce, 2) he must deliver the certificate to his wife, and 3) he must put her out of his house and send her away. All three elements are required for a divorce to be recognized by Yahweh as lawful. A husband is not allowed to simply send his wife out into the streets. Putting her away without the divorce certificate that lawfully breaks the covenant of marriage does not constitute a lawful divorce. The divorce certificate provides her with the evidence that she is a lawfully divorced woman, which, in turn, provides her protection against false accusations.

This is more serious than it may at first appear. If a woman “remarries” or attaches herself to another man without this lawful document, she and the man whom she “marries” would be guilty of adultery, a capital offense.10

“Divorce” and “Send Her Out”

The terms “divorce” and “send her out” (also translated “put away”) must be properly differentiated to clear up mistaken notions about divorce and remarriage. The Hebrew word keriythuwth translated “divorce” in Deuteronomy 24:1 is found in only two other locations: Isaiah 50:1, which describes Yahweh’s future divorce of the House of Judah, and Jeremiah 3:8, which describes Yahweh’s past divorce of the House of Israel. Keriythuwth, translated “divorce,” is a specific term, and in all three instances it is used in conjunction with the term “bill,” “writ” or “certificate.” On the other hand, the Hebrew word shalach, translated “send her out” or “put away,” is a common term used nearly one thousand times in the Old Testament. While it is true that the term “put away” – the final step in the divorce process – is sometimes used to represent divorce, women can and often were put away without being divorced.

Malachi 2

The Hebrew word for divorce – keriythuwth – is not the word Yahweh chose to use in Malachi 2:16. Instead, Malachi was inspired to use the Hebrew word shalach. Keriythuwth and shalach are not always interchangeable. A woman cannot be divorced without being put away, but she can be put away without being divorced. The Prophet Malachi was addressing the latter condition:

...you [men of the House of Judah] cover the altar of YHWH with tears ... because He no longer regards the offering or accepts it with favor from your hand. Yet you say, “For what reason?” Because YHWH has been a witness between you and the wife of your youth, against whom you have dealt treacherously, though she is your companion and your wife by covenant. (Malachi 2:13-14, NASB)

Note that the women in this situation were still considered to be wives by covenant with their husbands. They had never been lawfully divorced. The New American Standard Bible translates the Hebrew word shalach as “divorce”:

...Take heed then, to your spirit, and let no one deal treacherously against the wife of your youth. For I hate divorce, says YHWH, the God of Israel.... (Malachi 2:15-16, NASB)

The King James Version correctly translates shalach as “putting away”:

For YHWH, the God of Israel saith that He hateth putting away....

Yahweh is not the author of confusion. Because divorce is a lawful dissolution of marriage, it cannot be the treachery described in Malachi. If it were, Yahweh promoted treachery when He made provisions for divorce in Deuteronomy 24. Additionally, Yahweh Himself would be guilty of treachery because He divorced His wife Israel.

The treachery committed by those Judahite men was not in divorcing their wives, but rather in putting away their wives without the certificate of divorce required in Deuteronomy 24 (something still very common in the land of Israel today as reported on NPR in 2003). Consequently, these put away – but not divorced – women could not seek another husband without committing adultery.

In their vindictiveness, these husbands were forcing their wives into a deplorable predicament. If one of these women “married” or attached herself to another man, she would have been an adulterer and subject to stoning, and any man who married her would also have committed adultery. By law, without a certificate of divorce, she was still married to her first husband.

A “put-away” woman would be left to provide for herself, a nearly impossible feat under the conditions of that time. No doubt, some women felt they had no choice but to resort to prostitution in order to provide for themselves and their children. One can understand why Yahweh hated the treachery these hardhearted men committed against their wives. It was for this reason that Yahweh provided for lawful divorce:

The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him, Is it lawful for a man to put away [divorce] his wife for every cause [as implied in Deuteronomy 24]? And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder. They say unto him, Why did Moses then command to give a writing of divorcement, and to put her away? He saith unto them, Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you to put away [divorce] your wives: but from the beginning it was not so. (Matthew 19:3-8)11

New Testament Divorce and Remarriage

Because much of modern Christianity has rejected Yahweh’s perfect law (Psalm 19:7-9) and because the Hebrew words pertaining to this subject have been misunderstood, divorce and remarriage have been misconstrued. Mistranslation has also occurred in some key passages in the New Testament Scriptures.

Both divorce and remarriage are permitted according to Yahweh’s law:

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; for that is abomination before YHWH: and thou shalt not cause the land to sin, which YHWH thy God giveth thee for an inheritance. (Deuteronomy 24:1-4)12

Keeping in mind what we have learned from the Old Testament, let us now see if we can make sense of Yeshua’s New Testament statements regarding this subject.

As already pointed out, the Hebrew words translated “divorce” and “send her out” in Deuteronomy 24 mean two different things. The same is true of the corresponding Greek words in the New Testament. The Greek word for “put away” is apoluo, whereas the Greek word for “divorce” is apostasion. With this in mind, let us examine Yeshua’s instructions on divorce and remarriage in Matthew 5 in the New American Standard Bible:

And it was said [in Deuteronomy 24:1], “Whoever divorces [apolusee – puts away] his wife, let him give her a certificate of dismissal” [apostasion – divorce]; but I say to you that everyone who divorces [apoluoon – puts away] his wife, except for the cause of unchastity, makes her commit adultery; and whoever marries a divorced [apolelumenee – put away] woman commits adultery. (Matthew 5:31-32, NASB)

Even though the King James Bible rendered these two verses more correctly, its translation still leaves something to be desired:

It hath been said [in Deuteronomy 24:1], Whosoever shall put away [apolusee] his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement [apostasion].... (Matthew 5:31)

In this verse, Yeshua was quoting Deuteronomy 24:1, which declares that if a man puts away his wife, he is required to give her a certificate of divorce. The King James Version continues:

…but I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away [apoluoon] his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causeth her to commit adultery; and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced [apolelumeneen – put away] committeth adultery. (Matthew 5:32)

In the latter part of verse 32, both the New American Standard and King James translators have Yeshua declaring that: “whoever marries a divorced woman commits adultery.” This cannot be correct because Deuteronomy 24:1-4 gives a lawfully divorced woman the right to remarry. Either the translators are in error or Yeshua is a heretic for having altered Yahweh’s law.

The King James and New American Standard translations place Yeshua in conflict with Deuteronomy 24 and thus with Yahweh Himself. When correctly translated “whosoever shall marry her that is put away committeth adultery,” Yeshua’s statement is in perfect harmony with Yahweh’s law.

Earlier in Matthew 5, Yeshua declared that He had not come to change the law:

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. ...Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven.... (Matthew 5:17-19)

Are we to believe that Yeshua is least in the kingdom of heaven? This is what He is if the New American Standard and King James versions are correct. When translated and understood correctly, everything He taught in Matthew 5 – including verses 31-32 – is in perfect harmony with Yahweh’s laws in the Old Testament.

Yeshua simply affirmed that any man who puts away his wife without a writ of divorce (without a lawful divorce contract breaking the lawful marriage contract) causes her to commit adultery if she becomes another man’s “wife.” The man who “marries” a put-away – but not divorced – woman would also be guilty of adultery because without a lawful divorce contract, she would still be another man’s wife.

The following account from John 4 provides a final witness to the fact that the customary interpretation of Matthew 5:31-32 is incorrect:

The woman saith unto him, Sir, give me this water, that I thirst not, neither come hither to draw. Yeshua saith unto her, Go, call thy husband, and come hither. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Yeshua said unto her, Thou hast well said, I have no husband: For thou hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy husband: in that saidst thou truly. (John 4:15-18)

It is often incorrectly deduced from Matthew 5 that if a divorced woman marries another man she, along with any man thereafter who takes her for his wife, becomes an adulterer. If this were true, Yeshua would have designated only the first man as this woman’s lawful husband and the five other men as adulterers.

The Exception Clause

In the New American Standard, the latter part of Matthew 5:32 reads: “...everyone who divorces his wife, except for the cause of unchastity, makes her commit adultery....” However, in Deuteronomy 24:1-4, divorce is not limited to only cases of unchastity or fornication, nor is this exception clause – as interpreted by modern Christianity – found in the law. Deuteronomy 24:1-2 permits a man to divorce his wife for no other reason than that she no longer has favor in his eyes, and Deuteronomy 21:10-14 permits a man to divorce his wife simply because he does not “delight in her”:

When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies, and YHWH thy God hath delivered them into thine hands, and thou hast taken them captive, and seest among the captives a beautiful woman, and hast a desire unto her, that thou wouldest have her to thy wife; then thou shalt bring her home to thine house … and after [a month] that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife. And it shall be, if thou have no delight in her, then thou shalt let her go whither she will; but thou shalt not sell her at all for money, thou shalt not make merchandise of her, because thou hast humbled her. (Deuteronomy 21:10-14)

The law found in Deuteronomy 22:28-29 that requires a man who defiles a virgin to marry and never divorce her proves that unconditional divorce was permitted in other instances.

This, of course, runs contrary to contemporary teaching that divorce and remarriage is only permitted in instances involving marital infidelity – a teaching that cannot be found anywhere in Yahweh’s law. Moreover, Yahweh’s judgment for adultery is death not divorce (Leviticus 20:10). This judgment was corroborated by Yeshua in John 8, when He instructed witnesses to stone the woman caught in adultery. In the absence of any witnesses, He told the woman – also in accordance with the law of Yahweh – that she could go her way.13

Because divorce is not contingent upon infidelity, Abraham – who kept Yahweh’s commandments, statutes, and laws (Genesis 26:5) – did not hesitate to divorce Hagar (who had not committed adultery) in order to preserve peace in his home. In fact, Yahweh expressly instructed him to send Hagar away (Genesis 21:9-12).

“Saving for the Cause of Fornication”

At first glance, Yeshua’s statement in Matthew 5:32 – “saving for the cause of fornication” – appears to be in conflict with the previous interpretation. But when understood correctly, it, too, fits perfectly with Yahweh’s law on divorce.

The New American Standard Bible renders the clause:

…except for the cause of unchastity….

The King James Version renders the same clause much better:

…saving for the cause of fornication….

The word “fornication” is translated from the Greek word porneias. Following is a list of acts described by the Greek word porneias and the closely related word ekporneusasai:

  • Incest – 1 Corinthians 5:1
  • Harlotry or prostitution – 1 Corinthians 6:13-18, 10:8
  • Forbidden lineage and interracial relationships – Hebrews 12:1614
  • Homosexuality – Jude 1:7

Although not specifically mentioned as porneias in the New Testament, the following three immoral acts are also fornication:

  • Bestiality – Leviticus 20:15-16
  • “Remarriage” to a divorced wife you divorced after another man has married and divorced her – Deuteronomy 24:1-4
  • “Marriage” to a woman unlawfully divorced (put away without a certificate of divorce) – Deuteronomy 24:1-2; Matthew 5:32

Yeshua in Perfect Concert with Yahweh’s Laws

How do these acts of fornication relate to Yeshua’s declaration in Matthew 5:31-32? In Matthew 5 Yeshua was not condemning divorce, but rather the putting away of a wife without a bill of divorcement. Matthew 5:31-32 should have been translated as follows. I have inserted the Greek words and some acts of fornication for clarification:

It hath been said [in Deuteronomy 24:1], Whosoever shall put away [apolusee] his wife, let him give her a writing of divorcement [apostasion]: But I say unto you, That whosoever shall put away [apoluoon] his wife [without a writing of divorcement], saving for the cause of fornication [incest, prostitution, forbidden lineage, and interracial relationships], causeth her to commit adultery: and whosoever shall marry her that is [not divorced but only] put away [apolelumeneen], committeth adultery. (Matthew 5:31-32)

Deuteronomy 24:1 forbids a man from putting away his lawful wife without a certificate of divorce. But, a divorce certificate is not required if the union is porneias, or fornication. Such relationships are not lawful marriages and do not require a divorce certificate.

Yahweh is the author of marriage (Genesis 2:18, 21-24), and only He can legitimize a relationship as a marriage. The unions listed above are unlawful unions, not lawful marriages. This is why a man can put away these porneias partners without having to provide them with a certificate of divorce. In these instances, a bill of divorcement is not obligatory because, from Yahweh’s perspective, none of these relationships constitute a lawful marriage. These unlawful relationships require only repentance and the putting away of the unlawful partner – thus the exception clause “saving for the cause of fornication.”

We find precedent for this in Ezra 9 and 10:

And Shechaniah … answered and said unto Ezra, We have trespassed against our God, and have taken strange wives of the people of the land…. Now therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all the wives, and such as are born of them, according to the counsel of my lord, and of those that tremble at the commandment of our God; and let it be done according to the law. (Ezra 10:2-3)

Nowhere in these two chapters is a certificate of divorce required for the Judahites to put away their foreign, non-Israelite wives. The following passage provides the reason why a writ of divorcement was unnecessary:

...The people of Israel, and the priests, and the Levites, have not separated themselves from the people of the lands ... even of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites. For they have taken of their daughters for themselves, and for their sons: so that the holy seed have mingled themselves with the people of those lands.... (Ezra 9:1-2)

The nations cited with whom the Judahites had intermingled were descended either from Canaanites, Moabites, or Ammonites,15 lineages with whom Yahweh had forbidden the Israelites to intermarry. Those relationships were unlawful unions and therefore acts of fornication. Hence, in this instance, the Judahite men were not required to present the women of Canaanite, Moabite, and Ammonite lineages with certificates of divorce.

In 1 Corinthians 5, the Apostle Paul rebuked the Corinthian Christians for tolerating an incestuous relationship that he identified as fornication. In 2 Corinthians 7, he commended them for having dealt with the adulterer and helping bring him to repentance. Would a divorce certificate have been required for this man to put away his father’s wife? Of course not – he would have only needed to repent and stop cohabiting with her. In other words, he needed only to repent and put her away.

Instead of being at odds with the law of Yahweh, Yeshua expounded upon and confirmed that Deuteronomy 24:1-4 is the standard for divorce and remarriage, except in cases of fornication, which only require the putting away of an unlawful partner. This interpretation of the exception clause in Matthew 5:32 is the only interpretation that harmonizes with Deuteronomy 24:1-4 and does not put Yeshua in conflict with Yahweh.

Clarity

Hopefully, this study will help eliminate the widespread confusion regarding divorce and remarriage. Yahweh’s law does not promote divorce and remarriage, but it does permit it.

The purpose of this book is not to encourage divorce and remarriage, but rather to present them in their proper scriptural perspective. Divorce should always be the last resort, the solution only when all else fails and reconciliation is impossible. Divorce is usually the lesser of two evils; it is rarely, if ever, a positive experience. Nevertheless, in light of Yahweh’s law and Yeshua’s validation of that law, divorce and remarriage can no longer be entirely denounced.16

Endnotes

1. Where the Tetragrammaton (YHWH) – the four Hebrew characters that represent the personal name of God – has been incorrectly rendered the LORD or GOD in English translations, I have taken the liberty to correct this error by inserting YHWH where appropriate. “The Third Commandment,” a more thorough explanation regarding the use of the names of God, may be read online, or the book Thou shalt not take the name of YHWH thy God in vain may be ordered from Mission to Israel Ministries, PO Box 248, Scottsbluff, Nebraska 69363, for a suggested $4 donation.*

2. All Scripture is quoted from the King James Version unless otherwise noted. Portions of Scripture have been omitted for brevity’s sake. If there are questions regarding any passage, please open your Bible and study the text to ensure it has been properly used.

3. YHWH, most often pronounced Yahweh, is the English transliteration of the Tetragrammaton, the principal Hebrew name of the God of the Bible. “The Third Commandment,” a more thorough explanation regarding the use of the names of God, may be read at online, or the book Thou shalt not take the name of YHWH thy God in vain may be ordered from Mission to Israel Ministries, PO Box 248, Scottsbluff, Nebraska 69363, for a suggested $4 donation.*

4. Yeshua is the English transliteration of our Savior’s Hebrew name. “The Third Commandment,” a more thorough explanation regarding the use of the names of God, may be read at online, or the book Thou shalt not take the name of YHWH thy God in vain may be ordered from Mission to Israel Ministries, PO Box 248, Scottsbluff, Nebraska 69363, for a suggested $4 donation.*

5. Not everyone claiming to be a Christian has been properly instructed in the biblical plan of salvation. Mark 16:15-16; Acts 2:36-41, 22:1-16; Romans 6:3-4; Galatians 3:26-27; Colossians 2:11-13; and 1 Peter 3:21 should be studied in order to understand what is required to be covered by the blood of Yeshua and forgiven of your sins. “Baptism by the Scriptures” and “Fifty Objections to Baptism Answered,” more thorough explanations concerning baptism and its relationship to salvation, may be read online, or the book Baptism: All You Wanted to Know and More may be ordered from Mission to Israel Ministries, PO Box 248, Scottsbluff, Nebraska 69363, for free.

6. George R. Plagenz, “The Orphans of Divorce,” York (PA) Dispatch, 9 July 1986.

7. “Divorce Consequences,” Calvary Contender, 15 May 1996.

8. For a more thorough explanation concerning Yahweh’s law and how it applies today, Yah’s Laws: Are They For Today? and The Perfect Law of Liberty may be read online.

9. Although Yahweh’s Word is inerrant as inspired in the original manuscripts, there is no such thing as a perfect translation. It is important to consult the Hebrew and Greek (the original languages of the Old and New Testaments) whenever possible.

10. The booklet Capital Punishment: Deterrent or Catalyst? can be read online, or it may be ordered from Mission to Israel Ministries, PO Box 248, Scottsbluff, Nebraska 69363, for a suggested $3 donation.*

11. Most people believe Yeshua’s statement that “Moses because of the hardness of your hearts suffered you ... but from the beginning it was not so” is specific to the law on divorce, but this is not true. It is instead a principle relative to all biblical law. For example, in the beginning, Yahweh did not want man to kill others, but because of the hardness of man’s heart, He commanded “Thou shalt not murder” and provided for its corresponding judgment. In the beginning, Yahweh did not want man to steal, but because of the hardness of man’s heart, He commanded “Thou shalt not steal.”

12. In defiance to Deuteronomy 24:2-4, certain churches require women who have married a second time to divorce their second husbands and return to their first husbands as a part of their repentance in coming to Christ for salvation. Such antinomian churches are no different from churches which perform sodomite weddings. Both are violators of Yahweh’s morality, as codified in His law.

13. A more thorough explanation of the incident concerning the woman caught in adultery may be read online, or the book Thou shalt not commit adultery may be ordered from Mission to Israel Ministries, PO Box 248, Scottsbluff, Nebraska 69363, for a suggested $6 donation.*

14. In Hebrews 12:16, Esau is condemned as a fornicator. His fornication consisted in having married two wives of the forbidden Canaanite lineage (Deuteronomy 7:1-3; Genesis 26:34-35). By extension, the same would apply to cases of miscegenation or interracial relationships. A more thorough explanation concerning miscegenation may be read online, or the book Thou shalt not commit adultery may be ordered from Mission to Israel Ministries, PO Box 248, Scottsbluff, Nebraska 69363, for a suggested $6 donation.*

15. The Perizzites, although not Canaanites, dwelt amongst the Canaanites (Genesis 13:7; 15:18-21; 34:30; etc.), and had likely intermarried with them. Therefore the Perizzites were counted among those with whom Israel was forbidden to marry. Not all Egyptians (Hamites – Psalm 78:51; 105:23, 27; 106:21-22) were forbidden for Israel to intermarry. However, the descendants of Canaan were a forbidden lineage of the Hamites; thus the reason for concluding that the Egyptians in Ezra 9:1 must have been Canaanites or that these Egyptians had – like the Perizzites – intermarried with the Canaanites.

16. For scriptural instruction on Biblical marriage, a marriage counseling questionnaire may be downloaded from our website by clicking here.

*Although we have provided a suggested price for our books, we do not sell them. In keeping with 2 Corinthians 9:7, this ministry is supported by freewill offerings. If you cannot afford the suggested price, inform us of your situation, and we will be pleased to provide you with whatever you need for whatever offering you can send.

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Bible Law vs. The United States Constitution · P.O. Box 248 · Scottsbluff, NE 69363 · Email