On Marriage and Faith

On Marriage and Faith

When Lazarus died, Yeshua was deliberately late arriving. The women were not upset with the L-rd (though they were grieving), saying that Lazarus would rise in the resurrection. And when Yeshua said he would live, they misunderstood. What good would that sort of resurrection be in the olam ha ba (the world to come) when it was to show G-d’s glory in the present life? In much the same way marriage restoration is about showing G-d’s glory.

Marriage has to be restored in the present life, as Lazarus was restored to his present life, or it is not a miracle. In fact, scripture is clear on this; there will be no marriage in heaven. However, it remains true that if one remains faithful to a prodigal spouse, there will be a reward in the hereafter, but no marriage, only the reward of a faithful servant.  If when Yeshua called Lazarus out and he remained dead, it would not have glorified G-d, nor would it have been resurrection in a way that the weeping women desired. So, marriage has to be restored in the land of the living.

But if a spouse in persistent disobedience refuses to listen to the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit of G-d) what then? Lazarus could not resist the call of G-d, but wayward spouses do so persistently and find excuses in all manner to justify disobedience. Yeshua G-d said, “if you love me obey my commands.” Does one love Him and yet not obey?

15 If you love me, you will keep my commands; 16 and I will ask the Father, and he will give you another comforting Counselor like me, the Spirit of Truth, to be with you forever. 17 The world cannot receive him, because it neither sees nor knows him. You know him, because he is staying with you and will be united with you. 18 I will not leave you orphans — I am coming to you. 19 In just a little while, the world will no longer see me; but you will see me. Because I live, you too will live. 20 When that day comes, you will know that I am united with my Father, and you with me, and I with you. 21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me, and the one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him.” Yochanan14: 15-21 (Emphasis added)

The New Testament had not been written when Yeshua spoke these words, yet he asks us to obey His law. His mitzvot. The commands or words of G-d. Obedience. We obey because we love Him. What is the corollary? To not obey demonstrates that we do NOT love. If we do not love, do we remain children of G-d? It does not appear to be so. Even the prodigal son came to his senses and returned to his Father in repentance. To persistently live in the lifestyle of disobedience is to demonstrate that we do not love G-d, and are not the children of the Most High.

Some commands are conditional, that is, they depend on the condition in which one finds their life. (For example; if you live in Israel, if you are a priest, if you are married, etc.). And in marriage humans are commanded to remain married for life, though we do not have to marry. It is in the substance of Beresheit (Genesis) 2:24-25 that Yeshua [Mattityahu (Matt) 19:4-6] met the woman at the well and discussed her life and forgave her sins telling her to go and sin no more. It is important to note, he recognized her many marriages, and yet focused on her final condition, that of living with a man not her husband, and that he said “sin no more,” not return to your first husband.

Though Rav Shaul (Paul) writes that believers who divorce must remain single or reconcile, many take this as permission to divorce, willfully ignoring the greater command in the meaning of the Word – DO NOT DIVORCE. Those who do so respond (as if saying in their actions), “I separated from my spouse, but I remain single,” as if this were but a tactic of a prolonged divorce strategy causing immense pain and grief to their spouse, eventually wearing them down, causing them to give up and file for divorce. Or if a spouse habitually and deliberately breaks the marriage vows, he or she has made, the impact of which is to cause breaks and fracture the one-flesh union, which may lead to divorce

In Mattityahu (Matt) 19, Yeshua continued to confound the P’rushim (Pharisees) when He explained that divorce for any other reason than adultery becomes adultery. So, abandoning a spouse who has not committed adultery makes one an adulterer. It is the act of the divorce which is the adultery, committed once. And Yeshua cited divorce as adultery (Matt 5:32).

Other verses that speak to the permanence of marriage;

Beresheit 2:18, Mishlei (Proverbs) 5:18-19 18:22, Ephesians 4:31-32-25, Kohelet (Ecclesiastes) 4:9-11, Kehilla in Rome (Romans) 7:2, Kehilla in Corinth Alef (1Corinthians) 7:39

Another explanation is found on the Gospelway.com website;

Society and civil law may then grant them a “divorce” (not for fornication) and they may “marry” again. Society and civil law then view them as free from their first marriage and entered into a second one, and the Bible calls this “divorced” (“put away”) and “married” again. But though God uses these terms as society does, He does not recognize the divorce as making a valid end to the covenant commitment that He recognized in the first marriage. God still considers them “bound” or “joined” or held accountable for the commitment of the first marriage.

This explains why, if a woman divorces her husband, she still has no right to remarry. She may get divorced in the eyes of civil law, and God calls it “divorce” and says she is now “unmarried.” But that does not free her from her bond or covenant obligation to her first husband. Since she is still bound to her first marriage covenant, her only choice then is to be reconciled to her husband (the one God recognizes) or else remain unmarried (all italics added).

Though the emphasis here is on divorce from a first husband (which is not entirely correct) the primary issue is separation from a believing husband. Thus, the above quote paints the image of one divorced ‘in the eyes of society’ in which individuals are considered by that social structure as free to remarry, something not explained in the Word. Though the emphasis on not being released from her “covenant obligation to her first husband” does not do justice to the biblical concept of a divorce for adultery, or abandonment by an unbeliever.

The world takes this to be true – that one is free to remarry after a divorce, when G-d’s word on marriage and divorce allows for divorce due to adultery. Additionally, scripture makes it clear that if a pagan leaves their believing spouse in divorce, the believer is free. In both instances, the conclusion is that one is allowed to remarry. At no time does the bible maintain that those who remarry remain in adultery, for it was the initial act of divorce that was of concern, though others maintain it is the sexual act that is adultery.

It is our view that there are certain instances in which divorce and remarriage are permitted without the remarriage being considered adultery. These instances would include unrepentant adultery and abandonment of a believing spouse by an unbelieving spouse. We are not saying that a person under such circumstances should remarry. The Bible definitely encourages remaining single or reconciliation over remarriage (1 Corinthians 7:11). At the same time, it is our view that God offers His mercy and grace to the innocent party in a divorce and allows that person to remarry.  GotQuestions.Org

Though one may understand that no fault divorce is so well accepted by the pagan world, it is difficult to understand how those who say they are of the fellowship of light would also accept divorce so easily. In fact, the Catholic faith has so many rules about marriage and impediments to marriage that their stand on the indissoluble nature of marriage is rendered false, in much the same manner as those who believe Rav Shaul (apostle Paul) taught it’s okay to divorce ‘as long as I don’t remarry.’

What rule is this that is so bent? Any rule or law written by human beings no matter who they are, or for which purpose (being other than that which G-d condones). 1 Yochanan (John) writes of this spirit and calls it anti-Messiah saying they went out from us because they were not of us (2:19). So, I ask; would those who live in persistent disobedience to the mitzvot of G-d be children of G-d? It would appear not. It would appear they are at most an unbeliever in regard to their former spouse. Rav Shaul writes;

15 But if the unbeliever leaves, let it be so. The brother or the sister is not bound in such circumstances; God has called us to live in peace. 1 Corinthians 7:15

Rav Shaul says this is his command, not the L-rd’s. The L-rd himself said, “Because this people draw near with their words and honor Me with their lip service, but they remove their hearts far from Me, and their reverence for Me consists of tradition learned by rote,” (Yesha’yahu / Isaiah 29:13). And in Mattityahu 15:9, Yeshua G-d says, “It is no use for them to worship me, because they teach human rules as though they were my laws!”

An interesting side note is found in the Book of Ezra, “You have been unfaithful; you have married foreign women, adding to Israel’s guilt. Now honor the Lord, the God of your ancestors, and do his will. Separate yourselves from the peoples around you and from your foreign wives” (Ezra 10:10–11). Though 1 Corinthians 7:15–16 is seen as a corollary to Ezra, it turns the separation on its head, appearing to only allow an unbeliever to depart.

Thus, this is clear, when two believers marry there is no permission nor allowance for divorce, save for adultery. Yet, if they do, they must remain unmarried. Yet, what of a believer to an unbeliever? Rav Shaul says the unbeliever is sanctified (not saved) by the marriage to a believer. If he/she leaves the marriage the believer is not bound, hence free from any bondage which constrains. Even though many believers choose to “stand” for their marriage and remain unmarried seeking restoration through prayer and a changed life.

What is clear in all this is that marriage is a covenant and one must not seek to dissolve that covenant. Even believers, if you in ignorance or through unrepentant sin divorce your spouse and remarry. Though many would disagree, second marriages become a covenant as well. The Reverend Luck holds that Rav Shaul (Paul), “…tells them that to divorce without grounds is improper, and that if they have done so they are not to strike a second covenant but to seek reconciliation with their (former) spouse.” While the author of GotQuestions.org, maintains, “It is our view that there are certain instances in which divorce and remarriage are permitted without the remarriage being considered adultery. These instances would include unrepentant adultery and abandonment of a believing spouse by an unbelieving spouse.” In this context, a second covenant is recognized.

Another factor not favored by the legalistic, which is ironic at best, is that the word of G-d prohibits divorcing or leaving a second husband to go back to the former husband.

Her former husband, which sent her away, may not take her again to be his isha (wife), after that she is hutamma’ah (defiled); for that is to’evah (an abomination) before Hashem (G-d); and you shalt not cause ha’aretz (the land) to sin, which Hashem Eloheicha (your G-d) gives you for a nachalah (inheritance).”  Orthodox Jewish Bible (OJB). Devarim (Deut) 24:4

As clearly stated, as this command is, there are those who believe the Old Testament is not valid for Christians today, even as they quote it freely. They cite Malachi 2:16 where G-d says, “‘I hate divorce,’ and ‘He who divorces his wife covers his garment with violence,’ says the LORD of Hosts. So, guard yourselves in your spirit and do not break faith,” while ignoring Devarim 24:4. They cite Genesis 2:24, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh,” and ignore Ezra 10:10-11, “Then Ezra the priest stood up and said to them, ‘You have been unfaithful and have married foreign wives adding to the guilt of Israel. Now therefore, make confession to the Lord God of your fathers and do His will; and separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from the foreign wives.”’

To these I say, you choose what you believe to make convenient the religious philosophy you justify. You would have unjustly divorced believers remain single after they have tasted the joys G-d made for us in marriage. Nevertheless, remarriage after being divorced by an unbeliever is not prohibited in the word. Those who argue that it is prohibited are simply distorting scripture for their own agenda.

Referencing Devarim 24:4 once more we understand that to divorce a subsequent spouse to marry your original spouse is prohibited in the strongest terms. The word abomination (תּוֹעֵבַה) to’evah carries the meaning of something loathsome, detestable. And there are many who insist that one must do what G-d condemns, divorce and then remarry a former spouse.

Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marryI Timothy 4:1-3a

Would this verse, which clearly speaks of false doctrines forbidding marriage, does not specify whether first or other marriage, and some (who believe is it of G-d to cruelly divorce a 2nd spouse to remarry a 1st spouse) may deny the scripture by saying this means never to get married. But the verse does not justify this interpretation. Such is this interpretation that early church Father’s noted those who forbade “marriage and generation” believing them to be of Satan. Marriage is a gift given to human kind for godly offspring. Each marriage then which glorifies G-d should not be dissolved.

Finally, if you find yourself divorced through no fault of your own, an unbeliever divorces you, then let them go if that is your decision. Additionally, if you committed divorce, understanding the abomination of going back to a former spouse, do not divorce a second time. Stand in your marriage and commit yourself to G-d!

Dr. Ramón Argila de Torres y Sandoval

Edited: December 14, 2020

Resources

  1. https://bible.org/seriespage/9-teachings-paul-divorce-part-1
  2. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/dsb/1-timothy-4.html
  3. https://www.gotquestions.org/remarriage-adultery.html

One thought on “On Marriage and Faith

  1. Pingback: On Marriage Norms | Marriage and Other Random Thoughts

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