Human events continue to unfold today as they did when the patriarchs were alive. We are born, grow up, grow old, marry, and have children and life is now as it was then. There are failures and successes. Marriages and divorce. The key factor appears to be there are many people who have no respect for the Word of El! I say this not about unbelievers, but of believers who randomly pick through the bible (even if they don’t read it consistently) to justify what they already believe rather than read and understand through prayer and study.
They want to believe the law and the prophets are obsolete as if they now have some divine permission to ignore the Old Testament anyway because… Jesus. That is because parts of the bible do not fit with their philosophy of religion they are asking, “Has G-d really said…?” (Genesis 3). They deny the truth of the word He says is set-apart, or holy. Because G-d ties his holiness to His law; because He is forever, His law is forever.
The New International Version translation of 1st Timothy 4 records these words,
“But the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith, cleaving to deceiving spirits and teachings of demons, in lying speakers in hypocrisy, being seared in their own conscience, forbidding to marry, saying to abstain from foods, which God created for partaking with thanksgiving by the believers and those knowing the truth.”
The reference to forbidding marriage and then to avoiding certain foods is easily clarified with the understanding that scripture interprets scripture. In reverse order knowing that El has previously defined what is food and what is not food (Leviticus), we can easily understand this is not about permission to eat unclean things as if the unclean things have magically become food. Thus, when the bible refers to food, it means clean things are food, and not unclean things. Simply put; food is what God has already defined as food.
As to the former reference to forbidding of marriage, even though there is seeming unanimity among early commentators, namely that papists forbade marriage, this view cannot be true given the direct reference to the Catholic church, specifically to papists (of the pope). This is true because the Catholic church did not exist when 1st Timothy was written, notwithstanding Catholic false teachings.
It is well known that for 280 years after Yeshua’s resurrection and ascension his talmidim (believers or followers) were persecuted, tortured and martyred by the Roman Empire. Thus, since forbidding marriage is not a reference to Catholicism it is most certainly a reference to early Gnostic cults desiring control and power; whom the author of Timothy would certainly condemn for their errant views. There is no lack of those whose mindset is the same today.
These descendants of Gnostic thought see emotionally vulnerable people whose spouse has walked away from their marriage, perhaps into an affair, but most certainly into adultery (scripture holds that to divorce an innocent spouse is adultery) and say, “You have been divorced and you cannot remarry.” They embody the old saw that a Puritan is a person who senses that “someone, somewhere is having fun;” and they cannot abide that thought.
They readily quote Malachi 2:16, “ ‘For I hate divorce,’ says the LORD, the God of Israel. ‘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,” but will deny Deuteronomy 4:1-4 because it does not fit their emotionally charged agenda.
The Old Testament law concerning divorce, though seemingly quite clear, recorded in Deuteronomy 24:1 is not yet without little difficulty because modern interpretation adds what is not there. This changes the interpretation of the verses. Two versions change the apparent meaning; the King James and Revised Version.
The KJV has written, “then let him write a bill,” and so on, while the Revised Version (British and American) records, “that he shall write,” etc. This is not true of the Hebrew original having neither “then” nor “that,” but the conjunction “and” tying together the halves of verse 1. It says (paraphrase) “he has found something unclean (morally) in her AND he writes her a bill of divorce…” and nothing more. Yet, it seems Moses’ aim to codify divorce was not to make a terrible event easier, it was to protect the woman from an ancient form of the modern “No-fault divorce.”
Understanding Moses’ hearts intention (under inspiration of the Ruach) to add some measure of protection for a wife, he continues on stating what is read in verses 3 and 4; the prohibition of a woman thus divorced. After a perfunctory divorce a woman shall NOT go back to her former husband under any circumstances. Depending on the version you read, G-d hates this because He finds it detestable, or an abomination. Nevertheless, this verse clearly states no remarriage by divorcing a second spouse to go back to a former spouse.
Additionally, the Old Testament through the law tells us (as Israel believed) that certain acts were sin. Though this continues to be true, for example; stealing, mayhem, murder, Yeshua stated, “It is not the thing entering into the mouth that defiles the man, but the thing coming forth out of the mouth, this defiles the man,” and “For out of the heart come forth reasonings, evil things, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, lies, blasphemies.” (Matthew 15). It is the intention to divorce a spouse that is adultery, not the remarriage. Nor does sexual relations within that subsequent marriage form the basis for adultery. The adultery begins in the heart.
The prophet Jeremiah wrote, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (17:9) – The spirit of G-d is essentially saying only G-d can know a human heart. Thus, we understand that adultery is a heart issue, which if continued into fornication or divorce only magnifies the sin already present in the heart. Thus, adultery is the thought/sin taken root and acted upon, where fornication is sexual relations outside of a lawful marriage. Both are equally egregious in G-d’s sight.
If your spouse wasn’t in love anymore and left, if they found someone else, or if they “fell from grace” and let their sins overwhelm them; no matter what reason that you’ve found yourself newly single there are many options – contrary to what modern Gnostics claim. Certainly of these is the option is to stand and believe that G-d changes hearts and can restore your marriage. But this is by no means the only option. That depends upon the heart.
And understand this, because we are in need of a Savior it makes no sense to believe that remarriage after divorce is a salvation issue as these Gnostics (also claim). He died ONCE for all to save us from the penalty the Law invoked after sin. He died to set us free. Through the Law He tells us what is right and what to do, but through the Son, He saves us from the Law of Sin and Death.
I hope by now you understand that the motivations of the heart are what define sin and that because of human fallen nature it is impossible to not sin. Because of His propitiatory death on the cross, we are saved from the penalty of the Law. Though sin still remains while we are in the flesh because of His sacrifice we have His forgiveness. Think of it this way; those random thoughts that seem to erupt from nowhere, or that momentary uninvited thought about another person is the reason we need a Savior. We are unable to redeem ourselves and walk in righteousness as He did. And it is His sacrifice that allows us to approach the throne of G-d and ask for help avoiding sin and walk in victory.
Dr. Ramón Argila de Torres y Sandoval